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PMAC conference soars high

More than 600 delegates attend event in Whistler, BC


June 9, 2011
by By Michael Power

WHISTLER: Using the slogan Reaching New Peaks, the 86th Annual PMAC National Conference in Whistler hit an impressive attendance high with over 600 delegates at the event.

The conference kicked off June 7 with the PMAC golf day, followed on June 8 by pre-conference seminars and the Your Voice member dialogue, held over lunch. Cheryl Paradowski, PMAC’s CEO and president, noted the dialogue saw members discuss direction and focus. During the discussion, members focused on challenges procurement professionals faced. For example, Paradowski said, transportation costs ranked high among concerns, with some members ranking it among  the largest challenges they faced.

The Your Voice dialogue was followed by PMAC’s annual general meeting which, Paradowski said, saw about 45 members attend. Discussions during the meeting included the direction PMAC might take in technology enhancements used to deliver leadership programs. The oil and gas sector was also noted as an area where there was a great deal of potential for membership growth, she noted.

The conference allowed delegates the opportunity for professional development, networking and an introduction to “the great country of Canada,” she added. “For me personally, it’s exciting to be at my first national conference,” Paradowski said. “The enthusiasm and energy I meeting PMAC members during  the course of the year I see 10 times here.”

That energy was in full view during the networking event and conference  kick off, held in the evening, June 8. Delegates networked while cheering the Vancouver Canucks during game four of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Justine Harrison, area vice-president, Grand & Toy, Western Canada, addressed the delegates.

“On behalf of Grand & Toy, I’d like to welcome you,” she said. “At Grand & Toy, we recognize the growing importance of the supply chain and procurement functions. We’re proud to be sponsoring the event because of these key initiatives.”

Procurement sees changes

After breakfast on June 9, the Squamish “honour song” officially kicked off the conference. Board chair Keith Carruthers began the conference by referencing the the event’s Reaching New Peaks tagline. While the slogan referred in part to the still snow-capped mountains surrounding Whistler, “it’s also all about our profession,” he noted. The field has seen several changes in recent years, he said. For example, the purchasing field had seen its roster of educational offerings revamped to include logistics and operations training, Carruthers said. The SCMP designation had been launched, and redefining the scope of the field had become critical.

“We’re getting our rightful place around the boardroom table,” he said.

More coverage from the conference