Lindle Hatton, NASPO CEO and Jennifer Salts, NASPO CAO: The Benefits of an Association

April 08, 2020 National Association of State Procurement Officials Season 1 Episode 1
Lindle Hatton, NASPO CEO and Jennifer Salts, NASPO CAO: The Benefits of an Association
Lindle Hatton, NASPO CEO and Jennifer Salts, NASPO CAO: The Benefits of an Association
Apr 08, 2020 Season 1 Episode 1
National Association of State Procurement Officials

In the first-ever NASPO Pulse episode, we speak to NASPO Chief Executive Officer Lindle Hatton and Chief Administrative Officer Jennifer Salts about the value of an association during a crisis like the global COVID-19 pandemic. We also take a look at the common trends in purchasing across the country, and how public procurement plays a part in the pandemic response. Make sure to email us a [email protected]!

NASPO Members email [email protected] for assistance

Show Notes Transcript

In the first-ever NASPO Pulse episode, we speak to NASPO Chief Executive Officer Lindle Hatton and Chief Administrative Officer Jennifer Salts about the value of an association during a crisis like the global COVID-19 pandemic. We also take a look at the common trends in purchasing across the country, and how public procurement plays a part in the pandemic response. Make sure to email us a [email protected]!

NASPO Members email [email protected] for assistance

Kevin Minor:   0:06
Congratulations. You made it. And welcome to the first-ever episode of the NASPO Pulse. The podcast where were monitoring issues in state procurement. We've got our finger on the pulse people and we are so excited. This is the first in what we expect to be many podcasts episodes brought to you by the National Association of State Procurement Officials. But you can call us NASPO. I'm your host, Kevin Minor, and I'm the media production project manager, and I'm just happy to be here. By here. I mean, I'm working at home like I'm sure many of you are during the Global COVID-19 pandemic. Strange times, frantic times. So obviously, we did not plan on this happening, but we adapt just like you. So I'd say that we're doing things a little differently, but we've never actually done things before who want to bring you informative and innovative news about state procurement, and trust me, there's a lot of it out there, but we have to address this pandemic with our first episode, and that's OK. It's what we're recording when we take the pulse. Did you see what I did there? So on today's episode, episode one going to be speaking with NASPO, CEO Lindle Hatton, and our chief administrative officer, Jennifer Salts. Two very wonderful and smart leaders, our leaders. We're gonna talk about stuff like, what is the value of an association in a crisis like this? What is NASPO doing for its membership? Do they see any common trends across the States? We're gonna talk about how public procurement plays a part in this COVID response and a few more things. So sit back, relax and listen.  

Kevin Minor:   1:51
We're gonna jump right into it. Lindle, You know, one of the questions that has kind of come up over the past week as we've been navigating through this global pandemic is the value of an association like NASPO. Can you speak to that? Just a little bit.

Lindle Hatton:   2:13
Absolutely. Thank you, Kevin. First, before I began, I want to thank you for taking an initiative such as this to help us get our message out to further inform our members regarding the value of NASPO and Value Point. Why having a membership there? So I applaud your efforts and your innovative thinking, Kevin, for doing this and allowing us this opportunity. You're right. This pandemic is so unique unlike anything else that we've been experiencing. So it's an opportunity as well as a challenge that's been presented to us and I think it demonstrates the real value of a membership in the association for our members as well as their central procurement staff. We get an opportunity to demonstrate the value to them. What we bring. So we're trying to get out all the proper messages to inform our members of the various resources that are available to them to assist them during this crisis. In terms of the supply chain function, you know, when demand goes up, supplies tend to become a bit limited. So it's right and it's more than just procurement or purchasing its logistics and everything else. And our folks are doing a great job to help facilitate a lot of that conversation and work that needs to be done in the supply chain. So we feel like we're doing a service to our members in facilitating those resources, putting out outward-facing types of websites as well as for our members-only to inform them of the various resources that are available that they can use. The other thing that I'm seeing occurring is we had just moved to directors phone call on a weekly basis, and they have opportunities to raise questions there to one another. What are some of the issues and trends that they're facing and so they can share those ideas? We didn't have the opportunity to step in and help facilitate that. If they require some assistance identifying that resource are making those connections, we can. We can provide that assistance. So I think it's a great opportunity prime time to be a member of the national organization and our members air seeing the benefits of that.

Kevin Minor:   4:45
Excellent. Yeah, and it really is interesting time. You know, one thing that you mentioned was just the innovation that you see right now happening through the entire supply chain. And I do want to focus specifically on national members. But I'm just really curious as to what in the past two weeks, the unprecedented response that you have seen at the executive level of supply chains. Can you just briefly talk to me about that for a minute?

