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

The Forum of Choice for Government & Industry Training Since 1982

(Postponed - New Date Coming Soon) Perils and Opportunities in a Presidential Transition Year - Training Workshop

A Survival Guide for Civil Servants

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Keynote Speaker:

Dan Blair


National Academy of Public Administration

and former Deputy Director, Office of Personnel Management


Guest Speakers:

Catie Hargrove

Partnership for Public Service

Head of Operations, the Center for Presidential Transition


Janine Velasco

Assistant Director

Business and Fiscal Information Resources


Doug Domenech

former White House Liaison


Kevin Mahoney

CHCO at DOC (Awaiting Agency Confirmation)

Craig Crutchfield


(Awaiting Agency Confirmation)

Additional guest speakers to be announced.


Scott J. Cameron

Director, Strategic Programs,

Tuknik Government Services

(Former Appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary
Department of Interior and
Chief Human Capital Officer, E-Government Executive and
on the Executive Committee of the interagency Chief Acquisition Officers Council) 


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

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.


On January 20, 2017 there will be a new President of the United States, but beneath the surface the transition period really has already begun.  The last two months of a President’s term poses both great dangers and opportunities for career civil servants, and the higher rank of those civil servants, the greater are both the opportunities and the risks. As outgoing political appointees focus intensely on both getting a new job outside of government and trying to achieve a small remaining number of legacy items for the outgoing President, career civil servants find themselves alternately ignored and driven hard by the outgoing political leadership. This is a period where morale often suffers along the entire agency chain of command, as the agency’s outgoing political leadership is distracted from much of the routine but essential work of government.  Furthermore, career senior executives ponder their own future at the prospect of breaking in a new batch of appointees, most of whom will at best be new to government, or at worst openly suspicious of the career civil servants they are expected to manage.  After the brief euphoria of the election, comes the ten week race to prepare for the new President to be inaugurated, but the reality is that pains of transition extend throughout out the first year of the new Administration.  It is this first year where career civil servants face the greatest career opportunities and risks.


The workshop will present a survival guide on how civil servants can successfully navigate through the last few months of an outgoing President’s second term of office, and the critical first year of a new Presidency, when many careers are made or broken.


What You Will Learn: 

  • What to expect during the last months of a President’s second term
  • How to get and keep the attention of political appointees distracted by their own job search
  • How to keep the government functioning as political appointees rapidly exit their posts
  • How to be a loyal and effective civil servant for the outgoing Administration without damaging your credibility with the incoming Administration
  • How to structure your work to best get the limited attention of the outgoing political appointees
  • How to prepare transition papers for the incoming Administration
  • Understanding the role of the Transition Team
  • How to start off on the right foot with your agency’s new team of political appointees
  • How to educate the new political appointees on how the federal government works to help them be successful and to protect yourself
  • How to adjust emotionally and professionally to potentially dramatic changes in policy or priorities




Why You Should Attend: 

  • The last months of a Presidency presents great opportunities and potentially great risks for career civil servants and you need to know how to manage them both effectively
  • The first year of a new Administration is crucial to your prospects for career advancement or career stagnation
  • Training new political appointees is a difficult and sensitive task, but you need to know how to do it
  • You want to be able to effectively communicate with new political appointees to help your program and yourself succeed
Who Should Attend: 

  • Managers in politically sensitive programs
  • Managers in programs that are active topics of discussion by the Presidential candidates
  • Managers in programs that are ignored by the Presidential candidates
  • Managers who have never had to train new political leaders
  • Managers in HR, acquisition, IT, and budget, who have the most professional risk if their new political leaders make bad or illegal decisions
  • Chief Human Capital Officers
  • Chief Financial Officers
  • Senior Procurement Executives
  • Performance Improvement Officers
  • Chief Information Officers




Lecture, small group discussion, panel discussion, federal executive guest speakers



7:30 AM

Registration and Continental Breakfast


Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Art Chantker,

President, Potomac Forum


Dealing with the Outgoing Administration
  • Attrition of policy officials
  • Emphasis on locking in the “legacy”
  • Protecting the professionalism of the career civil service

Scott J. Cameron

Director, Strategic Programs, Tuknik Government Services

(Former Appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary
Department of Interior and Chief Human Capital Officer, E-Government Executive and on the Executive Committee of the interagency Chief Acquisition Officers Council)




Preparing for the Incoming Administration Before It is Elected

  • Deciphering the Presidential candidates’ campaign promises
  • Anticipating the needs of the Transition Team

