We’ve been proudly Managing the Business of Government™ for 20 years!
Twenty years ago, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Donna Shalala, established the Program Support Center (PSC) as a Federal Shared Services Provider (FSSP). PSC was created to serve as a customer service center to provide a wide range of administrative support services to components of the Department and other federal agencies.
The federal shared services model continues as PSC has grown offering over 40 services to
all federal agencies worldwide. PSC provides products and services within five key market areas: administrative operations, real estate and logistics, financial management, occupational health, and procurement management.
In celebration of PSC’s 20th anniversary, we thank all our customers for their unwavering support. PSC serves you, improving approaches and developing products with proven results, which drive efficiencies, optimize resources, support transparency, save budgets, and streamline processes — so you can focus on your core missions.
To help mark this important milestone in our history, we have developed a PSC 20th Anniversary Web page to highlight and remember our history. Many of our employees have been here since the beginning. So many people have contributed, developed, and led the success. We’ve gathered some of their thoughts. We also have spotlights on our outstanding service and support, comments from customers, spotlights on innovation, and reflections from past directors.
What Our Customers Are Saying…
“Thanks for providing us with guidance on the best way to proceed with our requests; communicating regularly with us regarding the status of pending jobs; and getting things done for us more quickly than we could have ever expected. I just wanted to let you know what an absolute pleasure it has been for my office to work with you and thank you for the outstanding service your office has provided us!”
― Director, Medical Records, National Institutes for Health
“Thanks for taking care of this so quickly — you are always great to work with and provide terrific procurement support!”
— Program Officer, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
“...(PSC's) stepped in to support us at the eleventh hour…and finally ensured that this contract was awarded before the October 1 deadline. Every day, I became more and more impressed and grateful..."
— Director at the Office of the Surgeon General
“Thanks for always being there to assist FDA with anything that we need in lightning speed. We appreciate great customer service.”
— Food and Drug Administration
“...I recommend the FOH Organizational Development team without hesitation to all of our federal colleagues in need of such services.”
— Assistant Secretary for Administration, HHS
“I'm acknowledging PSC for consistently excellent work. I admire how your staff shines in times of uncertainty, during transitional periods, and when dealing with difficult customers. Not only does PSC have a solid understanding of contract law and policies, but they offer exceptional customer service, responsiveness, perception, calmness, patience, and solutions.”
— Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
“...[PSC] stepped in to support us at the eleventh hour…and finally ensured that this contract was awarded before the October 1 deadline. Every day, I became more and more impressed and grateful...”
— Director at the Office of the Surgeon General
“Thanks so much for your assistance during the acquisition process and for completing the award in a timely fashion. We could not have done it without PSC’s dedication, attention to detail during document reviews, and timely and clear communications.”
— Office of the Inspector General, HHS
PSC Answers Nation’s Calls to Respond to Emergencies
Above is a photo of Ground Zero taken by FOH.
Above, workers try on personal protective equipment from head to toe.
From left: Dennis McCann, Bradley Christ, Joe Tkach, Joseph Terra and Sue Bracy at the 26 Federal Plaza staging area.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of PSC,
Service Matters is highlighting some extraordinary support during times of crisis for our nation.
PSC’s Federal Occupational Health (FOH) has answered the call to duty, time and again, responding to several major events and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of federal employees. Here’s a look at some highlights of support in the last 20 years of PSC.
One event was
9/11, the largest attack on the U.S. since Pearl Harbor. FOH responded rapidly with various efforts, and it turned out to be a long-term project. The response was part of a Joint Task Force coordinated with support to agencies such as the FBI, FEMA, DOD, U.S. Marshalls, and NYPD.
John Hisle served as FOH Director from 1993-2005.
“We were part of a huge team,” recalled Hisle. “We primarily supported people who were traumatized, or federal agency employees and contractors who were responding to the crisis.”
FOH deployed a large cadre of staff, including EAP counselors from other places in the country and an environmental health support team, and supplemented the local clinical team. There was a large center in NYC to coordinate the federal, state, city, and agency efforts.
“I can't think of anybody that I knew or came in contact with who didn't bend over backwards in order to respond, and assist those folks who were dealing with the crisis,” said Hisle. “For example, we put out a notice that ‘We need EAP counselors in New York tomorrow,’ and we had an overwhelming, ‘Yes, I can do it.’ It’s not only putting your hand up to volunteer, but you're actually going to move there and stay for weeks and months on end.”
