Beginning Dec. 1, Dean Casterline, senior subcontract manager at Lockheed Martin, a defense, security and advanced technology company, will join Ithaca College as the director of procurement, a new position created for a professional staff member in charge of developing new strategies for how the college collects funds.
Casterline will work closely with Robert Cree, associate vice president for business and finance, and help reorganize current procurement policies and implement a new e-Marketplace method to streamline the current product acquisition methods.
Staff Writer Arham Muneer spoke with Casterline to learn about his interest in working for a higher education institution, his previous professional experiences in this field and his expectations for his career at Ithaca College.
Arham Muneer: Why were you approached for this position?
Dean Casterline: I have always been interested in working in higher education, and I have periodically checked various local college and university job postings in the past few years, mainly out of curiosity, but always with the hope that eventually I would find something that was aligned with my background in supply-chain management. I happened to notice the director of procurement posting on the Ithaca College website a few months ago, and it looked like a great opportunity and a really good fit given my professional and academic experiences.
AM: What does your position entail?
DC: My position as director of procurement is to build relationships with the various shareholders within the college community, and to work collaboratively with each of them to understand their respective needs and evaluate where opportunities for procurement synergies exist. I have been given two primary missions: first is to consolidate the procurement function for the college to identify savings that can be reallocated to other great initiatives within the college. The second mission is to implement an e-procurement solution that will drive further savings through consolidating transactions within a single tool.
AM: How will your prior professional experiences at IBM and Lockheed Martin aid in carrying out in these responsibilities?
DC: What I have been tasked to do at IC is akin to the experiences I had in the Global Supply Chain organization at IBM in the mid-to-late 1990s. I was a member of one of the sourcing teams and lived the transition period from traditional non-leveraged sourcing to centralized procurement. What I am being asked to do at IC is extremely similar to the steps we took at IBM in the late ’90s to develop an efficient centralized procurement model.
AM: You have a primarily corporate background, so what will be the main differences or challenges for you now that you are working in a higher education atmosphere?
DC: I am sure I will realize many differences between the corporate world and higher education. I am really looking forward to exploring a new culture outside of big business. My professional career has typically involved a defined management structure and has been latent with process upon process. My approach is one of collaboration and open discussion, and I cannot wait to get started working with the various departments at IC.
AM: How will you go about rebuilding the college’s central procurement organization?
DC: One of the first things I will need to do in my new role is work hard to quickly understand the current purchasing environment. I want to see what is working today. I am certainly focused on areas for improvement, and to identify those opportunities, I will have to spend time with key shareholders who are in roles today such as purchasing, finance, warehousing, disbursements, et cetera … I can foresee implementing sourcing specialists roles to help create and administer strategies within those commodity teams. There may be initial growing pains as we work through the transition from decentralized to centralized procurement processes, but the opportunity for savings will ultimately benefit everyone.