Above & Beyond Award Archive

2022 Above & Beyond Awards

Sarah Andrews, CPPB, NIGP-CPP

Contract Specialist
Dutchess County, NY

At her time of hire in 2018, Sarah was tasked with establishing a County Wide Procurement Assistance Program for the municipalities of Dutchess County. The purpose of the program is to assist any municipality within the county with their procurement related needs. In 2021, Sarah was selected by the New York State Association of Municipal Purchasing Officials (SAMPO) Board of Directors to be an Assistant Regional Representative for SAMPO. Recently Sarah and a team of other selected SAMPO Regional Representatives established SAMPO’s Emerging Professional Program which aims to shape the future of our industry by supporting the growth of new purchasing professionals employed by public entities of New York State. This program intends to create opportunities for new public procurement professionals to build relationships, expand their skills and advance their careers while continuing to promote ethics of the profession, public trust, and applicable laws and procedures.  

Outside of procurement, Sarah is one of the founding members of the newly formed Dutchess County Diversity and Inclusion committee. The purpose of the committee is to promote and implement diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging within the county’s workforce by suggesting pragmatic resolutions regarding cultural awareness, education/training and understanding as well as all aspects of the recruitment process, policy development, communication and strategic planning shall be recommended for best practices. Since its creation, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee has collaborated with several local groups and organizations to ensure acknowledgement of all cultures both personally and professionally.

Chelsey Axtell

Purchasing Secretary
St. Vrain Valley Schools, CO

Chelsey is the purchasing secretary and staff have nicknamed her the Super Amazing Awesome Chelsey (SAAC) - we use this abbreviation often. Some of her standard secretarial duties to support purchasing: managing warehouse stock orders and inventory; managing vendor setups district-wide for our financial system (applications, W2's, etc.); assisting staff with bid solicitations such as compiling tabulations, etc.; budget tracking; ordering office supplies, etc.; and much, much more! As the purchasing manager, I never have to give her direction. She takes ownership, and on most occasions, has her work completed before even being asked. 

In addition to her normal busy schedule, she has managed all the purchasing and supplies needed to address the pandemic, participated on interview panels to hire new staff members, and volunteered her time and serves as Newsletter Chair of the Rocky Mountain Governmental Chapter of NIGP (RMGPA). On February 14th, 2022, she obtained her NIGP Core Certificate - Foundations of Strategy and Policy. How she does it is an inspiration for all.

Cheryl Bucalo

Grants/Contracts/Procurement Supervisor 
Maricopa County Department of Public Health, AZ

In March 2020 Cheryl began working with an outside IT firm to create an online purchase tracking system within Public Health. The current process consisted of manually inputting information into spreadsheets for tracking purposes and maintaining mass amounts of paper files. Not only was it extremely time consuming, there was a large margin for error. In December 2021, the project began beta testing. This new “Purchase Portal” will eliminate many inefficiencies that exist in the current process as well as reduce the number of audit findings due to missing documentation. Cheryl is also currently working on another project with the county’s Information Technology group to enable the public to search for and access the multitude of COVID solicitations and resulting contracts that she has completed over the past two years.    
In February 2020 Cheryl had to create new standard operating procedures for the displaced workers from other departments that had been temporarily assigned to her unit to assist with the increased workload. Also, the database that housed all the department’s grants, contracts, IGA’s, leases, MOU’s, etc. was migrated to a newly created SharePoint site for the Purchasing and Contracts (PAC) unit. Originally the documents had been maintained as part of a Microsoft Access Database. As a result of this migration the process of creating and maintaining the records was changed requiring a revision to the standard operating procedures that are used today by her staff. Finalized in January 2020, the manual for prospective vendors to register with Periscope S2G, the county’s e-procurement system provider. On top of her other duties, Cheryl agreed to join the committee tasked with testing out new procedures to be used when creating master agreements for procurement contracts.

