The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Pinnacle Awards were announced Oct. 8, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place virtually Nov. 12.
Next up is AI Government Executive of the Year finalist Keith Nakasone, who’s deputy assistant commissioner for acquisition in the Office of Information Technology Category at the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service. Here, he talks success, future focus areas and career advice.
What has made you successful in your current role?
What has worked well for me in my current role is the ability to enhance the IT portfolio by making strategic changes to accommodate emerging technologies and empowering the workforce to implement the change. That has led to success for each member of the workforce, which in my mind is the best success — a legacy of change.
What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?
I’m most proud of injecting emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and distributed ledger technology, within the suite of procurement vehicles. The result has been the accelerated adoption of innovative technology solutions through GSA’s IT vehicles — valued at over $29.5 billion this past year. The easier we in government can buy emerging tech, the easier we can employ it.
What are your primary focuses areas going forward, and why are those so important to the future of the nation?
Three major focus areas are as follows: digital IT workforce transformation; the injection of innovative IT solutions through our governmentwide acquisition solutions; and adoption of leveraging emerging technologies (AI, machine learning, RPA, etc.).
Focusing on these areas is important to national security, ensuring optimal competition within the industrial base and building a workforce for the future.
Looking back at your career, what are you most proud of?
Looking back over the past 32 years, I’m most proud of developing my procurement skills and my personal passion for IT. By specializing in IT, it allowed me to develop innovative procurement solutions to deliver governmentwide IT solutions more efficiently and effectively — a proud public servant to further the IT modernization initiatives through acquisition solutions.
What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
The best career advice that I can provide is “Never Stop Learning!” Any leader of an organization must continue to keep up with changes and grow, especially within the acquisition and IT career fields. Leaders must be able to understand how we can leverage emerging technologies with a focus on change management.