Born and raised in Japan, Sugawara has worked for Isuzu Motors for the past 35 years. Sugawara has led development and administration teams and has extensive experience in marketing, with special focus on after sales, as well as truck production.
He has a degree in electrical engineering from the Akita Technical College in 1980. This led to his first position at Isuzu as senior engineer in the production engineering department. As a senior engineer, he planned the new automated chassis assembly and the new cab assembly line for the N-series as well as increasing production capacity in Thai and Malaysia, to name a few.
From 2002 until 2012, Sugawara was the general manager and group leader of the service marketing department in Japan. He was responsible for the foundation of World Service Skill contest in Isuzu (I-1 GP), starting the World Service Conference as well as cross-functional activity of service, establishing new service skill criteria, developing the geographical marketing method and increasing the after sales business in the domestic market.
Sugawara was promoted to general manager of the parts planning department in 2012. During his two-year term he increased the parts fill rate with Kaizen activity, further to this, Kaizen of parts stock rules to reduce the service operation time. He accepted the position of general manager for the sales promotion department in 2014 and organised the 'Economy and Safety Seminar as well as New Products Promotion. He was also involved in planning the CV sales-expanding project.
In 2014 he furthered his career to general manager for the international sales department, where he was in charge of West and South Asia and South Pacific area. He developed a new market in Iran and Uzbekistan as well as improving the business amount. As of May 2016, Sugawara took up the position of chief executive officer for Isuzu Truck South Africa.