Toni Cook

Assistant Procurement Manager 
City of Little Rock, AR

Toni began her career with the City of Little Rock in late 2019. Shortly afterward, she was tasked with COVID-19 Supply Management in the midst of the city adapting to working remotely. Our system did not have the functionality with Inventory Management, Distribution, and/or Re-Order Policies, so Toni built an entire system in Smartsheets to manage COVID-19 Inventory and requests from all 14 departments across the City. “Toni also took the lead in resource tracking and ordering for city departments by implementing a Smartsheet database to automate the resource request and approval process. Automation saved the Emergency Management Division both time and resources of manually recording the request” says Nathan Spicer, Emergency Management, City of Little Rock.

Toni also led the City’s “Government Performance Lab” efforts with the Harvard Kennedy School. This work has been integral in the fields of Results-Driven Contracting and “The Behavioral Insights Team” (BIT) through email trials that expand Procurement’s outreach and increase MWBE (Minority Women-Owned Based Enterprise) spend. Toni is a member of the Data Governance committee on behalf of the Finance Department and worked closely with the Performance and Innovation Coordinator who leads the Data efforts for the City of Little Rock. She was a key stakeholder and leader on results-driven contracting, which led to the City’s first “What Works Cities” Certification. The City of Little Rock was the first city in the State of Arkansas and one of 40 cities across the country to Achieve Silver Certification in “What Works Cities” by Bloomberg Philanthropies. At the end of 2020, Toni was promoted to Assistant Procurement Manager and onboarded 80 percent of the new Procurement team.

Elizabeth Dooley, CPPO, CPPB

Lead Buyer
Fairfax Water, VA

Beth currently serves as her agency’s Procurement Program Lead Buyer. Her responsibilities include contracts for Finance/Accounting, Human Resources, and Technology (hardware and software). In addition to her regular duties, she was tasked with setting up her agency’s agreements in its SAP System, overseeing the loading of over 600 contracts. The effort resulted in the ability to run reports and access data on contract dollars, expiration dates, etc. It also permits end users to access contract terms, conditions, and pricing from that platform.  

As a leader in Virginia Association of Governmental Procurement (VAGP), Beth has proven herself as a “mover and shaker.” She sets high expectations for herself and for those serving on the Board and committees. Volunteering in an unpaid role, Beth is serving her fourth year as an Officer on the VAGP Board, currently as the Chapter President. During her year as President-Elect, she spearheaded several initiatives to re-engage VAGP’s various committees after COVID’s impact on Chapter activities. Some of these initiatives included: holding a multi-day strategic planning session in October 2021 for the purpose of charting a forward-thinking future for VAGP. The session resulted in a new vision, mission, and core values for the organization along with clearly identified goals and objectives for VAGP as a whole and for each of the committees. She has systematically revisited every initiative and process and conducted an audit of the membership, saving the organization thousands of annual dollars. The spring conference she is planning has content comparable to much larger organizations as she updated/reorganized the way, VAGP does conferences, based on vendor and member feedback.

Darci Garbacz

Palm Beach County School District, FL

Darci Garbacz worked tirelessly with our suppliers day in and day out, late at night and on weekends, for over two years. Whether securing Merv -13 air filters, air purifiers for the schools, finding hand sanitizer, and facial coverings for students and employees, she did it all. Before the first day of school. she worked with the Facilities Department and developed a system for them to follow to ensure that sneeze guards were in place before the start of school, worked with our suppliers to get Clorox 360 machines and the 360 solutions out to all 174 schools, and orchestrated training for the custodians to ensure they knew how to use the machines safely and effectively. When she discovered during her research that a cleaning agent the District was using took 12 minutes to kill COVID-19 germs she did further research and identified a chemical that would kill COVID-19 in 30 seconds and was chemically safe for our children. Finally, she worked with Directors to develop policies and procedures for protecting students and staff from COVID-19.  
While juggling the many challenges of supply shortages, price increases, sourcing challenges, labor shortages and delayed deliveries, Ms., Garbacz somehow managed to pull off many miracles. The District did not have one late delivery, not one item necessary for Covid-19 protection unavailable for our students and staff, and to ensure students could continue learning from home she managed to purchase 97,858 chrome books before chrome books became unavailable. She crowned her efforts by securing contracts with internet providers to ensure students who did not have access to home internet would not be left behind. Ms. Garbacz had the foresight to develop a process to easily identify any and all Purchase Orders associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This process will allow us to provide information requested by Internal auditors as well as FEMA auditors at a moment's notice. 

