FAST pioneer retires from government

Carlos Villar will retire from federal service Nov. 3.


Villar is credited with using entrepreneurial zeal to jump-start the General Services
Administration’s Federal Acquisition Services for Technology program. He was the FAST
program director in GSA’s Kansas City, Mo., office from July 1995 through last
November.


Villar, who took a voluntary early retirement offer, said he has not decided what he
will do next.


FAST has carved out a niche as the federal systems shopper’s personal assistant,
surveying different contracts for the best values. The program strives to award contracts
as promptly as eight hours after funding documents arrive from the buying agencies.


As the FAST program in GSA’s Region VI grew from $5 million in revenue in 1993 to
$415 million in fiscal 1996, Villar and his colleagues gained popularity among vendors.


“You have to be very entrepreneurial” to reach that level of revenues, said
Patrick A. Neven, president of reseller MicroAge Federal of Vienna, Va.


Villar has been “one of the innovators in widening the role of small businesses in
federal contracting” by expanding FAST to include 8(a) vendors, said Bob Dornan,
senior vice present of Federal Sources Inc. of McLean, Va.


“Kansas City has been very innovative in coming up with contracting vehicles, some
of which have led the way for GSA,” he said.


In part because of accounting difficulties and the Kansas City FAST program’s
inability to cover expenses during one period, Villar eventually stepped down and was
replaced by Wayne Cooper [GCN, April 27, Page 54].


Villar, a native of Mexico, began working for GSA in March 1976. Before moving to
Kansas City, Villar was program manager for GSA’s telecommunications support contract
for a three-and-a-half-year period, during which sales climbed from $20 million to about
$70 million, he said. GSA transferred him to the Integration Services Program in March
1995 and renamed it FAST four months later.


“I wasn’t the only one working 12- to 16-hour days in 1995,” Villar
said. “A lot of people put their hearts and guts into it.” Referrals from
agencies that had purchased through FAST made the program grow, he said.


He credited Ron Decker, then the Federal Technology Service’s assistant regional
administrator in Kansas City, with motivating FAST employees through bonuses and quarterly
lunches.


Villar has served as special assistant for technology marketing development under Ron
Williams, the FTS assistant regional administrator in Region VI, since November 1997.


GSA officials imposed a time-out on Kansas City’s FAST program for several months
in early 1996, but they relented and launched it as a national program in June 1996. 
 


GSA set the FAST service fee at 2 percent for commercial products and 4 percent for
services, with a $500 minimum per order. 

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