Field Office Director Ecq Federal Employment
US Department of Energy
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Position: Director, Aberdeen Field Office, ES-0340-06
Announcement Number: 02-ES-003
604 Harmony Lane
Pleasantville, CA 94588
EXECUTIVE CORE QUALIFICATIONS
During my federal service career, I have had 26 years’ unique and varied executive experience leading change in two key agencies—16 years’ in the Department of Energy (DOE) and 10 years in the Department of Defense (DoD). The most significant example of this core competency is my experience as Director, Atlanta Regional Office (ARO), in which I led the DOE ARO through the most troublesome time in its history.
When I inherited the leadership of ARO as its new director, an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation had just concluded, the former supervisor had been dismissed, and the employee morale was at an all time low. I immediately assessed the situation and secured the services of an organizational development professional that focused on what changes would be necessary for the office to get well. Based on recommendations provided by the organizational development professional and my own observations, I implemented a multifaceted strategy:
· A written long-term change action plan addressing how ARO conducted business with customers and within the organization.
· A program of team building sessions for all ARO employees at an off-site location.
· A complete reorganization of the ARO workforce, including retraining for selected employees to do other jobs; providing professional development opportunities for other selected employees; reassigning and termination of other employees; and hiring employees from industry, state and local government, and other federal agencies.
This outcome of this strategy resulted in:
· A high quality workforce with the skill mixes necessary to accomplish the ARO mission.
· An ARO realigned to be consistent with headquarters programs.
· A focus on delivering programs to the states, our primary customers.
· A workforce increase from 17 to 25 employees that grew out of a demonstrated willingness and ability to respond in a positive manner to the initiatives of the assistant secretary.
As a direct result of the changes I instituted, I now lead the ARO as the most efficient, effective regional office nationwide.
Throughout my tenure as ARO Director, I experienced a change in two administrations and a change in three assistant secretaries. As a result, priorities changed. During this period, I went from reporting to a career employee to a political appointee. The way of doing business changed for the regional offices. The focus on states as our priority became paramount. As a result, maintaining favorable relationships with all State Energy Office directors was a significant priority of mine, which I carried out expediently:
· I made personal visits on behalf of ARO to each state twice a year.
· I led the ARO in hosting two regional meetings a year, inviting national program managers from headquarters to participate.
· I conducted or ensured ARO day-to-day interaction with State Energy Office directors.
· I held monthly conference calls where all stakeholders can raise issues important to them and the states they serve.
Throughout the past 26 years in the DOE and DoD, I have managed personnel, employee relations, and staffing, and have become well versed in Equal Employment Opportunity. I have been involved in personnel actions regarding terminations, classification, staffing, all from a federal employee perspective. Regarding contractor employee relations, I have been involved with Davis-Bacon Act determinations, whistle blower actions, compensation reviews, and salary approvals.
In my current position as ARO Director, I have the privilege of managing a workforce that represents the demographics of the metropolitan Atlanta area. Our workforce is diverse both culturally and racially. Of the 25 federal employees on staff, 48 percent are in a minority category, while over 72 percent of the employees are female. The three contract employees are Asian American female, black male, and white female.
This diverse group of well-qualified, highly motivated employees is a direct result of my efforts to recruit only the best, most qualified individuals for the work to be accomplished.
When I served on a detail as the Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Building Technology, State, and Community Programs, I was asked to reinvigorate an organizational development initiative that had languished for nine months. Upon review of the organizational needs, I discovered these issues.
· Low morale related to inattentive management, inadequate promotion opportunities, and performance concerns.
· Racial issues such as minorities serving in lower graded positions even though their records merited greater positions.
· Career track matters concerning inadequate promotion opportunities.
· Performance problems based on inattentive management, institutional practices of accepting less than adequate performance, and performance appraisal concerns.
· Accountability questions stemming from inattentive management, low employee morale, and a lack of employee-manager accountability.
I then led the designated organizational development professionals and the 67 employees to develop a strategy for revitalization. The strategy included:
· A new baseline to established employee and management concerns. (Have the issues changed since the last effort, What are the issues,)
· A new Human Relations Plan and its implementation to address the organizational issues uncovered by the review of the organizational needs.
The result of my leadership to solve these organizational development issues was successful. I established a new mechanism to acquire the services of the organizational development professionals. I reestablished the working group of employees that lead the effort. I organized a track of organizational development sessions designed to lead to significant organizational change.
I have a proven record of accomplishment of getting results based on a long career of careful analysis and planning that includes anticipating problems before they occur, as well as solving existing problems.
