procurement specialist, negotiates prices and purchases mailing equipment,
furniture, paint, light bulbs, and even window shades for the university.
Procurement Specialist is Wesleyan's Top Negotiator
|Q: When were
you hired in Financial Services as a procurement specialist?
A: I started working at Wesleyan in January 2005.
Q: Please explain what a procurement specialist means.
A: I am responsible for negotiating and developing contracts with
vendors. Some of my purchasing duties include processing purchase orders for
furniture, lease copiers, cell phones. I also meet with Wesleyan colleagues
to determine their purchasing requirements and then I meet with vendors to
ensure that they are reliable and can support the university with quality,
service and best price.
Q: What do you purchase for the university?
A: Pretty much anything a university employee needs my assistance
with! When I first started here, one of my first objectives was to negotiate
the office supplies contract. We are very pleased with the results and the
huge savings. Other purchases include the centralization and implementation
for new Pitney Bowes mailing equipment, furniture, paint, light bulbs,
window shades and much more. In addition, I search for new vendors and find
creative opportunities on how to save money for the university.
Q: How much money are we talking about?
A: For example, Lisa Davis and I worked as a team and convinced four
other departments to centralize all outgoing mail and eliminate the leases
for additional meters. Cost savings for the university resulted $60,000 for
a five year contract. Mike Conte and I have finalized the elevator
agreement. I am currently assisting Peter Staye in negations for the water
treatment and oil proposals.
Q: You have 18 years experience in customer service and purchasing.
Can you elaborate on your past careers?
A: Although I worked at Superior Electric for 11 years, I believe my
career started when I worked for Heublein. I was the international customer
service leader selling Smirnoff and other spirits all over the world! I
truly believe in customer service. I feel that we need to service our
internal and external customers the best and fastest way we can! I gained
vast experience on international laws, shipping, exporting goods, and had
fun selling some of our best wines to the Army!
Q: How did you come to Wesleyan?
A: My career changed due to Heublein’s downsizing. After taking a
year off, I completed my associate’s degree and within a month, I was hired
at Associated Spring/Barnes Group as a purchasing assistant. My love to
negotiate started to flourish when I started to deal with vendors. My path
brought me to Wesleyan where I strongly believe that working together as a
team we can achieve huge savings for the university and continue to
implement purchasing procedures and processes to make it easier for our
internal customers and departments.
Q: Was it a straightforward or challenging transition from the
A: I always wanted to work for an educational institution where one
can excel and bring new ideas. My experience so far has been rewarding and a
little challenging at times. I like challenges because I feel it is a great
opportunity to learn and try new things.
Q: Can you fill me in on any new initiatives or projects?
A: We have successfully launched the office supplies project where 95
percent of our employees go to our Web site and place their orders on line.
That is a huge time savings!
Q: How do these purchasing skills carry over into your personal life?
A: I do watch prices either at grocery stores or when I purchase
items for the house. I do the negotiating. Negotiating for me comes natural.
Q: What is your educational background?
A: I obtained an associate’s degree in business management from
Tunxis Community College and a bachelor’s of science degree from Saint
Q: What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
A: I love to walk and listen to Greek music. I have a couple of
friends that I go walking with almost every morning at 4:45 a.m. and at
night. Also, I like to read a lot. My favorites are mystery and murder
Q: Are you involved in any volunteering activities?
A: I volunteer a lot of my time to my church. I teach the Greek
Language to children and adults at my church. The class began with only five
children and two adults three years ago and now we have over 30 children and
seven adults. I’ve also been president of the Philoptochos Society for 15
years. Philoptochos means “Friend of the Poor.” This women’s organization is
the right hand of the Greek Orthodox Church. I also have been one of the
Friendly Visitors at the local convalescent homes visiting the elderly once
Q: Would you like to tell me about your family?
A: My husband, Tony, and I have been married for 35 years and live in
Bristol. We have two children, George and Angela and a dog named Liza. Our
son and his wife, Renee, also live in Bristol. Angela lives in our apartment
upstairs. We feel blessed that our family lives so close because all our
extended relatives are back in Athens, Greece.
Q: Greece. So that would explain your accent.
A: Yes. My coworkers tell me that I have a cute Greek accent. My
voice is easily recognized.
Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection