Phil Bond has clear vision at helm of ITAA
He sees his mission as no less than ensuring America remains a global innovation leader
- By David Hubler
- Oct 30, 2006
Phil Bond has been president of the Information Technology Association of America for less than two months, but he has no doubt about how he wants to lead the organization. “We see our mission here as maintaining America’s role as the innovation headquarters for the world,” Bond said.
Bond said he is not satisfied with the public’s awareness of ITAA and its mission. “It has gone through a relatively dormant period with Harris [Miller’s] exit,” he said of ITAA’s former president. “Harris was a real leader, and we’ve been through a ‘quiet period,’ to borrow a business phrase. We need now to reassert ITAA. We need to get back up to where we were, at least, if not beyond that.”
Bond said ITAA will pursue its mission through what he calls the four capitals: protecting and promoting intellectual capital, fostering investment and research and development for financial capital, attracting the best and the brightest to foster human capital, and building political capital among lawmakers.
Bond’s technology acumen and personality will benefit ITAA, said Rhett Dawson, president of the IT Industry Council. Dawson has known Bond for almost 10 years. He hired Bond to be ITI’s chief lobbyist in the late 1990s.
“People are drawn to him because of his personal style, which is low-key but still very effective in terms of communicating,” he said. He knows the IT industry well “and he loves trade association work.”
Asked how he can balance his links to the Bush administration with the need for ITAA to sometimes criticize White House policies, Bond said, “I’m not uncomfortable with that. I understand what my role is. My role is to do what’s best for the industry. It just so happens, I think, in this particular industry we have a lot of similar views with both sides of the aisle.”
Bond said he doesn’t see a lot of disagreement on IT issues among ITAA, the Bush administration and Congress. “There will be some [issues], I’m sure, over the next few years that we will differ with the administration,” he said. “There are some we will differ with one chamber or the other. Our job is to stand up for the industry.”
Bond said procurement issues are one of ITAA’s biggest concerns these days. “We have some real issues with the procurement process and making sure that we keep our collective eye on efficiency,” he said. “We believe we’re on the side of efficiency and on the side of the taxpayer. We want to deliver better value to the taxpayers for their dollars.”
Referring to the General Services Administration’s plans to consolidate federal contracts, Bond said the government must always balance its interests in competition and efficiency in contracting. A reorganized GSA with its new Federal Acquisition Service is a positive development, he said.
Governmentwide acquisition contracts are often efficient and beneficial to taxpayers, Bond said. “Whether they should all be held under one single contract at GSA, I think we would have some hesitation about. By the same token, we don’t think that every single agency ought to have their own GWACs either.”
Looking ahead to 2007, Bond said he would like the IT industry to have more political clout on Capitol Hill. The industry must shoulder some of the blame for not telling its story effectively, he added.
Bond said that when Congress convenes in January, he intends to begin aggressive lobbying on industry issues and hire more lobbying staff.
He said he hopes to see greater collaboration — in addition to some consolidation — among the numerous IT advisory groups. “There are just too many.”
David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.