Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their work.
Anne Rung is the Senior Director of Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
A year ago I moved from Pennsylvania, where I was born and raised, to Washington, D.C., to join the Department of Commerce as Senior Director of Administration. Prior to my move to Washington, I worked for Governor Edward Rendell in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Under Governor Rendell, I served as Deputy Secretary for Procurement and Administration for the state’s largest operating agency, the Department of General Services (DGS). Because of significant budget challenges in Pennsylvania, our team at DGS focused on reform efforts to drive down costs and improve efficiencies.
I joined the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Administration and CFO to assist with similar reform efforts underway at the Department of Commerce, including acquisition reform – a top priority of Secretary Locke. Under his leadership, we’ve embarked on an Acquisition Improvement program to deliver greater results, greater savings and greater acquisition efficiencies. Our efforts include a new approach to defining requirements, better identifying and managing high-risk projects, smarter buying, and performance metrics to ensure accountability.
I’m particularly focused on the Commerce Cost Reduction Project, one component of the Acquisition Improvement effort aimed at saving taxpayer dollars. Last month, President Obama and Vice President Biden launched the Campaign to Cut Waste to identify and eliminate waste and inefficiency in government. Our project, which began in March, is designed to accomplish the administration’s goals for its waste-cutting campaign. The Commerce project, which includes shutting down wireless zero usage lines, printing double-sided and black and white, and identifying contracts that can logically be combined across the Department – like PCs, copiers and wireless devices–will streamline our operations and significantly reduce costs. By saving taxpayer dollars, we can ensure that we meet our challenging budget goals, while continuing to invest in mission-critical programs at Commerce.
What I’ve learned from working in D.C. and Pennsylvania, and would constitute my advice to any young person entering public service, is to draw from the diverse experience and viewpoints of the many people with whom you work. When decisions are made through collaboration and cooperation, it enhances the likelihood that implemented reforms will be pragmatic, realistic and successful.
The people I admire most and who motivate me are my friends and family. My dad taught for forty years before retiring, my five brothers and sisters and their spouses entered public service, and my mother stayed home to raise six kids, the ultimate act of public service. I’ve also been shaped by my travel experiences. Before the age of 22 I had lived in Canada, Hawaii and Taiwan, where my dad taught math, and in England, where I studied. I loved living and learning abroad, but it also made me realize how incredibly fortunate I am to live in the United States. I am therefore grateful for the opportunity to work in the federal government and contribute in my own small way.