People were traumatized from every perspective, explained Hisle. “We had the clinics in place, EAP counselors in place, and industrial hygiene under contract,” he said. “The question was ‘Can you expand your services?’ It’s much easier to expand your services, than start from scratch.”
“The industrial hygiene team had one of the hardest physical jobs in the world, sifting through the wreckage. They were also testing the residue from the towers for harmful agents, and trying to protect people who were working on those sites from being ill themselves. One of the things they did, was go through the debris looking for remains to help identify the victims. This is work that was way beyond the typical call of duty.”
Bradley Christ, Director, FOH Environmental Health Services, PSC, was one of the first staff on site immediately following the incident. The team had a fully operational response with 12 hours of notification.
“We had several roles such as assisting with the FBI evidence recovery team, risk assessment, personal protective equipment determination and distribution, and equipment and materials procurement,” he explained. “We also did training and fit testing, air monitoring and lab sample analysis.” The FOH Clinical Health Services team provided various health services from the Health Unit at 26 Federal Plaza, which became a staging area.
The team ensured that more than 700 joint task force members were briefed, equipped, and fitted. They procured and distributed $75,000 worth of safety supplies, continued monitoring and oversight at the landfill site, and continued support of the FBI, United States Customs Service, and United States Secret Service for equipment decon and public health concerns. FOH supported the FBI evidence recovery teams at the Fresh Kills Landfill. As the FBI teams combed through all the debris, FOH oversaw the industrial hygiene assessment efforts, including food safety inspection at the work site.
Thomas Fussco, FBI Regional Safety Manager from NYC, praised the support. “FOH was an integral part of the response team and we could not have pulled off the response without them,” he said. “The talent, dedication, and professionalism demonstrated by your personnel were second to none. You guys just walk on water and bring out the best in people around the team. You are considered part of the FBI family.”
In the days following 9/11, fear and anxiety continued. Employees in the federal building who saw the planes that crashed were concerned about more terrorist attacks. When a toolbox was dropped, making a loud sound, the building was evacuated. The EAP staff were inundated. In just a week after 9/11, another crisis started:
Bioterrorism attacks, as letters were mailed with biological agents such as anthrax to several news media offices, and U.S. Senators’ offices in Washington, D.C. Concerns heightened during that two-month period.
FOH played roles in support of the anthrax response efforts to help protect the health, safety, and welfare of federal employees. This support included establishing a command center, facility surveys and sampling, and coordination with the CDC and GSA to compile the sample data. They inspected the U.S. Capitol building and federal mailrooms for 35 agencies and 120 facilities. There were 1,400 samples collected and analyzed. The team developed decon procedures for seven facilities, directed oversight for two facilities, and held 33 awareness briefings for 11 agencies.
FOH has also responded to other major events, such as:
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005), which were back-to-back Category 5 hurricanes. Support was provided in the form of FEMA disaster response team health units, onsite EAP and crisis counseling, performing environmental testing of federal facilities including air monitoring, mold remediation, checking for hazards like asbestos and lead, water intrusion into buildings, and associated electrical hazards, field safety assessments, onsite food service sanitation support, and clinical nurse support to the camps for appropriate care and vaccinations.
“These were extraordinary events that caused massive devastation and required every bit of the resources we had,” said Christ. “A lot of road signs had come down and it was difficult to navigate in the time when GPS wasn’t common technology, so we secured GPS devices and learned how to use them on the go.”
Oklahoma City Bombing (1995). FOH provided services such as onsite EAP and crisis counseling for USPS and 10 other agencies, FEMA medical assistance and health unit, and protective equipment determination. It was the first large-scale urgent event in FOH history.
No matter the challenge, PSC’s FOH has responded and provided solutions in a timely and thorough manner, working to ensure employees knew where go to for help. “The entire team has done a spectacular job on these urgent events: working day, night, weekends, and holidays,” said Christ. “We did whatever it took to get people out there on the ground and provide the support for the health, safety, and welfare of federal employees. It worked out very well.”
