Latest Heartland News
- GSA’s relocation in KCMO moves forward
- Kansas Highway Patrol Saves $570,000 with GSA
- Historic Nebraska Federal Building to Receive $160,000 Investment
- GSA’s ENERGY STAR Buildings in Iowa, Nebraska Save Taxpayer Dollars
- Two St. Louis-Area Construction Projects Included in President’s Budget
- New Forest Service Office Embraces Flexibility, Openness
- GSA: What We Do, Who We Are: Brian K. Dunlay
- GSA Employees Return from Deployments to Afghanistan, Kuwait
Space procurement for the new GSA Heartland Region headquarters in downtown Kansas City, Mo., took a step forward this week when the “Request for Lease Proposal, Program of Requirements, and draft Lease” was sent to prospective lessors.
Issuance of the request is part of the federal lease acquisition process. Responses from prospective lessors are due June 7, and lease award is targeted for the end of December 2013. Region 6 GSA’s official relocation from the Bannister Federal Complex is projected to begin in December 2014.
“We remain focused on helping employees prepare for the transition, while also working to prepare Bannister for its new future," said GSA Regional Administrator Jason Klumb. "This is a major milestone for the project, and we are excited to take another step forward in relocating to downtown Kansas City."
To ensure taxpayers are getting the best value, and to ensure the integrity of the competition, GSA is unable to disclose procurement information in accordance with the Procurement Integrity Act (41 U.S.C. §423).
In December 2012, GSA posted an advertisement for approximately 150,000 square feet in Kansas City within a delineated area bounded by Interstate 70 (north), 27th Street (south), Campbell Street (east) and Interstate 35 (west). The market survey of prospective locations was completed in February 2013.
The Kansas Highway Patrol has saved more than $570,000 so far this year using GSA’s schedules to purchase equipment.
Randy Brown, operator of the Kansas Highway Patrol’s 1122 PARTNERS PROGRAM, recently contacted GSA Customer Service Director Russell Luttrall to express his appreciation for GSA’s offerings.
“I appreciate GSA and all the resources (you) provide me,” said Brown. “You save a lot of money for a bunch of small and large law enforcement agencies that receive a lot of benefit from our program. GSA is a great help to law enforcement.”
The Kansas 1122 PARTNERS PROGRAM was established to help the state utilize GSA’s 1122 Program — an offering that allows state and local law enforcement agencies the ability to purchase select equipment off GSA-negotiated contracts.
By using the 1122 program, law enforcement agencies in Kansas have saved $366,040.36 on vehicles, $201,579.52 on body armor and another $8,624.95 on various tactical equipment so far this fiscal year (the Kansas operating year runs July 1 – June 30).
“I won’t be surprised to hit $1.5 million on autos this year,” said Brown.
Brown also shared a story about the impact the program has in the city of El Dorado, Kan. According to a local officer, the city council no longer suggests they place bids on vehicles thanks to the prices set through the GSA program. Purchasing vehicles through the 1122 program has resulted in prices more than $2,000 lower than the best bid they had received on their own.
“They’ve never looked back and his city council has complete confidence in GSA,” said Brown.
The Grand Island Federal Building will soon see its interior stairwell and flooring restored.
GSA recently received $160,000 to complete the two projects. The Grand Island Federal Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“This building has served the community for more than a century,” said GSA Regional Administrator Jason Klumb. “We’re excited to begin this restoration project and will ensure any construction protects its historic value.”
The first restoration project includes the removal of flooring on the first floor public areas and reinstalling terrazzo flooring. The second project will refurbish 18 treads and the landing areas of the interior stairwell that serve the lobby of the federal building. It will also include removing the existing skid resistant strips, and cleaning and polishing the marble stairs and landings.
As it is a historic property, both projects will comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
GSA expects to award the construction contract this summer.
About the Grand Island Federal Building
Located at 203 West 2nd Street, Grand Island, NE 68102, the downtown federal building is in close proximity to the county courthouse, and various retail establishments and residential buildings. The building was recently recognized in the 2012 Energy Star National Building Competition for reducing its energy usage by 21.5 percent. The Grand Island Federal Building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2006 to recognize its architectural significance and contribution to community development.
