Posted by Mary Davie, Assistant Commissioner, Integrated Technology Services
It’s the first anniversary of GSA’s Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) Wireless blanket purchase agreements (BPAs), a program designed to save and consolidate government spending on wireless costs.
To commemorate the program’s first birthday, take a look at what we’ve done.
Turning Up the Savings
Today the 18 agencies using the FSSI Wireless BPAs are achieving an average savings of 24 percent compared to their previous wireless agreements and current average rates across government as a whole. A good example is the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), which achieved 30 percent savings.
In FY 2014, the average monthly adoption growth through January has exceeded 100 percent. As of March 31, the program exceeded $1 million in spend for FY 2014. As the FSSI Wireless program continues to grow, we believe the federal government will realize $0.24 savings for every dollar spent on wireless services and devices.
Providing Additional Program Options
FSSI Wireless customers now have the option to use both eBuy and Reverse Auction to purchase FSSI Wireless services, which can help lower agency costs even more.
Posted by Ann P. Kalayil, GSA Great Lakes Regional Administrator
Practices help the agency save money on landscaping costs
Over the past few years, property management teams at federal buildings across the Great Lakes Region have worked hard to reduce costs by integrating sustainability in everything we do. While these efforts have focused on what goes on inside our buildings, we have made efforts to include sustainable practices in our landscaping, helping us realize both short- and long-term savings.
For GSA, green and sustainable landscape design is meant to be both attractive and in balance with the local landscape. We’ve focused attention on the design’s functionality, cost-effectiveness, visual appearance, and environmental friendliness. Sustainable landscaping design helps us reduce waste and prevents air, water and soil pollution.
The progress we’ve made regionwide can be seen at the U.S. Courthouse in Hammond, Ind. For nearly 10 years, this building has made it a regular practice to incorporate native and indigenous plants and shrubs into the landscaping. The plantings are heartier and last longer, as they are more adaptive to the weather conditions in northwest Indiana. This focus on vegetation helps GSA save money by requiring less maintenance and using less fertilizer and water, while maintaining our commitment to sustainability.
Additionally, when GSA completed construction at the Nathaniel R. Jones Federal Building and Courthouse in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2002, we transformed more than an acre of pavement into a more natural, prairie-like area. The prairie design, primarily populated by native and wildflower species, contributes to a sustainable landscape design. This provides improved stormwater management and an enhanced habitat within the city’s urban core, and requires less watering than a traditional landscape.
The efforts in Hammond and Youngstown have started to spread across the Region. At the Chicago Federal Center, making the switch to native plants have helped save $1 million. Other federal buildings, including the Patrick V. McNamara Federal Building in Detroit, have also integrated green and sustainable landscaping.
We’ve also made an effort to plant perennials rather than annuals, as that creates long-lasting landscapes that require less maintenance. Many buildings have moved to drip irrigation systems, which keeps the soil moist without losing water to evaporation. Moisture sensors have also been installed in landscape beds to measure the amount of moisture in the ground to avoid over-watering, helping to save water and keep plants healthy. By using these practices across our region, our landscapes support the natural beauty of their surroundings, while also creating a sustainable space.
Take a look at this photo gallery to see how the Great Lakes Region is incorporating green and sustainable landscaping across the Midwest, and how we’re making sustainability an integral part of our federal buildings.
Posted by Dan Tangherlini, Administrator, General Services Administration
This Sunday, Mad Men’s mid-century style will be featured on many TV sets throughout the country as the show enters its final season. Don Draper’s office, complete with its closed door, heavy wooden desk, executive chair, and sofa, represents a generation of workers bound by a culture of hierarchy. The Don Drapers of the working world got the plush window offices, reinforcing their position as “boss.” At too many organizations – including many across federal government, this outdated mentality still exists. We cannot afford to run off of this 1960’s model of working.
At GSA’s 1800 F Street headquarters, everyone can have a window office. Our open workspace and hotelling system allows employees to decide where they work, no matter what position they occupy at the agency. The old Administrator’s office, which Don Draper would feel very comfortable in, is now a conference room that is used for staff meetings, and my desk is now a workstation in the middle of an open office, just like everyone else. This free flowing layout gives me the opportunity to collaborate with the men and women that help this agency meet the needs of the American people.
Many people argue that open workspaces undermine productivity. Critics have said that increased noise levels from ambient conversations interfere with workers’ ability to focus. What these critics do not take into account is the expanded opportunities workers have for quiet space because of open workspaces. Eliminating personal offices and consolidating staff in a collaborative environment creates space for smaller, isolated workspaces that are available to all employees, allowing for a democracy of quiet. No longer is it just the “boss” that can retreat to his/her office to concentrate on heads-down work. Now, any GSA employee can take advantage of the available quiet rooms at our headquarters, whether it’s a contracting officer who needs to review an agreement or an IT specialist who is working on code.
Federal agencies need to respond to the needs of the modern worker, giving employees the tools and the space necessary to help government fulfill its core mission to serve the American people. The open workspace concept is about more than innovative interior design, it is a way to make sure that every worker can support their agency efficiently and effectively. Agency leaders have a responsibility to model behaviors and practices that promote a smarter government. What better way to do just that than from a window seat alongside the very men and women that help create a 21st century government? Don Draper might not like it, but just as our work has come a long way from the ‘heydays’ of the 1960′s — so must our workspaces.
Posted by Matthew Burrell, Press Assistant, General Services Administration
Women’s History Month is the perfect opportunity to recognize the women who serve their country and the American people. Women across the world serve with dedication, integrity, and honor, often in dangerous environments. GSA is committed to honoring these heroes.
