30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars: Defining a New Generation

Tags: Education & Careers, Logistics, Education, Careers, Supply Chain

Inbound Logistics, ISM, and ThomasNet honor 30 professionals who are 30 or younger, and already making their mark in supply chain and purchasing management.

Once characterized as entitled and protected, millennials are becoming firmly established in today's workforce, where they are making their mark with their talent, technological prowess, and can-do attitude. Nowhere is that more evident than in the supply management profession, where young professionals are working with practitioners from several other generations to help tackle the ever-changing supply chain challenges facing global companies.

With its focus on building relationships, continuous improvement, and data analytics, the supply management profession is a perfect fit for millennials, who often are team-oriented collaborators, tech savvy, and welcome the challenge of tackling new projects. To showcase the young professionals in supply management, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) and ThomasNet recognize 30 professionals 30 years or younger through the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars program.

The program, which debuted in 2014, highlights the accomplishments of rising supply management professionals who are nominated for their outstanding achievements—both professionally and personally—by managers, mentors, or co-workers. Today's workplace is distinct, as five generations—ranging from the traditional generation born before 1945 to Gen Z, born 1996 or after—work together. While this interesting mix of generations can be challenging, many believe it offers professionals of all ages the opportunity to shares skills and knowledge unique to each generation.

Clearly, the rising stars honored in the 30 Under 30 program highlight the contributions young professionals are making in supply chain organizations around the globe. Some came to the profession by chance, while others claim a lifelong curiosity about how products move through the supply chain. The common denominator among the group is a passion for the profession and commitment to making a difference in their companies and communities.

As the generational landscape of the business world evolves, millennials may be supply management's greatest asset because of their commitment to mentoring and sharing their passion for the profession. Many of the program's rising stars mentor college students and young people coming into their organizations. They proudly tell other aspiring professionals that supply management is "the heartbeat of a company," and in a supply chain organization, "there will never be a dull moment."

Judging from the early accomplishments of these 30 stars, we believe you will realize that the future of the supply management profession is in good hands.

2015 Megawatt Winner – Amy Georgi

Age: 30: Program Manager, Supply Chain Acquisitions and Integrations, Fluke Electronics, a Danaher Company, York, Pennsylvania

Nominated by Jami Bliss, Director, Program Management, Global Procurement, Teva Pharmaceuticals

Originally, Georgi was going to be an accountant like her father—until she spent a summer at his firm. When her daily highlight became talking to the UPS driver for a few precious minutes of human interaction, she concluded that perhaps accounting wasn't for her. Surveying majors at Arizona State University, she discovered supply chain management. As junior class president in high school, Georgi planned the prom. The public school has to comply with government purchasing practices, and she loved the process—evaluating bids, negotiating with vendors, and writing a persuasive proposal to use a better, yet slightly costlier, site. That's when the proverbial light bulb went off: "Wait! People get paid to do this?" she laughs. Georgi excelled in her studies, was a 2006 recipient of the prestigious R. Gene Richter Scholarship, and graduated from ASU's Supply Chain Management program in 2007.

Holding a Master Black Belt in Danaher Material Processes, Georgi is a firm proponent of the kaizen continuous improvement philosophy. She has hosted numerous kaizen events and cultivated quite a following while spreading the "Danaher way."

One of Georgi's most impressive accomplishments was her creation of standardized templates for procurement and supply chain activities for new acquisitions. The templates are scalable, regardless of organization size. This has ensured that training is consistent, policies are clearly communicated, and savings and synergies occur at an unprecedented pace. In a recent integration, she re-sourced 91 percent of the components to Fluke's preferred suppliers within 90 days of acquisition (without causing disruptions to manufacturing), a new company record.

When it's time to relax with her family, Georgi says her passion is geocaching, an outdoor activity using GPS coordinates to hide and find items, a big hit with her 2-year-old daughter who considers it a treasure hunt. She jokes that her other pastime is trying to coach up her anatomist husband's negotiating skills to get him better deals on his lab equipment.

In Her Own Words

"The most difficult part of my job is that I work in acquisitions and integration. It is difficult to work closely with individuals for months or years and then be called on to support a restructuring project and say goodbye."

Kyle Alcorn

Age: 28: Senior Buyer, Zimmer Biomet, Warsaw, Indiana

Nominated by Andrea Grable, Director of Global Sourcing, Real Estate, Sourcing Processes, and Compliance, Zimmer Biomet


While attending college in Warsaw, Ind., the "Orthopedic Capital of the World," Kyle Alcorn saw a big opportunity for a successful career in the orthopedics industry. After taking a temporary position with Biomet, a leading orthopedic company, his passion for understanding the big picture and determination to find process solutions rather than going for the quick fix impressed his superiors. Alcorn quickly earned a permanent buyer position and has been exceeding expectations ever since.

Alcorn's role in eSourcing has allowed him to achieve significant savings for the company, and he now holds a prominent role in its eAuctions. To date, his efforts have resulted in savings of $10.1 million—an average of 22 percent savings on everything auctioned. He is now in the process of training four others globally to run auctions.

Outside the office, mountain biking plays a big part in Alcorn's life, and he sits on the board of 2nd Mile Adventures, an adventure ministry group. However, a new and even bigger passion for him and his wife is their 7-month-old daughter and they look forward to getting her on two wheels as soon as she is ready.

