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HarbertMagazine Spring 2015

CHAIN

DRIVEN In this issue Avast! Pirates! Jay Jacobs Building the Right Business Ecosystem

Discovering What’s Important The Money Machine Centers of Attention


SYSTEMS

SERVICE

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GOOD SUPPLY CHEAP

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It’s one of the basic laws of the business universe. You can have it fast and good, but not cheap. Or you can get cheap and fast—but don’t count on the quality. It’s a basic law. Like gravity.

But the modern supply chain is challenging that basic law. Speed, quality, and low cost are no longer mutually exclusive, and business terra firma is shifting. As good as that shift may be for the consumer, it places unusual stresses on the firm. Harvard’s David Collis calls it the “paradox of scope.” The increasing effectiveness of supply chain management has caused the firm’s core business functions to shrink at the same time it’s caused the businesses periphery—who it buys from, who it sells to—to expand. Think Apple. A $735 billion worldwide company. But someone other than Apple makes nearly all the parts of an iPhone or iPad—even the packaging. And someone other than Apple assembles and ships and stores all those products. Given its size, Apple itself owns virtually no manufacturing plants, no logistics facilities, and no network of distribution centers. At its core, it’s a design firm—a design firm with an incredibly broad, incredibly efficient supply chain. So let’s say you run a small, enterprising young company that sees an opportunity to sell a wellcrafted, specially-branded, attractively-priced travel mug. And let’s say you understand how to manage and control the supply chain that delivers that mug to market. Then maybe when customers ask you if they can have good, fast, and cheap, you can say, “Sure, how many?”

MACHINERY

MOVE

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We’ve all done it. We’ve all asked the same question, and chances are we’ve heard, “Good, fast, or cheap: pick two.”

MARKET SHIPPING

ARKETING

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OMMUNICATION

“Hey, I need it, and it’s gotta be good; but I’m on a budget and . . . oh, can you get it to me by the end of the week?”

PR

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SHIPPING

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TRIBUTION ACHINERY SERVICE

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HarbertMagazine Credits Director, HCOB Communications & Marketing Troy Johnson

Editor, HCOB Communications & Marketing Joe McAdory

Design/Production Jason Adams Rachel Herring Jenni Hunt Tiffany Smith

Contributors John DiJulio Brian Gibson Bruce Kuerten Tiffany Smith

Auburn University Raymond J. Harbert College of Business Office of Communications 023 Lowder Hall Auburn, AL 36849 (334) 844-8847 harbert.auburn.edu cobletters@auburn.edu Auburn is an equal opportunity educational institution / employer. © 2015 Auburn University Raymond J. Harbert College of Business

Celebrating Auburn’s Entrepreneurs Help us celebrate the ingenuity and excellence of Auburn University’s top student and alumni entrepreneurs. Even if you can’t join us in-person for the first Auburn University Entrepreneurship Summit on Friday, April 24, you can still join us in spirit in a couple of ways:

• Visit harbert.auburn.edu at the end of the month to learn

more about the winners of the Tiger Cage student entrepreneur competition, the Top Tigers firm recognition program, and our first inductees into the Auburn University Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. • Nominate a company for Top Tigers or an outstanding alum for the Hall of Fame or individual Entrepreneur and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Find out how at: harbert.auburn.edu/entrepreneurship-summit.

But, trust us, you’ll want to be here. Kevin Harrington, an original panelist from ABC’s Shark Tank and a pioneer in the infomercial industry, will be the keynote speaker at our Top Tigers luncheon and will help us select the winners of the Tiger Cage student entrepreneur competition.

Interested in attending?

Visit harbert.auburn.edu for ticket information.


HarbertMagazine

WHAT’S INSIDE

FEATURES 10

12

13

Avast! Pirates!

Chris Baker

Brad Hawley

16

18

50

Jay Jacobs

The Modern Money Machine

Bill Hardgrave

A Tale of Modern-Day Plunder

Conversations from the C-Suite

MORE GOOD STUFF

Building the Right Business Ecosystem

Getting to the Core of Our Core

Discovering What’s Important

Dean’s Last Word

6

Letters

10

Technology

34 Research

8

What You’re Up To

12

How We Think

36 With Your Dollar

9

What We’re Up To

16

The C-Suite

38 Alumni News

HM, Spring 2015 5


LETTERS

Here’s where you have the space to comment, critique, reflect or rant. If you’ve got something to say about business, business education, the college or the magazine, let us hear from you. E-mail us at cobletters@auburn.edu.

On Target with Big Data

Going places with an Auburn business degree

I read your article about big data with interest, and especially the part about Target stores and their analytics. I recently retired from IBM where I was Worldwide Executive for Big Data, and in that capacity I worked with Target Stores and other companies on big data analytics.

I wanted to check in since I’ve been catching with up the latest issue of Harbert Magazine. Thought I would share a little about my journey since graduating back in 2007. I am originally from the Northeast and came down to Auburn in 2003, walked on the football team under Coach Tuberville and was on the roster for a short while, and moved back to New York City once I graduated.

Target is a mass merchandiser and has little knowledge of most of their individual customers’ demographic information. They focus most of their analyses on stores rather than individual customers, and trips rather than products. We used data mining to format (stock and layout) individual stores to match the requirements of that store’s customers (“guests” in Target’s lingo). We used past purchasing behavior to infer customer demographics so we were able to better serve the total customer base. Buyers can’t focus on individual stores when they have hundreds or thousands of stores to think about, so big data is the best way to do it. Target’s customers are more likely to find products that meet their needs in their local store because of big data. The most advanced thing we did at Walmart, Target, and other companies was to design patented techniques and heuristic statistics to enable operational employees to create and apply predictive models at the touch of a single key. Because it’s done automatically, buyers think they’re just pulling reports and have no knowledge of how to create predictive models. I believe that’s the future of big data analytics, moving it away from the realm of statisticians and injecting it into operational processes. Thank you for an interesting magazine. I love what’s going on at Harbert. War Eagle!

Richard Hale ’54 Thank you for writing, Richard. Your comment about the importance of predictive modeling and operational processes certainly strikes a chord with us since this magazine explores aspects of that very topic. You’ve also hit on one of our major priorities. We created our business analytics major in 2013 to meet an increasing industry demand for talent capable of synthesizing complex data and utilizing it the way a tasseographer would use tea leaves to form a future vision. We’re in the process of filling new eminent scholar and endowed chair positions devoted to supply chain and business analytics. We’re also excited about the upcoming launch of a supply chain research center, which you’ll read more about in this issue.—Ed.

6 HM, Spring 2015

I’ve worked for several firms, including Vornado Realty Trust in NYC, a boutique restructuring firm and a private investment fund. But this past spring, I was lucky to have the opportunity to interview with Jefferies’ Investment Bank here in Manhattan, specifically their Healthcare Investment Banking and M&A group. The interview process took several months of meeting MDs and other higher-ups, taking tests, and answering tons of questions about balance sheets and past life experiences, but I somehow received an offer and am now five months into the biggest change of my life, working countless hours, yes, but working on the biggest deals on the Street with some of the smartest people I’ve ever been around. I rep my Auburn gear any time I can, and my desk is littered in orange and blue. I talk up how much I learned at Auburn, one of the top 50 business programs, under the likes of Kevin Yost and the other great teachers and professors, and I hope I can help any Auburn students/grads interested in working in iBanking. Ironically enough, I recently met a current Auburn student for coffee to hear about what’s new and exciting down there at the Harbert College of Business. Just wanted to share my story and share how proud I am of my Auburn education. I wear it on my sleeve every day while working for the top healthcare investment banking team on Wall Street, and it feels great. It makes it that much better to say I went to Auburn. Why pay $60K a year for an Ivy League education when you can go to Auburn and still become an investment banker in New York? (I just can’t say that in front of my associates)!

Stephen Aldridge ’07 Steven, thank you for painting the Big Apple orange and blue and for being willing to help current HCOB students and recent graduates. Interested in serving as a mentor to a current student? Contact Harbert College Director of Engagement Shanna Ullmann at shanna.ullmann@auburn.edu. —Ed.


Errata That’s Latin for “we messed up.” When we make mistakes or omissions, we believe it’s proper to acknowledge the errors and correct them promptly. The following do-overs are in order for our fall issue: With reference to the story “RFID: Efficiency Through Frequency,” RFID tags are actually smaller than what we described. The technology has advanced to the point where these small chips are now smaller than a grain of sand.

Heather (Snow) Gibbons Hartman (’89, management) is the summer school coordinator at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She previously worked for the SACS Commission on Colleges before moving to Tennessee in January 2014. She stays busy away from the office following her son’s youth baseball team, serving as president of the Jefferson Middle School PTO, and riding her BMW dual support motorcycle. Her family includes 15 Auburn University graduates.

A.J. Mills (’09, marketing) works in the Auburn University athletics department as an executive support specialist for the athletic director. In addition to serving as director of the Auburn Leadership Institute, she is nearing completion of a PhD in higher education administration. Kerri Sauer (’98, international business; ’00, MBA) serves as VP of Technology Delivery for Global Technology Solutions, Elavon, in Atlanta.

We want to know . . . What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? Did it come from a former professor, a colleague, or a family member? How did it change your

outlook, perspective, or ambitions? Tell us all about it, and we’ll include your response in our next magazine.

To send us your feedback or to get involved with the To send us your feedbackvisit or tousgetatinvolved with the Harbert College of Business harbert.auburn.edu Harbert College of Business visit us at harbert.auburn.edu or e-mail cobletters@auburn.edu or e-mail cobletters@auburn.edu


Shoot us a photo. Drop a line. Jot a note. Let us know what you’re doing. Here are a few of the things we’ve heard. Send us your news and keep up-to-date at: harbert.auburn.edu/news & harbertmagazine.com

WHAT YOU’RE UP TO

Dee & Ann Duncan Dee and Ann Duncan celebrated their 30th anniversary with a Suez Canal cruise that included stops in Egypt and Jordan. In addition to visiting a Bedouin village, they saw Roman ruins, swam in the Red Sea, and experienced the Luxor and Karnak Temples. “I can’t tell you how wonderful the people were,” said Dee, a 1981 marketing graduate and president and CEO of Keyston Bros. “The kids would stop and ask us, ‘What’s your name? Where are you from?’ Anything to practice their English.” Ann, a 1979 graduate in personnel management, serves as the company’s senior VP for Human Resources. Keyston Bros. specializes in fabrics for furniture, automotive, marine, and other needs.

Laurie Dasher,

(1989, international business) was named to the 2014 Computer Reseller News (CRN) Women of the Channel list and was honored as one of its inaugural Power 50 Solution Providers. The CRN Power 50 honors elite female executives at solution provider organizations who are extending their respective company’s sphere of influence as trusted advisers. Dasher is president and CEO of Dasher Technologies in San Francisco.

Vam York,

(1946, business) recently funded the Cardell Vam York Endowment for Fellowships at the Harbert College of Business. York was also presented with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Champion award for continued support of the program her late husband, E.T. York, founded. Read more on page 39.

Courtesy: UF/IFAS photography

Mark Thibaut,

(1985, business administration) is VP of Oil Acquisitions for GulfMark Energy in Houston, Texas. Thibaut visited Harbert students in the fall and discussed his company’s supply chain intricacies, stressing that building relationships can foster business.

8 HM, Spring 2015

Michelle McKenna-Doyle As chief information officer for the National Football League, Michelle McKenna-Doyle (1987, accounting), is working to improve technology at games, in stadiums, and at the league office. She has overseen wireless sideline communication efforts and means to shorten instant replay reviews.


WHAT WE’RE UP TO

Harbert College of Business faculty and students are busy shakin’ it up. Here’s a few of the things that We’re Up To:

Bennie Adkins Former Harbert accounting instructor Bennie Adkins was presented the Medal of Honor by President Obama during a White House ceremony in September. Adkins, who led his troops through a fierce three-day Vietnam battle in 1966, visited the college on Sept. 26 to share his stories of heroism and bravery.

Courtesy: The Montgomery Advertiser

Brian Connelly,

McWane Family Professor in Management, won Auburn University’s Undergraduate Teaching Award. He was honored on the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium before the Tigers’ Sept. 6 game versus San Jose State, and was presented with the award at the annual faculty awards banquet on Oct. 23.

Roughly 270 managerial accounting students taught lessons in checkwriting, the stock market, and balancing a budget to children at Loachapoka Middle School on Oct. 28. The literacy fair was dubbed “The Benjamin Bash: Building Your Benjamins ($100 bills) and Business Basics.”

Nate Palmer A junior in professional flight management from Hoover, Alabama, Palmer served six months at Bagram Air Base in northern Afghanistan. Palmer is a senior airman in the US Air Force, representing the Alabama Air National Guard’s 187th Fighter Wing.

Ty McCormack,

an MBA and finance master’s student, was named SEC Cross Country Scholar Athlete of the Year. McCormack, from Gainesville, Georgia, earned a 3.11 GPA and won the NCAA Men’s South Regional Championship.

HM, Spring 2015 9


TECHNOLOGY

! t s a Av s! e t a iP r

$227 million. That’s how much money was lost to digital pirates who looted movies, music, and other treasure in 2014, according to entertainment industry news website deadline.com. “Our most valuable assets as entertainment companies can be accessed, compromised, and released to the world without our knowledge or approval,” says Ron Sanders, Warner Bros. president for Home Entertainment Distribution and a 1982 Harbert College marketing graduate. “Digital piracy is a huge threat because one pirated copy can so quickly be copied and disseminated using the Internet. It is difficult to get consumers to pay for content if that content is available broadly for free.”

