She’s a shrewd negotiator with an eye for detail — a purchasing agent who takes seriously her charge to safeguard precious education funds, and not only as a Senior Buyer for Canyons School District.
For her leadership role in the Utah Cooperative for Acquiring Resources Efficiently (UCARE) — a purchasing cooperative of 16 school districts — CSD’s Nancy Webb was named Utah Buyer of the Year. The March 14 announcement by the Utah Chapter of the NIGP, or Institute for Public Procurement, coincides with Purchasing Month, which runs through March.
UCARE was created to give smaller school districts greater bargaining power with food (school lunch) suppliers, and Webb was tasked three years ago with overseeing it. She examined the contract — valued at about $22 million — to make sure it was current with state and federal law, and based on feedback from member districts who, at the time, were dissatisfied, recommended that it be re-bid.
“Nancy Webb is one of the most detailed and passionate purchasing managers that I have ever dealt with. [She] is truly always looking for the best interest of UCARE [while] keeping the overall goal of everyone involved in the co-op at the forefront and making very tough decisions that are not always the most popular at the time,” says Cosme Padilla Jr., Vice President of Sales for Sysco Intermountain, Inc. “I have to say that she has pushed us to be a better organization by demanding what is in the best interest of UCARE.”
Colleagues describe Webb as a generous mentor whose door is always open. She’s committed to fairness and upholding ethical standards, which is why she is entrusted with some of Canyons District’s more complex purchases: employee health benefits, financial advisory services and a merchant account service for secondary schools. “Her negotiating skills have saved taxpayers thousands of dollars,” says Canyons CFO Leon Wilcox.
As word of UCARE's success has spread, two new school districts have joined the cooperative, which has proved to be a valuable resource for smaller, rural districts that don't have dedicated purchasing agents on staff. UCARE is being expanded expanded this year to handle bids for small kitchen equipment, and there's talk of also adding uniforms and cleaning supplies.