Reporting from the Management of Change Conference

A roundup of quips and chatter from the ACT/IAC conference taking place this week in rural Virginia.

Dave McClure's intriGuinG job history

If Dave McClure ever leaves the General Services Administration, how can you predict where he'll go?

McClure, associate administrator of GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, told an audience at the American Council for Technology/Industry Advisory Council's Management of Change Conference in Hot Springs, Va., that there's a clue in his job history: The Government Accountability Office, the Council for Excellence in Government, Gartner, then GSA.

"Keep that in mind," he said. "Somewhere with a G in the name."

But who is the distributor cap?

McClure sounds more like an auto mechanic than a federal official when talking about GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

"I think of the office I head up as a spark plug for innovation," he said at the conference. Then he acknowledged the office's employees. "They really are the spark plugs for innovation. I'm just the mouthpiece talking about it."

Serious business

Simon Szykman, CIO at the Commerce Department, takes his role as a panel moderator seriously. In introducing a panel at the conference, he told the audience he wanted the discussion to provide real substance.

"If you walk out of here just having heard a string of words you're familiar with, then I haven't done my job as moderator," he said.

Striking a balance

Speaking to a mixed audience of people from government and industry can be tricky. Richard Spires, CIO at the Homeland Security Department, said there were way too many contractors when he arrived at DHS in 2009, then likely realized he was at risk of alienating the contractors in the audience.

Spires, who worked as a contractor before coming to government, asked them to consider the importance of having people on the customer side who know what they're doing. He said most contractors have been in the situation of saying, "'My customer just doesn't get it. I'm not going to be successful under this model, but I'm stuck.' I've been in that situation. I hate that situation."

Two-way street

Spires also said the CIO Council has partnered with the National Association of State CIOs to help federal and state government agencies share ideas.

"We believe strongly there's learning to go both ways" between the federal government and the states, said Spires, who serves as the council's vice chairman.

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