Advisory panels and acquisition executives from across Government and industry, for years, have recognized that a critical component of acquisition reform is a commitment to the professional development of the acquisition workforce. This week, our community witnessed a significant demonstration of that support by GSA.
On Monday, I joined hundreds of other acquisition professionals in Huntsville, Alabama for GSA’s first-ever Federal Acquisition Training Symposium. This Symposium brought together 15 agencies, including the Army, NASA, CDC, Corps of Engineers, Air Force, and FEMA, and over 1400 attendees (including approximately 200 from industry) for two days of training. It was clear that GSA put in a significant amount of thought and effort to this event.
Specifically, GSA worked with the military and civilian federal leadership to develop a broad, meaningful curriculum for the Symposium. In all, there were 64 training sessions covering a host of topics related to GSA programs, DoD-specific themes, and sessions tailored for industry attendees. Presenters included personnel from the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI), the Defense Acquisition University (DAU), Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (DPAP) and GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS). Having attended a number of these sessions, I can attest to the fact that they were very informative, and the rooms were packed!!!
Events, like GSA’s Federal Acquisition Training Symposium, are vital to the acquisition workforce and our community at large. They bring government (civilian and military) and industry acquisition professionals together to learn, discuss, connect, and collaborate, all with an eye toward improving the system. As much as one can learn from the classroom, engagement across the community is also a powerful accelerator for professional development. When acquisition professionals from across the community come together in one location to share information, experiences, and lessons learned, the acquisition system, customer agencies, and the American people benefit in a way that virtual outreach cannot duplicate. It has a profound impact on improving the effectiveness of the procurement system because it provides a key to “busting myths,” i.e., knowledge.
Congratulations to the Huntsville Federal procurement community and GSA. We strongly support future training opportunities that, as FAS Commissioner Tom Sharpe noted in his welcome letter, provide a wonderful opportunity to “Learn, Discuss, Connect and Interact” across the procurement community.