Scott J. Cameron



Catie Hargrove, Partnership for Public Service, Head of Operations, the Center for Presidential Transition

12:00 PM

Hosted Luncheon 

Students are presented with a topic to be discussed at lunch


Lunch Group Reporting

Panel Discussion:



Scott J. Cameron



Janine Velasco, Assistant Director, Business and Fiscal Information Resources, DOI/BLM


Doug Domenech, Former White House Liaison, DOI


Kevin Mahoney, CHCO, DOC (Awaiting Agency Confirmation)


Craig Crutchfield, OMB (Awaiting Agency Confirmation)





Dan Blair, President, National Academy of Public Administration

and former Deputy Director, Office of Personnel Management


Finessing the Change of Command
  • Split Loyalties: Dealing with two Administrations at once
  • Professional survival skills

Scott J. Cameron


Orienting Your Agency’s New Political Leadership

  • Establishing trust
  • Setting priorities
  • Staying out of trouble: you and them

Scott J. Cameron


Managing Through the New Administration’s First Year

  • Helping them understand and control key agency processes
  • How to sense the informal hierarchy of the new team
  • Developing a routine, standard operating procedures

Scott J. Cameron


Wrap-up and Q&A

5:15 Workshop Adjourns
  Post Workshop Discussions with Instructors on Specific Individual Topics

Agenda Subject to Change

Registration Information: 

Government Employees: $995 (Federal, State or Local Government Issued ID)

Early Bird Registration Fee: $795 until October 22nd

Reduced Registration Fee: $895 after October 22nd


Team “Learn Together” Rate: 

2nd  person (and all other subsequent group members) from same office receives a $200 reduction off their registration.


Industry Employees: $1095

Early Bird Registration Fee: $895 until October 22nd

Reduced Registration Fee: $995 after October 22nd


Team “Learn Together” Rate: 

2nd  person (and all other subsequent group members) from same office receives a $200 reduction off their registration.

Keynote Speaker: 

Dan G. Blair

President and CEO
National Academy of Public Administration


Dan G. Blair was named President and CEO of the National Academy of Public Administration in July 2011. 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.


Mr. Blair was elected as an Academy Fellow in 2008. In November 2009, Mr. Blair was chosen to present, as part of an Academy team, to senior members of the Iraqi government at a conference in Baghdad to discuss the fundamentals of an effective civil service. He also served on the Academy Panel charged with assessing the design, implementation, and Impact of the Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System.


Mr. Blair brings to the Academy more than 26 years of federal public service and is a recognized expert and prominent leader in public service management, having served in top leadership positions in the Executive and Legislative branches as well as the regulatory sector. He has received successive Presidential appointments to the Office of Personnel Management and the Postal Regulatory Commission and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Most recently, Mr. Blair served as the first Chairman of the independent Postal Regulatory Commission, the successor agency to the Postal Rate Commission, from December 2006 through August 2009, and as Commissioner from August 2009 until June 2011. Mr. Blair also served as Deputy Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) from 2002 through 2006. In addition to serving as Deputy Director, Mr. Blair was Acting Director of OPM for five months. Prior to joining OPM, Mr. Blair served on Capitol Hill, working for nearly 17 years on the staffs of both House and Senate committees charged with postal and civil service oversight. From 1998 through 2001, Mr. Blair served as Senior Counsel to Senator Fred Thompson on the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs.


Mr. Blair was responsible for review of legislation and policy affecting the federal civil service, the USPS, federal budget process, government ethics, and federal lobbying reform. Before the Committee on Governmental Affairs, Mr. Blair served as Staff Director for Representative John McHugh on the House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Postal Service. Mr. Blair was responsible for directing the Subcommittee's oversight of the USPS and directed the development of comprehensive postal reform legislation. Mr. Blair also served as Minority General Counsel for the House of Representatives Committee on Post Office and Civil Service from 1985 to 1994.

Guest Speakers: 

Janine Velasco

Assistant Director,

Business Fiscal and Information Resources,

Bureau of Land Management,

Department of the Interior


Janine Velasco is the Assistant Director, Business, Fiscal and Information Resource Management for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  Her responsibilities include overseeing the budget, finance, property and procurement, engineering and asset management, audits and Information Technology for the entire bureau. 


