2020 Virtual Government Procurement Conference

November 17, 2020  
1:00PM - 4:00PM
Optimize Costs, Mitigate Risks, Enable Business Growth
Event Description

The COVID-19 pandemic created a free for all for medical equipment across the city and the state.  Cuomo worked with neighboring states to create a purchasing consortium while DeBlasio suspended laws relating to procurement to allow the city to quickly purchase what it needed.  As things start to move through phases how does purchasing and procurement return to normal? The Government Procurement Conference will foster business partnerships between the city and state level government, prime contractors, and small, minority, service-disabled veteran-owned, and women-owned businesses.

Mersida Ibric
Deputy Commissioner, New York City Office of Citywide Procurement
Mersida Ibric is the Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Citywide Procurement (OCP), the chief procurement agent for the City of New York and is responsible for purchasing goods and services on behalf of all City agencies. OCP solicits and awards a wide variety of contracts and manages a portfolio of approximately 1,000 multi-year citywide requirements contracts, representing $1.5 billion in annual encumbrances across 100 agencies. This is Ibric’s 11th year in NYC government, working previously at the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services as Deputy Director for Research and IT. In that role, Ibric was responsible for maintaining and developing procurement data analytics and reporting; managing the City’s Doing Business and Accountability Project; and the planning and developing of mayoral procurement initiatives such as the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises program. Ibric received a Bachelors in Political Science from CUNY Queens College and a Master’s in Public Administration from CUNY Baruch College, School of Public Affairs.
Rachel Miller
Agency Chief Contracting Officer, NYC Administration for Children’s Services
Ms. Miller has been active in government contracting for decades, as a government official, a nonprofit vendor and a contracting intermediary. Currently ACCO at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), Ms. Miller oversees over $2 billion in contracts with nonprofit human services organizations and other vendors who support the agency’s child welfare, juvenile justice and early childhood agendas. ACS is an enthusiastic leader in engaging MWBE vendors, consistently exceeding citywide targets. Prior to her time at ACS, Ms. Miller worked as a program and financial executive at NYC nonprofits, including Public Health Solutions, WHEDCO and FEGS, serving as both Chief Program Officer and Chief Financial Officer. From 2004-2015 she managed an outsourced procurement and contract management operation on behalf of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, overseeing $160 million in federal- and city-funded public health initiatives and pioneering innovative reimbursement approaches and information systems. Ms. Miller has a BA from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Yale.
Rodneyse Bichotte
Rodneyse Bichotte
Chair, Assembly Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises
Rodneyse Bichotte is the Assemblymember and State Committee Woman / District Leader for New York State’s 42nd Assembly District. She is also the first Haitian-American woman elected in the city of New York. Assemblymember Bichotte holds the position of Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs). Assemblymember Bichotte is the Co-Chair of the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Workshops Committee, and has been appointed to Governor Cuomo’s Advisory Council on Domestic Violence, and appointed by Mayor de Blasio’s Advisory Council on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise. By her second legislative term, Assemblymember Bichotte introduced over 60 pieces of legislation, of which five became law. In addition, the Assemblymember co-sponsored over 200 pieces of legislation. She is notable for the High Profile Bill -The Elimination of the Personal Net Worth Cap. In addition to a business focus, Assemblymember Bichotte has given legislative attention to Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematic (STEM) and criminal justice reform as well as resolutions on international human rights reform. She holds an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, an MS in Electrical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, a BS in Electrical Engineering from SUNY Buffalo, a BS in Mathematics in Secondary Education and a BT in Electrical Engineering -- both from Buffalo State College.
James Sanders Jr.
Chair, New York State Senate MWBE Task Force
Now in his fourth term, New York State Democrat Senator James Sanders Jr., a lifelong public servant, Marine Corps veteran, proponent of education and advocate for working class families, continues to approach the legislature with a fresh perspective and promise to bring economic opportunities and resources to the people of Southeast Queens. Senator Sanders is the Chairman the Senate’s Committee on Banks and in that role he is aggressively promoting legislation like bill S5565C - New York Public Banking Act, which authorizes the lending of public credit to public banks and authorizes public ownership of stock in public banks for the purpose of achieving cost savings, strengthening local economies, supporting community economic development, and addressing infrastructure and housing needs for localities. https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s5565 Senator Sanders is also working with community leaders and stakeholders to create Vital Southeast Queens. This targeted initiative would leverage State programs and resources to empower New Yorkers living in Southeast Queens and improve their wellbeing through eight (8) integrated areas of investment: Open Space and Recreation; Healthy Food; Education; Economic Empowerment; Community-Based Violence Prevention; Community-Based Health Care; Affordable Housing; and Resiliency. It is modeled after Vital Brooklyn. During each legislative session, Senator Sanders is consistently introducing bills and getting them passed including nearly one dozen bills in this last month (July 2020) alone. The legislation covers a variety of issues including unemployment, education, domestic violence, mental health, consumer protections, property sales and foreclosure mitigation, but all aim to improve life for the residents of the 10th Senatorial District as well as the entire State of New