Category Manager, Direct Materials

Date: Aug 26, 2023

Location: Columbia, MD, US, 21044

Company: W. R. Grace & Co.

Requisition ID: 22347 

Built on talent, technology, and trust, Grace is a leading global supplier of catalysts and engineered materials. The company’s two industry-leading business segments—Catalysts Technologies and Materials Technologies—provide innovative products, technologies, and services that enhance the products and processes of our customers around the world. Grace employs approximately 4,300 people in over 30 countries.

Job Description

We're hiring a Category Manager, Direct Materials, who will report to the Director, Strategic Sourcing and be responsible for developing strategic category plans as well as sourcing, negotiating, contracting, and managing supplier performance, while delivering finished goods on time with a high degree of quality. The position requires transformational thought process regarding current operations, risk management, and value creation along with the discipline to executes procurement activities according to Grace’s Procure to Pay policies. The day-to-day elements of the job are PR/PO activities to ensure continued operations at the plants, vendor onboarding, AP troubleshooting, and logistics resolution. You will partner with the business unit and support the Senior Category Manager to execute category strategies and support approximately $100M of direct material spend.


In addition, you will manage direct material categories to establish short and long-term strategies for continued cost optimization, value improvement, supplier relationship development, and risk mitigation. The strategic contributions of the job are a strong understanding of the use of materials within the business to drive transformational productivity projects (in/outsourcing, material handling improvements, inbound freight optimization, etc.).


The position is based at our corporate headquarters in Columbia, MD with relocation assistance offered. You will have the ability to work a hybrid schedule, 3 days in the office (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday) and 2 days from home. 


  • Leads supplier performance management through the negotiations of procured materials to assure optimal TCO (Cost, Quality, Delivery, and Innovation) achieved while mitigating risk to the Organization. Where necessary, sources and qualifies alternate sources of material to mitigate risk.
  • Participates in the financial planning and forecasting process as well as provides relevant global market information and dynamics to internal stakeholders.
  • Analyzes data or insights to determine industry and material trends, devises long-term development strategies for material categories.
  • Thinks end-to-end and integrates business plans with sourcing decisions, financial performance, and supply requirements.
  • Utilizes advanced analytical skills and business intelligence to drive sourcing process end-to-end from selection through performance management to stay ahead of any sourcing issues and maximize value to Grace.
  • Provide innovation and oversight to ensure business value (e.g., cost, service, quality, and reduced risk) and open communication around key stakeholder requirements for all direct and indirect goods and services. Lead continuous supplier value improvement efforts internally and externally. Delivers annual reductions in total cost of ownership.
  • Communicates results and recommendations to supply chain leadership on an ongoing and as-needed basis using clear and concise communication both in verbal and written form.
  • Proven capability of managing internal and supplier communication with results-driven mentality.
  • Engages with senior procurement personnel and partners with key internal and external stakeholders to ensure category alignment with global/regional strategies.

Required Qualifications

  • B.S. Degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Science, or related field
  • 7 years’ work experience in a global industrial/manufacturing environment with at least 5 years’ Direct Categories sourcing experience.
  • Business acumen with strong internal and external negotiating skills. Must be able to critically review and negotiate supply contracts and possess a solid understanding of standard contract terms and terminology; Ability to critically evaluate supplier financial health and capabilities.
  • Ability to travel up to 20% of time.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Supply chain certification (CPSM, CSCP, CPIM, CFPIM).
  • Master’s degree in operations, supply chain management, business. 
  • Demonstrated experience with make vs. buy decision-making.
  • Demonstrated experience with enterprise technology applications (such as SAP, Ariba (preferred), SharePoint) that enable sourcing and procurement execution and reporting.



Medical, Dental, Vision Insurance
Life Insurance and Disability 
Grace Wellness Program
Flexible Workplace 
Retirement Plans  
401(k) Company Match – Dollar to dollar up to the first 6%
Paid Vacation and Holidays
Parental Leave 
Tuition Reimbursement
Company Donation Match Program

U.S. Employee Benefits Summary ( 

Grace is not accepting unsolicited assistance from search firms for this employment opportunity. Please, no phone calls or emails. All resumes submitted by search firms to any employee at Grace via email, the Internet or in any form and/or method without a valid written search agreement in place for this position will be deemed the sole property of Grace. No fee will be paid in the event the candidate is hired by Grace as a result of the referral or through other means.

Nearest Major Market: Baltimore