Joanne Woytek | Staying on course with SEWP

Q&A with Joanne Woytek, program manager for NASA's Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement govenrmentwide acquisition contract

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The science of SEWP

Joanne Woytek

Rick Steele

Joanne Woytek is the program manager for NASA's Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement govenrmentwide acquisition contract'one of only four true GWACs authorized by the Office of Management and Budget. A fact Woytek takes great pride in.

But as agencies continue to issue multiple-award contracts that look and act like GWACs, Woytek realizes SEWP IV'the next iteration of the contract that NASA expects to award in the fall'must continue to provide high-quality products and services at the level of customer service agencies have come to expect.

Woytek has worked at NASA for more than 25 years and has been SEWP program manager since 1998.

GCN asked Woytek to describe the contract's niche in the market and where SEWP is heading.

GCN: What make SEWP different from other vehicles?

Woytek: We have a database that I think is one of the best out there for supplying the information. If an agency wants to know what's been purchased, I can tell them in a few minutes. Also, we can tell them that from the moment an item is going to be added to the contract, it's under government control. We see every order. We review every order. We make sure it's correct, it's in scope. We have a very strong infrastructure to track everything that comes in. What I think we do well is, we don't look at other agencies and say, 'Do it our way.' We say, 'How can we do it your way?'

GCN: Why not use another contracting vehicle, such as GSA's Schedule 70?

Woytek: I think we're both needed. We needed to have that higher-end view of IT that NASA can provide.

GCN: Specifically, what expert advice, online assistance, and other services does SEWP provide?

Woytek: We try to make sure there's everything available on the site, including the contracts and all the paperwork they might need. The really big tool is our request-for-quote tool, which allows customer agencies to request market research or quotes. Beginning in July, they'll be able to obtain their quotes online. It's somewhat similar to eQuote at GSA.

GCN: Which vehicles are your closest competitors?

Woytek: The four GWAC agencies work under OMB authority. The MACs [multiple award contracts] have no such authority. The other contract that [is] most similar to ours is NIH's, the ECS III contract. My feeling is, if somebody has something better, they should use it.

GCN: The Office of Federal Procurement Policy is preparing recommendations for the way the government handles IT contracts. What do you think they might say?

Woytek: They haven't made a total recommendation yet, but I read an article in which they say GWACs should be a model, and that's my view. Everything, including my salary, comes from the fees. People need to look at the cost of doing a contract. Yes, there's a fee, but it's a whole lot less than doing it yourself.

GCN: What have you learned from SEWP III that you will incorporate in SEWP IV?

Woytek: Certainly, the procurement world has changed. It used to be single-award contracts were the 'in thing.' Now multiaward contracts are the way to go. That's a way to maintain competition.


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