“When that happens to a film or television show that has not yet been released,” says Sanders, “the financial impact can be enormous.” Carnegie Mellon University researchers estimate that on average, movies leaked before their theatrical debut generate almost 20% less box-office revenue than titles pirated after theatrical release. Warner Bros. releases movies digitally three months after theatrical release, then sells them in DVD or Blu-Ray formats about two weeks after that. Most movies are available for RedBox rental a month after DVD release. For those who would rather break the law than wait, pirates create a “free-to-the-consumer service” and reap advertising dollars by illegally hosting the latest hits. The surge in piracy may be related to distribution methods. After movies finish their theatrical run, millions want to “own” them by licensing digital versions that are downloaded to mobile devices or computers. This digital supply chain is convenient for consumers, but it simplifies piracy.

The new breed of pirate is technically savvy. No more the furtive videocamera taping the movie screen. The 2014 action film The Expendables 3, starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Despite the risks, Sanders notes that the digital pipeline is Schwarzenegger, was obtained and reportedly illegally downloaded essential. “We are a content business, and to make our content more than two million times before its theatrical premiere. appealing and widely viewed by the audience, we have to be 10 HM, Spring 2015

Illustration: Jason S. Adams

They may not wear eye patches, wield swords, and yell “Argh!,” but we do know they sail the Internet for treasure they can plunder.


adapting to the consumption patterns of the consumer,” he says. “The digital transformation has been evolving, and is accelerated by the fast development of devices (smartphones, iPads, tablets, etc.). What’s astonishing to me is that today, tablets are a critical element of how consumers enjoy our movies and TV shows, by renting or buying on iTunes or Amazon or their cable or satellite service. Last year, there were more than 750 million tablet devices sold around the world.”

hacked Sony’s network, accessing unreleased intellectual property and threatening to publish it unless The Interview was quashed. The intimidation worked. Sony canceled its initally scheduled release, to the dismay of the White House. President Obama called the move “a mistake”. After a week of scrambling, Sony partnered with Microsoft and Google, skipped distribution to major theater chains, and released the movie for legal streaming via online stores.

To protect its valuable content, the entertainment industry must The ripples are still being felt in the distribution landscape, as build a secure digital supply chain. “Besides the obvious things to strengthen our protection and security protocols for all digital- producers and studio execs weigh the pros and cons of the unorthodox release, and evaluate the likelihood of a similar hack ly-stored communications and platforms (including watermarkoccurring in the future. ing), we are evolving our business to take more risk out of the current online tools that we use,” Sanders says. “It’s not easy for a casual hacker, but if there are state-sponsored, well-funded efforts to get into a company’s systems, I’m told it’s As technology and product demand evolve, so do the stakes. very difficult to be completely protected,” Sanders says. “The Entertainment piracy is now creating political as well as ethical stakes of what’s at risk are enormous, so the protection is getting and financial problems. stronger. There is always a balance between making business easy to do versus more ‘barriers’ that help with protection, but In Sony’s satirical movie The Interview, a pair of American talk show hosts are sent to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim I think all companies are willing to put up with a little more Jong Un. The film drew the ire of North Koreans who allegedly inconvenience if it results in better protection of our data.”


HOW WE THINK

Building the Right Business Ecosystem My professional experience spans 22 years of consulting with Fortune 100 and Global 500 companies on complex business problems, and five more years working with start-ups, venture-backed companies, small non-profits and higher education systems. While the problems and complexities are vastly different, I’ve found one common thread throughout. Solving a problem is solving a problem. The problem could be “how to avoid bankruptcy in a multinational corporation hit by a massive competitive change” or “how conventional thinking could be challenged in a small higher-educational setting.” I think in terms of purpose, alignment, integration, processes, and tools. In summary, I think big organizations and small teams are all an ecosystem. The parts and pieces are linked together to achieve a common purpose. First: you must know the problem or opportunity that exists, and you must have a purpose to take action. The purpose always starts with asking the right questions and narrowing in on those areas where the biggest impact can be made given the resources you have. This, as you would expect, is the most critical point. Far too many organizations work on the wrong problems or opportunities. Focus on the outcome, and all things pull you toward those goals. Second: does the alignment of people behind the activity ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction? This is where people either get energized by positive action or they begin to pull in an

12 HM, Spring 2015

opposite direction and will likely find themselves “off the train.” When energized people come together for a common purpose, amazing things can happen. Third: what must be integrated to make the parts work together to achieve the outcome? It could be a global supply chain, external business partners, internal metrics, resources, technology, culture, etc. Likely, in most cases, it is many things that have previously operated more independently rather than in a codependent ecosystem. Fourth: what processes and tools must be leveraged to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of the ecosystem in delivering the outcomes? The end result hinges on the ability to find the right design and balance of process and tools. Every part of every business is built by personal expectations and decisions. So, my parting words are two points: 1. You will never get high performance without high expectations. 2. Life is about decisions, so choose wisely.

Chris Baker Interim Director Office of Professional and Career Development Harbert College of Business BS in finance, 1987

Chris Baker, a retired managing partner for Accenture, currently assists the Harbert College in a variety of ways—mentoring students, serving on the college’s advisory council, and, more recently, taking on the role of interim director for its Office of Professional and Career Development.


Discovering What’s Important The last things I remember about the accident were my hands coming off the bar, a cloud of chalk, and the thought, “Oh, no.” I was on the floor of the gym for quite an extended period of time. There was a question about how to proceed and how to help this man on the floor—me—who was essentially dying. My skull was shattered and blood was filling up in my head. When I got to the emergency room, they performed a craniotomy to drain the blood, and the doctors and nurses who were there later told me my skull resembled a shattered windshield. I’m missing part of it now. Anything that you take for granted today, I couldn’t do. I lost all motor skills, and my epiglottis was paralyzed. When I regained consciousness, I had double vision and couldn’t swallow, smell, taste, or talk. I was essentially a piece of flesh that they were keeping alive. The prognosis wasn’t very promising. During the very end of my stay in intensive care, my wife started touring rehabilitation hospitals because there was talk about where I would spend the rest of my life. Once there was a degree of certainty that I would survive, there were questions about what abilities I would regain. In those weeks of uncertainty, I had plenty of time to think and reflect about my family, future, and priorities. Most people don’t undergo that kind of process until they’re in the twilight of their lives. They begin to think about their regrets, about what they have left undone. Before the accident, I had become pretty self-absorbed. Sure, I loved my wife and I loved my kids, and had a job. But the priorities back then were one, two, three: money, materials, self. Four through six were faith, family, and friends. It wasn’t going to change unless something drastic happened. As I reflect back, I thought life was good. I had a nice house, was part of the right organizations, and had plenty of friends, but what this world tells us we should be is a lie. My priorities were misaligned and after the accident, over the course of probably 12 months, there was a gradual shift where everything flipped. Faith, family, and friends took top billing.

