Cedar names federal director

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Robert Byrd, former deputy commissioner for management and systems and chief financial officer at the Food and Drug Administration, last week was appointed national practice director for Cedar's federal-sector practice.

The newly created position signifies an increased emphasis on the public-sector market for the Baltimore-based Cedar, a consulting firm that is a subsidiary of Cedar Group PLC.

Cedar deals with a range of applications from "concept to completion," including customer relationship management, human resources, payroll, data warehousing, knowledge management and electronic procurement.

"I'm the person in charge of growing the federal-sector practice, and I'm doing it from scratch," Byrd said. "I'm in the process of hiring and developing the whole federal sector, but I can call upon the resources of Cedar that might require immediate skills."

Byrd has more than 20 years of experience in program and administrative management at the federal and state levels. During his six-year tenure at the FDA, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, he was responsible for all aspects of financial and human resources management, procurement and facilities management and IT systems management for the agency's 9,000 employees.

Previously, he held senior positions with the Agriculture Department and Maryland's Department of General Services.

Despite building the federal-sector practice "from scratch," Byrd already has a long list of Cedar public-sector clients to build upon, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Reserve Bank System, the Food and Drug Administration, the General Services Administration and Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina.

"I want to build upon the inroads that Cedar has already made and also establish new inroads where Cedar hasn't been able to do so," Byrd said. Because of ethics laws, Byrd can't do any business with the FDA for a year, but he said there are other agencies within HHS where his "insight and experience could be helpful."

After decades in the public sector, Byrd said the main thing that has struck him since joining Cedar on April 2 are the "similarities, as opposed to the glaring differences."

"While I was inside government, we referred to consultants as beltway bandits, but there's no banditry going on here," Byrd said. "It's the same core values here that I had while inside the government: trust, integrity and honesty. I saw that and was very impressed with that."

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