Most Recent Guest

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Don Buffum is currently the Associate Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer for Mississippi State University. His department manages the procurement of goods and services for all academic, administrative and research units for the university.


Don’s significant experience in public procurement includes serving as Director of Procurement and Travel for the State of Mississippi, as well as leadership roles for the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO), NIGP: The Institute for Public Procurement, and the Mississippi Association of Purchasing and Property Agents (MAGPPA). 


He has served as chair of the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) and is the former Chair of the NIGP Certification Commission. Don is a recipient of the Albert H. Hall Memorial Award, NIGP’s highest honor, and holds the designations of Certified Public Procurement Officer (CPPO) and Certified Procurement Professional (NIGP-CPP).


Previous Guests


Dr. Jane Lynch, Cardiff University


Jane Lynch is a Senior Lecturer in Procurement for the Logistics and Operations Management section at Cardiff Business School in the UK. Aside from her academic research, Jane is committed to the success of her students. She has experience in personal tutoring and student experience, previously holding roles such as Senior Personal Tutor and Director of Student Experience for the Business School. 

Jane also serves in a leadership role of the International Research Study on Public Procurement (IRSPP), a distinguished group of academics and practitioners that meet every other year to present best practices in procurement, innovation, and collaboration.

Her other roles include serving as co-chair of the Joint Bidding Steering Group for the Welsh Government and branch chair for the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), South Wales.



Russell Chung, CPO - UC Berkeley


Russell Chung serves as the chief procurement officer for the University of California-Berkeley. Prior to joining the UC team in 2018, he held top procurement positions for City University of New York and The Ohio State University.


Russell also has extensive experience in the private sector. His global sourcing experience includes stints with General Motors, Kohler and Delphi.


An alumnus of UCLA, Russell also completed the Executive Leadership Program at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. He is also certified as Six Sigma Green Belt.


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Steve Gordon, Phd, FNIGP, CPPO


Steve Gordon has spent a lifetime contributing to causes he cares about including public procurement and contract management. He is a past president of NIGP: The Institute for Public Procurement, leading the organization through tremendous growth in both reputation and financial position.


Steve served as the chief procurement officer for the City of Alexandria, VA and also for Nashville-Davidson County, TN. He is the author of several books and articles on public procurement and is recognized throughout the world for his industry experience and expertise. 


In addition to his professional experience, Steve has served as professor and program chair for the Procurement and Contract Management certificate program at Old Dominion University, and also for the University of Virginia, School of Continuing and Professional Studies.


With a rare combination of experience as both a practitioner and an academic, Dr. Gordon continues to share his insights with various organizations through speaking and volunteering.



Jennifer Alford, CPPO


Jennifer Alford is the Procurement Manager for the City of Stockton, CA. Prior to joining the purchasing team in Stockton, Jennifer served in procurement roles with Sierra College, Los Rios Community College, and the Paulding County Board of Commissioners.

She holds a B.A. in psychology from The University of California, Santa Barbara, and has an M.A. in professional counceling.



David Yarkin


David is the the founder and CEO of Procurated - a supplier review site working on creating a deeper level of shared knowledge and understanding of the supplier landscape for procurement officials. David also led on procurement transformation while serving as CPO with the State of Pennsylvania.

In their conversation, David and Darin will discuss his vision for Procurated, the experiences with suppliers and supplier performance that led him to it's creation, and the role he hopes it will serve in helping procurement professionals across the country. They also discuss David's background and what led him to procurement, and the future he sees for the industry.



Lourdes Coss, CPPO, MPA 

Lourdes Coss is the author of “Procurement Methods: Effective Techniques;” a certified John Maxwell Team Coach, Speaker, Teacher, and Trainer. She's also certified to train and consult on D.I.S.C. Personality Assessment Tool and serves as a faculty member for NIGP: The Institute for Public Procurement.


Lourdes is an accomplished procurement professional with 30 years of experience, 17 of which were leading procurement transformations in large organizations. Lourdes held executive level procurement positions at City of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, Public Building Commission of Chicago, Cook County, and City of Houston; and is now working with Canon Solutions America as a subject matter expert for the government sector. 


Her achievements include: national awards for operational excellence, procurement cost savings, 2016 Spirit of NIGP Award, and 2018 NIGP Integrity Award. Lourdes also held positions on various Boards, including NIGP. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico and received her MPA from Florida State University.



Keith Ashby, CPPO 

Since 2003, Keith has served as purchasing manager for Arapahoe County, Colorado. He has also held high-level purchasing positions for the City of Fort Collins and Denver Public Schools. 


He is active in the Rocky Mountain Governmental Purchasing Association (RMGPA) and has served on the Board of Directors for NIGP: The Institute for Public Procurement. Keith is also an instructor for NIGP, sharing his knowledge and experience in public procurement throughout the country.  


Keith earned a degree in Music Education from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also holds the designation of Certified Public Procurement Officer (CPPO) from the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council.  


Our first podcast of 2021 will include a discussion with Keith on the following topics: 

  • His past music career as drummer for Earth, Wind and Fire 

  • How and why he ended up in public procurement 

  • Current procurement trends he is seeing in the Rocky Mountains and beyond 

  • Skills and attributes he looks for in new buyers 

  • What future challenges may be awaiting the profession 


Dr. Cliff McCue

Dr. Cliff McCue is an Associate Professor, School of Public Administration,
College of Architecture, Urban, and Public Affairs, Florida Atlantic University,
Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Dr. McCue has published extensively in the top journals in public
administration, purchasing, and public management, examining such critical
issues as organizational effectiveness, productivity, decision-making,
behavior, and public policy.

He is the author of Local Government Budgeting: A Managerial Approach,
Immigration and Its Impact on American Cities, and Fundamentals of
Leadership and Management in Public Procurement. Cliff is active in many
professional organizations including NIGP, UPPCC, and IRSPP.


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