At just 28 years old, Dana Regan already has an impressive track record in the logistics profession. Since joining the family business, TranzAct Technologies, a year out of college, Regan has helped numerous clients reduce their transportation costs, manage cash flow, and leverage best supply chain practices.
Today, she is assistant vice president of business development for TranzAct, which provides freight payment and auditing, spend management, and consulting services. In her current role, she works with both large and small companies to evaluate the supply chain operating environment and identify specific business practice improvements.
Regan is a 2004 graduate of Villanova University in Pennsylvania and has completed the Certification in Transportation and Logistics program through the American Society of Transportation and Logistics (AST&L). She is the chair of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' Young Professionals Committee and was appointed to the 2010-2011 CSCMP board of directors.
She is actively involved in many civic and professional organizations and served as the co-chair for the World Presidents' Organization Legacy Experience Annual Conference in 2008. She spoke recently with DC Velocity Group Editorial Director Mitch Mac Donald about her short but eventful career to date.
Q: What prompted you to get into the logistics and supply chain field?
A: I grew up in the business with my father starting TranzAct in 1984 and my mother joining the organization in 1989, so I spent numerous school holidays and summers at TranzAct. I remember when I was 10 or 11 years old I came into work for a few hours and I was calculating float credits back in the days when those were part of the payment fee structure.
Q: No young person should have that much fun.
A: I guess it appealed to my interest in numbers and math, and I liked the fact that it wasn't the same thing every day. There were different reports and different analyses. I did some projects that I was told were very helpful with assisting clients and provided a good return to them. I took some satisfaction in knowing that I could help companies.
When I graduated from college with a degree in marketing and accounting, I figured I'd eventually join TranzAct, but I don't think my parents thought I was that serious about it. So I started looking for jobs in Chicago in marketing and logistics, and eventually landed a job with a truckload brokerage firm.
I worked as a dispatcher there for a year and learned how to work the phones and dial for trucks. I was there during Hurricane Katrina, when trucks were really at a premium. I remember pulling out the FMCSA book and basically just having to go through the list, calling trucking company after trucking company trying to find a truck for certain loads. It was good experience.
After about a year, I was presented with an opportunity to move into a sales role at another company. At the time, TranzAct was also looking to fill an open position in its small truckload brokerage division. After discussing it with my parents, I decided it was the right time to join TranzAct. So I came in and ran that division for about three years. I definitely got a lot of valuable experience doing that.
Q: Describe your current role at TranzAct and what you do as the assistant vice president of business development.
A: Well, I wear multiple hats. In my current role, I focus a lot on sales, obviously, but my job also involves developing relationships and partnerships with other companies in the industry, looking for new opportunities to expand our services and our offerings, new product development, things like that. We're always asking ourselves: "What are clients looking for that we aren't providing right now?"
Q: You haven't wasted any time getting involved in industry associations and various civic and professional groups. Right now, for instance, you serve as the chair of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' Young Professionals Committee. What prompted you to get involved?
A: Getting involved is one thing that my parents always stressed to us. We learned the importance of being charitable and being generous with our time. I've done a lot of volunteer work in the past. I coached youth soccer and did some tutoring on the West Side of Chicago in a Catholic school.
By staying actively involved with the industry, I am also able to stay abreast of current trends, which is extremely useful in my work. That is one of the biggest reasons why I chose to get involved in the industry. I think CSCMP is an incredible organization. I really wanted to get more young professionals engaged with CSCMP because you often see this gap in membership—their student membership lapses and then it's another few years before they rejoin the organization. We need to basically fill that gap.
Q: What would you say to other young professionals to encourage them to consider a career in logistics and supply chain management?
A: I think now more than ever, companies are competing on their supply chains. So, the companies with the best supply chains are the companies that are going to be here five, 10, 20 years from now.
Supply chain really is the intersection of a lot of different aspects of a company. You've got inventory management, you've got procurement, you've got finance, and you've got transportation, so getting some experience there is really important in terms of building your career. These days, we're seeing more and more people with some sort of background in the supply chain and logistics area ascending to higher leadership positions.
Q: Do you have any closing thoughts?
A: I wish there was a way to communicate the importance of the things going on in this industry across America. If you think about everything you wear, you eat, you use on a daily basis, I would guess at least 90 percent of it has been on a truck or train or boat at some point.
But as important as they are, logistics and transportation issues don't receive much media attention. There's the highway bill that's up for reauthorization. That is not front page news. There's hours of service. That is not front page news. Every American should care about that because it affects the cost and availability of all the items they take for granted.