Education's Greg Woods dies

Greg Woods, formerly in charge of the Education Department's Federal Student Aid (FSA) office, died last week after a long illness. He was 59 years old.

Woods resigned from his education post, effective Sept. 30, after an announcement that he was taking indefinite leave to undergo medical treatment.

"I really am saddened to hear the news," said Alan Balutis, executive director of the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils. "Greg was someone who brought real energy and vision and perspective to the government IT community, from his work with Al Gore's reinventing government task force [to] some of the innovative procurements at the FSA," including its groundbreaking share-in-savings contract with Accenture.

"Greg started working on e-government before that phrase existed," said Steve Kelman, professor of public management at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Woods was appointed chief operating officer in December 1998, shortly after FSA was designated as the federal government's first performance-based organization. He helped transform the office's programs by improving customer service, reducing costs, and adding Web-based applications and an 800 number for lending institutions to call to solve problems.

"Two things I always remember about Greg that we shared: our dislike of bureaucracy and our belief that serving your country should be fun," said Bob Woods, president of education services at Affiliated Computer Services Inc. and close friend of Greg Woods. "He did those things. He didn't die wondering. And that's the way you should do it."

U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige on Nov. 22 released a statement on Woods' death. "It is with great sadness that I announce the passing late yesterday of Greg Woods," Paige said. "Greg was committed to his work and the challenge of streamlining and updating the technology systems that deliver financial aid to help make the goal of a college education a reality for so many. Greg will be missed by many, including his friends and colleagues both here at the department and in the higher education community."

Before joining FSA, Woods served in leadership positions at companies including Science and Engineering Associates Inc. and Science Applications International Corp. He held a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Southern California.

There will be a visitation from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 25 at Demaine Funeral Home, 520 Washington St., in Alexandria, Va. The funeral will be at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 26 at St. Mary's Catholic Church, also in Alexandria.

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