Editor’s Note: Brad Hawley earned an international business degree from Auburn in 2000 and returned in 2011 to begin the Executive MBA program. His career and continuing education were interrupted after he fell from a high bar during a CrossFit exercise in Birmingham in August 2012, sustaining a traumatic brain injury and losing cognitive and motor functions. In regaining his physical and cognitive abilities over a two-year period (making, by his assessment, a 98% recovery) and returning to Auburn to graduate from the EMBA program in 2013, Hawley experienced a significant life change.

I was determined to get better and worked my tail off. I wanted to get back to being a dad and walking again. I think God had a lot to do with bringing me back to certain things. To think I can sit here and complete sentences and walk again is amazing. Coming back to Auburn and rejoining the EMBA program was also an important part of my recovery. The accident happened in August and I was cleared to drive again right after Christmas. I returned to the program in January, but still had some cognitive and physical deficits. Everyone told me I should wait another semester, but I fought them on it and finished it with a 4.0. Throughout this recovery process, I’ve shed a lot of tears. I didn’t shed a lot of tears before, but that’s part of my perspective shift. If there’s anything that business students and others can learn from my story, I’d like them to understand the importance of examining their priorities, finding the right balance between family and career, and learning to appreciate the simple things. What you’re building today is important, but don’t forget to focus on the people who enrich your life on a daily basis.

Brad Hawley Partner Accusearch International Executive MBA, 2013 HM, Spring 2015 13


HOW WE THINK

The Secret to Success Like most children, I was often asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. At 5, it was a ballerina; at 8, a superstar; at 12, an FBI agent; at 17, a publicist; and now, at 21, I am pursuing a career in marketing. My dreams and aspirations changed quite drastically over the past 20 years, but my dad would tell me the same thing every time. “Just choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Dad worked on a little golf course in southern Illinois when he was in high school. He had fallen in love with the game as a kid, and he did whatever he could to be around it. While he was studying horticulture at Murray State, the university started construction on a new golf course. He was graduating in May, just before the course was scheduled to open. Dad wanted to be a golf course superintendent and architect, and like any career, he needed experience. One day, he waltzed up to his dean in the College of Agriculture and asked if he could design a test plot putting green. Somehow he convinced the dean to give him a shot even though he had zero experience. He found companies who, for some reason, were eager to donate about $10,000 worth of material to some 19-year-old trying to build a Bentgrass green. Someone wrote an article about my dad in the local paper after the green was finished—asked him about the new course being built, and referenced his upcoming graduation. With a grin, he told the reporter, “That ought to be just about the time they will be looking for a superintendent for the new course. . . . I get excited every time I go out there. That’s going to be the finest golf course in Kentucky!” His eagerness and love for his work was evident before, but that article made it public. A few weeks later, he received an offer to become the superintendent at the new course. For the last 25 years, he’s found tremendous success designing golf courses, playing in bunkers, and not “working” a single day in his life.

Before I came to Auburn, I thought that it would be impossible to find something that I truly loved as much as my dad loves his work in the golf industry. It would be unfair not to acknowledge that working with golf courses is already a job completely out of the ordinary, but we all have the same authority to find what makes us thrive. It may take some time for it to click, but when it does, you ought to pursue it. For the longest time, I didn’t quite grasp what he meant by “choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life” but as I’ve found my passion, it all makes perfect sense. Whether it’s the daunting task of working on my resumé or volunteering my time and assistance, every step that I take toward pursuing a career with the Southeastern Conference builds up even more enthusiasm. There may be tasks to be done on a deadline, but it sure doesn’t feel like work when you are eager to do it. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I wish there were more. It’s pretty easy to tell when someone loves what they do and you never know when the right people are noticing. With passion comes dedication, and with dedication there is great reward and success. That’s what got my dad to where he is, and I’m confident that my love for marketing the SEC will take me on a great journey as well.

Abby Lemons Student Harbert College of Business

Abby is a senior in marketing, and will graduate in December 2015.

14 HM, Spring 2015


A Talent Gap Most people think about supply chain management (SCM) in terms of factories and trucks and boxes of products flowing to customers. Me? I think about people. That’s right, people. For all the equipment, facilities, and technology that we use to make, buy, and move products, we need people to plan and manage supply chains. These essential people analyze demand, make strategic decisions, supervise teams of associates, and come up with creative solutions for the disruptions that are bound to happen. Without these supply chain professionals working behind the scenes, store shelves would be barren and the FedEx driver would not deliver your Amazon.com order. Simply stated: if you take away the talented professionals, then the supply chain will suffer. And that’s a major concern today. According to recent research, the supply chain management discipline is gaining so much traction that demand for SCM talent is outstripping supply. C-level executives increasingly recognize the value of strong, integrated SCM capabilities and continue to expand its organizational role. The US Department of Labor is projecting that employment of logisticians will grow 22 percent through 2022. And SCM salaries are on the rise as companies compete for top talent. That’s right, supply chains are encountering a critical “inventory” shortage of talented supply chain professionals. Unfortunately, we can’t ramp up production of SCM talent as quickly as we can boost assembly of hot products. It takes time, energy, and financial resources to prepare people for SCM careers. In a recent research project that I led for the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, we found that you need to adopt a proactive and cohesive SCM talent management strategy. It starts with identifying essential skills for each SCM role, hiring qualified candidates with the right fit, and

A video still from Brian Gibson’s award winning course on Supply Chain Management. successfully getting them on board. But the work doesn’t end there. You need to continually develop the supply chain team through training, mentoring, and project work. And you’d better establish strategies for retaining your top talent or they will soon become supply chain leaders for your competitors. At Auburn University, we take this people aspect of SCM and the talent shortage very seriously. We are working on research that deals with the talent crisis, we listen when our industry partners tell us about essential and emerging skills, and we require our students to get their noses out of textbooks (maybe some wishful thinking here) and into the field before they graduate. There’s no substitute for learning by doing, and these SCM internship experiences enhance maturity, professional confidence, and career preparedness. Internships also translate into starting salary bumps of about five grand versus a graduate without internship experience. I wish that I would have had one some 30-plus years ago! So the next time you buy a product, think about how it got in your hands. Better yet, think of all the people that made it happen. Who knows? Maybe an Auburn SCM grad played a key role in making you a happy customer.

