GSA FAS Focus

FAS Commissioner Sonny Hashmi

April 08, 2021 Season 1 Episode 4
GSA FAS Focus
FAS Commissioner Sonny Hashmi
Chapters
GSA FAS Focus
FAS Commissioner Sonny Hashmi
Apr 08, 2021 Season 1 Episode 4

The new FAS Commissioner Sonny Hashmi discusses how FAS will play a vital role in supporting the Biden-Harris Administration's priorities. What does that mean for FAS customers, vendors and the acquisition workforce? Listen in and get the scoop.


FAST 2021
For more information about FAST 2021, please visit: www.gsa.gov/fast

Upcoming Training
For more information about all the great training opportunities that GSA has to offer, please visit: www.gsa.gov/events


Show Notes Transcript

The new FAS Commissioner Sonny Hashmi discusses how FAS will play a vital role in supporting the Biden-Harris Administration's priorities. What does that mean for FAS customers, vendors and the acquisition workforce? Listen in and get the scoop.


FAST 2021
For more information about FAST 2021, please visit: www.gsa.gov/fast

Upcoming Training
For more information about all the great training opportunities that GSA has to offer, please visit: www.gsa.gov/events


>> [Music] Welcome to GSA FAS Focus. A look at what's happening throughout GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornbluth [assumed spelling]. And in this episode FAS Commissioner Sonny Hashmi [assumed spelling] joins us to talk about the vital role of GSA's Federal Acquisition Service plays in supporting the Biden Harris administration priorities, and what that means for FAS stakeholders, customers, suppliers, and, of course, acquisition professionals all around the world. We'll also run down some of the webinars and CLP opportunities coming up in the next few weeks and put a few fascinating facts in FAS Focus. [ Music ] Welcome back to FAS Focus, a look at what's happening throughout GSA is Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornbluth, and in just a couple of minutes I'll be talking with Sonny Hashmi. He really is the FAS Focus. Sonny is the guy at the top, the Commissioner of GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. And in that role, he oversees the delivery of more than $75 billion of products, services, and solutions that allow federal agencies to efficiently meet their missions, while also saving taxpayer dollars, which means we've got a lot to talk about today. However, that is not all Sonny is about. Sonny is something of a motor head. And I don't mean that he followed the late Lemmings Band, although Sonny you might have. We can talk a bit about your love of all things, motorcycles and travels. But, first, did you know that federal agencies now have a FAS effective way to buy and save on maintenance repair and facility, aka MRFS supplies? Check out GSA's dynamic MRFS purchasing channel solution where you can save an average of 8% on MRFS products compared to what was previously offered in the federal marketplace. What? You want more info on the benefits, savings, and ordering options of the maintenance repair facility supplies, purchasing channel, and strategic solution? We've got it for you.

Sign up now for a free webinar at 11:

00 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, April 21st. For my friends in the Central Time Zone, that's 10:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m. Mountain and everyone on the west coast will get an early start to the day, 8:00 a.m. for you. Hawaii, set your alarm the webinar on the [music] MRFS purchasing channel solution starts

at 5:

