Public-Sector Purchasers Head to Austin for Annual Roundup
Hip, high-tech capital of Texas welcomes the National Purchasing Institute’s 35 th Annual Conference and Products Exposition
Located in Central Texas on the Colorado River, Austin sizzles with intellectual, creative, and high-tech vibes, yet maintains a down-home friendliness and comfort. Photo courtesy of the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The Texas state flag features one lone star. Photo courtesy of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Strategically located within 200 miles of Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston, Austin, TX, boasts a trifecta of attributes that help make this dynamic city of over a half million residents the business star of the Lone Star State.
Austin is the capital of Texas state government, home to seven academic communities including the University of Texas at Austin, and a hub of high-tech industry. These government, education, and technology industries as well as diverse business services, life sciences, film and music, and logistics firms all contribute to Austin’s hot economy. The region is home to major employers such as Dell Computer Corp., Motorola, Inc., and IBM Corp.
From October 19 to 22, 2003, audacious Austin will welcome members of the National Purchasing Institute (NPI), the public-sector affiliate of the Institute for Supply Management, for NPI’s 35 th Annual Conference and Products Exposition, to be held at the Doubletree Hotel Austin.
Promoted as the Texas Lone Star Roundup, NPI’s conference will attract purchasing professionals representing government, public, educational, and nonprofit entities to development sessions, workshops, and round-table discussions that will present fresh perspectives and the newest trends in E-business and procurement.
Before the conference begins, NPI will offer an exam review session on Saturday, October 18, for members taking the Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) exam on site on Sunday, October 19. Space for the computerized certification exam is limited and will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants must register and pay the exam fee in advance using the conference delegate registration form or apply online by September 26 at www.nationalpurchasinginstitute.org
Other highlights of the four-day event include pr es entat ion of the ei ghth annual Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Awards and the one-day Products Exposition on October 21, showcasing the newest in products, technology, and procurement services.
Conference attendees can take advantage of breakfast sessions, workshops, and distinguished speakers covering a selection of topics designed to help them utilize new technologies, enhance buyer/seller relationships, and service their constituencies.
Networking opportunities with other purchasing and supply-management colleagues from across the country will allow members to share work experiences and also to gain new perspective on their own work processes.
To enhance the Products Exposition, no conference sessions will be held during exhibit hours, enabling attendees to meet one-on-one with exhibitors and ask questions about their products and services. Likewise, exhibitors will have the opportunity to present their products directly to those individuals representing millions of dollars spent annually in procurement for local, state, and federal governments, utility districts, airports, educational institutions, tax-supported and public entities, and special districts. The exposition also will feature an incentive program that will encourage delegates to vis it every vendor booth by awarding various prizes.
Taking Care of Business
Event registration opens on Sunday, October 19, at 2 p.m., followed by a first-time attendees’ reception at 5 p.m., then by the general welcome reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Conference business starts bright and early Monday morning, October 20, at 7:30 a.m., with the opening breakfast and keynote address given by Ben D. Welch, Director of the Center for Executive Development in the Lowry Mays College & Graduate School of Business at Texas A&M University, and the presentation of NPI’s Achievement of Excellence in Pr ocur ement Awards by Wayne Casper, C.P.M., the director of procurement for the city of Tucson, AZ.
In addition to general sessions, delegates will be able to choose from several concurrent sessions offered on subjects ranging from paperless purchasing, e-mail, and electronic marketplaces to alternative dispute resolution, collections, and ethics in public purchasing, all presented by industry experts.
Also during the conference, NPI will conduct its annual business meeting and sponsor optional events such as the Buyer/Supplier Round Table Luncheon and the President’s Banquet, with a presentation of awards and the installation of officers.
The conference wraps on Wednesday, October 22, with a drawing for prizes at the conclusion of the final general session at 5 p.m.
Explore Austin’s City Limits
During the four-day conference, delegates will have many opportunities to explore and enjoy the capital city.
A tour of the Capitol building and outlet mall shopping are two of the conference-sponsored activities available. However, the city itself has much more to offer.
In addition to its intellectual and high-tech reputation, Austin boasts the title of “Live Music Capital of the World,” due to its thriving industry of musical entertainment. Austin’s music scene supports thousands of jobs and generates millions of dollars for the local economy. Downtown offers more than 125 live-music venues including coffeehouses, honky-tonks, and clubs showcasing an eclectic mix of country, blues, rock, jazz, Latino, and classical.
Other attractions include museums, nature trails, cultural events, historical sites, and bat watching.
Austin has the distinction of being home to North America’s largest urban bat population that roosts every year from March through October under the city’s Congress Avenue Bridge. Each evening at sunset, thousands of humans hang out beneath the bridge to watch the nightly exodus as up to 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge to feed on insects and put on an aerial show.
The National Purchasing Institute, founded in 1968, establishes cooperative relationships among its members for the development of efficient purchasing practices in governmental, educational, and institutional procurement. Members are directly engaged in the purchasing and supply-management activities of their entities as procurement managers, supplies managers, purchasing agents, and buyers.
In 1990 NPI affiliated with the National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM), now the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), a nonprofit association of over 48,000 private and public-sector purchasing and supply-management professionals.