GSA FAS Focus

Services MAC with Tiffany Hixson

June 03, 2021 U.S. General Services Administration Season 1 Episode 8
GSA FAS Focus
Services MAC with Tiffany Hixson
Show Notes Transcript

Tiffany Hixson - GSA’s Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Professional Services and Human Capital Categories talks about the latest program updates and about an exciting new program coming out in the next few years.

>> Welcome to GSA FAS Focus, a look at what's happening in and around the U.S. General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornblith. My guest today is Tiffany Hixson, GSA's Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Professional Services and Human Capital Categories, or PSHC. She is also the governmentwide federal professional services category executive. Tiffany, who is based in the Seattle area, also serves as the FAS Regional Commissioner for GSA's Region 10. We're going to learn how Tiffany juggles those multiple roles and about an exciting new program coming out of PSHC. We will also run down some of the webinars and CLP opportunities coming up in the next couple of weeks, and as always, put a few fascinating facts in FAS Focus. Welcome back to FAS Focus, a look at what is happening throughout GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornblith. In just a couple of minutes, I'll be talking with Tiffany Hixson about her role as GSA's Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Professional Services and Human Capital categories, or PSHC, but first, do you have a question about PBAs? I'm talking about performance based acquisitions. That is the method of preparing service contracts that emphasizes the service outcomes as opposed to the manner in which the work is performed. If so, we have got an event for you. It is the next PSHC office hours coming up on Thursday, June 10th from 1 to 2 p.m. Eastern. Join Jonathan Evans as he explains the benefits of using PBAs during your procurement planning. This training will earn you one CLP and it is a great opportunity to get your questions about PBAs answered. I am talking about the next PSHC office hours, Understanding Performance Based Acquisitions, coming up on Thursday, June 10th from 1 to 2 p.m. Eastern. More info available at gsa.gov/events. The data again, Tuesday, June 10th, and everything begins at 1 p.m. Eastern. That is 10 a.m. Pacific. Welcome back to FAS Focus, a look at what's happening in and around GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. I am Joan Kornblith, and today we are welcoming Tiffany Hixson to FAS Focus. Based in the Seattle area, Tiffany is GSA's Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Professional Services and Human Capital Categories, or PSHC, and she is also the governmentwide federal professional services category executive and she also serves as the FAS Regional Commissioner for GSA's Region 10. Welcome to the show, Tiffany, and can you unpack all of those titles for us? >> Yes, I can, Joan, but first, thank you so much for having me on on FAS Focus. It's always such a pleasure to spend time with you -- >> Oh, thank you. >> -- and to share information about the great work my organization is doing so yeah, when I take a moment to think about those titles, I think at the heart of it is an example of like true efficiency, right? -- from a FAS perspective. Just to have someone be like have three different hats, three different roles, it's an exercise in efficiency when I think about it, but in all seriousness, I think my responsibilities are really a reflection of what FAS does and its leadership role in government, and really the agency's thoughtfulness in terms of how it really leverages its senior leadership talent. The organization I lead manages the only governmentwide contracts for professional and human capital services, so that's really what the Assistant Commissioner role is about, and that includes categories of spend that we manage through GSA's multiple award schedule contract, the OASIS, HCAT's best of class, multiagency contracts, and GSA's SmartPay financial services program that manages the federal government's purchase, travel and C cards which is also a best in class program, so in all, with my -- from an Assistant Commissioner view, we manage and oversee the use of a little over 6,500 contracts that provide those services to federal agencies, a little over 5 million card accounts through our SmartPay program and about $50 billion a year annually in federal spend that we help agencies really deliver those mission services, right? -- to those contract programs. So that's what I do with my assistant commissioner hat on, and because GSA is the only agency that has governmentwide contracts in this space, it was the pretty natural fit for OFPP really to see us as the leader in the professional services category space and so I was lucky enough, in my view, to be appointed as the federal category executive for professional services and because we have the only governmentwide contracts, it's really easy, right? -- for me to integrate that role. It aligns neatly to what GSA's responsibilities are and just really about how do we do good services contracting? And I see myself as really, you know, the cheerleader-in-chief, right? -- in terms of doing good services contracting and helping agencies to do that work better. We do that through our contracts and we also do that through a number of other acquisition tools that agencies use so really it's kind of part and parcel of the work that I do as an assistant commissioner, and then lastly, I am a Regional Commissioner as well and that's a pretty easy fit. My office is headquartered in the northwest, in the Seattle area as you mentioned earlier. Actually, our office is currently in Auburn, Washington but we're going to be moving to Tacoma in January of 2022. That sounds crazy, doesn't it, that we're already looking at 2022 but -- >> It does. >> -- [inaudible] moving to Tacoma. >> It's only six months from now or five and a half. >> It's just crazy. Time flies when you're locked up. For all of us it's been a journey, but in any event, looking forward to that move but you're okay, why the northwest? Why Seattle? Well, FAS actually has about 175 employees that are located in the four-state footprints of the Northwest/Arctic region. The majority of those employees are actually in my organization in the Puget Sound area, so it's a pretty easy fit for me to represent FAS in all of the work that we do for federal agencies here in the northwest because I'm here. >> Speaking of that region, before we go any further, you are to date our only guest to be raised in Alaska. How did you get to GSA and the world of procurement? >> I like to say from the wilds of Alaska to the wilds of federal procurement. >> See, I mean, I left that wide open so you could just drive right through it. >> Right through it, yeah. And happy to do so for you, Joan. Happy to do so. It's a long story but, you know, like other -- what I view as other leaders, right? -- in federal acquisition, I started as an intern, so I left my hometown in Wrangell, Alaska and moved to Seattle to go to college, and while I was studying at Seattle University for my degree in Political Science, I also had a strong relationship with the School of Public Administration and it was the mid to late '80s and you know, I really needed a job and so NOAA was recruiting for interns and I threw my hat in the ring and got hired for by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which is under the Department of Commerce and that's really what started my career. I had a -- and still do have an incredible passion for public service as well as procurement and it just was a great fit and you know, now I think I'm 32 years in federal acquisition and a big chunk of that was spent with -- 15 years in all, at the Department of Commerce in both the field and at headquarters. I moved to the Department of Homeland Security during its standup years and was there for about eight years and then moved to GSA, actually moved from D.C. back to GSA here in the Pacific Northwest and have been with GSA for a little over nine years, and I remain, I like to say, a procurement geek. I just love it. I love what we do and, you know, the mission of FAS is just squarely in my passion space so to speak. >> So if somebody is not a procurement geek, what is your little tiny elevator pitch about what procurement is all about? I mean, is it as simple as just buying and selling? >> No. It's like [inaudible] yes and no, but in federal procurement, it's no. What I really love about federal procurement is you are right in the middle of almost every mission space, right? The work that you do touches mission. It touches program. It touches law. It's like I don't have a law degree and I'm sure our Office of General Counsel would be rolling their eyes back in their head right now at me saying this, but there's a -- it's very legal, right? You're focused really on contract law. You have to understand budget, finance, personnel, believe it or not, and so you really are at the center of a number of mission support functions across government and you learn a lot. And you have the opportunity to really help programs deliver their mission more effectively. I mean, it's just a great career field to be in and it can really parlay into anything, so you could start in procurement and 15 years into your career, go to, you know, the program side of the house or go into budget or go into finance. It's just a really exciting career field to be in. So we could have the tagline procurement, a lot more interesting than it sounds. >> Absolutely. And it's fascinating. I've been watching -- and now with the -- I think with category management, right? -- and using those principles in the federal government space, it's been interesting to see private industry and who they're recruiting for, and some of the biggest known companies that we know that you may not think would be recruiting federal procurement professionals, are and you know, they're looking for, you know, those federal procurement skillsets as well as the category management skillsets that we're starting to fold in the work we do. It's been pretty fascinating to watch that evolve over the last couple of years, so it's -- I would say if you've got a background in procurement, literally you can walk out, you know, if you're in D.C. or anywhere that there's federal presses, just walk outside and raise your hand and say I'm a federal procurement professional and someone will probably offer you a job. >> Don't spread that word too far because you don't want to be losing any staff members anytime soon. >> Well, we're really lucky on that front at GSA, you know? We continue to be, you know, in the top ten great places to work in