Beginner

Beginner Sessions

All sessions are in Central Standard Time (CST)

Sunday, August 25


Constructing Success: Building Partnerships Between Construction and Procurement

  •   Sunday
  • 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Construction
  • Speaker - Andrea Philyaw, CPPB, PMP

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

  •   Sunday
  • 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Brenda Derge, MBA, CPPO, CPPB, CPM

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

  •   Sunday
  • 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Emergency
  • Speaker - Vonda Melchior, CPPB, C.P.M.

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.


Monday, August 26


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

  •   Monday
  • 1:45 PM - 3:10 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Case Study
  • Speakers - Ireyan J. Clark-Sam, JD and Shannon Pleasant, CTPM

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

  •   Monday
  • 1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Don Buffum, FNIGP, CPPO

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

  •   Monday
  • 1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speakers - Mina Kaeding, Ph.D, CPPO, CPPB, FCCM and Amy Flack, CPPO, CPPB

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.

Request for Proposals: Different, but not Difficult

  •   Monday
  • 1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speakers - Victor Leamer, CPPB, Stéphanie Dion, CPPB and Mike Thornton, CPPO

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.

From Cradle to Grave: Procurement is Just the Beginning

  •   Monday
  • 3:15 PM - 4:30 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Ricardo Zavala, MPA, CTCM

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.

CMAR: Construction Management at Risk

  •   Monday
  • 3:15 PM - 4:30 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Construction
  • Speaker - Andrea Philyaw, CPPB, PMP

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.

Influencing Solutions: Leveraging Amazon Business to Solve Peer Problems

  •   Monday
  • 3:15 PM - 4:30 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Case Study
  • Speaker - Danielle Hinz, CPPO, C.P.M. and Michael Levin

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.

Changing Together: Leveraging Collaboration Tools in Microsoft Word

  •   Monday
  • 3:15 PM - 4:30 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Dawn Bjork, MCT, MOSM

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.

It was an Honest Mistake: Learning From Past Procurement Mistakes

  •   Monday
  • 3:15 PM - 4:30 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Stacy Gregg, CPPO, CPPB

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.


Tuesday, August 27


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.

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.

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

  •   Tuesday
  • 1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Dawn Bjork, MCT, MOSM

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.

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.

Procurement Manual: Is it Enough?

  •   Tuesday
  • 3:15 PM - 4:30 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speaker - Rebecca Kee, CPPO, CPPB

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.

Taming Your Inbox: Performance Management with Microsoft Outlook

  •   Tuesday
  • 3:15 PM - 4:30 PM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Technology
  • Speaker - Dawn Bjork, MCT, MOSM

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.


Wednesday, August 28


Fiscally Steady: Financial Stability with Construction Contractors

  •   Wednesday
  • 8:00 AM - 9:15 AM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Construction
  • Speaker - Lourdes Coss, MPA, CPPO

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.

PASSPort to Success: From Goods to Great Procurements

  •   Wednesday
  • 8:00 AM - 9:15 AM
  • Level - Beginner
  • Track - Cornerstones
  • Speakers - Mersida Ibric, MPA and Ryan Murray

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.

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.