Workshop Schedule


All sessions are in Central Standard Time (CST)

Sunday, August 25

PLENARY - The Power of Purpose in your Business, your Life and the Life of America

  •   Sunday
  • 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
  • Speaker - Roy Spence
  • Forum 2019 VCON Session

C-level utility leaders are on the front line of powering and delivering extraordinary customer service. This is where the power of Purpose comes in. Having a mighty Purpose to power your organization’s culture in today’s world of chaos and warp speed innovations is the key driver of extraordinary employee engagement, customer service and a positive “ whatever it takes” attitude. Roy Spence has helped to discover and bring to life high-performing, Purpose-inspired cultures in nearly every sector of the American economy.

Agency-based Networking Sessions

  •   Sunday
  • 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Promoting Value: Processing Improvement for Procurement Professionals

Promoting process improvement can be hard, requiring buy-in from staff and leaders alike to improve an entity’s value to its community. Like all public functions, however, there are steps that public procurement professionals can take to improve their entities and the relationships they foster among all stakeholders. Learn how you can foster positive, process-focused improvements in your entity while employing feedback from employees, clients, and customers, exploring the importance of continuous review and process modification in this forward-focusing session.

Effective Endings: Creating Highly Successful Scopes of Work

Best-selling author Stephen Covey suggested that those seeking to become highly-effective persons should “Begin With the End in Mind.” Similarly, if we as public procurement professionals want to develop highly-effective scopes of work, we must begin with the end—contract performance—in mind as we build our dream solicitations, determining what we want at the onset of the process. Explore the nuances of scopes of work in this case study and NIGP best practice-driven session, learning how effective and ineffective scopes of work impact contract management regardless of your experience in this critical procurement function.

Valuing Your Community: Ten Takeaways for Best Value in Your Organization

As public procurement professionals, we select suppliers to provide services, commodities, and construction for our communities. By the very nature of our role—determining which suppliers are successful and which are not—we have the power to substantially contribute to our community’s goals. Key to a successful outcome are the methodologies we undertake to source them; Public buying is evolving to Best Value multi-criteria decision making. How do you encourage suppliers to consider your community goals, such as protecting the planet, clean energy, water, research, education and an inclusive labor force with reduced inequality? How to balance with technical merit, experience of staff assigned, and after-sales? How can you set fair and objective award criteria and ensure effective competition at the same time? How do you establish a practical approach to a multi-criteria, not just price, approach to selecting suppliers in line with community’s goals? Join us as we explore how an eProcurement platform can contribute to your communities’ best value approach in a supplier-practitioner lecture-led session.

Spectacular Specifications: The Art of Getting What We Want

Our department users are constantly sending us requisitions for all manner of supplies and services. Their descriptions of those items, however, can often leave us wondering what it is they really want. We know the questions to ask, but often our customers don’t like providing those answers or they aren’t sure why the question is even being asked. No one wants a solicitation to circulate for several weeks and then be opened only to find that the low bid is not what the user had in mind. Our goal is to craft a solicitation document that the vendors can understand and to which they can respond. This session explores the myriad of things that can be done to craft a proper solicitation every time and increase the odds of getting the right items

Constructing Success: Building Partnerships Between Construction and Procurement

With at least one new school opening annually and another simultaneously undergoing renovations, Loudoun County Public Schools' Procurement Services and Construction Offices have learned that working together is the key to success. Our two departments know the importance of building on one another’s strengths, ensuring that projects are finished on time, within budget, and are able to open as a turn-key building. Join us and learn how you can build strong, lasting partnerships to ensure that your end users and stakeholders have all the tools necessary to succeed in this case-study driven session.

The Application of Theory: Assessment and Improvement with the OA4

  •   Sunday
  • 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Lisa Premo, MPA

What public procurement professionals do—and how they do it—is, in large part, based on theory. Our three pillars of public service, public trust, and justice (i.e., ethical and legal alignment) provide our purpose, with values and guiding principles underlining our rationale for implementation. To help ensure that we reach our fullest potential and empower our communities through best practice guidance, however, we need a value-driven self-assessment, one that can identify not only the challenges we encounter daily but also provide opportunities and methodologies for advancement—an assessment like NIGP’s Outstanding Agency Accreditation Achievement Award (OA4). Join us as we explore the context of the OA4, discussing not only the requirements of this tool, but also how it can be used to assess and improve your Procurement agency’s strategic placement, role, and function.

Ideas to Empower You: Procurement Experiences on Becoming Proactive and More Strategic

How do your customers or stakeholders view the role of public procurement? What influences their viewpoint, and what have you done to shift the project focus from reactive to proactive responses? Join this panel of geographically-diverse public procurement professionals as we explore how we can expand our role, sharing ideas and stories of what we do on a daily basis to demonstrate our field’s strategic value.

Procuring Relief: What You Need to Know About FEMA Funding

When disaster strikes, FEMA funding can be your jurisdiction's saving grace, but does your procurement function know when, what, and how to ensure that your entity gets the funding you need when you need it? Understanding the procurement function’s timeline can help you land millions of dollars but missing or ignoring it could cost even more. Learn the phases and timing that your procurement entity needs to know in order to qualify for FEMA funds in this targeted session, exploring the nuances of federal regulation and discovering the surprising truths about FEMA deadlines.

