Message from the Acting PSC Director
It is my privilege to serve as Acting Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Program Support Center (PSC). PSC is an organization with a great history — over 24 years — of supporting customers so that they can focus on their important missions.
Being in this role presents some great opportunities to look at ways to provide the best service. All of us at PSC along with the other components of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration (ASA) are working together to take on this challenge.
Our focus rests squarely on delivering best-in-class shared services: transparency, responsiveness, accountability, and high quality customer service. Our success depends upon our ability to take ownership of these priorities and infuse them in all we do, focusing daily on excellence as we endeavor to be the most valued service provider.
We will make sure you get what you need and pay a fair price, to ensure value so you can stay mission-focused rather than consumed by process.
I look forward to working together. Please continue to let us know how we can best serve you.
Acting Director, Program Support Center
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One-Stop Shop for Labor, Moving, and Storage
When customers have labor, moving, and storage needs, our Program Support Center (PSC) real estate, logistics, and operations service teams provide expert solutions, allowing agencies to focus on their core missions.
For example, when an organization faced a challenge of a large-scale renovation and office move to be completed in a building that involved multiple floors — and phases, PSC answered the call to help. Our labor and moving team removed all the furniture, office equipment, systems furniture, and case goods for reuse or disposal, in a significantly limited timeframe.
The team also accommodated the customer's needs to handle each phase during certain hours and within a week or less. It involved several days of work and about 20 extra staff for an undertaking of this magnitude. The project was done floor-by-floor, then in reverse, putting everything back so that it wouldn't affect the client's operations.
PSC is the go-to source for these type of logistical solutions. "We're a one-stop shop," said Jacob Michael, Branch Chief. "If the customer has a need, we can cut down on the contracting time they would otherwise need to go out and fulfill an order like this. They can just work with us, in simple terms."
Before that large move, which was on short notice, the PSC team moved a file room with about 70 pallets of federal records boxes, some of which were decades old. It freed up space. "We were able to provide a team to go in, box the records up, and label them in alphabetical order," said Michael. "Then we put them on pallets for storage until there is proper disposition from the National Archives to either dispose or get them delivered. So we've done quite a few things for that customer getting their building ready for this large move and renovation."
Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Chief Information Officer (OCIO) was doing a large refresh involving several thousand computers and multifunction printers. OCIO needed somewhere to store and deliver the equipment as requested. Our team made it happen.
“The guys were simply outstanding today! They were timely, professional, courteous, and helpful. Because of you and your team, I had a stellar day! You all are one in a billion of exceptional performance, customer service, and responsiveness.”
— Federal Customer
"Since the refresh was not happening all at once, we received the laptops and printers as they were purchased and then we stored and maintained them until they were ready to be delivered," said Michael. "Upon request, we delivered them in a short timeframe. We also did central receiving for those items because they're accountable. So we performed a central receiving function as they came in, recording the barcode, serial numbers, and entering them into the accountable property system."
Our labor and moving team provides expert guidance and comprehensive labor solutions to manage relocations of personal property, office items, and equipment. They do interoffice moves and relocations; furniture install, reconfiguration and removal; pickup and delivery of items; and furniture reutilization.
Our team is developing a furniture reuse program with an online catalog for HHS. The team has already assisted in the creation of an online catalog for a very large HHS agency. The HHS catalog will include items that agencies don't need but may be like new or in good condition and can still be used.
Our storage solution offers comprehensive general and specialized custom storage to meet customer-driven requirements to include secured environments. The team has warehouse space for items like records, furniture, and equipment.
Also available with storage are disposal services. "We dispose all media types, ADP (automatic data processing items), which covers hard drives, any type of IT equipment, cell phones, furniture, office items, scientific items, and large equipment," said Michael. "We do metal recycling and handle hard drive destruction so it's properly destroyed."
Visit the Labor and Moving service page or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the comprehensive labor solutions to manage relocations of personal property, office items, and equipment. Go to the Storage page to learn more about the general and specialized storage services our PSC team offers.
