Procurement Month Puts Spotlight On City Purchasing
Tabitha Warren
Procurement Month

On Monday, March 13, Charlotte City Council will proclaim March as Public Procurement Month to acknowledge the significant role public procurement professionals play in the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of government and business throughout the United States.

"Every Day is Different"
City Procurement, a division of General Services, is responsible for overall procurement governance at the corporate level and for executing, implementing and administering citywide contracts; developing forecasts and procurement strategies; and developing working relationships with the city's departments and its vendor community. Charlotte Water and Aviation have embedded procurement teams responsible for supporting their respective departments. The city's public procurement professionals are an instrumental part of the city's growth and have a tremendous influence on the economic conditions in the community, with accumulative purchasing power estimated to be more than $3 billion for FY 2022-23.

Overseeing purchasing for such a large and diverse organization allows Procurement staff to gain a unique understanding of the countless ways the city works to serve its residents. "We get to see work done across all city departments, understand their business goals and how internal and external factors affect the business," said Marcy Mars, Interim Chief Procurement Officer of City Procurement. "Every day is different."

The Highest Standards
For 22 consecutive years, Procurement has received the Sustained Professional Purchasing Award for demonstrating excellence in purchasing standards from the North Carolina Association of Governmental Purchasing. This award is a shared achievement with the procurement teams in Charlotte Water and Aviation. Procurement professionals across the city practice the values and principles of accountability, ethics, impartiality, professionalism, service and transparency established by the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP). NIGP and other international associations celebrate March as Procurement Month to expand awareness of the purchasing professional's role to government officials and the public. "We take our responsibilities related to integrity, ethics, fiscal stewardship and the community's best interest very seriously," Mars said.

A Rewarding Career
There are plenty of reasons to consider a career in public procurement. The work is both challenging and fascinating, and evidence of it can be found all around us, from the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Spectrum Center, firehouses, Solid Waste trucks and the LYNX Blue Line to less obvious things like police uniforms and street signs.

In addition to the normal challenges of suppliers, markets, risk and other factors, there are unique complexities to public procurement related to taxpayer funding sources, political factors and public perception that must be considered. The challenges and complexities make the work interesting and different every day. These factors, coupled with the fact that the city encourages work/life balance with sensible work hours, great benefits and a robust support system for physical, financial and emotional well-being make public procurement a rewarding career choice. "We're behind the scenes, but our work can be seen all around us. It's really satisfying to know we have a direct impact on the daily life of the residents and communities we serve," Mars said.

"Among the most effective ways the city advances its goals for diversity, equity and inclusion is through our purchasing practices," said Mayor Vi Lyles. "Public Procurement ensures supplier diversity and as a result, minority-owned local businesses can connect and form vital relationships with us."

City Procurement

City Procurement
First row (L to R):  Angelica Witherell, John Long, William Black, Marcy Mars, Kimberly Brown, Julie Wingfield and Sadia Khan

Second row (L to R):  Johnella Walker, Donna Johnson, Robert Andrews, Ian Thompson, Todd Holcomb, Courtney Farmer, David Larson, David Farmer, Joshua Burrus, Lenore Bishop, David Elzey and Brenda Faison

Not pictured: Shiela Bailey, Amelia Beonde, Omar Catoe, Rex Dye, Bruce Erickson, Christine Goodson, Tammy Hamilton, Nicole Hatch, Gale Helms, Christina Hollonquest, Krystal King, John Larson, Latisha Grice, Kenny Marshall, Michelle Moss, Priscilla Smith, Karee Smith, Devyn Springs, Stephen Pass, Elizabeth Sturgill, Davit Tate, Jeremy Wall, Anita White and Brian Winegard

Charlotte Water Procurement.

Charlotte Water Procurement
L to R: Katherine Osborne, Bridgette Maxie, Alishia Nugent, Cor'Deija Horne, Adrianne Lewis, Abby Dolan and Ryan Lingholm

Not pictured: Evelyn Francis, Leigh Murray, Matt Newlon and Frederica Love

Airport Procurement

Airport Procurement
L to R: Andrew (Drew) Buckner, Adina Grinage, Crystal Bailey, Danielle DiSanti, Dihya Lasheb-Laribi and Gary Peeples