Lists of stimulus-funded projects are now rolling out of federal agencies, but there are still many questions about how government entities will effectively manage the nearly $135 billion in work hitting the market in coming months. With many agencies hampered by staff cutbacks in key areas such as procurement and contract oversight, federal officials are seeking answers from within their ranks and debating the need to tap private industry for help. Many project-management and construction-management firms believe trends are in their favor.
Todd Wager, executive vice president of business development at Pasadena, Calif.-based Parsons Corp., says the steady loss of contracting officers and other administrative positions in federal agencies over the past decade has created a demand for contracted PM and CM services, something that is likely to increase in response to the stimulus. “Over the last 10 years, you’ve seen far more of the non-inherently governmental operations go to contractors as these cuts have taken place,” he says. “With all of this work coming, [internal staff] isn’t something you can grow quickly. It’s a huge challenge for some of these agencies, especially the smaller ones.”