Brasseux Tells Procurement Execs Opportunities Abound

As prepared for delivery.


Remarks by
Barnaby L. Brasseux
Deputy Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
Coalition for Government Procurement
Spring Conference
Arlington, Virginia
April 29, 2009


Thank you for being here today.

So many people in this room are long-time friends and colleagues.

Many of us go way back and know well my enthusiasm for everything we do at GSA.

Today is the 100th day of President Obama’s Administration.  There have been and will be numerous news stories analyzing the president’s first 100 days … right or wrong; good or bad.

One thing is certain.  There’s electricity in the air.  The weather is changing. 

Well the electricity we’re feeling at 1800 F Street, two blocks east at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and throughout our 11 regions is similar:

  • We’re excited and enthusiastic;
  • There's desire for change; and,
  • An unrelenting need to take action...

Rising up in all of us like a towering cumulus cloud, ready to rain down and create new life for those in need:

  • Improving the economy;
  • Creating jobs; and,
  • Making government work better for the people.

In a situation like this, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve been handed the keys to the kingdom.  Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, GSA will be able to address a huge backlog of needed infrastructure projects … projects that we’ve wanted to do for years but we never had the required funds.

But then you look through the lens of why we’re doing this – to create or keep jobs and stimulate the economy – the enormity of our purpose takes center stage and only increases our enthusiasm exponentially. 

I can tell you that there is a great deal of confidence in GSA and the role it will play in the recovery.  We’ve been given a significant mandate.

Under the Recovery Act, we’ve been given $5.5 billion to help jump-start the economy.

You’re probably aware of what we’re going to do with our $5.5 billion, but it bears repeating.  The Public Buildings Service gets the biggest chunk:

  • $4.5 billion for greening federal buildings;
  • $750 million for courthouses, and;
  • $300 million for Land Ports of Entry.

There’s more than 250 projects in 50 states, the District of Columbia and two territories. These projects:

  • Are an opportunity to address many long-standing infrastructure needs of our real estate portfolio;
  • Will stimulate jobs in the construction and real estate sectors; and,
  • Will protect and improve the value of our assets – prolonging their usefulness and further conserving our country’s resources.

At the same time, we will stimulate:

  • Long-term growth in energy-efficient technologies; and,
  • Alternative energy solutions.

GSA will lead the world in green building by:

  • Demonstrating how government is going green; and,
  • Showing the building community how to go green.

For those of you who work with PBS, there are outstanding opportunities here. 
I know what you’re thinking – what about FAS? 

You’ll be happy to know that FAS will play a significant role in the recovery, as well.

For one, you may have seen in the news that GSA is moving forward with the acquisition of 17,600 fuel efficient vehicles – including 2,500 hybrid sedans – for the federal fleet.

  • This is a significant step toward preserving natural resources, the environment and money.
  • The move is expected to cut federal vehicle gas consumption by 1.3 million gallons a year.
  • GSA is using $285 million of the $300 million allotted under the Recovery Act. 
  • The balance will be used to purchase and conduct pilot tests on advanced technology vehicles, including all-electric vehicles and compressed natural gas and hybrid buses.

FAS will play a key supporting role in PBS’s efforts through:

  • Tailored acquisition solutions;
  • Project management support;
  • Acquisition management support;
  • Legal support services, and;
  • Energy services

Most importantly, FAS stands ready to help other agencies meet their goals under the recovery act.  With approximately $787 billion going to federal, state and local customers, FAS will play a prominent role in advancing the goals of the legislation through pre-existing:

  • Multiple award schedule contracts;
  • GWACs;
  • Acquisition services; and,
  • Other standard acquisition tools offered to customers.

We believe GSA can influence from $40 to 50 billion in Recovery Act spending!

We’re doing everything we can to make customers aware that they can turn to GSA to get virtually everything they need by:

  • Connecting agencies with cost-effective, high-quality and environmentally friendly commercial products and services;
  • Linking them with thousands of private sector businesses like yours at a moment’s notice; and,
  • Providing expertise and resources to help acquire needed products and services at best value.

We have the expertise to help agencies get what they need. 

We’re also the experts in Recovery Act reporting requirements.  GSA is working closely with OMB and our internal and external partners to ensure we meet – and exceed – the transparency requirements of Congress and the President.

Contracting officials need to be well aware of these changes, which can be found in FAR 52.204-11.  While I won’t go into specific details of these reporting requirements today, rest assured that GSA is doing everything possible to see that all Recovery Act transactions are recorded and identified, and we are available to assist companies in complying with the transparency and accountably requirements of the act. 

Incidentally, we believe these reporting requirements will become the de facto standard in government.

This is an exciting time, but we haven’t lost sight of the importance of what we are doing. 

  • We have a lot of work to do.
  • Everyone at GSA is committed to getting this done.
  • This will get the government where it needs to be, creating jobs along the way.

We have been asked to do work that will have a profound impact on our infrastructure, our environment, our economy and our communities.

