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Interview: Behind the scenes of the “Vergabeforum”

Retrospect to the “Vergabeforum 2019“: FSM-partner Sebastian Feuchtmüller and Karlheinz Moick have interviewed Gerhard Pichler, Managing Partner of Business Circle, about his personal highlights and asked what we can expect in 2020.

FSM: The „Vergabeforum“celebrates its 17-year existence this year. What contributes more to the success of this extraordinary event: The well-thought-out format paired with the organizer’s constant will to optimize? Or rather the tirelessness of the legislator?

Gerhard Pichler: This year the foundation to success is once again the satisfaction of all participants. The “Vergabeforum” stands for an annual update on current developments in public procurement law. Experts in public procurement law prepare the current judicature and special topics of practical relevance for clients and contractors. Of course, the dynamic and complex aspect of public procurement law is very helpful.

FSM: What were your highlights this year?

Gerhard Pichler: A highlight for me was that the “Vergabeforum” had more than 400 participants for the first time, or 422 participants to be precise. There is a high density of regular participants, however, this year over 120 new ones attended the event. The mix of established procurement practitioners and young participants especially on the public contracting authority’s side makes the event exciting and vivid. That also reflects on the speakers which not only include established seniors but also the next generation like you, Sebastian. For many the procurement party is also always a highlight. We also make an effort to find a new location and theme every year. This is obviously well-received.

FSM: Speaking about the procurement party: Your personal summary?

Gerhard Pichler: I found it incredibly great this year that we had a DJ from the team of speakers who created the musical framework for the evening. The gin tasting with one of the world’s best award-winning gins from southern Styria was also great. The atmosphere was good and very exuberant. The event showed that public procurement lawyers are also capable of spectacular dance moves.

FSM: This year there was a lot of positive feedback for the keynote speech by Jörg Risse. Will “Do you have Powerpoint or something to say?” be the motto for the next awards Forum?

Gerhard Pichler: In fact, Jörg Risse has inspired many people with his impulsive lecture and also has shown how important it is to tell a story and especially speak in images. However, the “Vergabeforum” is also often about knowledge transfer, where the speakers have to decide for themselves which messages they want to take away with them.

FSM: Mr. Risse has probably deliberately taken an extreme position to shake everybody up a bit. How did you actually come upon him?

Gerhard Pichler: We have a course of lectures called “Verhandlungstraining – exklusiv für Juristen” with him. He loves to speak in front of a large audience and in this respect, he was very happy to share his message with 400 public procurement attorneys. He was also predestined, as an acknowledged lawyer, to be able to convey something here, not only as a consultant for presentation techniques or rhetoric. Recently, we have also included an intensive seminar by him in our programme on the topic of “Einfach, Gut, Präsentieren.”

FSM: Finally, a short wordrap which we also held with players of SK Rapid on public procurement law in a quite similar form: Forgive or Retiliate?

Gerhard Pichler: Forgive, of Course.

FSM: Missed Opportunities:

Gerhard Pichler: Each day offers new opportunities, be open to something new.

FSM: Feuchtmüller Stockert Moick:

Gerhard Pichler: Smart, dynamic, competent.

FSM: Business Circle-preview 2020:

Gerhard Pichler: Digital imparting of contents. Furthermore, sustainability and climate change, those socio-political topics will possibly also reflect in the topics of the Vergabeforum 2020.