Tonya Hodges, NIGP-CPP, CPPB

Senior Buyer
Jordan School District, UT

Tonya deserves one of the 2022 “Above and Beyond Performance” awards because she is one of the hardest working volunteers in the State of Utah. In 2021 she was the Utah Chapter President for NIGP and did an incredible job leading the chapter. It was through her tireless work and effort that the Utah Chapter of NIGP won the 2021 Outstanding Chapter of the Year for Membership and was designated with the Platinum status from NIGP.

Currently, she is serving as Past-President but she is working twice as hard as the project manager for the Utah Chapter of NIGP 2022 Reverse Trade Show. This show is our largest fundraising opportunity all year and everything she does is done with heart and passion. The Utah Chapter would not be able to win these major awards or be able to give out as many scholarships without her hard work and dedication. I think all 260+ members of the Utah Chapter of NIGP would agree with me that Tonya Hodges deserves this award and I am happy to nominate her for consideration.

Kaliska King

State Procurement Analyst
State of Oregon

In addition to her role as Department of Administrative in the Procurement Services office, Kaliska volunteers for the Procurement Liaison position for the State of Oregon’s Emergency Management Support Function 7 (ESF7) Resource Support & Logistics. The ESF7 team has had to respond declared emergencies for the COVID pandemic (on-going), fires, floods, tsunami, drought, and snowstorms. During all of these declared emergency/disasters Ms. King has been on the forefront of providing procurement expertise to County Emergency Managers, Tribal partners, and State Agencies. During the 2021 fires, which devastated metropolitan areas and whole towns, Kaliska provided the emergency services (garbage, security, porta-potties, etc.) needed when disaster shelters pop up all hours of the day/night in multiple counties. To be closer to the front line, she moved and changed duty stations (away from her DAS PS desk) at least seven times. 

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccinations became available and were starting to ship to states. Kaliska uncovered that one of the orders was not going to meet the Saturday timeline for delivery and for two clinics, set to open Sunday, would not receive the 600 syringes they would need. She recruited helpers to start calling all pharmacies and vendors that could provide syringes within a 100-mile radius. Being ever-diligent and persuasive, Kaliska was able to procure a total of 525 syringes, and then went about driving to ultimately deliver those syringes to the requesting County Health Departments by 10 pm that night. Outside of work, Ms. King volunteers for a national dog rescue that rescues beagles from a life of testing in laboratories. Ms. King has even championed and testified in the State legislature about the conditions these dogs live in and are subject to at the laboratories and helped get legislation passed to help them.

Willie Moon

Procurement Agent, Senior 
DeKalb County, GA

In 2020, the pandemic caught us all off guard and then in 2021, the team was hit with a few challenges. In addition to still getting used to working remotely when our organization was heavily paper-based, we had a staff reduction that reduced the team from nine positions down to two and, a month later, the supervisor had to take a leave of absence. For three months, all team matters were being handled by the sole Senior Procurement Agent, Willie Moon. He was acting as team manager; handling his assignments; as well as continuing the procurement process for assignments previously being processed by staff members no longer with the organization. 

"With all the above occurring, Willie supported our team and our department with amazing customer service when two new employees came onboard," his supervisor said. "Willie found the time to provide his procurement knowledge and abilities to prepare these new team members in anticipation of receiving assignments. As his supervisor, I am constantly amazed at Willie’s tenacity, customer service, teamwork and drive to serve the citizens of our county."

He does all of this with a calm demeanor even when faced with the craziest of situations. Others from organizations who had the pleasure of working with Willie often rave about him. 

Jennifer Olzinger, NIGP-CPP, CPPB

Assistant Director-Procurement Manager 
City of Pittsburgh, PA

You would think that managing a team of 8 that handles over 600 procurements a year for a city as large as Pittsburgh, PA would be a full-time job, however, Assistant Director Procurement Manager Jennifer Olzinger does this and much more. Jen has been with the City since 2015 and each year is commemorated for dedication to obtaining goods and services in the most efficient manner and ensures procurement practices are consistent, open, and designed to encourage maximum competition and best value procurements. 

