GSA taps De Vera for new contracts job

Manny De Vera
will coordinate the FAST and FISSP programs for the General Services Administration’s
11 regions.


Manny De Vera takes over today as the General Services Administration’s
information technology solutions regional services director.


His appointment comes nearly two years after Leamon Lee, the associate director of
administration at the National Institutes of Health, took away De Vera’s
responsibilities as program director of the groundbreaking NIH Information Technology
Acquisition and Assessment Center contracts.


De Vera will coordinate the Federal Acquisition Services for Technology (FAST) program
and the Federal Information Systems Support Program (FISSP) for GSA’s 11 regions,
said Mary Whitley, deputy assistant GSA commissioner for IT integration in the Federal
Technology Service.


“He’s a visionary,” Whitley said, “extremely innovative, creative
and entrepreneurial. Entrepreneurial is a big word around here.”


The job is a new post within the IT Integration Office. It ties in with a
reorganization FTS recently began to improve its service to agency customers and to
separate the marketing of FTS contracts from their administration [GCN, Aug. 3, Page 82].


De Vera said he had no comment on the GSA job yet, saying he wanted to keep a low
profile as he assumes the new post.


De Vera and NIH contracting officer Gale Greenwald are widely credited with taking
advantage of federal acquisition reform to establish and direct three indefinite-delivery,
indefinite-quantity contracts at NIH: the Chief Information Officer Solutions and
Partners, Electronic Computer Store and ImageWorld.


De Vera “has grown a program from nothing into something substantial using
innovative ideas and at times pushing the envelope,” Whitley said.


The Electronic Computer Store contracts competed with GSA IT Schedule contracts, so De
Vera in a sense is joining a former rival. Prior to working for NIH, he was an Army
employee.


Vendors have said they like the NIH multiple-award contracts because they are
relatively easy to win. Some contractors have reported finding it simpler to add new
products to their NIH contracts than to modify GSA schedule contracts.


“He’s a demonstrated leader who thinks outside the box,” said Carlos
Villar, special assistant for technology marketing development at GSA’s FTS Region VI
in Kansas City, Mo. “It’s progressive thinking on GSA’s part. They’ve
brought in someone who’s been under scrutiny.”


The new position, Whitley said, taps De Vera’s strength: broad, strategic
thinking. GSA officials do not expect him to be mired in details, which some NIH officials
and vendors reportedly saw as his weak point.


In setting up the three NIH contracts and directing them in their infancy, De Vera
demonstrated an ability to thrive in somewhat chaotic circumstances.


More than 30 people applied for the ITI job, Whitley said. It took GSA about six months
from the time GSA officials conceived of the position until the agency hired De Vera, she
said. GSA outlined the job’s responsibilities in the IT Solutions Concept of
Operations, which assistant commissioner for IT integration Charles A. Self released last
month.


De Vera will identify new clients for FAST and FISSP and will work with regional
services directors to improve procurement services to agencies, Whitley said.


He also will develop performance metrics that the IT Integration Office can use to
track FAST and FISSP work in regional GSA offices, she said.


The two programs account for $1.4 billion in contracts annually, she said.


The Kansas City FAST program brings in about 50 percent of the total FAST revenue,
Whitley said.


Although agency calls to GSA are coming somewhat less frequently in this fiscal
year’s fourth quarter than in previous years, De Vera will be busy from Day 1,
Whitley said.


“We’ll put him to work immediately,” she said. “We’ve gotten a
lot of phone calls this quarter.”  

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