Rising Star: Tricia Reed: Passion compensates for lack of authority

Tricia Reed
General Services Administration

Firefighters battling wildfires on thousands of acres in California last year couldn’t readily find contracts for the specific supplies they needed. That’s when the General Services Administration stepped in.

GSA’s Disaster Recovery Purchasing program opened the thousands of multiple-award schedule contracts to state and local firefighters so they could get what they needed to handle the blazes.

“Just the fact that we’re able to link them with the myriad of vendors in their time of need is a fantastic feeling for all of us,” said Tricia Reed, the lead and national program expert for GSA’s Disaster Recovery Purchasing program.

Reed has taken a leadership role in expanding and coordinating efforts to allow state and local governments to access schedule contracts. She has weeded through a thousand policy details to open the contracts and has raised the profile of the programs to let state and local officials know the program is available to them.

“She just never gives up,” said Josh Sawislak, senior adviser to the GSA administrator.

Reed said helping people is one of the major reasons she joined the federal government “My mom and dad always taught me to take pride in what I do and do my part to make a difference and affect positive change in the world,” she said.

Reed’s role at GSA affords her the opportunity to help people make it through disasters, such as wildfires or hurricanes. Reed has traveled throughout the country to meet with customers and vendors and connect people to help with their disaster recovery efforts or even to prepare for the next emergency.
Reed took on this task with little help and even less authority.

“With no staff, she set herself out as the point of the spear within GSA for all state and local questions and became the go-to person,” Sawislak said.

“Managing without the actual title is always a challenge,” Reed said.

The purchasing program had no formal place in GSA and Reed worked tirelessly to find people who could focus on the state and local programs, Sawislak said.

As the leader of the Federal Acquisition Service’s state and local program team, Reed must work with employees who have other bosses and other priorities, too. But Reed said she hopes people recognize her enthusiasm and belief in the purchasing program’s effect on states and localities.

“If you don’t believe in it and feel passionate about it, you’re not doing as good of a job as you can,” Reed said. “I hope that [passion] can be somewhat contagious.”

Her enthusiasm might be spreading.

“I want her running the government when I’m old and relying on the government,” Sawislak said.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1996, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group