Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 28

BEST AND FINAL

Procurement:
How the Torch
Gets Passed

©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/MUSTAFAHACALAKI

by Daysha Holmes
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
State University

I

remember sitting in class the first
day of my senior year of college
finally realizing that it's time I
started thinking about what I
wanted my future to look like. I
knew I wanted to do something
meaningful but didn't have any idea
of where, how, and what I wanted
to do. My major was Agribusiness,
but I wanted to focus more on the
business side of things. One day, as
I was sitting at work, a fellow student
passed along information on a new
internship program initiated by the Vice
President for Finance office. At first I

28

wasn't going to apply because I was a
senior, ready to graduate, and assumed
they were going to ask, "Why does an
Agribusiness major want to apply for
an internship in higher education with
a focus on finance?" Just as I thought,
that was one of the first questions they
asked during the interview. I realized
that, as a college student, you overlook
what goes on behind the scenes of
keeping a university in financial order.
You go to class, take exams, and get
involved in organizations of your liking,
but never think about how the
university operates.
After I graduated in May 2016, I had
the opportunity to be a summer intern
for the Vice President for Finance
Rotational Program. The first area I
picked happened to be Procurement.
During my second interview session,
I became fascinated at just how
much of a role Procurement plays at
an institution. My two-month stint in
Procurement consisted of auditing
different contracts to make sure vendors
were billing us correctly, as listed in
the contract. Right after my internship
ended, the Vice President for Finance
put in place a year-long fellowship
program, in which I became the first
participant. I had the chance to intern
for three consecutive months in any
department within the Vice President's
jurisdiction. Once again, one of the
areas I chose was Procurement. I
wanted to go back to this department
because the Director of Procurement,
Mary Helmick, challenged me in ways
that not only led me out of my comfort
zone but also provided personal growth.
As part of the fellowship program in
Procurement, I was challenged to help
design and implement a total change
of operational process within Virginia
Tech Procurement. The challenge was
to divert small-dollar procurements
from Senior Buyers to a new team of
junior buyers who had formerly had
support or administrative roles. To do
this, I, myself, had to understand the
procedures for processing these smaller
procurements and actually became a
junior buyer for the department. As I was
learning, I developed in-depth desktop
procedures. I then used them to hold
one-on-one training for the new junior

EDUCATIONAL PROCUREMENT JOURNAL | SUMMER 2018

buyers. As I transitioned the duties to
these individuals, I served as a resource
to them. This fast-track program helped
redistribute lower-cost procurements by
utilizing valuable staff who were looking
for other opportunities to grow within the
profession. While I have experience in
areas such as Capital Assets, Financial
Management, Internal Audit, Risk
Management, and Financial Planning;
I have a love for Procurement because
of its major contribution to the institution's
growth and operations. There are a wide
variety of projects and ideas that can
arise, whether analytical or critical. The
relationships you build with departments
and suppliers are very rewarding. You
become the go-to person when an
employee on campus needs help ordering
something or putting a contract in place.
Sometimes you will be tested, dealing
with difficult situations-but you are
rewarded, when the outcome benefits
everyone involved.
I am now in a full-time role as a
Contracts Specialist here at Virginia Tech
and I look forward to continued growth
and challenges. My Contracts Team and I
have set goals to bring strategic changes
into our Procurement office. My main
mission is to support the buyers with their
contracts and enhance customer service
to both campus and vendors. I hope
to have more training sessions for our
campus employees so they can become
familiar with the procurement process. I
want to see more of a partnership with our
vendors by making them feel welcome on
campus and in the Procurement office.
My ultimate goal is to become director
of a best-in-class, strategic procurement
department in higher education. As a
recent graduate, I hope to inspire other
members of my generation to go above
and beyond and to reach out into areas
that they may not have considered as they
were obtaining their degrees.

Daysha Holmes is a Contracts
Specialist at Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University.
Email: daysha94@vt.edu



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018

Professional Development Notes
NAEP President Nichol Luoma
Research and Development RFP: Procurement Assists with Innovation
Training, Testing, and Incentives
Annual Meeting Wrap-Up
Certification: Which One Are You?
Evolution or Revolution? Campus Cards: Time for a New Business Model
Book Review: Building a Fund of Sustainability Knowledge, One Book at a Time—Part Nine
Best and Final: Procurement: How the Torch Gets Passed
Index to Advertisers
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - intro
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - cover1
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - cover2
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 3
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 4
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 5
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Professional Development Notes
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 7
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - NAEP President Nichol Luoma
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 9
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Research and Development RFP: Procurement Assists with Innovation
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 11
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 12
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 13
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 14
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 15
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Training, Testing, and Incentives
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 17
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Annual Meeting Wrap-Up
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 19
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Certification: Which One Are You?
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 21
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Evolution or Revolution? Campus Cards: Time for a New Business Model
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 23
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 24
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Book Review: Building a Fund of Sustainability Knowledge, One Book at a Time—Part Nine
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 26
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 27
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Best and Final: Procurement: How the Torch Gets Passed
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 29
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Index to Advertisers
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - cover3
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - cover4
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - outsert1
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - outsert2
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - outsert3
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - outsert4
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NEPQ/NEPQ0318
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NEPQ/NEPQ0218
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NEPQ/NEPQ0118
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NEPQ/NEPQ0417
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NEPQ/NEPQ0317
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com