FAA's Washington to retire after 33 years in government

Thursday - 12/2/2010, 2:54pm EST

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

Jim Washington is retiring from the Federal Aviation Administration after more than 33 years in government.

Washington, FAA's Air Traffic Organization's vice president for Acquisition and Business and chief acquisition officer, announced he will leave Jan. 1.

"I know it's a good time to make a change," Washington said in an interview with Federal News Radio. "I've always been interested in applying my skills in the commercial world. I've been in government for 33 years and I want to do something with my federal experience to continue supporting aviation in a broader context. This transition is an opportunity for me. I'm not going to retire and play golf and tennis every day."

Washington said he is not yet sure who will replace him.

Washington has led ATO's acquisition efforts and shared business services initiatives, which includes information technology, human and labor relations and legal services. He also oversees $3 billion in annual contracting.

During his career, Washington said he is most proud of several large contracts FAA and ATO awarded over the past few years.

He said the Systems Engineering 2020 multiple award contract, which is worth $7 billion over 10 years, includes the largest single set-aside for small business ever done at FAA.

"There is a lot of research and systems engineering activities that service contract vehicle supports," he said.

Washington also points to the E-Fast contract for small businesses as another successful small business effort.

"It's the preferred vehicle to use small business in eight pre-qualified areas," he said. "We are about to provide an on-ramp in January for additional vendors to join the contract. I think it's a model for the rest of government for how to develop and use multiple award vehicles appropriately."

Additionally, Washington said he's proud of ATO's acquisition workforce effort. The bureau hired more contracting officers-32-than it lost-16-in 2010.

"We have targeted recruitment at all three levels," he said. "Folks coming out of colleges and universities, people with contracting experience at the mid level and people with veteran experience in contracting to tackle more complex challenges. We have demonstrated the ability to attract the best and brightest acquisition workers."

Before coming to FAA, Washington began his federal career as a Presidential Management Intern with the Transportation Department and has served the FAA in various management positions in the Alaskan and Great Lakes Regions.

Washington was the acting Associate Administrator for Airports at FAA headquarters in 1996. Most recently, he served as the FAA's director of Air Traffic System Requirements before becoming the CAO.

(Copyright 2010 by FederalNewsRadio.com. All Rights Reserved.)