Desiree Taggard, director of Procurement Services at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, has received the 2020 Young Professional in Procurement Award from the National Association of Educational Procurement (NAEP).
“It was flattering to receive such a huge honor,” Taggard said. “I want people to look at UA Little Rock as a beacon of light for higher education buying in Arkansas. We are seeing the payout from four years of continuing improvement.”
The Young Professional in Procurement Award recognizes outstanding young procurement professionals for their contributions to their institutions,the higher education community, NAEP,and the procurement profession.
“We value Desiree‘s service, hard work, and dedication to our organization,” said NAEP President Travis Ball.
Taggard joined UA Little Rock as assistant director of Procurement Services in 2016 after previously working for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. She was promoted to director of Procurement Services in 2018. She was nominated for the award by her team in Procurement.
“Desiree has led her Procurement Services team by example, proving that hard work and dedication are the keys to success,” said Mary Worthy, assistant director of card services. “Procurement Services was restructured under Deisree’s leadership for the betterment of UA Little Rock. She saw the need to have two teams serve our campus more efficiently, and they are the expense and procurement team.”
Over the past two years, Taggard has partnered with other financial leaders in the University of Arkansas System to design, implement, and manage the system’s transition from Banner to Workday.
“My team is what makes me successful in procurement,” Taggard said. “I have an amazing team who supports me, and I would never have been able to make it through the implementation of Workday and all the other changes over the past few years if I didn’t have such an amazing team that allows me to focus on the needs of the campus. We all work well together, and that’s what makes me successful.”
Keifran Melvin, travel administrator in Procurement Services, said that Taggard has been a strong leader and given the team a voice while implementing many advancements in Procurement.
“Desiree has not only shaped the way people think when it comes to everyday life, but she has also shaped the way they think when it comes to purchasing,” Melvin said. “We have had the most change this year moving from a complete paper process, to a partially electronic process, and now to a fully electronic process. She also allowed our expertise in our fields of Procurement to grow by allowing our team to sit in on the writing and organization of our new procedures and policy updates.”
Taggard has a bachelor’s degree in music and minor in accounting from Henderson State University and is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in business at UA Little Rock.
Taggard lives in Jacksonville with her husband, Michael, and children, Derek, a sophomore civil engineering major at UA Little Rock, Leah, and Chase.