Archive for the ‘Green’ Category
03.20.2012 DorobekINSIDER: The changing government market; dealing with tech junk; opening up government legal documents
Up front today… two interesting items that sure show how times are changing.
One… would would guess we would ever say Bon Jovi, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Urban Development together in one phrase? Well, welcome 2012. VA and HUD have unveiled a new federal app challenge designed to help homeless veterans quickly find shelter and other kinds of assistance. TechPresident reports that the mobile app will, essentially, act as a travel portal for homeless veterans. And Bon Jovi said that the idea for the project came to him after a volunteer at the JBJ Soul Kitchen in New Jersey asked for help finding a bed for the night.
The other story that shows how times have changes — or are changing and will change… Imagine if the CIA could spy using your washing machine… or dryer. Wired says that those intelligent household devices may be able to be tapped. And CIA Director David Petraeus has said that the Internet of PCs is leading to the Internet of things — devices of all types. And that could be tapped. And it is a legally gray area.
Ah, times have changed…
On today’s program…
- The changing face of federal IT and its acquisition process.
- What happens to hardware in your office when it’s no longer fit for service? Hit the dumpster? You’ll learn what GSA wants you to do.
- The challenges of making legal documents available online. We’ll talk to a professor who has studied the issue.
All that ahead…
But after the break, we start off, as we do each day, with the stories that impact your life for Tuesday the 20th of March, 2012… your government world in 120-seconds…
GSA’s chief spokesperson, Sahar Wali, is going to be leaving the agency. She will be joining the White House Council of Environmental Quality as their communications director next month, the DorobekINSIDER has confirmed.
Wali has roots on Capitol Hill and she worked on the Obama campaign. She joined GSA soon after the election and has been part of GSA’s top management team. Speaking personally, she has been a fierce defender of GSA.
GSA Administrator Martha Johnson, in a note to staff today, said, “Sahar has done a very important job in building and publicizing our GSA brand, in accelerating and improving our methods and practices for communicating internally and externally, and in helping us support the White House on key initiatives such as Sustainability, Open Government, and much more. She has also been a tremendous coach to those of us who have been giving speeches and interviews and working with the press. GSA can stand tall and taller every day because more people hear and understand the story of GSA and how we are fulfilling our mission. We will greatly miss her skill, tenacity, and sense of excellence.”
Read the full note from Martha Johnson below:
It is with very mixed feelings that I have accepted Sahar Wali’s resignation as our Associate Administrator for Communications and Marketing. She has been offered the great opportunity to join the White House Council of Environmental Quality as their Director of Communications, beginning in mid-November.
On the one hand, Sahar is not going far. Our relationship with CEQ is a special one. They are great supporters and partners with us on our Zero Environmental Footprint goals and aspirations. Sahar will be simply helping us from a new vantage point and perspective. She knows our work well.
On the other hand, Sahar has done a very important job in building and publicizing our GSA brand, in accelerating and improving our methods and practices for communicating internally and externally, and in helping us support the White House on key initiatives such as Sustainability, Open Government, and much more. She has also been a tremendous coach to those of us who have been giving speeches and interviews and working with the press. GSA can stand tall and taller every day because more people hear and understand the story of GSA and how we are fulfilling our mission. We will greatly miss her skill, tenacity, and sense of excellence.
As this transition takes place, we will be working closely with the White House to appoint a new person to head GSA’s strategic communications efforts. We will also be continuing the work she led in re-organizing the Office of Communications and Marketing.
Please join me in wishing Sahar the best in her next challenge and in asking her to come by and visit us often. Like daily?
On the heels of a number of management changed made official yesterday, Steve Kempf, the commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, has named Houston Taylor as the assistant commissioner for the Office of Acquisition Management.
Taylor has been serving in that post in an acting capacity. Previously he Previously Mr. Taylor served as the Director of the Program Analysis Division, were he championed and managed the FAS Environmental Program.
As the assistant commissioner of FAS Acquisition Management, he oversees the direction in planning, organizing and managing major functional areas including Acquisition Career Field Management, Policy Implementation, Socio-Economic Programs, Program Analysis, Supplier Management, and the Federal Supply Schedules Program.
The memo from Kempf:
I am pleased to announce that Houston Taylor, who has been the Acting Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Acquisition Management, has agreed to permanently fill this role. In this role Houston will continue to direct FAS acquisition policy initiatives such as socioeconomic and environmental programs and support GSA’s goals through improved acquisition policy management throughout FAS. His career experience in acquisition, serving both civilian and defense department organizations, will serve him well as he leads the FAS Acquisition Management team.
