Optimal '22 - The Leadership Summit for Predictive Procurement

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Introducing the 2022 Opti Awards Winners

Optimal’22 — The Leadership Summit for Predictive Procurement— wrapped on March 24th. This event isn’t just an opportunity to network with the over 1,000 participants or to learn from incredible keynotes and workshops delivered by notable industry experts. Arkestro’s annual Optimal conference is also home to the Opti Awards ceremony, an event within an event in which the innovators and leaders in procurement are recognized for their outstanding achievements during the year. It’s also a chance for procurement professionals and those involved in the industry to celebrate the accomplishments pushing the industry to new levels. This year the Optis was hosted by Dawn Tiura, leader of the world’s largest global association for sourcing, procurement and risk professionals, the Sourcing Industry Group and Edmund Zagorin, CEO and Co-Founder of Arkestro.

Without further ado, here are the 2022 Opti Award Winners.


The Opti Awards and the 2022 Winners

 There are two major categories of awards: the Arkestro awards, and the Predictive Procurement Excellence awards.

Opti Awards

The Akestro Awards Winners

Leading the 2022 Opti Awards ceremony was Volkswagen Group of America, which took home the honors for being the Procurement Team of the Year. The second major award was for Procurement Operations Leader of the Year. That award was a tie this year, and went to Zimri Del Pino of the New York Times and Kristen Collins, Director of Global Purchasing Operations & Technology, who presented on the Optimal stage earlier in the day.

Next up, Jean-Michel dos Remedios of Bel Brands was recognized for being the Best VP of the Year. Jean-Michel also spoke earlier in the day about high-impact procurement and the high-performing processes at Bel Brands.

Opti Award winners Jean-Michel dos Remedios

Continuing the C-suite series of awards, Dover Chemical’s Steve Toloday took home the 2022 Bid Ops award for CFO of the Year, Linda Chuan of Box was named CPO of the Year, and the CPO Innovator Award went to Mike Morsch of CDK Global.

Linda Chuan

Next were a series of awards that recognize individuals who have had a notable impact in various aspects of the procurement industry that are becoming increasingly important. The innovators, influencers, and thought leaders.

The award for Sourcing Operations Leader of the Year was won by David Darland of Georgia Pacific. Volkswagen Group of America was on the podium for a second time, this time with Austin Dittrich bringing home the hardware for Innovation Advocate of the Year. The ESG Advocate of the Year for 2022 was won by Shelia Gunderson of Moody’s.

Mark Raffan repeated his 2021 win after being recognized with the 2022 “Voice of LinkedIn” Procurement Influencer of the Year Award, this time for his work with Negotiations Ninja. Finally, Bayer’s Thomas Udesen won the CPO Sustainability Award. 

At this point, several trends are probably becoming clear. First, the companies that are actively involved in the procurement industry cover a wide range of industries. And second, the individuals and teams involved with procurement also cover wide ground. Some are traditional procurement professionals, others are CFOs, and some wouldn’t necessarily have been directly linked to procurement even a year ago. These trends illustrate the growth in the procurement industry and the recognition of its strategic importance across functional areas.

Mark Raffan

The diversity in the procurement industry becomes even more apparent with the second category of awards.


Predictive Procurement Excellence Awards

These awards recognize the rapidly growing value organizations place on thinking ahead of the market and locking in suppliers at advantageous times and prices. With over two years of supply chain disruption, predictive procurement has become an invaluable capability. These companies — and a notable individual — are leading the pack when it comes to this strategy.

The first series of awards are for excellence in specific areas.

Dover Chemical was the winner for End-to-End Predictive Orchestration. Epizyme took home the hardware for Predictive Sourcing in Indirect Services. When it comes to Excellence in Predictive Sourcing in Materials, Crowley came out on top, while Searles Valley Minerals was recognized for Predictive Sourcing in MRO. Bel Brands collected its second Opti 2022 award after winning for Excellence in Predictive Sourcing in Packaging. The award for Predictive Sourcing for CapEx went to Holcim Group. BASF was in the spotlight for its Excellence in Predictive Compliance. The award for Predictive Savings Identification was given to CDK Global. Kristen Collins of Autodesk topped the Predictive P-Card Award nominees, while Evonik collected the award for Excellence in Supplier Diversity. Volkswagen Group of America added to its hardware with the award for Excellence in Predictive Tail Spend. When it comes to Predictive Global Spending, Novartis was on top this year. Finally, the 2022 award for Excellence in Predictive Supply Chain was won by Materne.

Opti Award winners Kristen Collins

Those were the corporate winners in the predictive procurement category, but let’s not forget the individual who was recognized by his peers. David Shultz was named the Thought Leader Practitioner of the Year.

David Shultz

Congratulations to all of the winners, industry thought leaders, trailblazing procurement professionals and the sourcing stars that are truly making a difference in the world of procurement and beyond. That’s it for the 2022 Opti Awards, but plans are already being made for the 2023 edition. To watch the 2022 Opti Awards ceremony in its entirety (plus videos of other sessions from Optimal’22), be sure to visit the Arkestro website.


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Rob DeSantis


As a former co-founder of Ariba running sales, Rob has deep expertise in the procurement space, having helped propel Ariba from zero to $250 million in revenue in four years and IPO of the year in 1999 before its acquisition by SAP a decade later. In addition to co-founding Ariba, Rob was also an early angel investor and board member of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional online network.

More recently, Rob served as an investor and advisor to a small portfolio of companies including Bloom Energy, AEye, Inc., HiQ Labs, Agiloft, USEND and more. He is also a co-founder of Dibbs Technology and TrueParity. Rob holds a BSME from the University of Rhode Island.

Marty Meyer

Chief Financial Officer

A trusted partner and advisor on the executive team, Marty has a unique background having been the CFO of nine venture backed technology companies. Marty has raised over $300M in venture funding and has closed six strategic M&A transactions with a combined value of over $1B. Marty has deep domain expertise in ecommerce, consumer internet, networking, data security, data privacy, media technology and enterprise software industries. Marty is especially experienced in the finance and operations activities of SaaS companies and is driven by data and metrics to help create outstanding customer experiences and drive efficient growth.

Neil Lustig

President and Chief Operating Officer

Neil is a seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience leading and building teams in Tech. Neil brings insights from a variety of market spaces and company sizes. Most recently Neil was the CEO of GAN Integrity, an innovative SaaS Compliance technology company serving enterprise customers in North America and Europe. Before that Neil was the CEO of Sailthru, a leader in ML driven personalized multi-channel marketing communications for media and e-commerce markets. Prior to that Neil was the CEO of Vendavo, the leader in B2B price optimization and management for large enterprises. Before Vendavo, Neil led the commercial team at Ariba, the market pioneer that defined and created the eProcurement space. Neil served as the GM of Ariba Europe and subsequently the GM of Ariba North America. Neil started his career at IBM where he spent sixteen years, initially as a software developer, and then twelve years in a variety of Sales and Marketing roles


Neil has a BS in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from SUNY Albany. He is a native New Yorker, Brooklyn born, and still resides with his wife and three children in New York City.

Bonnie Adams

Director of People Operations

Bonnie is a People Operations and HR veteran, with over a decade of experience establishing successful people and culture functions for early to mid-stage tech startups going through high growth phases. She has a passion for supporting and creating inclusive and collaborative work environments and is well-versed in driving positive changes in her organizations as a trusted leader. Prior to joining Arkestro Bonnie worked as the People & Culture Coordinator for Ionic Security, helping them scale from 5 to over 200 employees in addition to a $120M funding round. Most recently she was the Head of People & Culture for blockchain innovator Storj Labs and was the Director of Human Resources at PrizePicks, the largest independently owned Daily Fantasy Sports platform in North America.

Arym Diamond

Chief Revenue Officer

Arym Diamond joined Arkestro in January 2022 bringing over 20 years of experience in the enterprise software and consultancy industry.  He is responsible for the worldwide go-to-market revenue strategy. Prior to Arkestro, Arym was Chief Revenue Officer at CalAmp focused on Telematics and Logistics. He also served as the area vice president of North American Sales within the Salesforce.com Enterprise Business unit for Einstein Analytics & AI, where analytics and machine learning were re-imagined for the front office.  Prior to that, he spent over 10 years at Oracle in various sales positions. Arym holds an MBA from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, and an undergraduate degree from California State University.

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