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A Day in the Life – Roz Ingram

“A Day in the Life” is a new series here on Procurement Pulse! We will give you insight into one of our NASPO member’s busy days in the central procurement office of their state, and allow a small peek into their lives. So look for your favorite friendly neighborhood procurement official to be featured here! 
This week we caught up with Rosalyn Ingram, Director of State Purchasing & Chief Procurement Officer for the State of Florida Division of Purchasing to learn more about her role.
Roz has a B.S. degree in Business from Florida State University. She is also a Project Management Professional, Certified Public Manager, and Florida Certified Negotiator. She has 30 years of state government experience and has worked in several agencies to gain her diverse knowledge of state government and best practices in procurement. The Division of State Purchasing, led by Roz, creates state term contracts that leverages all state agency spend, as well as spend created through cities and counties that are able to use them. Her division also provides training for Certified Contract Managers, Certified Negotiators, and Project Management Professionals. They are also charged with rule promulgation and policy initiatives.
 NASPO STAFF: Roz, first of all congratulations on your re-election to serve a second term on the NASPO Board of Directors. You are one of the many energetic CPOs and dedicated NASPO Board of Directors member. Why do you value your membership with NASPO?
ROZ INGRAM: Thank you! It’s been an honor and I look forward to continuing to serve the NASPO membership! NASPO provides such a unique collaborative experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else. That value cannot be overstated. Although there are many places to go to get information, this association puts you together with people with not just similar   – but the EXACT – challenges your state is experiencing. I learn something new from every interaction.
NASPO STAFF: In the words of a recent NASPO conference participant “If I could clone Roz’s brain, that would be amazing”. You seem to have quite a few followers in the NASPO community. Tell me about your involvement with NASPO and what motivates you to be a part of this nationwide organization of great state procurement professionals such as yourself?
ROZ INGRAM: Yikes! Being inside my head is a scary prospect! I was embraced fully by this organization as soon as I was appointed CPO. It took me a few months to begin to see the breadth of reach you can attain with these folks. When I first volunteered on a project I wasn’t sure what to expect. That first one was amazing (remember our panel at NCMA, Larry?) and I have tried to be more involved since that time. I have thoroughly enjoyed my opportunity on the board as we move forward to even more challenges ahead.
NASPO STAFF: If I were a fly on the wall in Roz’s office in Tallahassee, Florida, what would I hear and see every day? Walk me through a day in the life as the CPO of the Division of Purchasing.
ROZ INGRAM: Another frightening place to be on any given day! Above most everything else, I try to have fun every day while doing the people’s work. At our core we are servant leaders and I think that to be the best at our craft we should believe that we work together as a unit. Many days are uneventful as far as anyone from the outside can see, but as we all know, there are pitfalls in every step of a procurement. I like the mental picture of the duck calm above the water, but furiously paddling underneath.
Other days are a bit more exciting. There could be interviews, calls with the Governor’s office, rule promulgation, and my fave – protests! I have the best staff that a person could have so any success that occurs in Florida rests fully on them! They are awesome!!
NASPO STAFF: Florida is one of the early implementers of the complete source-to-pay eProcurement solution for vendors and agency customers. I know you’ve had many successes since the deployment in 2003. One of the major hurdles states face when implementing eProcurement solutions is limited utilization. Can you talk about how mandating it statewide helped increase utilization, standardization and customer satisfaction?
ROZ INGRAM: Agencies benefit from increased control and management of contracts, reduced cycle time for orders and payments, improved training offerings with increased opportunities, and increased competition from the vendor community. Vendors benefit from the agencies’ use of standardized documents and procedures regarding the source to pay process and improved training offerings with increased opportunities. We measure utilization monthly and send reports to agency executive leadership to ensure consistent utilization. We measure customer satisfaction every year and the MFMP Program has achieved an increase in customer satisfaction ratings, year after year. Last year MFMP customer satisfaction exceeded 96 percent statewide, our highest rating in program history.
NASPO STAFF: Name one accomplishment you are most proud of since you became the CPO in Florida.
ROZ INGRAM: I think I’d have to say that there are two I feel equally proud about. One is our collaboration over the last three years with the IT vendor community. The events we have held to dispel rumor from right – along with intent – has been a great experience for us. We feel much stronger as we move forward in this intensely fluid arena.
The second and most surprising for me is our rule promulgation. We have updated or repealed most of our rules. At the onset, I had no idea of the steps and time this took. I am very proud that we are almost through!
NASPO STAFF: Any words of wisdom, things you’d like to share with our Procurement Pulse blog community and procurement professionals around the country?
ROZ INGRAM: Yes! Develop relationships with other members of NASPO! One, they are all superstars, and, two, you can easily reduce your resources by adopting what another state has tackled and finished. This group loves to share! Another valuable morsel – get involved! You will really enjoy serving on committees and helping to further the profession we’ve all chosen.
NASPO STAFF: What keeps you up at night?
ROZ INGRAM: Arranging major to minor challenges that may be coming at me the next day, but most often I worry about my two beautiful grandchildren and their health and happiness.
NASPO STAFF: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
ROZ INGRAM: We love our boat and motor coach and try and combine them, our family, and the gaggle of dogs whenever possible. For stress relief, I mow the grass and paint my walls. I know – sad, BUT they provide immediate gratification!
NASPO STAFF: What is your greatest personal achievement?
ROZ INGRAM: Bringing four individuals to adulthood in a difficult world, and having the good sense to marry my husband Robert who is the most aggravating and wonderful man – as well as my best friend.
NASPO STAFF: If you didn’t work in public procurement, what would you do?
ROZ INGRAM: Career-wise, I would love to get back into event planning. I did that for a couple of years and really enjoyed the fast pace of it and the feeling of accomplishment when an event was successfully completed. If I won the lottery/etc. – we would run a dog rescue. We love dogs of all types and would like to see them with families.
Emerging Technology