Lindle Hatton:   5:14
Absolutely. In fact, I will also turn two Jen, and she could probably share even more experiences. But we have seen with our members making certain requests that they're not sure that they can make contact with some of the suppliers. So we turned to our Value point team. Sarah and Jen have even stepped in to assist our members to identify sources for certain supplies and items that are needed. I mean, as you can imagine, PPE type of requests, among others, and sanitizers things of that nature. There are any number of things that are, ah, rising the need for and many, many folks even in their procurement office. They have. They have contacts and suppliers, but not in every case are they successful in making those connections. Jen has been very supportive. Sarah and her team have as well. And that's part of what you'll see on the website. I think that identifies some of those not only the partners but the contractors that are available to assist in with some of those items. Let me stop there, Jen, do you have a thought to share as well,

Jennifer Salts:   6:28
you know, we're seeing our suppliers you know, get creative. We're seeing distilleries here in Kentucky and even Utah, where I just came from, you know, they're changing their product and instead of, you know, creating spirits, they're now creating hand sanitizers. And, you know, one thing that NASA does really well is to provide a platform for our members to communicate. And Lindle had mentioned, you know, we're holding a weekly call for our members. It's an amazing thing to watch, you know, these they folks, share their experiences, they rally and support each other. They're sharing information. They're not trying to...I mean, we're all competing for these products, but they're out there helping to support each of us. And so it's been very great to see that That type of camaraderie during this time of crisis.

Kevin Minor:   7:26
Absolutely. You know, in my three years at NASPO, you know, one of the best parts of the job for me is just to see those dots get connected and those light bulbs come on. When you have conversations from people that are literally across the nation from one another, you can have somebody in Maine talking to somebody in Arizona about some innovative new sourcing technique or new standard operating procedure that they've been working on. And the other person has, you know, never thought about that and is now going to change the operation for the better because of that. And I think that's even more important now than it ever has been moving forward,

Lindle Hatton:   8:09
absolutely, and where we are very happy to see those conversations occurring. As you said, That's the value of the network through the phone calls that we've held on Mondays with the directors as well, it's the community network that's set up for them to have these conversations. We can see that it's led to other, appeared to pure conversations regarding their circumstances, share sources and ideas, uh, how to how to acquire certain commodities and items that are needed. But yes,  I also would reinforce what Jin just said. We've seen many suppliers that air converting their normal operations and becoming more innovative to the times where ready these other items because of this crises and they're converting their processes to facilitate that, whether sanitizers or anything else. So it's a time that everyone's coming together building unity, and I love to see it. It's a great team effort.

Kevin Minor:   9:16
Yeah, I think buzzwords nowadays are adaptability, ad hoc, and unity. And then, of course, PPE. You know, that was that's common vernacular. I didn't know what that was a couple of weeks ago. I know more about PPE. I'm sure you do too than I ever thought that I would. Um, Lindle. Do you see some common trends across the States? You know, we talk about this communication and this networking. What are some of the common trends that you see across the states right now?  

Lindle Hatton:   9:46
Yes. We do see some common trends that are occurring. And you just mentioned Ah, a simple one is in terms of the PPE, the personal protection equipment. Everyone is needing that that is resonating quite strong, the sanitizers and all the things that are going on to acquire those particular items. Identifying those resources are probably very, very important. But another thing that I'm I'm seeing besides all the commodities and service is that are needed back to a term that you mentioned. I'm seeing a more unifying approach across all of the offices in procurement. Everyone's looking at it, as it's not just a unique problem to anyone state, It is a crisis that is uniformly applicable to anyone in everyone, no matter where were they where they may be, and as a result, we have a more unifying approach. Let's attack this as a team, not in isolation with one another. I love seeing that that's a that is a brotherhood sisterhood professionals coming together to demonstrate the value of public procurement, what they have to offer and working in unison with other strategic decision-makers in the various agencies, irrespective of who they are. Transportation, information, technology, whatever highway, Um, all everyone is in it together, and we all work to a solution that is beneficial to everyone. So independent of commodities and service, this is a trend that I think it's more unifying because we share it together.

Kevin Minor:   11:39
And Jen, you have a tremendous background in procurement. What do you see across the States right now?

Jennifer Salts:   11:45
You know one thing I just wanted to note. Typically, procurement officials are the unsung heroes, right? They kind of, uh, do their work in the shadows. They're not out there in the spotlight. But, you know, this type of situation has brought them to the forefront. And I am just I am so proud of my public procurement colleagues out there, these professionals that are their working day in, day out. Since this crisis hit, most of them have had not had a day off in weeks. And we are not hearing any complaints from our members. We are only seeing, you know, positivity. They're working so hard to, you know, fulfill these orders that these first responders are just crying out for And it has been just so amazing to watch these folks in action. I just could not be more proud of this profession.

