Marty Wagner announces retirement

Marty Wagner, deputy commissioner of the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service, has announced his retirement, effective Jan. 31.

Wagner was instrumental in the agency’s plan to create FAS by merging GSA’s two procurement offices, the Federal Supply Service and the Federal Technology Service. He said at the time that the consolidation would help improve the way GSA purchases technology and other goods and services because the merger would create “economies of process.”

Wagner told Federal Computer Week today that he decided to retire because FAS is on a solid foundation and GSA has overcome many of the problems it faced in the past few years.

“There is now a strong senior management team in place,” he said, “and I feel that I have been able to help and assist in the transition, and that it’s now time to do something different.”

He said he wants to devote the remaining weeks of his government career to GSA before making any definite plans about his future.

He said he plans to take the next two or three months “to decompress, look at options, talk to people and figure out what to do next.” But he said he would not just go into the sunset and lie on a beach. “I may do that for a week at some point in that process,” he added.

Wagner will have been in government for 31 years, the past 16 at GSA, when he retires.

He said he will remain involved in government activities and would like to do many similar things in the private sector.

“After [Jan. 31], I will be looking presumably at various firms involved in technology and management in the federal government,” he said. “I will try to speak to them about potential opportunities there.”

Wagner praised GSA’s current efforts to help federal agencies. “The role [of GSA] is there,” he said. “There are a lot of very strong, good people there. There have been some problems in the past, but I have confidence that with the good value proposition and the good people here, we’re going to continue to deliver more value” to agency customers.

“If you actually look at the way corporations are restructuring themselves, there is a lot more use of shared services and strategic sourcing, and all of those are exactly what we do,” he added.

Asked to cite one area GSA still needs to work on, he said, “I think we need to continue to put a lot more effort and focus on agency customers.”

He said GSA has done a lot of work fixing internal processes and making things run better, but he added that the reorganization won’t mean much if customers don’t see and experience the improvements GSA has made.

“There is going to have to be – and continue to be – a lot more emphasis on customer support in meeting the overall federal government needs,” he said. “That’s the big implementation step that we are [still] going through.”

Wagner was GSA’s associate administrator for governmentwide policy in the 1990s. The office developed policy on information technology, acquisition, real and personal property, regulatory information, and other areas of concern in concert with other federal agencies, state and local governments, and industry.

Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, said Wagner will be greatly missed. “Marty is a very highly respected, highly regarded professional who’s been around a long time,” Soloway said.

He said Wagner has great institutional knowledge and has always been willing to look at different ways of doing things. “That’s a tough role to fill, so from that perspective, it’s a loss to GSA.”

“Marty will be greatly missed” said GSA Administrator Lurita Doan, a statement released today. “His leadership and experience were invaluable assets in helping us establish the Federal Acquisition Service.”

FAS Commissioner Jim Williams added, “Marty has been central to successfully engaging our customer agencies, industry contractors, congressional committees and the entire FAS team.”

As deputy commissioner at FAS, Wagner oversaw the acquisition of more than $50 billion in products and services for federal agencies and managed a workforce of more than 4,000 employees responsible for IT services, all major federal telecommunications contracts, and 200,000 motor vehicles. Programs also included disaster relief for hurricane victims, equipment for the U.S. armed forces, federal traveler services and charge cards, GSA said in a statement.

Before being named deputy commissioner at FAS, Wagner served as acting FAS commissioner. Prior to that, he was associate administrator for GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy from 1995 to 2005, developing and implementing policies for electronic government and IT, acquisition, and managing real and personal property. He promoted using commercial contracts and approaches, and implementing performance measures as well as initiating FedBizOpps, the federal procurements gateway. He also established federal contracts for smart identification cards and electronic signatures, and co-chaired the first federal interagency e-commerce effort.

From 1990 to 1995, Wagner served as GSA’s senior manager for IT and telecommunications. Earlier, he directed telecommunications at the Treasury Department and evaluated telecommunications policy at the Office of Management and Budget.

During his career, Wagner received both Meritorious and Distinguished Presidential Rank Awards, according to the GSA statement.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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