GSA’s Trusted Advisors
by Rich Stebbins
The Federal Acquisition Service’s mission is to procure goods and services for the government and building relationships is key when developing solutions for clients.
Regional Customer Service Directors (CSD), like Matt Ocaña, match customer needs with external business partners through market research or conducting project scope reviews.
The CSDs for Region 8 are mostly located in Colorado and have specific clients they work with on a regular basis. Ocaña, an Air Force veteran, is the only one based in Ogden, UT at Hill Air Force Base and has a very exclusive client.
“My customers are specifically Air Force,” said Ocaña. “My familiarity with the local area and my background with the Air Force allow me access to my clients.”
One of the projects he has been working on for the last couple of years involves upgrades to the A-10 Thunderbolt II program. That acquisition account is valued at more than $200 million.
“I am working to get things that the warfighter, the people working on these airplanes, need to meet their mission,” Ocaña stated. “GSA is helping speed up the acquisition process to get what they need.”
In this situation, like many others, Ocaña talks with his clients to identify exactly what their needs are. Then he uses contract vehicles, like the One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) or the multiple awards schedule (MAS), to pinpoint a targeted pool of vendors that can provide the specific services to meet those needs. Once GSA verifies that a vendor can fulfill the scope of work, Ocaña then directs his customer to the GSA contract vehicle best designed to meet their needs.
“Being that advisor to government contracting officers, CSDs are trying to help them use a product from GSA to help them with their acquisitions,” Ocaña said. “I try to take some of the load off of contracting officers to help them out, which in turn also helps GSA.”
To be able to find the right vendor, there are several tools CSDs can use in addition to MAS and OASIS like the 2nd Generation Information Technology (2GIT), Human Capital and Training Solutions (HCaTS) or GSA's 8(a) STARS III GWAC. These platforms provide contracting professionals pre-vetted vendors that meet the scope of work for things like buildings, engineering, facilities, IT support, maintenance, and professional services to name a few.
Ocaña uses his knowledge to help select the right contract vehicle to meet his clients requirements.
“I am really in between the business lines and our customer to ensure they are getting the best fit from GSA,” Said Ocaña. “But also saving them time and money and giving them the protection of pre-vetted vendors.”
The pandemic has changed the way Ocaña operates. Where he used to meet face to face, he now uses virtual means of communication, like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, email or phone.
“Most of my customers are not in the office so it has made things a little more challenging, but we have still been successful,” added Ocaña.
The main role of CSDs is to be the face and mouthpiece of GSA for customers when it comes to contracting.
This article is part of the Quiet Professionals series to highlight the many roles of GSA Region 8 employees. To read more of our Region 8 stories go to our Newsroom.
The Rocky Mountain Region serves customers primarily located in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming to provide goods, services and expertise that enable the government to better serve the public.