The Business of Government Hour


About the show

The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. The executives discuss their careers and the management challenges facing their organizations. Past government executives include Administrators, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Information Officers, Chief Operating Officers, Commissioners, Controllers, Directors, and Undersecretaries.

The interviews

Join the IBM Center for a weekly conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business.

George Fields interview

Friday, June 22nd, 2001 - 20:00
George Fields
Radio show date: 
Sat, 06/23/2001
Intro text: 
George Fields
Magazine profile: 
Complete transcript: 

Arlington, Virginia

Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and the co chair of The Endowment for The Business of Government. We created The Endowment in 1998 to encourage discussion and research into new approaches to improving government effectiveness. Find out more about the Endowment and our programs by visiting us on the Web at

The Business in Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. Our conversation today is with George Fields, director, Transportation Administrative Service Center at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Welcome, George.

Mr. Fields: Thank you very much.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, let's start by finding out more about TASC. Can you describe the activities for our listeners?

Mr. Fields: TASC is a unit of the Department of Transportation. We were officially created as a separate unit within the Department of Transportation in 1995. It was one of the reinvention initiatives. Prior to that time, the unit had existed as the Department's working capital fund. And, essentially, the Department, as most other government agencies, has administration within their purview and the Department decided to breakup policy from the operations side of administration.

Mr. Lawrence: How many employees are at TASC?

Mr. Fields: There are approximately 280 employees.

Mr. Lawrence: And could you compare the culture at TASC with the culture with the rest of the Department of Transportation?

Mr. Fields: TASC is a not-appropriated-funded agency. And, as such, we have a sense of urgency with respect to the programs that we're administering, or I should say the services that we're delivering. Given that we receive no appropriation, all of the revenue that's generated is based upon our ability to deliver services that are both cost-effective, as well as services that are deemed to be of value to the customers. So there's a real cultural difference here.

Mr. Lawrence: So without revenue for services, there might not be any TASC?

Mr. Fields: Without revenue there may not be a TASC. There may not be employees that are performing these functions.

Mr. Lawrence: And when you say it generates a sense of urgency, what does that mean?

Mr. Fields: It means that employees fully understand that they have to have satisfied customers -- customers that are, in fact, willing to pay for the services delivered. Otherwise, we would, in fact, not exist.

Mr. Lawrence: Well, tell us about your career. Tell us, you know, what led you to where you are now.

Mr. Fields: Mine is a rather interesting career, in that I had graduated from the University of Kansas, and at that time, had studied political science, but as most political scientists, realized coming out of school, you know, you generally look to do just about anything. I always had an intention to go into government. I saw it as a noble calling.

I started my career with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, in the management intern program there. And studied, while at Kansas City, a number of areas, transportation being one of those, budgeting, financing, and saw very much at that early stage the real benefit associated with understanding the operations of government -- not so much the matter of delivering direct service to customers or to the public but, really, appreciating the actual operation and flow of government.

I moved from there and actually started my own business. So, I got little bit of the private sector into me in that I understood how to make a payroll at that time; I had an electrical wholesale company. I sold that company and then moved to the East Coast and at that point did some work in county government, the County of Arlington. And after that, went to work at the state government and worked under two governors. In state government, I was politically appointed as the Deputy Secretary of General Services, and following an approximately ten-year stint with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, then came to work here at the federal government. So, I've had an exposure, in terms of government, city, county, state, now at the federal level.

Mr. Lawrence: And then how did you get involved with TASC?

Mr. Fields: The Department of Transportation, at that point, in 1995/1996 was contemplating the creation of this organization, and it sounded extremely attractive to me because it looked like an opportunity actually run a business inside a government organization. So, it was a blend of the kinds of things that I, in fact, had been involved in and very much, you know, was attracted to.

Mr. Lawrence: You've had private-sector experience, yet most of your career has been with public service. What drew you to public service?

Mr. Fields: It sounds a little bit corny, but it's the nobility of the service. I very much have been interested in serving the public and have never had an interest in working in the private sector, other than if it were for myself and, in that instance, I would in fact control. I'm very much interested in terms of the programs that are, in fact, delivered to the public. And from my perspective, those programs are affected by how one, in fact, shapes them from the inside, and I feel as though I can make a contribution that way.