PSC’s Supply Chain Management Services Provides Historic Support
There have been many high-profile disaster relief events in PSC's history, often requiring PSC's Supply Chain Management Service’s (SCMS) facility in Perry Point, Maryland, to spring into action! The SCMS, formerly known as the Supply Service Center (SSC), has often been there, behind the scenes consistently providing top-notch logistical support. Time and again, SCMS's staff have been the unsung heroes.
Commander Bill Koch on deployment for Hurricane Ike in College Station, Texas.
Irene Grubb, Business Operations Manager, SCMS, has watched the business grow, take on additional projects, and support a vast array of different operations.
“We don’t always necessarily get all the glory but the people who are out there doing it on a daily basis couldn’t do what they do unless we did what we do! We’re there to support our customers in providing whatever supplies they need... for whatever they’re responding to.” Here are some historical highlights:
1996 - Olympics bombing in Atlanta - PSC provided medical supplies for emergency services to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
1997 - Korea Air Flight 801 which crashed in Guam,
1999 - Egypt Air Flight 990 that crashed into the water off the Nantucket coastline, and
9/11/2001 - in New York City and the Pentagon - provided casualty transport supplies for all three events.
1998 - USAID was involved in health initiatives in developing countries such as Nicaragua. PSC provided a myriad of medications. PSC also deployed a pharmacist to provide assistance to medical personnel to respond to specialized patient needs.
2001 - Anthrax mail attacks on the federal government and news media offices. “Everybody wanted antibiotics to be able to protect their workforce,” said Grubb. “At the time, we stepped up our repackaging operation and were repackaging doxycycline, which is the first go-to antibiotic for these types of things. Also, ciprofloxacin, which is the next step up antibiotic that would be used for anthrax. Even though that particular scare has long-since passed, most of the federal entities with stockpiles have Doxy and Cipro stockpiles and a good bit of those came from us.”
Post 9/11 Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) - For a number of years, PSC sold the system materials to metropolitan areas. The system was initiated by HHS and the purpose was to ensure communities were prepared and developed capabilities to address bioterrorism through the use of biological or chemical warfare tactics. The response capabilities for the medical and healthcare facilities were developed and are defined through the MMRS Program. PSC distributed an immense amount of material to major metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. to first responders.
Pharmacists and U.S. Public Health Officers deployed - Commander Bill Koch and Captain Murray Potter have been deployed to support pharmaceutical needs following hurricanes. PSC provided medical supplies for the Federal Medical Shelter Program led by CDC.
2005 - Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (back-to-back category five) - PSC provided medical supplies and pharmaceuticals for medical clinics, including roving RV hospitals, as the normal hospitals were destroyed.
2009 - H1N1 flu virus pandemic - PSC was on the forefront when this flu started in South and Central America and worked its way north. PSC shipped antivirals to customers to take to the border. PSC produced, administered and distributed vaccines out to the masses in the U.S., then had to collect and destroy unused supplies. “We were involved from beginning to end,” said Grubb. “We operated a desk 24 hours, seven days a week, where we could get the calls from CDC to ship the supplies. While Peramivir was not approved for general use, FDA issued an emergency use authorization. PSC had the entire supply and was part of the patient authorization network involving CDC and FDA. PSC would get medication and supplies shipped to the bedside within 24 hours, and successfully provided materials to every single patient that called in.
Support for clinical trials - PSC supported clinical trials, including a study called Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), for repackaging and distribution. If you go to almost any pharmacy and pick up a package of Centrum Silver, it will usually reference the successful AREDS study on the bottle.
Combat support hospitals - PSC built hospitals with supplies for first line emergency surgery on wounded war fighters for DOD entities overseas, mostly for the Army. PSC also did labeling of medication stockpiles and relabeled medications for the Shelf Life Extension Program, which started out as an agreement between DOD and FDA to extend the expiration dates on certain pharmaceuticals. FDA would get the products tested for potency dating and extend the expiration date. “When you're buying millions of dollars worth of pharmaceuticals, it's tough to just throw them away and buy new,” said Grubb.
USS Cole ship bombing - The ship was brought back to the U.S., refitted and repaired. PSC resupplied the infirmary when it was refurbished.
Ongoing - various medical kits for embassies and consulates around the world. PSC provides basic supply support to the embassies and consulates, mostly in the Eastern Europe and Northern Africa regions. “It's typically for embassies that are not in well-developed countries, i.e. they can't run across the street to the local drug store and they have very limited supply access,” said Grubb. The kits are on-site and off-site and provide a wide variety of basic care for a trauma type of an event, with a lot of bandages and ways to clean wounds, splint, and initial antibiotic care.
