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April 2, 2008


Big welcome to new sponsor Orr Partners (see our recent story on them). Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the firm is the region's go-to owner's rep whom non-developers call on for big projects. Count 'em: They've done five projects for over $100M each! 


Martha Dorris is a big deal—your voice for conversations with the government.  She heads up the GSA office that maintains USA.gov, Kids.gov, Consumer-Action.org and other government websites.  USA.gov serves as one-stop shopping for services like government auctions and complaints to federal agenciesWith Eliot Spitzer being old news, we took a seat on the couch in Martha’s office for a proper definition of government services.


Paperless, schmaperless, huh? 


When she took over the newly created office in 2005, Martha began cleaning house and taking names—well, changing names.  She changed the hard-to-remember FirstGov.gov to USA.gov.  Within a year, name recognition went from 11 percent to 36 percent and now the site gets 97 million visitors.  It’s also available on mobile devices.  To foster innovation at the government, Martha must be a futurist.  “We have to think of things so early that even though it takes a long time to make it happen, we are still ahead of the curve.”  Last year, she unveiled GovGab.com (formerly “Ask the Beauracrat” until that title was nixed by legal).  It features 6 GSA bloggers dishing out daily tips and information.  Next up for Martha is incorporating wikis and YouTube.   


Martha recently spent a week in the Bahamas.  Don’t know if she took her close aide, left.


Staying ahead of the curve has kept Martha, 48, going throughout her career and at home. She began at the GSA as a secretary while attending community college. She juggled a full time job and a high risk pregnancy all while finishing up her degree in business management and information systems at AU. Over time she’s put in more than 26 years at the agency.  At home, Martha spent last year planning for when her daughter (and main travel partner) left for college. To keep busy, she took over the American Council on Technology the same month her daughter graduated from high school.



It might be hard to top her recent trip to Sedona, above.  But Martha is already thinking about next year’s travels. She plans on celebrating her 50th birthday with a high school friend. “We’re not sure where yet, but someplace warm,” she says.



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