Embracing Innovation in Public Procurement: A Case Study of How the City of Miami Department of Procurement Innovates

In 2017, the City of Miami launched the Miami Innovation Academy, a series of workshops where city employees learn valuable techniques—including process mapping, waste identification, experiment design, and collaboration—that help them clearly identify and solve problems. The Academy specifically helped to build the City's innovation capacity in its Department of Procurement, which took the lead in utilizing the discussed techniques to streamline procurement processes, solve common and uncommon issues, and empowered employees to create strategic solutions to their challenges. Join us in this exploratory session as we share the importance and place of innovation in the public sector, discover the value of investing in your employees’ abilities to solve problems, and introduce best practice guidance for scaling innovation capacity in your organization in this case-study driven session.

Connecting the Dots: Achieving Strategic Alignment for Engineering Services

Recently, Manitoba Hydro successfully aggregated $25 million per year of engineering services into a single prequalification framework for the entire organization. By working with the Association of Consulting Engineer Companies, we were able to gain insight and visibility of procurement practices within engineering services at the department level. Join our joint panel as we explore our strategies, outcomes, and lessons learned from the entirety of the collaborative experience, exploring how procurement planning, stakeholder engagement, aggregation processes, supplier management, and continuous improvement altered the way that our organization worked together in this collaborative, panel-focused discussion.

Monday, August 26

PLENARY - Dare to Matter: How Procurement Professionals Rise to Significance

  •   Monday
  • 8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
  • Speakers - Pete Smith
  • Forum 2019 VCON Session

The most effective procurement professionals understand that significance is found not just within the job one has but within the person who performs the job.

After years of research, Pete Smith reveals the Significance framework outlined in his best-selling book, Dare to Matter. This framework reveals the six major pillars of significance and how they can be incorporated into our daily lives and challenges traditional thinking of success and happiness and presents an alternative, possibly contrarian, approach that leaves you inspired, engaged, and committed to making a bigger impact in this world.

Having a stroke at the age of 35, Pete has since used that experience to inspire, educate, and entertain audiences throughout the world on the importance of pursuing significance in their personal and professional lives.

The State of Construction Procurement: A Look from All Angles

Just as public procurement is evolving daily, so too are the basics of procurement. Of all the procurement functions, however, construction is one of the few that seems to take the most time, involve the most resources, and have the greatest exposure—positive and negative—for an entity. Discover the latest from an expert panel regarding changes and opportunities in construction procurement regulations, tips and best practices to streamline projects, how to leverage the power of group buying, and so much more in this case-study driven session that explores more efficient, alternative purchasing solutions for the construction-minded public procurement professional.

The Human Side of Technology: Transformation and Skills Assessment (It’s the Peeps, Not the Apps!)

Agencies frequently consider technology solutions or tech infrastructure changes to turn potential efficiencies into reality. Even though IT infrastructure is an important component of operational transformation and efficiency, many IT projects are not successful. Explore how robust staff analysis and assessment can support your entity’s successful implementation of IT projects, in this lecture-styled session.

Transformation: Ready or Not...

  •   Monday
  • 1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Level - Advanced
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Lourdes Coss, MPA, CPPO
  • Forum 2019 VCON Session

Is your procurement organization "transformation" ready, or are you worried about what the future will bring to your entity? It doesn’t have be a scary word, especially when you know when, how, and what to prepare for. Discuss the pillars, enablers, and success factors that can propel you and your entity into tomorrow in this experience-driven session, highlighting how technology and staffing can set the foundation for a transformation-ready tomorrow.

Making Connections: Building Relationships with Key Procurement Partners

  •   Monday
  • 1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Level - Intermediate
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Mike Purdy, MBA

Procurement professionals occupy a unique and strategic space in public entities, interacting with a wide variety of internal and external partners. The nature of these relationships differs depending on the party, but in each case, the procurement professional has the potential to positively and strategically impact the operation and mission of a public entity while promoting transparency in procurement by building effective relationships. Join us as we evaluate the roles of various constituencies and explore how we as procurement professionals can proactively interact with them and provide strategic value in this interactive, workshop-styled session.

You Inherited A Mess: 10 Ways to (Re)Develop A Compliant Procurement Organization

During your professional career, you will undoubtedly encounter rough situations as “the new person in charge.” Just because you inherited a mess, however, doesn’t mean you have to leave it that way. Join us as we explore how you can interweave step-by-step action plans to (re)establish a compliant public procurement organization, exploring how change management, training, transparency, accountability, compliance, and cooperative endeavors can propel you forward in this interactive session.

What’s in It for Me: The Value of Volunteerism

Some people volunteer to meet people, some volunteer to increase their skills, and some may even volunteer to get access to new careers, but at the end of the day, the age-old question, “What’s in it for me?” always seems to circle around our thoughts on volunteerism. There’s an age-old secret to volunteering, however, and it has everything to do with value—people will volunteer, and find value, in the things that they are most passionate about. Learn more about the value of volunteering, exploring how you can earn buy-in from passionate and inspired professionals like you in this unique, values-driven session.

