EPA plans industry day for eco-conscious vendor marketplace

The focus on sustainability-oriented vendors reflects a culture change — "working for the cause, not your function," agency CTO Greg Godbout said.
Greg Godbout speaks at FedScoop's 7th Annual Lowering the Cost of Government with IT Summit in 2015.

EPA’s Greg Godbout speaks at FedScoop’s 7th Annual Lowering the Cost of Government with IT Summit in 2015.

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to hold an industry day in the next several weeks to hash out the details of a new marketplace of digital services vendors.

The marketplace would allow offices within EPA to put forth projects that a small pool of pre-approved vendors can bid on. To participate, vendors must use innovative development practices — like human-centered design, agile software development and DevOps — and must demonstrate they care about the environment.

EPA Chief Technology Office Greg Godbout told FedScoop he wanted to infuse the agency’s mission into all aspects of the agency, including its IT.


“The culture change that I’ve been so dedicated toward from inside federal government — the fundamental aspect of it is working for the cause, not your function,” he said. “So, I may have an IT function and I work in the Office of Environmental Information, but I came to the EPA [to work in] in 21st century environmental protection.”

How potential vendors would make the case that they are eco-conscious has yet to be determined and would be discussed at the industry day, he said. Though, Godbout noted many companies already have adopted environmentally oriented practices, like using EnergyStar computers or leasing LEED-certified buildings.

“It’s the beginning of this, so it’s not like we’re going to come out really hard,” he said. He added, “We just want to ensure these basic best practices are being adhered to and that the people who are helping to build the mission-critical systems of the future for EPA are walking the walk.”

The EPA posted a solicitation about the new marketplace toward the end of last year, requesting information and comments from the public and industry about the proposal. Godbout said about 45 companies responded.

[Read More: EPA mulls marketplace for eco-conscious vendors]


Godbout came to EPA about a year ago, after serving as executive director of the General Services Administration’s digital team 18F, where he set up a similar marketplace. He said other agencies are also following 18F’s model, though he said EPA’s stands apart because it guides offices through the whole acquisition process — it’s “full-service delivery,” he said.

“We’re trying to provided world-class, specialized services that free up the programs to do environmental protection,” he said. “And that’s how IT can help drive mission value.”

Godbout hopes to launch the marketplace itself by the summer.

“I can’t wait to get it up,” he said.

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