Janine’s career as a civil servant began as a student intern with the Congressional Research Service’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.  While she was completing her graduate degree, she worked for Senator Jeff Bingaman, NM as a legislative fellow.  Since that time, she has held various positions with the Forest Service.  She came to the Department of the Interior in 1999 with the Bureau of Reclamation where she led the bureau’s strategic planning program.  In 2001, she joined the BLM as the Division Chief for Management Services and later served as the Deputy Assistant Director for Business and Fiscal Resources.  In 2006, she was selected to serve as BLM’s Assistant Director for Human Capital Management, overseeing Human Resource, Training, Safety, and Civil Rights. 


She has a Masters degree from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment and received her undergraduate degree from Kalamazoo College in Michigan. 


Scott J. Cameron

Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary and Chief Human Capital Officer

Department of the Interior


Scott J. Cameron, Director of Strategic Development at Tuknik Government Services (TGS), has 37 years of experience working inside and around the federal government.  TGS is one of a family of companies under the umbrella of Koniag, Inc., an Alaska Native Corporation government consulting firm. Scott has worked in both houses of Congress, in the Executive Office of the President, as a career civil servant and as a political appointee, working deep in the bureaucracy and in the Office of the Secretary of a cabinet department.  He has consulted with federal agencies on management issues working for both large and small businesses, and worked to influence the federal government as a state government employee, corporate government relations executive, and as an executive in a non-profit organization.  In November 2015, he became a local government elected official, being elected as a Director of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, serving Fairfax County’s 1.2 million people.


Scott is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, has been designated a Strategic Advisor to Government Executives (SAGE) by the Partnership for Public Service, and also has written a column on government human capital management issues for HR News, the publication of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources.


Prior to entering consulting, Scott was a Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Department of the Interior.  There he served as Chief Human Capital Officer, E-Government Executive, had the lead on strategic planning and performance management, and was a member of the Executive Committee of the interagency Chief Acquisition Officers Council.  He also directed two of OMB’s government wide E-Gov projects; Geospatial One Stop and Recreation One Stop.


Before joining Interior, Scott established the global government relations function of CHEP.  CHEP is the global leader in materials handling, with business in 38 countries. 


Previously, Scott represented Governor Pete Wilson of California in Washington, D.C., working with Congress and federal agencies on environmental, energy, and natural resource policy issues.


Before entering state government, Scott was Director of Conservation Policy at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, managing all of this congressionally chartered non-profit’s Congressional relations activity. 


Earlier, Scott was Deputy Chief of the Interior Branch at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), part of the Executive Office of the President.  He served as the program examiner for the US Geological Survey and US Fish and Wildlife Service. Earlier at OMB, he oversaw the EPA’s Office of Water and the Office of Research and Development.


From 1985 to 1989, Scott worked as a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Chic Hecht (R‑NV), handling all the energy, environmental, and natural resource issues for the Senator.


Scott began his career as a Presidential Management Intern in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, after earning a BA in biology from Dartmouth College, and an MBA from Cornell University, with a concentration in natural resource economics. 


He was raised in New York City, is married, and has a son and two cats.

Comments from Students: 

Representative Student Comments from Evaluations of the May 25th 
Potomac Forum Presidential Transition Workshop
(100% of the Student Evaluations Rated the Workshop as “Excellent” – the Highest Category


I was very pleased with the quality, knowledge and experience of each of the speakers.

The session exceeded my expectations, 
In addition to the comments on quality and excellence above and the quality of the logistics, lunch materials and elevated the course to an executive level.  Outstanding.
Class size was perfect to digest the topics and to integrate our own experiences. 

Assistant General Counsel.
Cabinet Department


It was a very good crash course on political transitions. 
I feel much better prepared for the next few months.
It was very well organized and run & I enjoyed the various perspectives on the process.

Management & Program Analyst
Cabinet Department


All discussions made sense and were well organized.
This helped me see the proper, overall picture and will help me in the future.

Division Director, Employment and Labor Law
Office of the General Council
Cabinet Department


Excellent speakers
I appreciate the open and honest discussion

Program Analyst
USDA Agency


Mr. Cameron (Instructor) is extremely knowledgeable. 
The panel was enlightening.
Mr Eagle gave me new, good information
Very Good Content – Perfect Pace.

Assistant Director
DHS Agency

-Nicely paced
-Valuable information; presented in a candid fashion
-Excellent facility

Executive Officer to the Commissioner
Independent Administration

This course gave me important early info as I await further guidance from White House Groups

Not Signed


The guest speakers were great.
SES member’s perspective on the transition was honest and helpful.

SES Program Manager/HR
DHS Agency

Cancellation Policy: 

Confirmed registrations who cancel within 2 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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