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FCW : October 2016
36 October 2016 FCW.COM Amanda Tabb The comprehensive, enterprisewide GrantSolutions system is currently used by 19 federal partner agencies representing 900-plus programs. The system helps those agencies keep track of more than $70 billion in annual federal grant obligations and supports more than 35,000 users. Amanda Tabb manages a team of 46 partner project directors who serve as the link between technical experts and customers to ensure that GrantSolutions is meeting their needs today and into the future and that they understand and use the full capabilities of the offered products and services. The system standardizes and streamlines business processes so agencies can achieve full compliance on a host of federal grants mandates and significantly reduce their grant technology costs. It also helps partners understand the return on investment for each federal grant. Tabb was promoted twice in one year because of her focus on building partner trust and relationships. She took over the management of all partner services a year ago while still working as the subject-matter expert on fit/gap — a process in which the team looks at how the partner operates relative to GrantSolutions and identifies areas in which each side can improve — and handling data migration for a large, key partner. She helped bring that partner’s data into the system in just nine months — a process that was predicted to take two to three years. Furthermore, she established the current organizational structure for the full partner team and worked to automate many of the program management processes by using cloud-based tools. — Aisha Chowdhry Elizabeth Anne Wilhelm Finding ways to help agencies better execute their missions is a central goal for any good contractor. Identifying the need even before the agency does, however, requires a different level of dedication entirely. That’s exactly what Elizabeth Anne Wilhelm and her LeapPoint colleagues did for the U.S. Agency for International Development. USAID conducts most of its work through local nongovernmental organizations, and in Africa, finding and screening those partners was a labor-intensive process conducted almost entirely via Microsoft Word documents. LeapPoint had developed a tool for automating surveys and assessments, and Wilhelm spearheaded an unsolicited proposal to tailor that technology to USAID’s needs. After an initial pilot, the project expanded to 11 additional missions in southern Africa, and this month a new version was deployed that accommodates additional languages and improved querying. The staff time for each assessment dropped by 25 percent, Wilhelm said, and USAID is now connecting with a much broader pool of potential partners. The USAID work is just part of her portfolio, however. LeapPoint is a small firm, so she also functions as chief financial officer and — though still early in her career — mentors many of the firm’s three dozen employees. And because any sort of survey framework can be incorporated into the tool built for USAID, a key goal for 2017 is bringing that automation to other agencies. — Troy K. Schneider Kathryn Wilson When talk turns to federal acquisition and the need to be more collaborative and results-driven, it’s tempting to overlook the obvious: Transforming most government programs — with their myriad stakeholders, pre- existing contracts, shared infrastructure realities and ever-evolving operations — is tough. Real progress requires the ingenuity and persistence of people like Kathryn Wilson. Wilson, a onetime intern at the U.S. Forest Service, is Jefferson Solutions’ point person for a number of IT acquisition and program management projects. But the re-compete of the agency’s Fire and Aviation Management Web (FAMWeb) contract is the clearest example of her contributions. FAMWeb is a suite of applications that federal, state and local governments use to model, plan for and respond to wildland fires. Wilson brought a new level of agency/ industry dialogue to the acquisition, going so far as to convene a presolicitation conference in Boise, Idaho, that produced feedback from roughly 100 in-person and virtual attendees. A highly collaborative approach to the request for information and draft performance work statement ensured that expectations were realistic and paved the way for a successful contract award. The Forest Service has since tasked Wilson with projects to encourage agile development and support the design and development of a new grants system. As one agency program 1016fcw_012-037.indd 36 10/11/16 3:58 PM
September 30, 2016
November and December 2016