September 2011 | Case Studies | Reader Profile

Angela Duesterhaus: Joining the Jet Set

Tags: Education & Careers

Angela Duesterhaus

Angela Duesterhaus is logistics and export compliance manager at PAS Technologies. Headquartered in North Kansas City, Mo., PAS repairs and overhauls aerospace and industrial components such as gas turbine engines, airframe parts, and oil field equipment. Along with its facilities in North Kansas City, the company runs operations in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, Singapore, Ireland, and Romania.

Responsibilities: Corporate-wide inbound and outbound transportation strategy and processes, transportation technology, export compliance.

Experience: Account representative, Emery Worldwide/UPS Supply Chain Solutions; manager of operations support, Clicklogistics; solutions specialist supervisor, Con-way Air; legal assistant, Miller & Co.; logistics manager, Freightquote.com; regional supervisor, modal manager, YRC Logistics.

Education: A.A.S., Metropolitan Community College Kansas City, 1993; B.S., business management, Baker University, 2010.

One of the scariest decisions I've made in my career was taking a job with a shipper after many years of working for service providers. I was concerned that I might lose track of industry trends.

Then I realized that I could still stay up to date, and my knowledge would help me as a shipper. I would be just as wise as the sales reps who came to sell me their services, and my inside knowledge would help me when I needed to ask them tough questions.

When I took this job, my first mission was to evaluate existing transportation strategies and processes, first at our North Kansas City plant, then at our other locations. The goal was to see where our spend was and determine where we needed to shift modes and create alternate routings. We will eventually extend this process to our other plants, as well.

Our service to customers is based on very tight turnaround times. We have between 21 and 28 days to move a component from a customer's dock to one of our plants, repair it, and return it. Expedited air freight might be the exception for many shippers, but for us, it's the rule. Part of what keeps me awake at night is trying to figure out how to help speed our transportation even more.

That means looking at the services different carriers offer and who has the best lanes for particular customers. It also means working with our sales reps to make sure customers understand the benefits of routing their freight in a particular way.

One of my current priorities is implementing a new transportation management system. The users of this system will include employees who purchase materials for our manufacturing operation.

Once we start capturing their data, I'll be able to grasp what we're spending on freight for product coming into the plant—something we've examined before—and possibly find some savings.

I'm also helping make the transition to a new freight audit vendor that's more technology-savvy than the old one. As this vendor comes on board, we'll start using electronic data interchange for the first time. Not only will that make our carbon footprint a little smaller by eliminating paperwork, but it will allow us to manage our invoices more efficiently.

I learn a lot from new projects like these, of course, but it's also important to learn from experiences that don't turn out so well. One important opportunity arose when I applied for a new position within one of the companies I worked for previously and didn't get the job.

I asked some of the interviewers how I might improve my chances next time around. They pointed out that I was fairly new to the company; I didn't know enough about the different players and their relationships. The lightbulb went on: I needed to use my skills not only to do my own job, but also to network within the company.

I asked my boss to start including me in conference calls and meetings so I could meet more people and learn how various company decisions affected them. This worked out well—it gave me an advantage when a new position opened in a different department. I got that job, and it turned out to be a perfect fit.

The Big Questions

How do you recharge your batteries?

I travel–my husband and I are always planning our next big trip. And I love to work out. I do some of my best thinking on the treadmill at 4 a.m.

Hidden talent?

Cooking. My husband says I won his heart with my stuffed shells and marinara sauce. But my personal trainer says I have a mean right punch, so maybe my hidden talent is boxing.

A career achievement that makes you proud?

In previous jobs, I took part in negotiations through which my companies won some very large contracts. I'm proud of that, but I prefer to focus on what I might accomplish in the future.

What's on your Bucket List?

My great aunt traced our family heritage back to the 1600s in Germany. It would be neat to go there, follow some of my family lines, and see where I come from. I'd also like to ride a zip-line.

Favorite quote?

Truckers make the world go round.