think like an entrepreneur. “Procurement and supply management is a
fantastic place to evaluate opportunities and devise strategies on how
to execute new initiatives,” he says. “My most satisfying projects have
started with a ‘Wouldn’t it be great if …?’ type of conversation. It’s a
great feeling to take that thought, run with it, and work with others to
not only make it happen but make it the new way of doing things.”
To King, one project best exemplifies Kaskinen’s talent for finding
opportunity for process improvement. Sonic Automotive is a
Fortune 500 automotive retail group with more than 100 retail
facilities (new- and used-auto dealerships) across the U.S., with
repair and maintenance shops on-site. Prior to Kaskinen’s arrival,
the procurement team had little direct involvement in purchasing
decisions for these shops regarding fixed operations equipment,
which range from auto lifts to oil systems to other machinery and
fixtures. Instead, general contractors designed the facilities, and Sonic
purchased what the contractors recommended.
“Dan took one look and knew our team needed to be involved in
those decisions, and he was right,” says King. Kaskinen put together a
detailed bid package with line items for everything being purchased,
working with and receiving buy-in from designers, engineers and field
teams to make sure each item was necessary for shop operations.
“After some refinement of the bid process, we eventually turned it
into a standardized bid and a standardized shop layout for the whole
company to use,” says King. “He wasn’t just doing his job, he also
helped our facility department and our fixed operations department.
He went way beyond what he had to do because it was the right thing
to do for everybody.”
THE FUTURE OF THE PROFESSION
Beyond helping his employers improve operations and find new
opportunities, Kaskinen is interested in playing an active role in
In 2014, he joined the procurement team at
Sonic Automotive in the newly-created position
of corporate procurement specialist. A self-
described car enthusiast, Kaskinen always had
an interest in automobiles. After accepting the
procurement specialist position, he discovered
an affinity for supply management as well. “I
studied an automotive-focused version of supply
chain management in college and found that my
favorite classes were traditional supply chain-
focused ones,” he says. “Early in my career, the
same rang true — the supply chain aspects were
my favorite parts of the job.”
His favorite aspects of supply management are
“the broad reach and variety of the position,”
Kaskinen says. He is energized by the continual
interaction with different stakeholders,
department heads and external partners, and
the ability to bring their different perspectives to
the table to achieve the best value for the whole
While cost savings is a primary measure of supply
management’s impact on a company, Kaskinen
believes there’s potential for much more. He
points to innovative companies like Tesla and
SpaceX as inspiration for challenging the status
quo through revolutionary supply chains. “Those
two companies are creating entirely new supply
chains at a breakneck pace to support the
businesses, and are redefining what people think
is possible,” he says.
Overall, he believes the supply management
field is a great place for individuals who seek to
The winners (in alphabetical order) and their nominators:
Andrew Bagni, General Dynamics Mission Systems (Fairfax,
Virginia). Nominated by: Flor Aquilar Kim, General Dynamics
Andrew Boone, Graphic Packaging International, Inc. (Atlanta).
Nominated by: Mike Smith, Graphic Packaging International, Inc.
Gerardo Cabrera, Flex (Guadalajara, Mexico). Nominated by:
Ferenc Elekes, Flex.
Kiara Conde, Shell Exploration and Production Company
(Houston). Nominated by: Yesim Jonsson, Shell Exploration
and Production Company.
Abhishek Dahiya, Dell Technologies (Round Rock, Texas).
Nominated by: Paul McCarthy, Dell Technologies.
Amanda DeCook, A. T. Kearney (London). Nominated by:
Jami Bliss, Teva Pharmaceuticals.
Sarah DiPietro, 3M (St. Paul, Minnesota). Nominated by:
Stephanie Bedard, A. T. Kearney.
John Fowler, Halliburton (Spring, Texas). Nominated by:
Michael Tomaro, IDLife, LLC.
Jonathan Futryk, Crown Equipment Corporation (New Bremen,
Ohio). Nominated by: Jeffrey Jacoby, Crown Equipment
Anthony Garwood, GE Aviation (Grand Rapids, Michigan).
Nominated by: Tania Santiago, Teva Pharmaceuticals.
Corey Gustafson, Deluxe Corporation (Shoreview, Minnesota).
Nominated by: Kevin Konold, Deluxe Corporation.
Nicholas Imison, Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation (San
Diego). Nominated by: Lori Jones, Northrop Grumman Systems
Elaine Jolliff, U.S. Postal Service (Washington, D.C.). Nominated
by: Mark Guilfoil, U.S. Postal Service.
Daniel Kaskinen, Sonic Automotive, Inc. (Charlotte, North
Carolina). Nominated by: Jeff King, Sonic Automotive, Inc.
THE 2016 30 UNDER 30 RISING SUPPLY CHAIN STARS