Please join me in congratulating Houston as he permanently takes over this leadership role. His energy, commitment to service and collaborative approach to building business solutions that work for FAS and its customers will help him continue to make an impact for FAS.
Houston Taylor is the Acting Assistant Commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service’s Office of Acquisition Management, with full authority and shared responsibility for direction in planning, organizing and managing major functional areas including Acquisition Career Field Management, Policy Implementation, Socio-Economic Programs, Program Analysis, Supplier Management, and the Federal Supply Schedules Program. Previously Mr. Taylor served as the Director of the Program Analysis Division, were he championed and managed the FAS Environmental Program, working in direct support of the General Services Administration’s commitment to providing “green” options for Federal customers while leading the way in environmentally friendly acquisition practices. Mr. Taylor started his career with GSA as the Director of the Center for Services Acquisition, where he was responsible for managing the Financial and Business Solutions Schedule, a program that exceeded one billion dollars in sales under his leadership.
He brings more than 25 years of procurement and contract management experience to the agency. Mr. Taylor retired from active duty with the U.S. Air Force in 2000. His assignments included tours in Turkey, the United Kingdom, the Air Force Inspection Agency, and Operation Provide Comfort, where he worked as a contingency contracting officer in Southern Turkey and Northern Iraq. In his final assignment he worked at the Pentagon for the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Air Force as the contracting career field manager. Additional highlights of his extensive government career include service as a contracting professional within the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Postal Service.
Mr. Taylor holds a Graduate Certificate from the University of Virginia in Procurement and Contracts Management, along with an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland. He is also a Level III-Certified Contracting Officer and a Certified Federal Contracts Manager.
Mr. Taylor is a native of Canton, Ohio.
I had the pleasure of moderating a panel last week… ostensibly on green IT, but it ended up being about the larger issue of green government.
The program was sponsored by the Java Team of the American Council on Technology and Industry Advisory Council’s Partners program, which is a marvelous development program designed to help government and industry understand each other better.
And we had a great line-up:
Jeff Eagan, Energy Department, who is on assignment at the White House reviewing the agency sustainability plans. I should note he is a 2010 Fed 100 winner.
Emile Monette, director of GSA’s Federal Technology Service’s sustainability division
Kimberly T. Nelson, Microsoft and former EPA CIO
Marian Van Pelt, a principal at ICF and a carbon inventory expert.
And we discussed Executive Order 13514: Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance [PDF] — read more from the White House about EO 13514 here… and a WhiteHouse.gov blog post on the green initiative here.
The executive order essentially calls on agencies to cut energy use by 28 percent… and they were required to submit “sustainability plans” to the Office of Management and Budget by the begging of this month. (I understand all are in now.)
There were several issues that came out of our discussion.
One was that this just seems overwhelming. One CIO for one of the big agency departments asked, essentially, help me know what are the best things to do out there. Agencies — and agency CIOs — have scores of mandates on them… and most of them generally want to be as green as possible. That being said, the greening discussion became so broad that it became almost overwhelming.
The general response was…
1. Work with your sustainability officer… Each agency is required to appoint a chief sustainability officers. I can’t seem to find a list of those names, unfortunately, but the first recommendation was to find out who that person is and work with them.
2. Measure… The second was to come up with a plan for measuring what your organization’s energy footprint is… so you can then determine if you are having an impact.
3. Just do it… Start doing something… turning off computers at night… turn off lights in buildings… reduce your data centers… GSA Administrator Martha Johnson has actually taken this issue quite seriously. At recent conferences, GSA executives were prohibited from renting their own cars. Instead, GSA organized a bus to shuttle people where they needed to go. And, it was pointed out to me, GSA actually sought public input on its sustainability plan.
4. See helpful links below for other ideas.
The other big issue that was discussed was — ready for it — telework. I should note that this is now the third green focused panel that I have moderated — and it is the third time the panel has been dominated by telework issues. And again, people asked why the government seems to be so reluctant to institute telework — and why there isn’t more of a push for telework.
Last week on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Dorobek Insider, we spoke about telework — and a new FedScoop survey on the government’s attitudes towards telework [PDF]. The survey shows the government is still behind, but that attitudes are changing.
Anyway, during the discussion, there were a number of helpful sites mentioned… I promised I would round them up.
* The Federal Electronics Challenge: http://www.federalelectronicschallenge.net
The Federal Electronics Challenge (FEC) is a partnership program that encourages federal facilities and agencies to:
Purchase greener electronic products.
Reduce impacts of electronic products during use.
Manage obsolete electronics in an environmentally safe way.
