Casey Kelley has one main thing to worry about. But it’s a doozy. As director of the Enterprise Acquisition Division at GSA, he’s responsible for the Alliant governmentwide acquisition contract. Just one contract, but it encompasses 58 suppliers. Many of them are the top tier IT contractors and consultants such as CSC, Deloitte, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Verizon. And it’s done $8 billion in business in its 29 months since opening for business. Task orders total 180, with the largest - $2.5 billion over 10 years - placed by the State Department. (The companion Alliant Small Business GWAC operates out of a different division in GSA, in Kansas City.)
Unlike managers of other GWACs selling commodity products, Kelley and his crew were planning to go home at the usual quitting time of 5 p.m. - that’s Pacific Time since they’re in Los Angeles - on Friday evening, Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal 2011. Enterprise Acquisition is part of the Integrated Technology Services piece of GSA, itself part of the Federal Acquisition Service.
“Oh, we’re doing great,” Kelley said of the Alliant team. “The three predecessor contracts in 29 months? Alliant is exceeding all three combined,” he said, referring to the expired Answer, Millennia and Millennia Light GWACs.
Kelley attributes the early success of Alliant to the team’s pushy approach and to the value added service it gives federal customers.
“It’s not as if, if you build it they will come,” Kelley said. Agency outreach and an annual Alliant Guide published in Federal Computer Week help, he said. Plus, the Alliant team will review statements of work before they are awarded as task orders, to make sure they are totally within the scope of the Alliant contracts.
Alliant offers IT services in the context of Federal Enterprise Architecture and the Department of Defense Enterprise Architecture. That, Kelley said, enables a kind of auto-refresh of products delivered as part of the services the vendors are selling. Put another way, if the services ordered are within scope, and the products are integral and necessary to the execution of the task order, than whatever products are necessary are by definition within scope.
“Because we’re aligned with the FEA, the technology is always up to date,” Kelley said. Alliant avoids the tedious tech refresh, product modification process that characterizes product GWACs.
Federal agencies increasingly seek cloud computing and so-called smart building services when they come to Alliant, Kelley said. Data center consolidation and virtualization have also driven agencies to Alliant, he said.
Kelley has been a federal manager for 13 years. Before joining, he was a business developer in the telecom industry. His first federal stint was as telecommunications director for a federal courthouse in Los Angeles (where his wife was a probation officer). “I bought my services via GSA, and that’s how I got to know them,” he said.
Kelley has also had an impact on the federal scene itself in Los Angeles. He spent a year as chairman of the Federal Executive Board, which is actually housed in Long Beach. In a given city, the FEB members meet quarterly to discuss topics such as crisis management, local interagency coordination and other management topics. Each FEB has a full-time executive director, who is also a federal employee. FEBs were established during the Kennedy administration.
Asked if FEB members talk about Washington when they get together, Kelley replied, “All the time.” But, he said, it tends to be less grousing about headquarters than looking for ways to improve communications. Sometimes, he said, a national initiative can originate in a regional office. Kelley cited the Los Angeles office of Housing and Urban Development. It developed a model for delivering information about services available to people in danger of losing their homes through foreclosure.
Much FEB effort concerns continuity of operations and crisis coordination locally, such as during Southern California wild fires, Kelley said. Sometimes representatives from federal agencies get together for table-top planning exercises.
During his term, Kelley said, he worked to establish a separate Federal Executive Board for San Diego. Although it was included in the Los Angeles FEB, in reality San Diego is a two hour drive away on a good day. The difficulty was convincing Navy officials, he said.
“It was no easy feat, but we convinced them.” Now San Diego federal managers have a Federal Executive Association, a precursor to having their own FEB.