David J. Litman

David J. Litman

Senior Procurement Executive

When David J. Litman is asked to list his top priorities as the Transportation Department's senior procurement executive, "acquisition workforce" is one of the first phrases out of his mouth. His staff is busy implementing an Office of Management and Budget policy directive to expand that workforce from the contracting community into program management, and it's a major challenge. "Everybody is struggling to find talented people," Litman says. The talent pool isn't very large and the competition pits Transportation against other agencies with better bait-such as the authority to offer higher pay.

Litman is coming to the conclusion that the best way for his agency to meet the challenge is "to grow our own talent" and add benefits such as flexible schedules to entice mid-level workers to stay and advance. Once the talented people are hooked, they have to be trained. Transportation is looking at ways to augment training resources, in part by rotating employees through assignments to develop skills and experience.

Litman's 29 years in acquisition began as a Navy contracting officer. He joined the Transportation Department in 1987, first overseeing procurement for the Federal Aviation Administration and the Coast Guard. He ran the division responsible for oversight of all major Transportation acquisitions from 1988 until 1995, when he was named senior procurement executive.