00 a.m. But you know it's worth it, because you will also earn a CLP. For more details and registration information just visit gsa.gov/events. [ Music ] Welcome back to FAS Focus, a look at what's happening in and around GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornbluth, and joining me now is Sonny Hashmi, Commissioner of GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. Thanks so much for joining us today, Sonny. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that you're not only GSA's first FAS Commissioner to also serve as the agency's Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer, but I think you were also the first to ride a motorbike through Peru? >> [Laughs] Hi, Joan. Thank you so much for having me on. And I think you might be right on both counts. Although I haven't done my research on this very topic. But, yes, I'm extremely fortunate and excited to be back at GSA after spending a few years in the private sector. And I look forward to talking to you about it today. >> All right. Well, so Sonny, let's start by you giving us a little nutshell biography. How did you get to GSA the first time? Were you once a little boy who woke up one morning and said, I'm going to grow up and work for the US government? >> You know, that's a great question. [Laughs] I always, if I'm honest, I've always been drawn to this intersection of technology and public service. I come from a family of public servants. My dad was a career military doctor. He retired from the British Army. I grew up in England and then I joined the UN, we traveled all over the world solving for, you know, medical humane crises in far flung parts of the world. So I grew up in military bases, UN compounds in different countries. So when I moved to the US in high school, to go to college and make a life here, I really didn't have any kind of guidelines on, you know, what a successful career looks like, what life in the US was like, and so the only reference point I had was what my dad did, which was to go and solve problems for the people. And so that's always been kind of a North star. For me, when I was when I finished college and grad school, I got an opportunity that was in the private sector working in the technology industry. And I got an opportunity to assist with the post 911 crises in New York, where there was a lot of, obviously, as the aftermath of 911, there was networks that had to be rebuilt and data centers that were destroyed. And I, you know, spent a couple months in New York helping with that, helping with that work. And that even more starkly reinforced this notion of technology being a source for good, a lever that we can use to save the planet, to serve humanity, to do good in the world. And so shortly thereafter, I decided to move to DC and make a life here, because obviously where do you go where what, you know, when you want to serve the American people. Of course Washington, D.C. is a natural place. We ended up serving, you know, I did some work for as a consultant for a number of agencies, and then ended up working for a D. C. government, local government here in the city. And, you know, did a lot of interesting things, D.C. was going through some sort of somewhat of a renaissance in terms of its government at the time. There was a lot of focus on citizen services, data transparency. And it was great to be part of all of those conversations, to do certain things that matter to people. I remember we used to take certain actions in the technology side as then we would implement a solution or automate a process. And pretty much in real time, you would see the line shrink in front of the tax office or the licensing bureau or the DMV, because the things that people had to come in line up for now could be done remotely. And so that was my first big aha moment on, wow, we can do something in the technology space and it actually matters to people, it improves their lives. So when President Obama came into office, I had some friends who had joined the campaign and subsequently the administration. And so in conversations with them, they expressed that, you know, there was a lot of focus and a renewed energy around technology modernization back in the Obama administration. And, you know, there was interesting things going on at the time within OCS IT and other organizations that were modernizing, you know, public portals, and cloud, and Fed RAMP, and so forth. And so I figured that was my calling, that was where I wanted to be. And, you know, I was very fortunate that I got an opportunity to join GSA back then, as its first CTO, and then subsequently as the CIO. And we did a lot of interesting things back then. We, you know, implemented FedRAMP, we were the first agency to go to the cloud, we did a lot of interesting things with data, we, you know, move the needle towards, you know, a new way of working, including things like telework. At the time, some of these things sounded fantastical, they were just not, you know, feasible, but be through the right leadership and partnership with the right people were able to move the needle on some of these things. So that brings me to today. I spent a few years in the private sector. We'll get into a little bit why and what I learned there, but when the opportunity presented itself to come back and serve, first of all, I couldn't say no. I'm just programmed that way. Secondly, what better opportunity to serve in the capacity of the FAS Commissioner, because as an organization the impact that the Federal Acquisition Service has across the government is immense. And the good that we can do through our buying power is so large that I wanted to come back and serve, and even though I didn't grow up in the acquisition circles, so much of what acquisition is today is based on data, is based on automation, it's based on machine learning. And we're doing all of those things in FAS, and I figured that I had a few things up my sleeve that I could add value. So here I am. And I'm super excited to be back. >> I want to go back in time a little bit. When you first landed in the US, did you ever think-and I'm asking you this as somebody who worked in international organizations for a long while. Did you ever think that you would make it your permanent home and be working for the government? >> I would say yes to the first question, at least aspirationally. I came to the US it was a very deliberate decision. It was not a, I'll just go to college and see from there. My parents couldn't afford to send me to college in the US so I came on my own. I remember I came with $500 in my pocket. That's all the money I had in the world. And this country has given me everything, an education, a home, friends, family, you know, ability to apply my best talent. I would never imagine leaving, but even at the time I knew that this was going to be my home. I wanted to figure out a way to make it anyway. As far as working for the federal government, not in a million years, would I think that I would ever have that opportunity. To be honest, I always aspired to, I always thought that that was the pinnacle of customer service, of governing, of the US, especially the US government is a beacon of hope and vision for the rest of the world. And this was the, this is the big leagues. This is where I aspire to work, and I still believe it's an opportunity to do the most good a person can do and is within the US federal government. And so while I aspire to do it, I've never thought I'd get an opportunity. And which kid, you know, coming in with 500 bucks in his pocket as an immigrant ever gets a chance to do what I'm doing. So I'm not a day goes by where I'm not thankful about it, and kind of pinch myself in the morning that I get to do this. >> Well, not just get a chance to do it once but get a chance to do it twice. Because as we've discussed, you served in the Obama administration as GSA's agency's Chief Information Officer, and also Chief Technology Officer. So what did you do after leaving the agency? I know you'd like to travel, but you did not spend four years getting exotic stamps in your passport. >> [Laughs] Well, I got as many as I could. Let's be clear on that. No, I mean, I actually, I must say, I'm very fortunate. There's some angel looking over me somewhere. Because when I was, you know, after having served GSA for about five years in the CIO and CTO roles, I was getting to the point where the world of technology changes very, very fast. There's innovation happening in the American technology sector, which is incredible. And, in fact, it's hard to predict what the technology landscape is going to look like three years from now, but two years from now, you know, when if you're not in it. And so my recommendation to everybody who works for me, who I work with has always been that it's good to take a sabbatical, it's good to actually go and immerse yourself where innovation is really happening. And I don't use that word lightly, because innovation is an overused word. But truly be surrounded by people who are thinking big ideas and pushing on, you know, crazy things, just to kind of stay connected with the art of the possible. And that only makes you more capable when you come back when you have a chance to serve again to know where your limits are or where the opportunity spaces. And so I decided at the time to spend a little time working with emerging technology companies. I knew that innovation was happening fast. I also knew that a lot of these companies find it very difficult to do business for the federal government, yet the federal government, I think can gain tremendous benefit and value from leveraging these merging technologies. Frankly, things have gotten so much better, because now there's labs and pathways, both within GSA and in agencies like DHS and DOD, where there's active, the agencies are actively seeking out these merging tech companies working with them. Back in the day, like about 10, even 10, 12 years ago that was not the case. So I wanted to go out and work for a Silicon Valley company, work for an ecosystem, work with a series of these companies and help them, A, help them understand the federal opportunity space, help them navigate the ability to work with the federal government, but also learn from those cultures. And so that's exactly what I did. I got a great opportunity to work for a tech company that was just, is small, but it was just big enough that they were just finding their footing. And in that [inaudible] so I got the ability to work with many dozens of both nonprofits and tech companies, other tech companies who were just starting out three person, four person, 10 person companies. But they have great products and great ideas and helping them kind of shift their strategy. So ultimately, those products and ideas could add value to the federal government. In that role I also got a chance to work across the board with cities, states, counties, federal agencies, as well as government agencies worldwide in Canada, and Japan, and Australia, and Europe to learn how those organizations are doing. How they're tackling, you know, massive challenges, not just from a technology lens, but also we can understand how they do acquisitions, how did they do security, how do they manage, you know, cloud certifications? How do they do social services? How do they provide services to citizens? And it's been fascinating. So I spent five years, essentially traveling the world for work, meeting with some fascinating people, working with some amazing organizations, both private sector and public sector organizations, and got to know in great deal of detail how important things get done, how does police collect and manage evidence? How do social services organizations, you know, collect information on foster kids? How do we provide health care benefits? And it's been great to kind of learn from all that experience, but also got to know a lot about the technology space. And one thing I realized is that across the board, across the world, doing business with government is hard. [Laughs] It's not just in the US. And for good reason, right? There's for the right reasons there have to be the right level of checks and balances and compliance and security when you provide technology services to the government. The question becomes the right balance. You know, what is the right level of scrutiny, oversight, you know, checks and balances, validation, versus the speed and agility of mission outcomes, right? So that's the balance that every government agency, or every government sector tries to sell for. And, you know, so my kind of passion over time became this idea of solving for a streamlined way to buy goods and services, that matter to mission while maintaining the right appropriate level of oversight, validation, security, compliance, and so forth. And it was very kind of, you know, it was happenstance. But like, it was very fortuitous that I got the opportunity to come back as the commissioner for Federal Acquisition Service, because that's what FAS does, essentially, that's the balance we're trying to solve. We need to find pathways through innovative technologies, new companies, new entrants, small