Procurement Administrator’s Efforts Enable Scientific Discoveries
Scientific discoveries require more than just science; they require tools, equipment and resources to enable scientists to conduct their research. That’s where Renee Carter comes in. As a procurement administrator, Carter is focused on securing the tools, materials and devices that Jefferson Lab researchers need to fulfill every aspect of their work.
With more than 700 researchers, engineers, technical and support staff at Jefferson Lab requiring equipment for their work, Carter has to be ready to process their orders in a timely manner, while also keeping an eye on the lab’s expenditures. To the maximum extent possible, each procurement requires her to vet vendors for competitive prices, to which she relies on the end-user to provide support in identify a vendor for a particular item when there is only one manufacturer of the item.
“If an item is sole-sourced, I have to do a market analysis to make sure the cost is reasonable,” explains Carter, who admits that this can be challenging because she doesn’t have a scientific background. “I try to learn about the products that I’m buying. We also make sure to have great communication with our end-users” so that the procurement team selects the best product when there is more than one vendor for it.
Knowing Her Products
In the Procurement office, Carter and her colleagues sometimes have to do a deep-dive to learn more about a product that they are asked to buy. For that, they have a program called “Know Your Product” through which they can meet with the end-user to learn the particulars of a requested product and its importance.
“It’s interesting to find out that if the researcher didn’t have this little widget, they couldn’t conduct their experiment,” says Carter, who has been with Jefferson Lab since 2000. “It’s amazing sometimes. You wouldn’t think that something small could make a difference, but without it, a machine won’t function.”
Carter also enjoys learning more about products from vendors during the annual vendor fair that takes place at the lab. “The vendor fair is pretty neat because we have the end-user and our Procurement office together,” Carter explains. “We can not only interact with our vendors and see them in person, but that also gives us an opportunity to see our end-users as well.”
Playing a Supporting Role
For Carter, supporting a team goes well beyond her work at Jefferson Lab. For almost thirty years, she fulfilled the logistics role for the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) girls and boys basketball teams her husband coached, arranging for the team’s travel, roster, equipment and other needs.
When Carter stopped doing logistics for the team in 2015, it was to cheer on her two sons in their athletic careers. Her oldest son, Christopher, 28, played point guard on the gold-winning Virginia Special Olympics team out of George Mason University. He graduated from the Mason Life program in 2016 with a sports management certificate.
Carter’s youngest son, Marcus, 21, plays guard for Christopher Newport University. Carter attends all of his games—home and away—and is grateful for the flexibility in her department that allows her to schedule time off in order to follow the team.
When it comes to achieving big goals, both Carter’s sons and her colleagues at Jefferson Lab rely on her ever-present support as they pursue their dreams.