Editor’s Note: Welcome to another edition of CPO News! Just a week ago, we capped off our inaugural and highly successful CPO Rising procurement executive summit where we met over a hundred CPOs, procurement leaders, and practitioners. We’re still jazzed from the day and a half event, where it was crystal clear to all who attended that the CPO is, in fact, rising. Thus, we bring to you stories of CPOs and procurement leaders who are on the rise (and some other news, too). Grab yourself a cup of coffee and wind down your work week with CPO News. Cheers!
Elissa Ouyang Becomes CPO at California Water Service Group
On March 1, California Water Service Group (NYSE: CWT) announced that it has promoted Elissa Ouyang to Chief Procurement Officer, effective immediately. Ouyang had previously served as Interim Procurement Director, during which time she oversaw the implementation of source-to-pay, strategic sourcing, and supplier diversity initiatives. As CPO, she will oversee enterprise procurement operations, including indirect categories such as fleet and facilities, and will become the lead officer of the Continuous Improvement plan, which will give every employee a voice in how to improve service or increase efficiencies. Ouyang has been with CWSG for 15 years, starting as an Application Manager and then climbing the ranks to Director of IT – Architecture and Security, Interim VP of IT, Acting District Manager of Los Altos, and to Interim Procurement Director. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Master of Science in Accounting from The University of Illinois at Chicago.
Commonwealth of Virginia Ranked Second in the Nation for Procurement Practices
This story comes to us from Robert “Bob” Gleason, Director of Purchases and Supply for the Commonwealth of Virginia and “friend of the site.” Earlier this year, Virginia Governor Terry McCauliffe announced that the Governing Institute had named the Commonwealth second in the nation in its inaugural Procurement Survey of the States. Virginia was bestowed with the honor for excelling across 10 criteria, including policies, processes, governance, relationship management, and the use of technology, particularly eProcurement systems (“eVA”). Since 2001, VA procurement personnel have conducted more than $58 billion in spend on goods and services through the program. “Public procurement is a specialized team and it does complicated work for the benefit of all Virginia public bodies, suppliers, citizens, and other key stakeholders. Recognition by Governing is particularly valuable, as it helps us validate that the leading best practices we have undertaken are effective, and that Virginia is driving its procurement activities in the right direction,” said Gleason.
The honor comes on the heals of a recent addition to the DGS Office, “B2B Connect,” which enables suppliers to connect with each other and with the Commonwealth to do business. The tool is a mobile application that connects to eVA and allows prime contractors to find subs, smaller companies to discover and partner with each other, and or to allow large suppliers to sub-contract portions of an award to another supplier. The application allows for instant receipt of RFP, bidding, and communication with the government using pre-established yet customizeable forms. B2B Connect allows the Commonwealth to extend agility, innovation, and self service beyond the state’s procurement system to the hundreds of thousands of suppliers that it works with.
Former Arizona CPO Pleads Guilty to Procurement Fraud
On March 15, the Hastings Tribune reported that Michael Veit, the former CPO of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCC), plead guilty to fraud and theft charges during his tenure at the state agency responsible for processing Medicaire reimbursements. Readers may recall that we covered this story back in February (click here for the write-up). Last fall, Veit was terminated and arrested following an investigation that found that he had committed fraud at the agency. As part of his guilty plea, Veit has agreed to serve 10 years in prison, pay $6 million in restitution, and forfeit his state retirement benefits. There were no developments on the fate of his co-conspirator, Michael J. Cameron, who also faces fraud and theft charges.