Kevin Minor:   12:44

Lindle Hatton:   12:45
I agree.

Kevin Minor:   12:47
Yeah, and you say unsung heroes and I agree with you here on the pod, I'll carry their tune all day. We'll sing for him all day. That actually is a great Segway into the next question I had for you guys was how has public procurement played a part in this COVID in response?  

Lindle Hatton:   13:05
One thing, their role has been more than just purchasing. As I mentioned earlier today, it's been expanded. They not only are the position to have to buy things, but they have to identify where they're located. So more logistics being brought in in terms of as the demand goes up, identifying where those sources are for supply is pretty critical. So then they have to confirm well, is the product actually available? Wears it available? How did they ensure the trend transit to get that product in and been validating the actual receipt of those things...So procurement has a vital wrote a play from cradle to grave almost, if you will, for identifying where's the source to get it, put it in place to get it there, and coincidently, there's other competition that they have to be aware of.  

Kevin Minor:   14:04

Lindle Hatton:   14:05
states are limited in terms of the budgets they have even know in emergencies. I get some expansion, but there are other competitors out there that are gonna pay cash for the same product at a point of delivery that states may not be in a position. to compete with, so the role of ah of procurement here is very, very critical. How did they get the commodities and items they need most needed by the residents and fulfilling those needs within the budget that they have the monetary constraints of working, recognizing there, uh, there is other competition in a position baby to pay cash that they aren't for those same items. So it's a very, very different marketplace in the arena. The rolls that they're having to play. I want to echo what Jen said. I think that our folks have just They are working, uh, endlessly to fulfill those responsibilities, providing the service that their states need the residents and meeting those demands in a very difficult time. It is ongoing, endless, very stressful. They're being taxed probably beyond time, never before, and they're having to doom or than just purchasing. I'm very appreciative of their efforts.

Kevin Minor:   15:34
Yeah, well, and we see empirically, though that they are, you know, answering that call. I mean, you know, I see it every day on the research innovation team talking with members that they really are heeding the call right now. And they really are working 24 7 another, uh, interesting thought that actually that just came to mind when you were talking about that Is Lindell as someone who manages and Jen, this question is for you, too. You know, you guys are a little bit more used to the remote interaction with your employees, and that being said, we do get a lot of face time with you and we really appreciate that. Lindle comes to Lexington all the way from the West Coast often, and we always love seeing you. But you deal with quite a bit of remote interaction, and that is something that is relatively new for a lot of states and a lot of people in a leadership or a manager role. Do you have any advice, or can you talk just a little bit about how you deal with that remote management style?

Lindle Hatton:   16:36
Certainly. Thank you, Kevin. I'm very fortunate. NASPO is fortunate. We have a wonderful team and they are spread remotely throughout the United States. We probably have 50% remote, 50% in the Lexington headquarters, so it's very important to have excellent talent, no matter where they are located. With that in mind, what we try to do is to make sure that everyone understands their role responsibilities if we are failing in that regard than we need to make sure that we step up to ensure everyone is empowered to act in their role. And I think that's very important. We don't try to, um, micromanage anyone we tried to provide the resource is that is needed, be it technology or any other resource so that they are successful. Thus, when we moved a couple of weeks ago away from the physical office there in Lexington, to become more work from home model that we put in place, which was for everyone. No matter where they located, we had the technology, we had the team, the talent everyone understands the expectations, and we just empowered people to be able to fulfill that role. So I think having that all of those pieces is very, very important again. I'm very fortunate to have the team that we do. I trust folks. I'm very appreciative when I hear, hear our members acknowledged to us the service that they're getting, and I would like to acknowledge that at this time, almost every day I'm receiving some type of email from a member that is acknowledging the level of service that they're getting during this difficult time. They know that our people are working remotely, and yet there has been no diminishing of service or support. Be a problem. Professional development, value point research, innovation, finance reimbursements, administrative member service is whatever it is. Our members are acknowledging certain people and then at the same time, they say they recognize that there are people behind them that are supporting the team. So we're very fortunate to have a very strong team in terms of breadth and depth, to perform the work even remotely. Providing them the resource is that technology they need to perform their job and our team is stepping up doing that. And it is very well-acknowledged and received by our members. I don't have any other secret to share Kevin. Other than being very fortunate to have that talent and resource. Any organization would be fortunate to have it and I'm very thankful to the board that they support us in this regard to allow us to be able to recruit and to provide our people with the resources they need to be successful,

Kevin Minor:   19:52
Right well in, you know, the work from Home Initiative my personal experience, it has taken some getting used to and some adapting. But we're all adapting right now again. Another one of our buzzwords for the week is adaptability. This question is for both of you guys, where should members and procurement officials go to find resources? Is that NASPO is offering. And what kind of resource is are we offering right now?