Brian Gibson Wilson Family Professor of Supply Chain Management Harbert College of Business

Dr. Gibson teaches supply chain management courses in Auburn’s undergraduate, graduate, and executive programs. He is the recipient of multiple Harbert College of Business awards, including the 2012 Best All-Around Faculty Member. Dr. Gibson stays connected to industry through practical research and leadership roles with three professional associations. HM, Spring 2015 15


JAY JACOBS

with Jay Jacobs

CONVERSATIONS FROM THE C-SUITE

Under Athletic Director Jay Jacobs’ leadership, Auburn’s athletic programs have captured 23 Southeastern Conference titles and 11 national championships. In that 10-year period, he has grown program revenues from $46 million to more than $113 million. Jacobs, who holds two degrees from the Harbert College—BS ’85, MBA ’88—currently serves as the chairman of the SEC’s athletic directors. HARBERT MAGAZINE: Jay, you’ve been the athletic director—the CEO of Auburn’s athletics—for a decade. If you were to hire an AD/CEO today, what would you look for? JAY JACOBS: I would look for somebody that’s smart. And when I say that, I don’t necessarily mean book smart, I mean some awareness of the breadth and depth of what goes on in college athletics—the finances, the compliance issues—the issues that come with each and every stakeholder, each and every fan. I’d look for somebody that has some experience specifically in college sports. A few months back, I jumped into an NCAA football rules committee meeting. ESPN, CBS, and Fox are sitting in, and they’re discussing ways to improve the television experience— to shorten the game. Someone pops out and says, “What if we go from 20 minutes to 16 or 18 minutes at halftime? That trims 4 minutes, boom.” 16 HM, Spring 2015

Well, that’s all well and good until you go to your band director, your band alumni, and your homecoming court. I’m looking around the room at 16 guys—administrators, coaches, officials— and all they’re thinking about is their part of the world. You’ve got to think about everybody’s part of the world. I once was asked to reschedule a game—I don’t remember what team—but we had an open date, and quite frankly, it helped us competitively, so I said, “Sure, no problem.” You won’t believe how many phone calls I got from moms of brides-to-be because I took their open weekend. Most every decision you make impacts someone who cares about your team and your school. You need to have the experience to know that and the awareness to be sensitive to it. HM: How important are soft skills? JJ: When you’re dealing with athletics, you’re dealing with emotions. That means you’ve got to care about people.


THE C-SUITE The student-athletes, the parents, the fans, the donors—they all need and want a personal touch. And they should expect it. Everybody matters. Treating people like you’d want to be treated. I was raised that way. You can look at that as a cliché, but it works. HM: Are there skills that you wish you had acquired? JJ: Of course, but I know that every situation that I’m in—good or bad—is preparing me for the next thing. I worked out this morning and I’ll be tired and a little sore tonight, but that workout is going to prepare me for tomorrow. I think the biggest thing I had to learn is how to handle confrontation. Everybody’s got an opinion, and not everybody thinks you’re doing the right thing. But I’ve come to understand that I need to listen to those opinions, to hear all of them, and then make the best decision I can based on my intuition and my experience. HM: What about creativity? JJ: You’re either green and growing or ripe and rotting. This isn’t a maintenance job. You can’t do the job without creativity. And I may not be the best, the most creative guy, in every situation. A man’s got to know his limitations, as they say. But I think I’ve hired the right people. We did a study a while back and I had too many direct reports, so we got a COO. You know, our budget’s $113 million. This is a business, and it’s a business in a changing environment. We’ve hired a chief marketing officer. Maybe the first chief marketing officer in college athletics. These are creative people, creative managers, creative thinkers. We’re faced with some tough problems. Expenses keep rising, and if we’re going to continue the kind of quality programs we have—if we’re going to improve—we have to be creative, to find new ways to do things better, to create new streams of revenue. HM: Is it hard for stakeholders to buy in to change? JJ: I don’t think so. Not if you’re responsive. Two years ago, all of us in the SEC partnered with a company who came in and did surveys of all the institutions from the perspective of the fans. In four areas out of 60 we fell below average: price of concessions, wi-fi/cellular, video, and sound system. Number one and number two concession sellers were bottled water and hot dogs. We cut the price of bottled water in half and took 25 percent off hot dogs. We negotiated with Verizon, and they spent $11 million upgrading the wi-fi and cellular capabilities. We’re working on the video board and the sound system. You know, we were the first college stadium to have an HD board. Everybody made a big to-do about that. The fans really liked it. Well now everybody’s caught up. So if our new video board is going to improve the game day experience, if it’s going

to be the best board out there, why don’t we have the biggest? Maybe a four-year-old or a five-year-old is going to say, “Mom, take me to the game because I want to see the biggest video board in college football.” And now Auburn has a new fan. HM: With creativity comes failure. How do you handle it? JJ: I don’t like to lose and I don’t like it when Auburn loses, but sometimes failure is a big part of getting better. Like I was mentioning earlier—lifting those weights. If you don’t lift to the point of failure, you’re not going to get as strong. If you don’t make mistakes, you’re probably not working as fast and hard as you could. What I don’t want is collateral damage. Before you learn how to run, you’re going to fall down and skin your knees. What you don’t want to do is run off the edge of a cliff. HM: Some say you are among the best—if not the best—AD in the country. How important is humility? JJ: It’s the number one thing. If you’re not willing to admit your mistakes, everybody around you goes deaf. They don’t listen to you, they certainly won’t follow you. It wasn’t until I was in my mid 40s that I became a good listener. If you’re a doer, then you’re always trying to get to the conclusion, but you’ve got to slow down a bit and listen. Constructive criticism can be good. I’ve got to listen to the athletes, to the parents, to my staff, the coaches, the fans, the faculty, the donors, the president. I think I said it before. Everybody matters.

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THE MODERN

MONEY MACHINE Supply chains are as old as the very first business transaction, but the modern supply chain now presents opportunities that are arguably unprecedented. Information technologies allow instantaneous, inexpensive global communication and enable firms to respond rapidly to changing economic conditions. Raw materials can be accessed from the far corners of the world. Sophisticated engineering methods and cheap skilled labor have driven down the cost of manufactured goods, and efficient logistics mean that a finished product can find its way to our door steps in a matter of days.

Illustrations: Jason S. Adams

We look at the supply chain as a network of production, storage, and distribution facilities connected by transportation lines—a network that stretches from the extractors of raw materials to the consumers of finished goods. Though the edges blur in real life, when we talk about the supply chain we commonly divide it into five processes: plan, buy, make, move and service. Consider, again, our enterprising young company and its travel mug. What’s involved in planning the supply chain? Where does it source the raw material and components? Where is the product manufactured, and how does that location impact logistics and transportation? Finally, how does the product get customized, packaged, and delivered to the consumer?

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Plan the work and work the plan A prosperous entrepreneur revealed the secret to success: “It’s easy to make a million dollars. Just find something that a million people want, and sell it for a buck more than it costs.” Simple, easy, direct advice. Of course you’ve got two big questions: what do a million people want, and how do you get it to them for a buck less than you charge? Those issues may be the basis of modern supply chain planning. Put another way, supply chain planning has two basic considerations: consumer demand and product cost. Contemporary thinking says consumer demand should drive the entire supply chain. Demand, in effect, “pulls” the product through the chain as opposed to the firm “pushing” the product toward the consumer. Demand-driven supply chains are less prone to excesses and shortages of inventory, and more able to focus on optimizing consumer service. In a perfect world, then, companies would make exactly those products in exactly those amounts that the consumer demands. No extra inventory, or manufacturing costs, or transportation charges anywhere along the chain. A substantial part of planning goes into developing a demand forecast that will ultimately drive the chain. “Forecasting is the one signal that can balance your supply chain,” says Dan Nguyen, a Harbert College alum who’s a sales and operations planning specialist.