In HIS Own Words

"To succeed, you need to learn, adapt, and be flexible for whatever task is thrown at you. Don't worry if you're nervous; it's because it's stretching you, and that's a good thing."

Danielle Amico

Age: 28: Contract Administrator, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

Nominated by Michael Karl, Assistant Director-Facilities Procurement Office, Princeton University


Starting her career in human resources, Amico spotted an entry-level position as a junior contract administrator for Princeton University, thought the requirements suited her skills, and took the plunge. Even though she had no experience in procurement, she embraced the challenges before her, quickly mastered the required knowledge, and has continued to tackle increasingly complex assignments.

In her current role as a contract administrator, Amico co-led two highly effective process improvement initiatives. One involved developing and documenting a process for working with internal clients to establish ordering agreements for design and construction services. She also contributed significantly to the rollout of the Sourcing Director electronic bidding system by developing the process, RFx templates, and document libraries for her office.

Amico works hard to cultivate trusting relationships with clients (her project managers). "My challenge is to help them see me as a partner rather than an adversary," she says. "When someone seeks me out for advice, I know that I've done my job."

In Her Own Words

"If I could start over, I would still choose this profession. I love how every day is different. I enjoy working with my clients to help them get the best value for the services they need. I enjoy interacting with my suppliers and having a mutually beneficial relationship."

Seth Blaustein

Age: 27: Manager of Marketplace Development, B-Stock Solutions, Redwood City, California

Nominated by Melissa Gieringer, Communications Manager, B-Stock Solutions


You know the stars are aligned when your childhood hobby leads to your dream career. So it was for Seth Blaustein, who, at age 12, began bidding for items on eBay for resale, something he did for the next 10 years. In college, he learned supply chain hands-on in a co-op program, and from there, it was only natural that he would end up at B-Stock Solutions, a startup that specializes in online liquidation auctions.

One of Blaustein's biggest accomplishments is his contribution to creating, growing, and sustaining B-Stock Supply, the company's branded B2B marketplace where hundreds of retailers, ranging from Fortune 500 organizations to small businesses, can efficiently sell excess inventory using an online auction platform. In one case, he significantly improved a Fortune 100 client's recovery by determining which merchandise category groupings would have the greatest success.

Emblematic of Blaustein's determination to put 100 percent into everything he does was a decision he made on a whim to run in a half-marathon while in San Francisco. The amazing part—he'd never run in a race before and didn't train for it, yet finished in 95 minutes, far quicker than the two-hour average for males for a 13.1-mile race.

In HIS Own Words

"I feel that what I do has a significant impact on the business. I'm able to use what I've learned from my first few years to contribute to process improvements, product enhancements, and overall marketplace strategy."

Michael Croasdale

Age: 26: Senior Project Manager, Source One Management Services, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania

Nominated by Carole Boyle, Marketing Content Strategist, Source One Management Services


Michael Croasdale got his first taste of supply chain-related activities while working in a warehouse during college. Being strategically minded and a people person, he undertook an internship at a consulting firm that specialized in strategic sourcing, eventually accepted a full-time position, and has been charging hard ever since.

One of Croasdale's big wins involved a large subcontractor construction firm that had not actively engaged in strategic sourcing and had only recently created a centralized procurement department. For one project, he took it upon himself to source concrete and aggregate materials, and pushed suppliers to think not on a per-project price, but to consider pricing as a preferred vendor. It was a difficult task, he says, as "most people selling rocks do not look at the big picture."

The oldest of seven, Croasdale acts as a mentor to his brothers. In addition to attending movies and concerts, he enjoys hiking, camping, and fishing. You can also find him relaxing with an easel drawing or painting. But his ultimate stress reliever? Gardening—he's reputed to have quite the green thumb.

In HIS Own Words

"I would recommend a career in supply management because it's a field where you can really succeed. You get the opportunity to look at all areas of a business, see how it operates, and take control of a piece of it. I find it very rewarding."

Robert Dennis

Age: 30: Contract Administrator, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

Nominated by Michael Karl, Assistant Director-Facilities Procurement Office, Princeton University


After receiving a degree in finance, and working as the manager of a running store for two years, Dennis sought new career opportunities. A close family friend needed to fill an entry-level position in facilities procurement at Princeton, and Dennis turned out to be a natural fit.

In his current role as a contract administrator, Dennis led a highly visible process improvement initiative and contributed significantly to the rollout of the Sourcing Director electronic bidding system. Working with his clients in the Office of Design & Construction and Housing & Real Estate Services, he developed a category management strategy for Princeton's residential housing program. The result was a detailed plan to expand the qualified suppliers' pool to ensure the university receives the most competitive pricing without compromising quality.

When Dennis takes a breather from career demands, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his fiancée. During the summer, you're apt to find him hiking and backpacking, but when the snow starts to hit the ground, skiing is his go-to outdoor activity. Along with his CPSD certification studies, his impending graduation, and an approaching marathon in New Jersey, Dennis is also getting married in July 2016.

In HIS Own Words

"Being able to see design construction projects at completion is the most rewarding part of my role at Princeton University. Each project transforms from an idea through concept design and construction, all the way through completion."