The actions we take today will affect future generations.

We do not underestimate the challenge that lies before us.

The President has made it clear that every taxpayer dollar spent on economic recovery be subject to unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability.

The administration stands for:

  • Transparency
  • Participation
  • Collaboration
  • Effectiveness

We are living by these words … and one other:  velocity. It means speed moving in the right direction.

Highlighting the velocity at which the administration is moving, the White House has put together a list of the top 100 actions or projects accomplished under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act during President Obama’s first 100 days. 

At the request of Vice President Biden, GSA submitted its “top 10,” revealing just how quickly we are moving forward. 

GSA’s top 10 Recovery Act achievements during the first 100 days of the Obama Administration included:

  1. Announcing the nationwide investment in public buildings.
  2. Setting up GSA’s new Recovery Program Office.
  3. Identifying and obligating funds for first projects:                              
    • Awarding $77 million for alternative fuel vehicles.
    • $64 million to fund final renovations of the historic Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse in New York City.
  4. Submitting a plan for the largest-ever government purchase of hybrid vehicles.
  5. Submitting a plan for a second, larger procurement of new fuel efficient vehicles, to be placed by June 1.
  6. Helping to launch and now manage
  7.  Assisting other agencies to make best use of recovery funds:
    • GSA modified it's Schedules program to help other federal agencies spend recovery funds wisely and efficiently.
    • Federal customer agencies using Schedules in support of Recovery Act activities will have access to a list of contractors that have accepted modification to support ARRA.
    • In June an icon will be available on GSA Advantage to designate Schedule holders that have modified contracts to support ARRA.
  8. Assisting small business:
    • Hosted first in a series of events to educate small businesses on contracting opportunities under the Recovery Act.
  9. Submitting to OMB six changes to the FARs required to implement the Recovery Act:
    • Changes focus on transparency in contracting, reporting and Buy-American Standards.
    • Includes reporting requirements mentioned earlier.
  10. Providing space and procurement assistance to the Recovery and TARP boards and staff.

It’s a testament to the energy and velocity in Washington that these were just GSA’s top 10 achievements!

Although not completed in the first 100 days, we are excited that the Obama Administration has nominated Martha Johnson to be GSA’s new Administrator.

  • I’ve worked with Martha in previous capacities and like her a great deal. 
  • I’m confident she will be a strong, effective leader for this organization.
  • I believe she appreciates that GSA is a great platform for making government work.

As you know, GSA has been without a permanent leader for some time.  Given the unusual circumstances, I believe our interim administrators have performed exceptionally well and have done a great job guiding this organization through a lengthy period of transition.  It has been my pleasure to work with each of them. Nevertheless, the naming of a permanent administrator can only have a positive impact on the great things GSA is already doing, by:

  • Establishing clear priorities consistent with the administration’s focus;
  • Providing stability to the organization during a period of rapid change;
  • Serving as a consistent and effective spokesperson and advocate for the organization and its goals with all stakeholders; and,
  • Creating a workplace environment that encourages innovation and success.

GSA is a well-run organization with a clear mandate and which continues to move forward in the right direction.  With a strong hand at the tiller, I am confident GSA can only continue to sail to new heights.

Finally, I want to make you all aware that GSA celebrates its 60th anniversary on July 1. 

GSA was founded on a recommendation from the Hoover Commission, which was established in 1947 to look at ways the administrative activities of the federal government could be improved. 

On June 30, 1949, President Harry Truman signed into law the merging of the:

  • Treasury Department’s Bureau of Federal Supply and Office of Contract Settlement;
  • The National Archives Establishment;
  • The Federal Works Agency – most importantly, it’s Public Buildings Administration; and,
  • The War Assets Administration. 

These administrative functions became the U.S. General Services Administration, an independent agency of the federal government, effective July 1, 1949. 

To rally our employees and customers around this anniversary, we unveiled a new slogan two weeks ago befitting our 60 years as a federal agency.

In my mind, the slogan – a legacy of service, a pursuit of excellence – really articulates GSA’s storied history and continued excellence on behalf of our customers and American citizens.  I think it captures the true essence of GSA’s past, its present and its future.

You might be interested to know that the slogan was chosen from more than 570 submissions from some 190 employees in a recent contest.  The winner was submitted by an architectural intern in GSA’s Great Lakes Region who has been with the organization less than three months.

I think this demonstrates the depth of GSA’s commitment to customer service.  At a time when America is really depending on all of us in government and those – like you – who work with us day-in and day-out, there can be no greater commitment than to do our very best.

At the top of his pyramid for success, legendary basketball Coach John Wooden defines competitive greatness as:

“Perform at your best when your best is required.  Your best is required every day.”

I am truly excited to face the challenges GSA has before it, because I am confident that GSA will succeed in performing its best, every day.

This will be a defining moment for GSA. 

This will be a defining moment for government. 

This will be a defining moment for America.

Thank you.

Last Reviewed 2010-04-30