Consumers are notoriously unpredictable, and a forecast is really an educated guess. There’s as much art and experience as there is data and software. In one of the more epic supply chain “fails,” Nike, usually a prime example of supply chain savvy, spent $40 million on demand forecasting software that supposedly would give the company a more solid grasp of customer demand. The programming substantially revised the forecasts made “by hand,” but missed the mark completely. Nike ordered nearly $90 million in shoes that it couldn’t sell, and came up $100 million short on shoes that were in demand. All told, Nike CEO Phil Knight put the cost at nearly $400 million. The stock price dropped 20 percent. It took the company three years to recover. “Supply chain professionals are not often taught ‘big data’ or heavy analytics. Programmers and computer scientists are not taught supply chain management,” Nguyen warns. “I believe that a strong marriage of these two is where the industry is heading.” “My main goal is to get in the ballpark,” says Bradley Addison, another Harbert grad and a global logistics associate at Dow Corning. “The more accurate we are at forecasting downstream, the more efficient we will be upstream.”

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The forecast can begin to shape the company’s planning. The trick is the coordination of the elements. Sales and operations planning, a supply chain “basic,” seeks to coordinate all the firm’s activities toward fulfilling the same forecasted goal. That coordination should be simple. In fact, S&OP, as it’s known, has been called organized common sense. However, different parts of the firm—different parts of the supply chain—usually see the world from different perspectives. Sales, for example, is all about revenue, manufacturing about expense, and logistics about capacity and speed. It can be difficult to get all the sectors to agree on a common goal—a common plan. Key to establishing this coordination is getting a consensus on the firm’s core strategic capability. Put another way, what does the firm bring the marketplace that is unique? What does the firm do better than anyone else? Siemens builds diagnostic equipment for hospitals and labs worldwide. MRI and CT scanning equipment is expensive and often made to order. Several years ago, the company found itself faced with rising costs and eroding sales. The executive team proposed restructuring around the company’s core capabilities. They cut middle management and reorganized into interdisciplinary teams. The teams aligned incentives with supply chain goals, improved information flow, and switched to air-freight deliveries for long-distance customers (which is counterintuitive given that the machines weigh more than two tons). Lead-time on custom-built equipment went from six months to two weeks.

“In the future, I think there is an opportunity for companies to further break down their own internal boundaries and work together toward a shared goal set to a greater extent than we do today,” says Harbert College’s EBSCO Professor of Supply Chain Management Cliff Defee. Built into the plan of the supply chain should be the unimpeded flow of information across all the elements of the chain. What are the inventory levels at the retail locations? What is the transit time for products? Is production at full capacity? Do we have component and/or raw material inventory? The answers to these questions allow the firm to respond quickly to changes in the marketplace and in consumer demand. Defee continues: “There are collaborative tools out there that let organizations work effectively with each other. Things like video conferencing are more in vogue today than they were a decade ago. Internet communications, the way it has enabled real-time communications around the globe—and most supply chains are global in nature—has changed the way we work as business.” So as we design the supply chain for our travel mugs, we first attempt to forecast consumer demand, then we plan a coordinated system of manufacturing and delivery processes—including the flow of information—to meet that demand in the most efficient way possible. Find out what a million people want and sell it to them for a buck more than it costs. Simple, right?

Buy: It’s no one-stop shop The Ford Motor Company was incorporated in 1903. By 1913, the company made and sold nearly half the cars in the United States. To feed its voracious assembly line and buffer it from economic vagaries, Ford owned its own rubber plantations, coal and iron ore mines, acres of timberland, a fleet of ships, and a railroad—all the resources necessary to make and sell a car, from the mine to the showroom. The company controlled all the elements of the supply chain. Ford’s vertical integration made sense at the time. The company was protecting its core capability—that assembly line. Fastforward 100 years. Transportation costs have dropped, cheap manufacturing labor can be leveraged from far-flung corners of the world, and information technologies allow instantaneous global communication. The modern supply chain has emerged. Today, companies don’t compete; supply chains do. 22 HM, Spring 2015

As companies tweak their supply chains to realize the greatest efficiencies, the question becomes much broader than “how much do I pay?” In simplest form, a company must procure the materials and services that enable the manufacture of a product and the delivery of that product to the consumer. To gain a competitive advantage, procurement must yield improved quality, timeliness, and cost. Typically, companies categorize purchases by supply risk and profit impact. If you’re building cars, transmissions are probably more important than pencils. Supply risk is high when the product or service is scarce, when there are few suppliers, or when the flow could be easily disrupted.


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“You have to categorize what you are buying to see where your the delivery and duty expenses, the failure recovery costs, and the leveraged opportunities lie,” recommends Gary Page, Harbert host of other considerations that can render our “cheap” foam SCM Lecturer and former director of TDS Corporate Services at pads less than a bargain. ITT. “And remember, all suppliers are not created equal. You have “The procurement guys will tend to jump on that low bid,” says to categorize groups of suppliers as well.” Vic Chance, former vice president at Johnson & Johnson’s Obviously, one of the key considerations in procurement decisions External Operations and Supply Chain Chief Procurement is cost. There’s a foam pad on the bottom of our travel mug. Let’s Officer. “They get fixated on low price. Low price may not be the say we find a supplier that is significantly cheaper than all the lowest-cost choice. If you have bad suppliers, there is hardly any way to get around that inexpensively.” others, but we come to find out that the foam disintegrates with the glue we use, or melts at the serving temperature of coffee, or As we incorporate the management of risk and look at the total is not reliably delivered to our plant. The foam may be cheaper, cost of ownership, we begin to view procurement from a holistic but it’s not worth the price. When we make that decision, we supply chain perspective. Has the supplier inventoried bottleneck must consider the total cost of ownership. “Total cost of owneritems? Does the supplier deliver in a timely, consistent manner? ship” factors in the quality of materials, the process compatibility,

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“Predictability leads to less risk. Less risk leads to less need for inventory and more timely deliveries,” says Page. “Supply chains are not just measured on the cost to run them, but also their velocity. But you have to have buffers. You always have to have a ‘plan B.’ Is there somebody else we can put into business if we have to? With duplication, we can manage the risk.” When the stakes get really high in procurement—when the firm is spending millions of dollars with suppliers, it should adopt a strategic sourcing process. Ford dominated the automobile market because of the assets it owned. Today, that is a recipe for inflexibility and waste. Mark Gottfredson notes in the Harvard Business Review: “It’s no longer ownership of capabilities that matters, but rather a company’s ability to control and make the most of critical capabilities.” In the 1980s, Microsoft came to dominate the computing industry by writing and marketing software. Walmart mastered the supply chain and became the world’s largest retailer. Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors emulated Japanese production models by outsourcing large components to key suppliers to improve quality and reduce cost. Noting these changes, Gottfredson challenges: “Should you always keep strategic capabilities within your walls? As globalization and technology transform more industries, all companies will eventually have to let go of that comfortable but simplistic idea.” Gottfredson points to 7-Eleven. In the late 80s and early 90s, as gas stations expanded into the convenience store market, 7-Eleven was troubled with financial losses and a shrinking market share. In 1991, Jim Keyes took over as vice president of planning. He discovered the company owned a dairy, made candy and ice, and even distributed its own gasoline. 7-Eleven was vertically integrated. Keyes radically restructured. He maintained control over product selection and pricing, but outsourced virtually everything else. Frito-Lay now distributes their chips directly to 7-Eleven stores, but individual stores have the final say regarding quantities, shelf-placement, and pricing. “The key is to develop end-to-end supply chain solutions with complete information to understand where and how to focus and prioritize resources,” says Augusta Vargas-Prada, procurement and purchasing director at Minor International and a 2013 Harbert College Executive MBA graduate.