Leah Elders

Age: 29: Team Lead Inventory Analyst, ConAgra Foods, St. Louis, Missouri

Nominated by Natalie Andrasko, Supply Planning Manager, ConAgra Foods


Leah Elders views supply management as a puzzle—one that allows her to not only see how the pieces of a business fit together, but also to work on helping improve the company and its supply chain. During her four years in supply chain, she has tackled increasingly challenging roles in areas such as production supervision, focused improvement, continuous improvement, material planning and inventory analysis.

In her current role, Elders is responsible for executing a new process of inventory obsolescence management, and has to manage millions of dollars of at-risk inventory, working with a cross-functional group to find the root cause. Working with cross-functional teams has taught her that no matter the circumstance, you have to control your attitude. "It is better to be the thermostat than the thermometer," she says. "As a leader, you should set the temperature in the room, not just react to the temperature or the environment."

When she is not working, Elders like to exercise and spend time with her husband, family, and friends. She is actively involved in her church and the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.

In Her Own Words

"The most rewarding part of my job is the depth and breadth of people I get to interact with daily. I learn so much from having a cross-functional team of partners to work on projects with. I learn their roles and how they are affected by, and how they affect, the next 'customer' in our company's supply chain."

Megan Donoghue

Age: 27: Corporate Procurement Manager, FXI, Media, Pennsylvania

Nominated by Christopher Robert, Director of Procurement, FXI


Megan Donoghue's decision to go into supply management was relatively easy. She was confident she would find success because the field offers countless opportunities and spans many different industries, and the skills she learned would allow her to transition easily between them.

FXI does business across many different industries, involving the home, health care, electronics, industrial, personal care and automotive markets. When the company decided which of its mattress covers to source externally, Donoghue played a significant role. She put in place a detailed supply management plan that combined sales forecasts, historical inventory levels and vendor lead times by SKU into one easy-to-use model. In addition to implementing material requirements planning for more than 1,000 SKUs, the model reduced the risk of stockouts by taking into account sales promotions and other short-term events likely to impact sales forecasts. Another project that secured highly favorable payment terms for FXI resulted in Donoghue and her team receiving the company's coveted Diamond Award.

Recently married, Donoghue is contemplating getting her MBA. She's also a huge supporter of Penn State's THON, the world's largest student-run philanthropy committed to enhancing the lives of children battling cancer.

In Her Own Words

"My job has a significant impact on the organization. Managing supplier relationships and implementing cost savings initiatives impact the business' ability to operate and grow efficiently."

Logan Ferguson

Age: 26: Improvement Leader, DuPont, Wilmington, Delaware

Nominated by Ann Farrell, Manager, DuPont


As a freshman at Ohio State, Logan Ferguson got a taste of his future career at a private lunch-and-learn with a senior majoring in operations management and a professional in the field. Liking what he heard, he jumped in with both feet, joined the Buckeye Operations Management Society, and eventually received the Pace Setter Award, an accolade the college of business bestows on its top 2 percent. A problem solver with exceptional data analytics skills, Ferguson chose to work at DuPont, impressed with its strong Six Sigma culture.

He generated significant savings as the key buyer for the construction of a world-class facility. As an improvement leader, Ferguson has been involved in many critical projects, including heading two Six Sigma projects to optimize logistics and supply chain processes.

A soccer fanatic in the most positive sense, Ferguson sometimes plays in two leagues at one time. As a teen, he visited Old Trafford, the hallowed stadium of Manchester United, fervently supporting the team since. Newly married, he and his wife are active members of their church and helped disadvantaged families celebrate the holidays.

In HIS Own Words

"When you start your career, it's good to say yes to a lot of different things. That allows you to learn what you like and what you don't like. It also helps you to build a broader reputation within the organization rather than being a superstar who is unknown outside your small area."

Christian Goehring

Age: 29: Logistics Support Supervisor, Avnet Inc., Chandler, Arizona

Nominated by Marianne McDonald, Vice President Global Traffic & Transportation, Avnet Inc.


Christian Goehring began working at Avnet Inc. as a technology consultant. However, his attention quickly shifted to the logistics organization when he realized that transportation is core to his company, one of the largest global technology distributors. He readily admits that when he joined the global transportation team, he wasn't aware he was working in a supply chain function. With a master's degree in information management from Arizona State University in Tempe, Goehring combines technology and his analytical skills to leverage big data to provide the best shipment solutions to Avnet's customers.

"Christian was able to profile the impact of transportation decisions and recommend actionable opportunities to reduce total transportation costs and improve supply chain efficiencies," explains his manager, Marianne McDonald. His work led to savings of more than seven figures, she adds. Goehring says his strong analytical skills have helped him not only find the best solutions for customers, but also search out cost savings for the company.

"The most rewarding and satisfying part of my job is being able to see the impact my decisions and contributions have on Avnet's financials," Goehring says. "Working on the transportation side of the supply chain, I have a direct impact on Avnet's profitability, as reductions in freight expense contribute directly to bottom-line dollars."

In HIS Own Words

"I didn't consider myself as being involved in the supply chain, but now I understand how vital transportation is to the success of Avnet's supply chain."

Sarah Harse

Age: 28: Category Analyst, Johnson & Johnson, Raritan, New Jersey

Nominated by John Perez, Senior Category Manager, Johnson & Johnson


A background in science and passion for seeking ways to work better, faster, and more efficiently led Sarah Harse to a job that is the perfect fit for her—working as the primary procurement liaison to the Johnson & Johnson epidemiology team. She has developed a category strategy for work in support of the team, a previously unmanaged area within Johnson & Johnson, says her manager, John Perez.