The Age of AI: Will Robots Take Over? Part…

Living in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
In the previous installment of this two-part series I discussed the amazing transformation and evolution made possible by automation and technology advancements of the 20th century. Today’s technology transformations such as robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnologies, and the Internet-of-Things will have a great impact on society, disrupting every industry and improving many aspects of our personal and work lives. They also create problems for governments around the world that must now figure out how to regulate this new environment and respond to socio-economic concerns such as displacement of workers by automation, or inequality.
Of all big tech companies using AI to enhance their products or services, Amazon is clearly leading the pack with home automation products like Alexa, its version of a personal assistant. Facebook has recently sunset “M,” which hoped to take current personal assistants to the next level where the trained AI machine would have had the same knowledge as the user and do more things than regurgitating various scenarios scripted by app developers. However, the race to lead in AI as a service is on.

Read more “The Age of AI: Will Robots Take Over? Part II”

NASPO Internships

2018 Summer Internship Program – An Update

We are thrilled that the first true iteration of the NASPO national internship program is off to a great start! From three states and four interns in our pilot program last summer to eight states and fifteen interns this summer, the program has grown substantially. Massachusetts, Utah, and Idaho’s procurement offices graciously agreed to participate in the pilot program in Summer 2017. These offices helped to create NASPO’s very first internship programs in their states- a learning experience for NASPO and for the interns. All three pilot states decided to host an intern(s) again this summer, joined by the procurement offices of Connecticut, New York, Texas, Wisconsin, and Oregon. Many of the Summer 2018 interns have already begun their internships and will work for 10-12 weeks in the state’s procurement function.

Read more “2018 Summer Internship Program – An Update”

NASPO Exchange

NASPO in NYC for Exchange 2018

The 2018 NASPO Exchange hit record attendance, but that was no surprise in an exciting city and tourist destination like New York City. NASPO members and staff, suppliers from all over the country, and guest speakers and presenters descended upon Times Square in the Big Apple in mid-March for NASPO’s biggest conference of the year. This conference presents a unique opportunity to build relationships among the supplier community and state governments – the largest consumers of goods and services in the country. Exchange is a place where partnering, networking, and learning come together to develop business relationships that support public procurements that are effective, efficient, transparent, and fair.
From our 2018 host state, New York General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito welcomed our NASPO members and partners during the opening general session and shared her home state’s motto: “Excelsior”, or “ever upward.” Destito energized the suppliers and NASPO members in attendance by applying this motto to the public procurement profession by saying, “We are moving procurement ever upward by being here and networking at the NASPO Exchange.” Commissioner Destito also presented a certificate to NASPO President Michael Jones (CPO, State of Alabama) from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declaring March as Procurement Month in the state in honor of NASPO bringing the Exchange conference to New York City.