Mr. Lawrence: How would you compare the ability to deliver programs at the county, state, and federal levels?

Mr. Fields: At the city/county level, you have a little closer contact with the citizenry. Here at the federal level, you're a little bit more removed. However, I think the concept and the basic principles are still the same. How can you, in fact, deliver services that are of benefit to the public? You know, what is it that the public is looking for? How can you, in fact, deliver that in a cost-effective way? And, quite frankly, take into consideration all of the public, not just simply individual segments.

Mr. Lawrence: Does the culture differ at the different levels of government?

Mr. Fields: Yes, very much so. I think that you see at the city and county level, very much more citizen participation in what is, in fact, being delivered to the public. That sense of citizen participation is lost once you look at it from the federal level. I think there are many efforts ongoing to try to do that kind of outreach, but I don't think it nearly gets there as it does at the city and county levels.

Mr. Lawrence: Which positions best prepared you to be the leader of TASC?

Mr. Fields: I would say, quite frankly, my experience in my own business. In that environment, I truly did understand what it took to actually develop a business, make a payroll, and understand how to make those rather critical calls necessary to keep the doors open every day.

Mr. Lawrence: How do you translate that experience to someone who has had a career not in the private sector?

Mr. Fields: I would say that if, in fact, you understand the issues of accountability, which is rather key here, I think it's very easy to understand then that the public is looking for someone that's delivering services to them, that is keeping the public in mind, and making certain that those services are very much attuned to what that public is looking for. I don't think that it's any secret what occurs in the private sector. The private sector is looking at, if you will, the quarterly return, you know, what is in fact in the best interest of that private-sector company at the end of the quarter. Same thing here is true with respect to the taxpayer. They're looking for that return, as well.

Mr. Lawrence: In your years of government service, what qualities have you observed as key characteristics of good leadership?

Mr. Fields: Surely, there are a number of factors but I would say that, as I look at that, a couple factors are probably key, character being one. Character as it relates to one's ability to obtain trust of those that you are leading. Because without trust of those, you cannot, in fact, lead an individual and/or a group. And, so, character is extremely important.

I think the other thing is a matter of connection with employees or with individuals, because without a sense of connection, you're asking to lead someone and asking them to perform without really having appealed to their heart, quite frankly. And until you've appealed to the heart, you cannot get an individual to perform for you. And so I think a combination of character and connection with the individuals that you're attempting to lead.

Mr. Lawrence: Do you think these characteristics have changed over time, or will change going forward?

Mr. Fields: Doesn't matter the time, doesn't matter the issues of how much technology we're introducing. I think those are basic human instincts.

Mr. Lawrence: Okay, that's a good stopping point. I'm talking with George Fields. This is The Business of Government Hour. We'll rejoin our conversation in just a few minutes. (Intermission)

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and our conversation today is with George Fields, the director of the Transportation Administrative Service Center at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

We know that TASC has had some involvement in the recent increases in public transit ridership being reported here in the Washington metropolitan area and nationally. What's TASC's contribution in this effort?

Mr. Fields: We're rather proud of our contribution here. It's a behind-the-scenes activity but, quite frankly, that's how we deliver most of our services: behind the scenes. In April of 2000, the President signed an Executive Order that extended a transit benefit to federal employees, specifically here in the National Capital Region where the transit benefit was to be made standard at $65 a month and going up to $100 a month come January of 2002 in the rest of the nation and other regions. That was optional.

In any event, TASC, for the Department of Transportation and a few other agencies throughout the metropolitan area, we had in fact been delivering these services by way of delivery and administration of their transit benefit programs. A rather small activity for us over about a nine-year period. And this even predates TASC. With the signing of the Executive Order, and that taking effect in October of 2000, many agencies found themselves faced with the rather large hurdle of how do they, in fact, implement such a program in such a short period of time.

We had stepped to the plate and suggested that we could deliver a rather holistic approach to delivery of transit benefits for them -- without them to replicate, in each instance, such a program for themselves -- and have been rather successful at that over the last year period. We've increased from about a $15 million revenue-generating activity for TASC to about $113 million activity for TASC, just in this area of transit benefits. And now we're delivering to all but one of the cabinet agencies, and we're delivering that service across the board to all those agencies and across the nation, not just here in the metropolitan area.

Mr. Lawrence: What were the management challenges from expanding that program so quickly to be so large?

Mr. Fields: You can't imagine the challenges associated with that. Even a private-sector firm going through that kind of a growth in short period, you know, really finds itself faced with some challenges.

Probably our largest challenge has been a matter of attracting and obtaining the right mix of personnel that would staff this activity. We went through a series of, literally, burning people out in terms of long hours before we were able to get fully staffed in order to meet that October 1 time line. But we have finally gotten there. We still have a number of issues yet facing us, such as our accounting systems that haven't kept pace, but we think that we at least understand the issues that we can systematically address those.

Mr. Lawrence: One of the services provided by TASC is contract administration. Could you tell us more about this service?

Mr. Fields: Contract administration is one of the services of one of our business practices. TASC is divided into ten separate business practices. We established ourselves along the lines of a professional services organization. This particular practice, we call it acquisition services, we provide the normal contract and acquisition services of any contract shop that any agency would find themselves faced with.

However, one of the unique features associated with TASC is that we provide expertise in niche areas. And with respect to our contract services area, one of the niche areas of expertise that we have or, I should say, centers of excellence, that we have is our ITOP program. And ITOP stands for Information Technology Omnibus Procurement. And that was a creation of the procurement reform, streamlining of procurement. And you think back, maybe ten years ago, when we were having this influx of information technology acquisitions, most of those acquisitions were taking anywhere from a year to two years to achieve. The technology was advancing so rapidly, it was almost impossible to acquire the appropriate technology for customers, in fact, to have that technology be meaningful for them, and it's taking you that long to acquire it. So by the creation of ITOP, what we're able to do is move from a year's time to do an acquisition to, in some instances, as little as three weeks. And so, what we've done there, is we've put the contractors under contract to deliver certain categories of services, and we're able to reach those contractors almost immediately to fulfill customer requirements.

Mr. Lawrence: How's TASC helping agencies comply with the Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Guidelines, which require that Web sites of agencies be accessible to disabled Americans?

Mr. Fields: Approximately two years ago, in anticipation of these requirements and in conjunction and consultation with the disability community, the Department created, through TASC, the Department's Disability Resource Center. That particular center was established for the purposes of providing accommodations to employees with disabilities. This act, the 508 Act requirement, is just one aspect of accommodation for employees.

Once again, this is an area where a particular service is provided by TASC where we have expertise within that particular unit that can respond to employee requirements, employee needs -- in this instance, employee requirements as it relates to disabilities.

Mr. Lawrence: We also know that TASC provides human resource services to customers. Could you tell us more about that and which services are most popular with the customers?

Mr. Fields: We provide the normal recruitment, benefits counseling, retirement counseling, kinds of activities as part of our human resource activity. But again, we provide those services with a look towards providing real expertise in terms of value to our customers and, as a result, we are able to reach out to customers outside of DOT. And that's a feature that we have within TASC in that the services that we're providing within DOT, we're trying to make certain that those services are broad enough that we can, in fact, cross-service other agencies so as is the case here with our human resources activities -- not just providing the very traditional retirement counseling, but providing real expertise as it relates to retirement counseling, so that it becomes attractive to other agencies to want to use these services and so, to a great degree, word-of-mouth would suggest that others want to come to you to use those services from you.

Mr. Lawrence: TASC has a Worklife-Wellness program that promotes health and fitness and provides disability resource center, career counseling and even employee assistance services. What kind of impact do these things have on staff?

Mr. Fields: I would say it has a rather tremendous impact. In �96, when I came to the department and began to work with TASC, our Worklife-Wellness activity was one of those activities that many within the Department questioned; I mean, what's the relevance of this to my ability to deliver services to the public? And it was our challenge to demonstrate that an individual that is treated in terms of the issues that are surrounding that individual, beyond just simply that work setting, is a more productive individual for you.

And it didn't take long for us to capture, quite frankly, the hearts and minds of those within DOT to realize that this is an extremely worthwhile activity. Our fitness center is a good example, in that we have one of the highest rates of participation as an employer in our fitness center of any within government. And, quite frankly, that's something for us to be extremely proud of. Now, many may say, what does that really have to do with delivery of services by the federal government to the taxpayers?