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Interview: Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisitions
James E. Simpson brings tremendous competency and talent to his role as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisitions, including his acquisition management leadership experience as a Commanding General in the U.S. Army. (A brief biography can be found below this interview.) Mr. Simpson began his role April 1, 2019, and PSC Partners interviewed him to get his vision for the PSC acquisitions portfolio.
What advice would you give to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) employees?
What I'd tell them first of all is to come to work every day committed to the mission and willing to give 100 percent. When you're at work, partner with your teammates to encourage each other to complete the mission. It's all about teamwork.
I think sometimes we often forget that, as a team, we can do a lot more and go further than we can as one individual. Michael Jordan didn't win championships by himself. He was on a team and if we work together as a team, as Mr. Rowell (Scott Rowell, Assistant Secretary for Administration) said during the town hall, we can move ASA (Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration) in the right direction. Morale will improve and productivity will increase. It's all about teamwork, and we have to get people focused on the team, and not individually.
What is your philosophy on leadership?
My philosophy about leadership is that leaders set the tone for the organization. The leader can go in his office every day and shut the door or he can be walking around, talking to people, motivating them, and influencing them to get the mission done.
The leader has to understand every day the pulse of that organization and the direction that he wants to take that organization. He needs to be out talking to his subordinate leaders, encouraging them to get results, but also encouraging them to train and motivate their people. Somebody's going to have to step up one day in their positions, identify talent, and then train, coach, and mentor that talent. That's what leaders do. They're out coaching and mentoring and training, ensuring that things are happening. They're also making sure that morale is headed in the right direction in the organization.
In your opinion, what is the best way to serve client agencies?
One of the things that was talked about during the all hands was customer service. I think when it comes to customer service it takes continuous communication. When a customer calls you, they want an answer and you need to be responsive. If you don't know the answer, get back with them in a timely manner; do your research.
They're looking for how responsive you are. If you're responsive to them, then you're doing the right thing. But do your research and get back to them. Just don't just shoot from the hip with answers. That's customer service, being responsive and giving them the right answer. That's what they want you to do. It's all about continuous communication, continuous communication.
What have been your main priorities since taking office?
I think the priority here is to improve contract execution oversight, and when we are doing that we can be better stewards of taxpayer dollars. We could be more efficient, and we can move the organization in the right direction. We can reduce costs which is the same as being better stewards of our taxpayer dollars. But that's what we've got to do here and also we've got to put the right business processes and procedures in place to get to do those things. We've got to be efficient. We've got to get the work out in a timely manner.
We've got to train the acquisition workforce, making sure they understand all different kinds of contracting processes and contracting methods, so they can determine which contract to use, such as a cost-type or a firm-fixed price, based on the situation. Then our acquisition professionals can train our customers and help them with their requirements.
What are your biggest challenges that you see for HHS acquisition services?
I think the biggest challenge we have is ensuring we have the right processes and procedures in place to be efficient. We need to continuously look at those, as well as how we are working with our customers. We should ask, "Are we being productive?" We have to continuously analyze our workload, and how we relate to the customers. I think that's our biggest challenge. 'Are we doing enough analysis in order to be more efficient?'
We're getting the work out but are we efficient at getting the work out? I think what we have to do as an organization is review our processes and procedures and tweak them. Maybe a process was good five years ago but it may not be good today. So we have to routinely evaluate that, then update as necessary.
How does your previous experience help in your current role?
After spending over 33 years in the Army in leadership positions from second lieutenant all the way up to Major General, I've seen a lot of challenges and opportunities. I've got a lot of experience and I think that my leadership skills and acquisition skills will benefit HHS.
I'm looking forward to working with all the members of the HHS team as a leader and as an acquisition professional. I'm truly humbled to be a member of the team. HHS has a huge mission and I want to be a part of the team that helps them meet all their mission sets, and help them accomplish their goals.
What interests outside of work give you the most fulfillment?
When I'm not at work I spend most of my time with my church family and my family. Those are the two priorities. If I'm not doing that, I'm reading a good book. So those are my priorities — my church family/my faith, and my family. For hobbies besides my family, I do a lot of reading, a lot of yardwork. Hopefully one day I'll get a lot of traveling in, but right now I'm happy with just spending time with my family and doing some things that we want to do after 33 years in the military.