government -- >> Very true. >> -- so we have a lot of folks that are actually looking to come here which is -- you know, we're also very lucky. >> Before we hit the record button, we were talking about distractions and issues that sometimes come up working at home, I don't know if you can hear the birds in the background at all. >> No, no. >> There seems to be a bird fight or something going on outside of my house because I keep hearing it pop up in my headphones. There are true angry birds outside and I hope that it's not too distracting for anybody. We've been billing the show this week as a chance to talk about a new contract that's on the way, but let's take a look at the big picture first. What is happening in your world? Bring us up to date on some of the news from your region out west and in the Office of Professional Services and Human Capital Categories. >> Yeah, I think I'll start with before we starting talking about what's new and coming up which is always, you know, exciting to talk about, we really accomplished a lot in the last several fiscal years. Most of the work that we do, right? -- is at a very -- it's a governmentwide level. It's very strategic, so it generally takes a little time to get through and I'm just so pleased with the progress that we've made in improving our best in class contracts. So I'll start first with the OASIS. In 2018, the federal category management leadership council asked us to expand the industrial base on OASIS. When OASIS was originally awarded, it was before category management, before best in class contracts, and it really wasn't designed to meet really the goals, right? -- that OFPP and Office of Management and Budget had for us in terms of, you know, these best in class contracts, and it had a number of those features and features that we have enhanced but once it became a best in class contract, you know, the big feedback that we got from federal agencies is, you know, my industrial base isn't necessarily represented on the contract, so can you do an expanded onramp? And so we began that work in 2018 in response to that ask and, you know, two years, 2,351 questions, 1,600 proposals and 730 contracts later we're done. So it's a -- it was a big lift but we were really pleased to be able to meet that need, you know, for the federal government while the contract gets through its final ordering period between now and 2024, so we also as part of that work, in addition to the onramps, we did establish a new version of the OASIS contract program, which is OASIS 8(a) and so we now have 164 brand new 8(a) contractors available for agencies to use and finished really all of this work up in late November, so huge, huge accomplishment for the organization and we're glad to have it largely behind us. I was going to say, you know, now the hard work really begins, right? With that many new industry partners, we have been spending quite a bit of time over the last quarter having, you know, industry days and it's a good thing that we're virtual because we're able to meet with all those industry partners at the same time and getting them introduced to agencies that use the OASIS contract heavily, getting them trained up on the reporting requirements which are, you know, particular to best in class contracts, so you know, the award was an important milestone, right? -- but getting them settled in to the contract program and the agencies using them is really the key focus for us right now and really through the end of this fiscal year to get them settled and up and running. >> Are those virtual industry days, you know, that's something that we didn't really think about as being a plus before. We preferred sometimes doing them in person more because we thought that personal touch was a big thing, but the virtual ones sprung out a little bit more during the pandemic, but I think that they may stick around because they're proving to be so useful and successful. >> They are and we had actually started, because of cost considerations before COVID, rotating our industry days so one year we would have an industry day, and this was for -- we did a combined industry day for all of our contract programs. Each [inaudible] OASIS in our multiple awards schedules programs and we were really rotating, one year in person -- that's where we were headed -- one year virtual, and the benefits of the virtual in particular for small businesses, is that they didn't have to pay, right? -- to travel somewhere. Not all companies are located in the national capital area. Coming out to Seattle where we have a lot, not all, but a good number of our Contracting Officers, isn't always affordable, you know, for small business leaders, so that was a huge benefit. You know, the downside to your point is you don't have that person-to-person interaction so I'm hoping that when we're over, right? -- COVID, and at some point that will happen, that maybe we look at like kind of balanced approach, right? -- where we rotate, do virtual and do in person, but the virtual has been very popular. >> Well, another big bit of news out of your domain is the new services contract that's being established, specifically what's being called the services multiagency contract, or MAC. What is this new services MAC that I'm hearing about? >> Well, we started work this last year and really thinking through what your next IDIQ contract needs to look like and be, and