Well, the reality of it is that if in fact we can pay attention to the health and well-being of the individual, that individual's going to be more productive for you.

Mr. Lawrence: It's time for a break. We'll be back in just a few minutes with more of The Business of Government Hour, and our conversation with George Fields. (Intermission)

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and our conversation today is with George Fields, director of Transportation Administrative Service Center at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

George, what's "TVU"?

Mr. Fields: TVU is the Transportation Virtual University. We have branded that just for Department of Transportation, however, we have carried the same concept to other agencies, such as HUD and have branded it around HUD. But what it amounts to is electronic learning and distance learning.

We find ourselves in a time, when time, quite frankly, is a value. Individuals aren't able to take the time to do the rather traditional classroom training, and individuals are looking for training when they need it, as they need it, what they need. And this whole method of electronic training is a way of achieving that.

TVU is something that we're rather proud of, in that we recently received an award -- recognition for our efforts here in that we have blended some new technology, while keeping the individual in mind, in terms of the design of the course, work design of the activity that the person is learning. And as a result of the award, I think, that we have gotten some recognition. It's been a little bit slow-starter for us in terms of the service, but I think that we'll probably be expanding this and you'll probably be hearing more about it. It wont' be necessarily TVU, because again, it's branded towards each of the agencies that we may deliver for.

Mr. Lawrence: We know that one of your roles at TASC is to manage the Headquarters Procurement Project, which is leading of new space for the Department of Transportation. What are the biggest challenges in managing this process?

Mr. Fields: It's several challenges. Of course, we're looking to obtain the support of both OMB and Congress. We're looking for making certain that we have a viable strategy for how we, in fact, are going to house the employees of DOT. We have been participating in a procurement process since June of last year, and I guess the biggest challenge for us today is just simply trying to bring conclusion to that procurement.

Mr. Lawrence: What lessons-learned could you pass on to other leaders undertaking a complex facility project?

Mr. Fields: I can't say clearly enough: Define your project goals. You have to understand what your goals are and keep yourself focused yourself upon those goals. I would also suggest that, and this is something that we learned, before we started the project and we're very grateful that we followed through with it: Bring in someone from the private sector to be of assist to you. I think that too often we in government are rather myopic in our views as to how to achieve things. And I think in a proper partnership relationship with someone from the private sector, the real estate community in this instance, we have found that to be quite beneficial to us. Mr. Lawrence: TASC is self-described as a customer-service oriented with both the public and other agencies as customers. How do you build a customer-service culture?

Mr. Fields: Asking that question is like asking, 'how do you build the foundation of TASC?' Our whole foundation is based upon customer service. Customer service is, in fact, part of our logo itself. Service, value, success -- whenever you see the name TASC, you'll see under that "service, value, success." We very much are focused upon how the customer is, in fact, going to be serviced here.

From the very beginning of an employee's employment with TASC, we take them through a very specific training to orient them to this whole concept of customer service. And especially those that are longstanding within government, where they're coming from an environment that we're working off of, in many instances, mandates because we're talking about statutory requirements. That's not the case with TASC. TASC has a culture where we do not survive unless we're satisfying customer requirements, keeping the customer ever-focused upon, you know, our minds, because it affects our revenue.

Mr. Lawrence: How does TASC build partnerships with other government agencies, particularly those partnerships that provide additional services?

Mr. Fields: Those partnerships are built based upon our ability to deliver. And our ability to deliver is demonstrated to those other government agencies by a demonstration of the products that we have, the services that we have. As an example of that, we have a system called Dockets Management System, where we have built for the Department of Transportation an electronic means to communicate with the public. The Department of Transportation is, as is the case with many agencies, engaged in publishing rules and regulations. Looking for comments back from the public with respect to those proposed rules. The Dockets Management System gives the public an ability to do just that.

Prior to our establishment of that Dockets Management System, and it's been in place now for about three years, we were getting responses, about 3,000 responses a year, to the proposed rules from individuals across the country. Quite frankly, across the world. Now, we're in excess of 300,000 responses coming in from individuals, you know, weighing in on the matter of government.

