Galas mark Woods', Okay's departures
- By William Jackson
- Dec 15, 1997
Woods went from being leader of one of the nation's largest and toughest
telecommunications buyers to being president and chief executive officer of McLean, Va.,
market researcher Federal Sources Inc.
He said goodbye to federal employees who were glad to have worked with him, journalists
who were glad to have reported about him and vendors who were glad to have him gone.
Representatives of Sprint Corp., AT&T Corp., GTE Corp. and MCI Communications Corp.
all described Woods as a tough negotiator who squeezed the most telecommunications value
from each federal dollar under FTS 2000 contracts and other contracts.
The telecom vendors also called him an innovator who opened federal market
opportunities for them.
Woods won special recognition for driving down the government's cost of doing business
under FTS 2000. Among a carload's worth of mementos and certificates he received in the
course of the evening was a Hammer Award from Vice President Al Gore, presented by Greg
Woods of the National Performance Review.
Woods' retirement ends nearly 30 years of work for the Federal Aviation Administration,
the Transportation and Veterans Affairs departments, and the General Services
He oversaw the Federal Telecommunications Service's transition into FTS, as well as the
great functional changes the name change implies.
Following Woods to the private sector was former FTS deputy commissioner John L. Okay,
now Federal Sources' senior vice president.
Okay's retirement dinner was a week after Woods' and also was marked by a large
attendance and testimony from colleagues and vendors.
Woods and Okay leave behind the massive and much-delayed FTS 2001 long-haul services
procurement and the potentially larger Seat Management Services program for desktop
Woods did not dwell on his career except to say he enjoyed it. He summed it up as an
effort to accomplish something for his country.
"There were times when I was wrong," he said, "and there were times when
I was damn right."
"We've done a lot, and we don't how it's going to come out yet. But at least we've
been smart enough to experiment," he said.
William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.