I’ve just returned home from the fabulous 2005 NIGP Forum in Anaheim, California. It was one of the best I have ever attended.
The hotels and convention center were centrally located, with everything from Disneyland to fabulous restaurants and recreation facilities within easy walking distance. The forum venue offered something for every delegate at every level of public procurement, including LEAP courses, professional certification reviews and oral exams, a vast variety of workshops, chapter showcases, an all-encompassing product exposition of what the market has to offer, and plenty of opportunity for collegial networking and discussion of what is happening in public procurement at all levels of government and education in the United States and around the world. And, to top it all off, the California weather was perfect!
I relate the forum to the gathering of the clans of early man. The fundamental concept is the same. It was at such gatherings that people progressed in their knowledge, technology and societal expansion. It was at such gatherings that people shared and compared their crafts, customs and practices, and competed in various events of strength and skill. Each clan returned home with much more than what they brought to the gathering and increased their knowledge and ability to survive. Clans that did not participate in the gatherings became extinct.
There are other things that make the gathering at forum so valuable: the opportunity to develop and communicate in a common professional language, define a commonality of purpose, validate and improve our value to our entities, debate and evaluate best practices and how they can be applied, openly and honesty discuss our individual challenges without fear of retaliation, and, provide support to one another long after the forum is over.
After each forum, I take the time to identify something new that I learned and how I can apply it to my life and profession. In retrospect, I realize that there has never been a forum from which I came away with nothing new and interesting to apply in my life. This year was no different.
This year’s forum left me humbled and filled with admiration for the new generation of procurement professionals I had the privilege of meeting and observing in action. Their challenges are great in today’s environment, but I firmly believe they are up to the task. I also realized, more than ever before, that my 30 years of past experience isn’t enough to meet today’s challenges. I too must keep current in order to maintain a professional edge. As a professional, I must never stop learning and seeking new ways to ensure responsive and responsible government and preserve the public trust. The need for good government hasn’t changed, but government must change to meet today’s needs. Public procurement is a critical element of responsive, responsible government.
See you next year in Tampa, Florida! I’ll be there, learning and growing, just like you.
Editor’s Note: Beau Grant, CPPO, is a Master Instructor for the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) and President of Beau-Geste Enterprises. Readers can reach Grant by e-mail at: [email protected]