Q&A: Matthew Cronwiller, Manager Facilities Capital Construction, Vancouver Island Health Authority - South Region
Vancouver Island Health Authority presented with a 2017 Best of Public Procurement Award for Procurement Practices.
There is a cast of thousands who make up Island Health's Design & Construction leadership team. They're the reason a 2017 Best of Public Procurement Award was handed to team members, Deanna Fourt, the Director of Design, Energy and Sustainability and Matthew Cronmiller, Manager of Facilities Capital Construction from BCCA President, Chris Atchison, and Vancouver Island Regional Construction Association CEO, Rory Kulmala.
We asked Matthew to answer a few procurement questions for us.
Thanks for connecting with us. First, can you briefly describe the scope of your projects, and if possible, give examples?
"Island Health’s capital construction program manages renovations and new building projects across Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. These range in scope from minor renovations to multi-million dollar new facilities supported by a team of dedicated professionals including Architects, Engineers and Project Managers delivering our annual capital program. Healthcare construction has a profound impact on our local communities, delivering projects that provide vital new medical imaging equipment, support site reliability through infrastructure replacement, and reduce wait times through additional procedure and operating rooms. Some outstanding examples of public procurement best practices at work this past year include the Royal Jubilee Hospital Boiler Plant Replacement, Archie Courtnall Centre Psychiatric Emergency Services Expansion, and the Victoria General Hospital Electrical Infrastructure Upgrade."
In a sentence or two, what do you think is the secret to a successful procurement process?
"Successful procurement is a team game, it requires input and support from a broad range of stakeholders to ensure the scope, schedule and budget are well understood and defined prior to the procurement cycle. I can’t underestimate the value of having organizational commitment to invest in staff training and development in procurement, courses such as the Infrastructure Masterclass are invaluable tools to enable my team to be up to date with industry policy and procurement changes. As construction resources become increasingly in demand the importance of being an owner of choice, through fair and transparent construction procurement becomes increasingly important."
You were recognized by BCCA for many best practices. Which of them was the biggest challenge and why?
"Keeping pace with changes in technology, as procurement evolves and the platforms utilized to post and facilitate bids change, staff training and implementing the latest tools is always a challenge. Also, consistency of practice can be a challenge across a large geographic region and organization procuring construction services. There’s no simple solution, organizational commitment and assigning team champions to lead implementation of new technology is key to success."
What advice would you give other public sector procurement professionals?
"I would say:
- Public Procurement is more than just buying goods and services, it is a powerful tool for community involvement and support.
- Connect with your local construction associations to understand the market conditions, utilize procurement tools such as market soundings to gain insight into availability of resources.
- And when in doubt, follow the golden rule of public procurement, “transparency trumps strategy, every time."