Purchasing officials for Smith and Gregg counties are working together to form a local chapter of the National Procurement Institute.
Smith County Purchasing Director Kim Gould and Gregg County Purchasing Agent Kelli Davis were recently selected to serve as directors for the national organization and hope to get area purchasing officials involved.
Mrs. Davis will serve as president, and Mrs. Gould will serve as vice president of the local chapter.
"Out of all the opportunities I have had over my career, I am most excited about working to form this local association," Mrs. Davis said. "There is so much more that can be accomplished when we work together with a common goal of saving taxpayer money. It's my hope that we get as much participation from all our neighboring purchasing professionals because all entities will benefit."
Nine officials from several counties attended an initial meeting in November in Gregg County. They are hoping to spread the word to get more participation at their second meeting, planned for 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 17, in the Smith County Commissioners Courtroom, 200 E. Ferguson St. in Tyler.
All purchasing officials who work for nonprofit and governmental entities, including school districts, colleges and universities, are invited to attend.
"When Mrs. Davis was initially employed by Gregg County, I inquired about the possibility of creating a purchasing co-op with other governmental offices so that the participants could make group buys and be more cost efficient," Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said. "We are extremely pleased with Mrs. Davis' performance and the co-leadership role she is playing in this project with Kim Gould."
Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Gould are inviting all purchasing professionals within a 13-county region -- including Anderson, Camp, Cherokee, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Marion, Panola, Rains, Rusk, Smith, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood counties – to become involved in the local association.
"I'm very excited to be able to have the networking ability with our local professionals and to be able to work together and learn from each other," Mrs. Gould.
Some of the goals set by the local chapter include education and local training of the procurement profession for the region, joint purchasing and money-saving opportunities, benchmarking, regional vendor fairs and expos and vendor awareness of doing business with the public sector.
"Forming a local group is beneficial for Smith County and the rest of the East Texas region," Smith County Judge Joel Baker said. "Working together will help all of the agencies involved."
- Casey Murphy is the public information officer for the Smith County Commissioners Court.