Jen is also an avid learner and strives to improve her industry knowledge as a chairholder to many noteworthy procurement organizations. Jen is currently serving as the first Vice President of the Pennsylvania Public Purchasing Association (PAPPA). Previous to this accolade, she also served as the PAPPA Board Secretary for the 2018-2019 term and Second Vice President for the 2020-2021 term. She is also serving a fourth term on the National Institute of Government Purchasing (NIGP) Impact Circle. With a can-do attitude, and drive to revamp old processes, Jen is truly a procurement rockstar. She is admired as a “medaled” influencer in the procurement space, and to all who know her, is only just getting started.

Joanna Oukrop, CPPB

Senior Buyer 
City of Roseville, CA

Recently, the City replaced its antiquated ERP system. Joanna was chosen to be on the ERP Project Team due to her extensive knowledge and experience with procurement policies, regulations and processes. As a result of Joanna's efforts and dedication, the ERP implementation for the Procurement module was a success as she innovated the bid process for the City by launching our electronic bid capabilities, worked with the Clerk’s office and Attorney’s office to create a more user-friendly process that is beneficial for our purchasing team, end using departments and suppliers, to support a full-service City with a population of almost 150,000 residents. She was an integral part of the development team collaborating with IT and the Attorney’s Office, transitioning the City to Digital Signatures for contracts, and instrumental in the development of Office Depot’s Punch Out system, enabling users to order directly through our software. She continuously worked towards making process improvements through research and development, analysis, and testing within our process management software, helping to serve approximately 1000 employees in 15 different departments. 

Joanna leads multi-departmental trainings offering customer-specific support and updates during annual contract renewal periods. In addition to the accomplishments above, she has the innate ability to simplify complicated scenarios in a calm and patient manner, which helps to alleviate frustration and reassure customers their needs will be taken care of. Her professionalism and knowledge is constantly recognized and appreciated amongst her peers throughout the City.

Ashley Provenza, CPPB

Purchasing Unit Supervisor
Polk County Sheriff’s Office, FL

In 2021, Polk County felt the effects of the worst pandemic in recent history - COVID-19. Acting with a heightened sense of urgency, Ashley worked diligently to locate alternative vendors to ensure agency members had the supplies and equipment needed. As a result of her actions, our members always had adequate goods and equipment for our internal and external customers. She also strived to ensure we received the best pricing. For example, when one vendor wanted to raise pricing for personal care kits by 23%, she used her knowledge, training, experience, and ability to negotiate, resulting in an increase of only 11%. Another example of her “take-charge, can-do” attitude and ability to negotiate is when the agency decided it was time to sell an aging helicopter with increasing maintenance costs. She located an organization that had experience selling helicopters. When the selected vendor wanted a 12% commission, which was to be paid by the purchaser, her negotiations resulted in the vendor agreeing to a 5% commission. Thirty days after being advertised, the helicopter was sold for one million dollars. 

While the agency was facing challenges, as a result of several recent retirements, her team was suddenly staffed with inexperienced purchasing agents. Under her leadership, these new purchasing agents are thriving, overcoming obstacles, and attaining the self-confidence needed to be successful. Her team saved the agency $2,540,605.00, during the fiscal year 2021 through negotiating, competitive pricing, and establishing new contracts. In addition, she has encouraged them to complete classes so that they can earn the highly coveted certifications from UPPC. Every organization needs some way to judge its performance, and it is individuals like her that set the standard. While the aforementioned are not all-inclusive of the initiatives she has spearheaded, they showcase her leadership qualities, cost-saving abilities, and set the example that others want to emulate.

Myrna Quihuis, CPPB

Procurement Officer 
Town of Queen Creek, AZ

In 2019, the Town of Queen Creek, Arizona started the research of creating their own Police Department. To take on an effort of this magnitude during COVID with its supply chain issues came with its own challenges. Over the last two years, Myrna has researched, purchased, contracted and approved purchase orders for everything a new department needs. From common items like guns and ammunition, vehicles, and uniforms to the obscure traffic cones for the Officers' cars or the “Town Vendor” stickers on the contracted towing companies' tow trucks. She also assisted and coordinated legal services and IGAs for dispatch services and consultants for lie detector tests, psychological tests and physicals. Myrna has worked tirelessly with all departments to ensure that procurements were approved on time and services and products were received when needed. 