BIO: James E. Simpson serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisitions (DAS-A) and joined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Administration (ASA) on April 1, 2019. Simpson oversees the entire acquisition lifecycle, including acquisition planning, solicitations and offers, negotiations, awards, and all activities associated with administration of government contracts.
Prior to joining HHS, Simpson provided strategic leadership for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) acquisition activities and was responsible for management direction of the DIA acquisition and procurement systems, including contracting and program management.
Simpson was the Commanding General, U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC), Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, where he led and developed a diverse workforce of 6,200 military, civilian, and foreign national professionals who awarded in excess of 170,000 contract actions valued at more than $54 billion, across over 105 geographic regions. Additionally, as the Head of Contracting Activity (HCA), Simpson managed efforts to ensure that all procurement regulations and policies were followed. Prior to assuming command of ACC, he was the Director of Contracting and the Deputy to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Procurement.
Simpson is a graduate of Lander University, Greenwood, South Carolina. He is a ROTC distinguished military graduate, and holds a bachelor's degree in political science. Simpson's advanced studies include multiple master's level degrees (in public administration from Central Michigan University, National Resource Strategy, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, and in business administration from the University of Texas at Arlington). He also holds a certificate in management from the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia; and a master's certificate in government contract management from George Washington University.
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PSC Empowers Health and Resilience for Federal Leadership
Every month senior executives from across the federal government travel to the Federal Executive Institute (FEI) campus in Charlottesville, Virginia, to participate in Leadership for a Democratic Society (LDS). This unique leadership development program is designed to prepare senior-level employees to better lead.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plays a big part in this holistic approach to leadership development. Since the fall of 2016, HHS Program Support Center's (PSC) Federal Occupational Health (FOH) has partnered with FEI to manage the health and wellness aspects. The mission of FOH — to improve the health, safety, and productivity of federal employees — is in direct alignment with FEI's vision of an energized and empowered leader.
"Healthy organizations require healthy leaders," FEI faculty member Michael Belcher says. "At FEI, FOH helps produce both. Thanks to FOH, FEI provides state-of-the art health and wellness services to over 1,000 government employees annually. Combining instruction, application, and inspiration, FOH teaches employees how to start and sustain healthy habits. Equally as important, the team ensures these lifestyle lessons can be taken home and applied in the workplace to produce healthy organizations."
The FEI program offers participants an unprecedented opportunity to step away from the pressures of their daily work and reassess their abilities, while learning new models, methods, and mindsets to be more effective. In addition to focusing on enhanced leadership tools and improve organizational effectiveness, the LDS program also focuses on resiliency, mental and physical wellness, and work-life balance. This is where FOH plays its biggest role. The participants often arrive tired and stressed, but typically leave with improved health and a renewed sense of purpose.
"The faculty at FEI agree that the programs FOH offers are critical to FEI's mission success," Belcher says. "Leaders need strength and stamina to persist during tough times and to achieve great things. FOH provides the knowledge and skills needed to stand strong in public service. We know we've succeeded when these talented, dedicated men and women return to their workplace renewed, refreshed, and ready to tackle whatever leadership challenges arise."
The LDS program provides a life-empowering and career-strengthening experience. "FOH is proud to be the wellness services partner with FEI," says John King, Director of Wellness and Health Promotion Services, FOH. "We share the belief that being a successful executive also means being a healthy executive."
Spending a month immersed in leadership and wellness opportunities at FEI has led to significant changes in the career and health of many executives. Dr. Roula Sweis, Chief of Operations and Management for HHS, attended the LDS program in June 2018. Her FEI experience made a tremendous impact on her life, especially the health and wellness services. In fact, she became more excited about showcasing her own fitness interests as a group exercise instructor with HHS employees.
"I had assumed I can't have these two worlds [fitness and work] come together in a meaningful way," Dr. Sweis says. "But I realized I can be the type of leader I want to be and still have a position of authority."
During the first week of the LDS program, the executives undergo a comprehensive series of physical assessments and fitness screening. Dr. Miriam Tavens, FOH's consulting physician, reviews the results. "Given federal agency's investment in our executives," Dr. Tavens says, "anything we can do to improve lifestyle choices and ultimately improve their health is clearly going to be of value."