GSA announced recently that 15 of its buildings saved an estimated $961,470 taxpayer dollars and met top energy benchmarks in the 2012 ENERGY STAR National Building Competition. Two of those buidings are in the Heartland Region: Neal Smith Federal Building, Des Moines, Iowa, and Grand Island Federal Building, Grand Island, Neb.
The Neal Smith building reduced its energy usage by 23.4 percent, the Grand Island building by 21.5 percent in 2012.
“These 15 buildings saved nearly a million taxpayer dollars, and across our portfolio of federal buildings we are finding ways to bring down costs and deliver better value to the American people,” said Dorothy Robyn, GSA’s Public Buildings Service commissioner. “GSA is proud to have so many of our buildings meet top rankings in such a wide competition. We are using variety of strategies to make our existing buildings more energy efficient, and they are paying off.”
GSA used advanced meters and smart buildings technology to monitor improvements. Some other examples of the measures taken in these buildings incuded insulation projects, sealing structures, manually adjusting window shades, using smaller water heaters, and retrofitting light fixtures.
The 2012 Energy Star National Building Competition measured energy performance for the entire 2012 calendar year. The energy reductions for each of the top competitors were verified by an independently-licensed professional engineer or registered architect. The program calculated cost savings using the national average costs for commercial utilities.
More information on the 2012 Energy Star National Building Competition, including top overall finishers and top finishers by building category, an interactive map of competitors, and a wrap-up report: http://www.energystar.gov/BattleOfTheBuildings
In his 2009 Executive Order, President Obama directed federal agencies to lead by example in their environmental, energy, and economic performance. GSA has made our portfolio of federal buildings more energy efficient through an array of strategies including EPA’s ENERGY STAR programs, Energy Savings Performance Contracts, GSA’s Shave Energy Program, advanced metering, and Green Proving Ground Program.
The U.S. General Services Administration announced Wednesday major public building construction and repair projects outlined in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget.
The president’s budget calls for investments in the nation’s public buildings managed by GSA. These investments will help GSA maintain and improve the real estate assets owned and paid for by the American people.
“By investing in our public buildings, a smaller federal footprint and improved border crossing stations, GSA will not only create savings for the American people, but also assist in providing them with the most efficient and effective government possible,” said GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini. “The president’s budget will ensure that federal agencies can support economic and job growth in communities across this country
Investing in the Nation’s Public Buildings:
As a result of consecutive years of reduced funding, some GSA facilities have forgone more than $4 billion worth of capital improvements to include major repairs and maintenance. The president’s budget restores GSA’s authority to use incoming rent funds to meet the needs of its real estate portfolio by investing $1.3 billion in repair and maintenance of federal buildings, including $379 million for basic repairs.
In St. Louis, Mo., the budget proposal includes a $70.2 million project for the Robert A. Young Federal Building for structural and non-structural improvements to the seismic performance of the building, as well as asbestos remediation.
The Prevedel Federal Building in near-by Overland, Mo., is requesting $27.1 million for interior space alterations and building systems upgrades to enable the Veterans Benefits Administration to consolidate operations at Prevedel.
Making Federal Real Estate Smaller and More Efficient:
The budget includes $100 million to further GSA’s efforts to consolidate agencies within existing federally-owned space across the country to improve space utilization, optimize inventory, decrease reliance on leased space, increase energy and water conservation, and reduce the federal government’s footprint. GSA’s consolidation program will save taxpayer dollars by reducing agency dependence on leased space, and reducing the total amount of space occupied by the government.
Savings from Internal Reforms:
In just one year as acting administrator, Tangherlini has led the agency in delivering more than $73 million in internal savings through reforms. The president’s budget is an opportunity for GSA to further these efforts.
New Department of Agriculture space for the Forest Service in Kansas City, Mo., embraces high-performance workplace design that encourages open floor plan and breaks down the walls of traditional offices.
The Forest Service recently moved its Kansas City Technical Operations Center from the mall level at the Bannister Federal Complex to 8,900 square feet at 903 E. 104th Street. The new office has space for 42 workers and supports an information technology component for USDA nationwide. In previous years, the center was based in the USDA Beacon Federal Building in Kansas City.
Last year, in preparation for relocation to new leased space, a USDA architect and Forest Service officials toured the Mobility Test Bed at the Bannister Federal Complex.