Myrna functioned as the Procurement expert but also became a Public Safety procurement expert, teacher and mentor. She explained the Town’s procurement policy to the Police Chief, Lieutenants, Sergeants and Administrative staff. Right to the last minute before our "go live," Myrna was coordinating delivery and finding other alternative products for needed items due to shipments being on backorder. With Myrna’s dedication, hard work, knowledge and willingness to always do what is needed, the Police Department has the needed resources to do their job and, as of January 11, 2022, the Town of Queen Creek has their own Police force.

Kelly Regan

Unified Government of Wyandotte County, KS

I will fully admit that I will not be able to sell Kelly, or use fancy procurement terminology, as well as he deserves. As a veteran in the Fire Department, Kelly has always been there for us. Because of his background, he understands our 24-hour a day, 365-day a year operations, with 470 employees, 18 stations and nearly 100 vehicles and apparatuses. We are responsible for maintaining our own stations, vehicles, apparatuses, equipment and occupy a great portion of Kelly’s time, although we are not his only assigned department. During the month of December when the rest of the world is taking off for the holidays, Kelly remains committed to our mission and never takes additional time off. 
Under normal circumstances Kelly has an extremely busy work life, and he been able to manage everything as we have navigated through the pandemic. Despite remote working, alternating shifts, supply chain challenges and federal funds, Kelly has truly remained professional and kept up with the increasing demand. We get a lot of credit for our services, but the truth is that Kelly is the one that keeps the wheels on the fire trucks rolling out of the stations…literally.

Namita Uppal

Chief Procurement Officer 
Miami Dade County, FL

Namita Uppal holds the dual positions of Assistant Director of Internal services Department and the Chief Procurement Officer, and manages four Division Directors; a Chief Negotiator; nine Managers, and approximately 100 procurement professionals in the Strategic Procurement Division. Under Namita’s leadership, last year the division awarded contracts valued at approximately $1,030,000,000 for various goods and services, and Architectural and Engineering and Design-Build contracts valued at approximately $627,000,000. Notably, the Beach Corridor Trunk Line project is the first solicitation of its kind to be conducted in Miami-Dade County, and one of the first in the Country to utilize a P3 pre-development agreement model in which a two-step agreement and negotiation is utilized. 

In June 2021, the Chaplain Towers South, a 12-story beachfront condominium in the Miami suburb of Surfside, partially collapsed. Ms. Uppal mobilized a procurement response team to procure heavy equipment rental services and laborers to search for survivors, hauling of the debris to a separate location while maintaining any evidence recovered for investigatory purposes, to negotiating agreements for forensic engineers and medical equipment to identify the deceased. Ms. Uppal regularly interfaced with senior leadership from FDEM, FDOT, FEMA, Governor’s Office, and the Office of the President of the United States. Under Ms. Uppal’s direction, approximately $34M in contracts were awarded for this emergency and all contracts are expected to be fully or partially reimbursed by FEMA. Ms. Uppal’s leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing short of remarkable. From coordinating purchases of PPE for first responders, sourcing of hard-to-find hand sanitizer, and negotiating of vaccine and testing agreements across the County, Ms. Uppal led the charge to protect Miami-Dade County constituents from the unknown, in addition to staffing the Emergency Operation Center for COVID-19 related tasks. 

2021 Above & Beyond Awards

March 2021 was National Procurement Month. NCPP awarded fifteen ABOVE & BEYOND Awards to recognize public procurement professionals nominated by their peers—see the full list of winners below!