businesses that wanted to offer their innovation, their products and services to the federal government. We need to do it fast, so that we can support the mission. We also need to do it in a compliant way, we need to do it in a secure way. And so that's the next challenge. That's what I want to solve for. And I'm not assuming that there's a solution. But there's lots of different things we can do small and big to move the needle in this space. And that's why I'm excited to be here again. >> Is that something, is that a problem that can be solved? Or is that a problem that has an ongoing solution? Because technology changes so rapidly. >> Yeah, I don't think it's a problem. First of all, and I don't think there's a solution to it. I think this is a problem space. Or I should say, an opportunity space. And I think there is an incremental way to make a difference in the space. And as you said, this space changes rapidly, both the technology, landscape changes, submission requirements change, new capabilities come into the fold. As you know, for example, the last couple of years we've been trying to figure out how to leverage technologies like drone technology, satellite technology, machine learning, artificial intelligence. This is just in the last two years that these have become commercially viable, and therefore, agencies that we need to buy them. Two years from now, there's going to be a whole new set of new interesting things that the government is going to be wrapping their heads around. So this changes frequently. The risks change frequently as well, you know, and forced priorities change rapidly. So with this administration, you know, I'm excited because there's a very clear set of goals and targets that we're trying to target. Everything from finding ways and pathways to enable small businesses and minority communities, underserved communities, to get access to the federal contracting opportunities to preferring and identifying ways to buy more products that are made in America, to figuring out how to tackle the climate crisis, to increasing the economical benefits of the federal government. All those things require new policies, new processes, new ways to track things, new ways to measure things, and new ways to, you know, bring our buying power to the set of very big challenges. And so,, yes, the space changes, priorities change, the cybersecurity landscape changes. And so, to me, what's important as we build and continue to build a supply chain environment, where it's resilient, so it can, you know, it can be resilient in the face of challenges like the coronavirus pandemic. We have deep roots into the industry supplier base and so forth so that we can actually access the products or services where we need them quickly. At the same time it's flexible, so that as new priorities come on board we're collecting the right data, we're building the right relationships, we have the right flexibility in our contracting languages. We have the right partnerships for the industry groups, et cetera, that we can actually pivot when we need to. So that's kind of the opportunity space in front of us and I'm super excited to work with a team of very smart, dedicated people to tackle this set of challenges and take advantage of these new opportunities in front of us. >> I'm john Kornbluth, and you're listening to GSA FAS Focus. If you have got questions about anything that you're hearing today, or someone you'd like to hear featured on the program, send us a note. The email address is [email protected] That is G-S-A-F-A-S [email protected] We're talking with Sonny Hashmi, Commissioner of GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. When we tape this conversation, you've been back at GSA for a little bit more than two months. And I can vouch for the fact that you and all of the new appointees hit the ground running. President Biden came into office and quickly outline key initiatives for his administration. As you mentioned, the addressing the COVID 19 pandemic, energizing the economy, fighting climate change, and addressing the issues of racial injustice, equity and inclusion, and accessibility. Let's go back and pick up a couple of the threads that you've just mentioned. What role or what roles does FAS play in carrying those out? There are a lot of moving pieces there. >> Yes, you're exactly right. There's a lot of moving pieces to all of it. But what's exciting to see is that FAS actually has a very foundational role in supporting all of the President's priorities, especially the four that you mentioned. We start with-let's start with the COVID pandemic. FAS actually is a key partner in the whole of government approach to addressing the COVID climate. Everything from buying personal protective equipment that is needed across the agencies helping state and local governments set up, you know, technologies and, you know, actually access to products and services that they need to protect their citizens, all the way to creating transportation mechanisms where vaccines have to be transported. FAS plays a role in all of it. Since the start of the pandemic, we have helped the government acquire hundreds of millions of, you know, face shields and masks, and gloves, and disinfectants, and, you know, everything from commodities such as that to setting up websites, to coordinating our, you know, with a public building service on how to reopen certain facilities. GSA in this new administration is the co-chair and GSA administrator specifically is the co-chair for the Federal Safer Workforce Task Force. Now, which means that we have as an agency, a critical role to play in thinking about how the government reopens over time, and employees remain safe. And they're taken care of through vaccinations and other mechanisms since they're including social distancing, masking facilities, and so forth. And FAS has a role to play within that space. So that's just one example. When we move to climate, and tackling the climate crisis, FAS manages over $75 billion worth of products and services that the government buys every year. If we move the needle by even two or three or 5%, in terms of purchasing behaviors, changing how we buy things, collecting the right data around carbon footprint for the products and services we're buying, we can make a dramatic difference in the overall climate impact of the Federal Supply Chain. Similarly, FAS manages hundreds of thousands of vehicles in our federal fleet. And we are committed to addressing Executive Order 14008, which directs agencies to move towards zero emissions and electric vehicles in our