State Suppliers Expo returns to recruit new business partners
By Christa Helfrey
On Oct. 11, the State Suppliers Expo will return to the Oklahoma City Convention Center to bring state government officials and private businesses back under one roof. This unique networking event invites companies of all sizes to explore the top projects happening right now in the State of Oklahoma, and to learn how to sign up as a state supplier for opportunities to participate in those projects.
Building on the inaugural Expo in 2021, we have some exciting changes in store to elevate the event for newcomers and returning visitors, alike. The biggest updates are the condensed schedule, breakout rooms, streamlined check-in and fewer speakers in the main hall. Additionally, the 2022 Expo will take place shortly after the slated launch of the state's brand-new eProcurement portal, which will be featured in guided tutorials from on-site state purchasing staff in one of the breakout rooms.
"The State Suppliers Expo is one of the state's most important events," said Steven Harpe, Oklahoma's chief operating officer. "It's a one-of-a-kind opportunity to bring awareness to everything we have going on in state government each year. More importantly, the partnerships that come out of this event lead to more innovation, a stronger economy and more efficient services for Oklahomans."
Overall, the 2022 Expo will remain true to its mission of fostering partnerships between the public and private sector to get the best value for Oklahoma. In the convention center's Painted Sky Ballroom, representatives from the 15 state cabinet areas – from agriculture to public safety – will connect with visitors, showcase their current and upcoming projects and discuss ways to work together on various initiatives.
Thanks to the state purchasing experts on hand at the Expo's Procurement Learning Center, attending business leaders will gain a deeper understanding of the state's general procurement process and even have the opportunity to sign up as state suppliers on-site.
New breakout sessions take that understanding further with presentations on doing business within three cabinet areas: Commerce and workforce development, transportation, and technology. Featured breakout speakers include Brent Kisling, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz, State COO Harpe and State Chief Information Officer Jerry Moore. Each 45-minute session will dive deeper into key projects within those cabinets, highlight any specialized procurement requirements and give visitors the chance to communicate with state leaders and ask questions.
"The first State Suppliers Expo set a high bar," Harpe said. "However, I am confident this year’s event will be even bigger and better."
Registration for the 2022 State Suppliers Expo is open now. Sign up to attend and find more information, including an event map and schedule, at oklahoma.gov/stateyourbusiness.