Dr. Tavens applauds FEI's comprehensive approach to health — from the healthy food and quiet areas for private reflection, to the presentations by FOH on personal health and well-being. In addition, our team offers daily fitness classes, plus one-on-one consultations with certified nutritionists and fitness specialists. The instructors encourage the executives to identify habits they want to change and set attainable personal wellness goals they can continue when they return.
Another LDS graduate spoke to the effectiveness of the program saying: "I successfully lost 50 pounds. I am eating better, have more energy and feel amazing. This is the healthiest I've been in 18 years. I keep telling everyone that FEI reset my life. It truly did! Because of my physical energy and positive attitude, it has changed my stress level and how I interact with my staff. I know they appreciate the new boss, and so do I!"
FOH is proud of its contribution to the FEI program as they support leaders in their leadership journey in federal government. View additional photos for this article.
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Physical activity helps control weight, builds lean muscle, reduces fat, promotes strong bone, muscle and joint development, and decreases the risk of obesity.
Physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Combined with healthy eating, it can help prevent a range of chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and stroke, which are the three leading causes of death. The Get Physical health campaign, led by Program Support Center's Federal Occupational Health, includes tips to help you include more physical activity in your life.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) physical activity guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week. You don't have to do it all at once; you can spread this activity out over easy 30-minute increments, five days a week. Or you can choose from many activities and do them in bouts of 10 minutes. HHS also advises doing muscle-strengthening exercises two or more days a week.
Do what you love
The best exercise is one that you will actually do. So find a form of physical activity you enjoy — walking, biking, gardening, swimming, as long as it really gets you moving — and find time to do it five or more days a week. If it's something you love to do, you'll be much more motivated to do it regularly.
People have different likes and dislikes. This is just as true for physical activity as anything else. Here are some ideas for getting more physically active:
- Take a dance or aerobic exercise class to get your body moving and your heart pumping
- Start a walking club in your neighborhood
- Take public transportation and walk from the station or the bus stop to your office
- Take the stairs rather than the elevator
- Ride your bike or walk to do errands, like light grocery shopping, going to the pharmacy, or picking up dry cleaning
- Go for a hike with friends and family
- Join a local intramural team that plays your favorite sport
- Go swimming
- Play with your kids or your grandkids
Set realistic short- and long-term goals
You can also motivate yourself by setting short- and long-term goals. Break down your fitness goals into graduated steps that will logically take you from your short-term goals to the long-term ones. For example:
- I will check with my doctor to see if there are any restrictions or cautions I should be aware of, before I start my new activities.
- I will begin with two sessions of brisk walking for at least 10 minutes (for a total of at least 20 minutes each day) for the first two weeks.
- I will walk briskly for 30 minutes every morning and do 15 minutes of strength training every other day for the next three weeks.
- I will jog or cycle for 30 minutes every morning and add 10 more minutes to my strength training routine.
Track your progress
Having a clear picture of the advances you're making can help keep you motivated to stay with your program and meet your goals. Forms like those in the resources can help you get a better picture of what activities might be working well for you and which ones you find more challenging. By setting and meeting short-term goals, you can claim many "little victories" that spur you on to reaching your ultimate goal. Remember to celebrate these victories.
Way to go!
Giving yourself a simple reward when you reach you short- or long-term goals can be highly motivating. It reinforces the good work that you're doing and inspires you to do more.
Use the buddy system
Whatever physical activity you choose to engage in can become more enjoyable when a friend or two is doing it alongside you. Having a friend or a group involved helps keep you motivated, and that can give you a boost whenever you're lagging. Knowing that friends are depending on you to meet them for your activity is just the thing to help get you out of the house and keep you going.
When you're back to a higher level of fitness, you can save time by choosing vigorous physical activities along with your moderate physical activities. You can get similar benefits in less time. Check out the sidebar on moderate vs. vigorous activities for more ideas.
Calculate your activity level with the Physical Activity Calculator and learn more about moderate vs. vigorous activity at Program Support Center's Federal Occupational Health Get Physical health campaign web page.
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