York. https://www.nysenate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/james-sanders-jr/senate-passes-eleven-bills-introduced-state-senator-james Another important issue to Senator Sanders as it relates to economic development is providing assistance and resources for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs). Senator Sanders is the Chairman of the Senate Task Force on MWBES, which is charged with working to find innovative ways to better encourage and support MWBEs as a valuable part of growing the New York economy. In addition, Sanders is a member of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Advisory Council on MWBEs. The Advisory Council guides policy making and strategy to aggressively assist the City in reaching its pledge to award more than $16 billion dollars to MWBEs over a 10-year period. It was Sanders, who in his City Council tenure, set the stage as author of MWBE NYC Local Law 1 to help strengthen the MWBE program, and Local Law 129 that established participation goals for MWBEs to help increase the number of certified firms from 700 to over 3,500 program participants, and win over $3 billion dollars in City contracts. The MWBE program is important because for far too long, minorities and women have been negatively impacted by an economic system built to exclude them. In 2019, Senator Sanders passed legislation to extend and enhance Article 15-A until 2024. This law was created to promote employment and participation in state contracts for minorities and women. Before the bill went to a vote, Senator Sanders spent months working closely with MWBEs to craft legislation that would advance their goals. Additionally, he collaborated with the MWBE Taskforce to ensure that MWBEs would see these goals would be met. The biggest wins MWBE saw in the updated bill are: (1) a shortened certification process from 60 to 45 days, (2) increase of personal net worth from $3.5 million to $15 million, (3) increase in discretionary buying threshold, and (4) agency publication of waivers. https://www.nysenate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/james-sanders-jr/senator-sanders-and-nys-legislature-passes-legislation During these tough economic times as the country struggles to restore the economy which was badly damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Sanders is coming up with ways to close the budget gap so that cuts are not made to key areas like educations. One such bill, involves the stock transfer tax, which is a sales tax on the transfer of shares of stock. From 1905 to 1981, New York State imposed a tax on the sale of securities (stocks). The State began rebating the tax in 1979 and since 1981 the tax is now 100% rebated back to the industry (stock brokers). Senator Sanders’ bill (S.6203- A Same as A.7791-B Steck) would end the rebate and collect 100% of this tax. The funds will be dedicated to the State General Fund for the first two years commencing with the fiscal year April 1, 2021 and ending March 31, 2023 after which it would be divided and dispersed to areas such as transportation, infrastructure, housing, cleaning energy and more. https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s6203 In addition to legislation, Senator Sanders also works to encourage entrepreneurialism and business creation in his district by hosting weekly webinars on economic development covering topics such as access to capital, document and cash management and how to start and grow a business. Senator Sanders has a long and distinguished career in public service. He served as City Council Member for the 31st District in Queens for 12 years, the term limit. As Council Member, Sanders was unanimously voted Chairman of the Economic Development Committee, making him the first African-American in City history to hold the post. On September 13, 2012, Senator Sanders was elected to the represent the 10th Senatorial District, which the neighborhoods of South Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Rosedale, Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Springfield Gardens and most of the Rockaways. In addition to being the Chairman of the Senate's Committee on Banks, Senator Sanders is a member of the Committees for Labor; Civil Services & Pensions; Commerce Economic Development & Small Business; Insurance; Veterans, Homeland Security & Military Affairs; and Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation. Senator Sanders makes constituent services a top priority and believes in strengthening transparency and accountability in New York State’s government.
Jonnel Doris
Commissioner, NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS)
As Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), Jonnel Doris is charged with running a dynamic City agency focused on equity of opportunity, that leads to economic self-sufficiency and mobility for New York City's diverse communities. SBS actively connects New Yorkers to good jobs, creates stronger businesses, and builds a thriving economy in neighborhoods across the five boroughs. Doris previously held the role as the City’s first Senior Advisor and Director of the Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE). Under Doris’ leadership, the city more than doubled its certifications to 9,620, tripled its utilization and awarded over $14.6 billion to M/WBEs. His engagement in business communities, city agencies and both state and city legislatures has also influenced city efforts to pass critical state legislation that expands opportunities for M/WBEs. Doris previously served as the first Chief Diversity Officer for the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR), where he developed and implemented strategic initiatives resulting in increased utilization of state and federal M/WBEs and Section 3 businesses. He created the Office of Diversity and Civil Rights, and developed the award-winning GOSR’s Local Workforce Opportunities Program. His professional career includes extensive experience in the energy, utility, government and business sectors working at Public Service Enterprise Group- Long Island, Long Island Power Authority, KeySpan and in both State and City Government. He is also a former small business owner who understands firsthand the challenges that M/WBEs face. Doris holds several degrees and certificates including a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Analysis, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology from Stony Brook University, a Master of Divinity from Oral Roberts University and a Turner Construction Management Certificate Program. He currently resides in Queens with his wife Aisha Doris and two children.
Kristin Malek
Senior Manager, Supplier Diversity, CDW
Kristin Malek serves as the Senior Manager of Supplier Diversity at CDW. In this capacity, she drives CDW’s strategies to achieve supplier diversity objectives. She is responsible for CDW’s $1.9+ Billion Dollar annual Supplier Diversity spend initiatives. Kristin is the architect of the CDW’s diverse supply chain which today is defined as more than 800+ suppliers that serve the needs and offers solutions to CDW and their customers. She is a member of the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council and TIG (Technology Industry Group), sharing her voice and best practices on inclusive business strategies. Kristin brings more than 16 years of senior leadership experience making her a SME on diversity growth and development. As the Director of Field Projects for a Fortune 200 company, where she was responsible for establishing and executing the organization’s diversity objectives, initiatives and strategies, as well as focusing on the company’s optimization and localization initiatives. Most recently, Kristin served as the Chief Operating Officer for a National Non for Profit, where she created and led the vision and strategy for the organization in partnership with the National Board of Directors and other senior leaders. In her role as COO, Kristin placed a large focus on identifying, onboarding and managing strategic partnerships of all kinds.
Dan Symon
NYC Chief Procurement Officer at City of New York, Mayor's Office of Contract Services
Dan Symon is the Director of the Mayor's Office of Contract Services and the City's Chief Procurement Officer. MOCS oversees and supports agency procurement activity and deploys technology tools to transform operations. Dan previously served as First Deputy Director, leading the development of the City's new Procurement and Sourcing Solutions Portal (PASSPort) which expands online vendor relationship management and will introduce game-changing efficiency to New York City's $21 billion procurement processes. Prior to joining MOCS, Dan served as Executive Director of the Health and Human Services Accelerator initiative which modernized procurement for agencies and service providers who work directly with City residents. Dan has also served in various government executive roles, managing multi-million dollar initiatives and organizations.
Claude M. Millman
Partner, Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP
Claude M. Millman is a partner at Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP, a boutique law firm. He is listed in City & State’s 2020 Law Power 100. For the past two decades, Millman has represented government contractors doing business with city and state government agencies and authorities in New York, advised government officials and former government officials on ethics issues, litigated matters against the city, state, and federal government, and handled complex commercial litigation and investigations. After graduating from Stanford University and Columbia Law School and clerking for a federal judge in Manhattan, Millman was appointed as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, where he oversaw the Environmental Protection Unit and led that office’s civil racketeering litigation against waterfront unions and businesses. While there, Millman received the John Marshall Award, the Department of Justice’s highest recognition of excellence in legal performance, for litigation against the New York City Housing Authority that exposed and remedied racial discrimination in tenant selection and assignment. Millman was then appointed to several positions in city government: He served as a Deputy Commissioner of what is now the Business Integrity Commission; as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS); and as Executive Director, then Commissioner, of the Charter Revision Commission. Millman entered private practice in 2000. In 2011, he left his partnership at Proskauer Rose, LLP, to start a government procurement and contracts practice and lead civil litigation at Kostelanetz, which has just been selected by U.S. News’ Best Lawyers® as one of 69 “Tier 1” law firms for commercial litigation in the New York City region. Millman represents contractors in every industry, and helps contractors, subcontractors, lenders, and investors with every aspect of the procurement process, from contract solicitation through contract administration, including audits, investigations, and administrative and judicial litigations. His assists with purchase contracts, revenue contracts, franchises, concessions, and leases, and city and state disclosure systems, including PASSPort, Schedule J, and VendRep. He advises clients navigating high-profile investigations and handles a wide variety of commercial civil litigation in federal and state trial and appellate courts. Millman has overturned prevailing wage schedules set by the City Comptroller, with victories at the trial and appellate levels. He successfully protected Aetna Life Insurance Company’s trade secrets in Freedom of Information Law litigation concerning an MTA government contract. He has represented public companies (including eight of the Fortune 100), major not-for-profits, large privately-held businesses, and various government officials (including Deputy Commissioners).
Kyana Beckles
CEO, Leverage Assessments
Kyana Beckles is the CEO of Leverage Assessments, a City Certified MWBE firm which has performed pre-employment examination services for NYPD, and HRA. Kyana is also the Founder of the Black Government Contracting Club and Chair of the Blacks in IO Law Enforcement Task force. She is on the board for the Certification Network Group (CNG), a member of the SIOP Visibility Committee and on the Alumni Leadership team for Cohort 30 of the Goldman’s Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program. Kyana has a Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).
David M. Bezzant
Vice President, T-Mobile for Government
David Bezzant is Vice President of T-Mobile for Government, heading T-Mobile’s Federal, State, Local, County, and Education government efforts. A fierce advocate for equality and helping marginalized people reach their full potential, David is a key architect of several unprecedented T-Mobile programs including EmpowerED, which has connected nearly one million students to high-speed mobile internet; as well as T-Mobile’s newly-formed Connecting Heroes initiative and Project 10Million, worth $15 billion in combined value to police, fire, emergency responders, and students over the next decade. David is also the proud co-owner of an urban farm which donates its harvests to families and individuals in need, free of charge.

Welcome and Introduction By Ralph Ortega, Interim Editor-in-Chief, City & State NY


Keynote Speaker Dan Symon, NYC Chief Procurement Officer at City of New York, Mayor's Office of Contract Services


Special Presentation “Leading the Evolution of Government Wireless (otherwise knows as changing all the rules)” by David Bezzant, Vice President, T-Mobile for Government


What to Know about Doing Business in New York Post COVID

Citing the high costs of doing business in New York City and the devastating impact the COVID-19 impact aspects of procurement are distinct to New York in terms of laws, taxes and MWBE procurement. This panel will provide an inside look at the New York procurement process and prepare you to navigate the system in a post-COVID world including strategies effective at addressing potential challenges including the possibility of a second wave, tips to win the bidding process and also explain the complexity of RFPs, plus  hear what NY government entities want from potential contractors.

Annie McDonough, Tech Reporter, City & State NY (moderator)

Rachel Miller, Associate Commissioner and Agency Chief Contracting Officer, NYC Administration for Children’s Services

Mersida Ibric, Deputy Commissioner, NYC Office of Citywide Procurement

Kristin Malek, Senior Manager, Supplier Diversity, CDW

Claude M. Millman, Partner, Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP


Best Practices for Procurement: MWBE’s and Small Businesses

What are some of the best MWBE programs and procurement opportunities for small MWBE firms looking to work with government agencies? How can they navigate government and authorities?  What are the various procurement methods used by public authorities, and what are the best types for small MWBE firms to gain access? Our panelists will also discuss the process for discretionary purchases for items or services from New York State certified small businesses, MWBEs, LGBTBEs, and SDVOBs.

Kyana Beckles, CEO, Leverage Assessments, Inc. (moderator)

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair, Oversight of MWBE Subcommittee

Senator James Sanders Jr., Chair, Task Force of MWBEs

Jonnel Doris, Commissioner, NYC Small Business Services


Sessions Conclude

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