NASA SEWP's 'secret weapon' to retire at the end of the year

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Darlene Coen has been credited for having a major impact on NASA's trailblazing governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC) during her 14 years of service.

Darlene Coen, deputy program director of NASA's Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement , is planning to retire from the agency's governmentwide acquisition contract team at the end of the calendar year, FCW has learned. 

Darlene Coen
    Darlene Coen

Coen, a 2021 Fed100 winner described as "SEWP's secret weapon," spent 14 years serving as deputy director and director of strategy and acquisition for NASA's contract vehicle, which ended fiscal year 2022 with $10.5 billion in sales – a 3% increase over the previous year.

Working for SEWP "has been my favorite job in the federal government," Coen said, adding: "I would never have been there this long – 15 years – but what a program. It's just been a privilege."

NASA SEWP program manager Joanne Woytek, who launched the contract vehicle  and continues to serve as the head of its day-to-day operations, said that Coen "has been my co-worker, confidant, friend and both mentee and mentor [for] over 16 years," adding:  "Her knowledge, expertise and innate ability to be rightly seen as a subject matter expert who is on your side whether talking to an agency chief executive, an IG, a company president or a contract specialist working on a small order in the middle of Alaska, was awe-inspiring."

SEWP adoption across federal agencies rose by 40% under Coen's leadership. The deputy director was the recipient of NASA's 2015 Innovation Excellence Award, the Coalition for Government Procurement's 2020 Lifetime Acquisition Excellence Award and the NASA Office of Small Business 2017 Small Business Partnership Award.

Coen said she plans to enter the private sector, though she will remain in the government contracting space.