FTS to push more workers into the field

As part of an effort to become more competitive in the federal market, the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service over the next year plans to retrain and put at least a quarter of its employees out in the field selling products and services to the government.

FTS now runs mostly like a commercial business, serving as an integrator of information technology and telecommunications products and services to the government. While the agency has regional offices, most FTS employees work in those offices and do not leave to meet with potential and current customers.

"They are a sales force, and they should be out in the field," Robert Suda, FTS' chief financial officer, said at a Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association breakfast today.

To push more employees into the field, GSA has set a goal of having 25 percent of its employees telecommute by 2000. To start this effort, FTS plans to take advantage of its upcoming move to a new headquarters building in Fairfax, Va., to encourage workers to telecommute part time instead of working at the building full time, Suda said.

The agency also will increase the training budget for fiscal 2000 from 1 percent to 5 percent to teach those employees how to think like a sales force instead of like procurement officials, Suda said.

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