Harse says one of her biggest challenges—and proudest moments—was working on remediating a supplier's performance. "The business did not want to work with the supplier any longer," she explains. "I knew I had to work with everyone involved to figure out what was not working, where the supplier was falling short, and what we could do differently to help them be more successful." In the end, Harse helped the supplier turn around and get a new contract in place.

Harse believes her time management skills and drive to make procurement processes and procedures more efficient have helped her achieve success at Johnson & Johnson, where she has been for more than one year. With an interest in health and wellness, Harse enjoys running and other outdoor activities, as well as traveling.

In Her Own Words

"I would tell those thinking about supply management as a career that there is a tremendous amount of opportunity in the field. I learn new things every day. Sometimes you just have to take the leap because every role is what you make it."

Daniel Kelly

Age: 27: Assistant Operations Manager, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Nominated by Paul Wedemeyer, Colleague


Daniel Kelly wanted to be a problem solver, so when he arrived at Iowa State University to study business, focusing on supply chain management and operations seemed like the ideal course of action. After accepting a job at Iowa State, he has worked his way up the ladder.

Kelly also took his skills to the Army National Guard, where he is a platoon leader in the 1133rd Transportation Company. A top graduate of his training class at the United States Army Logistics University, Kelly led his unit on missions across 16 states in 2015.

In his current role as an assistant operations manager at Iowa State, Kelly has had a significant impact on the performance of the dining department's warehousing and distribution system, resulting in radically decreased costs. His initiatives produced impressive results: On-hand inventory dropped by 64.3 percent, inventory footprint waste was cut by 44.3 percent, departmental expenses dropped by 5.7 percent, and paper retention decreased by 60 percent. The department also removed about 30 tons of excess equipment and supplies from several storage nodes.

Kelly attributes his successes to a willingness to tackle projects and tasks. He says he takes his cue from a college friend's philosophy: "Yes. Hell, yes! Or maybe we should talk about it."

In HIS Own Words

"Over the next 10 years, I would like to make one significant contribution to the supply chain field, either in the civilian sector or the government/military sector."

Aisha Khan

Age: 27: Global Change Management & Communications Lead, Spend Management Strategy, Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, New Jersey

Nominated by Stuart Sueltman, Associate Director—Global Agencies & Digital Procurement, Johnson & Johnson


With a degree in finance and economics from Rutgers University, Khan went to work on Wall Street during the Great Recession—a challenging time to enter the financial world. She left to start her own business before returning to graduate school, where she rounded out her skill set studying supply chain management and marketing. Taking a position with Johnson & Johnson, Khan began her procurement career as a sourcing lead responsible for global digital category strategy and business engagement.

As a member of the Procurement Leadership Development Program, Khan exceeded expectations and delivered significant results. With procurement's role in digital marketing still developing, the rapid pace of change creates complexity. New to the space, Khan was not intimidated, and employed her intellectual curiosity to quickly become a subject matter expert. Nominator Stuart Sueltman says she established credibility and developed strong relationships with her digital marketing business partners.

Khan is also a free spirit and a mold-breaker. Her passion for traveling led her to take up motorcycle riding, and she loves it. When the weather warms up, you'll find her touring the countryside on her Honda Rebel, looking for scenic hiking spots.

In Her Own Words

"I care about women's leadership and promoting young women around the world to pursue education in technical fields. As a member of Johnson & Johnson's Procurement Women's Leadership Initiative, I have had the opportunity to promote awareness of this topic."

Amrish Lobo

Age: 29: Director, Global Logistics, Distribution & Customer Service, Baker Hughes Inc., Houston, Texas

Nominated by Lynn Fox, Director, Global Completions Manufacturing, Baker Hughes Inc.


Having earned a mechanical engineering degree in Chennai, India, Amrish Lobo thought he would follow his father into the automotive industry. Introduced to supply chain management while pursuing a master's degree in industrial engineering at Purdue, his plans soon changed. He accepted a job in oil and gas, and has skyrocketed to success.

At 29 years old, Lobo is one of his company's youngest directors, and heads the combined international logistics, distribution, and customer service organization within global supply chain. He manages an organization of hundreds across the Fortune 120 company's global locations, and is accountable for hundreds of millions of dollars in spend. Lobo co-led the development and implementation of the company's global distribution model, leading to new efficiencies and millions in savings, while also managing its Dubai center. The company has also sent him to Europe, Asia, and Latin America to manage projects.

"I'm not a very fun person outside the office," jokes Lobo. Apart from catching up on his reading, or taking in a movie or occasional tennis game, he spends considerable time drawing out ideas that focus on step-level changes in business transformation. These ideas form the foundation of what his teams will work on during the following week. A firm believer in the efficacy of networking, Lobo is also working diligently on his golf game.

In HIS Own Words

"A young person considering a career in supply management needs to be a connector and start networking from day one—your network is your net worth and will determine your future. You don't know who is looking for you and you don't know what other people have to offer unless you make those connections and opportunities."

Leonardo Lopez

Age: 27: Buyer III, Johnson Controls Inc., Norman, Oklahoma

Nominated by Raul Gerhardus, Senior Procurement Manager, Johnson Controls Inc.


While at an open house at the College of Business at Marquette University, Leonardo Lopez heard a presentation about the supply chain management program. "I learned that supply management is an engaging and involved field that interacts with many other business functions," he says. Lopez decided to join the program, and "I've never regretted it," he adds.