From Slow to Pro: The Ins and Outs of IFB's

Going through the solicitation process for the first time can be a bit of a daunting task—every entity does it differently and knowing where to start can be a challenge. When should you use the Invitation for Bid process? What is the difference between specifications and scope of work? How do we know we haven't missed anything? Explore the basics of the IFB process and specification writing, consider how checklists can be a great guide to get you through your process, and discuss other tips to help make your IFBs a success in this discussion-focused, lecture-style session.

Preparing for Disaster: Policies and Procedures for Emergency Procurements

With the ever-increasing rise of manmade and natural disasters happening across the country, it is crucial for public entities to be prepared to react at a moment’s notice. When it comes to activating in response to tragedy, no entity is more important than the procurement professional, who must be on the front lines to secure necessary funding during activated emergencies. Join us as we discuss and share FEMA guidelines, required forms, the importance of documentation, and many other attributes that are critical to helping you and your entity develop and pass a disaster procurement policy.

Request for Proposals: Different, but not Difficult

Requests for proposal (RFPs) oftentimes appear to have a mysterious cloud around them, making them seemingly difficult to understand let alone engage in. As such, many procurement professionals see RFPs as a last resort. Just because they’re different from other source selection methods, however, doesn’t mean that they are or must be difficult. Join us and learn about the different areas of an RFP, exploring how sections such as policy and procedure, evaluation committees and criteria, scoring and ranking, and even the document itself can be an asset for new and seasoned public procurement professionals alike.

Sunshine and Shade: Navigating Transparency Laws and Preserving Protected Information

As procurements increase in complexity and the market drives innovation, we must develop strategies to ensure the preservation of trade secrets and confidential information, asking ourselves how we balance protected information, open records, and public meetings while maintaining a transparent and competitive procurement process. Outlining challenges and strategies implemented to balance lawfully preserving trade secrets and confidential information, this case-study driven session explores the procurement of Food and Beverage Services for the Orange County Convention Center, discussing how the department masterfully held public meetings, fulfilled public records requests, and responded to media inquiries regarding the second largest convention center in the United States.

From Cradle to Grave: Procurement is Just the Beginning

In public procurement, it is critical for professionals to procure commodities correctly not only for the entity but also for the end user, who must ensure that goods and services are delivered to contract standards and ultimately meet their needs. It’s not enough, however, to simply be able to write the solicitation; you must also be able to execute and monitor the contract, ensuring that you can effectively answer any questions that might arise. Join us and explore how you can write better scopes of work, ensuring that you can monitor it alongside deliverables, desk-audits, formal onsite audits, reviewing invoices, change orders, and closeouts in this workshop-styled session.

Looking Beneath the Hood: Curating High-Resolution Supplier Intelligence

  •   Monday
  • 3:15 PM - 4:30 PM
  • Level - Intermediate
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Raj Sharma
  • Forum 2019 VCON Session

Any successful procurement depends on finding the right supplier for any given requirement. Easier said than done, finding the right supplier means going beyond surface level information to understand the differentiated capabilities and experiences of suppliers, linking these to your requirements to promote impactful procurements. Determined to address this need at a practical level, Public Spend Forum has been working with experts, academics, entities at all levels of government, and suppliers across the spectrum to help public procurement professionals more efficiently and effectively conduct high-resolution supplier intelligence. Join us as we discuss real examples and practical approaches that can ensure your next procurement leads to the right supplier at the right cost in this case-study focused, lecture-led session.

Achieving Excellence: Using Technology and Performance Metrics to Drive Improvement

Over the past few years, the County of San Diego Purchasing and Contracting organization has effectively implemented the use of technology and KPIs (key performance indicators) to drive continual improvement in procurement services to both internal customers and county residents. Outlining our journey from its initiation in 2013 to the present, discover how to establish the right metrics that best represent the effectiveness of your organization, use and analyze information to drive performance excellence, and highlight key factors needed to accomplish improvement in this case-study driven session.

CMAR: Construction Management at Risk

CMAR (construction management at risk) is a new and exciting methodology that allows for users to pro-actively anticipate changes while helping provide cost certainty throughout the project. As with most construction delivery methods, however, the consequences of failing to understand CMAR can lead to serious problems down the line. Learn how one school district has used the CMAR method to complete construction of a state-of-the-art facility and existing school classroom expansions in this case-study driven session.

Planning for the Best: Mitigating Disaster Impact through Preparedness

  •   Monday
  • 3:15 PM - 4:30 PM
  • Level - Advanced
  • Track - Emergency
  • Speaker - Nicky Dare, MBA

Seemingly more so than ever before, today’s world is filled with disasters and tragedies that challenge us to respond with precision in order to have immediate impact. Whether natural or man-made, disasters by their very nature are unexpected and difficult to anticipate, requiring us to be constantly vigilant and prepared to face adversity should it arise. Join us as we discuss how prevention, preparedness, forward thinking, and sustainability can help you and your entity prepare for the worst, exploring how risk management, emergency action, disaster recovery, and business continuity plans can proactively mitigate the risks inherent in emergency disaster management.

