David Shive was thrust into the acting chief information officer role at the General Services Administration when CIO Sonny Hashmi left the agency in March. But Shive said he and his GSA IT colleagues have had little trouble enduring the management changes the organization has faced recently.
“One of the advantages of the collaborative environment created by my predecessors is that the GSA IT vision was a shared executive vision, so I and the other executives had significant input into the creation of that vision,” Shive told FedScoop in an email. “That makes it very easy to withstand some of the changes at the top that we’ve endured and continue to provide excellent service to our customers.”
Prior to taking over as acting CIO, Shive led what he described as two of GSA’s largest IT operations as the associate CIO of the Office of Enterprise Infrastructure and acting associate CIO of corporate systems. Because he had an active role during Hashmi’s tenure in helping shape GSA IT’s current vision, Shive said taking over for Hashmi — an old friend with whom he’s worked several times in his career — was a more natural move.
“The transition activities don’t really begin when an executive announces his/her departure,” Shive said. “Instead, they are a continuous underlying work effort that yields strong succession planning results. I had my transition meetings with Sonny, of course, but they largely centered around tweaks to the vision.”
In past months, GSA has been a hotbed of leadership change-ups. In addition to the loss of Hashmi, who joined Box Inc. to help expand its cloud storage services to federal clients, former Administrator Dan Tangherlini also left the agency in February. He was replaced by acting Administrator Denise Turner Roth, who was recently nominated by President Barack Obama to take over the role permanently.
Shive acknowledged Turner Roth and acting Deputy Administrator Adam Neufeld for knowing and embracing IT in their greater vision for GSA as he’s taken on this new role.
“I am deeply indebted to them as they leverage their years of experience as an IT consumer and provider to help me to run a better shop,” he said, also pointing to IT leaders around the agency, like Associate Administrator for the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies/18F Phaedra Chrousos, Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Integrated Technology Services Mary Davie, and Chief Information Security Officer Kurt Garbars, as people he leans on daily in his new role.
Despite serving in various positions in the private sector and at different levels of government, Shive said helping lead GSA’s IT operations in many ways is a dream job.
“GSA IT is a trusted executive partner and active participant in GSA operations and decisions,” he told FedScoop. “Instead of just providing cell phones and PCs, we are solution providers to business, leveraging technology to help solve some of the intractable problems of government. For a techie, this is a dream job.”
In the near term, Shive plans to continue “to provide high quality IT solutions and services at the best value to our customers” and “quickly assess any minor adjustments that might be required to align the current vision to my management style.” In the longer term, though, he said his office is going to focus on how it can improve the agency’s business outcomes with IT.
“We are ever so slightly shifting the discussion from the traditional ‘providing the best technical solution at the best cost to derive the greatest value’ to ‘providing cost-effective technical solutions that derive business value, drive efficiencies into business process and that provide a foundation for business transformation,'” Shive said.