The visitors said they were impressed by the test bed’s open work environment, day lighting, integration of technology and other features, said Kristin Sowell, U.S. General Services Administration leasing specialist for the project.
Later, when designs for the new Forest Service space were finalized, similar high-performing workplace features were included. Among them:
–“Hoteling” and touch-down work spaces, available for Forest Service staff or employees from other regional and national USDA operations
–Only one enclosed office;
–Writeable walls to encourage collaboration;
–Re-purposed glass for a break room and conference rooms to maximize natural light; and
–Sustainable signage, featuring re-purposed white pine donated under a Forest Service program, which emphasizes use of reclaimed wood.
The Forest Service also was passionate about re-purposing doors and other materials from the existing space, Sowell said.
“The USDA architect was working on construction drawings with the lessor’s architect to utilize the concepts from the test bed, and that was very beneficial,” she said. “They’re really proud of the space.”
Construction began in December 2012 and was completed in March. Workers officially moved into the new location on March 25. The lease was completed on time and under budget.
(This is the fourth post in a limited series highlighting the day-to-day jobs of GSA employees in Region 6.)
Lease Contracting Officer in Kansas City, Mo.
Years with GSA: 20 years
What you do for GSA:
As a lease contracting officer, I provide space solutions for federal clients who need office, laboratory, storage or other related types of space at great rental rates for the taxpayer. I develop space requirements, write scopes of work, acquire sites, negotiate leases, manage space build-out, and ensure the client is pleased with the space. The largest lease I wrote and negotiated was the Internal Revenue Service lease in Kansas City, Missouri, consisting of 1,140,000 square feet and 5,000 employees. I have completed hundreds of leases while working at GSA and leased more than 3 million square feet.
Favorite part of the job:
The clients I represent are what make the job exciting. Each client has different space needs and finding the right solution for them creates fulfillment on each project. In addition, I enjoy negotiating great lease deals for the taxpayer.
Why you serve:
Lease contracting officers provide leased office space for client agencies so they may perform their missions. Providing high quality space at great rental rates is a very critical role to ensure agencies perform their work efficiently and effectively. Having the opportunity to provide a great work environment at a great price for the agency and the taxpayer makes the job exciting.
Heartland Region associates Kathy Adams and Gary Jenkins received letters of appreciation from Acting Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Mary Davie last week for their efforts during a six-month deployment to the Middle East last year.
As GSA liaison officers working with the Defense Logistics Agency, Adams and Jenkins spent most of 2012 helping U.S. and allied warfighters obtain necessary supplies and ensure materials were delivered in a timely manner. They volunteered for the mission through GSA’s Deployment Support Team Six program.
“It was a very interesting experience — invigorating, exciting, exhausting, and a bit stressful,” said Jenkins. “When you’re working in that environment, it’s really important that you get it right every time.”
Adams, a supervisor in GSA’s National Customer Service Center (part of the FAS Heartland Region), was on-the-ground at Bagram Airfield June 24, 2012. She worked closely with a team from DLA to place supply orders and prevent disruptions in the supply line.
“Working with the warfighters in that environment isn’t like anything you’d experience in the States,” she said. “The people on the other side of the fence were trusting us to make sure they had what they need. It was all about trust.”
She says the main difference between normal supply operations and supply operations in a warzone is the sense of urgency and the safety factors.
“When we assist civilian agencies and the workforce at home, we assume that the people placing orders know what they want and are capable of getting things without too much effort. We have access to it here,” she said. “Over there, though, that’s not how it works. We have to make sure the guys in the field are getting what they need. Everything is critical.”
Adams described the relationships between people at the base as a “family” situation. Her team — along with a host of other support teams, contractors and organizations — worked closely to ensure the supplies they received were safe.
“You’re not simply working for those guys, you’re involved with them,” she said.
During her deployment, Adams placed more than 3,500 orders for Army, Navy and Air Force teams in the field. She also spent a good deal of time inspecting orders as they arrived and working to get unidentified orders to the right place.
In October, Adams was awarded an Achievement Medal for Civilian Service from the Army, in part, for her work on the base.
Adams arrived home in Kansas City on Jan. 16. While she’s happy to be back, she playfully says the transition to her regular life is more difficult than she thought it would be.