Influencing Solutions: Leveraging Amazon Business to Solve Peer Problems

Your end users are buying on Amazon, but do you know what they’re buying? Knowing that public sector entities need to ensure compliance and transparency in their procure-to-pay processes, Amazon Business provides a solution to ensure your end users buy what they need from whom you want them to buy in the most efficient way possible. Join us as we dive deep with Local Government & Education entities that are driving greater value through compliance, cost savings, and visibility, exploring how leveraging Amazon Business in your entity can help you overcome key procurement challenges; improve spend visibility, operational efficiency, and contractual compliance; and convince end users to adopt this innovative system, fostering, evaluating, and facilitating pro-active solutions in this hybrid supplier-practitioner panel session.

It was an Honest Mistake: Learning From Past Procurement Mistakes

The adage, "We learn from our mistakes" holds true for even the most seasoned public procurement professionals—we've all made mistakes in the early days of our careers, and we are all better because of what we’ve learned from them. Still, in a field as diverse and unique as public procurement, why would we limit ourselves to our own experiences when we can learn the lessons of everyone around us? Join us as we discuss the mistakes that we make in public procurement, growing together because of lapses in judgement in our past procurement lives.

Changing Together: Leveraging Collaboration Tools in Microsoft Word

Whether you are collaborating with others or reviewing someone else’s document, Microsoft Word makes it easy to communicate as you edit, providing collaborative feedback to ensure that your documents match the needs of your partners. Join us and learn how to clearly add your own comments and edits and discover the best ways to review and work with changes others have made to key documents. In this interactive session, we explore how to track and customize changes, review comments, and see how the options to compare and combine documents together can help you be more productive and professionalize both you and your entity.

Tuesday, August 27

PLENARY - Fear Less, Do More

A talk that will change your perception on fear and inspire you to take action

  •   Tuesday
  • 8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
  • Speaker - Michelle Poler 
  • Forum 2019 VCON Session

Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela to a family of holocaust survivors, Michelle was accustomed to living with fear. But when she moved to New York, Michelle quickly realized that NYC was not for the fearful.

In efforts to re-write her definition of fear, Michelle set out to face 100 fears in 100 days. Half way into the journey, the project was discovered by the media, becoming an instant viral phenomenon.

Michelle completed her 100th challenge on a TEDx’s stage. This helped her turn a personal project into a global movement. Michelle discovered that inspiring others to go after their fears was her new calling. She is now touring the world speaking at companies, schools and organizations teaching audiences how to step outside their comfort zones as a way to tap into their full potential.

She is also the Founder of Hello Fears, a platform aimed at making the world a braver place through a mix of live events, video series, podcast interviews, user-generated content, and daily inspirational posts.

Adapting to Change: Skills Analysis and Training at Sound Transit

Are your procurements becoming more technically complex and expensive? Are you experiencing increased public scrutiny and pressure to reduce the procurement schedule to meet the demands of your customers? Explore how Sound Transit’s Design and Construction Contracts team is incorporating new skills to better meet the demands of the procurement function through strategic planning, skills analysis, training opportunities, and transforming hiring practices to ensure our team has the skills necessary to excel in this fast paced and changing environment.

The Future is Now: Best Practices in Cooperative Purchasing

The Cooperative Committee of the Arizona State Capitol Chapter of NIGP has been discussing best practices for cooperative purchasing for nearly ten years. Developed to ensure actionable items that public procurement professionals can use immediately, our best practice documents were created with the input of procurement professionals across state, county, municipality, and school districts. Discussing the various best practice methodologies and guiding documents that were created by our Chapter Cooperative Committee, explore how you can engage in cooperative purchasing at an actionable level, developing new and useful cooperative purchasing strategies in this lecture-styled session.

Performance-Based RFPs: The True Negotiated Procurement

  •   Tuesday
  • 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM
  • Level - Intermediate
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Ashley Bowman, CPCM

RFPs are increasingly becoming the default procurement method of choice. Their innovative developmental approach, including listing evaluation criteria in order of relative importance, using adjective ratings to facilitate proposal evaluations, and their usage of proposal discussion meetings, allows for the procurement function to provide strategic value for internal and external stakeholders alike. Based on a case study emphasizing the ever-growing need for technological modernization, learn how you can master the RFP process to provide your stakeholders with meaningful, actionable solicitations.

Taking A Seat at the Table: FEMA Procurement Knowledge for Your Recovery Team

Over 80% of FEMA’s Public Assistance dollars are allocated to the purchase of goods and professional services to recover/rebuild property lost to disaster. While testimonials run rampant concerning funding de-obligation, the procurement department is oftentimes pulled into recovery planning much too late. Join us and learn how you can take a seat at the recovery planning table, discussing proofing your procurement processes, required cost/price analyses, application of the most restrictive procurement and contracting rules (i.e. federal vs. state vs. local), and practical ways to meet the Six Affirmative Steps to assure that minority-owned and women-owned businesses are afforded contracting opportunities.

