A Day in the Life: Louise Terry

This week, NASPO’s own ProcurementU is providing another professional development opportunity by hosting  the State Training Training Coordinators Conference (STCC) in Madison, Wisconsin! The goal of STCC is to facilitate the sharing of materials and best practices between state trainers. During the three day conference, ProcurementU has an agenda full of opportunities to learn how to best leverage the training and education provided at the conference to advance state government in participants’ home states. Networking sessions, interactive general sessions, a keynote speaker, an emphasis on collaborative learning efforts and the sharing of resources are just a few things participants will engage in! To highlight the great work state training coordinators across the country do this week Pulse is highlighting the state training coordinator from Oklahoma and an active NASPO member, Louise Terry. 


 width=Louise Terry is the State Procurement Training coordinator for Human Capital Management/Central Purchasing, a division of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. Her primary duties focus on the coordination of the certification program, providing Certified Procurement Officer training which supplies the state with statutorily required CPOs.  She also coordinates continuing education units to provide the state with exceptionally trained employees with the fiduciary responsibilities to work with taxpayer’s monies throughout Oklahoma. She serves on numerous committees with NASPO, bringing back progressive training topics and methods to Oklahoma. Louise is a born and raised, lifetime Okie and loves serving the people in the Sooner state. She has a master’s degree in Education and taught Vocational Education for 31 years. Currently, Louise holds an Oklahoma teaching license. She raised two daughters, one is a schoolteacher and one is a licensed professional counselor.  Her pride and joy are her two grandsons.

NASPO STAFF: Louise, as a State Training Coordinator, otherwise known as Chief Learning Officer, a large part of your job consists of keeping Oklahoma state procurement staff up to date on regulations, policies, and resources for best practices. What is your favorite part of your job? Tell us a little bit about how your training is set up; are your trainings agency-specific, or do you offer them to user agencies?

Louise: It’s hard for me to focus on one part of the job that I love specifically! I would say that meeting subject matter experts in state procurement practices and striving to deliver consistent and exceptional customer service is something I enjoy greatly.

Our training is set up to provide education in procurement to almost 200 state government agencies, municipalities, vocational career technology schools and institutions of higher education.

In 1998, the Oklahoma State Legislature recognized the importance and complexity of the public procurement process by revising the Central Purchasing Act to require training and proficiency certification of state government employees with purchasing responsibilities. OMES Central Purchasing has developed a course of instruction and subsequent examination for the designation as Certified Procurement Officer (CPO). Upon achieving this certification, a CPO is eligible to procure products and services for their agency. State agencies with approved internal purchasing procedures and a CPO may affect purchases not exceeding $50,000.00.

Designed to provide foundational understanding of procurement and acquisition processes, and the hierarchy of legislation and procurement rules in state procurement.  We offer a free, self-paced program that will allow 6 months to complete from the time of enrollment. Whereas this education used to be offered only twice a year with an instructor-led class spanning four days with the fifth being a final assessment. When I was hired in 2015 for the coordinator position, we changed it, offering the training six times per year and open to enrollment from any persons wanting to better themselves in their careers or in the service field of state government.

As of September 16, 2019, we have implemented a new learning management system called TALEO Learn and are very excited to announce that we just launched it.  It is an open-entry, open-exit enrollment for the certification to becoming a CPO for the State of Oklahoma. We are really excited to the opportunities this will bring to our state.

NASPO STAFF: In a modernizing government, online trainings are reaching professionals quick and help keep them up to date. However, coming into a classroom with the mindset to learn and having an instructor physically present to ask questions and for clarification is timeless learning. What’s your preference: online trainings or in person?

Louise: Both, I believe online and classroom training to be situationally beneficial.

For a CPO to maintain their certification we provide monthly webinars, where we can track their attendance and participation with current and educational content. This helps to provide exceptionally well training employees in Oklahoma. As I mentioned, the system we currently use for broadcasting webinars has the ability for participants to follow along and interact with the speaker by means of chat and live polls. These interactive features add an element of the training being instructor-led.

I retired from vocational education after 31 years of teaching. Through the capabilities of TALEO LEARN, I can teach online in a way that participants can retain the material and apply their knowledge in practical application.  I believe an effective educator can deliver fantastic training through this medium, if they have the skill set.

NASPO STAFF: If I were a fly on the wall in your office in Oklahoma City, what would I hear and see every day? Walk me through a day in the life as the State Training Coordinator/Chief Learning Officer in the Office of Management and Enterprise Services.

Louise: Books on the shelf include: Seeing Excellence: Learning from Great Procurement Teams by Richard Pennington, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when Stakes are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switler, State and Local Government Procurement: A Practical Guide, Speed of Trust by Steven Covey and One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey by Kenneth Blanchard. Our office here is divided into cubicle spaces and what you will hear each day is consistent excellence in customer service (my neighbors regularly comment on that) and an example of servant leadership, my favorite leadership style.

NASPO STAFF: Furthering excellence and professionalism within public procurement is at the heart of NASPO’s mission as an organization. NASPO is a founding partner of the UPPCC and has been actively promoting the CPPB and CPPO certification for state government procurement professionals for many years. Promoting Training and certification for a world-class procurement profession is in NASPO’s Top 10 Priorities for 2019. Does your agency offer a state-specific certification program? If so, can you tell us about it and why it is so useful for your agency? If your agency doesn’t, could you tell us about your ideal program? What would it include and why?

Louise: Our state does provide Statutory Title 74. State Government: The Oklahoma Central Purchasing Act. Dollar threshold is set by State Purchasing Director. In 2015, our state found itself with a shortage of CPOs and that is when we changed the offerings of the certification class from certifying 50 CPOs annually, increasing to 300 annually.  With it now being continually offered, it will be a great service to the State of Oklahoma, again producing an exceptionally trained work staff for our state.

NASPO STAFF: Name one accomplishment you are most proud of since you became the State Training Coordinator.

Louise: The accomplishment I’m most proud of goes together with my favorite part of my job. Taking CPO training to an online format has allowed us to go from certifying only 50 CPO’s per year, to now approximately 300; resulting in no state shortages in this line of work. Also providing quality training monthly to help CPOs keep their certification current by earning 24 CEUs (continuing educational units) in 24 months once certified. I am also proud of being featured in the magazine, Government Procurement in Feb/March of 2018. It shares how we accomplish our trainings and certifications for free and participants don’t have to leave their desk to travel; reaching the entire span of Oklahoma, all 68,679 square miles and 77 counties.

Another proud moment was developing the application and receiving honorable mention for the 2017 NASPO George Cronin Awards for Procurement Excellence titled, “Oklahoma Procurement Training.”

NASPO STAFF: Any words of wisdom, things you’d like to share with our Procurement Pulse blog community and procurement professionals around the country?

Louise: I don’t paid by the hour.  I get paid for the value I bring to the hour. I always strive to bring value to everything I put my hand and name to.  I also, am not impressed by a person’s position, title, and money.  I am impressed by how they treat others.  People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. One final tidbit of wisdom, when you stop trying to get what you want, and help others to get what they want, then you get what you want.

NASPO STAFF: What is on your whiteboard right now?

Louise: I keep a month at glance on a huge calendar, and there are days, most of them, that have no space to write anything more on it.

NASPO STAFF: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Louise: I have two grandsons who keep me on my toes! We have a full schedule of educational and sporting activities throughout the week that I support them with. I enjoy cooking a great deal as much of my teaching life was spent in culinary arts. Now, I get to pass on that wisdom to the children in the form of hot, cooked breakfasts before school!

NASPO STAFF: If you didn’t work in public procurement, what would you do?

Louise: I believe that teaching is in someone’s blood. It’s what motivates me in life, so I’m sure if I was not in public procurement you would find me in a classroom of sorts, inspiring mind and helping them achieve their goals.

NASPO STAFF: If there was a movie made about your life, who would you cast to play you?

Louise: Mary Louise “Meryl” Streep! Ms. Streep is known for playing versatile roles, and I believe in State Government (and having two young grandsons) you need to stay versatile. Not to mention she is the greatest actress of our generation! I follow that vision and believe in being the very greatest at what you do.

NASPO STAFF: Any additional thoughts/comments?

I want to thank NASPO for awarding me, and for the opportunity to be featured in this article. I see this as an honor, and it motivates me to carry on delivering the level and standard of customer service to our states CPO network.

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