fleets. So we're already working across multiple agencies to create plans for how to achieve that. And the carbon footprint of just that initiative of moving to electrical fleet is going to be massive. And so we can have a meaningful role to play in tackling the climate crisis. Similarly, we, like I said, work with, you know, hundreds of thousands of vendors to purchase and manage hundreds of billions, tens of billions of dollars of products and services. Much of that, you know, while we're very proud of the work we've done to meet, and in many cases even exceed our small business set aside goals, a lot more can be done there. And I'm, you know, this is an important priority for me personally, to find every way possible for us to continue to, A, increase the number of small minority and serve communities, businesses that represent our supplier base. Finding ways on why these businesses typically find it hard and challenging to do business with the federal government, introducing those points of friction. And then increasing-finding ways to increase the amount of spending we're doing for small businesses. And in that sense, we can start to address both the economic goals and improving the, you know, our economic, our nation's economy, but also start to move the needle towards serving underserved communities in new ways so that they can create more jobs. They can create more opportunity and pathways for these communities to thrive. And so in all these ways, small and big, FAS has an important, critical, foundational role to play. And, you know, there's a lot of moving parts, as you mentioned. There's no one project. And so we are actively working at FAS right now to organize ourselves to make sure they're measuring the right things, to make sure that we have the right [inaudible] plans in place. So that as, you know, we proceed over the next coming few years, we can start to show the impact that we are making in light of the President's priorities in all of these areas. >> I asked you for a brief bio at the top of the program. You've done a wide variety of things throughout your career, both in the public sector and the private sector. How has all that prepared you for everything that comes with the job of leading the Federal Acquisition Service? >> You know, Joan, that's a great question. I'll first start by saying that I don't think anything can prepare anyone to [laughs] leave the Federal Acquisition Service. It is a very unique organization. It is a very unique role. And so I think different people, and if you look at the profiles of past commissioners who have had the opportunity to lead this organization, they come from different backgrounds. They come from policy backgrounds, or deep understanding of the acquisition landscape. I'm approaching this from a couple of different lenses. But to answer your question, you know, one of the things that I've been very blessed to have is an experience across multiple sectors in my life. While I've been very closely tied to the technology space, I have worked for large companies, small companies, startups, I've work for nonprofits, I've worked for state level and, you know, agencies, I've worked with federal government. And that experience, you know, that's interesting on its own. I'm probably one of the few people who have worked both as a buyer through the Federal Acquisition Service when I was a federal-when I was the CIO at GSA I was a purchaser of products and services through FAS. I've also been a seller to the federal government through the Federal Acquisition Service. When I was working in the private sector, I was working very closely with FAS programs, everything from the schedules programs through the G backs to, you know, working through FAS to deploy our products and services for federal agencies. So that does give me a unique, somewhat unique, I would say perspective on the customer and buyer experience angle. I do think that's an area that we need to continue to make progress and improvements. I have been-by having been a buyer and a seller to the federal government through FAS, I have somewhat of a firsthand experience of where the pain points exist, where the friction exists, what can be improved. And so I do plan to bring that first time experience through this role, and help us kind of think through the actions we take, the systems we build, the processes we implement. How they affect from an experience perspective, both our agency partners, but also our supplier community. And I think that's unique. I'm very fortunate that the leadership, the career leadership of FAS is, you know, is just second to none. They're an exceptionally capable, experienced, professional cadre, and they can educate me and train me and help me understand the nuances for areas that I may not have had for some experience in such as procurement policy, and those kinds of things. And so I'm very, very fortunate to be supported by them. But at the same time, I hope that my experience on the experience side on the firsthand experience that I've had working with FAS from both angles, helps us kind of shape our strategies as we move forward. And then,, of course, a lot of what procurement is, is based on Gruden technology today. Procurement is actually a data problem. It's not a paperwork problem. It's not a workflow problem. I truly believe that acquisition, modern acquisition is a data problem. Throughout an acquisition process, you're collecting lots and lots of data, you're analyzing lots and lots of data, you're making decisions. And those decisions then lead to actions towards, you know, further actions as an additional information that may be required, listing of certain vendors on schedules, other vendors that provide more information. All these actions that we take, you know, as part of the acquisition process rely on data. And, you know, this data is managed by, created by, collected by systems, and, you know, and databases and websites. So there is an angle to modernizing procurement requires understanding how these systems talk to each other, how data plays a role, how you do better analysis. And so there is some experience that I can bring to bear in that space as well. Not that there isn't smart, experienced people already working in these topics for many years, but I think I'm excited to partner with them and add my value. So I do believe that there's some value that I bring. I think there's a unique perspective that comes from having worked in the technology space before. But also, I'm very lucky that the career staff at FAS are so capable of rounding out the whole of [inaudible] so