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Reflections on Forum, 2018

By Rey Palma posted 08-27-2018 13:45


Reflections on Forum 2018


I have been attending Forums for quite a while. I am not an every year attendee for various reasons usually associated with workloads and personnel support. Nonetheless, I try to attend as much as I am able and have never failed to come away from them without learning something of value. Even as I begin the sunset of my career, I find gems of wisdom and personal fulfillment in what I experience. It is amazing to see the evolution of the Forum itself from a mostly volunteer event to one having so many professional support elements to it.  Meeting and feeling the enthusiasm of so many young professionals is energizing.

A large part of what I have seen evolve is the use of sponsors to bolster the quality, breadth and scope of the Forum. Here I have to confess that it took some getting used to time for me to see such infusive involvement. Credit has to be given to NIGP leadership, as they have consistently and deliberately kept focused on corporate involvement through many desensitizing steps the past 10-15 years. We have evolved our profession to accept corporate partnerships without adversarial tones. Most of us saw this coming with the advent of construction management/design build partnerships years ago, yet it still took us a while to find the right model to implement the vision. My only concern is the innocent being captured by the resources of corporate America. Another challenge for us to address as we evolve this ever-changing model.

I may be wrong but I do not think we had our traditional “Diversity Town Hall Meeting” this year. If it was held, well, I am sorry that I missed it. If it was not held then I wonder why it wasn’t. I always found it to be a part of the forum where minority elements could without plans, freely express their concerns and desires. This I always believed was beneficial to the organization. I did appreciate the related “Procuring Diversity 101” sessions as they addressed the heart of critical programs for many of us.

The 2018 Forum was full of surprises and enhancements. I am still very impressed with the “app” we all used and the manner in which AV managed so many different tetra-bytes of data. Kudos to the techies! I enjoyed the social events and although Nashville was hotter than bad BBQ hot sauce the people I met made my stay very cool… pun intended.

Congrats to all the NIGP staff and members for a great 2018 Forum! Wishing everyone  a multitude of successes for NIGP’s future Forums.

Forum was made great for me simply because of the wonderful people who I met, reconnected with, and look forward to seeing again....


1 comment


09-04-2018 11:13

Rey, thanks so much for your thoughtful assessment on the 2018 Nashville Forum.  We are grateful for your participation, engagement, and enthusiasm!  Let's continue the momentum in Austin next August.

You posed a specific question on the Diversity Town Hall meeting; so I want to provide a reply.  A couple of years ago, the NIGP Diversity Committee decided to alter the format of the Diversity Town Hall Meeting and sponsor workshops that specifically draw attention to diversity issues and solutions.  For 2018, they sponsored two workshops: 

(1) Procuring Diversity 101: Basic Knowledge about Supplier Diversity Programs. This session provided an overview of the legal and administrative elements of government supplier diversity programs; and the history, legal framework, best practices, and other introductory elements for procurement diversity were discussed.

(2) Procuring Diversity 201: Advanced Knowledge about Supplier Diversity Programs. As described in the workshop program: As legal standards and trends in program litigation evolve and take effect at the local, state, and federal levels, procurement professionals must do our due diligence to ensure that our policies, actions, and standards are as inclusive and encompassing as possible. Building off of the basic elements of procurement diversity, this advanced workshop targets more complex elements of diversity business program, including recent litigation trends, benefits to diversity suppliers, and tips for the conduction and implementation of disparity studies.

As always, additional insights are welcomed and appreciated.