Demonstrating that for DOT has translated into our ability to demonstrate that to other government agencies and have them see the benefit of that. So, that's the way that we partner by way of demonstrating those kinds of services, the availability of those services, and as a result, having customers coming to us.

Of course, yes, we do some marketing to those customers, but for the most part, customers are coming to us asking to have those kinds of technologies deployed with them.

Mr. Lawrence: TASC administers a purchase card program at the Department of Transportation. How do you administer this program and what capability should customers have?

Mr. Fields: We administer a program where we, essentially, have a two-part role. On one hand, we provide a contract-management role for the Department's senior procurement official, where we've established the contract with the bank for the purchase card, and established certain tools such as the remote accessing of account, assuring that the customer is able to pull up electronically their account, making certain that that account is, in fact, compliant with federal requirements, in terms of procurements. So, those are some of the tools.

But, in addition, we perform a secondary role, one that we're involved in almost on a daily basis. And that is actually administering the purchase card program on behalf of a number of agencies, including for ourselves. We, as employees, do, in fact, have a need for a purchase card and we do that for ourselves, but we do that also for other customers within DOT.

Mr. Lawrence: TASC administers or participates in the Merit Promotion Program. Could you tell us more about this program and its impact on TASC?

Mr. Fields: Well, rather than isolate so much just to the Merit Promotion Plan which, quite frankly, is something that we do in terms of the statutory requirements with respect to civil service requirements, one of the basic philosophies of TASC in our creation was that we did not ask for, nor have we sought any special dispensation from the procurement and/or personnel rules. And what we'd suggest is that it is possible to actually run a business in government with the government requirements still in place, not asking that those governmental requirements be relaxed. Because we think that it is, in fact, true that most of those requirements were put in place for good reasons. Even if they're social reasons, they're good reasons, and there's no reason why a business should not, in fact, be adhering to that.

If we're in the private sector, there are, in fact, impositions placed upon us. And we would suggest that we shouldn't get special exemption from those requirements inside of government. And so, as it relates to Merit Promotion, as it relates to the Federal Acquisition Requirements, all of those requirements, we're saying that, not only are we adhering to, but we're going to sign up to, very much.

Mr. Lawrence: We'll be right back with more of The Business of Government Hour and our conversation with George Fields. (Intermission)

Mr. Lawrence: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. And today's conversation is with George Fields, director of Transportation Administrative Service Center at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

After five years of operating a fee-for-service agency, what management lessons have you learned?

Mr. Fields: Be patient. Running a business inside a government is something that does, in fact, truly require a sense of patience. It's an ability to actually work with people and get involvement of the employees within the organization. I think that without their involvement, you don't get their buy-in. And that's something that we've been very careful to do in constructing this organization. We are currently going through our budgeting process where we have to actually build our budgets in order to project our potential cost for each of the operating administrations within DOT that are going to be buying our services, hopefully.

And, as a result of that, we have to actually have the employees participate in that process. So this is not a matter of you build the budget at the top and then pass it down to the employees. We actually go through a process where the employees build the budgets. And, so, that's a management instruction that I would give to many, even if you're not running a fee-for-service organization.

Mr. Lawrence: We hear a lot about the coming government retirement wave and the expected impact on federal agencies. What kind of challenges will this present to TASC?

Mr. Fields: We're presented with the same challenges everyone is in terms of there are, you know, basically cycles of hiring that have taken place over the years at the federal government level. Twenty years ago, a large wave of employees came in, and it's time for those employees to be leaving.

One of the unique situations that we find ourselves faced with, though, is that, as earlier stated, we're looking for real expertise in the areas in which we provide service. And so we quite frankly, are looking for those long-term employees. And so, while at the same time that we're bringing in some new entries to the workplace, we're really trying to supplement ourselves with the long-term employee. And so, we've been successful in both attracting and retaining past retirement period some employees that have the real expertise that we need in the given areas that we're providing service.

Mr. Lawrence: What advice would you give to a young person who's interested in a career in public service?

Mr. Fields: You have an interest in public service if you are dedicated to the public and delivering services to the public. If you think that there is in fact some monetary reward, public service is not where it is. If you are not, quite frankly, thick skinned, public service is not where it is.