While serving as ARO Director, I recognized an opportunity to demonstrate the technologies and practices that are the core business of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. I began my quest about two years before the games. Even though the political leadership thought it was a worthwhile idea and supported it in spirit, I had no budget identified and no human resources to support the effort.
I overcame these obstacles and developed the projects by embarking on a campaign in which I successfully enlisted the partnership of organizations such as Georgia Power Corporation, Georgia Institute of Technology, the Metropolitan Area Rapid Transit Authority, and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.
In the end, I successfully implemented 10 energy efficiency and renewable energy demonstration projects throughout the Olympic venues. Though the projects’ value exceeded $10 million, I accomplished the presentation of these projects with less than $1 million in appropriated funds.
After my successful experience leading change as ARO Director, the Assistant Secretary personally asked me to develop a center in Atlanta to serve as the departmental lead with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to use energy efficient and renewable energy technologies and practices in the areas of disaster response and mitigation.
I accomplished the establishment of the national Center of Excellence for Disaster Remediation with existing program funds and the addition of only two positions.
During my time as ARO Director, I was a participant in the Strategic Planning process under the leadership of the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. As part of this effort, I represented the six regional offices on a customer service improvement team that established customer service standards and new customer service initiatives for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The team developed a customer service plan that was designed to improve customer service throughout the organization. A customer service plan was developed and distributed to the entire organization.
Additionally while serving as ARO Director, I led the office relocation effort which resulted in the first DOE office to conduct a sustainable “green” build out, which incorporated technologies, products, and practices that the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is in the business of promoting. The existing office had been housed in leased rental space in a Class C office building for about 20 years. Moreover, the lease was about to expire, the neighborhood was being redeveloped, and the building owner made it clear that there was no room for federal agencies in the long-term rental plan.
In implementing the relocation, I easily rallied consensus of all employees that it was time to move. In evaluating our options, I decided that the office should be in a space that was the model of energy efficiency and renewable energy. In other words, it was time for a DOE office to start “walking the talk.” After a number of disappointing setbacks, including some failed solicitations, I approached the General Services Administration with a proposal:
“Work with us in a federal building to implement the technologies and practices that we want to demonstrate in our office and we will work with you under the Federal Energy Management Program to make the entire facility a model of energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
Consequently, a partnership resulted and the ARO ended up with the very first sustainable “green” office space in DOE, whereas the General Services Administration ended up with the Richard B. Russell Federal Building and Courthouse, a 1978 vintage building that received the coveted Energy Star designation in less than a year.
My leadership in this complex relocation exercise resulted in not only the very first “green” office within DOE, but also the very first existing federal building in the Southeast region to receive the Energy Star designation. Because of the energy upgrades and retrofits, the anticipated annual savings for the Richard B. Russell Building, based on a reduction of 5,000,000 kWh/yr, is $318 thousand.
Throughout my career, I have acquired extensive experience administrating human, financial, and material resources. My resource requirements are always well planned and presented; however, I always maintain a defined strategy for accomplishing the work when the resources are not readily available. My standard operating procedure is designed to do the “right things right the first time,” while maximizing the department's return on invested resources.
As ARO Director, I am responsible for the formulation and execution of an annual program direction budget in excess of $2 million and a program budget in excess of $30 million. I collaborate with other regional office directors to formulate and allocate the program direction budget for all regional offices. I hold an integral position in organizational summits designed to formulate an annual budget for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
My accounting training and background going back to the beginning of my DoD service experience, has been instrumental in aiding me to develop new perspectives about the federal budgeting process throughout my career.
The best example of this is illustrated by my tenure as Chief, Finance and Accounting at the Savannah River Operations office. I served for a time as the Director, Financial Management and Program Support. In that capacity, I was responsible for both budget formulation and execution for the Savannah River site. The Savannah River site annual budget for that time was about $2.5 billion.
Here, I was the principal federal budget official with the advantage of an accounting background. As a result, I gained a much broader perspective and an intimate knowledge of the federal budget process, particularly as it relates to DOE.
My auditing background, also going back to the beginning of my DoD service experience, has instilled in me the awareness that I am a steward of the taxpayer's money. My career is marked by the drive to constantly seek new ways of doing business and look for ways to be more efficient and effective.
For example, no entry-level employees had been hired into ARO in over 15 years, which resulted in an aging workforce. In my capacity as ARO Director, I hired three GS-7/9 entry-level staff members at what it would cost to hire one journeyman level GS-12/13 employee.
