George Cronin Awards For Procurement Excellence

Pandemic Procurement Excellence (PPE)

Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic the 2020 Cronin Committee suspended the 2020 George Cronin Awards for Procurement Excellence. In its place, the Committee aimed to highlight the enormous response efforts undertaken by state procurement offices across the country.

Named Pandemic Procurement Excellence (PPE), the alternate project gave procurement officials a platform to share their stories of pandemic procurement. Submissions were collected June 8- July 20 and were accepted as either a written or video submission. During NASPO’s 2020 Annual Conference, a tribute video was previewed, telling the stories of the NASPO membership, in their own words. All submissions were compiled into two compilations, one written and one video. These complete compilations are available below.

The submissions revealed the reality of the challenges the central procurement office has faced during the pandemic: 70 + work hour weeks, around the clock shifts, changing duties, responsibilities and procurement professionals adapting to be functioning experts in sanitization and medical supplies. Meeting the needs of their communities, procurement officials across the country rose to the occasion.

We are proud to share their stories.

The Cronin Award is intended to serve two purposes. First, of course, it seeks to recognize outstanding state procurement initiatives—providing some well-deserved appreciation to a State and its procurement personnel that have undertaken and accomplished projects that result in distinct benefits to the State in economy, efficiency, delivery of services or some combination of each.

Second, by calling attention to these efforts, the Cronin Award serves as a means to disseminate and to encourage adoption of these initiatives by other States. In this way, Cronin awardees and finalists create opportunities for improving the procurement function nationwide, which can multiply those initial benefits many times over.

Please note: Nominations for the George Cronin Awards for Procurement Excellence are intended for state central procurement offices, and must be submitted by, or with approval from, the NASPO voting member (CPO) within your state. If you have questions about who can submit for the award, please contact Lori Denhart at [email protected]

George J. Cronin was the State Purchasing Agent for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1925 to 1957, serving under 11 different governors. He was known as a trail blazer in the public procurement field and established the ground rules and operative procedures for centralized procurement within the Commonwealth. He was the first president of NASPO and is the namesake of the NASPO Cronin Club and the annual George Cronin Award for Procurement Excellence.

NASPO was founded in 1947 at a meeting of state purchasing officials in Chicago, Illinois. The meeting was originally designed to seek ways and means for states to secure property distributed under the Surplus War Property Disposal Act of 1944. While at the meeting, Cronin urged the formation of an ongoing, formal organization of state purchasing officials as an effective vehicle to address specific public procurement issues and provide a network for resolving problems. The other attendees agreed and elected Cronin as president. He remained active in NASPO activities after his retirement in 1957.

The Cronin Club evolved from an idea presented by John Dyer of Maine to form an organization of NASPO past presidents and name it after Mr. Cronin. The group met for the first Cronin Club Luncheon at the NASPO Annual Conference in 1970. In 1974, the Cronin Club opened the luncheon to any NASPO member who wished to participate instead of restricting attendance to the past presidents and it became an established feature of the NASPO Annual Conference.

The Cronin Club decided to sponsor a “cost reduction” incentive program in 1977. This created interest among the states and encouraged them to share cost saving ideas with other states. The program has evolved over the past 30 years and adapted to the changing procurement landscape. The George Cronin Award for Procurement Excellence is recognized as a premier achievement for innovative public procurement and pays homage to a founder and the first president of NASPO for his devotion to improving governmental purchasing.


The Cronin Awards were presented at NASPO’s Annual Conference, September 8-11, in Grand Rapids, MI. The 2019 recipients are:​

