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Senior Manager, Purchasing (Procurement Department Manager) in Columbia, MD at Universities Space Research Association

Date Posted: 2/25/2019

Job Snapshot

Job Description

The Contracts & Grants (C&G) Department manages activities for contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, procurements, and other federal and commercial funding agreements or sponsored research.  This position is posted to hire the manager that will oversee all procurements.


Under the supervision of the Director, the Procurement Department Manager (PDM) will oversee procurement operations and direct staff who manage procurement activities, including proposal preparation, negotiations, administration, the development and approval of file documentation, and customer engagements.  The incumbent will protect the company and provide proper contract acquisition and fulfillment in accordance with legal, internal client, and company policy requirements.  The incumbent will foster an environment that develops and professionally advances team members, including providing or securing on-the-job, formal training, and development opportunities, while giving employees constructive, timely performance feedback.  The PDM will collaborate with the deputy director and be expected to lead procurement staff using category management (formerly “strategic sourcing”) strategies to ensure and articulate cost effective acquisition of materials and services in support of USRA’s mission.  The incumbent will to some extent also manage his or her own procurement portfolio, and will employ data analytic tools to deliver fresh insights and support optimal decision-making for procurements consistent with category management practices.


Essential Duties/Responsibilities:

Establish and maintain a procurement workflow management system that ensures visibility of the contracts lifecycle process and further ensures that procurement functions are accountable to one another, to customers, and to senior management.  This includes developing and establishing standards, processes, and policies that span the full range of procurement operations.

  • The PDM carries out fiduciary duties related to managing the company’s business relationships and transactions; is responsible for managing and controlling all company purchases and the requisitioners who initiate those purchases; and maintains readiness for contractor purchasing system reviews.
  • Management of purchasing includes being responsible for obtaining the best value for items and achieving reasonable delivery times under realistic schedules.
  • The PDM should strive for high customer satisfaction but his or her first duty is to protect and advance the company's interests in the short and the long term.
  • The PDM is responsible for recommending the most efficient and beneficial policies and procedures for the purchasing function and to either prepare such policies and procedures or see that they are prepared for general management approval.
  • The PDM is also responsible for making sure that all approved policies and procedures are followed by staff and to recommend changes to improve operations over the status quo, when needed.
  • The PDM is responsible for making sure that transactions are conducted ethically and legally.


Duties of the PDM:

The PDM may approve purchases of goods and services that have been requested by authorized personnel for expenditures up to his or her signature authority.  The PDM has the authority to approve or disapprove transactions, and will empower and rely on other members of the procurement department to apply critical thinking skills to reach supported decisions that advance and serve company interests in the most economical and efficient way possible. The PDM must exercise judgment for assessing and supporting subordinates in the exercise of their own signature authority. 

  • The PDM supervises and is accountable for all procurements, and ensures that transactions, and documentation thereof, meet all compliance requirements; and are conducted honestly.
  • The PDM selects and supervises personnel within the procurement department, conducts training, ensures compliance with policies and procedures, and leads a culture of improvement.
  • The PDM reviews all purchase requests (PRs) to make certain that items are purchased for a reasonable and legitimate business purpose and that PRs have been properly authorized.
  • The PDM will assign workloads to procurement department staff and monitor employee productivity levels, but may handle highly sensitive negotiations personally, as necessary.
  • The PDM provides purchasing plans (i.e., category management) by collecting, analyzing, and summarizing data and trends, and manages purchasing activities so that the supplier base consists of the fewest suppliers necessary to get the job done efficiently and at the least cost.
  • The PDM oversees the procurement portfolio in Costpoint, identifies trends, and troubleshoots anomalies -- reports and presentations must reflect a high degree of professional care.
  • The PDM creates, edits, updates, and keeps informed about current and new policies, regulations, products, and/or processes; and recommends those that could be beneficial to the company and/or informs management about developments that might affect procurement personnel or the company, and makes recommendations regarding those developments.
  • The PDM may visit key suppliers, as needed, to see that they are fulfilling their contractual obligations to the company and that they are serving the company's best interest. The PDM may also attend trade shows and seminars to keep informed about new products and technologies.
  • The PDM prepares the annual indirect budgets (“procurement overhead”) for the procurement department (primarily staffing count) and monitors the approved budget to control costs.
  • Other job-related duties, as assigned.

Required Qualifications:


Bachelor’s degree in business administration, management, accounting, or related field.


Minimum 10 years’ experience in responsible positions and 4 years of supervisory roles.

Licenses, Certifications:

NCMA Membership is desirable.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities: 

  • Must have a demonstrated understanding of and experience with contracts (e.g., Federal Acquisition Regulations, Uniform Commercial Codes).
  • Strong verbal and written communications skills; must effectively and concisely communicate risk factors, legal considerations and other elements of ongoing negotiations to a broad audience in verbal and written form.
  • Effectively work with the management of other organizations, directorates, and stakeholders.
  • Regularly exercise independent judgment and discretion in solving simple and complex contract and business issues.



  • Behave Ethically: Understand ethical behavior and business practices and ensure own behavior is consistent with these standards and aligns with the values of the company.
  • Lead: Positively influence others to achieve results that are in the best interest of the company.
  • Build Relationships: Establish and maintain positive working relationships with others, both internally and externally, to achieve the goals of the company.
  • Foster Teamwork: Work cooperatively and effectively with others to set goals, resolve problem, and make decisions that enhance team effectiveness.
  • Solve Problems: Assess problem situations to identify causes, gather and process relevant information, generate possible solutions, and make recommendations and/or resolve the problem.
  • Communicate Effectively: Speak, listen and write in a clear, thorough and timely manner using appropriate and effective communication tools and techniques.
  • Plan: Determine strategies to move the team forward, set goals, create and implement actions plans, and evaluate the process and results.
  • Organize: Set priorities, develop a work schedule, monitor progress towards goals, and track details, data, information and activities.



  • Proficiency in productivity software (i.e., Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Word) is required.
  • Proficiency in Deltek’s Costpoint web service, or similar tool, is highly desired.

Working Conditions:

This job operates in a fast-paced, professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, etc. Extensive online usage. This is largely a sedentary role.


Up to 5% travel.

All interested candidates must apply directly on our website at

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity