GSA Names Robyn to Head PBS

Dr. Dorothy Robyn testifying before Congress earlier this year.

Acting GSA Commissioner Dan Tangherlini has picked Dorothy Robyn, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment at the Department of Defense (DoD), to be the new Public Buildings Service (PBS) commissioner. Tangherlini also abolished the PBS board of directors “to ensure [Robyn] has the appropriate authority she needs to lead PBS,” he said in an email to GSA staff yesterday (September 4). He called Robyn’s hiring the “next step forward” in GSA’s effort to “refocus this agency on our mission to deliver value for taxpayers and consistent, effective and responsive services for customer agencies.”

As DoD’s senior real property officer for the past three years, Robyn (pronounced “row-bine”) closed out the most recent round of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process and oversaw DoD’s 539,000 military installations across the world, including more than 29 million acres of land, 300,000 buildings and 2.2 billion square feet of building space.

While at the Pentagon, she pushed DoD to adopt cutting-edge technology to enhance energy efficiency, encouraged the development of sustainable military facilities and oversaw the military’s “energy test bed” project, which provides grants to companies that test new energy concepts on military bases. Tangherlini said in his email that Robyn’s experiences managing BRAC activities and promoting environmentally friendly DoD buildings “make her uniquely qualified to manage the extensive inventory of the Public Buildings Service as well as the task of disposing of excess and underutilized properties,” and added that her work at the Pentagon often required coordinating with GSA on major real estate decisions, giving her “valuable experience working with GSA.”

Robyn is the first senior official to be hired by Tangherlini since he took over from former GSA Administrator Martha Johnson in April, following the Las Vegas 2010 conference scandal. She will replace acting PBS Commissioner Linda Chero, who was appointed to take over for Bob Peck after Johnson fired him shortly before she handed in her own resignation. (Last month, Gensler hired Peck to head its Southeast region workplace design consulting practice.)

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