In addition to employing three entry-level employees with the value-added opportunity to train them from the ground up, I saved the department program direction funding. Because of this, I was able create a succession-planning program, which is not rivaled within the DOE.
As a previous Audit Manager and Auditor, I have extensive knowledge and experience in the procurement and contracting procedures and processes. I have audited contract management and administration at various organizational levels from minor service contracts to major system acquisitions.
My last audit manager assignment with the Naval Audit Service was of an audit requested by the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Engineering and Systems) entitled, “Internal Controls Over New Acquisition Program Initiations.” The audit appraised internal controls over new acquisition program initiations.
The experience I have obtained in the review of contract management and administration has enhanced my ability to lead this type of responsibility from an operational standpoint. Since my experience has been in a variety of areas and at different organizational levels, I have developed the ability to associate all this experience into a perspective that provides an enhanced overview for the entire organization.
For example, as Chief, Management Evaluation Branch, I accomplished these contracting and procurement activities:
· I led drafting of the initial directive for managing the Award Fee Program for the Cost Plus Award Fee contract with Westinghouse Savannah River Company.
· I have served as a member and Performance Monitor for Performance Evaluation Committees.
· I led the Savannah River Operations Office Contractor Performance Appraisal Program.
· I established and led the oversight of the Management and Operating contractor internal oversight function.
· I oversaw the conduct of independent studies dealing with complex technical issues to routine administrative matters.
· I have led or participated in task groups, at the request of DOE Headquarters, which addressed significant Internal Control Program (Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act) policy issues that had impact throughout the DOE.
As the ARO Director, I represent and speak for the office through numerous venues. For instance, Because of my active leadership in ARO budget development and administration, I have briefed Congressional staff regarding the regional office component of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy budget.
I regularly give presentations as ARO Director. On one occasion, I was required to hold an ethanol workshop in Raleigh, North Carolina in order to help define criteria for using landfill gas in the Georgia Green Power program.
To create the workshop agenda and to ensure its success, I called on a number of talented and experienced professionals to make presentations.
· Representatives from the US DOE Office of Fuels Development and the Southern States Energy Board opened the workshop with an overview of the National Biobased Products and Bioenergy Initiative and the Southern States Biobased Alliance.
· The Secretary of the Department of Administration gave an opening keynote address.
· A panel of state agency heads gave their perspectives on ethanol’s role in North Carolina.
· A legislative panel gave their views to wrap up the meeting.
As a result, the workshop was a significant success.
· Over 100 people registered for the meeting including about 20 walk-ins.
· The North Carolina Agricultural and Commerce Departments are now especially supportive of ethanol production and use in North Carolina.
· A leading ethanol plant developer in North Carolina that is also developing alterative starch and sugar feedstocks for ethanol production was an especially active participant in the workshop, assuring its commitment to the future of ethanol research.
On another occasion, I was asked to stand in at the last minute for the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy when an unanticipated scheduling conflict arose, which prevented the Secretary from keeping a speaking engagement.
With minimal notice, I organized and delivered the keynote presentation for the First Army Energy and Environmental Worldwide Conference held in Atlanta, December 2001.
With further regard to speaking engagements, I most recently delivered a presentation at the State Energy Advisory Board Meeting held in Washington DC, February 2002, entitled, “Status of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in the Southeast.” Before that, I gave two presentations in San Juan, Puerto Rico, November 2001, for the Alliance to Save Energy, Workshop entitled, “The National Energy Plan” and California’s Energy Crisis: An Overview.”
In support of ARO’s ongoing effort to foster strategic alliances with other agencies, industry, and state and local governments, I led the office’s participation in the Southeast Regional Biomass Program (SERBEP) FY01 solicitation process.
The joint review resulted in SERBEP’s approval of fourteen full proposals representing 10 states and the allocation of approximately $340 thousand among 10 projects.
As ARO Director, I maintain a working knowledge of all grant programs. The political sensitivity of these programs is high. When problems arise, an expeditious response is required.
For example, an issue related to a grant program in the State of South Carolina surfaced that resulted in a personal telephone call from the Governor to the Secretary of Energy.
I responded to this emergent problem by having maintained a complete knowledge of the situation and resolved the issue in an expeditious manner with only minimal political impact to the department. I accomplished this by leading a review team to South Carolina, assessing the situation, and providing a comprehensive report to the cognizant headquarters program manager.
Nick Marino - CertFedResWriter@stx.rr.com