that we are as an organization fully capable of addressing all aspects of not just my role, but also the commitments that we made to our agency partners, to the American people. >> You mentioned hitting some pain points when you were both the buyer and a seller. If somebody wants to provide you with feedback or tell you about the pain points that they're running into now, how can they reach out? >> Yeah, that's a great question. Actually, one of the things that we are doing increasingly well, and this is going to be a priority as we move forward, is going to be create more opportunities for industry, you know, the supplier community, as well as the buyer community to provide us with real time feedback. So for those of you who may be listening, on the private sector side, hopefully you've noticed that we're doing an increasing number of industry forums. Before we do any major acquisition or GRACK, we do multiple opportunities for industry to engage providers for direct comments. We also do a lot of work through the RFI mechanism. That's an opportunity for industry to provide us the better ideas than what we may know. Similarly, we do a lot of, you know, regular forums and both virtual and, of course, in the post pandemic world, you know, in person events where industry can engage with us. In addition, there's multiple pathways to engage with FAS. Both if there's a specific issue going on, if there's a specific problem, of course, you know, reach out to your points of contact depending on the context of the problem, the challenge that you may be having, whether it's a scheduled challenge or a GRACK challenge, the different points of contact. And we can make those available to you in the comments or next to this podcast. But the only one thing I'll ask is, don't be shy, don't hesitate. We at FAS take great care and thinking through everything that we can, before we take action, before we change the process, before we-and our goal is to improve things. Our goal is to improve thing for our suppliers. Our goal is to improve things for our buyer, you know, our buying partners and the agencies, our goal is to collect better data to be able to make more compliant and secure purchasing decisions. But, you know, inevitably we will miss something and we need your input. To be able to say, oh, we didn't think about this, we didn't think about how this may affect this particular supplier base or this particular kind of situation. So don't be shy, reach out. One thing I can promise you is that, you know, every one of those insights and those inputs will be taken very, very seriously. And we will thank you for it. This is going to only help us as we kind of continue to build the next generation, the next iteration of the Federal Acquisition Service. So, yes, we'll provide some more pieces of the points of contact so that you guys can be fully informed on how to inform us, engage with us when you hear about upcoming events, interact. The gsa.gov is a good place to keep an eye for what's upcoming in terms of our open forums, industry forums, and other opportunities, events that we host. So please keep an eye on there, or follow me on Twitter. And, you know, I just started a new professional account. It's geocentric for Sonny. Follow me on there and I'll keep you posted on what's coming up next, and you guys can engage me there as well. >> And there's always also the Vendor Support Center, where people are there to help you all the time. >> Absolutely. Thank you. >> You're listening to FAS Focus from the US General Services Administration. I'm Joan Kornbluth, talking with GSA FAS Commissioner Sonny Hashmi. I know we just have a couple of minutes left. One thing you recently described your leadership style using three words, authenticity, transparency, and collaboration. What do these attributes mean when it comes to how FAS delivers on its mission? What's different? >> Yeah, no, thank you. [Laughs] It's very kind for you to remember that. We were having this conversation a couple of months ago. I've always kind of looked at myself as a human, as a person through those three lenses. I as a person, pretty authentic. I, you know, I tell people you with me, you kind of, you know who I am, where I stand. You either, you know, you take it as I am. I can't pretend to be someone else. And I bring a lot of passion to everything I do is just the way I'm wired. I also don't believe in the fact that bad news, you know, gets better over time. So, you know, whether you look at transparency from a communication lens, or you look at it from a, you know, hiding information or playing kind of these internal games with each other, it doesn't ever help. So I always try to personify how I show up with those three words. But, you know, what's interesting is I think FAS as an organization has always shown up in the marketplace in those three areas and in those three ways. And I think we'll continue to do so I want us to make sure that FAS as an organization is considered to be authentic in the sense that how we show up in the market is based on mission outcomes focus first. It's not for our self interest, it's not for just to kind of artificially increase our business volume. It's not too kind of create some sense of artificial competition in the marketplace. Our sole focus is and continue to be and will continue to be outcomes driven for our mission partners. And that's where authenticity comes in. Number two, everything we do needs to be transparent. We owe that to the taxpayers, we owe that to our vendor community, we owe that to our business, our agency partners. In fact, increasingly, you will see more and more of the data we collect related to acquisition, buying patterns, prices, you know, small business attainment to be published for anybody to see. And, you know, that's something that I'm very proud of and we continue to do that. Everything we do needs to be transparent so that our agency partners can trust when they do business with us, that they actually can predict how much what prices they're going to pay, what kind of options they're going to have access to. Our vendors should know, for example, vendors on our multiple award schedules program should know that as they compete with other companies in the space, how do their pricing compete where they compare with others. How did they, you know, business volume opportunities compare with what others are seeing. And that's what transparency looks like in terms of how it actually impacts the lives of our customers and partners. And similarly, collaboration, nothing FAS does can be successful