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Biden Unveils Pick To Lead GSA, Oversee Government's 376M SF Portfolio

Robin Carnahan, the former Missouri secretary of state whom President Joe Biden nominated to be GSA administrator.

President Joe Biden has made his pick to lead the General Services Administration, the agency that oversees the federal government's 376M SF real estate portfolio.

Biden announced Tuesday he intends to nominate Robin Carnahan, who previously served as Missouri's secretary of state and as a GSA official, to become the agency's next administrator.

Carnahan was elected twice as Missouri's secretary of state, serving between 2005 and 2013, according to her LinkedIn page. She then spent two years at strategic advisory firm Albright Stonebridge Group before joining the U.S. government.

In 2016, she joined 18F, a division inside the GSA that partners with government agencies to improve technology services. She founded 18F's State and Local Government Practice and led the practice until last year. 

"At GSA, Carnahan helped federal, state and local government agencies improve customer facing digital services and cut costs," the White House announcement said. "In particular, she taught and empowered non-technical executives about how to reduce risk and deliver better results for the public by more effectively budgeting, procuring, implementing and overseeing digital modernization projects."

The GSA has two branches: the Federal Acquisition Service, which procures goods and services for the government; and the Public Buildings Service, which manages the government's owned and leased real estate footprint. Biden has yet to name a PBS commissioner, an official that typically has a more hands-on role in the government's real estate strategy. 

For the first two-and-a-half months of Biden's term, the GSA has been led by acting Administrator Katy Kale, and the PBS has been led by acting Commissioner Allison Azevedo.

President Donald Trump nominated GSA Administrator Emily Murphy in September 2017, and he appointed PBS Commissioner Dan Mathews in July 2017. The two officials served until the end of Trump's term. 

Mathews, in an interview with Bisnow in January, said he sees multiple challenges that the next GSA heads must tackle.

He said the GSA will need to continue to push Congress to grant it full access to the Federal Buildings Fund, giving it a greater ability to spend money to renovate its owned properties. Biden's GSA will also look to restart the long-stalled FBI headquarters search, and it will continue to work through the government's backlog of lease expirations.