Team effort helps Pacific staff to national procurement honor

From left to right: Lisa Aduna-Haas, Ronda Marr, Isaura Marca, Danny Castillon, Norine Holguin and Fidelma O’Neill.

From left to right: Lisa Aduna-Haas, Ronda Marr, Isaura Marca, Danny Castillon, Norine Holguin and Fidelma O’Neill. Not pictured: Desiree Maldonado.  

Ronda Marr, as director of Procurement Service at University of the Pacific, has purchased everything from pens and pencils to police cars­–even research cadavers.

Marr and her six colleagues in the department were recognized nationally for their efforts with an Award of Excellence in Procurement for medium-sized universities. The honor was presented in March at the National Association for Educational Procurement conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

“Yes, we sometimes have to buy insects, scientific equipment and other unusual things, but it’s mostly about making sure faculty and staff have what they need,” Marr said. “I am so proud of the entire team. We work so well together.”

What is procurement?

“Procurement is the function of buying goods and services for the university,” Marr explained. “We help departments and schools with all their needs, whether it is sending something out to bid, navigating purchase orders or simply getting people what they need to do their jobs.”

Pacific received the award for how well the university restructured the workflow for dealing with contracts.

“We tackled it—and it was a big job—and made the process very streamlined,” Marr said. “We have presented on our new contract efforts at conferences and received positive feedback.”

Chief Financial Officer James Walsh said the procurement process at Pacific is “better than any place I have ever worked.” Walsh formerly worked at prestigious Tufts University, Brandeis University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“At many places, it’s the wild, wild west when it comes to handling purchases,” Walsh said. “But not at Pacific. Ronda manages with efficiency, as does the rest of her team. It is amazing to watch them in action.”

President Christopher Callahan stresses the importance of excellence and consistency in the university’s business operations.

“The procurement staff is a perfect example of the many unsung heroes who impact the university positively every day,” Callahan said. “Their work is crucial because it helps us keep students’ tuition affordable. The combination of efficiency and excellence led to this much-deserved honor.”

Other members of the department are Desiree Maldonado, assistant director; Isaura Marca, contracts manager; Norine Holguin, procurement analyst; Danny Castillon, senior buyer; Fidelma O’Neill, buyer; and Lisa Aduna-Haas, procurement services specialist.

“The piece I did for this award was to hold down the fort and manage daily operations to free up the time for my colleagues to work on contracts,” said Maldonado, who has been at Pacific for 15 years. “Our team is awesome. We lean on each other and always keep in mind that we are working to help everyone at the university. This award brings a sense of accomplishment for our years of hard work.”

Pacific also honored with Transact award

Pacific received a Distinction Award for Student Experience from Transact Campus, Inc., a leader in innovative campus technology and payment solutions. The honor was presented at a conference in Las Vegas.

Matt Camino, director of eCommerce, and Todd Sparrow, associate director of eCommerce, received the award for developing a payment portal product called Transact Payment Virtual Terminal.

The virtual terminal has been implemented at Pacific and is in “further deployment mode,” Camino said. “We worked on the product from the beta stage through to the finish. It was a rewarding effort.”

The awards go to institutions that demonstrate an exceptional commitment to enhancing the campus experience through innovative technology.

Other recipients were The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Utah State University and Virginia Tech.