The Politics of Procurement: Creating and Achieving Strategic Value in the Public Sector

  •   Tuesday
  • 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM
  • Level - Advanced
  • Track - Cornerstone
  • Speaker - Sean Carroll

Public procurement professionals are oftentimes responsible not only for fulfilling the procurement function on a strategic, objective-oriented level, but also for navigating requests from leadership, legislative bodies, lobbyists, and supplier advocacy groups. To effectively orchestrate a response to these myriad tasks, leaders in the public sector should upward manage procurement’s values to help guide project planning and policy decisions from the beginning. Join us as we discuss strategies for mitigating inappropriate influence on the procurement process while empowering the field to pro-actively mitigate change, all without forcing procurement officers to say no to leadership, in this advanced, lecture-styled session.

Trending in the Right Direction: The Procurement Process through Digital Eyes

  •   Tuesday
  • 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM
  • Level - Advanced
  • Track - Technology
  • Speaker - Bill Davison, CPPO

From enterprise software systems to website projects, technology procurements are increasingly becoming part of the procurement function’s responsibility. But with the industry changing annually, it can be difficult to stay up to date on the latest tech trends. Join us as we discuss common contract formation and management problems for technology procurements, exploring strategies and tools that can help mitigate even the trickiest risks in this case-study focused session.

CPI or PPI? BLS Index Data for Contract Price Adjustment

  •   Tuesday
  • 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Lana Conforti

Are you using Consumer Price Index (CPI) or Producer Price Index (PPI) data correctly? Do you know if you have chosen the right index, and do you know where to find cost-free, objective data for contracting and analysis? When faced with these and other questions surrounding contract pricing, procurement managers may turn to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Learn to identify index data, including the CPI and PPI, and when and how you may use it to account for inflation in contracts in this data-driven session, reviewing the checklist items you need to protect your entity from unmitigated data risks.

Procurement Superpowers: Procuring for a Better Future

  •   Tuesday
  • 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM
  • Level - Intermediate
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Sarah O'Brien, M.A.

Public procurement professionals are uniquely positioned to demand transparency into the impacts of goods and services, to educate budget holders and end users, and to change supplier behavior. These "superpowers" give them the ability to accelerate our transition to a sustainable economy. Explore how you can use your purchasing power to become a super hero and hear real-life superhero testimony from your fellow public procurement professionals who are working hard to improve the environmental, social, and economic impacts of their procurements in this panel-led session.

Can You Hear Me Now: Improving Protests with a Hearing Officer

Bid protests make an unpleasant end to the procurement process, potentially delaying the award and contract management of a procurement for days if not months. To resolve this common situation, some entities make use of a hearing officer, whose sole responsibility it is to listen to both sides of the dispute and render a decision. Join us as we learn about how hearing officers can have an incredible impact on protests, exploring how lessons learned can help us write better solicitation documents in this case-study driven lecture.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Negotiating with Teams in Public Procurement

  •   Tuesday
  • 1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Stacy Adams, CPPB

Negotiations can be an intimidating part of any procurement, but when you realize that you’re not in the process alone, it’s not as bad as you probably imagined it. While negotiations might start with you, they are typically most successful when you enlist the help of a negotiations team. Come explore how you can select the best members of your negotiations team, what roles they play, and how you put together a negotiation plan in this fun, interactive session, discovering the basic roles and skills you need to become an effective negotiator.

Procurement Transformation: Modular Tools for Faster Results

  •   Tuesday
  • 1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Case Study
  • Speaker - Omar Salaymeh

Increasingly, procurement teams across the world are realizing that paper-based processes aren’t as sustainable as we might like them to be. Even with digital submission tools like Merx, more is needed to support compliance and transparency across disconnected departments, multiple locations, and evaluations from various stakeholders. Still, digitalization is taking place at an increasing rate, but where should entities unfamiliar with the processes of eProcurement systems even begin? Join this conversation to learn how procurement leaders opted for modular, cloud-based solutions and gain insight into the results they’ve been able to unlock immediately such as uncovering how fast implementation times, quick return on investment, automated compliance and audit tracking, and high end-user adoption and engagement. Understand how these eprocurement solutions have transformed the procurement function in an applicable, impactful manner.

So Many Choices: Determining the Right Construction Project Delivery Method for You

In the recent past, the traditional design-bid-build method was the default—and predominantly only—project delivery method for procuring public construction contracts. Today, choosing the right construction project delivery method can be very challenging, especially when you consider not only the abundance of delivery methods that have become common over the last few years but also the legal requirements, complexities of the project, project scheduling, price, responsibility, and expertise of potential contractors. Join us as we provide an overview of each of the new-age major construction project delivery methods, discussing necessary factors for each methodology and how you can make them work for you and your entity in this interactive, lecture-style session.

Procuring Diversity 101: Basic Knowledge about Supplier Diversity Programs

  •   Tuesday
  • 1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Colette Holt, JD

This session provides an overview of the legal and administrative elements of government supplier diversity programs. Join us as we discuss the history, legal framework, recent litigation trends, compliance basics, best practices, and other introductory elements for procurement diversity.

