Potomac Forum The Forum of Choice for Government & Industry Training Since 1982

The Forum of Choice for Government & Industry Training Since 1982

How to Meet the Workforce Requirements of the President's Executive Order 13781 Training Workshop

What Federal Executives, Managers, and Supervisors Need to Know to Support the Goals of the Executive Order for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce

Wednesday, June 28, 2017



Confirmed Guest Speakers


Terry Gerton

President & CEO

National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA)


Bob Corsi

Secretary of Board of Directors

Senior Executives Association (SEA)

Former Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services

Headquarters, U.S. Air Force


Rebecca Ayers

Performance Management Solutions

United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM)


Tom Gilbert

Assistant Director of Strategic Issues

United States Government Accountability Office (GAO)


James Read

Director, Policy and Evaluation

U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)


Deb Tomchek

Former Director of Human Resources (HR)

Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Commerce (DOC)


Marcus Brownrigg

Strategic Partnerships and Communications Advisor

Office of the Chief Executive Officer

Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)


Jeffrey Neal

Senior Vice President


Former CHCO at DLA and DHS


Lou Kerestesy

Founder & CEO



Mika Cross

Federal Workplace Expert


Additional government speakers awaiting confirmation. Bios coming soon.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Meeting Location: 
Willard InterContinental Hotel

Willard Intercontinental Hotel
1401 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington 20004
United States

Metro Center (Red, Orange, Blue Lines). Use the exit marked “12th & F Sts” to exit onto F St., then continue straight two blocks and cross 14th St.


The president issued an executive order (EO) on March 13, 2017 which requires agencies to plan and implement long-term workforce reductions and incorporate the plan as a government-wide workforce priority into their Agency Strategic Plan and/or Human Capital Operating Plan. 


This Potomac Forum training workshop for government will provide information for agency executives, managers, and staff to respond to the EO.


Experienced human capital executives and experts will share their insight and experience in developing and implementing long-term and near-term workforce management practices that will help attendees understand how best to improve performance, increase accountability, and reduce costs.


This workshop will provide you with practical, easy-to-implement tools and resources to help you achieve the best results through your agency’s efforts to restructure, reshape and eliminate inefficient functions to achieve the goals of EO 13781 while enhancing employee performance to increase mission efficacy and increase retention.


In preparation for the workshop, watch these videos pertaining to the federal hiring freeze:

- Mika Cross in Government Matters, Federal hiring freeze & employee morale

- Jeffrey Neal in Government Matters, Navigating the federal hiring freeze

What You Will Learn: 

  • A framework to plan for reorganization and functional consolidation
  • Avoiding common pitfalls to managing performance and conduct in the modern workplace
  • Where to find practical support mechanisms, resources and help for managers and supervisors
  • How to prepare the workforce for activities in cost cutting, reshaping, reducing, and reorganization
  • Managing change through effective internal and external communications
  • Driving positive outcomes by leveraging the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Results into actionable steps that help cultivate an inclusive culture designed to retain top talent and optimize employee potential 
Why You Should Attend: 

  • Learn proven management strategies to demonstrate return on investment, cost savings, and enhanced management efficiencies from developing an effective long-term workforce reduction plan
  • Understand how to leverage alternative service delivery models and streamline mission support functions to provide greater efficiency while improving quality
  • Maximize employee performance by focusing on concrete steps to increase performance and effectively deal with poor performers
  • Optimize employee recognition programs designed to recognize, reward and retain top performers
  • Build your toolkit for cultivating a culture of engagement and accountability designed to achieve enhanced organizational and individual performance
Who Should Attend: 

  • Federal supervisors and managers
  • Federal HR practitioners and anyone responsible for implementing agency restructuring plans
  • Federal employees or members of employee affinity groups
  • Communications practitioners responsible for leading change management and internal communications campaigns

Lecture, guest speakers, and practical exercises.




