THE MOST HELPFUL CAREER
ADVICE I’VE RECEIVED WAS:
My mentor, Byron E. Johnson, C.P.M.,
encouraged me to obtain my C.P.M.
when he assigned me to the El
Paso International Airport as its sole
purchasing agent. He explained that my
new coworkers at the airport demanded
nothing but the best from themselves
and each other, and they would expect
the same from me. Johnson said, “First
work hard for them, and then establish
your credibility by getting your C.P.M.
Get your C.P.M., and you can rise to
become a trusted advisor.”
A SUPPLY CHAIN CONCERN THAT
KEEPS ME UP AT NIGHT:
My biggest concern is that an internal
client will take (or not take) an action
that voids an important contractual
right that our legal department
negotiated into an agreement.
Municipally-owned utilities or prime
contractors have federal contracts
(and grants), and strict payment
statutes and regulations require us to
review and approve invoices promptly.
If there is a question or error on the
invoice, the client must notify the
supplier right away.
For example, if a client contacts our
department with an invoice error
several weeks after an invoice was
issued, this can be problematic. By
that time, the client has waived its
contractual right to corrections.
Worse yet, the supplier has a right to
demand interest fees on the unpaid
THE BIGGEST PROFESSIONAL
CHALLENGE I’VE HAD TO
My biggest professional challenge was
the successful purchase of an elevated
metal stage and ramp in an extreme
At the time, my boss received this
purchase request when the now-late
actor Christopher Reeve was scheduled
to speak at a fund-raiser for the El Paso
Holocaust Museum. The ramp and stage
needed to support the weight of his
wheelchair. While the stage had to be
delivered within six weeks, the estimated
delivery time was 8-12 weeks.
I volunteered to find another stage
from a different supplier. I identified
a manufacturer with an Americans
with Disabilities Act-compliant stage
that was already on order for one
of its customers. I spoke with the
manufacturer’s purchasing department,
and it shared the contact information of
this customer as a professional courtesy.
After pleading my case to this
customer, I managed to obtain its stage
and ramp. It was delivered to us with
four days to spare. ISM
TWO QUESTIONS I
FIND MYSELF ASKING
ALMOST EVERY DAY
AT MY JOB:
Have I provided an update to my clients
on their procurements?
Have I asked the appropriate
stakeholders for support in removing
obstructions to this procurement?
Enrique Acosta, CPSM, C.P.M., CPPO, CPPB
El Paso Electric Company
El Paso, Texas
I purchase for El Paso Electric the right products
and services, at the right price, from the right
suppliers so that our ratepayers obtain reliable,
affordable and cost-effective electricity.
WHEN PEOPLE ASK WHAT
I DO FOR A LIVING, HERE’S
HOW I DESCRIBE MY JOB
IN ONE SENTENCE: