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Sr. Buyer in Columbia, MD at Universities Space Research Association

Date Posted: 10/1/2018

Job Snapshot

Job Description

USRA is a nonprofit organization searching for a self-motivated experienced buyer to purchase equipment, materials, supplies, and services. As a purchasing agent for the organization, the Intermediate/Senior level buyer will research, evaluate, and buy items to meet daily operational needs, as well as procure items that support various Federal science and technology-related programs.

The ideal candidate is astute, analytical, and a skilled negotiator and dealmaker who can demonstrate his or her growing set of skills by:

  • Forecasting procurement demands and make purchases in advance or as needed;
  • Negotiating with vendors to get the best possible pricing and payment option arrangement;
  • Managing work products following a design methodology (i.e., policy, process, tool); and
  • Building fast and long relationships to manage vendor performance (i.e., sub monitoring).


  • Conduct product research and schedules demonstrations for testing to determine the technical specifications suitable to meet the using department needs
  • Obtain competitive sealed proposals, qualifications-based proposals, bids and quotations, ensuring all required terms and conditions, contractual provisions and clauses required are included in procurement
  • Interviews prospective vendors to assess capability and relevant past performances
  • Review technical specifications and determine the best procurement method to be used with respect to public laws, regulations, ordinances, purchasing policies and procedures
  • Prepares purchase orders by verifying specifications and price; obtains recommendations from suppliers for substitute items; obtains approval from requisitioners
  • Advise and assist other employees in purchasing procedures; assists in preparing bid specifications and scope of work
  • Interact with vendors and inter-department customers throughout the purchasing and selling process; resolves bid irregularities, performs price and cost analysis, negotiates prices and terms according to law; expedite deliveries and follow-up to resolve all issues as the owner
  • Resolve purchase order and invoice differences with suppliers, as to wrong deliveries, payments, invoices, credits, payment terms, and duplicate billings
  • Keeps information accessible by sorting and filing documents in a logical, complete manner
  • Must keep management, inter-department customers, and suppliers fully and timely informed of pertinent activities
  • Manage spend by identifying cost reduction areas and analyzing impacts of contract changes
  • Provides purchasing planning and control information by collecting, analyzing, and summarizing data and trends
  • Contribute to policies/procedures that further institutional goals of a knowledge organization
  • Prepare weekly purchasing action reports
  • Other job-related duties, as assigned

Required Qualifications:


  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration, economics, or related field


  • 3+ years of Buyer-related experience working for a Federal Government contractor
  • Preference given to individuals familiar with Deltek’s Costpoint software

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities:

  • Analytical Skills: You will be working with many vendors and will have to evaluate the pros and cons of each transaction, based on price, quality, speed of delivery, etc.
  • Decision-Making Skills: You will need to use the information you gathered to make decisions on behalf of the company
  • Math Skills: Basic math skills will be needed to analyze prices and get the best deals possible
  • Negotiating Skills: You will be working with suppliers to create the best deals. Negotiating skills will help you create those deals
  • Demonstrable understanding and professional experience with Procurement Contracts
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent customer service

Licenses, Certifications: 

  • N/A


  • Commitment to continual process improvement;
  • Dedication to working within a knowledge-based learning department;
  • Comfortable working within a dynamic environment; and
  • Ability to be productive in a fast-paced team environment
  • Willingness to take initiative and ability to exercise independent judgment and leadership


  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office’s Excel, PowerPoint, and Word


Extent to Which Work is Covered by Instruction or Supervision:

  • It is the responsibility of the Senior Buyer to work with a minimum direction/supervision to accomplish all of the duties assigned by the Procurement Department Manager
  • Standard or routine aspects of work are performed with significant independence

Supervision of Others:

  • Capacity to train, manage, and mentor junior buyers

Working Conditions:

This position is located in a professional office environment where employees have access to standard office equipment (e.g., computer, printer, phone, photocopier).

Difficulties Encountered in Performing Job:

  • Use of personal vehicle for errands may be required
  • Vacation periods may be restricted due to work load
  • Travel may be required occasionally

Applicants should apply to the posting at and include a letter of interest, resume, or curriculum vita.  Review of candidates will begin immediately.  Additional information on USRA can be found at

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