* EPEAT: http://www.epeat.net
EPEAT is a system that helps purchasers evaluate, compare and select electronic products based on their environmental attributes. The system currently covers desktop and laptop computers, thin clients, workstations and computer monitors.
* Energy Department’s Federal Energy Management Program
The Energy Department’s Federal Energy Management Program’s (FEMP) mission is to facilitate the Federal Government’s implementation of sound, cost-effective energy management and investment practices to enhance the nation’s energy security and environmental stewardship.
Other resources from Federal News Radio 1500 AM:
* For Earth Day, we spoke to Michelle Moore, Federal Environmental Executive in the Executive Office of the President. She is the person who is leading the oversight of the agency sustainability plans. Hear that conversation here.
* Somebody who just did it: Want to have hope in what you can do… and in young people… Last week, I got to talk to a 29-year-old woman who is making a difference. Saskia van Gendt is a resource conservation specialist at the EPA… and she is working in the field of “climaterials” — essentially the greening of all the materials to make buildings. And she launched a contest — the Lifecycle Building Challenge, a yearly online competition that recognizes cutting-edge building design and challenges students, architects and builders to reduce the environmental impact of buildings. This ‘just do it’ attitude scored her a place as a finalist for the Service to America Medals — the SAMMIES. Hear Ms. van Gendt talk about what she did here.
Tomorrow… is there a better way to do sustainability plans?
Today, of course, is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, which is widely considered to be the birth of the modern environmental movement. But the Obama administration has also made green government a cornerstone initiative.
So… the DorobekINSIDER Reader: Earth Day
* Earlier this week on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke with Michelle Moore, the Federal Environmental Executive in the White House. Read more and hear the interview here.
* In fact, the Chief Architect of the Capitol has a page dedicated to Green the Capitol.
* Windmills over Treasury: The Treasury Department announced today that beginning July 31, the main Treasury building and the Treasury Department annex will use wind power to supply 100 percent of its energy demand.
This comes on the heels of Treasury’s announcement earlier this week of an initiative to make a dramatic shift from paper to electronic transactions, a move that is expected to save more than $400 million and 12 million pounds of paper in the first five years alone. Together these two new initiatives will greatly reduce Treasury’s carbon footprint and overall environmental impact.
* VA’s solar hospitals: Meanwhile the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it has conducted studies evaluating the potential use of renewable fuels in energy plants supplying 38 VA medical centers around the country… and awarded $20.2 million to install solar energy systems at 18 VA medical centers.
* GSA follows the sun: Previous, Federal News Radio told you that GSA’s Denver Federal Center has one of the largest solar facilities in the country.
Happy Earth Day!
DorobekInsider: Power IT Down Day – help Mother Earth (and Wounded Warriors) by turning off your computer tonight
Today is Power IT Down Day — the second annual event that hopes to get all of us to turn our PCs and laptops off overnight when all they do is soak up power for no reason.
Earlier on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke to Nigel Ballard, director of federal marketing at Intel Americas and one of the companies sponsoring the event. You can hear that conversation here.
We should also note that the companies — Citrix, HP, Microsoft, Intel and the Professional Services Council — are taking the money that people would save tonight and donating it to the Wounded Warrior Project, which works to “raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women… help severely injured service members aid and assist each other, and… provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of severely injured service members.”
Here is the release that the groups put out:
Today, Aug. 27, is Power IT Down Day, an initiative through which Citrix, HP, Microsoft, Intel and the Professional Services Council encourage government and industry to show their commitment to responsible energy usage.
You can learn more about it, and sign up to participate, by visiting this site: www.hp.com/go/poweritdown.
Simply put, we’re asking that government and industry shut down their computers, printers and peripherals at the end of the work day today. As of this morning, more than 4,400 people have pledged to join Power IT Down Day. To illustrate how important this issue is, keep in mind:
* Last year, over 2,800 individuals signed up for the inaugural Power IT Down Day.
* The 4,400 people who pledged to Power IT Down this year represent over 57,000 kilowatt hours saved. This equates to more than $5,700 dollars saved in just one night.
* Imagine if just these 4,400 individuals powered IT down for a whole year. That’s a savings of more than $2M.
* Now imagine if one percent of the country’s 1.8 million civilian government employees powered it down for one year.
Saving government and environmental resources is not just in the imagination any more. It’s real and it’s concrete and it can be done.
And, to represent how the money saved from powering IT down could be put to good use, the Power IT Down Day partners will donate more than $20,000 to Wounded Warrior Project, a group that represents those brave Americans who sacrificed so much.
You can sign up for Power IT Down Day here.
Other press converge of Power IT Down Day from…