Career paths never seem to follow a straight and narrow road. There are many twists and turns along the way, but these reroutes ultimately provide enriching experiences and can lead to a rewarding career you may never have expected. This rang true for Tim Drost, Vice President of Sourcing Operations at pep. Tim and I met to chat about his experiences and journey before joining and also during his tenure at pep. When I asked what he majored in at Ohio University, I was shocked to hear him say “sports marketing” – what a vastly different focus from procurement! But the more we chatted, the more I could see the connections between where he started and where he is now.
Tim earned a Bachelor’s of Science from OU in Sports Marketing. As priorities changed he decided a home base was more important to him than a career of moving from city to city and job to job as is often required in Sports Marketing. Following graduation, Tim began his career in project management with a home builder where he would oversee the production of homes and communities. Reflecting on the interview, he said he couldn’t believe he got the job, that it was one of his worst interviews ever – but the interviewer saw something in him and decided to give Tim a chance. This seemed like it was the first curveball along Tim’s career path leading him to where he was today. It was his first point of exposure to timelines, schedules, contracts, and POs. “Most importantly, it taught me the significance of establishing relationships and building trust with your partners to achieve a common goal,” Tim shared.
As the housing industry began to decline in the early 2000s, Tim found his next opportunity in Cincinnati at pep. Two highlights really stood out to him, “startup” and “you’ll have the opportunity to service Procter & Gamble”. Tim began on the client side of the business as an Account Executive. He was given a leadership role with just four years of professional work experience. I asked him how he felt being tasked with this amplified responsibility at such a young age. Was he scared? Did he feel up to the assignment? Tim said, “Actually, I was really excited… that’s just how the company grew up. pep embraced a ‘promote from within’ mentality and I was up for the challenge”. In another two years Tim was promoted to Client/Sourcing Manager where he handled pep sourcing and client management responsibilities. Tim reflected that he always had the desire to be on the supplier side, it was what he enjoyed the most. Working to solve challenges with the supply base came naturally to Tim.
I asked Tim where he sees pep in 10 years. He said that he is more than confident pep will continue to be a leader in the marketing services industry – assessing, implementing, and optimizing its clients marketing operations. He looks forward to seeing the go-to-market strategies evolve and helping pep position itself to deliver exceptional value and insights to the clients. He said that pep procurement will continue to see growth throughout the Americas with a continued focus in the four pillars: commercial print, digital, direct-to-consumer, and point of purchase. However, all this being said, Tim believes the growth potential is significant now with pep’s acquisition by WPP. Tim is excited about the acquisition and feels that it will provide the opportunity for pep to deliver a greater value to its clients within WPP’s family of agencies.
-Ashley Martina, Marketing & Communications Executive, pep