2015-16 flu season - PSC recently shipped out flu vaccines to be administered by PSC’s Federal Occupational Health and other federal entities nationwide to federal employees, as PSC does annually. PSC also provides medical related supplies such as bandages, pamphlets, aspirin, and whatever else needs to be dispensed, as well as vaccinations for travelers.
The team always stands ready with quick turnaround time. One time there were horrible floods in North Dakota. “We had originally been told on Friday afternoon, ‘Stand down, it's not happening,’” said Grubb. “Then we got the call at 10:30 that night, saying ‘It's happening.’ We had people on-site, trucks to be loaded by midnight, and they had all the trucks loaded and on the road by 3 in the morning to get them out to North Dakota.”
The PSC Shared Services Model
Ever since PSC was created in 1995 under then-HHS Secretary, Donna Shalala, as part of Vice President Al Gore’s Reinventing Government Initiative, our mission has been to provide a full range of shared services to HHS and other federal agencies. We enable them to better focus on their core mission. By providing the “back office” administrative functions to our customers, PSC allows them to focus on things like curing cancer, preventing food contamination, and providing Medicare and Medicaid to Americans.
PSC Service Matters asked PSC Director Paul Bartley to reflect on the question: Why has PSC’s model of federal shared services been so successful?
I think the reason we are successful is because, under our fee-for-service model,
PSC listens to customers and crafts solutions to meet their needs. PSC’s business approach centers on listening to our customers, and utilizing our expertise in responding to their needs with high-quality solutions at the lowest possible cost.
We are one of 10 major shared services providers in the federal government. PSC is the largest, and I would argue the most effective. On the growth side, we have experienced significant growth over the course of 20 years to where we now offer over 40 services, which sets us apart from the other federal shared service providers, who mainly focus on finance, IT, and HR service offerings. We do everything from managing health clinics to delivering mail; from sustainability programs to negotiated contracts; and from financial reporting to a pharmacy repackaging line.
It is that diversity of services, and the expertise behind those services, that enable PSC to distribute operating costs over a large customer base, and to deliver a level of performance and cost effectiveness that most organizations cannot attain independently. This integrated and comprehensive service offering allows us to be more competitive in the overall market, and it helps us meet our yearly strategic goal to grow by 10 percent in market share.
The future is bright for PSC and for our model of shared services. We will continue to succeed by providing excellent customer service, and by continuing to adhere to PSC’s values, which are the foundation for PSC. Those operating values include:
Subject matter expertise
Integrated comprehensive services
Accuracy and reliability of data
Ease of use
PSC Inspires Innovation in
Managing the Business of Government™
PSC has a history of being a leader in the federal government with innovation. We strive to improve business operations for our customer agencies in the delivery of our services. We look for efficiencies in business processes, cost savings, and leveraging technology, which results in better, faster, and lower-cost services.
We seek out innovation in different ways. Some of the key ways include ideas from our talented staff, feedback from our customers to meet and exceed their needs, as well as reviewing industry best practices.
Transit Subsidy Automation
A perfect example of one of our innovation successes has been our transit subsidy benefit program. The days of standing in line or making special trips to pick up transit media are in the past. PSC moved the transit subsidy program from traditional paper checks to a Visa charge card, which has been branded and trademarked as the
Our strategy surrounding the
GO!card was aimed at creating demonstrable value to both our customer agencies and their employees, as well as vastly increasing internal operational efficiencies. In essence, our strategy was to “do more with less” by streamlining and automating the distribution process, identifying cost savings and cost avoidance for us and our customers, and reducing waste, fraud, and abuse.
The innovation has yielded the intended results, including:
GO!card eliminated the need for manual entry of transit subsidy distribution. The application removed all paper from the process and eliminated the need for signed documents. Previously, program participants who were issued a
GO!card had to sign a paper cardholder agreement. With the upgraded transit benefit process, users report their commuting schedule more accurately, as the application captures various work arrangements. Improvements to the system were developed based on: customer feedback, lessons learned, legislation, reporting requirements, and existing frequently asked questions.
