Meet the Team: October 2017

Meet some of the folks who recently joined the U.S. Digital Service.

Chanteclaire Swett — Digital Service Expert, HQ

I just finished getting my master’s in public policy. While in school I studied the intersection of policy and technology and coming to USDS feels like the perfect way to put that information into real world practice! Before USDS and grad school, I spent time in DC and the Bay Area working to mobilize communities using digital tools and technology to tackle global issues like education, refugees and women’s rights. Technology and government have the power to do so much good and being part of an organization that is making a difference in this way is really exciting!

Idea of Perfect Happiness: 
I love nature and hiking so the feeling after you’ve summited a mountain on a beautiful day is just the best. Plus it means you get to eat lunch with an incredible view.

Which talent would you most like to have? 
The ability to draw or paint. I am left handed and growing up people always assumed I was good at art because of it. I am in fact terrible.

Where would you most like to live? 
I’m always torn between the bustle of a city and the seclusion of nature. Paris would be my top pick for a city and though I’ve never been, I’ve recently discovered the beauty of the Faroe Islands in google image search and I am obsessed.

Kasia Chmielinski — Product Manager, HQ

I’ve always been drawn to the hairiest problems with the largest impact. As a kid, that meant creating a household currency centered around ‘earning’ toys. Today, that means joining the US Digital Service, where I can work on projects that affect millions of Americans. Prior to joining USDS, I worked at the MIT Media Lab on Scratch, a programming language and online community for kids. At USDS, I will focus on projects relating to temporary visas and healthcare.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I’ve recently become an avid birdwatcher, so I’m currently in a phase of classifying the world around me as bird / not-bird. And so — when I am reincarnated, I hope and expect to come back as a bird. Probably something a little understated but happy-seeming, like a black-throated blue warbler.

What is your current state of mind?
This is probably trite, but I am feeling very excited about the work happening at USDS. I’m honored to be here to help push it forward.

What is your motto?
An action, once started, continues indefinitely.

Kevin Carter — Product and Strat Ops, HQ

I’ve worked for a decade either directly for or with the Federal government. My first job in government was moving boxes and keying in data from hundred year old paper mining applications; even back then (and admittedly selfishly), I thought, “Are you kidding me? There has to be a better way!” 
My career is an acronym soup of Federal agencies — BLM, OPM, VA, IRS, USDA, and now USDS! It’s been a great chance to see the myriad ways that government serves citizens.
Immediately prior to joining USDS, I worked for Deloitte, finding ways to make the workplace better for Federal employees, and by extension their customers, the public.

Where would you most like to live? 
Pick any mid-sized, coastal California city.

What is your most treasured possession? 
This may be the most quintessential millennial answer, but I treasure my memories most — everything else is replaceable and fleeting.

What is your favorite motto?
“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood… Make big plans; aim high in hope and work… long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency.” — Daniel Burnham, architect of (among may other buildings) Washington’s Union Station.

Bryan Swann — White House Leadership Fellow, HQ

Prior to joining USDS, I worked in several leadership roles at the Department of the Treasury, White House Military Office, and Office of the Secretary of Defense. Also as a Marine Corps Veteran and MBA, I love all things tech, solving big problems, building meaningful relationships, and serving our country.

What do you most value in your friends? 
Trust and Encouragement

What is your most marked characteristic? 
Building teams, hard work, and servant leadership

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 
“Roger that” or “Good to go” lol

Angela Grossfeld — Talent (Community Partnerships & Events), HQ

I’ve spent the past 15+ years helping federal government agencies and NGOs use digital tools to get their messages to the public. Most recently, I led marketing & sales activation for the government & advocacy business team at Google. Here at USDS, I’ll be building partnerships and running events to market our organization to engineers, designers, PMs, and more.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 
Feet up, nose deep in a good book or the New York Times Sunday edition. Some of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos would be playing, a roaring fire would be going, my kids would be playing happily, and the house would a perfectly clean (see above: kids), organized and cozy. Full on hygge.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? 
Patience. We want a more awesome government. Today.

What is your motto? 
“Make it happen.” No resting on your laurels. I want to be a change agent, not only for myself and those I care about, but impact our greater society.

Bill Blais — Digital Service Expert, HQ

I came from DHS OCIO, Information Sharing and Services Office (IS2O) and am now with Strat/Ops here at HQ, but temporarily assigned to the SBA to coordinate hurricane relief efforts for that administration. Prior to DHS I worked for Raytheon and Battelle Memorial Institute as a Program Manager.

What is the greatest love of your life? 
The beach! I get very depressed if I am away from salt water for any length of time. Oh and cheeseburgers, which is possibly the most complete food!

What is your favorite motto? 
No matter where you go, there you are! (Buckaroo Banzi)

What is your most marked characteristic? 
I am able to stay calm in really stressful situations oh and my well-developed sense of humor.

Tim Van Name — Deputy, Defense Digital Service

I spent the last 2 years helping to overhaul and modernize the technology systems used at the White House, including everything from replacing the Phone on the Resolute Desk and throughout the White House to pulling 30,000 pounds of unused cables out of the West Wing to overhauling the security of the networks. I was part of the team negotiating the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba for a few months before that. I’m joining the DDS team as the Deputy, so my focus will be on supporting the team and bulldozing blockers in the path of DDS projects or the team.

What word do you most overuse? 
I overuse “awesome!”. I find a wide variety of subjects interesting and have a tendency to get enthusiastic when I find something that peaks my curiosity. My overuse both devalues the statement, and will occasionally sound disingenuous as a result.

What do you most value in your friends? 
Integrity. I have real admiration for people who do good things for the right reasons. One of the many reasons that I was drawn to USDS is the integrity of the many USDSers that I have worked with over the past 2 years.

What is the trait that you most deplore in others? 
Empire-Building, particularly for the purpose of self-aggrandizement. The infighting within organizations, and the government in particular, over “ownership” for projects, responsibility, and turf is incredibly frustrating.

The best of technology.
The best of government.
And we want you.

We’re looking for the most tenacious designers, software engineers, product managers, and more, who are committed to untangling, rewiring and redesigning critical government services. You’ll join a team of the most talented technologists from across the private sector and government.
If you have questions regarding employment with the U.S. Digital Service, please contact us at usds@omb.eop.gov and visit https://www.usds.gov/join.