GSA Announces First-Ever Mentorship Program

Oct 22, 2015
The words Improve, Success, Training, Motivate, Work, and Inspire intersect the word Mentor on a blackboard.


It may seem like issuing an open challenge to the American public is a novel form of federal procurement, but it has quickly become an effective way of generating fresh solutions to enduring problems.

In every community, there are those who use their knowledge and experience to guide their neighbors down new paths. The federal challenge and prize community is no different, and we have several pioneers to thank for first testing the waters and later advocating the use of prize competitions.

GSA honored many of these trailblazers recently with help from the White House and other partners. We came together to celebrate the five-year anniversary of, which has seen more than 80 federal agencies announce close to 500 challenges.

To continue this momentum, we used our anniversary event to announce a new mentorship program to make some of the best minds available to agencies looking to run a challenge.

A first of its kind, the mentorship program brings together 20 experts in public sector challenges. They will act as an extension of the team, providing strategy, support and advice to agencies every step of the way, from competition design to execution.

These individuals have pushed the boundaries on innovative acquisition. They have been working in the trenches—planning, designing and managing competitions and navigating through legal and policy hurdles.

Their commitment and hard work has and will continue to energize a strong and growing community committed to excellence in prize design.

Challenge competitions are changing the way we do business, and the people on the list below can help agencies run them more effectively. These experts are dedicated to running far-reaching, high-impact prize competitions. With their help, agencies will be able to deliver a greater return on investment for both the American people and their government.

Meet The Mentors mentors
  • Noel Bakhtian, Department of Energy
  • Kati Daffan, Federal Trade Commission
  • Scott Davis, Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Eric Eberly, NASA
  • Heather Evans, National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Ami Grace-Tardy, Department of Energy
  • Jeff Heninger, NASA
  • Matthew Hepburn, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • Patricia Hsue, Federal Trade Commission
  • Maurice Kent, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Alison LaBonte, Department of Energy
  • Jarah Meador, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Jose Munoz, National Science Foundation
  • Chad Nelson, Food and Drug Administration
  • Albert Palacios, Department of Education
  • Sandeep Patel, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Yuliana Porras-Mendoza, Bureau of Reclamation
  • Steve Rader, NASA
  • Denice Shaw, Environmental Protection Agency
  • Adam Wong, Department of Health and Human Services

For more information about the program or to connect with a mentor, email the team.