This is archived information. It may contain outdated contact names, telephone numbers, Web links, or other information. For up-to-date information visit pages by topic or contact our Office of Public Affairs at For a list of public affairs officers by beat, visit the GSA Newsroom.

U.S. General Services Administration Celebrates 50 Years of
Providing for Federal Workers and Serving TaxpayersTwo Employees Honored for their Half-Century with GSA

GSA # 9595

July 1, 1999
Contact: Bill Bearden (202) 501-1231

Washington, DC -- Fourteen thousand men and women of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and their guests gathered today in various locations across the nation to celebrate a half century of providing the tools and services Federal workers needed to keep the Federal government running efficiently and effectively.

In the Nation's Capital, the President sent congratulations, congressmen spoke, and high ranking government officials and industry leaders joined with GSA Administrator Dave Barram and his DC staff for a gala celebration at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Special recognition was given to two GSA employees -- Rosemond Cardreon and Nancy Potter -- for being with GSA all 50 years.

In a message to all GSA employees, Administrator Barram said, "GSA's 50th anniversary celebration is, above all, a tribute to all the men and women who have served the agency over the last half century. Their dedication and commitment to excellence in customer service have enabled GSA to effectively carry out its mission. Their legacy is the foundation for the great work GSA will do in the coming century."

Congress created GSA in 1949 through the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act to serve as a centralized procurement and property management agency for Federal civilian agencies to provide -- as cost effectively as possible--the space, supplies, and services Federal employees needed to do their jobs.

When the agency celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1974, it had more than 38,000 employees and managed assets worth $11 billion. Today, GSA has just over 14,000 employees and its programs and policy leadership leverage $52 billion¿more than one-fourth of the Federal Government's total procurement dollars--and the agency manages assets valued at nearly $500 billion. This equates to roughly 6% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

And while GSA's supporting role has grown dramatically, one thing has not changed in 50 years. Now, as then, GSA provides for Federal workers.

In the past few years, GSA has made a fundamental change in the way it does business, moving from a process-oriented to a market-driven agency. GSA has increasingly opened itself to competition from the private sector. FSS began the trend in the late 1980s. PBS has continued by delegating its leasing authority to agencies, which may choose between GSA and commercial brokers for leasing services. In September, the mandatory requirement for using FTS for long-distance telephone service will end.

Operating under the banner, "Can't Beat GSA," the agency strongly focuses on customer service, contracting with the private sector when appropriate to accomplish its mission quickly, intelligently and within budget.

As it looks to a new century, GSA is focusing on anticipating new efficient and effective ways for Federal employees to work. GSA will provide Federal employees with integrated solutions to their workplace needs, including tools to meet the challenges of a mobile workforce, simplified processes through electronic commerce, and quality child care in Federal facilities.

GSA has an important impact on American life and on the Nation's economy and affects the daily activities of Federal agencies and the people who work for them. In the past few years, GSA has had to remake itself along the lines of the largest and most successful corporations there are today. Time will judge its success as GSA continues to tenaciously strive to achieve its goal of being the "provider of choice" while facing the challenges of supporting the federal workforce of the future.

GSA Facts

GSA Mission Statement: "We provide policy leadership and expertly managed space, products, services, and solutions, at the best value, to enable Federal employees to accomplish their missions."

Locations: The GSA headquarters are in Washington, DC, but most of the agency's employees are located in its 11 regions. GSA regional offices are based in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Fort Worth, Denver, San Francisco, Auburn (WA), and the National Capital Region in Washington, DC.

Organization: GSA provides space, products and services through three Services¿the Public Buildings Service (PBS), Federal Supply Service (FSS) and Federal Technology Service (FTS). Policy leadership for all Federal agencies is provided through the Office of Governmentwide Policy (OGP). The synergy achieved by having these three Services and Governmentwide Policy in the same agency makes GSA uniquely positioned to provide its customer agencies with integrated solutions to their workplace requirements.

* PBS leases, constructs, renovates and manages office space for Federal agencies and district offices for Members of Congress. PBS also provides security services, childcare facilities, telecommuting centers and real property disposal services. It is the largest civilian landlord in the country.

* FSS provides Federal agencies with the means to purchase 4 million items by automated ordering, mail, telephone, or over the Internet. FSS leases vehicles at low cost and provides discounted, no-restriction airfares and lodging for Federal travelers. It offers Federal employees charge cards for travel, fuel and small purchases. FSS also disposes of surplus Federal personal property through transfers among agencies, donations or sales.

* FTS provides Federal agencies with low cost local and long-distance telecommunications services and provides information technology solutions and support services while ensuring that the Federal Telecommunications System is fully accessible to individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities;

* OGP provides coordination for the development of policies on acquisition, information technology, real estate, transportation and personal property that affect all Federal agencies and Federal advisory committees.

Programs: GSA conducts many programs including ones that:
* Help maintain the vitality of American cities through its Good Neighbor Program
* Support downtown revitalization through its Livability Program.
* Manage 112 childcare centers which serve more than 7,600 children throughout the country.
* Use modern technology to help find missing children through its "Missing Child Alert" program.
* Manage a nationwide recycling program for 643,000 Federal employees in 1,044 Federal buildings.
* Manage properties in a way that respects them as cultural assets.
* Manage a Fine Arts collection consisting of 17,000 works of art.
* Give its 14,000 employees access to the GSA Online University for courses in IT,
telecommunication, management, and basic skills.
* Offer 18 certificates for different contracting officer representative duties through its Federal Acquisition
Institute Online University.
* Encourages telework for Federal employees.

Information Sources: GSA provides the general public with a wealth of information through a number of sources, including the following:
* Federal Information Center responds to two million calls per year from people who have questions about
Federal agencies, programs, and services.
* Consumer Information Center provides citizens with access to hundreds of Federal consumer publications.
* Federal Government's Gateway for Year 2000 Information Directories makes Y2K information available
or industry, consumers, and children
* Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance contains information on 1,412 domestic assistance programs.
* Excess Property Sales - GSA tells the public what we sell, how we sell it, and how they can purchase it.
* SmartGov website serves as a smart card resource for industry and the public.

Last Reviewed 2010-09-20