Knowing their customers behavior had always been 7-Eleven’s core advantage; however, weighed down by non-critical tasks, the company could not put that advantage to use. Outsourcing created flexibilty and not only allowed 7-Eleven to prosper in its traditional business but opened the door to new opportunities. The company created multipurpose financial kiosks. American Express supplied ATMs; Western Union, wire services; and CashWorks, check cashing capabilities. True to form, 7-Eleven kept control of consumer behavior data. Keyes, now CEO, reduced the staff from 43,000 to 31,000, flattened the organizational structure, increased profit margins, and grew sales by 30 percent. What he managed to find were the “core of the core” of 7-Eleven’s capabilities. He outsourced everything else and discovered that the more he let go, the greater opportunity the company had. We know the demand for Harbert merchandise. That’s the core of our core capability. And as much as we like the travel mug, we’re saying no to vertical integration. Instead, we’re strategically sourcing our plastic and stainless steel from China, the foam from Taiwan, the rubber from Malaysia, and the paint from the good ol’ US of A. What’s next?


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Make: Adapt and thrive Production is at the heart of the supply chain. No product or service—no money. The design of the actual manufacturing process begins with a production strategy. Over time, technology has had a big impact on that strategy. We started with craft production. Products were made slowly, one by one. The Industrial Revolution brought us the production line and mass production. Since the mid-80s, most advanced manufacturing processes are organized along the lines of the Toyota Production System. The design of the actual process, the line, the machines themselves, and even the workers’ relationship to the line are all carefully and continuously monitored to “lean” the process—to eliminate waste in every form, and improve efficiency and speed. “Over the last 35 years, our progress has increased significantly,” says Mark Clark, a professor in the Harbert College and a management scientist with the Auburn Technical Assistance Center. “We have made great strides in terms of increasing efficiency, reducing waste, and improving quality.” The elimination of waste means the finished product can be produced at a lower cost. Efficiency and speed not only contribute to cost savings, but enable flexibility and some degree of customization in the manufacturing process.

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Some companies have pursued a flexible manufacturing strategy. This strategy emerged in response to persistent challenges—product line growth, shorter life cycles, faster competitors, and more sophisticated customers. The idea is to build flexibility so the system can react to rapidly-changing market conditions. With multipurpose machinery, cross-trained workers can change equipment setups and build different products.

No matter what strategy or combination of strategies we choose, cross-chain collaboration and communication with our supplier base is essential. Toyota serves as an example. The company looks for suppliers who are able to adopt Toyota’s way of doing business: a cross-functional team-based culture, a commitment to continuous improvement, a willingness to share information, and a high level of responsiveness. It’s no surprise that these qualities are all elements of a successful supply chain.

Adaptive manufacturing is the latest production strategy. It forgoes the traditional reliance on standard lead times and long-range forecasts in favor of a continuously monitored demand-driven approach. The supply side is tasked with quickly sensing and responding to customer demand. The result is increased production flexibility and demand fulfillment velocity.

Apple employs the same philosophy. The company recently spent $10.5 billion on manufacturing and tooling equipment. Apple is optimizing the design of their manufacturing process with the same level of intensity and commitment they apply to their products.

With these advancements, we have moved away from traditional mass production strategy, where we build a lot of product, push it out to the market, and hope that it sells. In contrast, the newer strategies wait to begin production until the customer places an order. The order then pulls product through the production system. This is called a demand-pull strategy.

“Their designs are so unique that you have to have a very unique manufacturing process to make them,” says one supply chain analyst who has studied the use of Apple’s machinery. To protect their core capability, the company designs new machines that enable new processes and deploys these machines and processes to their tier one Asia-based suppliers.

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Flexible Manufacturing Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) is a method for producing goods that is readily adaptable to changes in the product being manufactured and has the ability to handle varying levels of production.

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Consumers won’t see the assembly robots, milling machines, lasers, and other devices that aid in the mass production of iPhones and iPads. But Apple’s core capability—the design expertise for which it is renowned—has created a manufacturing process that allows what CEO and Auburn alum Tim Cook describes as the right “supply/demand balance.”

and efficiency. Manufacturers face pressure to “deliver more customized formulations, packages, and configurations for all kinds of products.”

If our enterprising young company is agile, flexible, and responsive, our plant in Vietnam will be able to produce our mugs with customized blue and orange lids. In addition, we will be able to Set-up 01 Set-up 02 Set-up 03 manufacture thermoses, and soup containers—a family of prod“It all starts with understanding the customer demand and ucts—based on the same design and using the same equipment demand patterns as reflected in forecasts, and how orders are RECEIVING SHIPPING RECEIVING SHIPPING RECEIVING SHIPPING PACKING PACKING PACKING that bring us our distinctive Harbert mug. Our consumers will firming up,” says Abiola Oladapo, materials leader for Cummins be giddy. and a Harbert College graduate. “Is demand normal? Is it rising? RUBBER RUBBER Is it dropping? GASKETS Is the mix changing? GASKETS FINAL Technology continues to FINAL FINAL ASSEMBLY ASSEMBLY ASSEMBLY help make things faster and easier to process and track.” That FOAM FOAM LID LID PLASTIC LID PLASTICof information smooth flow allows theDISKS manufacturingPLASTIC process ASSEMBLY DISKS ASSEMBLY PARTS PARTS ASSEMBLY PARTS to be more responsive to customer demand. INNER CUP

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So where is manufacturing headed? In a world of constant PAINT change and OUTER permanent volatility, SCM World suggests we’re OUTER CUP CUP entering an era of customization-oriented production. CompaStainless Coffee Mug and agility over productivityStainless Coffee Thermos nies will prioritize responsiveness