Registration and Continental Breakfast




Art Chantker, President, Potomac Forum


Morning Keynote


Terry Gerton, President & CEO, NAPA


Effective Employee Accountability and Performance Management Strategies

In this session, participants will learn:


  • How to design and implement the most effective performance management tactics
  • Accountability strategies for managing the performance of a modern, mobile workforce
  • Impact of effort, performance, and rewards through implementing an effective performance management strategy


Rebecca Ayers, PhD, Performance Management Solutions, United States Office of Personnel Management


Refreshment Break



Morning Panel: Rightsizing and Reshaping Planning and Best Practices with Open Q&A to Follow

A panel of highly regarded human capital experts will discuss their collective experience, lessons learned and highlights to help agencies:

  • Understand the implications of and how to select the right workforce restructuring tools to meet their Agency’s objectives (VERA/VSIP; RIF; Attrition)
  • Plan for and prepare to implement a results oriented workforce reshaping operation
  • Consider the critical elements for creating effective short and long-term workforce reshaping plans and strategy.


Moderator: Mika Cross, Federal Workplace Expert



- Jeffrey Neal, Senior Vice President, ICF. Former CHCO at DLA and DHS.

Deb Tomchek, Former Director of Human Resources at the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce

- Bob Corsi, Secretary of Board of Directors, SEA. Former Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, Headquarters U.S. Air Force


Additional panelist awaiting agency confirmation


Working Lunch: Practical and Interactive Performance Management Exercise


Rebecca Ayers, PhD, Performance Management Solutions, United States Office of Personnel Management



Rewarding and Sustaining High Performing Employees

This session will teach participants to:

  • Learn to align individual performance with organizational results
  • Understand what the future federal workforce needs to optimize performance and accountability
  • Introduce innovative practices to drive more effective workforce planning and employee development strategies


- Tom Gilbert, Assistant Director of Strategic Issues, United States Government Accountability Office

Lou Kerestesy, Founder & CEO, GovInnovators


Afternoon Panel 1: Effective Employee Engagement and Successful Workforce Support Measures

  • Learn the lessons learned and best practices implemented from Agencies who have significantly increased their scores on the FEVS and what areas they are now focused on moving forward to encourage a performance based culture
  • Hear how effective partnerships among labor and special interest/affinity groups help affect positive culture change
  • Understand how ongoing data and reporting, effective communication strategies and leadership accountability helps move the needle to create a performance based culture focused on results


Government speakers awaiting confirmation


3:00pm Refreshment Break

Best Practices for How to Deal with Poor Performers

  • Practical and easy tools for quickly addressing and resolving performance and conduct issues in the workplace
  • Strategies and resources for supervisors for conducting difficult and challenging conversations
  • Documentation requirements for effectively addressing poor performers in the workplace and how to start the Performance Improvement Process (PIP)


- Marcus Brownrigg, Strategic Partnerships and Communications Advisor, Office of the Chief Executive Officer, Corporation for National and Community Service

James Read, Director, Policy & Evaluation, Merit Systems Protection Board



What Gets Measured Gets Done: How to Leverage Human Capital Analytics for Effective Workforce Planning

  • Understand the Human Capital Framework (HCF) and how to align workforce planning efforts with its four human capital focus areas
  • Learn how best to align an agency’s strategic planning efforts with the HCF and Human Capital Operational Plans (HCOP)
  • Examples and best practices for leveraging data analytics to make the most informed workforce planning decisions for your agency


Government speaker awaiting confirmation


Summary and Conclusion


Art Chantker, President, Potomac Forum

5:00pm Workshop Concludes


Registration Information: 

  Early Bird Registration Fee AFTER JUNE 2
Government Employees:
(Federal, State or Local Government Issued ID)
 $ Now $695 
Special Reduced Rates in Support of Government Budget Reductions
 $ $795
Industry and Contractors:
(Including contractors on-site and in direct support of government agencies).
 $ Now $795
($795 = 13% Registration Fee Reduction)
 $ $895


Team Rate: Send a team to learn together. Register two or more employees from the same office at the same time and the second person onwards registers at $200 off the current rate.


Registration Includes: Presentations, Workshop Notebook, Continental Breakfast, All Day Refreshments and Hosted Luncheon

Keynote Speaker: 

Terry Gerton

President and CEO

National Academy of Public Administration

Terry Gerton was named President and CEO of the National Academy of Public Administration in January 2017. The Academy is an independent, non-profit, and non-partisan organization, chartered by Congress to assist government leaders in building more effective, efficient, accountable, and transparent organizations.


