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Godspeed to GSA legend Nancy Potter

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Editor’s note: Updated at 3:45p ET

Godspeed to GSA legend Nancy Potter

It seems to be one of those days, but… we also get news today that GSA legend Nancy Potter passed away yesterday at the age of 80. Potter was GSA’s longest serving employees when she retired on Dec. 12, 2007 after a 63-year career in federal service.

I have been getting comments coming in about Potter.

* GSA Federal Acquisition Service’s deputy commissioner Tyree Varnado: “Nancy was an “institution” at GSA. There was no one more respected nor knowledgeable of the federal budget process.”

* Former GSAer Bob Suda: “She truly bled GSA. One of the finest people you will ever meet.”

* Frank Pugliese, formerly the commissioner of GSA’s then Federal Supply Service and now with Dupont: “She was a TERRIFIC example of an exceptional civil servant. They don’t make anymore like Nancy. She helped and mentored many people along the way — including me. She will be greatly missed.”

Here is the item sent to GSA employees:

GSA Mourns the Passing of Nancy Potter
The longest-serving employee in U.S. General Services Administration history passed away on Feb 26 at 80.

Nancy Potter began her federal career in 1945 as a clerk with the Federal Works Agency, the predecessor organization that would eventually become GSA four years later. As a witness to GSA’s creation, she was a part of, and assisted in, the agency’s creation under authorities in the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, which established the provision of services and facilities to support the needs of other federal agencies.

Throughout her career at GSA, Potter served with an unsurpassed level of distinction and dedication, receiving numerous awards and citations, including GSA’s Distinguished Service Award, the agency’s highest honor. In March 1979, Potter assumed the responsibilities of deputy director, Office of Budget, in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, from which she retired in January 2008 after having worked for every GSA administrator.

“Public service is a noble calling,” she said when asked for her advice to the next generation of public servants during an agency celebration commemorating her exemplary contributions to GSA’s history. “Whatever your role, always remember that our mission is to help our country and our fellow citizens.”

GSA has lost its living legend, but the imprint of her contributions to GSA live on. “Nancy will be greatly missed by those of us who knew her, learned from her, and held enormous respect for her knowledge of federal budget policy and appropriate law,” said Kathleen Turco, chief financial officer.

If you ever doubt the work that government employees do, read Potter’s words at her retirement party after the break — and then bookmark this page. She is representative of so many government employees who are passionate about helping government carry out its mission more effectively.

Ms. Potter — godspeed.

Again, as I get details, I will update this post with information about services and where people can make contributions.

Again… read Potter’s retirement comments and GSA’s release on her retirement after the break…

GSA posted her comments at a retirement party held at the GSA auditorium:

As you all know, my specialty is numbers, so let me tell my story that way:

The first important number is 16. That’s how old I was when I started working for the federal government. Back then a gallon of milk cost 84 cents a gallon, you could buy a new car for $1650, and a first class stamp cost 3 cents.

The second important number is 62. It was 62 years ago that I walked into this massive building. I never dreamed that one day I’d be standing before you as the longest-serving employee in GSA history.

Another important number is 18. That’s how many administrators I’ve seen. Each brought different strengths to our organization, and I was proud to help each of them make sure that GSA remained the government’s premier procurement agency.

So much has changed over these past six decades, and yet some things have remained the same. When I walked in here as a 16-year-old federal employee, I felt important and excited to be working so close to Capitol Hill and the White House. As I prepare to leave GSA, I may not be 16, but I am no less excited by the important work this agency does for our customer agencies and the American people.

These memories will stay with me always.

I will miss walking into this grand old building, with it’s beautiful architecture, but my sense of pride and accomplishment in what we’ve achieved together will never fade.

I will miss my friends and associates. I will miss the satisfaction of a clean audit, and the challenging work that went into improving our financial performance.

Mostly, though, I will take satisfaction in knowing I was part of a team and organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in this nation. From the day the doors swung open in 1949 to today, GSA has played a unique role in our government, touching lives in more ways than most people imagine.

So it is with great fondness in my heart that I say farewell.

I would not have stayed so long and worked so hard if it wasn’t for the love that I have for this agency and the tremendous respect that I have for those who have led and labored here these many years.

Why did I stay so long?

The answer is simple. I valued the work. I’m passionate about the programs. I believe in what we do. I believe in our team. One GSA, One Voice.

They say we shouldn’t be dismayed by good-byes because a farewell is necessary before we can meet again.

And meeting again is a certainty for those who are friends.

And so, my friends, until we meet again, thank you and good-bye.

Again, as I get details, I will update this post with information about services and where people can make contributions.