He landed an internship with Johnson Controls Inc., then was hired by the company as an associate buyer. Over the past five years, Lopez has worked his way up through the procurement organization. His early accomplishments include streamlining suppliers and improving working capital for temporary labor in the United States and Canada.

Lopez currently is working in direct procurement at the Norman, Okla., plant, a move that allowed him to gain operational experience and a clear understanding of how various products are produced. At the plant, he worked on a complex e-auction project that resulted in savings of more than $700,000.

His short-term goals include finishing his MBA and obtaining his Certified Professional in Supply Management certification. Longer-term goals include managing global commodities at Johnson Controls, focusing on leadership development, and taking an assignment abroad.

In HIS Own Words

"The most satisfying part of my job is the comfort of having trust in the company's leadership. In today's environment, changes can occur quickly, and at times, it is difficult to understand them. These changes make work more interesting—there aren't many dull moments in this job. I trust leadership's decision-making for both the company and my personal growth."

Jessica Mayhew

Age: 29: Sourcing Manager, Parker Hannifin, Cleveland, Ohio

Nominated by Alan Miner, Division Supply Chain Manager, Parker Hannifin


Jessica Mayhew has worn many hats during her time in supply chain, starting as a planner and swiftly rising to her current role as division sourcing manager, where she has excelled.

She recently drove significant savings through launching creative commodity strategies using best-cost countries and new technology. Mayhew helped locate and develop a new grey and ductile iron foundry in Mexico to support Parker Hannifin's long-term sourcing strategies. She also exceeded savings expectations on complex castings by championing an alternate casting technology.

Unlike many peers, Mayhew actively planned for a career in supply chain management since high school. She had an uncle in the field and, after he explained his job to her, she was hooked.

Alan Miner, Mayhew's nominator and former manager at Parker, is impressed with how she displays great leadership through all levels in the organization. Others gravitate to her, even from outside her division, he says.

Recognizing global opportunities early, Mayhew minored in Mandarin in college. After graduation, she worked with a local tutor to gain fluency, a skill that has proven to be a powerful advantage in localization efforts and negotiations.

In Her Own Words

"I want to keep developing my career at Parker. I want to help find ways to make our supply chain part of the strategic advantage of our company and continue to learn new things and face new challenges."

Grayson Mitchell

Age: 25: Area Sales Manager, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Irvine, California

Nominated by Shelley Stewart, Jr., Vice President and CPO, DuPont


Like many up-and-coming supply management professionals, Grayson Mitchell believes his passion to learn and grow are the secrets to his success. But the Howard University graduate and 2012 Richter Scholar takes that mantra one step further, focusing on his drive to learn and develop within a team. "Many people focus solely on themselves—which is great for personal development," he says. "However, I think it's best to focus on aggressively developing with others. No individual alone is stronger than the entire team."

Recently accepting a new position as area sales manager for southern California, Mitchell works with area dealerships to ensure adequate product supply and to help increase sales to end customers. He led the implementation of complexity reduction procedures for year-over-year model configurations, increasing plant build efficiency, and managed the optimization of the rail loading process for a manufacturing plant, resulting in ongoing cost savings.

Mitchell considers himself a sports fanatic, as a spectator and competitor. "I have been playing team sports since I was three," he says. "The very nature of athletic competition has increased my competitive spirit and my ability to find success while working as a team."

In HIS Own Words

"I would tell those considering a career in supply management that although the discipline is broad, it is literally the heartbeat of companies around the world. If you want to enter a field that is never boring, never repetitive, and challenges you daily, supply management is it."

Jeff Monroe

Age: 27: Master's in Supply Chain Management Candidate, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas

Nominated by Mary Buenrostro, Member of Board of Directors, ISM-Dallas affiliate


Jeff Monroe is never satisfied with the status quo, which explains how, in three years, he consolidated all procurement activities into one department for his former employer, Southern Botanical Inc. of Dallas. Hired as an estimating intern in 2012, Monroe worked from the ground up to create comprehensive RFPs, develop an approved supplier list, and create a solid supplier relationship with a 3PL provider to reduce costs by 10 percent.

Mary Buenrostro, who serves with Monroe on the board of directors of the ISM-Dallas affiliate, says after he consolidated purchasing into one department, company profitability was greater in the following year than in the previous seven years combined. After Monroe was promoted to senior purchaser, he directed a purchasing team to achieve KPIs, and organized a support team focused on reducing loading/unloading time, resulting in labor cost savings forecast at $50,000 annually.

Monroe says he is proud he was able to initiate and oversee several supply management projects that saved the company millions of dollars. Taking the time to find a company that is the right fit, he's focused on finishing his master's program and is studying for the second and third parts of ISM's Certified Professional in Supply Management® certification.

In addition to spending time with family and volunteering at his church, Monroe enjoys the outdoors, especially hiking and fishing.

In HIS Own Words

"In the next 10 years, I'd like to help organize and oversee a world-class supply chain team. One thing that gives me the greatest satisfaction is remolding something that is undervalued and making it into something powerful."

Cara Navarre

Age: 29: Operations Manager, Northrop Grumman, McLean, Virginia

Nominated by John Jordan, Director of Supply Chain, Civil Division


While studying international business in college, Cara Navarre interned at Northrop Grumman and, after graduation, took a full-time position as a subcontracts administrator. Her natural ability to lead and develop relationships with suppliers quickly emerged.

Northrop sent her to Australia three times in one year to work with the Australian Defence Material Organisation, assessing its supply field to determine which companies would be capable of participating in projects abroad, including in the United States.

After two years outside supply chain, Navarre returned as a sector subcontracts administrator and had a significant win. She was responsible for managing the process of vetting international suppliers, which would sometimes require up to 14 approvals. She adopted a scaled approach based on the supplier's risk level, reducing the average number of approvals to four, then trained the entire sector supply chain and contracts organization.

Recently, Navarre's supply chain skills helped her secure the position of operations manager for the Office of the Sector President after an extremely competitive interview process.

Outside the office, Navarre has a passion for running, particularly in races, and has completed a full marathon.

In Her Own Words

"One of the biggest misconceptions about millennials is that we aren't loyal to companies and only stay for a couple of years. I think the key is finding new opportunities within the same company so millennials don't get bored."

Chinedum Nweze

Age: 24: Supply Management Specialist, John Deere, Davenport, Iowa

Nominated by Larry Anderson, Manager, Central East Regional Procurement Center, John Deere


Highly inquisitive and a perfectionist by nature, Chinedum Nweze entered Michigan State as a finance major. Taking a required supply chain course, he enjoyed the subject and had a moment of clarity—it just made so much sense to him—so he eventually switched his major to supply chain management and logistics. He interned at John Deere and, after graduation, accepted a position with the company, where he is midway through a three-year rotational program.

One of his biggest challenges is identifying opportunities to reduce cost without compromising quality. His manager, Larry Anderson, points to three significant projects where Nweze played a key role. He created improvements in John Deere's Small Diverse Supplier spend, driving it up in several classifications and getting buyers to consider small diverse suppliers for capital projects. For another project, he performed a root cause analysis to eliminate invoice errors and developed a process that was adopted as a best practice across the company. In the third project, Nweze developed an e-catalog for service providers, even though other buyers had stated it was impossible.

When he's not working, you can probably find Nweze traveling, either in the United States or abroad; he likes to see how people do things differently and how he can learn from them.

In HIS Own Words

"I would recommend a career in supply management to someone under 30 because it offers the opportunity to have a direct impact on your organization's bottom line. You are challenged to think outside the box and critically analyze data in order to arrive at the most efficient and effective solutions."

Caitlin O'Toole

Age: 27: Associate Commodity Manager, Stryker, San Jose, California

Nominated by Danielle Hansen, Senior Global Sourcing Manager, Stryker


Caitlin O'Toole has been recognized for the key role she played on a product launch team, as well as several projects that resulted in substantial cost savings during her 4.5 years in supply management at Stryker. But if you ask her about her proudest accomplishment, she will tell you it's one that doesn't relate to her day-to-day work.

Clearly a "people person," O'Toole takes great pride in an intern she mentored one summer. "It was amazing to watch her grow," O'Toole says. "She had a great experience that summer. And at the end of her senior year, she accepted a full-time job at Stryker and now runs the shipping team as a supervisor—a role I previously held."

As an associate sourcing manager, O'Toole saved Stryker more than $1.2 million in cost avoidance, and she continues to negotiate and create innovative supplier opportunities for additional project cost savings. O'Toole is a member of the Stryker Women's Network Planning Committee and completed the Stryker Future Leader Program.

Outside of work, O'Toole likes spending time with family and friends, and especially enjoys sports, cooking, baking, reading, and traveling.

In Her Own Words

"I believe that what I do has a significant impact on the business. Fostering and maintaining supplier relationships and conducting supplier business reviews ensure that we continue to partner in creating innovative, high-quality medical devices and technology. Negotiating and implementing supply contracts ensures we are sourcing medical equipment our customers need most."

Max Pike

Age: 28: Director of U.S. Operations, Haven, San Francisco, California

Nominated by Renee DiResta, Vice President of Business Development, Haven


Max Pike says he has always been fascinated with how things move within cities and around the world. He studied public transportation in college and expanded into the world of logistics while working at a consulting firm after graduation. As the head of U.S. operations for Haven, a technology startup in the freight market, he is working to change how business is conducted in the shipping industry.

Pike has identified opportunities to automate processes to help shippers move products more effectively, and provide carriers and shippers with better pricing data and shipment booking. "He has reduced response time for Haven's customer base by more than 80 percent, leading to a better operational process," says colleague Renee DiResta. "His dedication also has resulted in dramatic growth in the U.S. customer base over the past year."

When encouraging young people to consider supply management as a career, Pike emphasizes that it's a dynamic, challenging, and exciting profession. "When the discussion focuses on taking manufacturing overseas or looking at inventory issues, getting it right or wrong rests with logistics," he explains. "Customers who can't get orders when they want them, or companies with too much money tied up in inventory are supply management and logistics concerns."

In HIS Own Words

"Over the next 10 years, I plan to help grow Haven into the largest marketplace for transacting shipments. Because we're working to bring transparency and improve the speed of transactions rather than trying to extract a margin from shippers, Haven will help to fundamentally transform the way that organizations ship their goods."

Michael Raezler

Age: 29: Purchasing and Supply Management Specialist, U.S. Postal Service, Washington, D.C.

