Federal Technology Transformation Lead Leaving Government

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Joanne Collins Smee is departing public service after overseeing internal reorganizations and the launch of GSA’s Centers of Excellence.

The head of the General Services Administration’s technology innovation business line is leaving government at the end of the month.

Joanne Collins Smee, who serves as director of GSA’s newest office—the Technology Transformation Service—as well as deputy commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, will be leaving public service at the end of August, the agency said Thursday.

Smee was the third person to lead TTS. The service was launched in 2016 as a third business for GSA—along with FAS and the Public Buildings Service—under the leadership of Phaedra Chrousos, who had previously managed the 18F intragovernmental consultancy group at GSA. With the change in administration, TTS was repositioned under the Acquisition Service business line and Rob Cook, a former Pixar executive, took on the directorship and FAS deputy commissioner role.

Smee took over from Cook in an acting capacity in December 2017 before being named the permanent director.

“It has been an honor to serve in government, and I am so pleased at the enormous progress that GSA has made in modernizing government IT in such a short time,” Smee said. “The TTS team is incredibly gifted and dedicated to their mission of improving the public’s experience with government through technology and it has been a privilege serving with them.”

Despite her short time in the leadership role, Smee’s colleagues said she will leave behind a lasting impression.

“I am incredibly thankful for Joanne’s tremendous accomplishments during her time at GSA,” GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said in a statement. Specifically, she cited Smee’s work on the Centers of Excellence, which focus on acquisition and IT innovation issues, and repositioning TTS under the Federal Acquisition Service.

“She has made immense progress in furthering our administration’s goal of transforming technology from a perennial challenge into one of government’s greatest strengths,” Murphy said. “Both FAS and TTS are in a stronger position today, and better positioned for future development, because of Joanne’s talent, work ethic and passion for making government operate better for the American people.”

Smee led the White House Centers of Excellence initiative, a two-phase approach to modernization currently underway in a pilot at the Agriculture Department. The effort is currently in the midst of bidding out contracts to companies that can help Agriculture modernize in five key areas: cloud adoption, infrastructure optimization, customer experience, service delivery analytics and contact centers. Should the Centers of Excellence concept proof successful, it could be adopted by other federal agencies and become a signature Trump administration tech initiative.

“Joanne Collins Smee has helped create the foundation for long-lasting change in the federal government,” Presidential Senior Adviser Jared Kushner said. “The administration continues to prioritize this important work and looks forward to building on the foundation that Joanne helped construct.”

GSA has yet to name an interim director for the Technology Transformation Service.