we need a new contract, and we can talk about that in a few minutes, if you'd like, but really and we have not named this particular contract yet, and so our team is working on actually thinking through with your office actually, the Office of Strategic Communications, and working through what we should call it, but right now we're just referring it. If folks hear about, if we're referring to it a services MAC, or multiagency contract, and we are looking to establish a very broad services IDIQ contract that's available for all agencies to use that meets the best in class contract criteria and there's a lot to unpack in terms of what we're trying to achieve there, but in a nutshell, that's what it's about. >> I'm Joan Kornblith. You are listening to GSA FAS Focus. If you've got questions about anything you're hearing today or somebody that you'd like to hear featured on the program, just send us a note. The e-mail address is gsafasfocus@gsa.gov. That is gsafasfocus@gsa.gov. Today we are talking with Tiffany Hixson, tripled titled here at GSA. She is the Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Professional Services and Human Capital Categories or PSHC, and the governmentwide federal professional service category executive and she also serves as the FAS Regional Commissioner for GSA's Region 10. Now Tiffany, let's talk some more about the new services MAC. Why do you need this, because yeah, I know what a big deal it is for GSA to standup a new services contract or really any big contract. This is not something that just happens overnight. >> No, it does not and you know, we really are in a three-year cycle, probably about two and a half years before we're going to have the contract ready for use for federal agencies but you know, simply put, our OASIS contract is -- its ordering period expires in 2024 and for all big governmentwide contracts, because it takes a number of years to get them done, we're working on that now and it really is an opportunity, in my view, to build from the ground up a new IDIQ contract that really meets the needs of federal agencies and is a best in class contract from the get go. When OASIS was originally established, it was targeting a very specific set of requirements, a very specific part of the industrial base, and it came before the advent, right? -- of what OMB really wants us to do with our governmentwide contracts, so this is a wonderful opportunity, in my view, with OASIS expiring, to really establish something that's going to better meet the needs of federal agencies with their services contracting needs. >> So to reiterate, the OASIS ordering period is coming to an end. >> Yes. >> Is this contract going to take the place of OASIS? >> In parts it will take the place of OASIS but really we're -- based on what we've heard from federal agencies, we're going to be expanding the scope of this particular contract to include any services that an agency may need. We're not going to have all those services on contract initially, but we want to build the contract with enough flexibility and scope that as federal agencies' needs evolve over time, we can add new services, what we're calling domains, under the contract, so it's going to be much broader than the current OASIS contract. >> I'm Joan Kornblith and you are listening to FAS Focus from the U.S. General Services Administration. I'm talking with Tiffany Hixson. She is the Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Professional Services and Human Capital Categories or PSHC at GSA, and the FAS Regional Commissioner for GSA's Region 10. Our subject now is the services MAC, or what's being called the services MAC. How is this new services contract going to be different from the GSA multiple awards schedule and also OASIS, and also, what are your goals for it? >> Okay. Lots to unpack there, Joan. >> Yes. >> [inaudible] got a lot of goals. [inaudible] >> I'm throwing it all at you at once. >> Okay. All right. We'll we're going to talk through it. >> Okay. >> And first let's talk about really, you know, it's -- and this is true for all of our GWACs. In MACs we have a suite of them, right? -- on contract now and really how they are used vis a vis our multiple awards schedules program, and our multiple awards schedules program is directly targeted at commercial products and services. It has got very defined pricing types and it is intended really for those highly commercial services and products. Our GWACs and our multiple award contracts have a much broader scope and can provide really a full range of services and those are included both commercial and noncommercial as well as all contract types, so this is like some of that procurement geek stuff that we talked about earlier is all contracting types, which is really important to federal acquisition professionals and that ranges from fixed price to cost reimbursement, time and materials, labor hour, you name it, right? Our MACs and GWACs can do that and it's a big differentiator between those governmentwide contracts and our multiple awards schedules program is that you can buy both types of things under our multiple award contracts, and they have a slightly different industrial base as well and so we've got a number of companies that really target and are really just part of a whole govcon community and don't do a lot of commercial work outside of government space, so you see a lot more of those