5 Questions with APMP Member Peter Ross

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Peter Ross, like many in this industry, found this profession in a very roundabout way.

“My main background was the military, as I spent six years as an intelligence specialist in the Army,” he explains. “Following my discharge, I had a couple fairly odd jobs before starting as a field technician to get my foot in the door of a medical device company. After a few years there, I was ready for a change, and the HR business partner for my department thought the proposal role would be a perfect fit for me. Given that my military and academic background was heavily focused on analysis and writing, it turned out to be a great fit.”

Though Ross, senior contracts specialist at Stryker Australia and an ANZ chapter member, considers himself a “youngling” in this industry, with nearly four years of experience, he knows he’s in this profession for the long run. “This is the first role I’ve had in a while where I thought, not only can I make a great career out of this, I love it enough to do just that.” Read on to learn what Ross says is his biggest accomplishment (and challenge), the industry trend he’s watching and why he’s #ProudToBeAPMP.

Tell us about your biggest career accomplishment.

It would have to be a proposal I ran earlier this year. It was a major implants tender that involved managing three internal teams and a team from a company we had just acquired, with something like 9,000 line items. The amount of work and internal deadlines to keep track of was mind boggling, and I had to use every bit of experience I’d gained so far to make it work. Everything went smoothly, but it was still incredibly stressful. I don’t know how I would have been if it hadn’t gone well!

Conversely, what would you say is the biggest challenge you’ve faced?

Learning to not hold “the deadline” as being so sacrosanct. What I’ve learned is that it’s not just your job to get the submission in; just as important is how you do it. It’s about making the bid team feel comfortable and confident at every turn, it’s about gently keeping everything on track, and it’s about being agile when a spanner gets thrown into the works. People respond to leadership far more than they do to management, so I always keep that in mind.

What industry trends or technologies are you paying attention to right now?

Value-based procurement. It’s something we’ve talked about so much because the industry trend in medical devices has just been a continual race to the bottom on pricing. Thankfully, things are starting to change, with customers now looking at total cost of ownership and total value rather than just an upfront price. There is still a long way to go here, and firmly on our radar over the coming years is how to demonstrate value on industry-leading tech in our proposals, in a way that’s easy to understand and quantify for customers.

What makes you excited to go to work every day?

The fact that there is always something to improve upon and something new to try. Just this year, the team I work on has come leaps and bounds in terms of project management because we’ve tried a bunch of new things, and our proposal writing is constantly being refined as well. The energy from having that kind of career self-determination is amazing! My mentor and I were looking at some rough notes regarding a career pathway for our team from January 2020, and it’s so far behind where we are now that it might as well have been written back in 2013 when the team was first formed.

Why are you #ProudToBeAPMP?

Because this is a profession where you can’t understand the pressures and difficulties unless you’re actually doing it. When I attended my first APMP event a couple years ago, I was stunned to hear that proposal professionals from law, engineering, IT, etc., all seemed to have experiences similar to mine. It was one of those moments where you think to yourself, ‘I thought I was the only one!’ It’s nice to be part of a professional organization where you feel so understood.

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