The 69th annual NIGP: The Institute for Public Procurement (NIGP) Forum will be held at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in Philadelphia, Pa., Aug. 23-27. This is the organization’s showcase educational event: it is the largest conference of its kind. The Forum provides a once-a-year opportunity to network with others in the public procurement community and speak to vendors with a particular interest in this area. The NIGP Forum is exclusive to the public procurement profession, so all parts of the conference from educational sessions to vendor presentations will relate specifically to the needs of public procurement professionals.

Those attending the event will have the opportunity to visit with and speak to more than 200 suppliers during the Product Exposition, as well as gain hands-on experience with the latest products and services available to government entities. There is even an opportunity to attend a Phillies baseball game.

More than 60 workshops and formal networking events will be offered over the course of the conference on topics of special interest to those in public procurement. These range from managing P-cards to work force management to the changing role of social media. Several NIGP courses will also be available, all of which will earn participants points toward UPPCC certification or recertification.

Six keynote speakers are scheduled to speak on a variety of topics. The speakers are equally varied in their backgrounds.

Dan Thurmon is the opening speaker, with a talk entitled “Perform-ability: How to Be Your Best when it Matters Most.” He is the author of a two books and a regular on the speaker circuit. His company, Motivation Works, helps organizations and individuals implement action plans and move through transitions. In the keynote address on Sunday morning, he will discuss why some individuals fail under pressure, while others are able to rise to the occasion in critical moments.

On Monday morning, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell will speak on the topic “Can America Stay on Top? The Challenge to American Competitiveness.” Gov. Rendell serves on the boards of several green and alternative energy firms, and has remained involved in the campaign for government efficiency and strategic cost-cutting. He served as governor of Pennsylvania from 2003 to 2011, and before that was the mayor of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2000. In that role, he eliminated a crippling deficit and presided over five consecutive budget surpluses.

Three speakers will present short presentations on Wednesday morning, each of which will be followed by deep-dive sessions.

Frank Bucaro is an ethics expert and an advocate of ethics in the workplace. He views ethical practices as tools that contribute to success, rather than impeding it. His talk, “Taking the High Road: How to Succeed Ethically when Others Bend the Rules,” will discuss fostering a workplace environment in which ethical behavior is valued and considered the norm. His program features easy definitions of ethics and guidelines for tackling difficult decisions, along with practical examples and humor.

Jeff Havens began his career as a high school English teacher, before becoming a stand-up comedian. From there, he combined his passions for teaching and humor, and began speaking on personal and professional growth. His talk “Uncrapify Your Life!” will consider how small changes in communication strategies can strengthen relationships, increase loyalty, and create a culture of teamwork and respect.

Andrea Mitnick is an associate professor at Kutztown University, and a former professor at Penn State University, where she won the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award in 1995. Her session, “Hey Dude! Understanding Generational Differences in the Workplace,” will focus on the forces that have shaped the four generations represented in almost any work force: Matures born before 1946, Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964, Generation X born from 1965 to 1980, and Millennials, born between 1981 and 1999.

The closing speaker on Wednesday is Connie Podesta (photo at right), with a talk titled, “Life Would be Easy if It Weren’t for Other People – The Power of Relationships and Communication.” She has written seven books and spoken to over 2 million people at more than 1,000 organizations in her career as a motivational business speaker. Her session will help the audience understand the personalities and motivations of the people they interact with every day, from bosses to colleagues to family members. With information they gather in the presentation, attendees will learn how to deal with any situation that may arise.

Go here for more information on the 2014 NIGP Forum.

In this video, NIGP CEO Rick Grimm discusses the value of attending NIGP's 2014 Forum in Philadelphia.

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