service providers on our governmentwide contracts versus our multiple awards schedules contracts, so there's some industrial base overlap but there's a difference, right? -- between those industrial bases, and the other unique feature for our multiple award contracts versus MAS is we really tailor the source selection criteria to address what agencies are telling us they need from their industrial base and for the multiple awards schedules program, it tends to be more here's the criteria, here's the basics for participating in commercial products and services for the federal government. In our multiple award contracts, it is really tailored to what agencies are needing from highly qualified contractors that provide, you know, both commercial and noncommercial services, so there's a distinction with a very important difference in terms of how agency acquisition professionals use those contracts, so what they expect from them. >> So that can be more specific also. >> Oh, absolutely. So it's very tailored in some instances and we expect that for our new services multiple award contract as well. We will. We're calling domains, each domain we think is going to have very tailored source selection criteria that really reflect what federal agencies are telling us that they need. >> What are you trying to do specifically with the services MAC? >> I think we're trying to meet the federal government's, you know, services contracting needs, right? >> Right. >> And as a -- just from a pure mission perspective and what we learned from OASIS in terms of what wasn't working for your existing -- I mean, OASIS was the only professional services governmentwide contract in government, and what wasn't working -- there's a lot of things that worked about it -- what wasn't working is that the scope was too tailored. It was too narrow. It was just on professional services and what that means is that if an agency had a requirement that was largely nonprofessional, that really was leveraging labor that was covered by the Service Contract Act or we had work that included Davis-Bacon work or Walsh-Healey work, again, highly technical procurement geeks [inaudible], they weren't able to use the contract and so since the inception of our OASIS contract program, we have been doing scope reviews and we still do those for our agencies today and our keeping -- have been keeping track of how many times we've had to say no, you can't use OASIS for, you know, this service requirement, and so we've learned a lot and we want this new contract to have a much broader scope so our contracts are meeting federal agencies' needs. Every time that we have to say no, you can't use our contract means that we're really not fulfilling our mission, right? -- from a GSA perspective, so primarily, we're looking to achieve that, right? We've got a contract that agencies can use. Second, we've learned a lot about onramps and that they're really hard. I don't really see us using that particular feature in our new contract. We're still working through that, but I think we're looking to have vetted, open enrollment, which means that it's open all the time. That's actually a best practice that we've learned from the multiple awards schedules program and we think that we're going to be able to establish a process by which we can have it open all the time, so as industry becomes capable or they're meeting the standards or we've got new entrance, right? -- into the federal market, they're able to come in and get on contract. I think that's going to be a really important feature for small businesses in particular and it will also help us be more efficient and in really getting companies on contract in a timely manner, and what else? We really want to make sure that we've got adequate small business and socioeconomic participation. I think we achieved that in our OASIS contract programs, but I think we can do better and so we're going to be talking to the Small Business Administration and other small business leaders in government to make sure that we structure this contract in a way that really has well qualified small business and socioeconomic industry partners on contract and that we have enough of them in the right way, right? -- to meet federal agencies' needs, so that's going to be a key focus for us, and then of course, ensuring that task order competition is well managed and that the pricing is really happening at that level, so we're looking at using some new authorities that GSA has to really set pricing at the task order level and with that, that is going to I think require us to provide a lot more pricing data for our acquisition professionals to be able to say hey, here are the prices that we're getting at the task order level. Here's some pricing data that we can use to do that price analysis, cost analysis, that kind of thing. So we're looking to really provide a lot more data and tools for acquisition professionals when they're using this contract, which is -- we don't have that on OASIS today. >> I'm really intrigued about the process that you're going through for setting something like this up. I mean, it does sound like an awful lot of work and you're just getting started. Well, you're not just getting started because from what you just told us, you've been tracking the entire time that you've been on OASIS how things -- >> Yup. >> -- are working, what is missed, what's not missed, all