“It was a completely different world when I got back. In Afghanistan, I was up at four o’clock every morning, and we followed a very strict routine during the day,” she said. “Meals were prepared for us, we were told what to wear, and there really wasn’t a lot of decisions to make outside of the work I was there to do. Now I have to go to store and decide what laundry detergent to buy. I hadn’t thought about stuff like that in more than six months.”
While her accommodations were “excellent,” she does warn that not every GSA person serving on the team gets so lucky.
“I was fortunate enough to have my own room in a CHU (container-style housing unit) with access to a TV, microwave and refrigerator; but, not everyone is that lucky,” she said. “I know some other folks who have to share rooms, use port-a-johns and shower outside … you have to be flexible. If that’s something you’re not prepared to do, then this experience could become very difficult.”
Jenkins, a business development specialist in the Facilities Maintenance and Hardware Acquisition Center (part of the FAS Heartland Region), spent his deployment assisting personnel at Camp Arifjan — located in south Kuwait City — making supply orders.
“Kuwait is where the U.S. Army leadership is,” said Jenkins. “It’s much more relaxed — from a standpoint of urgency — than Kathy’s experience in Afghanistan, but the reach was broad. In Kuwait, they’re overseeing activities from Egypt to Pakistan.”
Camp Arifjan is a U.S. military installation used by the U.S., United Kingdom, Australia, Romania and Poland as a forward logistics base and activity depot — serving the entire Southwest Asian War Theater. It hosts an average of 9,000 military personnel and another 10,000 contractors.
Jenkins described the activities in Kuwait as more “maintenance” focused, with supply delivery not necessarily as critical as those working in an active war zone might experience. He also worked closely with representatives from DLA, primarily providing in-person support for personnel placing orders using GSA systems — like GSA Advantage.
“In my normal job, I typically work more with vendors. Over there, I was working with customers,” he said. “Sometimes it was just answering questions. Other times it was helping find competition. People needed assistance with our systems for various reason. I was there to make sure they were able to use GSA to place their orders.”
Like Adams, Jenkins stayed in a container-style housing unit provided by DLA. Unlike Adams, though, Jenkins had access to better technology — including VPN and remote access to his personal accounts. His duties also required him to drive a vehicle to neighboring military installations in Kuwait.
“Other than walking around in the intense heat for a couple months, driving was probably the most stressful part of the experience for me,” he said. “Road courtesy over there isn’t like you find in Kansas City. You’ll be driving the speed limit, 120 kilometers an hour (about 75 MPH), then be forced to speed up to avoid someone coming up behind you and riding your bumper. Next thing you know you’re doing 160 (about 100 MPH) and still trying to dodge people. It was ridiculous. There are just cars piled up beside the road because of all the accidents.”
Gary Jenkins spent most of his deployment working in this office building at Camp Arifjan.
While most of the issues Jenkins faced meant working with GSA supply representatives back in the U.S., he says his DLA co-workers were very impressive when it came to overcoming supply issues in the region.
“The guys I sat with everyday were really good at their jobs, and I learned a lot just from watching them. One of them was overseeing fuel supplies, which required working with multiple layers of subcontractors and overcoming language barriers. The other person, who had served in the most recent Iraq war, supported helicopter maintenance. It was enlightening, seeing those guys in action,” he said.
Upon his return to the states, the flight carrying Jenkins arrived at the Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Along with the deployed soldiers, the GSA team was welcomed by the Pease Greeters — a non-profit organization dedicated to welcoming troops back to the U.S. as they pass through the airport.
“For the troops to get a homecoming like that meant more than you can imagine,” said Jenkins. “It was like the whole town welcomed them — and us — home. They lined the corridors of the airport, served pizza and ice cream … it was like Patton coming homing after the Hitler raid.”
Jenkins arrived back in Kansas City on New Year’s eve. He was particularly excited to return home to his wife and three kids after the long deployment.
“You don’t really see or experience children when you’re working in Kuwait. Even when you do run into local kids, they don’t act like you expect kids in the states to act,” he said. “It was very nice to get back in time to spend New Years with my wife and kids.”
Jenkins says he was fortunate to be able to speak with his wife nearly every day thanks to his access to technology at Camp Arifjan.