Read more “NASPO in NYC for Exchange 2018”

Effective Sourcing Strategies

Effective Sourcing Strategies: How Innovative is Your State Government?

Public procurement professionals often need to ask themselves, “Should we innovate, or can we use our traditional sourcing methods more effectively?” Many state central procurement offices have answered “Both!” to this question with much success.
Innovation continues to be a buzzword. We often hear calls for government innovation and rethinking public procurement, especially due to budget constraints or to keep up with the fast pace of innovation in technology.
Innovation can mean implementing new or better solutions. These could include changes as simple as a facelift to a traditional procurement method, adopting a new approach such as modular procurement, simplified multi-step bidding, communications with the supplier community prior to issuing a procurement opportunity, or allowing the state to test new technologies before procuring them. Sometimes, the most innovative ideas come from procurement professionals in the trenches who work closely with stakeholders and can offer helpful feedback.
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of hosting a webinar highlighting innovative and effective ways of procuring goods and services in state government. Read more “Effective Sourcing Strategies: How Innovative is Your State Government?”
Green Purchasing

A “Whirlwind” of Green

$180 billion – that is the estimated economic loss the United States will experience by the end of the century if no action is taken on climate change. States are increasingly interested in implementing sustainable purchasing practices and can often use their unique geographical locations and physical attributes to their advantage. Thinking creatively is key when diving into the world of sustainable purchasing, and in this post, we will explore some of the ways states are setting exceptional benchmarks in the pursuit for clean and storable energy.
In 2016, the “House Bill to Promote Energy Diversity” was signed by Massachusetts lawmakers. This bill, in part, directed utility companies to solicit offshore wind contracts by June 2017, requiring output every two years of at least 400 megawatts (MW) each. Each megawatt is equal to one million watts, which means that each MW can translate into power for hundreds of thousands of homes, depending on usage. Massachusetts’ ultimate goal is to generate 400 MW of storable wind energy, every two years, off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard by placing wind farms in federally-owned waters.
Read more “A “Whirlwind” of Green”

Do We Need Net Neutrality?

Have you ever been frustrated at the slow internet speed, or experienced buffering while streaming a live ball game, or your favorite TV, Netflix, or Hulu show? We’ve all been there. In many cases, the slow speed is not intentional, but due to poor server configuration or high traffic providers are experiencing at a particular time. Now, imagine this has become the norm, because of government deregulation that now allows Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to dictate which customers get faster or slower traffic depending on how much customers pay for their services. Welcome to the network (net) neutrality debate!
To some, net neutrality may seem like just another new buzzword, but it is not a new concept. Back in the 1960s, AT&T had a monopoly of the phone industry, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had to step in so that market competition was fostered to give consumer more options, as well as lower prices.
Those in favor of net neutrality believe that ISPs and network providers should treat their customers (a.k.a. “traffic”) equally as they navigate to and from any web site, application, or device. Being “net-neutral” refers to ISPs not artificially slowing down, speeding up, throttling, or setting data limits for any resources the customer is trying to access through the ISP’s connection. Keep in mind, a “customer” in this context can refer to a consumer in their home, a business, or a government agency. In other words, proponents of net neutrality argue that ISPs should not be allowed to play favorites and allow online content providers (or content owned by the ISP’s parent company) preferential treatment over another, especially if one provider pays more than another for traffic. What does this all mean? Large private businesses with deep pockets could get faster internet while the rest of us watch the buffering icon spin.
Read more “Do We Need Net Neutrality?”