Buying Digital Services: Contracts as the Multiplier for Civic Tech Transformation

Bringing modern technology into the government is hard—it's tough understanding the technology, finding the right suppliers, and allowing scope flexibility while ensuring that your procuring the commodities that your entity needs, let alone every other facet of technology procurement! Despite these challenges and the increasingly smaller budgets of public governments, a civic technology movement is underway, one that’s looking to shake up the status quo of long, expensive IT contracts that suck up tax payer dollars and deliver marginal value to citizens. Hear how each of these problems are being solved by practitioners like you in this experience-driven session, discovering how government procurements are a force multiplier in the civic technology transformation.

Procurement Methods and Internal Controls to Meet the CFR 200 Requirements: A Focus on Automated Cost Analysis

Local and state governments are subject to the uniform grant guidance of CFR 200, a federal law that details many requirements that impact procurement processes and programs. To acquire federal funding from several agencies, including Health and Human Services, Education, FEMA, NASA, and the Agriculture Departments, the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) adopted several policies to better coordinate and comply with this code. Join us as we review the implemented policies and procedures with emphasis on the cost analysis and some exceptions to the CFR 200, exploring how HCDE created an automated workflow to document its cost analysis review for its audit files in this informative and thought-provoking session.

Innovating New Markets: Engaging the Start-up Community in Creating New Solutions

The City of Norfolk is joining jurisdictions across the nation to modernize their government, advancing economic development and fostering a "can-do" culture through innovative procurement. Through its Startup in Residence program, Norfolk has streamlined procurement to reduce the time it takes to respond to an RFP dramatically and made procurement more inclusive and attracting to innovators from around the world. Join us as we discuss how the city fostered this can-do, innovators-welcome attitude, exploring how collaborative periods resulted in unprecedented growth in this unique, case-study driven session.

Keeping Your Rows in Order: Tips and Tricks with Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is packed full of features designed to help you create, edit, and format a wide range of worksheet projects. With all of its power, however, many Excel shortcuts, tips, and techniques are not obvious or intuitive. Join this session to become more productive with Excel, find out how to simplify editing and formatting actions, explore how to customize your workspace, and learn time saving steps and shortcuts to quickly and easily get your work done.

Contract Compliance Program: The Lost Child of Procurement

Recently, the City of Tucson implemented its CAMP (Contract Administration and Management Program) initiative on a city-wide level. Designed to close the gap between contract formation, contract management, and post-contract compliance, the program engages the cradle to grave procurement function across all department levels of the city, exploring how we as stewards of the public trust can better partner with the internal customers (departments) and external customers (suppliers) to reduce potential risks in post award contract management. Discover what market and entity-specific research is critical to the success of your procurement and compliance program, identifying real and potential challenges with pro-active resolutions, in this results-oriented, interactive lecture-styled session.

Strategic Delivery: Strategies to Optimize Capital Project Outcomes

Across North America, aging infrastructure is increasingly in need of repair. But with funding sources limited and governments struggling to maintain affordability while increasing levels of service, its never been more important—or economical—for entities to engage in collaborative delivery models for planning, design, and construction of public works projects. Comparing the usability of design-bid-build, CMAR, and design-build, join us as we explore strategies to better allocate risks between the owner, the designer, and the contractor, promoting the advantages of collaborative delivery methods for capital improvement projects to develop best value procurement strategies in the case-study, lecture-led session from the Design Build Institute of American.

Procurement Manual: Is it Enough?

The development and maintenance of a procurement manual is an essential part of managing the procurement process for your organization. This document, designed to facilitate an understanding of the value of the central procurement office, provides guidance on processes and procedures for procurement functions throughout the organization. But is having this manual posted on your intranet enough? Are your clients familiar with the content, and do they understand it? Explore ways to engage your internal clients and help them understand the value in learning how to utilize your procurement manual in this case study, lecture-driven session.

We Saved You a Seat: Become the FEMA Procurement Expert Your Team Can’t Do Without

FEMA recently shared that disaster cost recovery training is one of the weakest links in emergency management. With many de-obligated dollars attributed to procurement, the procurement professional’s guidance is invaluable toward protecting FEMA recovery dollars. Join us as we dive into topics that will arm you to not only take a seat at the recovery planning table, but also inspire your organization to save you a seat because of your advanced knowledge navigating FEMA recovery pitfalls in this lecture-style session.

Taming Your Inbox: Performance Management with Microsoft Outlook

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when dealing with email, especially when managing your Inbox can suck up so much time and productivity out of a day. Do you struggle to get through all of your messages so you can focus on other priorities? Have you ever missed time-critical email that got lost in the middle of spam and entity broadcasts? In this session, learn tips and strategies in Microsoft Outlook to help organize and prioritize your messages, quickly search and navigate through Outlook, and customize Outlook to save time and effort. Also, discover how automating responses, using contact groups, and creating tasks and appointments from email can help you get your time back.