Ms. Gerton brings to the Academy nearly 12 years in the Senior Executive Service as a career member and as a political appointee, and 20 years of service as an active duty Army officer. She has a broad range of experience in all aspects of public service management, and her expertise has been recognized with both the Distinguished and the Meritorious Presidential Rank Awards.


Most recently, Ms. Gerton served from June 2013 to January 2017 as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy for the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service where her work helped drive the national veteran unemployment rate to its lowest in eight years. While at Labor, she also led the Department’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.


Prior to joining DoL, Terry spent 2 years as a Vice President at The Cohen Group, a Washington, DC consulting company. From 2003-2011, she served for eight years as a member of the Senior Executive Service in the Department of Defense. In her last position there, she was the Executive Deputy to the Commanding General of Army Materiel Command where she was responsible for the daily operations of over 70,000 civilian and 1,500 military employees around the world. Prior to that, she served as AMC's financial controller for three years. She also served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Program Analysis and Evaluation where she was responsible for executing all aspects of the development of the OSD Future Years Defense Plan and submitting the plan to Congress.


Ms. Gerton's twenty years of military service included a variety of staff and leadership positions, including the Executive Officer for the Army's largest battalion (a 1200-soldier corps support maintenance battalion at Fort Hood), Professor of Economics at the United States Military Academy, and Company Commander of a 300-person direct support maintenance company in Germany.


Ms. Gerton graduated from the United States Military Academy and earned an MBA from Duke University. She earned the Distinguished Presidential Rank award in 2011 and the Meritorious Presidential Rank award in 2008. She also received the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service in 2011.

Guest Speakers: 

Rebecca S. Ayers, PhD

Manager, Performance Management Solutions (PMS),

U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)


Rebecca S. Ayers serves as the manager for Performance Management Solutions (PMS) in the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  PMS provides reimbursable solutions to Federal agencies to address individual and organizational performance matters necessary to properly create and sustain a healthy and effective results-oriented culture.  She is also the Program Manager for USA Performance, OPM’s automated performance management system. She has managed consulting work and performance management projects for the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Air Force, Health and Human Services, and numerous other independent agencies. Prior to this position she served as the Strategic Planning and Performance Manager for HR Solutions, the reimbursable divisions of OPM, and was responsible for organizational strategic and business planning and execution and performance management and evaluation. 


Rebecca has facilitated and worked with both public and nonprofit organizations to identify organizational goals, develop strategic plans, and implement performance management systems. She regularly presents at professional and academic conferences on performance management and strategic planning best practices and latest trends and research. She began her Federal career as a Presidential Management Fellow at OPM where she managed workforce and succession planning projects for other Federal agencies. 


Rebecca’s leadership in the development of USA Performance was recognized by a Government Computer News’ Rising Star award in 2014. USA Performance also won the NextGov Bold Award and People’s Choice award in 2014 for creativity and courage for driving advancement in government. Her leadership in the community and in the Federal Government was recognized by the Triangle Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Leadership award in 2015. Rebecca is currently the President-Elect for the Junior League of Raleigh.


Rebecca holds a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Transatlantic Studies from the University of Bath, England. She completed her Ph.D. in Public Administration at North Carolina State University where her research included public management, performance management, and strategic planning.  Her recent research examines the importance of goal alignment in Federal agency performance appraisal programs and program performance.  She is also teaches the Public Organizational Behavior class in the Masters of Public Administration program at North Carolina State University.


Rebecca is a fulltime teleworker with OPM and resides just outside of Raleigh, NC.

Jeffrey Neal

Senior Vice President,

ICF International

(former Chief Human Capital Officer for the Department of Homeland Security  (DHS)


Jeffrey Neal is Senior Vice President for ICF International. Prior to ICF, Jeff was the Department of Homeland Security Chief Human Capital Officer, where he was responsible for human capital programs for 190,000 employees. He established Department-wide programs for Leader Development and making workforce sourcing decisions, and led the implementation of collective bargaining at TSA.


Jeff served as Director of Human Resources for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) from 2000 - 2009. At DLA, he dramatically improved HR services and strategy while reducing costs by more than $50 million. That and DLA’s enterprise leader development program were cited by the Partnership as models for other federal agencies. DLA HR’s Agency-wide culture assessment and change program significantly improved employee engagement.


Jeff is a Fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration, a Partnership for Public Service Strategic Advisor to Government Executives (SAGE), and blogs at ChiefHRO.com, where he writes about federal management and human capital issues.

Deb Tomchek

Former Director of Human Resources, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
Former Director of Human Resources, U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC)


Bio coming soon.

Tom Gilbert

Assistant Director of Strategic Issues

United States Government Accountability Office (GAO)


Bio coming soon.

Robert "Bob" E. Corsi, Jr, PE

Secretary of Board of Directors

Senior Executives Association (SEA)

Former Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services

Headquarters, U.S. Air Force


His professional career spans 46 years with the United States Air Force with 28 years on active duty and 18 years as a civilian in the Senior Executive Service. When he retired from federal service in Oct 2016, he was the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He was responsible for comprehensive plans and policies covering all life cycles of military and civilian personnel management. This included military and civilian end strength management, education and training, compensation and resource allocation as well as the delivery of fully-qualified, ready Airmen for the Joint warfighter while meeting all the needs of our Airmen and their families. He oversaw the execution and programming of the Manpower, Personnel and Services portfolio with an annual $40.9 billion personnel budget for 660,000 military and civilian Total Force airmen.


He was commissioned upon graduation from Manhattan College in 1970 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and attended West Virginia University receiving his Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering in 1975. During the next 28 years, he served in a wide variety of positions of increasing responsibility at wing, major command, and Air Force headquarters levels. He has held positions of design engineer and chief of engineering, military assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Military Manpower and Personnel, and chief of manpower requirements at Headquarters Strategic Air Command. Before his retirement as a colonel, he was the senior military career manpower officer in the Air Force overseeing the management and development of over 2,000 manpower professionals. He entered the Senior Executive Service in July 1998, following his retirement from active duty. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as the Deputy Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force where he was responsible for all budgeting, manpower and personnel management, and facilities for over 5,000 personnel in the National Capital Region. In addition, he was the Deputy Director, Manpower and Organization, at Headquarters Air Force, responsible for both sizing and budgeting for the Total Force and the determination of the force mix of active duty, civilians, and contractors.


He is a registered professional engineer (PE) and is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers. He is also a senior member of both the Institute of Industrial Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He has been a member of the Visiting Committee of Industrial & Systems Management at West Virginia University since 2014; and he was inducted in the Academy of Industrial Engineers in 2015 for his contributions to the profession. He was elected to the Board of the Senior Executive Association in 2014, and will serve three years guiding the Association to advise on all aspects of policy and development for the ~7,000 members of the Senior Executive Service, federal wide. He was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Alumni at West Virginia University in 2016 for his contributions to the University, his profession, and his leadership in the community assisting the poor in Appalachia. He was also appointed to the Board of Governors of the Civil Air Patrol by the Secretary of the Air Force upon his retirement from federal service in 2016.


He has received two Meritorious Presidential Rank Awards recognizing his performance among the top 5% of all members of the Senior Executive Service; and he also received the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award in 2016 recognizing the top 1% of Senior Executives. He is also a fourth-degree member of the Knights of Columbus where he has led a home building effort with his Council and parish for the last 16 years in the heart of Appalachia. He is responsible for the fund raising and the construction of 18 homes for some of the poorest families in our country who receive a complete home at no cost to the family. This home building effort has received both State and International Awards from the Knights of Columbus.


Upon his retirement, he established RoCor Consulting, LLC, to provide the full range of human capital advice to the public sector. He is married to Maria, his wife of 45 years. They have one child and one grandchild.

Marcus Brownrigg

Strategic Partnerships and Communications Advisor, Office of the CEO

Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)

Marcus Brownrigg currently serves as the Strategic Partnerships and Communications Advisor in the Office of the Chief Executive Officer at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency that helps more than 5 million Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service by working hand in hand with local partners, and tapping the ingenuity and can-do spirit of the American people to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing our nation. Prior to joining CNCS he served as the Deputy Director for the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) where he managed USDA’s Underserved populations portfolio in response to a White House initiative. Prior to this he served as the Pathways Program Senior Advisor to USDA's Chief Human Capital Officer. In this capacity, he was responsible for providing the overall management and administration of USDA Pathways Programs and served as liaison between the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and USDA Mission Area Human Resources Directors (MAHRD's). Prior to this role, Mr. Brownrigg served as USDA's Office of Human Resource Management's (OHRM) Chief of Departmental Human Resources Operations Branch.