without collaboration, both with our agency partners, with our oversight and policy communities, and/or without collaboration with the vendor and supplier community. And so that is a key milestone, key cornerstone of how we work. And so on all those three ways I think as an organization we can continue to stay strong, we can continue to add value to our customers. Do it in a way that's both compliant and transparent so that we are confident we're doing the right thing and we want to without everybody that we work with to have the same confidence as well and with the spirit of collaboration. One of the ways that we're going to do that is to make sure that everything we do, to the extent possible, we have insights and input from industry, we have insights and inputs from our buyer community. And through working groups, through AV testing, through many different ways we want to make sure that when we build our solutions, that they're actually going to be valuable, both for supplier community and to our buyer community. So I look forward to all of those areas. I look forward to making, you know, incremental steps to improve, continue to improve our abilities in all of those three spaces. >> All right, Sonny. Before I let you go for all the people that have been sitting so patiently since the beginning, for someone that is such a futurist, talk for a second about your fascination with engines, [laughs] motorcycles, cars. I mean, you can't get much more basic than an engine. Not that an engine is basic. >> No, you're right. >> But that's exceedingly old school. What kind of bike are you writing these days? >> That's a good question. I think it's a left brain, right brain type of a thing. There's got to be some association there. I've always been fascinated with machinery, basic, simple, simple, but complicated machinery. How parts fit together. How things-like you can take these and their objects, you know, parts made out of metal. And if you connect them in the right sequence, and you give them the right incentive, that they start to actually create work to do something to move out an object down the road. To, you know, somehow individually, those parts are just an art. But when they come together, they are more than the sum of their parts, if you will. It's a clich statement, but it's true, very true. So like, when I was in college, one of the ways that I was paying my bills was I used to work on cars, and, you know, started with basic things like oil change, and tire rotation and things. But then I increasingly started to work on building race engines. And, you know, we started working on this kind of all volunteer racing team down in Indianapolis where we would just, you know, take these cars and like put turbo chargers on them and do interesting things. And that was an interesting way to pay the bills. But also, it was very fascinating, because as an engineering, as a student of engineering, and, you know, it was fascinating to me to learn. But at the same time, it hits a very different part of my brain. It's a predictable, simple thing that I can control. In life, so many days, like they are really facing challenges and decisions that we don't have perfect clarity on. We have to make a bet. But, you know, we're always doing that in the absence of perfect data. And you're trying to rely on your gut, your experience. But when we were working on engines, you kind of know how to fix a problem. Over time you get to know it. You know what's wrong, and how to fix it. And it's that that predictability, that ability to then take something apart, put it back together again, and it now works, it's very satisfying. So over the last few weeks, I've really started getting into fixing up and building old motorcycles. I've done a few of them, especially all British motorcycles. And I've done a couple of Triumphs from the '70s. The problem is parts are very hard to find for those. So recently, I picked up a '98 Triumph that I basically built, rebuilt from scratch, which was not running when I got it. And now it's my favorite bike. I have a few in the garage right now. They come and go, as you know, buyers come and so forth. But that one is one that I'm riding almost every chance I get. So that's a beautiful, beautiful machine. But, yeah, like I think to your question I think it is when I'm done with the day when, you know, when you're not on anymore, when you don't have to make, you know, stressful decisions. It's actually very relaxing to get in the garage and you know exactly how to change, you know, the rear sets or, you know, how you need to kind of adjust the valve. You know exactly how to do it, and it's a mechanical thing that you can do with your hands. It's very relaxing from that perspective. >> Well, happy spring. It's great riding weather. >> [Laughs] I'm looking forward to it. Thank you, Joan. >> Well, thanks so much. If you have any questions for Sonny Hashmi, we'd like to learn more about any of the programs we've been talking about or just want to drop us a line. The address [music] is [email protected] Coming up, news of another great trading opportunity and some fascinating FAS facts. I'm Joan Kornbluth, and you're listening to GSA FAS Focus. [ Music ] Welcome back to FAs Focus. A look at what is happening throughout GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornbluth. And as always, we have got a full plate of FAS specific webinars and trainings coming up. I am joined now by our producer, Max Tempura, who is here with information that will answer all of your burning questions about the new Federal Acquisition Service training series. Am I right about that? >> Joan, you are right. We're talking about the new FAS monthly conference series. These sessions are free for industry and agency partners and are a great way to get the latest info on important topics straight from GSA subject matter experts. By the way, it's going to cover electronic records management. >> Electronics record management is the subject? >> Yep, that's right. And it's your chance to learn how to get everything you need for electronic records management, regardless of where you are in the process. This session will explore market research techniques to inform requirements and best practices for evaluating capabilities and managing performance. It will also introduce you to a set of tailored acquisition planning packages and offer an in depth look at applying them. Registration is now open. Visit gsa.gov/slash events to sign up and get more information about the FAS monthly conference session on electronic records management taking place