Expanding Your Circle: Curating Multi-Chapter Experiences

  •   Tuesday
  • 3:15 PM - 4:30 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Jennifer Steffan

Chapter-hosted professional development is the hallmark of the public procurement function, emphasizing personal and professional growth not only in relation to our entities but also to the communities we support. Fostering these relationships, however, can be difficult, especially when you consider how different jurisdictions and localities are impacted by their local laws, regulations, and geographic nuances. Join this multi-geographic panel of chapter leaders and learn how they promoted multi-chapter events to break down geographic barriers, fostering best practice guidelines and interpersonal collaboration in this panel-led discussion.

Keeping Up With Change: Drafting Code, Rules, and Policies to Effectuate Procurement Transformation

Public procurement professionals can directly, or indirectly, assist in drafting changes to code (statute), administrative rules, or entity policy to effectuate change in the procurement profession. When done correctly and consciously, these changes can have impactful, applicable influence on the field, changing how public procurement professionals engage with their jurisdictions. Join us in this case study-driven sessions as we explore how drafted changes to the Utah Procurement Code, Administrative Rule, and additional policies and procedures updated how the Utah State Board of Education addresses procurement issues in a changing world.

Wednesday, August 28

Fiscally Steady: Financial Stability with Construction Contractors

Contractor financial stability is critical in nearly every procurement, but the ability for construction contractors to be fiscally responsible while taking on new contracts is paramount to the public procurement professional. Explore models that you can use to evaluate the financial condition of construction contractors before awarding a contract, highlighting some ideas and time-tested methodologies that you can use to determine if the contractor is financially responsible of undertaking your entity's construction project in this lecture-styled session.

Revising for the Times: Modernizing Procurement Legislation

Often, procurement professionals are hampered by the legal constructs that guide the public procurement function. These laws, while well intentioned, are typically written by legislators, attorneys, or special interest groups that may or may not have a deep understanding of procurement and may have threshold limits that are decades old. When procurement laws are not working to help make the procurement process effective or efficient, then perhaps it is time to revise them, and who better to do that than procurement professionals? Over the last few years, the Idaho Public Purchasing Association has been working closely with Idaho legislators to revise the Idaho Code. Join us as we explore their experiences, determining what has—and what has not—worked in this case-study styled session.

PASSPort to Success: From Goods to Great Procurements

In August 2017, the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS) launched the Procurement and Sourcing Solutions Portal (PASSPort) as a means of streamlining and transforming the procurement process in New York City, setting in place a foundation that will allow entities to order and pay for goods they need to operate and allow the city to sunset various legacy systems and manual processes. Overarchingly, the Department of Citywide Administrative Service in NYC’s centralized procurement office sought out to address demands for reduced administrative burden, transparency, clarity, and simplification, all of which could be accomplished through the use of this common, collaborative platform. Join us and discover how the city created an end-to-end procurement system within a heavily regulated environment, learning the pits and peaks of such an undertaking.

Expanding Your Base: New Strategies for Attracting Qualified Suppliers

  •   Wednesday
  • 8:00 AM - 9:15 AM
  • Level - Intermediate
  • Track - Technology
  • Speaker - Ben Vaught

As the world becomes more complex, you and your stakeholders must bring in more qualified suppliers to get the best solution for the best value. Learn from a panel of experts from both sides, buyer and supplier, on how to attract more diverse, innovative, and qualified suppliers, exploring new technologies and strategies you can use to foster better relationships while engaging with your peers in the audience.

Procuring Diversity 201: Advanced Knowledge about Supplier Diversity Programs

  •   Wednesday
  • 8:00 AM - 9:15 AM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Colette Holt, JD

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 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.

Improving the Message: Communicating Procurement through Effective Instruction

As procurement professionals, we’re often placed in situations where we need to explain—or even justify—the value of our services to stakeholders. When approaching our colleagues from a place of knowledge, however, we can become strategic partners, transitioning our appearance from being paper pushers to advocates and educators who effectively demonstrate the value of the procurement function. Whether you’re just starting to pursue becoming an effective communicator or seeking new tips on how to hit the next level of your career, join us for this interactive session and learn how you can enhance your skills and hit the needs of your audience no matter what your topic may be.

Broken and Useless: Today's Reference Check System

  •   Wednesday
  • 8:00 AM - 9:15 AM
  • Level - Intermediate
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - David Yarkin

For good reason, a standard part of the RFP process is the reference check—after all, past performance is the best predictor of future performance. But today's process of requesting three supplier-supplied references is broken. The problem has become so acute that some procurement officers do not even make reference calls and instead just "check the box." Explore what leading procurement officials are doing to solve this significant shortcoming in the procurement process, discussing not only how we got here but why in this lecture-led session.

Finding Your Yellow Brick Road: Before, During, and After an Emergency

When disaster strikes, the 9-1-1 call comes in—but who do you call after the first responders are dispatched? Why Procurement, of course! Procurement preparedness before the emergency is important, with ready-to-go contracts and a packed “to-go” bag key to your entity’s success. Learn how “Plan B” comes into effect during the emergency, when plans go awry or new situations arise. After the smoke clears or the flood waters dry, it’s just as important for be aware of the after emergency activities to rebuild and recover. Join this special panel of disaster-oriented procurement professionals, with real-life stories, as they share insights on how their procurement teams helped “save the day,” discovering the top 3 things to stay in compliance with FEMA guidelines. Within this interactive session, take away ideas to strengthen your own preparations and leave with free copies of the NCPP’s First Aid Kit for Emergency Preparedness.

