In early April, NASPO leaders met with academic partners at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI to discuss common challenges faced when trying to attract and retain qualified talent in the profession of state procurement. The 2018 NASPO Academic Forum provided an opportunity for NASPO leaders and academics to network, identify additional opportunities for collaboration, discuss data collection that will support future NASPO initiatives, and highlight the accomplishments and ongoing efforts of the Procurement U Higher Education initiative.
Since 2016, NASPO’s Top Ten Priorities for State Procurement has included “Staff Recruitment and Retention” as an issue many state procurement offices have been facing. This year’s Academic Forum shed some light on this issue and helped state members understand what the future workforce will look like and how to react to staffing challenges they have faced and are still facing today.
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A unique aspect of NASPO’s Exchange conference is the opportunity it provides to state members and suppliers to come together and have open and honest conversation in a “safe space,” where no ideas are bad, and no questions are stupid. It is a learning and thinking environment that lends itself to useful and edifying conversations that might not otherwise take place. The session “Ten Things Your Procurement Officer Wants You to Know,” led by Stacy Gregg, Procurement Manager from the State of South Carolina, really seized the moment Exchange creates and used it to convey some hard-won truths to the supplier community in attendance.
In an overflowing room, Stacy walked through the “ten things” with care and precision – taking questions along the way and allowing CPOs and other procurement officials in the room to chime in with additional viewpoints and advice. Her list included insightful quotations from her fellow public procurement officials and is presented with many of those insights below:
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