Dan Westra, Key Accounts, North America

Tell me a little bit about your background.

I started my career as an engineer and progressed to be a senior executive of a multinational consumer products company. I was Vice President of Engineering and Vice President of Quality, in addition to extensive manufacturing management roles prior to those positions. My background includes quality data compilation and analysis for domestic and international stakeholders, Greenfield startup of new manufacturing facilities, including the establishment of team-based business process and measurement, development of production, safety, quality, and financial business scorecards, and staffing and development of management and workforce. I have been a certified AAA commercial arbitrator, and I've consulted with local government and nonprofit organizations in strategic planning, economic development, and executive coaching. I'd summarize my experience as organizational leadership, business integration, and technical and customer service. 

What interested you about working with DRD?

One of my strengths is relating a client's business needs to the products and services that my company provides. I am excited for the opportunity to sell this product. This is a great product, so selling is not the issue—it's more a matter of helping the client understand how this will benefit their business. Ultimately, that's why we want them to buy it and use it. That's very much been part of my interest for some time—how to build the business of my clients. 

What will be your role with DRD?

I will be responsible for Key Accounts for North America. I'll be focusing on medium and large law firms, as well as insurance and re-insurance companies, to help them incorporate DRD’s data to determine what's their best course of action in resolving issues for their clients. 

When you're talking to law firms, what do you most want them to know about DRD and about the product?

First of all, I want them to understand how the data on arbitration and mediation, which has not previously been available, will plug a gap in their research capability. They will be able to serve their clients more fully by combining legal precedents with arbitration and mediation data. Part of my role is to tell the story without jargon. It's easy to talk about all the programming, but I will show them the power of data and what it means for their, and their clients’, decision making.

What is your focus when you're talking to insurance and reinsurance agencies?

Insurance agencies oftentimes are looking to assess overall risk. Or, if a claim has been made, what's the most expeditious way to resolve the claim? Is it through arbitration and mediation, or is it to battle it out in court? They're looking to minimize costs and still get the best result for their client. This data will be particularly helpful for insurance companies to handle their disputes strategically.

What drew you to arbitration and mediation initially?

I’ve seen many legal cases that would have seen a lower cost and presumably a more equitable outcome had they gone through arbitration or mediation. During my engineering career, there were contract disputes in which it took a lot of time and money to recover a relatively small award. Arbitration would have certainly sped that along and been much less costly.

What do you enjoy most about your role with DRD?

As an extrovert, I enjoy meeting people. As a process engineer, I've always enjoyed learning about other businesses and how they work. In this role, I'm looking forward to meeting businesses’ needs and build on their successes. I’m looking forward to learning about different areas, and different case types, through which we can improve our database for other clients. It's a continuous improvement loop that I'm looking forward to participating in.