Rethink Your Template: A Collaborative Working Session For RFx Templates

  •   Wednesday
  • 8:00 AM - 9:15 AM
  • Level - Intermediate
  • Track - Case Study
  • Speaker - Liam Dorpalen-Barry

RFx templates are the bread-and-butter tactic we use to standardize solicitations, but rarely do we work together as a community to help each other not repeat our recurring template mistakes. Discussing the shared issues we typically have with template documents, join us as we provide practical, impactful revisions to the common problems public procurement professionals encounter with RFx templates in this hands-on, workshop-styled session.

Join us for two unique plenary sessions on our final day at Forum! Participants have the opportunity to hear two of the three speakers by attending each session and selecting a different speaker each time. More details to follow!  Plenary Sessions below.

  • PLENARY - Welcome to the BlindSpot Zone

If you have ever said to yourself, “I didn’t see that coming!” then Welcome to the BlindSpot Zone™.

Kevin McCarthy spent 33 months in a federal prison for a crime he didn’t knowingly commit because… he had blind spots. What are your blind spots doing to you?

We all have numerous blind spots. They are nearly impossible to recognize if we are not looking for them. In fact, it is easier for us to identify blind spots in others than in ourselves.

Through Kevin’s presentation you learn how to identify your own blind spots and mitigate their impact at work and at home. As a result, you can make better, more ethical decisions, enjoy better communications, deeper relationships and, ultimately, live your best life.

Kevin works globally with industry leaders to uncover the blind spots that affect their behavior and decision-making abilities. What are your potential blind spots? FREE assessment reveals all at

  • PLENARY - Creating a Purpose-Driven Workplace: How to Attract, Retain and Engage Your Employees

A thriving workplace begins with an engaged and collaborative workforce.

In this inspiring presentation, author and millennial workplace expert Adam Smiley Poswolsky shares how companies can attract top talent and empower the talent of the future by leading with purpose. We’ll breakthrough common stereotypes about millennial employees, share case studies for increasing employee engagement, and learn proven strategies and tools to foster collaboration in the workplace.

Smiley helps companies attract, retain, and empower millennial talent, and he's inspired thousands of professionals to be more engaged at work.

  • PLENARY - Recovery Revolution

  •   Wednesday
  • 9:30 AM & 12:45 PM
  • Speaker - Sara Ross

When we think of top performers; those excelling in their jobs and mastering their life, we tend to think of factors such as dedication, passion, persistence, and grit. While each is important, there is a third factor that few organizations or people are truly capitalizing on, and that is the power of recovery.

The scientific evidence is indisputable; recharging brainpower, replenishing physical energy, and intentionally providing mental and emotional reprieve is crucial to excel, connect with those most important to us, and contribute to the world in a meaningful way. Unfortunately, we often respond in the opposite way by sacrificing rest and renewal as a strategy to cope with the increasing demands on our time, energy and attention. While this may have worked in the past, yesterday’s approaches are not enough to meet the needs of today. The happiest, healthiest and highest performing people of tomorrow will be those who practice and prioritize recovery by choice, not chance.

CLOSING PLENARY - Hurdling Adversity - Creating Life's New Normal

  •   Wednesday
  • 3:45 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Speaker - John Register
  • Forum 2019 VCON Session

How does one bounce back from being an Olympic track and field hopeful and Army Officer Candidate one day and becoming an amputee the next? John Register knows the answer to that question all too well. "It is all about employing one's resilience," says John.

Despite his devastating setback, he hurdled his adversity and succeeded over it. Within 23 months he competed in Paralympic Games as a swimmer. Four years later he returned to his first love of track and field and in Sydney, Australia at the 2000 Paralympic Games, won the silver medal in the long jump and set the American record in the process. He has never allowed adversity to hold him back.

John founded the United States Olympic Committees Paralympic Military sport program which assist wounded, ill, and injured service members in their recovery to a healthy and active lifestyle and serving in a variety of capacities to include special advisor to two U.S. Secretary of State on disability foreign policy and being a U.S. Sports Diplomacy Ambassador (Envoy). The latter attracted the attention of President Barack Obama and John was asked and served in the capacity of being one of 35 co-chairs for 44th Presidents’ re-election.


  •   Beginner             

    Is of use to procurement professionals who may be learning new aspects, methodologies, or skills related to public procurement in the topic discussed. Attendees will have 1-3 years in public procurement.

  •   Intermediate     

    Deals with a moderately complex subject. Attendees should have sufficient background information on the topic to understand the presentation. Attendees will have 3-5 years in public procurement.

  •  Advanced             

    Deals with complex topics discussed on a higher-level basis. Attendees should have expert-level background in subjects before attending this session. Attendees will have 5+ years in public procurement.

Attend Virtually

* Schedule subject to change