OFPP's Gordon says goodbye to government service

Dan Gordon, current administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, has accepted the position of associate dean of government procurement law studies at the George Washington University. He starts his academic career on Jan. 1.

“GW Law is a world-class venue for teaching, research and writing about government contracting. I am returning to a community that I know and cherish,” Gordon said in a press release from the university.

The announcement comes the day after Gordon received the public sector partner of the year award as part of the Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards program on Tuesday night. He was hailed for his commitment to an open dialogue between government and industry, particular for his "myth-buster" program to teach procurement officials how much flexibility they have in communicating with contractors to develop and manage contracts.

“Long recognized as a thought leader, in his nearly two years as administrator Dan led important initiatives, from expanding and rebuilding the federal acquisition workforce to addressing a number of significant acquisition policy issues," said Professional Services Council President Stan Soloway in a statement reacting to Gordon's move. "But perhaps his most important contribution was his tireless efforts to bring open, reasoned debate and discussion back to federal acquisition."

“Dan Gordon’s departure is a loss for the government. Dan was always open to hearing all perspectives and was fair in his treatment of our concerns on the myriad of issues he addressed during his tenure," said Trey Hodgkins, senior vice president for national security and procurement policy at TechAmerica.

Hodgkins praised Gordon's work on the Office of Management and Budget's 25-point plan to reform IT acquisition and management, saying in a statement that it was a "significant step forward and a blueprint for modernizing government."

For the new job, he said he’s taking his experience at OFPP to the classroom.

“Procurement policy is intertwined with procurement law, but seeing things from the policy side has enriched my understanding of the importance and the impact of procurement law,” Gordon said in the GW release.

Gordon was confirmed as OFPP administrator in November 2009. Since then, he has developed and instituted acquisition policies supporting more than $500 billion of annual federal spending. Previously, he spent 17 years at the Government Accountability Office in various roles, including managing associate general counsel in the Procurement Law Division, deputy general counsel and acting general counsel.

“In Dan, [President Barack Obama] selected someone with decades of experience working with the federal procurement system,” Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew wrote Nov. 2 on the OMBlog. “When Dan began at the White House, he brought with him a commitment to openness and integrity, combined with a strong sense of what we needed to do to improve the federal acquisition system, after too many years of neglect."

Gordon is already familiar with the university’s law community through previous service as a member of its adjunct faculty.

One of his goals as associate dean is to explore the connections between government contracts and other disciplines, such as corporate, public international and anti-trust law. He also wants to find new ways to reach students, even in untraditional methods.

“While GW Law has a long history of excellence in the area of government contracts, adding the position of associate dean should provide opportunities for building on that history to take the law school even further,” Gordon said.

The university is excited for Gordon to join.

“I can’t imagine a more worthy successor to the Nash and Cibinic legacy than Dan Gordon,” Steve Schooner, a professor at the university said, referring to program founders and industry legends Ralph C. Nash, Jr., and John A. Cibinic, Jr.

“He’s a gifted teacher, a natural mentor, an accomplished scholar, and he’s distinguished himself as one of the generation’s most significant leaders in public procurement law and policy,” Schooner said.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Reader Comments

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 Jawaralal

Yes, Dan is all those wonderful things. But he really did the president and all of us a dis-service by bailing so soon after getting there.
Kind of like the White House CIO--take forever to get in place, stir things up a bit, unveil some plans, but then not see much through. Result--the OFPP position has been largely empty, due to short stints or the quality of the incumbent, since Steve Kelman held the post. We need help, and we need it now. Dan, good man that he is, had scant effect on the office.

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