Big City Purchasing—July/August print edition
Q: Describe your educational background and work history.
I obtained my Honours Bachelor of Commerce in 1983 from Carleton University in Ottawa. My first job out of university was in human resources with Mitel (Business Communication Tools). Soon after, I landed a job in finance at the City of Ottawa and stayed there for three years until moving to Supply and Services Canada (PWGSC as it’s known today) where I spent 10 years in the professional services branch and with the Canada Communication Group. In 1996, I returned to the City for an opportunity to head the supply branch for both the City of Ottawa and the Regional Municipality of Ottawa Carleton and, eventually, the 10 other local municipalities that formed the new City of Ottawa. My career took a slight turn in 2004 when I joined the City’s human resources branch. I spent five years there, the last year as director. In 2009, I returned to finance and took on my current role as chief procurement officer.
Q: How did you get into procurement/supply chain
I would say it was by accident really. One of my first jobs after graduating from university was working as a contracting officer with Supply and Services Canada. The rest is history.
Q: What do you like most about your position?
I enjoy the personal interactions I have on a daily basis with clients and the supplier community. I also have a team of great people working with me.
Q: Why did you choose procurement?
I wouldn’t say it was a conscious decision. I got the bug early in my career when putting together business deals and dealing with the intricacies that come with legal agreements. I was also very fortunate to have a number of great mentors and opportunities that continued to pique my interest.
Q: What’s your current role?
I am the chief procurement officer for the City of Ottawa. I provide leadership and strategic direction to senior management in the development and implementation of procurement strategies and ensure that the City’s procurement is undertaken with a strategic corporate outlook, reflecting industry best practices to effectively meet the needs of the City’s business lines and the expectations of council. I lead a team of procurement professionals that procures more than $1 billion in goods, services and construction on an annual basis on behalf of the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Police Services and the Ottawa Public Library.
Q: What’s your proudest professional moment?
I’ve had many proud moments but I would say I get the greatest satisfaction when I see a member of my procurement team succeed and advance their career.
Q: What are your future plans?
I am working towards retirement and then hope to consult on a part-time basis.
Q: What advice would you give those new to the field or planning to enter it soon?
The profession is much more complex today than when I entered. Common sense should always prevail and taking the time to strategize early in the process is always worth the investment.