Spotlighting Recent Successes

Ten months and counting!  More than ever Iowa State University and all faculty, staff, and students have been pivoting, innovating, and overcoming.  In the 10 months since the COVID-19 pandemic first impacted our university, Procurement Services has continuously worked to get the university and our fellow employees the supplies and information they needed, while everything was in short supply, so that Iowa State could continue to operate and fulfill its mission to create, share, and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place. 


Having the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) on campus enabled in person classes to be held this Fall, research to continue, and for students, faculty, and staff to practice the Cyclone Cares behaviors. Through the work of Kelly Freel, we were able procure the needed supplies, and keep them on hand so that they were available for University Employees. 

Since March 17th Kelly has orchestrated:

  • Bids for Student Face Coverings (134,000) and PPE for Central Stores.
  • The sourcing of the following items from cyBUY suppliers:
    • Nearly 70,000 N95 masks for Central Stores to be released by Environmental Health and Safety in increments to the campus community.
    • 5,000 digital thermometers.
    • 10,000 1 oz. bottles of Purell.

By utilizing established cyBUY contracts, Kelly also assisted departments in sourcing countless gowns and thousands of boxes of gloves so that they would be available for use to keep our University moving forward.


Practicing the Cyclone Cares behaviors has been vital to controlling the spread of COVID-19 at our university.  Wendy Foster worked with the Department of Residence to make sure that the stay home if you are ill behavior could be completed by students living in Department of Residence Housing.  Wendy issued a contract to assist students, who are living within the Department of Residence who have tested positive for COVID-19 or need to isolate because of a potential exposure, to move to quarantine or isolation housing, to have the quarantine and isolation housing thoroughly cleaned, and to assist with the delivery of snacks and food to quarantined or isolated students.


COVID-19 testing also become a large component of keeping our Iowa State University Community safe.  Kelly Freel and Yi Wu have worked in collaboration with the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the Thielen Student Health Center to assure the contracts, equipment, and supplies needed to perform this critical component of keeping our campus community informed and safe were secured and available.

Kelly handled the negotiation and issue of nine emergency purchase orders to assist the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory with the Test Iowa initiative and assure the Thielen Student Health Center would have the supplies they needed to administer and process COVID-19 tests.  As well as sourcing 20,000 COVID-19 swab kits for student check-through coordination with the Thielen Student Health Center, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, the Department of Administrative Services, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Yi issued contracts and purchase orders to enable the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to have the equipment and supplies needed to process the COVID-19 tests and provide the results to students, faculty, and staff.  These include a multi-million dollar contract, for COVID nucleic acid testing PCR reagents and plastic ware and acquiring multiple instruments for high-throughput COVID viral nucleic acid extraction and PCR testing.  As well as contract for 20,000 nucleic-acid preserving/viral inactivating transport media tubes and nasopharyngeal swabs for collecting and preserving of COVID testing samples per week.


The move to fully virtual instruction and a majority of employees working from home last spring also caused a large need for web cameras, external microphones, and hotspots.  Jamie Albertson worked with our current suppliers to get as many as were available and to make sure Iowa State University’s needs for these items stayed on the suppliers radar so that they could be filled as soon as inventory was received.  Our cyBUY Team, including Ella Schau and Kaitlyn Heibult, fielded countless questions about backorders and worked to find existing cyBUY suppliers that might be able to secure needed items.


The implementation of travel restrictions left many Iowa State University Employees and Students wondering what to do with airline tickets, hotel reservations, and Iowa State University Hosted Conferences/Events and visits.  Kristie Romsdahl cancelled or amended contracts for hotels, air and ground travel, speakers, and catering for university-hosted events, including study abroad trips, student organization trips, and conferences, that were set to take place throughout the past year. Tera Lawson worked with the Controller’s Office and the Associate Vice President for Institutional Financial Strategy to write, post, and update pages of frequently asked questions regarding travel, travel cancellations, travel restrictions, travel reimbursement, and how to get and document credits/refunds due to COVID-19.


Iowa manufacturing companies were also in need of assistance to prevent, prepare, and respond to disruption due to COVID-19.  Jayna Grauerholz worked with Mike O’Donnell at the Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) to issue an RFP from which nine firms were awarded contracts to provide consulting services to Iowa manufacturers in several areas including: marketing, human resources, quality assurance, engineering, manufacturing, and finance in order to better navigate their operations during COVID-19.


It has been a long 10 months, but Procurement Services looks forward to continuing to work with you to get the university and our fellow employees the supplies and information they needed so that Iowa State can continue to operate and fulfill its mission to create, share, and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place!