Jennifer Salts:   20:17
So on the homepage, we've got public-facing information. We also have additional information that is just uniquely there for our members behind their login on the NASPO network of some of the information that they have access to is, um, it's a table that shows our state members emergency codes, uh, governor declarations that have come out I'm another state-specific procurement language. You know that gives more information on how to handle emergency procurement at this time. We also have some links to the information that's being provided by our strategic partners such as the National Governors Association, FEMA, GSA. This changes daily and in fact, our you know, we're collecting more information and just, you know, betting that and then posting that for our members. We've got links to the blog, your podcasts when they come up, we will make sure they get a link to that. Um and just, you know, just as much information as we can provide our members. We want to get that out there. Um and then also we have on the NASPO ValuePoint side on their website. We have some supplier resources is that are changing, you know, hourly. It's giving information on personal protective equipment of any of the supplies that they might need for, um, you know, response efforts. And all that is is by supplier. So where we're trying to get that information out there and available to the States through the NASPO ValuePoint side, that's specific to suppliers and contracts.

Lindle Hatton:   22:18
I would also note Kevin on the website that Jen was referring to. If members specifically, if national members are unable to access some of the community, are the national network in the resource is they can always just email at membership. [email protected] or their questions and concerns, and someone will respond. I also want to pay tribute to both Olivia Hook Frey and Jen Salts. They have been most responsive when people have reached out to them. If they are not the primary source to answer the question, they have always been very beneficial, are very supportive and identifying the right person to address and provide that service. So we have a number of folks and resources available. Should anyone have a question our folks stand ready to provide that. And I'm I'm just so appreciative for the level of service they do provide.

Jennifer Salts:   23:25
Yeah, And Kevin, I just need to give a shout out to our team on. We have all rallied behind our members of this time. We have staff who typically, you know, provide conference and events service that have now been redirected. And they're providing member service. Is there assisting in vetting suppliers. You know, when they come up that maybe, uh, a state has never done business before with and, you know, they're following check shoots, and they're providing information so that states can then make their own determinations as to whether or not, you know, a supplier might be responsible. But, I mean, this is all hands on deck Right now, I've never seen anything like it. And I'm just again so proud of the way that our staff have responded and have been supportive to our members. It's been great.

Lindle Hatton:   24:15
I agree. I think this challenge with the crisis is also presenting an opportunity for us. You've addressed several key things today. Adaptability, unity. All of those are very, very informative for us. It allows us to improve ourselves, raise the bar of what we do and demonstrate the value of our organization, what we do for our members and how our members are responding. Uh, I want to applaud both not only our members, but also our staff. Uh, this crisis is demonstrating the real value of our team. And the way our members had pulled together way will live through this. We will survive. I'm, just part of my messages. I'd live for expressing the gratitude and not so much the the the panic here. Um, I think that it's reflective of our times that we as, uh, mankind we can step up and do great things for one another. It allows the positive in the goodness of people to come out and that's probably the greatest take away during this challenge is for us to demonstrate our love and appreciation for one another. Every human life matters. And it's an opportunity for us to demonstrate our love and appreciation for one another. I think,

Kevin Minor:   25:55
you know, absolutely. I was gonna ask you to if you had any last words for our membership in our listeners, but I think that was, uh That was pretty good. So I think I'll just leave it at that.

Lindle Hatton:   26:07
You bet. Thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity to participate with you today.

Kevin Minor:   26:12
Yes, Lindle and Jen, it has been a pleasure. And I'm sure that I will be speaking with both of you sooner than later. So

Jennifer Salts:   26:20
Thank you, Kevin.

Kevin Minor:   26:21
for us to demonstrate love and appreciation for one another was the NASPO CEO Lindle Hatton and NASPO CAO Jennifer Salts giving us perspective not only into our association but into our humanity as well. Deep. I know. I really hope you enjoyed this. The first Nass Bo pulse where we're always monitoring the issues and state procurement. Next time on the pulse, I'll be speaking with Jamie Shore, Chief Procurement Officer for the state of Maine about her role in NASPO, what she sees on the horizon for procurement and whose idea it was to do a podcast in the first place. Spoiler alert! It wasn't me. Or was it? You have to tune in next time to find out. Email me [email protected] I want to hear from you guys. Send me voice memos. I'll listen to them. A question, a suggestion for a topic or someone we should interview. Happy to listen. That's how this will work the best. Look for the pulse on Apple podcast, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts and make sure that you subscribe so you can get all of the freshest episodes. Head over to the and check out our blog as well, there's a lot of really great and interesting articles for you to read in the meantime when we come out with more pod, that's it for us today. I'm your host, Kevin Minor. Stay safe out there. Wash your hands and we'll see you next time.