Kathy Bozeman

Contracting Agent
Orange County Government, Florida

"Managing a large workload of 100+ term contracts, many of which require renewal or re-solicitation, Kathy Bozeman also serves as a key resource to the Emergency Support Function 7 team any time the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated. In 2020, Kathy spent over 1,600 hours in the EOC over the course of 6 months supporting the county’s response to COVID-19. She focused on strategic sourcing of personal protective equipment (PPE) to support not only Orange County government, but other governmental entities such as the Orange County sheriff’s office, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, LYNX, and Orange County Public Schools. While working from the EOC, she successfully managed her procurement workload and, outside of work, attended the University of Central Florida online to continue pursuing a bachelor's degree. Kathy is a true go-getter and truly went above and beyond in 2020 to ensure Orange County government obtained all required resources to effectively respond to COVID-19."


Bryan Forero 

Senior Category Buyer
Chicago Public Schools, Illinois

"Bryan is the IT Senior Buyer for the district, which usually has an extremely large workload. During the pandemic, Bryan was tasked to work on other COVID-19 emergencies, such as procuring Chromebooks in a tight timeline due to the school district quickly moving to remote learning. The district had to adjust to obtain devices for students to be able to do remote learning. Bryan conducted a great deal in negotiating lower unit costs for these items in a remarkably short time frame.  He spent many late hours working with the ITS team to make things happen. Bryan is new to public procurement and we appreciate how he dove in and put in 150% effort to benefit our students. He is a true example of going above and beyond."


Michael Gutierrez

Supply Services Manager
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, California

"During the COVID-19 situation, Michael really stood out in managing our emergency response in purchasing. He quickly put together a team to find those hard-to-find items like masks, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, wipes, etc. Not only did he go above and beyond, he was super innovative and worked with our shops to create items that we could not find. For instance, he downloaded the formula for sanitizer and took it to our testing lab to see if they could make it, which they began producing. Also, dispensers for wipes and hand sanitizer solution could not be found. Once again, Michael thought outside the box and had the metal shop fabricate one-of-a-kind dispensers. These are just a couple of innovations and things how Michael went above and beyond during the pandemic."


Jeanne Carroza

Senior Purchasing Agent
Town of East Hampton, New York

"Jeanne deserves consideration for her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to her duties as a Purchasing Agent, she also served as the recent past president of SAMPO - New York State Association of Municipal Purchasing Officials. She had to cancel all of SAMPO's in-person events and quickly pivot to keeping our chapter connected in a virtual world.  Jeanne organized a webinar series that was attended by over 300 and SAMPO's first Virtual Conference with 111 attendees! She also kept the SAMPO Board on task by hosting regular meetings on Zoom. The organization never missed a beat and we could not have done this without her leadership."

Brandy Hazel

Procurement Manager
Collier County Sheriff's Office, Florida

"Manager Brandy Hazel is an invaluable member of the Procurement Bureau and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. Manager Hazel not only leads the charge with her Procurement Role for the agency, she also manages a large portion of the Logistics efforts as the Sourcing Manager during major events such as Hurricanes, Wildfires, and most recently COVID-19. During the agency’s COVID-19 response Brandy Hazel worked tirelessly to ensure the agency was well stocked with PPE, sanitizers, and other cleaning products for the agency. In addition to her COVID-19 response, Manager Hazel is leading her small but efficient team through the start of a record year for requisitions and Purchase orders. Since October 1, 2020 we are experiencing a 20% increase in purchase orders. Manager Hazel and her one Buyer have also taken over the procurement processes for a Mobile Command vehicle, Bomb Squad Vehicle, a Helicopter, as well as numerous outboard engines for our Marine Unit."

Ellen Ataie 

Contract Administrator
City of Allen, Texas

"We are a small department of five in Allen Texas, serving a population of 108,000 residents. Ellen Ataie began working for the City of Allen four years ago as a buyer. Within a year, she was promoted to Senior Buyer, and year later, she was promoted to Contract Administrator. This past year, Ellen received the CPPB certification. Only a few months following this awesome accomplishment, she has now received the CPP Certification, Certified Procurement Professional! This is quite an accomplishment to achieve two certifications in one year. Ellen volunteers with the local DFW Chapter of NIGP as the Newsletter Editor. 

One of Ellen's roles is to represent the procurement team with the Engineering Department. Projects with Engineering are usually Capital projects and sometimes require special processes. Last year a contract was awarded for an erosion problem at the golf course. The work performed failed. An insurance claim was filed and a new project was born. New specifications were developed and a Design Build bid was issued. A new contract has been awarded and the construction is about to begin. Ellen provided valuable procurement advise and added value for Engineering, Purchasing, the vendor, the city, and taxpayers."

