Josh Ylitalo, 31
Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis Manager
Dakota Supply Group
An Army veteran who served as an intelligence analyst (including one year in Afghanistan), Josh arrived at Dakota Supply Group (DSG) while completing his MBA. Hired in his current corporate financial planning and analysis manager role, he’s been in electrical distribution for as long as he’s been with DSG—nearly two years. “This was a new role for the company when I started,” Josh noted. “It’s been a lot of process building and that type of work since I’ve been here.”
Like many others, Josh wasn’t looking for a job in electrical distribution, but was looking for a job that would be challenging and offer opportunity for growth. “The DSG executive team has a lot of big plans and goals for the company,” Josh said, “That really appealed to me. It’s also an interesting time for the industry. Things are changing fast. Take, for example, what’s going on with Amazon, disintermediation. Distributors are finding themselves in a position where they need to adapt and change, and it’s really interesting to be in an organization that’s working through that.”
When asked what he believes is a current challenge for the industry, “Distributors have to be conscious of their value and making sure they continue to add value to the customer as technology continues to become more and more sophisticated,” he said. “There are a lot of electrical products that can be bought on Amazon or any other website very easily. Being conscious of that and continuing to make sure that we are adding value to our customers—and not getting cut out of the picture—is critical.” For Josh and the finance department, this means streamlining the company so that it can be agile and responsive to change. “We work to make operations more transparent so the company can be more effective,” he noted.
To someone just coming into the industry, Josh stressed the importance of learning as much as possible about it. “It seems like a straightforward industry: You buy a product and you sell a product. But it’s a lot more complicated than that,” he explained. “Be prepared to dig in and learn. Unless you’ve been in this industry before, there are a lot of pieces that you haven’t been exposed to and you have to be prepared to learn and work through it. And then keep learning. In this industry, the change is going to be constant, and you need to come expecting to be a part of—and pushing—change.”
Each year tED magazine recognizes 30 of the industry’s best and brightest under the age of 35. Please visit tedmag.com/30Under35 for nomination information and updates about the 2021 program. Questions can be sent to tED Editor Misty Byers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tagged with 2020 30 Under 35, 30 under 35