from 1:00 to 3:

00 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, April 22nd. Now I know last time you didn't need me to, but I'm going to ask, do you want me to do the time conversions? >> No, it is tax time and I need to brush up on my math skills. So I love this part. Let me do it.

One p.m. Eastern, 10:

00 a.m. for my friends in the Pacific Daylight Time Zone, 11:00 Mountain. [Music] Am I right? Noon Central and already passed Tea Time for anybody watching or listening

across the pond, that is 5:

00 GMT. I'm Joan Kornbluth coming up on FAS Focus a few fascinating, FAS facts. [ Music ] Welcome back to GSA FAS Focus. I'm Joan Kornbluth. We are almost out of time for today. But I do want to leave you with a few fascinating FAS Facts this week about GSA City Pair Program or CPP. This program was developed in 1980 to provide pre-negotiated and firm fixed discounted airfare rates for federal government official travel. Back then, believe it or not, the City Pair Program only served 11 markets. So there was not a lot of firm fixed pricing for airline tickets then. Max, do you want to take a guess at how many markets City Pairs covers today? >> Sure, sure. I think I can make a good guess here. So you said 11 originally? >> Yeah, 40 years have passed, 41. >> Oh, yeah. That's a really long time. So let's say, I don't know, 10,000? Are there even 10,000? Maybe I'm thinking through 10,000 airline routes? >> Oh, yeah. I mean, think about it, because there are a lot of small towns covered. I mean, think about all the places that a government traveler might have to go to conduct business. >> Yeah, yeah. Okay. >> And it's an international too. It's not just domestic travel that is covered by City Pairs. I was thinking it was just domestic, but, okay. I still stick with my 10,000 guess. >> You're pretty close, you're pretty close. [Variable] 11,936 markets are covered by city pairs. In fiscal year 2021. >> I was pretty close. >> You are pretty close. As I mentioned earlier, City Pair fares are pre-negotiated and firm fixed price. And they offer a discount on comparable commercial fares. But City Pairs are important. It's not always the lowest price. But there's something more important. They save money for taxpayers, because they allow federal government travelers maximum flexibility in booking travel. There are benefits that include no cancellation or change fees, or advanced purchase requirements. So that's really important, because sometimes you have to go on official travel, you find out at the last minute or when I used to have to do a lot of travel when I was working for the Voice of America and as a reporter, you'd go out on a story and sometimes it would end early and they'd want to send you home to save money on lodging. So they just send you home at the end of the day. And you could get the last flight out because there were no change fees involved, or you'd have to stay over an extra day and no change fee involved. They send you home a day or two later. It's very important these no change fees, last seat available. They couldn't say to you, oh, we've sold the last seat. Didn't happen. The CPP contract which is renegotiated each year is one of the largest government wide contracts that FAS awards every year. So I've got one more question for you. Can you name the eight airlines participating in the City Pair Program this year? Most of these should be easy because we are down to so few US based air carriers. >> I think I can do pretty good at this. >> Okay. >> I love airlines and flight in general. So I think I can come up with a good list here. So you have the big ones of American and Delta, United. Let's see Southwest is also another big one. Let's see what areas am I forgetting? The Northwest you would have maybe Alaskan Airlines? >> Yeah. Alaska. And the others are kind of regional. >> So northeast JetBlue is really big in the Northeast. And then I'm think I'm missing two still. Maybe Hawaiian? >> Yes. Yes. Hawaii. Yeah. >> Okay. >> Hawaiian. Hawaiian. And the other one is super regional. >> Oh, okay. That's a little tough. >> And think. But it's very important for one specific, I think GSA region. It's one I had to look up. I was not familiar with them. And now I want to fly them at some point. I might have to. I probably have to do for leisure travel, because I don't think there's going to be a reason for me to go on business. >> All right. That one I don't know. >> Unless I go, well, you know, maybe for some reason I might go to do some work after a disaster. [Music] But I don't do disaster recovery work anymore. Silver, which I'd never heard of. I had to look them up. Not one of our major carriers. Silver is based in Fort Lauderdale. They operate about 100 daily scheduled flights between Florida gateway cities, and they also have connections that are important for GSA region to the northeast and Caribbean, aka the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. >> Okay, makes sense, right? >> Yeah. And those are covered by GSA's region two. Those are all the fascinating FAS facts I have for you today. Don't forget, if there is anything else FAS related that you would like to learn about, or someone you would like to hear featured on FAS Focus, let us know. Send a note to [email protected] that is G-S-A-F-A-S [email protected] I'm Joan Kornbluth. I put the words together, Max Tempura is our producer, Domini Artist handles the social media. Thank you to Sonny Hashmi for joining us in the studio this week. FAS Focus is a production of the US General Services Administration's Office of Strategic Communication. [ Music ]