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.