I mean, quite frankly, public service back in the '60s when I came into it was in fact a noble calling. It has over the years lost that gilt, but I think it's beginning to come back. I think it is beginning to be identified as some place that is a place of choice, and I think that once government gets to the point, where we are not only asked to be held accountable, but we are accountable for what we are delivering, then I think that the young person will be coming back to government service.

Mr. Lawrence: What kind of skills should that young person have?

Mr. Fields: What we're looking for are people that have an ability to maintain interpersonal relationships, people that, you know, understand how to think through a problem so it's a real solving of problems. Looking for people who, quite frankly, have good communications skills. Those are the basics and beyond that, then, a lot of it is going to be based upon the ability to be trained. But very much the issue of interpersonal skills, because you're going to be interfacing not only with the colleagues that you're working with, but you're going to be interfacing with what we call customers, be it governmental or customers be it the public.

Mr. Lawrence: What kind of services does TASC provide in the area of information technology?

Mr. Fields: We provide a host of services in terms of the IT arena. And we provide those services, quite frankly, in partnership and in conjunction with the private sector. We don't maintain a large workforce ourself. As I noted earlier, we have a workforce of approximately 280 employees, and we have a workforce any day of approximately 800 contractors. We are providing data warehousing services, we're providing telecommunication services, we're providing what we call mail-store, or email services, so the traditional desktop services, all of these are services that we, in fact, are providing, and providing, I think, very well in a real partnership with the private sector.

Mr. Lawrence: What steps does TASC take to recruit and retain technology employees?

Mr. Fields: For one, we don't attempt to maintain a large workforce of our own, but those that we do have, we have the real expertise in given areas. And we're retaining them, quite frankly, through the ways that many of the other federal agencies are finding that they're having to deploy, such as retention bonuses, signing bonuses. Within TASC, we have what we call an entrepreneur award, where employees that are able to attract and retain business beyond the ongoing business, are able to receive monetary reward for that activity.

Mr. Lawrence: What progress is TASC making in reviewing positions for competition through the FAIR Act?

Mr. Fields: We are, in fact, exposing all of our positions to FAIR. We, quite frankly, find that we're in an environment where we are partnered, right now, with the private sector, more so than many agencies. As noted, most of our employees that we're actually using to deliver services are, in fact, contracted employees. And what we find is that that represents an environment where the private sector sees that they, in fact, are participating in the activity of the service delivery and so it's not a matter of the private sector's on the outside looking in, trying to obtain this business. They're already working the business right now.

Mr. Lawrence: What are your lessons-learned from managing so many contractors?

Mr. Fields: That is just it. That is the value that we bring to the table in TASC, in that having an expertise in the given area that we're delivering the service, then we understand what it is that both the customer is looking for, as well as, what the options are for ways in which to deliver that service and, as a result, can direct our contractors consistent with what our customers are looking for.

Also, we're entering into relationships with contractors where it truly is a partnership, not just a cliche in terms of partnership, where the contractor is participating as a partner, meaning that they're at risk. So if, in fact, we're successful, our contract partner is successful. If we're not, our contract partner is not successful, either.

Mr. Lawrence: What's your vision for the next ten years of TASC?

Mr. Fields: At present, I'm looking at the next week, but for ten years, I look that TASC actually becomes a bit of a model for the federal government in terms of how to deliver these behind-the-scene kinds of activities. You know, one of the things that, I think, the public is asking, when the public is asking the question about the growth of government, the public is really interested to know, what are we getting for the dollars that we, in fact, are seeing?

The Department of Transportation is a $58 billion organization. About $44-45 billion of that is, in fact, being delivered in terms of grants to the states, to localities. The public is wanting to know, how much is it, in fact, costing you to deliver those dollars to us? And organizations like TASC help the public really get a handle on lowering that cost of government for delivering the services directly to the people.

Mr. Lawrence: I'm afraid we're out of time, George. Thank you very much for having this conversation with us this afternoon.

Mr. Fields: Thank you, Paul.

Mr. Lawrence: This has been The Business of Government Hour, featuring a conversation with George Fields, director, Transportation Administrative Service Center at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

To learn more about our research into new approaches to improving government effectiveness, visit us on the Web at See you next week.

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