Oklahoma’s third State Suppliers Expo connects businesses and government for thriving partnerships
Oklahoma City, OK – The State of Oklahoma held its third-annual State Suppliers Expo on Oct. 5 at the Oklahoma City Convention Center, welcoming over 600 attendees from 479 companies for the state’s largest public-private networking event of the year. By gathering business representatives and officials from all areas of state government under one roof at the Expo, the state is utilizing an open-door approach to build relationships with suppliers, highlight current opportunities, and educate companies on the requirements and processes for doing business with the state.
“The importance of this event cannot be overstated,” said Amanda Otis, state purchasing director. “As one of the largest purchasers of goods and services in Oklahoma, many of our successes are achieved through strong partnerships with providers. This Expo is a unique opportunity for us to communicate specific needs, provide training on state procurement, and engage directly with local, national and global companies. You don't get this kind of access anywhere else.”
In 2022, the state spent $516 million on contracts with private-sector partners.* There is tremendous opportunity to do business, and the state has continued efforts to lower barriers of entry for companies of all sizes. The Expo is a way to get large and small providers in the same ecosystem to bid on projects and give the state more options to complete projects. These options create value in the form of competition that drives savings and efficiencies, ultimately leading to better services to citizens.
“It’s amazing that you would have so many different state entities here in one place that are able to … help you register [as a state bidder] and just provide information that you would need to do business with them,” said Henry Newby with Advantage Battery, a family-owned company in Oklahoma City.
Special guest speaker John Suter, who serves as the state chief operating officer and secretary of Operations and Government Efficiency, delivered remarks to close the morning networking portion of the event. The 2023 Expo also featured a legislative panel made up of Sen. Chuck Hall and Reps. Jeff Boatman and Nick Archer as one of six afternoon breakout sessions. Other breakout presenters included Amanda Otis; State Chief Information Officer Joe McIntosh; Jared Cooper, director of rural services at the state Department of Commerce; Brad Smith, procurement manager at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation; and Chad Warmington, chief executive officer of the State Chamber of Oklahoma.
The State Suppliers Expo is slated to return in 2024. Visit Oklahoma.gov/StateYourBusiness to view the 2023 photo gallery and learn more about the event. For more information about becoming a state supplier, visit the Vendors and Payees webpage at https://oklahoma.gov/omes/divisions/central-purchasing/vendors-and-payees/about.html.
*This amount excludes agency purchases outside the oversight of OMES Central Purchasing.