Deputy FTS commissioner to retire

Charles Self, deputy commissioner of the General Service Administration's Federal Technology Service, plans to retire from government by the end of July.

Self, an FTS mainstay since GSA moved its Information Technology Service into FTS in 1996, said he plans to work for a few more weeks, then spend the final days of his 34-year government career golfing in Ireland.

After that, he will begin looking for some consulting work. "I'm out looking for a few good companies, or maybe one real good company. I'm going to stay in the area and work," he said. "Not too much of a commitment. I want to stay part time, but I do want to do some consulting."

There was no single event that precipitated the move, he said. "It's just time for a change. My wife has gone part time and wants me to share that with her."

Self, who joined in GSA in 1985 after working for the Veterans Administration and the Air Force, said making the jump from government to the private sector is not as easy as it looks. Government work, while rewarding, is also regimented and structured.

"My problem is my whole career has been do a good job, get promoted, do a good job, get promoted," he said. "There is a whole wealth of dizzying opportunities out there. I have to get my act together for how exactly do I want to do this."

Paired with FTS Commissioner Sandra Bates, who brought a strong network services background to GSA from her previous posting with NASA, Self added IT strengths to FTS, said Deirdre Murray, group manager of market development at Sprint.

"They were a great pair. In their public personae as a team, they conveyed [information] beautifully," she said. "I call Charlie the consummate team player."

"Charlie was particularly strong on the IT side of the house," said consultant Warren Suss, president of Suss Consulting Inc. "This is the major growth area for FTS. They've brought in an enormous amount of work on the IT side, and the IT business is going to become more important to them in the future. In some ways Charlie was moving them in an extremely important direction for the organization."

After rising to the rank of captain in the Air Force, Self taught briefly at Ohio State University before returning to the Air Force on the civilian side in 1973. By 1983, after a three-year detour with the VA, he became director of the Federal Acquisition Support Division of the Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (Fedsim). In 1986 he joined GSA as director of Fedsim, increasing its annual sales from $5 million to more than $60 million.

By 1990 he served as assistant commissioner of GSA's Information Technology Service, and in 1996 helped integrate it into FTS. During that period, Self worked on important governmentwide contract vehicles, including Millennia and Millennia Lite, and on GSA's seat management program.

There has been no shortage of government officials leaving and hanging out consulting shingles. Self believes his experience in procurement will give him some needed skills missing from the current climate.

"All of these consulting companies I've been talking to, they don't have anybody who really knows about GSA," he said. "FTS will spend $8 billion next year, and there are a lot of companies who would like to have some of that. That's what I've done for years is be part of the acquisition process."

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