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Industries across the globe are evolving rapidly as millennials begin to phase into leadership positions and older generations retire. The bid and proposal management industry is no exception.
In 2017, APMP—the only association for bid, proposal, business development, capture, and graphics professionals—began recognizing the industry’s young professionals through the APMP 40 Under 40 awards program. The annual program recognizes 40 young professionals, age 40 or younger, who are making noticeable impacts on their companies, professions, and communities. The number of nominations has steadily increased each year, exceeding 100 nominees for the class of 2019. These young professionals have been noted for big wins: improving processes, pursuing professional development, and giving back to their communities.
A Multigenerational Industry
Growing up on the frontier of the technology age, young professionals are bringing innovative ideas to their workplaces. The results are greater efficiency, higher production volumes in less time, and more expansive growth for companies that rely on their proposal teams to win more business.
“Right now, many different generations with different tendencies are working on proposal and business development tasks, making consistent proposal and business development management processes and procedures critical to successful sales,” said Dan Fulton, CF APMP (40 Under 40 Class of 2018). Fulton also recognized that the resources offered by the association, such as the Body of Knowledge, provide a solid framework for cross-generational teams.
Jennifer Mosier, CF APMP (40 Under 40 Class of 2017), also acknowledged the importance of working with older generations in the industry. “I have had several mentors that have mentored me in my career and are close to retirement,” she said. “Their knowledge of business development has shaped me, and I hope to instill what they taught me—along with a few new perspectives—to the next generation.” Mosier hopes that APMP continues to build on the foundation set by her predecessors while tapping into the technological knowledge and communication tools that young professionals bring to the table.
“The changes that have occurred and will occur are founded on the innovative ideas and initiatives from past generations that are now being realized through advances in technology and the means by which we’re able to communicate.” — Kim Ruff, CF APMP, 40 Under 40 Class of 2017
Forging a Future in Technology
As with most industries, APMP members predict that as millennials—and even the oldest members of Gen Z—emerge in the workplace, the bid and proposal management industry will continue to evolve rapidly. The industry is already experiencing significant shifts as new technology and methods of data-sharing are being brought in by these generations. “As the guard changes, the digital natives will be looking to streamline the process using technological tools that may have intimidated the previous generation,” said Allison Maudlin (40 Under 40 Class of 2019).
“The industry is constantly evolving. More and more businesses are looking for strong proposal managers who are able to differentiate their organizations while engaging their prospects,” said Tracey Serber (40 Under 40 Class of 2018). “From infographics and videos to microsites and custom apps, this generation is open and willing to try different ideas to help companies stand out and garner prospect and client engagement.”
Jamie Ninneman, immediate past chair of the APMP board, sees a bright future for the industry and the association as young professionals continue to be recognized for their outstanding career achievements and goals. “It has been a long-standing principle of APMP to drive awareness and recognition of the legitimacy of bid and proposal management as a profession. Over the years, we have seen a very positive change in perception in many geographies and industries as a direct result of actions of the association as a whole alongside actions of its members,” he said. “The more we can continue to inspire the future generations of APMP—especially at the earliest years in the profession—to innately believe and see our industry as a legitimate profession with future growth and recognition, the more time and resources our industry will have to focus maturing the association and its tangible takeaways.”
“Having spent years dedicated to what seemed like an obscure profession, it was so uplifting and rewarding to be acknowledged as a mover and a shaker. This award elevates both the bid and proposal management industry and, on a personal level, my status within it.” — Janille Fagundo, 40 Under 40 Class of 2018
Bringing Credibility to Careers
Recipients of the APMP 40 Under 40 award have already experienced positive impacts on their careers as they add this recognition to their resumes. “This honor means I have put considerable time, effort, and seriousness toward establishing my career in proposals, and now I am among the ranks of proposal professionals committed to advancing the awareness and value of this rewarding career,” said Priscilla Swain (40 Under 40 Class of 2019). “Sharing news of this award within my networks has already prompted new connections and reengagements with former colleagues. In the long term, I see this award as a differentiator and an indicator of my seriousness and commitment to professional development.”
Ninneman hopes that in addition to providing deserved recognition to the recipients, the 40 Under 40 program will continue to inspire younger generations who are the future of the industry. “The challenge we need to look at is recognizing the continuous incremental growth that occurs in early careers, keeping [young professionals] inspired to remain with the journey, understanding that early success can be recognized at an industry level alongside those that have a lifetime of achievement—and that they are complementary and not competitive.”
APMP’s CEO, Rick Harris, enjoys celebrating the association’s younger professionals: “These professionals represent APMP’s future and the industry’s promise. These are the people who have stepped forward in a significant way to contribute. I look forward to watching them grow and lead as they continue to bring new experiences and innovation to our dynamic industry.”
This year’s recipients will be recognized at APMP’s Bid & Proposal Con event in Orlando, Florida, on Wednesday, May 22, during the morning welcome and keynote session. To learn more about the 2019 class of 40 Under 40 award winners, visit the 40 Under 40 profile page on APMP’s website.