Public Sector Partner of the Year (co-winner): Joann Kansier

"The naysayers thought the political hurdles would be too high for us to succeed, but I always believed we could."

Joann Kansier, FAA

Zaid Hamid

The day Lockheed Martin Corp. officially took over a flight services network for the Federal Aviation Administration, Joann Kansier's husband sent her flowers with a note that read, "To the little train that could."

As head of the FAA's competitive sourcing office, Kansier oversaw the A-76 competition in which Lockheed Martin won a $1.9 billion contract to run the Automated Flight Services Stations network. It provides weather brief-
ings, national airspace information and other services to pilots of noncommercial aircraft.

Many in government and industry told Kansier the project would never succeed, she said. They said the A-76 competition, which let contractors compete for jobs held by the FAA's 2,500 flight service specialists, was fraught with political land mines. As the project proceeded, it was assailed by lawsuits and challenges from federal employee unions, questions from Congress and suspicion from contractors.

"When I came into work each morning, it was like coming into a firefight," she said.

But Kansier persevered, and Lockheed Martin, which in February won the contract, began operating the flight services network in early October. The government expects to save $2.2 billion over the life of the 10-year deal.

For her efforts, Kansier shared the Public Sector Partner of the Year award of the 2005 Greater Washington Government Contractors Awards. The other winner is Greg Rothwell, chief procurement officer for the Homeland Security Department.

Kansier has served in government for 32 years, the last three as director of the FAA's competitive sourcing office. She has high praise for her 17-member project team. Despite the roadblocks they encountered, she said, they stayed focused.

The project is noteworthy for yet another reason: the contract is performance-based. When FAA invited contractors and government employees to bid, it described the results it wanted and the metrics it would use to measure performance, but it let bidders propose the solutions. Lockheed Martin's contract contains financial incentives both for performance goals and for cost-savings, Kansier said.

Although she is an enthusiastic supporter of A-76 competitions, Kansier said she recognizes the turmoil these competitions cause government employees. She received angry e-mails at work and voice messages on her home phone from FAA employees who did not want their jobs outsourced to the private sector. She worked with contractors and the FAA's human resources department to create an attractive benefits package for FAA employees who transitioned to Lockheed Martin.

"I did everything I could for our employees," she said.

Kansier's office has now turned its attention to overseeing the contract. She describes it as a win-win for government and the pilots who rely on the automated flight service stations. The government saves money, the pilots get better service, she said.

"The naysayers thought the political hurdles would be too high for us to succeed, but I always believed we could," she said.

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close
SEARCH
 Top 100 Slideshow
contracts DB

Trending

  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Read More

  • Is SBA MIA on contractor fraud? Nick Wakeman

    Editor Nick Wakeman explores the puzzle of why SBA has been so silent on the latest contractor fraud scandal when it has been so quick to act in other cases. Read More

Webcasts