Spotlight: Mary Pelfrey, U.S. Communities
products and valuable services for school districts is always on the
mind of school business officials. And if they can find those products
and services at reasonable prices, all the better. How fortunate that
Mary Pelfrey, program manager at U.S. Communities, can guide ASBO
members to finding those products, services, and prices quickly and
Mary worked in private industry for nearly two decades before joining U.S. Communities two and a half years ago. Launched in 1996, U.S. Communities is a nationwide purchasing cooperative that is a valuable procurement resource for local and state government agencies, K-12 school districts, higher education, and nonprofit organizations. All U.S. Communities contracts are competitively solicited by a lead public agency and meet most piggyback requirements. The program offers a wide range of products and services, saving its members both time and money. U.S. Communities has five national founding co-sponsors, including ASBO International.
"We have 17 contracts in place with more than 22 suppliers," Mary says, adding that school districts can register with U.S. Communities with no strings attached. "School districts can choose to utilize our program when it makes sense to do so," she explains. When one person within a certain district registers with the organization, anyone within the district can take advantage of the available contracts, many of which are specific to the K-12 market, including Sport Supply Group, Fisher Science Education, and Virco.
Saving money never goes out of style, and finding both short- and long-term solutions to budget issues is especially critical in today's economy. Districts that register with U.S. Communities can begin saving right away and continue saving for years to come. Not only is the bid process removed from the equation -- saving time and personnel allocation -- but the contracted prices save dollars, which can be reallocated to other purposes.
A South Carolina native, Mary and her husband, Mike, reside near Charlotte, North Carolina, and enjoy spending time with their six-year-old daughter, Kaila.