Federal Spotlight Interview: Adrianne M. Callahan

Adrianne Callahan

MC: How long have you been in Federal Service and what is your main responsibility?

AC: I have been employed within the Federal Service for a little over 26 years.  I have spent the entire 26 years at the United States Environmental Protection Agency.  I am currently the Small Business Specialist and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Manager for USEPA, Region 5.  Where I advocate for small businesses to have a fair and reasonable opportunity to access, understand and hopefully receive an opportunity to do business with EPA.  I work with both sides of the EPA procurement house – contracts and grants.  In my role, I work closely with senior management and staff to implement the Agency’s small business program which includes: socio-economic goals, participation in short and long-term acquisition planning, negotiation of Fair Share goals, etc.; I also ensure appropriate assistance to small businesses working on EPA funded projects for state, local, and tribal organizations and represent the Agency in a multitude of outreach events throughout the Midwest states (IL, IN, MI, OH, MN, WI) to ensure the small business community is aware of EPA’s procurement opportunities.

MC: What keeps you motivated and passionate to stay in the public sector? 

AC: I serve as a collateral duty Special Emphasis Program Manager for the Black Employee Program, participate on a number of intergovernmental committees for small business and a number of organizational improvement committees that encourage process improvement.  From the internal activities to promote cultural awareness and consider workplace trends to the external committees that support the everyday work I do, all of these support my routine work activities however, each of them, tends to give me a new opportunity each day to learn and/or meet someone new.  I stay motivated and passionate about the public sector because I have found value in being a public servant.

MC:  What is one of your biggest achievements?

AC: One of my biggest achievements is winning the Federal Employee of the Year – Outstanding Specialist Category.  Competition for the Federal Employee of the Year is extremely high, my nomination was reviewed and ranked the winner out of 18 nominations from various agencies within the Chicago Federal Agency area and it truly was a humbling surprise.  Having my family attend, along with the supervisor who nominated me, was a very momentous occasion.  More importantly, it was a very stressful work year, with a number of high level assignments and it was truly an honor to receive the award for all my hard work.

MC: What advice would you share with the next generation of leaders on entering government?

AC: I would share the following advice with the next generation of leaders entering the federal workforce:

  • Get involved, beyond your day-to-day assigned activities.
  • Be willing to conduct the necessary research to understand the mission of the agency and how your work directly impacts the mission.
  • Understand the Agency’s budget and how your position is impacted by changes to the budget.
  • Network beyond your comfort zone; engage with people that can not only mentor you but offer you the opportunity to share your knowledge and experience.

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