Speaker Bios

Guest Speakers Include:

Gwendolyn W. Williams

Gwendolyn W. Williams
Former Assistant General Manager
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP)

Gwendolyn W. Williams, Former Assistant General Manager- Supply Chain Services for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Prior to LADWP she was an AECOM Project Director in Los Angeles and Tripoli, Libya, and Executive Officer, Procurement at LA Metro. She holds a M.S from USC and is a Project Management Professional


Kenn Sullivan

Kenn Sullivan
Associate Professor
Arizona State University

Dr. Kenneth Sullivan is an associate professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University. He specializes in performance measurement, risk management, best value contracting, organizational transformation, and accountability systems. His research processes have generated over $10 Million in research funding and have been implemented in construction, design, facility management, IT, and business services projects valued at over $11 Billion. In addition to all types of design and construction delivery, he has led project efforts in networking systems, software, dining, sports media rights, fund management, radio systems, health insurance, document management, and others. Prof. Sullivan possesses a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, an MBA in Real Estate and Urban Economics, and a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering, all from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.


Jake Smithwick

Jake Smithwick
Assistant Professor
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Dr. Jake Smithwick is a researcher and educator in construction project delivery and facility management at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. He has worked on a variety of projects, totaling more than $575 million in value, with 25 public and private owners. His industry experience also includes field inspection of nearly 2,000 waterproofing systems (74 million SF) across the United States, and six years in the US Air Force Reserve (civil engineering squadron). 


Jason Soza

Jason Soza was appointed Chief Procurement Officer for the State of Alaska in July 2013. Jason is responsible for the oversight of well over $1 billion in goods and services purchases, inventory, and property disposal by all executive branch agencies across the state. Jason has over 18 years of experience in public procurement, most of that at the statewide level. As a student of Lean Six Sigma and a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt with a passion for pushing the boundaries and finding better ways to do things in government, Jason has led several procurement-related process improvement projects resulting in efficiencies saving years of time and millions of dollars annually. On a national level, Jason has served on the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) Board of Directors since 2016, first with a role as the Research and Innovation Champion, and in 2018 was elected as the 2019 President-elect and will assume the role of President in 2020.


Melinda Harger

Melinda Harger, P.E. is Assistant Director of the Municipal Services & Operations Department for the City of Lawrence, Kansas, and leads the Construction Management, Engineering, and Development section. She has 15 years of experience in facility planning and design, project management, and construction administration in both the private and public sectors. She has managed a variety of projects, including the recently completed $74 million Wakarusa Wastewater Treatment Plant, and is currently project manager for the City’s new police facility which is scheduled to begin construction in 2019. She received her B.S. in Mathematics, B.S. in Civil Engineering, and Master of Civil Engineering degree from the University of Kansas and is a LEED Accredited Professional.


Ron T. Coley

Recently retired after serving 21 years in senior executive positions at two University of California campuses: Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services at UC Riverside (2014-18) where he oversaw a budget of $146 million and approximately 642 career and 800 student employees, responsible for providing a variety of campus business and support services; and Associate Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services at UC Berkeley (1998-2014).

Throughout his higher education career, Coley has been steadfast in his commitment to promoting high quality leadership and organizational excellence. To that end, he is one of the founding members of the Network for Change and Continuous Innovation in Higher Education, a frequent conference speaker, consultant, and occasional author on higher education leadership and organizational excellence.

Prior to joining the higher education community, Coley served as a senior administrative manager in the County of Orange, California where he oversaw, on behalf of the County Board of Supervisors and County Chief Administrative/Executive Officer, the critically important areas of Public Safety and Criminal Justice. During his six-year tenure at OC, Coley helped the County recover from the largest ($1.8 billion) municipal bankruptcy filing in American history.

Coley began his professional career(s) as a Marine Corps pilot, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, after 20 years of service. He earned his MBA in finance and managerial accounting from the Wharton School, University of Pa, and his BS in management and industrial relations from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa. where he was honored to be installed into the university’s athletic Hall of Fame for basketball. Coley is married to Dr. Soraya M. Coley, President of CalPoly Pomona, in Pomona, CA.


Kim Rayray

Kim Rayray is currently the Contracts and Procurement Manager for Seattle City Light.  She has performed various procurement functions at the electric utility over the last 20 years including  supply chain inventory purchasing.  In her current role,  Kim oversees the execution of all of the  contracts including Architectural, Engineering, Inspections, Training and Energy Analysis .  She holds the CPPO and CPPB certifications from NIGP, the Institute of Public Procurement.