WPC Class Notes
Traveling trio, 20 years in the making

early 20 years ago, Darren Toohey, Bryson Masters, and Jonathan Abramson were focused on supply chain management while they earned their MBAs, taking the same logistics and procurement classes together. After earning their MBAs in 2000, their career journeys varied — from working for Fortune 100 companies to innovative startups.

Now almost two decades since graduating, the trio is together again — this time working for CWT (formerly Carlson Wagonlit Travel), one of the largest global business travel management companies in the world.

A post on LinkedIn ultimately reunited the former classmates. Toohey, senior vice president of global sales at CWT, shared a job opening in his group. After seeing the post, Masters and Abramson reached out to him about the opportunity that fit their unique backgrounds.

“With CWT now focusing on data science, innovative technologies, and becoming a truly digital company, I was looking to hire people with a diverse background that better matched CWT’s future direction,” Toohey explains.

“I liked the way CWT was disrupting the corporate travel industry,” says Masters, who previously worked at Honeywell in various supply chain management roles and oversaw an online business he founded.

For Abramson, moving to CWT was a natural transition from his previous job. “I was traveling 100,000 miles a year, from Singapore to Hong Kong and Japan to Germany,” says Abramson, whose previous roles included demand planning and inventory management at Apple and various supply chain and sales roles at Crocs. “I was interested (in CWT) because I know how important corporate travel is to so many people.”

Today, the trio work on the same team at CWT which, according to the BTN 100, counts Amazon, Google, and Facebook among its many clients. Abramson focuses on the high-tech vertical for sales, and Masters works with automotive, aerospace, and defense verticals. Both are vice presidents of the company’s Global Program Solutions division. The nature of their roles is ever-changing, acting in a consultative manner to win new business and optimizing programs for existing clients.

“There’s not a typical day, which is what makes the job so exciting,” says Abramson. “You’re working with corporations around the world — tech companies, financial services organizations, life-sciences businesses. Some days you’re working on a contract with a client worth hundreds of millions of dollars. There’s a lot of listening to clients to find out what’s important to them and their needs.”

Darren Toohey (MBA ’00), Jonathan Abramson (MBA ’00) and  Bryson Masters (MBA ’00)
From left: Darren Toohey (MBA ’00), Jonathan Abramson (MBA ’00) and Bryson Masters (MBA ’00)
CWT’s global footprint and diverse clientele means the trio travels the world each month. In fact, Toohey says that last month alone, he visited Houston, Philadelphia, Lisbon, London, and Helsinki. “Leading a global division at CWT means a lot of calls and meetings around the clock, but it’s part of the job when working with international companies,” Toohey says.

Though the reunited classmates aren’t working in traditional purchasing and operations positions that one might expect from leaders with supply chain backgrounds, their diverse educational and work experiences have been valuable as they help clients optimize the enormous amount of money they spend annually on corporate travel. CWT’s biggest clients can spend up to $1 billion on employee travel, “so reducing costs even 5% through the company’s strategic support can result in tens of millions of dollars in savings. The numbers are staggering,” says Masters.

They each say their education played a key role in getting them to where they are today, such as having the ability to speak the language of supply chain management with clients. Additionally, they highlight that building a network with their classmates who are now spread out across multiple Fortune 500 companies and industries was one of the most important aspects of their time in graduate school.

“The odds of the three of us working in a nontraditional supply chain industry for the same company on the same team 20 years after our first class at W. P. Carey are slim,” says Masters.