the steps. Tell us a little bit about the how that in setting something like this up. I mean it's not just a case of sitting down and creating in a vacuum. What -- >> No. >> -- is considered and how do you get the industry and customer feedback, especially during a pandemic? >> It's been easier than you think it would be. You know, technology, right? -- has really helped us stay connected really from a whole, you know, perspective, but let me start first with, you know, in my view, just building it and they will come, right? -- build a contract and maybe someone will show up and use it, is really not an effective way to stand up contracts. It doesn't work that way anywhere else. It shouldn't work that way, right? -- at GSA either, and to your point, doing that in a vacuum really does make a lot of sense. If agencies aren't using our contracts, in my view, we're not doing our job, so the work that we are doing right now is incredibly, incredibly important in terms of setting up a contract that agencies need and will use, otherwise really, what's the point? And so in January, we really started that work in earnest and have done from both an agency perspective and in an industry perspective, we're running two separate really engagements, first with agencies to understand one, we have a pretty good insight into what they're using our contracts for and what they're not using our contracts for, and so we've been having a series of discussions with leaders across government about what they need and what our contracts aren't doing, you know, for them so we can, you know, really structure this contract to achieve those goals. On the industry side, we're asking the same kinds of questions but really through that industry lens and so to date, we have received -- we've done workshops, focus groups, industry days, formal requests for information. You name it, you know, we have done it in terms of starting to get feedback. We're not done yet, but starting to get feedback and so to date, we have had formal engagements with ten agencies along with buying offices under those ten agencies. We have talked to and received feedback from over 1,800 businesses and acquisition professionals and we have sorted through every single bit of feedback that we have gotten. We have engaged with every major industry association and have started dialogues with them. As a matter of fact, today I'm getting an out [inaudible] from ACT-IAC on their feedback around what they would like to see in this new contract, lots of feedback from the Coalition for Government Procurement, and we're starting to meet with some other small business associations and so you know, it is full steam ahead in terms of really understanding the challenges that agencies have. How do you structure a contract in a way to achieve those and insure that industry really is able to participate in the contract in a way that is not burdensome, right? So we're in the middle, really, of those conversations. >> Can you, you know, dish a little bit more and share a little any other tidbits about what customers and industry are saying? >> Yes, I can. Yeah, Joan. And it pretty consistent themes across that we're hearing from both groups. From customers we've learned that customer agencies find really the current availability of best in class contracts for services pretty limiting and we need to address that issue. So a lot of what I talked about earlier is about that. It's about the scope and then baking in terms and conditions into the contract that allow that to evolve over time. What has happened previously with our contracts is we say here are the terms and conditions and that's it, can't be changed, and the minute that you award the contract, of course something changes, and so we need to figure out how to -- a way to legally, right? -- you know, have a contract that allows to change the scope and evolve the scope over time, so we're working through how to meet that challenge. Also customer agencies want to be able find their incumbents and not so award can go to the incumbents, but where you have an incumbent that has been successfully performing, you want to make sure that they've got an opportunity to compete for the follow-on work and so sometimes moving to, you know, a best in class contract that doesn't represent your industrial base, well, you're shutting out all those really great contractors that have worked really hard to support their mission, so they really want us to be able to structure this contract in a way where, you know, their industrial base is there, it's easy for them to get on the contract so they can compete for work in the future and you know, the agency can also get the benefit of a best in class, a really, you know, spend under management contract. In addition, we've long heard from Contracting Officers that they really need direct visibility into industry capabilities. This is really just so they can satisfy their socioeconomic goals for the agency, small business utilization. Getting that information into the tools that we currently have today, I think everyone agree is pretty challenging, and so what we'd like to set up in this new contract is something that is really data driven, that you can go to a website portal and say I've got this service, please tell me, dear system, right? -- or dear GSA, what the specifics are about how many small businesses, or veteran-owned, let's