Timothy Wang: Leading by adapting

"Contractors do what they are told. Consultants do that and then some.” In that deceptively simple analysis, Tim Young described Timothy Wang, principal consultant at Touchstone/SRA International. Young, associate administrator for information technology and e-government at the Office of Management and Budget, where Wang is a consultant, said Wang is valued because of his adaptability.

Young said Wang went beyond the call of duty for OMB, providing exceptional support and continuity for OMB’s Office of E-Government and IT.

With his willingness to work long hours and his institutional memory, he helped OMB through a difficult time of high turnover among key portfolio managers.

Having worked at OMB since 2003, when the Bush administration’s e-government initiatives were new, Wang had a deep understanding of those programs, Young said. Wang helped OMB maintain the initiatives’ momentum when key portfolio positions were vacant in 2006. He attended all portfolio meetings so he could relay important information to senior OMB officials, a supportive move that helped keep the office afloat when it was short-handed, Young said.

Wang used his knowledge and experience to give new staff members a speedy introduction to managing OMB’s governmentwide lines of business and e-government portfolios.

Wang describes himself as a big-picture person, and he shares that outlook with new staff members who arrive unfamiliar with the players or history of the initiatives. New portfolio managers need that perspective.

“You have to know the things we have done in the past,” Wang said.

He was invaluable to OMB in other ways, Young said. Wang volunteered his expertise when OMB was updating its Circular A-11 policy to improve the federal budgeting process. He deciphered a flood of information from agencies and made it manageable.

Agency business cases are critical components of the IT budget process, and they have significant consequences for the federal IT community, Young said. OMB released updates to Circular A-11 during summer 2006 that reduced the reporting burden on federal agencies while providing OMB with additional relevant data to support its budget decisions and analyses.

Wang described some of the agency cases he reviewed as wordy, like college term papers. “I want to see numbers [and] dates,” he said. “I want to see facts.” He said he looks for cases that are simple and succinct.

“He is legs, head, ears to data,” said Tony Summerlin, vice president of consulting at Touchstone/SRA International, describing his colleague’s love of good information.

Wang said OMB operates more like a business than a government office. “They don’t stop until the work is done,” he said, describing staff members who often work late into the night. The work ethic at OMB is, “If you can finish the work today, let’s finish it today,” he said.

Wang said he shares that work ethic, admittedly to his wife’s chagrin. “The end of my workday is when I go to sleep,” he said.

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