  • Gold Award Winner: State of Michigan, Circumventing Risk with Contract Management In order to better manage its contracts, Michigan’s Central Procurement Services (“CPS”) developed a proactive Contract Management program by which it would ensure greater contract compliance by both the State’s agencies and its vendors. At its core, this program builds upon and formalizes the policies for what we should have been doing all along, while adding new processes, policies, and positions to effectuate the needed change. This program is designed to ensure that the State gets the full benefit of its contracts.
  • Silver Award Winner: State of Florida, Market Analysis and Procurement Strategy The Florida Department of Management Services (DMS), Division of State Purchasing utilizes the Market Analysis and Procurement Strategy (MAPS) process to determine which procurement method to employ and to achieve a best value for Florida. The MAPS process is used in determining if the Department should issue a new, competitive solicitation (purchases exceeding Category II, $35,000), to re-solicit an existing contract, to renew an existing contract or to allow an existing contract to expire. The MAPS processes resemble a research paper which highlights the following sections: background information, the current industry, customer and vendor information, pricing analysis to determine pricing of comparable contracts, risk assessment, special circumstances and a recommendation. The MAPS is an excellent tool for determining past procurement decisions and for determining what course of action is needed for future purchases, always keeping State of Florida customers in mind.
  • Bronze Award Winner: State of Minnesota, Innovation Begets Innovation: How Challenge-Based RFP’s Have Been a Winning Solution for Minnesota The Minnesota Connected and Automated Vehicle Challenge (CAV Challenge) is a new and flexible procurement process that fosters innovation as the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) procures connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology. MnDOT approached our Office of State Procurement (OSP) with a problem—how could they harness the rapidly-evolving technologies associated with CAV through the procurement process? OSP and MnDOT met, and MnDOT was concerned that the typical narrowly defined requirements in a request for proposal (RFP) would inhibit vendors from submitting real technological innovation with CAV. OSP was wary of making statutory changes specifically for MnDOT and wanted to preserve the values of fair and open competition in the procurement process. Could we work within the statute? Could we preserve fair and open competition while helping MnDOT lead in CAV technology? Through collaboration we determined that answer is yes and the CAV Challenge was born. The CAV Challenge is open for vendors to apply to at any time. Proposals are reviewed every other month. Rather than narrowly defined requirements, MnDOT lists broad goals in the RFP, and vendors are scored to the extent their project aligns with those goals.
  • Finalist: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Excellent Data = Meaningful Analytics: Improving Vendor Report Information Management The Operational Services Division (OSD) needed a tool that would simplify the reporting process and ensure the integrity of vendor-reported quarterly Massachusetts customer sales activity data and provide Business Intelligence (BI) analysis and defensible reporting of that data. This tool would provide an efficient, secure, and reliable means of collecting, managing, storing, and reporting on sales activity against statewide contracts, replacing a spreadsheet-based manual reporting collection process. The focus was on leveraging a highly configurable Software as a Service tool to replace the current Vendor Report Management spreadsheets.
  • Finalist: State of New York, Online File Requirements System New York State Procurement Services establishes more than 1,300 centralized statewide contracts for commodities, technology, and services valued at approximately $22 billion for use by state agencies, municipalities, and other public and some nonprofit entities. As centralized procurement, we are tasked to acquire commodities and services at competitive, volume-discounted/reduced prices while complying with statutory requirements and ensuring the strategic effectiveness for all procurements. Two primary goals of centralized procurement are to 1) increase the percentage of authorized users buying from centralized contracts, and 2) act as a single customer to the vendor community on behalf of all state purchasers.
















  • 2004 Cronin Classic: Illinois Transformation of Procurment Performance
  • 2004 Cronin IT: Arizona SPIRIT: Automated eProcurement System



  • 2002: Alaska Long Distance Learning
  • 2001: Idaho Purchasing Modernization Initiative
  • 2000: Utah Vehicle Purchase Program
  • 1999: Ohio Natural Gas Purchasing Program
  • 1998: Missouri PC Prime Vendor Contract
  • 1997: Wisconsin Advantis Credit Bureau Access Program
  • 1996: North Carolina Micro-Computer & Peripherals Contract as Developed and Managed on the Internet
  • 1995: none selected
  • 1994: none selected
  • 1993: Minnesota Document management system
  • 1992: Oregon Vendor information program
  • 1991: Arizona Contract for abatement of underground storage tanks
  • 1990: New York Contract for electronic ballasts
  • 1989: Missouri Pharmacy service contract for correctional facilities
  • 1988: Kansas Freight management systems
  • 1987: West Virginia Natural gas contract
  • 1986: Alaska Video – “A Better Way To Buy”
  • 1985: Missouri Competitive bidding of residential rehabilitation services
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