A new award has been named in honor of Vance-Granville Community College Vice President of Finance and Operations Steven Graham by the Carolinas Association of Governmental Purchasing. The association has established an award for outstanding candidates seeking to become Certified Local Government Purchasing Officers, and has named it the “Steven C. Graham Achievement Award” in recognition of Graham’s commitment to developing current and future government purchasing professionals. He was instrumental in developing a training program for purchasing officers with the UNC School of Government.
The Carolinas Association of Governmental Purchasing (CAGP), organized in 1953, is a group of state and local government employees in North and South Carolina whose duties consist of purchasing and contracting of public goods and services. The CAGP is an affiliate of the North Carolina League of Municipalities and a chapter of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP). Since 1986, the CAGP has offered a voluntary certification program for governmental purchasing officers called the Certified Local Government Purchasing Officer (CLGPO) that requires completion of core courses and the passing of a certification examination administered by the UNC School of Government. The purpose of the certification program is to recognize achievement of an established level of competency and proficiency among purchasing officials.
“I obtained my CLGPO designation in 2004,” Graham recalled. “At the time, there was no formalized instruction to assist in prepping for the exam, and the pass rate for the exam was only 40%. After obtaining my certification, I decided to develop a course that could be taught to future governmental purchasing officers seeking this designation. Through sponsorship from the CAGP and the UNC School of Government, I founded and developed the CLGPO Examination Review Course in 2005, which I have taught for the past 12 years. Since offering this course, the pass rate for the exam has increased to 80%.”
In recognition and appreciation of his service and his significant contributions to the success of CLGPO examination candidates, the CLGPO Committee established the Steven C. Graham Achievement Award, which will be presented annually to the certification examination candidate who achieves the highest passing score. The first annual award was presented on March 8, 2016, at the CAGP Spring Conference in Wilmington, N.C., to Julia Vosnock, Procurement Manager with the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. “Julia was a student of mine and the first candidate to ever receive a perfect score on the examination,” Graham said.
“We congratulate Steve Graham on this well-deserved recognition for his leadership in supporting education, training and excellence in public service,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, the president of VGCC. “As our colleague and a VGCC alumnus, it is fitting that the award bearing his name will recognize professional development and achievement.”
A resident of Oxford, Graham joined VGCC in 2013 after serving as Finance Officer for the Vance County school system. Prior to joining Vance County Schools as purchasing and distribution manager in 2000, Graham worked in banking in the Henderson and Hillsborough areas. Graham graduated from VGCC with an Associate in Arts degree in 1986 and then transferred to N.C. State University, where he completed degrees in Accounting and Business Management. He is currently completing a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration, one of the top programs in the United States in public management and administration.
In 2005, Graham also earned the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) designation of Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.), which is recognized globally by industry and government as the top level of competency in professional purchasing. He continues to serve as a Guest Lecturer at the UNC School of Government, teaching public purchasing and contracting laws and practice.
As VGCC Vice President of Finance and Operations, Graham leads a division that includes the Business Office, the Bookstore, the Endowment office, the Civic Center, Plant Operations, and purchasing.