Dan Casey (MBA ‘83) Reflects on Three Decades in International Management
Daniel (Dan) Casey (MBA ‘83) is the Executive Vice President of Future Electronics with three decades of international management experience under his belt. Building the company into a multibillion-dollar enterprise, Casey directly contributed to growing the electronic components distributor business to more than 5,000 employees and more than 150 offices worldwide. It is this professional acumen and tenacity that earned Casey the honour of receiving the prestigious R.Trudeau Medal.
The highest honour awarded to our alumni at the Telfer School of Management, the R.Trudeau Medal was established in honour of the former director of the University of Ottawa's Commerce department, Reverend Father Roland Trudeau, who led the team from 1950 to 1965. The medal, first awarded in 1989, recognizes leadership, initiative and contributions made by an alumna or alumnus to the business world, the community and their alma mater.
Aligning Passion with Work: the Value of an MBA
Casey completed his undergraduate degree in Engineering at the University of Ottawa, earning a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in 1977. Within a couple of years after graduating, he went into a business management role. He started his professional journey in project management after his university studies and moved from Ottawa to Montréal.
Just before graduation, he met his future wife, who was then starting to study as a nurse. He decided to continue his education so they could spend time together as students on campus. Casey chose the MBA program at Telfer to earn an education in business — something that already interested him and what would prove to be a pivotal moment in Casey’s career. It took him five years of part-time studies during evenings to complete the program. Casey shares how his MBA complemented his background in applied science: “Engineering teaches problem-solving, and the MBA helped me understand organizational dynamics, human resources, and the business world of running companies and divisions.”
With his work, Casey says he was in the right place at the right time. Managing a small business in Montréal at the start of his career, he then became the President of two divisions of ABB Canada, prior to joining Future Electronics and working overseas for many years.
Decades of International Management Experience
Beginning his work with Future Electronics in 1993, Casey played a large part in the launch of the FAI Electronics sales division, a significant unit of the company responsible for wholesale electronics distribution and international management. In 1996, Casey travelled to London, England to manage the European arm of the organization; “The biggest challenge was learning how to drive on the other side of the road in England,” laughs Casey. On a serious note, he approaches every situation in his life as a challenge, always raising the bar, a continental move not being an exception.
When he was young, Casey never thought he would live abroad, until he moved to Europe. Fourteen years later, he found himself in Singapore. There, Casey managed both the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) and Asia-Pacific branches of the corporation. Through decades of international experience, Casey took away many important lessons: people are people no matter where you are — you can motivate, help and listen to them. Understanding business practices and norms in other countries is key to learning these special markets and mastering international management.
Managing more than $2 billion USD during his career, in 2012 Casey moved back to Montréal. Today, he is responsible for the departments of International Distribution Operations, Quality and Trade Compliance, along with the company’s distribution centres in multiple metropolitan cities of Leipzig, Shanghai, Memphis, and Singapore. Casey also helps develop Future Electronics’ learning and development programs, while simultaneously working in management and holding responsibility for human resources. He also manages Rena Electronica, a company based in the Netherlands that works in lighting integration manufacturing.
Reflecting on the National and Global Experience
Earning the R.Trudeau Medal this year, Casey is recognized for these astounding accomplishments and feels grateful for the recognition, thriving on being successful with a team.
Working abroad for many years, and managing successful teams in different countries, Casey strongly recommends getting a bit of experience at home and then going to live somewhere else to capitalize on international management experience. He believes that unless you have lived somewhere, you cannot understand the region to the same extent: “Immerse yourself in the culture. Work for a company that will allow you to do different things.”
Undoubtedly, Casey’s MBA studies helped establish the foundation for decades of success to come in international management. He highly recommends the program, reflecting on the networking done in the classroom and being surrounded by like-minded ambitious people. Casey found the MBA to be especially powerful when combined with his undergraduate degree in Engineering — the combination of any degree with an MBA can be significant — attributing 10% of his success to Engineering and 90% to the MBA.
Giving Back and Looking Forward to the Future
Today, Casey is proud to have provided for his family during his professional career journey in international management. Now he supports his children in their own paths, instilling in them countless important lessons on enjoying the work you do, the importance of who you work for, and learning what to do and what not to do.
Casey was a mentor for the Telfer MBA program in 2015 and unconditionally believes in the value of mentorship too, urging students to learn the most they can from their boss and their mentors, to leverage the resources available to them, and experiment with no fear.
Casey delivers an empowering message as a note of motivation for future generations of business leaders: “There’s a lot of fear in everybody. Don’t be afraid! I always say: ‘No fear, let’s go, I have your back.’ When making an important decision, step back. Both your gut and heart have to be aligned.”
To learn more from business professionals and Telfer graduates, or volunteer as an executive mentor, get involved in the Executive Mentorship Program to work with undergraduate students or the MBA Mentorship Program to meet with graduate students at Telfer. As a mentor, you can help students develop their skills in relationship building, understanding the job market, and more.