Leaders within the government contractor community will be the first to point out that the industry’s growth and maturation over the past several years hasn’t been about products or services, but about people. Individuals within industry, government and military who moved the needle forward in ways that spawned innovation and, at times, ushered in the type of reform that might have been painful in the short term but necessary over the long haul.
And so it was this week, with Cong. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va) announcing he will retire at the end of his 14 year term, that the government contractor community will see a key architect of government procurement reform move on.
Cong. Davis, through his role as chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sought to streamline and improve the way government acquired goods and services from Federal contractors and make more efficient use of taxpayer dollars – all while ensuring that these reforms did not choke the industry’s growth or slow its development. By successfully balancing these goals, Davis is considered a key driver of Northern Virginia’s emergence as a tech hub – considered so critical to the region’s sustained job growth and stability.
One of the reasons Davis proved so effective in shaping Federal procurement reform and innovation is that he developed deep and broad expertise that few if any in Congress could match. And as someone who consistently reaffirmed his commitment to stretching the taxpayer dollar further and advocating issues important to Federal employees, Davis could propose legislative reform deemed credible by all sides.
While Davis will surely remain active throughout his remaining term, he already leaves behind a legacy for demanding accountability. Spearheading legislation such as Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and the E-Government Act of 2003, Davis sought to enable Agencies – and Congress – to more effectively track progress on key technology programs.
While Davis will likely head to the private sector for now, it is clear that public service remains in his bloodstream. “I would say I’m not ruling out future public service, but it’s time to be refreshed, to see what it’s like in the private sector. That doesn’t mean I will or won’t come back.”
While it is hard to please everyone while serving in the public sector, it is even more difficult to earn universal respect. Davis did that.