GSA’s release about Potter’s retirement:

Nancy Potter, the longest-serving employee in U.S. General Services Administration history, said goodbye to GSA and a 63-year career in federal service on Wednesday.

More than 300 co-workers attended a festive farewell ceremony at which GSA Administrator Lurita Doan said that Ms. Potter’s tenure is matched “only by her long record of achievement.”

“The history of GSA will forever include Nancy’s contribution to the modernization of our financial systems, establishment of the Federal Buildings Fund, and her dedication to leading by example,” Administrator Doan said.

President Bush also weighed in with a personal letter to Ms. Potter that said, in part, “Your commitment to excellence during your tenure with the General Services Administration reflects the spirit of America.”

When Ms. Potter’s time came to address the packed GSA Auditorium, she said she never imagined that when she started at the agency as a teenager in 1949 that she’d one day be the longest-serving employee in GSA history.

“As I prepare to leave GSA, I may not be 16, but I am no less excited by the important work this agency does for our customer agencies and the American people,” she said.

Ms. Potter said she stayed because, “I valued the work. I’m passionate about the programs. I believe in what we do. I believe in our team. One GSA, One Voice.”

“These memories will stay with me always.”

GSA posted her comments at a retirement party held at the GSA auditorium:

As you all know, my specialty is numbers, so let me tell my story that way:

The first important number is 16. That’s how old I was when I started working for the federal government. Back then a gallon of milk cost 84 cents a gallon, you could buy a new car for $1650, and a first class stamp cost 3 cents.

The second important number is 62. It was 62 years ago that I walked into this massive building. I never dreamed that one day I’d be standing before you as the longest-serving employee in GSA history.

Another important number is 18. That’s how many administrators I’ve seen. Each brought different strengths to our organization, and I was proud to help each of them make sure that GSA remained the government’s premier procurement agency.

So much has changed over these past six decades, and yet some things have remained the same. When I walked in here as a 16-year-old federal employee, I felt important and excited to be working so close to Capitol Hill and the White House. As I prepare to leave GSA, I may not be 16, but I am no less excited by the important work this agency does for our customer agencies and the American people.

These memories will stay with me always.

I will miss walking into this grand old building, with it’s beautiful architecture, but my sense of pride and accomplishment in what we’ve achieved together will never fade.

I will miss my friends and associates. I will miss the satisfaction of a clean audit, and the challenging work that went into improving our financial performance.

Mostly, though, I will take satisfaction in knowing I was part of a team and organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in this nation. From the day the doors swung open in 1949 to today, GSA has played a unique role in our government, touching lives in more ways than most people imagine.

So it is with great fondness in my heart that I say farewell.

I would not have stayed so long and worked so hard if it wasn’t for the love that I have for this agency and the tremendous respect that I have for those who have led and labored here these many years.

Why did I stay so long?

The answer is simple. I valued the work. I’m passionate about the programs. I believe in what we do. I believe in our team. One GSA, One Voice.

They say we shouldn’t be dismayed by good-byes because a farewell is necessary before we can meet again.

And meeting again is a certainty for those who are friends.

And so, my friends, until we meet again, thank you and good-bye.

If you ever doubt the work that government employees do, simply bookmark this page. They are people who are passionate about helping government carry out its mission more effectively.

Ms. Potter — godspeed.

Again, as I get details, I will update this post with information about services and where people can make contributions.

Read GSA’s release about Potter after the break…

GSA’s release about Potter’s retirement:

Nancy Potter, the longest-serving employee in U.S. General Services Administration history, said goodbye to GSA and a 63-year career in federal service on Wednesday.

More than 300 co-workers attended a festive farewell ceremony at which GSA Administrator Lurita Doan said that Ms. Potter’s tenure is matched “only by her long record of achievement.”

“The history of GSA will forever include Nancy’s contribution to the modernization of our financial systems, establishment of the Federal Buildings Fund, and her dedication to leading by example,” AdministratorDoan said.

President Bush also weighed in with a personal letter to Ms. Potter that said, in part, “Your commitment to excellence during your tenure with the General Services Administration reflects the spirit of America.”

When Ms. Potter’s time came to address the packed GSA Auditorium, she said she never imagined that when she started at the agency as a teenager in 1949 that she’d one day be the longest-serving employee in GSA history.

“As I prepare to leave GSA, I may not be 16, but I am no less excited by the important work this agency does for our customer agencies and the American people,” she said.

Ms. Potter said she stayed because, “I valued the work. I’m passionate about the programs. I believe in what we do. I believe in our team. One GSA, One Voice.”

“These memories will stay with me always.”

Written by cdorobek

February 27, 2009 at 3:13 PM

Posted in Circuit, community

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