Monday, August 7, 2023

Obituary for Mike Purdy

Michael Edward Purdy finished his 69-year journey on this planet when his Creator called him home on August 2, 2023, at his home in Seattle, Washington. Despite a lifetime of excellent health, stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer eventually ended his grand adventure, following a May 2019 diagnosis.

As a husband, father, grandfather, manager, historian, and writer, Mike had a profound impact on those around him. He was kind and gentle, an optimist, a deep listener, intelligent, and found humor in life. He saw all of life as ultimately theological and sought daily to live out his faith in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Mike was born to Allen Roger Kirschner and Louise Anne (Lynch Winter) Kirschner, in Akron, Colorado, where his father taught English at the local high school. A little over a month after his birth, the family, including his older brother Stephen Allen, moved to New York for a few months to be closer to Mike’s paternal grandparents (Jack and Frances Kirschner), then to Greenwich, Connecticut until 1961, when they moved to Princeton, New Jersey where Mike’s father took a position as chairman of the English department at Princeton High School. In May of 1964, with his parents’ marriage disintegrating, his mother moved with Mike and Steve to California, where she had grown up.

Mike graduated from San Marino High School where he served as ASB president. After graduation in 1972, Mike attended the University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, WA), where he was elected student body president. He served as a congressional intern in Washington, DC in the summer of 1973 during the Watergate scandal and sat in on hearings of the Senate Watergate Committee. He graduated in 1976 with a double major in business administration and public administration.

After graduating, he met his wife, Catherine, and they were married in May 1978. He obtained a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Puget Sound in 1979. Upon graduation, he embarked on what would become a 30-year career managing government contracts, first for the City of Seattle for more than 21 years, then the Seattle Housing Authority, and finally the University of Washington (UW).

Mike and Catherine moved to West Seattle in 1980, where they bought a house and started their family. They had two children, Janet (1982) and David (1985). During the 1980s, with significant support from Catherine, he also obtained a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Mike retired as contracts manager from the UW in February 2010 and launched a successful public contracting consulting business for the next decade, advising government agencies, providing training, and writing a popular industry blog.

In retirement, Mike also launched another career as a U.S. presidential historian, starting a web site (, authoring two books, writing articles, and participating in media interviews.

After being diagnosed with cancer in 2019, he struggled with the emotional and spiritual roller-coaster of terminal illness. With the support of his wife Catherine, other family members, and many friends, he sought to find joy on the journey while pondering his legacy in the world. In 2022, he wrote a candid memoir about his “uncertain journey.”   

Mike was preceded in death by his parents and is survived by his loving wife of 45 years, Catherine; daughter Janet Purdy of Jordanville, NY; son David Purdy (Melissa) of Seattle, WA; grandson Michael Purdy; brother Steve Kirschner of Oceano, CA; sister Tambra Faezeli of Portland, OR; other relatives, and a host of dear friends with whom he was privileged to walk through this life.

A celebration of Mike’s life will be held at Bethany Presbyterian Church in Seattle on Saturday, August 26 at 3:00 p.m. and will be live streamed. More details at

Thursday, March 9, 2023

2 New Books I've Written


Public Works Resource Guide: I have written a Public Works Resource Guide for Washington state's Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC). The online book is being edited now and hopefully will be available by late spring or early summer at It is a best practices guide to everything about public construction contracting. The main sections of the book are as follows:


Memoir: I have also written a candid and vulnerable memoir titled Reflections of an Uncertain Journey about my now almost four-year journey dealing with a lethal and incurable cancer (metastatic prostate cancer).

The book will be released by the publisher on March 17, 2023, but is now available for preorder. Paperback or eBook. Amazon link.

The following is the table of contents for the book:



My Journey Past

1. Health History
2. Vocational History
3. Faith History
4. Emotional History


Physical Journey

5. Diagnosis
6. Traditional Treatments
7. Alternative Treatments
8. Advocacy
9. Co-Healing
10. Pain
11. Waiting

Emotional Journey

12. Sadness
13. Unfairness
14. Grief
15. Despair
16. Tears
17. Future-Tripping
18. Counseling

Spiritual Journey

19. Equilibrium
20. Submission
21. Heaven
22. Dreams

Companions for the Journey

23. Deepening Friendships
24. No Regrets
25. Cultivating Friendships
26. Rotating Friends
27. Friends Ease Loneliness
28. Tangible Tokens
29. The Fire Pit
30. Support Groups

My Journey Remembered

31. Legacy
32. Legacy of Lives
33. Legacy of Words
34. Legacy of Possessions

The Journey Ahead

35. Relief
36. Joy on the Journey
37. An Uncertain Journey
38. Onward in Faith




Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2023 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Friday, April 24, 2020

Construction Bid Issues: Virtual Training on April 30th

NIGP is sponsoring an all day class I've developed and will be teaching this coming Thursday, April 30, 2020 entitled "When Bad Things Happen to Bids: Strategies for Ensuring a Successful Public Construction Project."

The course was originally scheduled to be an in-person class in Florida, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been switched to a virtual Zoom training, thus making it available to people across the country.

The class will run from 8:00am to 5:00pm Eastern time. So, if you're on the west coast (like I am), it will be an early start to the day!

Click here to go to NIGP's webpage about the class and how to register for it. The registration fee is $410.

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2020 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Impact of COVID-19 on Construction Projects

As our nation and the world grapple with managing the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we are witnessing an unprecedented upheaval of the foundations of society. How should public agencies and contractors be responding and how does it impact construction projects? 

Resources: I want to share a couple of articles posted online by Seattle law firms that have good discussions on the concept of force majeure (also known as acts of God), other legal concepts, and how this impacts contractual relationships. I hope these articles help provide a framework as you address the impacts of COVID-19. 

Read Your Contract: Be sure to check the specific language of your contract and consult with your attorneys. 

Links: Here are the links:
Social Distancing Resource: Need a good book to read as you're practicing social distancing? A friend of mine recently bought 15 copies of my book, and had me sign each one for her to give as gifts to family, friends, colleagues, and mentors. It's an easy, shocking, and fun read. You can buy it online at 
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2020 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Insurance and Insults

Insurance and insults? How do they go together? Well...they don't. In this blog, I want to share two separate things. 

Does a Certificate of Insurance protect you? In a recent court case, the court found that a certificate of insurance by itself does not give a party additional insured rights and does not change or modify the underlying insurance policy. In order to be covered and protected as an additional insured, you must obtain an endorsement (or amendment) to the contractor's insurance policy that names your entity as an additional insured, either by specifically naming your entity, or through a blanket endorsement adding the additional insured protection to your entity. Jay Rossiter of the Perkins Coie law firm has written a brief and very readable summary of the issues. Click here to read the summary. 

101 Presidential Insults: I’m excited to announce the publication of my new book about our presidents – how they’ve historically insulted one another – and what this lack of civility means to us in our current political environment.

101 Presidential Insults: What They Really Thought About Each Other – and What It Means to Us peeks behind the political curtain – exposing that our presidents have dished out acerbic insults about other presidents from the founding fathers to the age of Trump. Meticulously researched, the book is a significant contribution to our understanding of the character of the 44 characters who have served as president. In it, I challenge us and our leaders, despite our sordid history, to rise to "the better angels of our nature" and reject the acidic politics of personal demonization.

101 Presidential Insults is a quick and fun read, shocking at times, sobering, and thought-provoking. It is a must read for anyone interested in history and concerned about the current lack of civility in politics. 

How you can help: I be grateful if you’d help get the word out about the book.

Buy the book now by pre-ordering it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Any bookstore can order the book as well for you as it will be available through the main distributors that bookstores use to buy their books. The book will be released on June 7, 2019. The more pre-orders for the book, the more Amazon and Barnes and Noble will promote the book. 

Forward this email to your family, friends, colleagues, co-workers, acquaintances, and others who may be interested in it.

Share information about the book (a link to the Amazon or Barnes and Noble addresses noted above or other information) on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and other social media platforms. 

Write a review of the book after you receive it and post it to Amazon by June 25. The more reviews the book has early on, the more Amazon will promote the book. Your review doesn’t have to be long. Just some quick and positive thoughts about the book.

Speaking: I’d be grateful if you would pass my name on to people if you know of opportunities to speak to a group or organization with which you are associated. 

More about 101 Presidential Insults:

Private and Public Insults: Sometimes in private letters, diaries, and conversations, they let their guard down on what they really thought about a former, deceased, current, or future president. At other times, these insults have been audaciously proclaimed in public speeches, books, and to the media. By their own words, our presidents have demonstrated their flawed humanity with insults that are often humorous and sometimes shocking for their lack of decorum. We may laugh or perhaps wince as we read these 101 presidential insults.

Examples of Insults: The presidents have labeled one another as dangerous, ignorant, liars, obstinate, selfish, unfit, vain, and weak. And these are just some of the commonplace words. They have also used biting and bitter phrases such as gibbering idiot, little schmuck, and young whippersnapper. Some bizarre insults require research and a dictionary to understand, such as "Byzantine logothete."

Book Contents: The book includes:

- Introduction: A thoughtful and challenging introduction calling for increased civility in our private lives and the public square.

- Quotations: 101 humorous, shocking, and sobering quotes by the presidents about other presidents that includes a brief description of the occasion, source (letter, diary, speech, etc.), and date for each insult. There is at least one quotation about each president, demonstrating that such behavior has been around since the nation's founding and occurs regardless of political party affiliation.

- Glossary: A glossary of the obscure terms used by presidents about other presidents such as "honeyfuggler," "bungalow mind," and “puzzlewit.”

- Lists: Three lists (alphabetical by insult, about/by list, and numerical analysis by source of insults) help the reader to view these caustic comments from different angles. 

- End notes citing primary sources for the quotes (when known), or reliable secondary sources that reference primary sources. The end notes are a significant contribution to documenting these quotes. I chose not to include some quotes that I could not track down.

2020 Challenges: The upcoming presidential election will be a test of our national character and the character of the candidates. Ultimately, our survival as a nation depends on our ability to treat others with respect, and to promote civility, consensus, and compromise.

Praise for 101 Presidential Insults

"Mike Purdy has written a terrific book. As a presidential historian, he has a gift for discovering just the right anecdotes that help us understand our presidents better. Really well done."
White House bureau chief, West Wing Reports,
USA Today columnist,
Author of Under This Roof: The White House and Presidency

“Filthy, disgraced, lying, cheating, calculating bastard, schemer, a dangerous man, a little schmuck, unfit to serve...Mike Purdy brings us into the political locker room, where nothing is left unsaid. This book is a statement on the dark humanity of American presidents—sad and hilarious, at the same time.”
New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental President

“Mike Purdy provides a picture of these presidents as flawed or, rather, human leaders—prone to the pettiness, anger, and incivility that even the best of us exhibit. This book should be required reading for those concerned about the current political climate. Perhaps in knowing the past we can chart a new, more civil course. It’s also great reading for those who enjoy a good laugh!”
Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at
Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, Washington)

“Anyone reading this book will have reactions of laughter, shock, and amazement as they learn more about the personalities of our 44 Presidents. This book is highly recommended to all who follow and love the institution of the American Presidency.”
Author of Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency

“Mike Purdy's track on 101 Presidential Insults reveals a side of presidential politics that is at once delightful and shocking. We will see plenty of mudslinging going into the 2020 election, but 101 Presidential Insults reminds us that it really has always been that way.”
Former Member of Congress

I hope you pre-order the book today and enjoy it! Thanks!!

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2019 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Problem with Bid Prices in Numbers and Words

Tennessee construction attorney Matthew DeVries has described the outcome of an Alabama court case in which a bidder left out the word "thousand" in a bid price and was held to the significantly lower bid amount by the public agency. The contractor refused to execute the contract because they would loose too much money and the public agency collected from their bid bond.

Allow withdrawal of bid if error is made:  Public agencies should generally allow a contractor who has made a mistake to withdraw their bid.  It is not in either the contractor's or the public agency's best interest to enter into a contract in which the contractor will loose money.

Request bid prices in numbers only: Public agencies should also not require bid prices in words, but only numbers. It's a way to make the bid process simpler and eliminate yet another area for non-responsiveness and ambiguity. In the event you can't read a contractor's bid price in numbers, language in your bid documents allowing rejection of the bid as non-responsive can resolve the lack of clarity in the bid amount.  

Click here to read Mr. DeVries brief blog post on this court case.

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2018 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, November 20, 2017

Leadership Lessons from the Presidents (for Public Procurement Employees)

On November 16, 2017, I had the privilege of speaking before approximately 125 public procurement officials at the annual luncheon of the Central Ohio Organization of Public Purchasers in Columbus, Ohio.  Click here to listen to my talk.

I spoke on the topic of "Leadership Lessons from the Presidents." Whether it's leadership from the Oval Office or leadership in adding value to the procurement process, there are common styles and principles that make for successful leaders. My 53 minute talk takes us back in history to examine successful and unsuccessful leadership styles of a handful of presidents, and how we can apply those practices to the management of public procurement and contracting.

By way of summary, I suggested there are four characteristics of good leaders.  Under each category, I had sub-points as noted below:
  • Moral Leadership
  • Empathy
  • Style
  • Humor
  • Communication
  • Compromise
  • Listening
  • Civility
  • The Art of Possibility
  • Bold Leadership
  • Thirst for Information
Click here to listen to my talk.

Please contact me if you're interested in having me deliver this talk at your agency, association, or conference.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2017 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC