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Industry Leaders Awarded for Innovation

Steelcase, the State of Delaware, and Tara Barbieri from CDW-G, were all recently awarded the National Joint Powers Alliance's (NJPA) highest honors for their extraordinary leadership and business innovation. The awards were presented at the 9 th Annual H20 Vendor Gathering at Madden's on Gull Lake in Brainerd, Minn.

NJPA Legacy Award

Steelcase's journey to the NJPA Legacy Award was led by extraordinary professionals known for their visionary business instincts. For over 100 years, Steelcase has had a company-wide culture with an aggressive approach to business innovation. They embraced the commitment to change and expand the way government and education do business with the furniture industry. The NJPA Legacy Award recognizes an NJPA awarded vendor demonstrating commitment, innovation, and persistence. This award honors actions resulting in efficient selling and purchasing to NJPA members.

Steelcase provided its 800+ national dealer network with a viable contracting tool, validated within the strict guidelines of municipal contracting of government and education. Steelcase and NJPA formed a unified message, demonstrating we are better together. “Steelcase is a pioneer of business innovation, driven by their keen instincts, visionary leadership, and exceptional dealer network,” stated Mike Hajek, NJPA Director of Business Development.

NJPA Gold Star of Innovation Award

The State of Delaware is a state small in land mass, but huge in leadership and business innovation. The State of Delaware's Government Support Services (GSS) is led by individuals with a forward-thinking mindset and innovative business instincts. They were awarded the 2016 NJPA Gold Star of Innovation Award because of their innovative contracting and procurement strategies. This award recognizes the level of leadership required to develop and embrace new business concepts while striving for maximum efficiency.

As early adopters of cooperative purchasing, the State of Delaware embraced the value and unique approach to business within the guidelines of state contract procurement. Their first step was to evaluate the possibilities and value of cooperating with other state governments. Although the concept of national cooperative purchasing went against the previously utilized state purchasing strategies, Delaware's visionary leadership knew things could be done better.

The State of Delaware GSS leadership embraced the opportunity and responsibility to be viewed as a national business model and reference. They lead by example through innovative contracting strategies for state-level governments. Mike Hajek, NJPA Director of Business Development said, “This award exemplifies the concept that governments truly are better when they work together for the common good of all.”

NJPA Innovative Leadership Award

The NJPA Innovative Leadership Award recognizes an awarded vendor representative demonstrating commitment, innovation, persistence, and achievement that align with NJPA's vision to create solutions for members. This year, Tara Barbieri, CDW-G Director of Program Sales received the honor. This recognition highlights the leadership and innovation required to forge unchartered business concepts. Tara offers persistence to successfully lead internal sales, management, and independent dealer networks to creatively and effectively embrace and leverage the NJPA cooperative way of business. “Tara's leadership, passion, and commitment, all serve as the pathway to her continued success," said Mike Hajek, NJPA Director of Business Development.

In 2000, Tara was a part of a company called Micro Warehouse, and was consumed in the day-to-day operations of responding to hundreds of IFBs and RFPs across the country for technology equipment and services. The standard, traditional, proven way of contract business was accomplished by responding directly to solicitations and holding state and local contracts. NJPA invited CDW-G to respond to a national technology equipment IFB solicited by NJPA. The result would be a contract held by CDW-G corporate and then leveraged by their entire sales and field teams to sell and serve the needs of all government and education agency technology needs across the country.

Through unparalleled persistence, Tara forged a path that allows and invites many others to follow. Because of the success of CDW-G, current and future NJPA awarded vendors will have a thread of the passion and innovation of Tara Barbieri.

About NJPA

Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance) is a self-supporting government organization, partnering with education, government, and nonprofits to boost student and community success. Created in 1978 as one of Minnesota's nine service cooperatives, we offer training and shared services to our central-Minnesota members. Throughout North America, we offer a cooperative purchasing program with over 200 awarded vendors on contract. Sourcewell is driven by service and the ability to strategically reinvest in member communities.