Nominated by Mark A. Guilfoil, Manager, Mail and Operational Equipment, U.S. Postal Service


The Postal Service is renowned for its dependability, and the same can be said of Michael Raezler, one of the youngest team leaders in its supply management organization.

A graduate of Michigan State University's top-ranked supply chain management program, Raezler initially planned to be an accountant, a job for which he showed great promise. But the idea of staring at numbers all day seemed mind-numbing. After excelling in a supply chain management class, he found his true calling.

Raezler negotiated a five-year, enterprise-wide software licensing agreement that saved the Postal Service $30 million. Another significant win came shortly after his promotion to team lead, when he negotiated and finalized a settlement agreement with a vendor, potentially avoiding millions in contract claims. He also quickly performed a total cost of ownership analysis to select the best-qualified supplier as a replacement. He received a Vice President's Award from the Postal Service's vice president of supply management for this project.

A true Michigan State fan, Raezler enjoys playing sports in addition to watching the Spartans on the gridiron and hardwood. He participates in several softball leagues, and can see the Washington Monument from his favorite field.

In His Own Words

"The most rewarding part of working for the Postal Service is knowing that my work has a direct impact on the services our organization provides to the American public."

Ross Scott

Age: 28: Supply Chain Solutions Manager, Sandvik, Auburn Hills, Michigan

Nominated by Jeff Green, Vice President Supply Chain Management, Sandvik


"Ross Scott, at just 28 years old, has more supply chain skills and experiences than many seasoned professionals," says nominator Jeff Green. Scott is an integral part of Sandvik, a world leader in industrial tool manufacturing, making significant contributions both individually and as a team member.

Scott's performance record at Sandvik, and his ability to solve complex problems, means he is called on to lead critical projects. He has been tasked with improving a complex supply chain for a new oil/gas product that has suffered from late deliveries and quality issues. His team is identifying broken processes and root causes, then prioritizing and implementing solutions.

An alumnus of Michigan State University, Scott graduated with an engineering degree, but interned in supply chain at Caterpillar and Boeing and knew that was where his career was heading. After returning to Michigan State for graduate school, he obtained his master's degree in supply chain management, all while juggling a young family and his career at Sandvik. He graduated with a 4.0 GPA.

When it's time to unwind, Scott looks forward to spending time with his wife and young ones, 2-year-old Charlotte and 4-month-old Andrew. His main hobby involves staying on two wheels as much as possible, whether it is racing a dirt bike, cruising on his Harley, or hitting the trails with his mountain bike.

In HIS Own Words

"Being a mentor has been a positive experience for me. It has allowed me to help another young professional develop and advance in his career while helping me refine my teaching and interpersonal skills."

Kayla Six

Age: 26: Strategic Sourcing Manager, Anthem Inc., Thousand Oaks, California

Nominated by Greg Antoniono, Director of Strategic Sourcing, Anthem Inc.


When asked to offer advice to other young supply management professionals, Kayla Six is quick to respond: "Don't be afraid to be bold and go outside your comfort zone. And ask questions so you can learn from those around you." The strategic sourcing manager at Anthem Inc. takes that advice to heart.

During her four years in procurement, Six has been the enterprise-wide strategic sourcing lead for multiple business areas and spend categories simultaneously. "Kayla's ability to gain mastery of technically complex areas of sourcing, manage demanding internal clients and still drive innovation and great results—37 percent savings in a mature category is just one example—is extraordinary," says her manager, Greg Antoniono.

She is most proud of negotiating an integrated voice-response contract, which had to be coordinated and collaborated with more than 40 business owners to implement consolidation and create a joint-governance model between Anthem and the supplier. "It was one of the first projects that I led," Six says. "There were several stakeholders and competing priorities. But it was a chance for me to get my name out there and to know that I can take a major project from start to finish."

She also enjoys hiking and other activities with her husband and young son.

In Her Own Words

"In my four years of sourcing, I have never experienced two days that were the same, never managed two identical projects. There is always something new, which makes sourcing an incredibly exciting field."

Conrad Smith

Age: 27: Subcontracts Program Manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Rancho Bernardo, California

Nominated by Christopher Herbers, Subcontracts Program Manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems


As a young boy, Conrad Smith enjoyed going with his father to watch the huge containerships pulling into the busy ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. "I always wondered where they were going or where they came from," he recalls. That early curiosity sparked an interest in supply management that led Smith to his position as a subcontracts program manager at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Rancho Bernardo, Calif. It also prompted him to attain a master's degree in supply chain management from the University of San Diego.

In his position with Northrop Grumman, Smith is responsible for managing the subcontracts team for Unmanned Air Vehicle programs and working cross-functionally with the respective program managers. "He is willing to tackle challenging tasks that aren't typically part of subcontracts' responsibilities and has excelled in all of them," says his manager, Christopher Herbers.

Smith, who was an offensive lineman at the University of San Diego during his undergraduate years, credits his success in supply management to solid time management skills and a willingness to accept a challenge. "When you work in supply management, you deal with a number of different tasks every day, and time management skills are critical," he says. "I always welcome the opportunity to take on a new challenge in supply management, and it has opened many doors for me."

In HIS Own Words

"I enjoy mentoring other employees. I also mentor a student-athlete from the University of San Diego. I welcome the opportunity to offer guidance on college, as well as life in the work force, as the mentoring I have received has been instrumental to my success."

