Who We Are
The Public Group is a privately-owned, profitable, debt-free company. The information presented here, shows the events and ideas that brought The Public Group from an innovative concept to a leading creator of Internet-based, "time and money" saving software systems, exclusively geared toward Government Agencies' buying and selling procedures.
Derek MacFarland, founder and president, graduated from Brigham Young University. While as student at BYU, he developed a strong interest in the emerging Internet and wanted to create Internet-based software. Soon after graduation, he pursued his interest and established a small Internet-based software design company that grew into The Public Group.
In 1996, after learning that one of his customers was having a difficult time responding to government bid requests, Derek saw a need, and a new business opportunity. He created an Internet-based procurement system for government agencies that made the entire procurement process - from bid notification to contract evaluation and award - more efficient for both agencies and their vendors.
After nearly three years of designing, programming and consulting with various Purchasing Directors, Derek and his small team of programmers completed a fully operational eProcurement system. Timing was off, however, as the system was introduced into the marketplace at the end of 1999 – in the height of the dot.com craze. Competition from companies claiming to have governmental eProcurement systems, each funded by tens of millions of dollars, overwhelmed Derek's company's modest resources.
Derek decided to for go competition against the much-better financed dot.coms and sold his Procurement Software to one of them. This experience proved invaluable in many ways. Derek was able to use the sales proceeds to increase the company's capital. He also learned a lot about the business of eProcurement by observing the dot.com companies mistakes and failures. The dot.com company that purchased Derek's Procurement Software failed, but his nine-year-old software system - now owned by another company - is still in use today, and is considered by some in the industry, to be one of the better procurement products available.
Soon after the eProcurement software sale, Derek and his team began working on a new product, and "Public Surplus" was born. This new, online auction, system was created to help government agencies efficiently manage and sell their surplus inventory. Once Public Surplus was fully established, Derek started working on a second-generation eProcurement system, incorporating his knowledge and experience gained from his previous system.
The new eProcurement system was completed near the end of 2002, and Derek created "RFP Depot" to market the new software. Soon after, RFP Depot won a bid created by a 17-agency cooperative in Texas. At this time, Derek accepted investor funding to assist with marketing RFP Depot. Unfortunately, the investor partnership dissolved after only two years. The investors were given completed ownership of RFP Depot, and Derek, his Chief Technology Officer, and his team, retained the Public Surplus ownership.
Major advances in hardware, software and Internet technology hit the market over the next two years. These new technologies improved efficiency and reduced costs. Derek used some of these new technologies to completely redesign Public Surplus, improving its capability and functionality while simplifying the system. This made it easier to learn and even more user-friendly. This reduced the support and maintenance cost for Public Surplus by more than 70%.
As Public Surplus grew and was well on its way to becoming the leading Internet-based surplus management and auction system for government agencies, Derek saw the time was right to begin working on a third-generation eProcurement system. He applied many of the advanced technologies that Public Surplus now used, to create a new, even more advanced, eProcurement system. This new system would surpass his two previous efforts.
"Public Purchase" was completed at the end of 2007. It is faster, more efficient, more capable and much easier to learn and use than any other governmental eProcurement system available.
While they were developing Public Purchase, Derek and his team also designed and developed additional software to complement and expand Public Purchase's ability to address governmental procurement needs. The quality and comprehensiveness of the new eProcurement software inspired Derek and his programming team to start on their most ambitious project to-date – a project with two challenging objectives:
First: Combine all of The Public Group's existing and new software into a suite of products that allows government agencies to easily modernize their procedures that relate, either directly or indirectly, to everything that they buy and sell. These procedures are related to Budgeting, Purchasing, Requisitioning, Contract Management, Warehousing, Vendor Management, Surplus Management and Sales, and much more.
Second: Reduce costs in software implementation and maintenance.
This revolutionary software is comprehensive in its scope, functionality and ease of implementation, and is unique enough to allow The Public Group to apply for Patent protection.
Currently, more than 2,500 public agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada are using The Public Group's software. Our future will be defined by continued, rapid growth as we create new software solutions for government agencies.