In 2012, he served as the Special Assistant to the Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources at the Department of Veterans Affairs while on a six-month detail as part of the Senior Executive Service candidate development program (SESCDP). He has also held multiple leadership positions at USDA's Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services (FNCS) from 2003 to 2010. Prior to his positions at USDA, he worked at DC Department of Human Services, U.S. Social Security Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and he is an AmeriCorps VISTA alumni. He entered into federal service in 1998 as a Presidential Management Fellow. He received his BA and MPA from Auburn University and he is a graduate of American University's Key Executive Leadership Certificate Program and a graduate of USDA’s Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SESCDP).

Lou Kerestesy

Founder & CEO


Lou Kerestesy has 30 years’ experience as a local and federal government employee, and as a consultant to federal, state, and local government. Mr. Kerestesy created strategic planning and program evaluation systems for a county mental health system and launched the first-ever formal policy dialogue between USEPA and local government environmental officials. As an executive in a management consulting company, he increased revenue 400% and employees 120% in six years. As GovInnovators’ founder, Mr. Kerestesy helps agencies innovate their business, culture and technology models to create value for customers. Mr. Kerestesy has a liberal arts undergraduate degree and an MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. He is ACT-IAC’s Acquisition Community of Interest industry co-chair.

James M. Read

Director, Policy & Evaluation

U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)


Bio coming soon!


Mika J. Cross

Federal Workplace Expert


Mika J. Cross is a seasoned Workplace Transformation Strategist specializing in innovative global workplace initiatives, culture change, strategic communications, knowledge management, next generation/future workplace predictions, mobility and flexible work policy, diversity, inclusion and employee engagement.  Her 18-year career in public service includes assignments throughout the United States Intelligence Community and across the Federal government.  She is a veteran of the Unites States Army, having served as both an enlisted soldier and commissioned officer. 


Mika is highly regarded as a thought leader for flexible and transformational workplace practices and is regularly featured as a professional speaker at industry conferences and events. On behalf of the White House and the National Security Council (NSC), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) invited Mika to contribute to the “Workforce of 2020” strategy session as a component of the joint-led task force to develop a new business model for vetting current and future Federal employees into positions of national security. Mika was invited to speak at the House Smart Contracting Caucus roundtable on Telework and Mobility, by Co-Chairmen Gerry Connolly and Rob Wittman.  She has also worked in partnership with Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on behalf of the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Federal Women’s Program, to design innovative learning strategies to help align Work/Life, Diversity, Inclusion and Human Resources professionals from across the government to share strategic vision and value for integrating a flexible and supportive workplace. 


In 2014, Mika was selected as a President’s Management Council (PMC) Interagency Fellow at OPM and worked on government-wide projects affecting culture and process change. As a component of the President’s Second Term Management Agenda sub-goal on People and Culture, she helped create an online Employee Engagement Community of Practice (eCOP) within OPM’s interactive dashboard (the Unlocking Federal Talent data tool at unlocktalent.gov).  The eCOP is targeted for Senior Executive Management to help Federal agencies collect and use data to create a more engaged workplace. She also has led several workforce transformation initiatives resulting in winning the organizations she has worked for numerous industry awards- the most recent being USDA named on the Forbes 500 Best American Workplace rankings in March 2015.


Mika has led the strategic communications and initiatives capability for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and currently does so for the Department of Labor, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS.)  Mika was awarded the Fed50 “Most Inspiring Up-and-Comer” award, the Federal News Radio “Causey Award” as well as a Next Gen Gov public service award. In 2013 she was named a ‘Work-Life Rising Star’ by WorldatWork’s Alliance for Work-Life Progress.    She currently serves as Government Chair of the Human Capital Shared Interest Group (HC-SIG) for the American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Panel (ACT-IAC) and as a Board member for WorldatWork’s Alliance for Work/life Progress (AWLP.) 

Cancellation Policy: 

Confirmed registrations who cancel within 3 business days of the program will be subject to a $250 cancellation fee. Registrations cancelled after the program starts are subject to the full registration fee. Substitutions can be made at any time. In the event a particular training workshop is cancelled, the liability of Potomac Forum, Ltd is limited to refund of any prepaid registration fee.

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