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DorobekInsider: Hear GSA’s Varnado… and get more info about Networx today

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I mentioned that I had an exclusive interview with GSA’s newly appointed acting Federal Acquisition Services Commissioner Tyree Varnado that aired on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris. You can hear that interview here.

(Almost immediately after the interview aired, I started getting e-mails… ‘why didn’t you ask…’ Varnado and I actually got to spend about 45 minutes together. The interview that airs was about 15 minutes, so there were many areas that we covered, but didn’t get to. That being said, this was something of an introduction forVarnado . He has been in government — and at GSA — for some time. But he is not a household name. We all will have plenty of time to askVarnado detailed questions about specific topics, but… for right now, I was interested in who he is… and how he views this job and this position…)

One of the specific items that we did not get to talk about: Federal Times reported yesterday that 85 percent of the agencies will miss the Oct. 9 deadline to have selected a Networx vendor.

We didn’t get into that because today on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we are going to talk to Karl Krumbholz, GSA’s acting assistant commissioner for service development and delivery. Krumbholtz is GSA’s Networx point man.

I spoke to a number of Networx analysts and vendors yesterday to get a sense about the program. I’m told that there is finally movement — vendors had been very frustrated that the entire process was moving at a glacial pace. That being said, I was told by several people that only 3 percent of the agencies have actually moved toNetworx from FTS 2001. Many agencies are working off FTS 2001 bridge contracts that allow them to continue to do business.

To be honest, I don’t know what happens when that bridge expires. I’ll try to find out today.

If you have insights about Networx, let me know.

Written by cdorobek

October 10, 2008 at 7:27 AM Kempf GSA’s new FAS deputy?

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I’m hearing that Steven J. Kempf, who has been heading up the acting assistant commissioner for acquisition management, was named the acting FAS deputy late last week.

Kempf had been in the acquisition management post since February. According to the release about that position in February:

Mr. Kempf joined GSA in 1992, beginning as a marketing coordinator for the Office of Technology Assistance and the Center for Federal Systems Integration and Management (FEDSIM). He then joined GSA’s regional program in California, where he was the technical chairperson for GSA’s first GWAC. Mr. Kempf also managed projects for a variety of clients in the Monterey area. In January 2000, he returned to FEDSIM, where he served as a senior project manager, operations manager, and customer services director for DoD programs. Mr. Kempf was appointed Deputy Assistant Commissioner for ITS in 2007.

Kempf was a 2008 winner of Federal Computer Week’s prestigious Fed 100 award for his work on HSPD-12. That being said, some see Kempf as tied to GSA’s troubled and yet-to-be-awarded Alliant contract.

It is unclear if Kempf will keep his acquisition management post. (Most of the senior GSA posts are “acting.” Come January, Jim Williams, GSA’s acting administrator, can go back to his former post as FAS commissioner. That means that the current acting FAS commissioner, Tyree Varnado, would become Williams’ deputy and, one assumes that Kempf would return to his acquisition management post… but I can’t follow that many dominoes.)

Written by cdorobek

October 9, 2008 at 11:01 PM

DorobekInsider: Federal News Radio exclusive with GSA’s Tyree Varnado

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GSA's Varnado

GSA's Varnado

Last week, we gave the Coalition for Government Procurement credit for something of a coup, scoring a speaking appearance by GSA’s new acting Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Tyree Varnado.

But where will you hear him first? On Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris on Thursday afternoon — we’re on from 3-7p ET, exclusively on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief.

Morris and I are interviewing Varnado earlier in the day in studio — and we’ll probably go longer then our typical interview, keeping Varnado across two segments.

Among the questions I hope we can get to:

  • What is on his agenda for FAS?
  • What are the most significant issues facing FAS.
  • What is that status on the Federal Acquisition Service merger?
  • The GSA schedule contracts have been under increasing pressures. Are they still a viable contracting vehicle?
  • The Multiple-Award Schedule Panel is recommending that GSA do away with the schedule’s price reduction clause. Thoughts?
  • What should be the proper role of oversight?
  • What is his sense of the role of assisted services?

What other questions should we ask? Post them here… and we’ll get to as many as we can.

I’ve also been told that Varnado will make an unannounced appearance at Input’s FedFocus 2009 conference on Oct. 21 in Falls Church, VA.

I’m looking forward to meeting Varnado.

Written by cdorobek

October 8, 2008 at 11:10 PM

Posted in GSA

Tagged with , , , ,

DorobekInsider: The Varnado speaking coup

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The Coalition for Government Procurement has something of a coup — the first speaking engagement for GSA’s new acting Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Tyree Varnado.

Varndado will speak at the coalition’s fall conference on Oct. 22.

VARNADO CONFIRMED FOR FALL CONFERENCE!: The Coalition is pleased to announce that new acting FAS Commissioner Tyree Varnado will be the luncheon speaker at our Fall Conference October 22nd. Varnado comes to the acting Commissioner post after a variety of assignments inside FAS, most recently as Assistant Regional Administrator of Region VII. DON’T MISS this opportunity to be among the first to hear from FAS’ new leader on his plans for the service, including the MAS program and what it means for GSA’s contractor partners. REGISTER TODAY for the Fall Conference! Visit: for the complete conference line up and registration information.

Written by cdorobek

October 2, 2008 at 10:26 PM

Posted in Government Groups, procurement

Tagged with , Positive reviews for the new FAS commissioner

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GSA's Tyree Varnado

GSA's Tyree Varnado

We broke the news yesterday that GSA will announce — possibly as soon as today — that Tyree Varnado will be the acting FAS Commissioner effective September 21. In fact, it looks like GSA may have put the announcement out overnight.

The appointment is the latest in a series of moves within GSA to fill vacancies. The FAS Commissioner post is vacant, of course, because Jim Williams was named GSA’s acting administrator. Initially, Wiliams had named Barney Brasseux as acting FAS Commissioner, who was his deputy. Earier this week, however, Brasseux was named the deputy GSA administrator. So that left the FAS commissioner’s office vacant again. (Are you following all of this? We need a chart or something.) So Williams this week, Williams namedVarnado to be FAS commissioner.

I’ll tell you — Varnado has a big fan club.

Among the comments I’ve received already…

From a FAS insider:

Tyree is a good man and it does indeed help to unify the entire GSA team by selecting someone outside of DC to serve in this capacity.

From a GSAer…

Right decision, really solid fellow.

And one GSA observer:

Tyree is an excellent choice.

The over all consensus is that selecting someone from GSA’s regions is a good decision. GSA’s regions can often be problematic, particularly given that each region has regional administrators that who are political appointees and it can sometimes be difficult to get the agency pointed in the same direction.

But a number of people described Varnado as a good leader.

The Federal Acquisition Service, of course, was formed earlier this year by merging the Federal Supply Service and the Federal Technology Service. That merger still needs careful management if it is going to be successful, many observers believe.

We’re working on getting somebody who can talk about all of these issues for this afternoon’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris on Federal News Radio 1500 AM.

Written by cdorobek

September 19, 2008 at 6:51 AM