say, small businesses there are. Where they located? What are their capabilities? What kind of work have they done? And really automate that market research responsibility that Contracting Officers have. It's a huge area of focus for us and it's really something that we've heard agencies want. They also would like to have more information around pricing, so we've got our CALC pricing tool, right? -- which is a great data visualization tool for awarded labor rates on our multiple awards schedules program, but they really would like to see that married up against prices paid information that we've been collecting over time, and so part of -- another part of the organization in FAS, our Office of Enterprise Strategy Management is working on actually publishing a tool or updating really the CALC tool to provide really kind of full scope pricing information that agencies have asked us for, so another big, big launch. And lastly, of course, customers want to be able to shorten acquisition timelines, right? -- as much as possible and so a lot of the tools that we want to provide, whether they're what I call acquisition playbooks. If you go to our website today, you'll see them there, which is really a toolkit for like if I need to do an order under MAS or an order under this multiple awards schedule or this multiple award contract, here's like a whole kit, right? -- in terms of here's a sample statement of work. Here is a sample independent government cost estimate. Here is a sample request for quote. Really, you know, provide those types of tools along with the analytics to really help facilitate customers buying off of our contracts and we're really, you know, hearing from customers that that's what they want, so we're working on that. And from industry, we can talk about that too, if you'd like to. >> Yes. Sure, sure. Give us a little peak in that direction. >> Okay. Little peak. So what we've heard from industry is pretty consistent as well, is they really want to be able to participate in best in class contracts on a regular basis. Waiting for onramps, having limited opportunities, right? -- to get on the contract has been an area of concern for industry and one we're really trying to thoughtfully work through, so you know, how do you balance the needs of federal agencies and what they want out of a contract with access, right? -- which is really what industry wants. They would also like to see standards that are considerate of small businesses and don't give unfair advantage to large businesses, just being frank. That is, you know, exactly what we've heard from small businesses on a pretty regular basis. There have also been concerns around the scoring method that we have used on some of our contracts and that perhaps it's not fair to small businesses in terms of how they have been structured. Also, and this is something that we learned on OASIS, is when a small -- if you're on the contract and you size-out from being a small business, we had some onramp mechanisms in the contract that we had hoped that when small businesses sized out, they could go the unrestricted contract vehicle, and that didn't really work out the way that we had hoped it would, so we're looking to fix that on our new contract which is if you're successful, and you size-out from being a small business, the reward should be you get to stay on the contract, not that you're out of the contract, so we're figuring out how to really address that need. >> I'm Joan Kornblith. This is FAS Focus and we are talking today with Tiffany Hixson. She is the Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Professional Services and Human Capital Categories, or PSHC at GSA. She is also the FAS Regional Commissioner for GSA's Region 10. We are just about out of time. I do want to ask you one more thing, two actually. What is the next step in this process and when do you hope to have the contract in place? >> So next steps are we -- this year, this fiscal year, we're going to continue to do market research and engagement with industry associations, the small business administration, as well as our customer agencies to really make sure that we have an understanding of what their needs are. In the short term, we're going to be issuing another request for information to industry in June and then we'll be holding a second industry day to talk about the results of that second RFI and by the end of the summer, we're looking to have our acquisition strategy approved we hope, so we can issue a draft request for proposals, or RFP, at the beginning of the next fiscal year for comment and we expect that we'll probably have at least two of those draft solicitations if not more out in probably the first six months of FY22 and our goal is to start awarding new contracts under that solicitation by the end of FY22 and with agencies start to start using the contract in FY23. >> We have been talking with Tiffany Hixson, the Assistant Commissioner for GSA's Office of Professional Services and Human Capital Categories or PSHC. She is also the governmentwide federal professional services category executive and serves as the FAS Regional Commissioner for GSA's Region 10. If you have any questions for Tiffany about this new services MAC or would like to learn more about anything we talked about today or just want to drop us a line, the address is gsafasfocus@gsa.gov. Coming up, news of another great training