Job Feature: Buyer

Tiffany A. - Buyer

Q: What skills or abilities are essential to being successful in your job?

TA: As a Buyer, I work with every City department, which provides insight on how the City functions as a whole. In addition, I also work with vendors and community organizations. There is never a dull moment when there are new challenges to face each day; from where to source bugs for Como Zoo, to how to create a fair and transparent vendor-selection process in solicitation of request for proposals. The demand of working on a large variety of projects for all my customers requires that I am flexible, organized, and detail-oriented. It is also important to know how to prioritize both my time and tasks, communicate, and be pro-active. In a Public Procurement environment, having a strong ethical foundation, helps guide me toward making the right choices.

Q: Why did this type of work interest you, and how did you get started?

TA: I never intended to be a Buyer; I was working in the County Commissioner’s office and pursuing a degree in Elementary Education when presented with the opportunity to work in a Procurement Division. I quickly discovered how incredible the role can be. Procurement is filled with ever changing dynamics of: commodity markets, supplier relationships, public policy, contract compliance, sustainability initiatives, and equity goals. This constant evolution invites innovative strategies to solve problems and develop process improvements that can result in positive impacts within the community. Not only does this variety consistently provide me new areas of interest and opportunity, it allows me to be continually engaged and advance in my profession.

Q: What tools or resources does the City provide to be productive and effective in this role?

TA: My leadership team has been incredible in offering support and opportunities for growth within the Purchasing Team. As part of that team, I received the training and education that helps me complete my work strategically. My continued membership in the National Institute for Public Procurement (NIGP) has provided a beneficial resource not just for professional growth, but the ability to benchmark practices, and gain a better understanding of the markets. The recent opportunity to be involved in the “What Works Cities” project has allowed the team to shift the focus to strategic proactive vs. reactive roles to provide exceptional service to our customers.