Improved Internal Controls
GO!card program helped prevent the potential for fraud, waste, or abuse within HHS by utilizing the bank’s Electronic Access System to monitor the actual amount being spent on transit costs each month. There’s greater accuracy, compared to manual entry of written information from paper applications.
Customers are charged only for what they use, allowing them to de-obligate unused funds and devote them to other uses. Also, both HHS and our customers realize savings immediately, rather than only at the end of the fiscal year. This approach allows all stakeholders to plan and budget more effectively. The
GO!card discovered many cost savings, not only for PSC, but for all of HHS: it allowed resources to be focused on their core mission rather than on manual entry of data into a system. With the actual usage amount being tracked by the bank, the cardholders who are not utilizing their full subsidy amount are having their funds reduced, which provides for additional cost savings.
Bringing It All The Way To Today
We launched a self-service portal in GovZone that went live October 1. Users can log in to a brand new, modernized, compliant system. This automates the request, approval, and distribution of travel benefits for
10,000 HHS employees.
Digital Document Management
Another way PSC has innovated is through the Digital Document Management service. Many of our customer agencies are seeking to reduce their real estate footprint and costs. The federal government is transforming paper-based processes into more automated systems. Why? Because it saves storage space, conserves natural resources, and saves money.
Going paperless transforms a company’s processes. Consider: Professionals spend 5 to 15 percent of the time reading information but up to 50 percent looking for it. Companies spend $20 in labor to file a document, $120 to find a misfiled document, and $220 to reproduce a lost document.
This is where we are stepping in. Digital document conversion eliminates the need for room upon room of storage. PSC’s Mail and Publishing Services team takes stacks and stacks of documents, overflowing file cabinets, and we put them in a digital form so that it can be searched and shared throughout the office ― even accessed remotely.
PSC offers digital conversion and archiving of large and small-format documents, forms, images, microfilm, microfiche, VHS and other types of tapes, to a digital format. We provide paper document scanning, indexing, and data entry services on-site or off-site.
As an example of digital conversion, a federal agency was faced with moving to another location and had between 50 and 60 file cabinets full of paper — much more than the new space could accommodate. We came in and scanned all the files, verified that all the material was archived, destroyed the paper copies, and presented the customer with 10 CDs that contained all of the material that had previously resided in those file cabinets. Another time, we received 90,000 paper pages on a Friday, scanned them over the weekend, and provided the customer with the files on a CD by Monday morning. In both cases, the problems were solved.
On a larger scale, we have helped several agencies consolidate their documents prior to their “Smart-Size” moves and one other agency that has warehouses full of paper that will go on for the next three to five years. We can help offices make the directive to become paperless by 2019 a reality.
GovZone Modernization Boosts Delivery of PSC Shared Services
GovZone™ is taking major modernization steps this fall, transitioning to a fully featured e-business platform and introducing a totally new, up-to-date user experience. These steps will have positive impacts not only on our customers, but on the way PSC is able to deliver shared services business processes as well.
From the user perspective, the modernized GovZone interface the user experience ― reflects the same type of experience users have with other leading service providers online like Apple, Microsoft, Pinterest, and others. Within the new
GovZone home page, customers find a carousel of all of the orderable services available to them.
It’s the behind-the-scenes changes in the GovZone modernization that have the most impact, and opportunity, for PSC: GovZone has gone completely modular. GovZone now implements what we’re calling Orderable Service Modules. The first two examples of these new modular services are the Conference Tracking & Approval (CTA) module, in support of the Office of Grants and Acquisition Policy and Accountability (OGAPA), and the Transit Subsidy Management module, supporting our own Administrative Operations Portfolio.
Not only can these modules be developed to support portfolio services, they can be tailored to provide customer-specific functions and user experiences. Using customized web pages, the new workflow engine routes and controls work and communications such as notifications, reports and emails, allowing PSC to tailor work to the specific needs of our customers. It’s a pattern that can be repeated for any number of departments and agencies across a broad range of standard PSC shared services.
The modernization of GovZone offers tremendous opportunities for PSC. We now have a platform that can take our e-business to new levels and expands to cover the breadth of our portfolios. It can also serve as an incentive to rethink our business processes, streamlining physical processes with digital alternatives that can have positive customer and organizational impact. Welcome to the new GovZone!
PSC Celebrates Our 20th Anniversary!
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of PSC, 1995 to 2015, PSC is highlighting this accomplishment throughout the year.
