An Inside Look at the 2019 CAPPO Conference

By Terry Keys

As an Account Manager in the PacCentral Region, I had the opportunity to represent Gordian at this year’s California Association of Public Procurement Officials, Inc. (CAPPO) Conference. CAPPO members came together to exchange ideas in an effort to strengthen the skills of public procurement officials. They collaborated and shared best practices for technical advances, cost factors, new laws and product sources.

Having been in many of the members’ shoes, it was very interesting to speak with people at the event. I was previously a Buyer at the City of Bellevue, Washington for three and a half years—purchasing around $250 million within that time. I came to Gordian with experience with Job Order Contracting (JOC) programs from my public works days. While members went on a scavenger hunt to fill in their booth passports, the Gordian booth joined in the conversation about traveling to a new age of procurement.

Here are some of our favorite moments from the 2019 CAPPO Conference:

Key Takeaways from the Sourcewell Presentation

I was happy to attend a presentation from one of our partners, Sourcewell. Duff Erholtz, Sourcewell’s Membership Development Administrator, delivered the presentation titled “State of the Procurement State – Trends and Initiatives from Around the Nation.” Duff made three great points that stuck with me about the transformation of procurement.

  1. Authority – Agencies are moving from restrictive regulations to more enabling measures.
  2. Technology – In recent decades, you would receive a five-colored purchasing order that you fed through a typewriter to fill out. Everything was very process oriented. Today, there is more analyzing and streamlining. We use technology to obtain a spend analysis and leverage data to determine budgets, spend and savings.
  3. Talent Management – Procurement requires different skills today than a decade ago. Historically, procurement professionals have been underpaid and overworked and had little to no access to additional education. Now, there’s more education and learning opportunities. Sourcewell, for example, provides training on day-to-day operations. Procurement agents have the ability to tailor educational goals to their particular needs.

Sourcewell also participated in the panel of National Cooperative Procurement Partners (NCPP)’s session: “Cooperative Purchasing: Just Like a Country Love Song.” This was led by Tammy Rimes, Executive Director of the NCPP, who advocates for cooperative procurement and innovative methods like JOC.

On the Show Floor

It was wonderful to connect with members and talk about their procurement challenges. Public procurement officials have an innate commitment to their communities. It’s inspiring. I love working with our clients to examine their specific roadblocks and help them create a map to success with Gordian solutions.

CAPPO 2019 Exhibit

Key Takeaways from Monterey County’s Success Story

Monterey County found itself facing a mounting backlog of work and high expectations to do more with less, faster. After hearing about JOC in a CAPPO presentation several years ago, the county decided to utilize this alternative construction procurement process. With the introduction of JOC, project timelines were drastically reduced by 12-14 weeks. And by implementing JOC best practices, Monterey County was able to save $3.5 million in just one year.

For the 2019 session “Why Weren’t We Using JOC Sooner?’ Mike Derr, Contracts Purchasing Officer for Monterey County, and our Director of Operations, Kyle Asire, presented the county’s JOC program success. Mike discussed how they came to choose Gordian’s JOC solution, the details of completed projects, such as the emergency response for damage to Elkhorn Road, and how the county has benefitted from this alternative construction procurement method.

Mike Derr best explained the benefits for the county:

“Existing tasks and timeline crunches were overwhelming, and our only focus was on getting them done. Taking the time, though, to look into JOC further saved the county tons of time and money in the end. We wish we had started using it sooner. What I would say to someone thinking about using JOC or implementing JOC within their organization is, ‘Why aren’t you?’ We asked ourselves the same question after we implemented the first year when we looked back and said, ‘Why weren’t we using JOC sooner?’

I would tell other public agencies that if you are challenged to keep budgets strict and also maintain your schedule, try the Job Order Contracting process. It’s highly efficient and there is probably no comparison, that I know of, that is available to the public sector to conduct work like this.“

I’m thankful to CAPPO for hosting this engaging event. I look forward to continuing to nurture the connections we made on the show floor. Gordian hopes to see you at CAPPO in 2020!