Katherine “Kathy” Adams, a supervisory supply service representative in GSA’s National Customer Service Center, was awarded an Achievement Medal for Civilian Service from the Department of the Army for her service as GSA’s Liaison Officer at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, in 2012. Working closely with the 10th Sustainment Brigade out of Fort Drum, New York, Adams was instrumental in tracking office furniture and sensitive communication equipment.
Northwest/Arctic Region’s Financial Management Analyst Nina Lampron served six months in Afghanistan as a Lieutenant Commander with the U.S. Navy Reserve. A 14-year Navy Reserve, Lampron was deployed as a Operations Officer for Defense Logistic Agency Dispositions Services from June-December 2013. As the Operations Officer, she provided technical advice and support to contingency bases throughout Afghanistan concerning the disposal of unserviceable materials.
Beverly Hoskins, a Northwest/Arctic Region General Supply Specialist has served a GSA Liaison Officers in Afghanistan twice supporting U.S. troops on location in Afghanistan and Kuwait in 2012 and 2013. A Tacoma, Washington resident, Hoskins spent her days assisting her military customers in fulfilling their acquisition needs ranging from whole kitchens to gym equipment, military goggles, printer toner, incinerators to ATVs and tools.
GSA Regional Emergency Coordinator Vickie Deal served as the ESF-7 Coordinator for logistics support to Federal Emergency Management Agency after flooding impacted 18 Colorado counties. A retired Coast Guard Marine Safety Officer, Deal’s military experience gives her an edge in working under these types of situations. Jan Worthy serves as a Procurement Analyst for the Rocky Mountain Regional Acquisition Office, Jan Worthy is committed to high quality work—a trait she picked up from her experience in the Air Force.
Maria Roat, GSA’s FedRAMP Director, is a U.S. Navy veteran with 26 years of active duty and reserve service, in which she obtained the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer, Information Systems Technician.
Courtney J. Dietzler serves as an Emergency Planning Specialist in New York City for the Office of Emergency Response and Recovery within the United States General Services Administration (GSA), a job that reflects her duties in the U.S. Air Force where she served overseas in the Middle East during Operation Enduring Freedom and in Japan. Since joining GSA in March of 2012, she has coordinated agency support to FEMA at the Regional Response Coordination Center following SuperStorm Sandy and the New York Field Office, for which she received a Commendable Service Award by the Region 2 Regional Administrator. Dietzler continues to serve in the New York Air National Guard where she is currently a Master Sergeant.
Jillian Segarra, a Supervisory Procurement Analyst for Region 1 was stationed overseas at Aviano Air Force Base in Italy. From there she was deployed for 7 months to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where she was a Contingency Contracting Officer. Her primary focus was awarding contracts supporting the repair of the busiest runway in the Area of Operation (AoR), construction of protection barriers around office buildings and living quarters, and also procurement of supplies, tools, and equipment for the busiest military hospital in the deployed location. For her hard work and dedication, she was awarded not only Airman of the Year for Aviano Air Force Base, but Contracting Airman of the Year for all of USAFE (US Air Forces Europe). She was also nominated for Airman of the Year for the Air Force.
To learn more about Women’s History Month and the employees at GSA please follow our blog at gsablogs.gsa.gov.
Posted by Kevin Kampschroer, Deputy Senior Sustainability Officer
Today marks Earth Day around the world, and on this day we focus on the challenges affecting our planet and how we can ease our impact on the environment. One of the ways we can improve the environment is the responsible stewardship of electronics and ensuring that old laptops and phones don’t end up in landfills. E-waste is the largest growing waste stream in the country. According to the most recent Environmental Protection Agency estimates, more than five million tons of electronics were in storage; of those, 2.37 million tons were ready for end-of-life management, yet only twenty-five percent were collected for recycling.The federal government has been taking steps to ensure that it is leading by example and becomes a more responsible user of electronics and directs items to certified e-waste recyclers.
The federal government as a whole is the nation’s largest consumer of electronics. That is why the Obama Administration issued the National Strategy for Electronic Stewardship in 2011. The strategy outlines responsible use and disposal of electronics in the federal government. As part of the strategy, GSA has issued guidance to federal agencies banning landfill disposal of electronics, and that guidance is now on its way to becoming a federal regulation.
Everyday office electronics such as smart phones, laptops, monitors, televisions, copy machines, fax machines, and small metering devices are made with rare and precious metals, plastic, and glass, all of which can be recycled. Electronics also contain small amounts of toxic materials, and they must be disposed of properly to prevent harm to human health and the environment.
The new regulation will ban all federal agencies from disposing of electronic waste in landfills. This is an important step for the federal government. Under the regulation, reusing electronics remains the priority. As computers, phones, and monitors outlive their usefulness, they will be offered for reuse by other agencies or donated to schools, state and local government offices, and eligible non-profits. Usable electronics can also be sold. Electronics that have reached the end of their useful life will be recycled by third-party certified e-waste recyclers. Additionally, we encourage recipients of used government electronics to follow the same reuse and recycling standards as the federal government.
The policy incorporates the use of certified recyclers. The electronic recycling industry has adopted two industry environmentally sound standards, R2 and e-Stewards. Certified recyclers are regularly audited by their respective certification entities to ensure that electronics are processed in a manner that protects public health and the environment.
Transparency and accountability are a crucial part of the regulation and a key focus of the plan. GSA, working with other federal agencies, has put forth a policy that will include a requirement for agencies to submit data for all disposed electronics. We’ll start to more effectively account for every device leaving the government, and we’ll report that information to the public on Data.gov.
GSA’s government-wide e-waste regulation is now on the Federal Register’s website for review and remains open for public comments until May 5th. We welcome your input as we further our efforts to sustainably dispose of electronics. View the e-waste Federal Register notice here.