Dusty Kozlowski grew up in the suburbs of Chicago playing soccer and video games. His enjoyment of video games inspired him to want to learn how to build them. He decided to major in Computer Science at the University of Iowa. Several years in, however, he realized he was not passionate enough about coding to make it a career. He switched majors to Management Information Systems (MIS) to focus on the business side of software development. He earned his MIS degree in 2005.
Following graduation, he came back to Chicago to work as a consultant at Cognizant. He met some amazing people there with whom he would work with in the years to come. Several years into his career, a former coworker approached him about a job at Saggezza. Dusty joined Saggezza in December 2009 as a business analyst.
His first project was for a client that had just created a new “pick, pack and ship” platform for all of its fulfillment facilities across the country. Dusty was tasked with traveling to many of the facilities to help them implement this new platform. It was his first taste of life as a traveling consultant at Saggezza.
Following the implementations, he moved into a project management role, leading Saggezza teams from the US and India. Dusty was introduced to agile and became certified as a scrum master. He moved to another project focused on logistics. There, he worked with some of the smartest and best leaders of his career. Working alongside those individuals provided Dusty with an opportunity to learn first-hand how effective project management, communication skills, and time management could positively impact a business operation. Leadership is all about continuous learning and growth.
Successful completion of this project led Dusty to a new client in a new city. He was flying across the country every week Monday through Thursday to lead his first project. The project had just started with minimal guidelines or outline of the work to be done. Dusty went in, defined the project requirements and teams he needed to accomplish them. Soon thereafter, his hard work resulted in more opportunity to expand across the account. At the height of the project, Dusty was managing over 50 consultants. Saggezza improved communication across all areas of the business. By the time Dusty became a director, he was already onto the next client, again successfully managing the account and growing the business.
Just this year, Dusty started a new internal project, managing a new group of recently acquired consultants. He works on the day-to-day operations of their team, and ensures they all feel properly integrated and supported. Their success and happiness directly impacts the bottom line and growth of Saggezza. He’s learning how important it is for himself to integrate and balance his time with internal initiatives at Saggezza. It’s important to put the client first but making the time to positively impact the culture on your own company is equally important. Otherwise, it’s easy to start feeling isolated.
Throughout his career, Dusty has been given different opportunities, sometimes outside of his skill set. He has always faced every challenge head on, and this entrepreneurial spirit of moving through different industries and challenges is what makes Saggezza so great. Dusty says he has always owned his career and helped decide where he thinks he will contribute the most. His contributions to many projects and clients makes him a real asset to the company.
His advice to young consultants would be: “Always have a dialogue with your manager. If something isn’t being given to you that you want, make sure to speak up and let them know. Additionally, when given that new opportunity, jump on it! Even if you feel you may not be ready, opportunity doesn’t come along every day so accept the challenge and face it head-on.” The entrepreneurial spirit is critical to owning your career. Entrepreneurs make things happen and own their successes and failures all the same.
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