Lurita Alexis Doan (born January 4, 1958), became the Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration on May 31, 2006, the first woman to hold that position.
Doan began her education at Ursuline Academy, a Catholic school for girls in New Orleans. Doan was one of the first African Americans to integrate into the private school system in New Orleans in the early 1960’s. Doan next attended Vassar College in New York where she graduated with honors for her English thesis in 1979. After receiving her undergraduate degree, Doan attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she received her master’s degree in renaissance literature in 1983.
Doan began work teaching at several colleges in Louisiana, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia. In the late 1980’s, Ms. Doan became proficient using the Unix system, leading edge technology at the time. Utilizing her newly acquired skills, Doan launched her company, New Technology Management Inc. in 1990. Doan began work integrating Unix systems working alone until 1993 when she secured a $250,000 Navy contract to install Unix on ships. Doan soon had 10 employees working under her, a number that has since quadrupled to over 40 employees. NTMI is responsible for approximately 80% of the security and surveillance technology protecting the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico.
On April 6, 2006, Doan was nominated by President George W. Bush to lead the GSA. The U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination on May 26. On May 31, Doan took the oath of office, becoming the 18th Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration. Doan is the first woman to hold the position.
On March 26, 2007 the Washington Post reported, in a front page story:
Witnesses have told congressional investigators that the chief of the General Services Administration and a deputy in Karl Rove's political affairs office at the White House joined in a videoconference earlier this year with top GSA political appointees, who discussed ways to help Republican candidates. With GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan and up to 40 regional administrators on hand, J. Scott Jennings, the White House's deputy director of political affairs, gave a PowerPoint presentation on Jan. 26  of polling data about the 2006 elections. When Jennings concluded his presentation to the GSA political appointees, Doan allegedly asked them how they could "help 'our candidates' in the next elections," according to a March 6 letter to Doan from Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Waxman said in the letter that one method suggested was using 'targeted public events, such as the opening of federal facilities around the country.'....
The committee is also expected to question Doan about her attempt to give a no-bid job to a friend and professional associate last summer. In addition, the committee plans to look at Waxman's charge that Doan "intervened" in a troubled technology contract with Sun Microsystems that could cost taxpayers millions more than necessary. In the Senate, Doan is facing a similar line of questioning in letters from Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). Also examining Doan are the GSA's Office of Inspector General and the independent federal Office of Special Counsel, which investigates allegations of Hatch Act violations."
The no-bid contract for a 24-page report promoting the GSA's use of minority- and woman-owned businesses was with Edie Fraser, a person with whom Doan, and her prior company, New Technology Management, had an "extensive personal and business relationship." Waxman alleged that Doan "attempted to go forward with issuing a $20,000 no-bid contract to Fraser even after GSA General Counsel Alan Swendiman repeatedly advised that the contract be terminated due to its questionable legality." Doan had signed the contract herself, rather than a contracting officer, which was termed "highly irregular"; further, no-bid contracts, at the time, were generally supposed to be for $2,500 or less. Afterward, the contract was terminated before any money changed hands.
On the contract with Sun Microsystems, allegations are that two different GSA contracting officers recommended against the renewal of a contract due to possible overcharging. The second contracting official was moved off the case, "and a third officer was assigned to resume contract negotiations. Nine days after that, the third official completed the negotiations with terms that were inferior to a previous Sun proposal, Waxman wrote. Shortly after finishing the negotiation, the contracting officer received a requested transfer from Washington, D.C., to Denver, Waxman wrote. The request had been refused before, the letter stated."
In January 2007, the Washington Post had reported two other contoversies:
* "Last September, Doan intervened in an effort to determine whether five major contractors should be suspended from doing business with the federal government after they had been accused of making fraudulent claims."
* "Doan also generated consternation within her agency and on Capitol Hill with her proposals to curb the agency's contract audits and to cut the inspector general's budget by $5 million. The audits, which aim to ensure that the government is getting the best prices for goods and services, have saved taxpayers more than $1 billion over the past two years, the inspector general's office reported."
Doan has been involved in the business community through participation in many trade associations, membership in business organizations, and involvement on charitable community activities. In addition, Doan provides support to the American Red Cross, National Women’s Business Center, D.C. Rape Crisis Center, United Negro College Fund, American Women’s Business Centers, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Whitman Walker Clinic, and many others. Doan has also served on a number of boards and committees including the Vassar College Board of Trustees, the Shakespeare Theatre of Washington, D.C. Board of Trustees, the Committee of 200, Council on Competitiveness, National Association of Women Business Owners, National Association of Female Executives, Women in Technology International, Minority Business Network, and the Northern Virginia Technology Council. Between 1999 and 2006, "she and her husband, Douglas, a former military intelligence officer and business liaison official at the Department of Homeland Security, donated nearly $226,000 to Republican campaigns and causes, documents show."