Airport's procurement team earns highest honor in North America

(March 2, 2017) Airport CEO Joe Lopano came to Tampa International Airport in 2011 and laid out a simple objective for the procurement team: “Build the best procurement department in the universe,” Lopano said. Pareto picture

They took that challenge literally.

Over the past several years, the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority’s procurement team, led by Director Ed Haines, has racked up one procurement award after another, establishing itself among the best in class.

Now it's logged its biggest victory to date.

On Jan. 16, the procurement team earned the prestigious Pareto Award from the National Institute for Government Purchasing – the highest procurement award in North America.

Tampa International Airport’s team is one of only three public procurement agencies in North America to currently hold the coveted award, and are the only airport. Since the award was created in 2003, only nine agencies have achieved the recognition.

“The Pareto Award is a testament to the tremendous team we have in procurement here at Tampa International Airport,” said Haines. “I am so lucky to be part of an amazing group that greets every challenge with enthusiasm and conviction.”

The Pareto Award is based on a rigorous, three-step process of self-assessment, documentation review and third-party evaluation. The team spent more than a year working on the application.

After clearing the self-assessment and document review hurdles, evaluators came out to assess the Airport. The team interviewed dozens of 25 people, including procurement staff, executives, staff who order materials and 10 suppliers.

The evaluators liked what they saw.

“I am extremely impressed by how an organization could transform from a decentralized operation to a centralized operation and far exceed the Pareto requirements in less than five years,” said one member of the peer review committee.

“The entire Procurement Team should be proud of the relationships you have built that enables you to be an integral part of each department’s day-to-day operations,” said another.

The Airport’s procurement department has become one of the best in the country while simultaneously tackling some of the biggest procurements in Airport history. In the past two years, the TPA team has managed nearly $1 billion in contracts for expansion projects and another $500 million in contracts for concessions, on top of day-to-day procurement activities.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the team,” said Damian Brooke, VP of Finance and Procurement. “Our Procurement department has fully bought into our shared vision of making this department and its staff the model for all public procurement organizations nationwide; this award recognizes their commitment to excellence.” 

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