Veronica Trujillo

Strategic Purchasing Manager
University of New Mexico, NM

"Veronica Trujillo was tasked with supporting Project ECHO in its fulfillment of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Contract Award to form a Nursing Home COVID Action Network. This program provides training to educate nursing home employees on how to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak within their facility and, if an outbreak should arise, how to contain the spread in a timely manner. The $237 Million award is the largest Federal Award for The University of New Mexico. Mrs. Trujillo has been vital to the success of the Project ECHO program in helping to establish and maintain processes between Project ECHO and Purchasing Department functional units to ensure as many nursing homes receive training about COVID-19 and are compensated in accordance with the contract terms. To date, approximately 7,000 nursing homes have been reached to participate and approximately 4,000 have signed agreements. If the term of the contract is extended, Project ECHO is looking to touch an additional 7,000 nursing homes. Much of the success of this program was due to Mrs. Trujillo's facilitation and assistance...truly an ABOVE & BEYOND performance."

Maria Carballeira

Procurement Policies & Training Coordinator
Miami-Dade County, FL

"Maria Carballeira serves in a highly responsible senior-level position within the Strategic Procurement Division (SPD) of the Internal Services Department (ISD) and is primarily responsible for managing the professional development portion of the centralized procurement operations by devoting her 10-hour+ workdays to onboarding new talent and retaining and cultivating existing procurement staff through professional development opportunities. The sheer volume and range of the duties and responsibilities that Ms. Carballeira has undertaken is worthy of distinguished recognition, which includes: on-boarded six new employees; prepared twelve (12) individual SPD employee reports; facilitated the professional procurement certification of three SPD employees; conducted a formal procurement overview session, consisting of 3-4 hours worth of material, for the benefit of the new County Mayor’s administrative staff; led and moderated the Countywide Formation and Performance of Selection Committee Workshop; drafted the Procurement 101 course curriculum and presentation; and Initiated and led two preliminary negotiation strategy meetings with Trillium for Supplemental Agreement No. 2 to Master Developer Agreement No. 00096 for the Department of Public Works and Transportation’s Compressed Natural Program. In addition to her regular duties, Ms. Carballeira served as ISD-Facilities Management & Infrastructure Division’s (FIMD) Procurement Concierge to provide first-line support services to their mission and facilitating the emergency acquisition of all goods and services essential to confront and mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Norma Camacho

Senior Contract Officer
City of Tucson, AZ

"As is often the case when emergencies arise, it’s procurement’s time to shine. When the pandemic hit our country last year, Norma Camacho stepped up in a big way for her assigned customer department—public housing authority. When shelter-in-place orders were enacted in our community, the public housing authority was tasked with taking the homeless community off of the streets and housing them in hotels. Norma worked quickly to develop lease agreements to lease hotel rooms for our homeless population. She also created a number of agreements with local vendors for all the associated services that were needed, such as transportation services, laundry services, catering services, security services, etc. This was unchartered territory for our organization, but with Norma’s thoughtful approach and tireless efforts, the project was successful! Through her procurement role, Norma was able to contribute to the community-wide effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in a significant way, and all while ensuring that the expenditures were compliant with federal regulations so as to be eligible for reimbursement later. Norma is definitely a shining procurement star at the City of Tucson!"

Amber Yates

Procurement Administrator 
Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority (LRWRA), AR
"To create a one-stop shop for vendors to view and respond to bid opportunities for multiple Arkansas government entities, Amber spearheaded an initiative to partner with other central Arkansas governmental entities to implement one shared vendor portal and online e-procurement system. Realizing that small, local, and minority businesses do not always have the staffing to research, create, and maintain dozens of vendor profiles across multiple local governments, Amber met with various agency personnel, presented to agency directors and the Little Rock Mayor, sent out email blasts to current vendors, and mailed information to potential vendors. She also worked with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC)’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Division and LRWRA’s Communications Department for a media outreach campaign. In addition to her role, Amber also volunteers and currently sits on the ARNIGP board as the Legislative Liaison and Program Chair."

Joshua Rogers

State Procurement Analyst
Department of Admin Services, OR

"Josh is part of the Department's Emergency Preparedness Team, ESF7 desk, for over 14 years. When the Governor of Oregon declares an emergency, Josh supports state agencies, cities, counties and schools with logistics. While everyone across the nation has been working though emergencies this past year, Oregon has seen more than its share—snow storms, COVID-19, wildfires, flood, and ice storms—all within the last 11 months. The 2020 wildfire season was one of the most destructive on record in the state of Oregon, with over 2000 fires that killed at least 11 people, burned more than 1,000,000 acres, and destroyed thousands of homes. Being part of ESF7 is a volunteer position. Josh chose to step up and excels at his above and beyond emergency efforts, in addition to his normal job, for the citizens of Oregon."

Theresa Jensen

Procurement Supervisor
State Patrol Supply Section Purchasing Department, WA
"In an environment supporting police officers and civilians and during a time of riots, protests, COVID-19, and an already heavy workload with limited staff for daily operations, I am proud to share how amazing, persistent, and determined Theresa has been this last year. Providing PPE for the entire patrol due to COVID-19 when supplies were limited, she also procured riot gear for the RDF team so they had the needed items for crowd control during the Seattle protests. She rolled out a new training series to the WSP staff (commissioned and non-commissioned) on small purchasing training, that should aid in the field with an understanding on what is allowed to be purchased in the field and what is required to be processed through the Supply Section. Theresa and her team have been flexible, as they are often pulled away to work on projects outside of their normal assigned duties."

Richard (Rick) Gay

Director of Purchasing Services
Spring Branch ISD, TX

"Richard (Rick) Gay has served Spring Branch ISD for three years and has 25 years of procurement experience for various school districts. With an emphasis in 2020 on keeping students and staff safe, Gay was tasked with finding strategic sources to provide PPE, and provide WiFi service and infrastructure, both for in-school and at home, which was a daunting task when all other districts were in need of the same products and services. When schools first closed due to COVID-19, the process of transitioning to distance learning required close coordination with the district’s curriculum department to obtain necessary materials. Students were issued Chromebooks and a hotspot for connectivity. Packets were put together containing basic school supplies and printed materials that were grade-level appropriate then distributed to students over a three-day period each week. Rick also coordinated with his district’s food service department to issue Grab and Go meals for each student. This process required the warehouse and procurement services personnel to put more than 8600 packets together each week for the next six weeks until the online processes were fully operating. An amazing accomplishment in a short period of time—definitely Above & Beyond!"

Evan Karl

Procurement Officer
City of Mesa, AZ

"Over this past year, Evan spent countless hours sourcing and procuring N95 masks and other PPE and also procured temperature screening devices using CARES funding. Our Procurement Department was short staffed during most of this time. Evan took on extra duties such as covering for his supervisor during a leave of absence and took on extra workload due to a retirement in the office. Despite the extra work, Evan was also able to complete the Emergency Operations plan begun prior to the pandemic. During the pandemic, he completed the remaining contract amendments, which added federal certification language to the contracts identified that could be utilized in an emergency. He also completed the set-up of an Excel database which identified these contracts. Evan has always gone above and beyond, but in the case of COVID-19 and handling emergencies, he was a rock star."

Kim Hopkins-Will

Buyer II
City Utilities of Springfield, MO 

"Kim is truly a star! She is committed to lifelong learning and during the season of COVID-19 she has worked full time to serve all the needs of her organization as well as earned her NIGP-CPP, volunteered for professional and community organizations such as Kiwanis and the Missouri Association of Public Purchasing (MAPP), AND started taking courses to complete her master's! As the President of MAPP, COVID-19 has presented challenges, we have been forced to cancel in person professional development. Recently we had a vacancy for our Professional Development Chair, and I was THRILLED when she stepped up and volunteered because she is the perfect person for this position! Kim is a 'doer' with a passion for our profession and our professional organizations! Kim has taken the ball and is running with it by working on a survey of our membership so she can work to meet their developmental needs."