Most of you know Barbara Hufnagel as the University’s tireless advocate for small and minority business – but when she joined the University staff in 1986 as a clerk-typist, she couldn’t have imagined how her current business card would read.
A young mother of three, Barb advanced in Facilities Management through the secretarial ranks, then moved over to the accounting series and finally to Financial Transactions Supervisor/Procurement Coordinator. Along the way, she was named 1991’s “Most Valuable Employee” by the State of Maryland Department of Personnel, and earned a 1992 Governor’s Citation.
Noting Barb’s skills and experience, Procurement tapped her for the newly-created position of Contract Administrator in 2000. Not content with a single role, she quickly assumed responsibility for the University’s minority business enterprise (MBE) program and in 2001 was appointed by Chancellor Kirwan to represent University System of Maryland (USM) on the state’s Minority Business Enterprise Advisory Committee. She continues to serve this group, reviewing applications from prospective MBEs to confirm that they’re qualified for certification under Maryland’s program — the most stringent minority business program in the U.S.
Thanks to Barb’s efforts, Towson University is recognized by state leaders as “tops in MBE best practices.” She led TU to first-place MBE standing in USM for the years 2004, 2006 and 2007, and earned us the 2005 MBE Gold Service Award from the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs. And last (but certainly not least), TU achieved the state’s 25% MBE procurement goal for the first time in FY2011.
While Barb was drawing statewide notice for her outstanding MBE work, the State of MD launched a new Small Business Reserve (SBR) program, with the statutory mandate that every state agency award 10% of its procurements to vendors officially registered as small businesses. She was a natural to take on that program, and once again, her business card reflects a “hyphenated” position: Contract Administrator/MBE and SBR Liaison.
Despite a broad range of responsibilities that includes service on TU’s Diversity Action Committee, Barb takes time to personally welcome each new minority or small business vendor who contacts Procurement about TU business opportunities. She says that the best part of her workday is when a TU employee who needs to make a purchase contacts her to ask, “Does a small or minority businesses offer what we need?”
Today, MBE and SBR efforts consume the majority of her time – but Barb’s business card doesn’t reveal what her former colleagues in Facilities Management also know: That she’s a dedicated and effective buyer of maintenance and small construction projects for her former department. It does reflect, however, that she earned the Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) designation in 2005.
Now a young grandmother, Barbara was recognized at the May 2012 Service Awards for 25 years with Towson University. With so many responsibilities, the time has surely flown – as fast as the NASCAR races she loves.