Job Role: Strategic Sourcing & Procurement Manager—IT
Military Branch: Army
Explain a little bit about your career at NRECA. What is the core function of your current role and how does it support the mission of the organization?
I joined NRECA recently as the IT Strategic Sourcing & Procurement Manager. I support the entire IT portfolio in a variety of different ways. In a typical day, I could handle sourcing requests to solicit proposals from multiple suppliers; onboard a new supplier; create a cost model to compare different business options; or renew contracts with our current suppliers. It is my responsibility to understand our vendors’ goals and prepare a plan and timeline to help them understand the process ahead.
I consider my role in procurement to be that of a fiduciary steward who ensures our members are getting the most value for their participation. This principle guides my team as we analyze each purchase and the return we will deliver on the investment.
How did you get here? How has your background in the military influenced your career choices and your career path?
One of my many duties while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Logistics Captain was to write and negotiate statements of work, contracts and make payments to host nation companies who provided a wide range of services to our coalition partners at bases across the region. In combat, with limited resources, it was often my job to breach cultural barriers and work shoulder to shoulder with the communities I served to accomplish the mission. It was this experience that led me to pursue sourcing and procurement as a career after I finished my MBA at Drexel University. The science of procurement has evolved tremendously over the last several years, and I have been fortunate to see it from a variety of financial services firms.
How did you become interested in your area of expertise?
In ROTC at the University of Nebraska, I was fully committed to serving my country in the Army. However, with multiple deployments in a few short years, I began to prepare my transition to start a family. With my unique background in supply chain, I was able to find a role in procurement in financial services. There is an art to the procurement science, that, when done effectively, yields significant value for the customer.
Aside from your daily work, what appeals to you about NRECA as an organization?
The first thing I noticed about NRECA is how proud everyone is to come to work every day to serve the members and communities. I was impressed to see just how many customers we serve (42 million across the country and millions more globally). It truly is a “think globally, act locally” organization. I think that commitment across the organization says a lot about the leadership and certainly keeps everyone accountable.
What inspires you?
There’s a great quote from the book Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer, which guides my professional life and to which I refer often as I strive to be a good father to my two young boys: “That’s the whole challenge of life—to act with honor and hope and generosity, no matter what you’ve drawn. You can’t help when or what you were born, you may not be able to help how you die; but you can—and you should—try to pass the days between as a good man.”
What does it mean to you to be working in your current field?
In my position, there are rarely off-the-shelf solutions to the challenges we face, so as an enabler to my business partners, I embed myself in their strategy and use as much of my right brain as possible. These are combustible situations, often with very strict timelines and multiple dependencies, so I’m synchronizing many different priorities. Collaboration is key.
If you could give one piece of career advice to someone who is transitioning out of the military, what would it be?
I’d say there are a couple things: Don’t think your transition begins and ends with taking off the uniform and finding your first job outside the service. For me, and many others, our transition is an iterative process and it is not easy. Also, don’t forget that in the military, we’re servant leaders and conduct ourselves not for credit or promotions, but because it’s the right thing to do. Find an organization that carries these values. I’m so lucky to have that here at NRECA.