Andrew Tasselmyer

Age: 26: Improvement Leader, DuPont,Wilmington, Delaware

Nominated by Ann Farrell, Sourcing & Logistics Manager, DuPont


With only three years of supply management experience, Andrew Tasselmyer already has played a key role in several major team projects at DuPont, from streamlining its corporate card program to facilitating the knowledge transfer from a third-party consultancy.

Tasselmyer says his interest in supply chain stems from the "passion and enthusiasm" of his supply management professor during his freshman year at the University of Maryland. Tasselmyer planned to major in marketing, but the professor's interest in supply management rubbed off, and he graduated with dual degrees—marketing and supply management.

Today, he has no regrets about his choice. He talks with enthusiasm about leading a comprehensive RFI and RFP process to identify a single card issuer capable of consolidating DuPont's T&E and purchasing card programs. "It was a complex landscape, with 16 different banks providing cards to employees all over the world," he says. The team identified one supplier to cover the company's global needs, and Tasselmyer was then asked to help implement the program.

When he's not working, Tasselmyer writes and records his own music, which he says is therapeutic and a great stress reliever.

In HIS Own Words

"I would like to be known as someone who did more than just affect numbers or improve business operations. I would like to have developed deep connections with the people I work with and the community I live in, and to be known as a friend, mentor, and advocate who made a positive difference in the lives of people."

Leandra Taylor

Age: 26: Contracting and Procurement, Deepwater Projects, Shell Offshore Inc., Houston, Texas

Nominated by Kathryn Conrad, Geismar Refinery Contracting and Procurement Lead, Shell Chemical Company


"I've wanted to be in procurement since I was 19 years old," says Leandra Taylor, "mainly because it fits my personality so well!" A born wheeler and dealer, Taylor is "The Deal Maker" to her family and friends. Taylor was two weeks into her first supply chain class in college when her professor explained its purpose: to save money and find ways to be more efficient. That was all she needed to hear. One week later, she declared her major.

"Leandra relentlessly seeks opportunities to deliver additional value to Shell," says Kathryn Conrad, Taylor's nominator. That was evident when she recognized the need to revamp the bid-evaluation process for tank construction services. With limited data and time, Taylor initiated a total cost of ownership analysis, and her efforts reduced total cost of tank procurement by 50 percent.

Taylor believes firmly in helping others to succeed both personally and professionally. Though comparatively young herself, she feels accountable for developing the next generation of leaders. On a personal level, she spends time mentoring three first-generation university students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Also, she contributes her time and finances to two international organizations to support the education and protection of disadvantaged children in India and Indonesia.

In Her Own Words

"The most rewarding and gratifying part of my job is when I'm able to instill a commercial mindset within my business stakeholders."

Michael Tomaro

Age: 25: Director of Warehouse Operations, IDLife, Dallas, Texas

Nominated by Robert Cassin, Mentor


A graduate of Purdue University's nationally ranked Top 10 engineering school, and former professional with Halliburton's prestigious Supply Chain Management Program, Michael Tomaro uses his strategic mindset and critical thinking ability to drive results that connect to the bigger picture. He believes that supply chain management was the perfect place for him to leverage both his technical engineering and business knowledge to optimize processes that significantly impact the organization as a whole.

Tomaro is a dynamic leader who is skilled at developing individual relationships and acknowledging ideas, opinions, and contributions. In early 2015, he was chosen to head a cross-functional team tasked with transforming a manufacturing facility into a plant designed for remanufacturing used assemblies and components. Under his leadership, the team developed and deployed the new process with a projected financial benefit of $3.17 million in the first year.

Having raced rally cars for a while, Tomaro decided he needed a new hobby. With a natural inclination to explore, he took up overlanding, a pastime that involves off-road travel to remote destinations in a purpose-built vehicle.

In HIS Own Words

"I think it's important for young people entering the supply chain field to take the reins of their own development. Many opportunities will present themselves, but many more will need to be sought out."

Debbi Wan

Age: 27: Strategic Sourcing Manager, Global Manufacturing Operations, Cisco Systems Inc., San Jose, California

Nominated by Akwasi Peprah, Vice President, Procurement Services, LevaData Inc.


Most kids just play with toys, but Debbi Wan wanted answers: How were the toys made? How did they get to the store? Watching distributors come and go in her parents' small grocery store further stoked her curiosity. It was only natural that she would study supply chain in college as part of a triple major, with marketing and sustainability.

Joining her new group as an analyst, Wan noticed the sourcing team used offline documents for tracking, an inefficient practice because only one manager at a time could update the file. Going beyond her original assignment, she leveraged a contact from a previous position to design and develop a robust web-based tool to solve the issue. Still not content, she led the charge to develop an efficient way to view sourcing analytics that provided greater visibility and improved collaboration.

Wan's crucial contribution to the development and manufacturing partner selection of a product within Cisco's solution portfolio highlights her unique approach as a sourcing manager. Wan partnered with the lab team to assist in product assembly and packaging, gaining a 360-degree perspective critical to sourcing efforts in the final stages.

Outside the office, Wan enjoys cooking, hiking and slacklining—an extreme pursuit that involves securing herself to a rope and scaling a sheer rock face.

In Her Own Words

"I'm very grateful for how things have played out so far, but I think the proudest moment of my career is definitely yet to come. Every time I think I've hit my peak, the passion and fascination I have for the field of supply chain reminds me that there is more to aspire to and a higher route to climb."






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