We have researched significant moments in PSC’s history and have developed a timeline below. We welcome your input for additional milestones. You can send an email to
Some Former Directors Reflect on the 20th Anniversary of PSC
Interview With Former PSC Director Curt Coy
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of PSC, 1995 to 2015,
PSC is highlighting this accomplishment throughout the year. We interviewed
Curt Coy, who was the Director of PSC from 2000 to 2002.
As you reflect on the 20th anniversary of PSC and your time as Director, what are some of the experiences and memories that stand out? Are there significant achievements of which you are especially proud?
There are several. I think the one thing that stands out the most is 9/11. I was the Director during 9/11. That day had a chilling effect on me as it did for millions of others. The PSC and most specifically FOH responded magnificently.
I can remember trying to understand what was needed in New York City and the Pentagon from a Federal Occupational Health standpoint. What I recall most is the fact that HHS and PSC thought there would be a need for a lot of medical staff and adjunct emergency room personnel in New York City specifically. Come to find out, there were few, if any, survivors. Instead, FOH set up counseling units and assistance centers.
I can remember going up to New York City less than a month after 9/11 to see our PSC staff who worked only blocks from the World Trade Center site as well as the work FOH was doing. The site was still smoldering. I was taken down to the site in a golf cart because the area had been roped off by the FBI so you needed to be escorted. Being down at Ground Zero was just bone chilling. I was extremely proud of how both PSC and FOH responded.
I suppose that besides the 9/11 experience, what stands out is the idea that I would get the opportunity to lead an organization like PSC. At the time, PSC was cutting edge in doing the business of government and making government work like a business with balance sheets, income statements, and so on. Finally, the other thing was marketing PSC services. I think during my time we created the newsletter, and I was asked to give speeches and talks to get the word out across the board. When I was brought in, one of my charges was to grow the business, but that direction changed somewhat to manage the business well, rather than try to grow it.
What did you enjoy most about your tenure?
The people certainly, and the challenge, were the things I enjoyed most about my tenure. I tried to make a difference. In the world of the business of government, we do enough things wrong, but we also do a lot of things really well. I would write and send emails to all PSC employees to tell them some of the things going on to generate discussions and keep the conversations going. Transparency was important.
What were some of the changes that occurred? Did you notice big strides for PSC when you started and completed your tenure?
I was asked by Secretary Donna Shalala to be the second Director of PSC, succeeding the first Director, Linda Regan, who had been there about five years. So she created PSC, and it was a unique time. Basically, my charge was to take PSC to the next level. The first Director stood up PSC, an enormous undertaking, but the administration thought it was time for new leadership and a new perspective. I came on board in September 2000. The election was only weeks away and we all remember that it wasn’t clear who was the winner for weeks. So only months after I arrived, we had a new President, a new Secretary, and a new administration. They clearly had some ways they wanted to use and leverage PSC.
What do you think makes PSC special and unique in the federal government
? The PSC is a fee-for-service business. There is a process to take on the business PSC provides, and there’s also the possibility that PSC can lose the business if they don’t perform very well. I think that’s unique to the government because clients have the ability to opt out of PSC services, in many cases, and opt in if they want. I think the other interesting piece that makes PSC so special is the service and supply board, if you will, the board of directors for PSC. As Director, I had to make my case to the board numerous times.
I think the board appreciated my candor, honesty, and attempt to be as transparent as possible. Part of their discomfort was they didn’t feel they were getting the transparency and customer service they needed or wanted. It’s a unique situation in the federal government, where you have to work within a budget, you have to build a pricing structure acceptable to your customers, and you have a board of directors that oversees that budget. So it’s a wonderful system of checks and balances that I think is unique to the federal government.
To what do you attribute the success and stability of PSC?
I think the success of the PSC lies in the checks and balances I just mentioned and the people. The system of checks and balances proves that it’s not an autonomous organization. There are very few unilateral decisions. It’s a very consensus-oriented organization. Thinking about budgets and pricing and business, the Director and senior staff have to reach some level of consensus on how to approach such matters and make decisions. Then once those decisions are made, they have to go to the board and have things make sense there, which is a unique, interesting scenario. When I left PSC, I became a Deputy Assistant Secretary, and I was on the board of directors. I was sitting on the other side of the table, and I think I’m the only person with that perspective.
Could you have imagined how much PSC would grow and advance?
Yes, I could have. It was part of the plan, if you will. Success breeds success. The leadership of PSC has been stable for a while now, and that’s been a good thing. Paul Bartley is the exact leader PSC needed at the time, and I will tell you that I think he remains the great leader PSC needs as you go forth. So watching PSC sustain its growth and advance is a nice legacy. It certainly would have been disappointing if at some point it hadn’t succeeded and then you would have been wondering what flaws would have caused that? Under Paul’s leadership, he’s been able to identify the flaws and the shortcomings and take action to do something about them.
What type of leadership and legacy do you feel you contributed to the success of PSC?
I don’t think I did anything other than try to manage the resources in a transparent and accountable way.
It’s the people of PSC, the customers, and the board of directors that have contributed to the success of PSC. The PSC is a special entity.
Bio Mr. Curtis (Curt) Coy
. Mr. Coy was appointed to be the first Deputy Undersecretary for Economic Opportunity in the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), on May 9, 2011. In this role, Mr. Coy oversees all education benefits (GI Bill), vocational rehabilitation for wounded warriors and disabled Veterans, loan guaranty service (VA Home Loans), Veterans transition and employment issues, and VBA collaboration with Department of Defense programs. These programs work collectively to assist Veterans in achieving personal and economic success.
Prior to this appointment, Mr. Coy was a senior executive at HHS for nearly 11 years. For eight of those years, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). In this role, Mr. Coy was responsible for exerting corporate leadership to ensure the success of the business aspects of the ACF mission — more than 70 national social service programs with a total budget of over $47 billion in grants. He held other key senior leadership roles in HHS, including Director of the Program Support Center and Deputy Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer of the Food and Drug Administration.
For almost seven years, Mr. Coy worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers as a senior Managing Consultant. Prior to his civilian career, Mr. Coy served in the Navy for 24 years as a Surface Warfare and Supply Corps officer. He began his military career as an enlisted member in the U.S. Air Force. He subsequently accepted an appointment at the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating with the Class of 1975.
He is the recipient of a number of distinguished awards, including a Presidential Rank Award in 1984, the Surgeon General’s Medallion in 2002, and the HHS Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009. His military decorations include Meritorious Service Medals, a Commendation Medal, and Achievement Medals. Mr. Coy has been selected as a Fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration and the National Contract Management Association.
Mr. Coy was awarded two master’s degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. A strong believer in higher education, Mr. Coy served as an Adjunct Associate Professor for the University of Maryland University College Graduate School of Management and Technology as well as for two community colleges. He has been selected for the International Who’s Who of Professionals, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who Historical Society. His greatest source of pride, however, is being a father and grandfather and a devoted husband to Denise.
Interview with Inaugural PSC Director
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of PSC,
PSC is highlighting this accomplishment all year. The first PSC Director was
Lynnda Regan, who served from March 1996 to October 2000.
Before PSC, Ms. Regan worked at Westinghouse for 28 years. She was hired by then-HHS Secretary Donna Shalala. After PSC, she worked for NIH and retired three years ago.
As you reflect on the 20th anniversary of PSC and your time as Director, what are some experiences and memories that stand out? Are there significant achievements of which you are especially proud?
First of all, I think you should tell employees that I said, “Congratulations to PSC and everyone for hanging in there for 20 years!” I think that is a real accomplishment. Something everyone should be proud of. You know, you’ve got to pat yourselves on the back a lot. I think this 20 years is a perfect opportunity.
Standing up the PSC was a huge achievement. In the beginning, we had to gain the trust of our employees and our customers. One of the main things was that we were non-political.
One of the aspects I enjoyed most was watching PSC grow, and we became an accepted service provider in the government. PSC was big when I started. It was just pulling everything together, and that was a challenge.
What was it like to help stand up PSC as the first Director, and get it up and running? How was PSC received by employees and customers?
It was fun for me because I really like new things. The employees that liked new things thought it was fun and took it on as a challenge. I think many were also scared to death. They were afraid about their jobs. The customers certainly weren't used to paying for anything, and they knew that they were going to have to now. The service areas we had included Financial Management, Technology, Administration, Acquisitions, and Human Resources. Curt Coy took over after me and did a good job. He carried on what I started.
What were some challenges and opportunities?
The biggest thing was getting accepted as a service provider. Nobody had charged before. We charged for everything we did and we went out of business in a couple of services.
You ran PSC like a business?
That's exactly why I got hired. I ran a business in Westinghouse for a long time, and Secretary Shalala hired me to do exactly the same thing at the PSC. And we did. We ran PSC as a business. We didn't make money, but we had to break even.
You said that the fee-for-service model was kind of a shock to some in the government?
Yes, it was. A lot of people don't like change, and we had a whole lot of it, so that was kind of different. I think 1) employees trusted me, and 2) figured that they ended up having a little bit of fun, which I think is very important. We did some fun stuff like picnics. Anything you can do to improve communications is good.
What did you enjoy most about your tenure?
Probably turning everybody into believers. And we did. Because if they weren't on board, they were gone. That's the way I am. I'll give you a chance, and then you either get on the bandwagon or get out of my way. People knew that. All we had to do was lose a couple of non-believers and people said, “Oh, she means what she says.” I couldn't afford to have negative thoughts, you know what I mean? We were trying to get going and grow and get accepted, and I didn't want anything holding us back. We simply didn’t put up with it at all.
I reported directly to the Secretary and I had tremendous support from her, and everybody in the government knew it. That was a real plus.
What were some of the changes that occurred? Did you notice big strides for PSC when you started and completed your tenure?
The acceptance factor was huge ― by the employees and the customers. What I did, actually, is get some momentum, and then Curt came in and kept it going. So that's what you need. I did the base and got it rolling, got everybody thinking and in a positive mood.
How did you get people to believe and accept PSC if they were nervous and unsure?
Well, we had good people, but you asked me, “What was the success and stability?” It was the people. I think I got them to trust me. That was one thing. I listened to what people said and then we took action.
We had Director’s Forums. We had a lot of meetings, like All-Hands meetings. We had a lot of that stuff. We always invited our customers to our All-Hands meetings.
You sought to bolster customer relationships?
Oh yeah, because we were charging for everything we did. I believe that customer relationship management is everyone’s job.
What makes PSC special and unique in the federal government
? Well, I think the fact that we charge and we cover our cost. I think the fact that we're not political, because the federal government is pretty political.
To what do you attribute the success and stability of PSC?
The people, the ones who stayed around. We had some good leaders. I'm a good leader, but my people were too. We had good leadership and we had fantastic folks. A very, very talented group of people. Yeah. I think they were believers. If they weren't, they left.
I'll tell you what, it was a fun job. I'm the type that I really like to have a good time and get people involved and smile and laugh, and we did that. I really don't think it was tense at all working at the PSC after I had gotten kind of settled in. It’s fun and quite rewarding.
Could you have imagined how much PSC would grow and advance over 20 years?
I think that we had a good foundation to grow on, and then Curt and everybody else after me grew it, which is a compliment to each one of them. I think we just built upon each other, which was wonderful.
An employee recalled that you were a firm believer and supporter of federal employees, got to know employees, listened to opinions, and ensured recognition was a top priority. Also, you learned about capabilities and how to make operations better. What type of approach did you take?
I'm very hands-on. My management style is management by walking around. I listen, and then I act quite quickly. I instill trust. I think, when I left, everybody in the PSC trusted me. When I first got there, they were scared to death because we were fee-for-service, and they didn't know how to charge. We had to cover our costs, and they were worried about their jobs.
What type of leadership and legacy do you feel you contributed to PSC?
I think the main thing is trust, a real positive attitude, and getting everybody's buy-in. You've got to do that. Like I said before, you either get on the bandwagon or get off. If you bitch and moan and complain, you drag the thing down, and you really don’t have time for that stuff. No. It does a lot of harm, and it does no good at all. I think we did a real good job of getting a good foundation. I am proud, and I'll tell you what, it was fun.
My job with PSC was my first job ever in the federal government. As a matter of fact, when Secretary Shalala hired me, I didn't know anything about being a fed or government or any of that, and she brought me right in.
I think everyone should be proud that PSC's been in effect for 20 years. I really enjoyed myself. It was rewarding. Definitely. Tell everybody I said “Congratulations and hello.”
Would you like to share any reflections, memories, experiences, history, and mementos about PSC? Please contact John Moynihan at (301) 492-4650 or