opportunity and some fascinating FAS facts. I am Joan Kornblith and you are listening to GSA FAS Focus. Welcome back to FAS Focus, a look at what is happening throughout GSA's federal acquisition service. I'm Joan Kornblith 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 Stempora who is here with some information about another training specifically for people interested in OASIS, one of the programs that Tiffany was talking to us about. Am I right about that, Max? >> That's right, and this is always a popular one. OASIS Delegation of Procurement Authority, the next one is scheduled from 1 to 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Monday, June 21st. Join the OASIS program officer for an overview of the program and delegation of procurement authority training. This is specifically for warranted Contracting Officers. Remember, you must complete this training before requesting a DPA which allows direct access to OASIS. Visit www.gsa.gov/events to sign up and learn more. >> And of course, I will take it from here. Again, the webinar is scheduled for 1 p.m. Eastern on Monday, June 21st. That is noon Central, 11 a.m. Mountain, 10 a.m. Pacific, Monday, June 21st. What you are working virtually from Valdez, Alaska for the summer. That is okay. For you the DPA training gets underway at 9 a.m. Wherever you are, just remember to visit gsa.gov events page at www.gsa.gov/events to learn more and register for the next OASIS DPA training session that is coming up on June 21st. I'm Joan Kornblith. Coming up on FAS Focus, a few fascinating FAS facts. Welcome back to GSA FAS Focus. I am Joan Kornblith. We are almost out of time for today. I do want to leave you with just a few fascinating FAS facts and since we were speaking with Tiffany Hixson earlier, GSA's Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Professional Services and Human Capital Categories, or PSHC, and also the governmentwide federal professional services category executive, as well as the FAS Regional Commissioner for GSA's Region 10, I thought it might make sense to talk about things related to all of those items, don't you think so, Max? >> I do. >> Okay. Well, let's start by digging into OASIS. You know, it's the multiple award contract that's all about flexible and innovative solutions for complex professional services. OASIS unrestricted is a full and open contract. OASIS small business, or OASIS SB, is a 100% small business set aside contract with the ability to do socioeconomic set asides at the task order level. Given that total sales volume to date, since day one in 2014 is 36 billion with 20.8 billion of that from unrestricted and 15.3 billion being OASIS SB, do you want to take a guess at the dollars obligated in FY20 for OASIS unrestricted? And I have to tell you before you start, you know, making scratches on the paper in front of you, I have to tell you it was a pretty good year despite the pandemic. >> Oh, okay. So you said it was 36 billion since it started? >> Yup. Since day one, 36 billion. >> Okay. How many years would that be, seven? So oh. >> Was that -- yeah. >> So maybe that's about 5 billion a year, so I'll say 5 billion. >> You are pretty close. For fiscal year '20, total number of task orders for OASIS unrestricted was 165 and that is up from fiscal year '19. Total, 5.5 billion, up from 5.04 in fiscal year '19. >> All right. >> So that's good. >> That's a pretty good guess. >> Pretty, pretty good. And we may surpass that this year because to date, through the second quarter of this year, business volume for OASIS unrestricted is 2.2 billion. At this time last year, that figure was 1.9 billion, so things are going -- >> Yeah. >> -- pretty well this year. >> Definitely growing. >> Yeah. Now other interesting stuff out of Region 10, before I go further, have you visited Seattle? Have you been out there? >> I have. >> Gone out on the river at all, taken the ferry anywhere? >> We didn't. We didn't. >> Okay. Well, go out there again. Next time keep an eye out for the new fireboat patrolling the area, because one of the largest state and local buys so far in FY21 has been with Washington South King County Fire Department. They purchased a fireboat to patrol the shores of the Puget Sound from Federal Way to downtown Seattle. Any idea how much a fireboat like that might cost? >> I don't know. I'll just through a number out there, $5 million. >> Oh no, no, no, no, no. No, no. >> Too much? >> 1.6 million. Yes. >> Oh, okay. >> 1.6 million for a fireboat. Fire trucks are also expensive. It's been a while since I've seen a figure for them, but they are also expensive, but this is specialized machinery. 1.6 million, so next time you see a fireboat out on water like that, GSA may have had a role in the community getting the project, of getting the new piece of equipment like that. Anyway, those are all the fascinating FAS facts we've got for you today. Don't forget, if there is anything else FAS-related that you'd like to learn about or someone you'd like to hear featured on FAS Focus, let us know. Send a note to gsafasfocus@gsa.gov. That is gsafasfocus@gsa.gov. I'm Joan Kornblith. I put the words together. Max Stempora is the producer. Dominee Ardas [phonetic] handles the social media. Thank you to Tiffany Hixson for joining us in the studio this week. FAS Focus is a production of the U.S. General Services Administration's Office of Strategic Communication.