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Move: It’s not just trucks anymore The supply chain moves continuously. The gears are always turning. Materials move to suppliers, component parts go from suppliers to manufacturers, and finished goods and services flow to consumers. Information goes back and forth along the chain coordinating all the pieces and parts. All of these movements are called “logistics.” Logistics strategy involves the planning of inventory placement and movement to meet customer demand at the lowest cost. Implementing this strategy requires expertise in inventory management, warehousing, fulfillment, and transportation. Though the military has focused on logistics since the first armies met on the battlefield, logistics in industry is a relatively recent phenomenon. In the 50s and 60s, companies began to coordinate inbound activities. They called it “materials management.” Outbound activities—anything companies did to support retail— was the focus of “physical distribution.” Only within the past two decades have companies integrated logistics to support the supply chain from end to end. Several factors have driven this integration. Deregulation in the 80s created a free market and expanded logistics innovation. Companies constantly look for ways to reduce the trillion-plus dollars they spend yearly on transportation, inventory and logistics

administration. Firms have also discovered that high-quality logistics services promote customer satisfaction and retention. In the early 90s, there was a shift from manufacturer control of logistics to retailer control—think Walmart. In the last decade, information technologies enabled visibility along the entire supply chain. Today, it could be said, the customer drives logistics activity. Transportation accounts for more than 60 percent of all logistics costs. Harbert alum Dave Pollard is managing director at FedEx Services. “Day to day, companies know where business is,” he says, “but they are always looking for where business is going to be.” Information technologies allow firms to look ahead and anticipate this movement. New tools, for example, track the environmental conditions inside a package, including temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. Real-time GPS and traffic data plot the best routes. Analytics allow logistics firms to gain efficiencies by diversifying and strategically deploying transportation fleets. To get ahead of potential problems, “we have secondary and tertiary contingencies in place,” Pollard says. The most visible part of logistics is transportation, but “there’s a lot more that goes into it than somebody driving from point A to point B,” says Fenn Church,

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a Harbert grad and president of Church Transportation and Logistics. If the object is to get the product to the consumer in the cheapest, fastest way possible, logistics must encompass all of the supply chain functions from the instant the product is finished at the factory to the moment it arrives on the customer’s doorstep: inventory management, warehousing, order fulfillment and transportation, not to mention the information technologies that coordinate those functions. Careful coordination of these activities has a significant impact on the bottom line. Take the case of one electronics distributor. The firm identified its core capability as high-end customer service, and therefore offered guaranteed next-day delivery. To improve that service, the company sought to have the latest order cutoff time in the industry. That meant reducing the order processing window. So the company implemented a system to split orders, enabling multiple pickers to process the same order. As a side benefit, the system automatically generated inventory replenishment data which was sent to their upstream suppliers. Furthermore, the company installed an automated packing system, and built a trucking capability to move orders to the appropriate UPS or FedEx hubs. Taken together, these improvements reduced the order processing window from four hours to 30 minutes. These improvements, which cost $24 million, leveraged the company’s core capability, customer service, resulting in a 70 percent gain in productivity and contributing to a doubling of sales revenue—an increase of more than one billion dollars over three years. As much as the art and science of logistics has pushed cost and waste out of the supply chain, there is a new game afoot. It used to be that a customer could get a product through one or two channels: a retail store, and maybe that store’s mail order catalogue. But now e-retail has become big business, surpassing $300 billion in 2014, and “omnichannel distribution” is the new buzzword. Omnichannel retail allows the consumer to access the shopping experience through all available channels: websites, physical stores, kiosks, direct mail and catalogs, call centers, social media, mobile devices, gaming consoles, televisions, and even networked appliances. A firm’s mobile app, for example, should offer the same level of responsiveness as its website and incorporate the same color schemes as in-store displays. Omnichannel retailers track customers across each of those gateways, rather than one or

two. Walmart, Target, and Costco have each deployed omnichannel strategies, and most retailers cite omnichannel strategies as a priority in 2015—a higher percentage than for any other business initiative. According to Brian Gibson, Harbert College’s Wilson Family Professor of Supply Chain Management, companies will have to invest to create a supply chain flexible enough to handle whatever flow-through the customer wants. In an era scholars refer to as “Retail 3.0,” the power has shifted from the suppliers and retailers to the consumers. “We are entering a period of rapid disruption in the supply chain and logistics space, and it’s an exciting time,” says Auburn alum Dave Clark, Amazon senior vice president of worldwide operations. “Focus on the things that will never change. Customers will always want a vast selection, low prices, and fast delivery.” We’ll move our mugs by air freight from Vietnam to Arizona. There, we’ve got a company that will apply our Harbert logo, stock some inventory, and deliver to our store, or fulfill our orders and ship directly to our customers.


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Service: It pays to stay friends We tend to think of the sale of a product as the end of the supply chain, but it isn’t— not if we’re interested in serving the customer and creating a repeat customer. Many companies, however, don’t know how or simply don’t care to provide post-sales support. In a modern business environment that is increasingly devoted to “service,” that ignorance and indifference may be costly. The social media fallout alone can be disastrous. After-sales support involves information and help, an easy return policy, product repair services, parts, and even field maintenance. The two most common problems with new purchases are consumer misunderstanding about installation and use, and outright product failure. Misunderstandings can usually be resolved by following the installation and operating instructions, but rather than read, the impatient customer will often call for help. If a call center does its job properly, it will solve the problem without adding to the customer’s frustration and avoid the expense of dispatching a sales technician. A few years ago, Delta Airlines closed all of its overseas call centers. The language barriers and cultural differences impeded the airline’s ability to serve its North American customers. Now, Delta segments customer service calls into subject areas and routes them to specialists who have been trained in that area.

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Looked at properly, after-sales service offers a strategic opportunity. Customer service calls provide a very detailed look at how consumers react to a product and exactly how they use and abuse it in the real world. Delta now captures all service calls and uses the customer feedback to shape the services it offers. In the case of outright failure, the product will most likely be returned. Now the supply chain must function in reverse, and the company must make the return process as easy on the customer as possible. If the product has failed, for whatever reason, the return procedures should not add to the customer’s frustrations. Once the product leaves the customer’s hands, it moves back up the chain to a returns center (a distribution center in reverse) where a decision will be made to dispose, recycle, cannibalize, repair, or rebuild it. And just like call centers and help desks, these services may be handled in-house or outsourced. Just like service calls, product failures can also provide a strategic advantage. The company has the opportunity to examine the failure first-hand and determine if the breakdown is the result of a design or manufacturing flaw, transportation damage or improper installation and use—valuable information that can have a impact at several points along the supply chain. Help lines, call centers, repairs and easy returns may enhance the firm’s relationship with its customers, but these activities do little to contribute to the bottom line. Providing parts and maintenance is another matter. “Americans spend about one trillion dollars every year maintaining the assets they already own. That translates to 8 percent of the US gross domestic product,” says Brian Gibson, Harbert College’s Wilson Family Professor of Supply Chain Management. “Those after-sales services not only ensure customer loyalty—they are a very high-margin business.” “But it’s a complex effort to manage,” continues Gibson. “There’s a forward flow of replacement materials and a reverse flow of damaged or worn-out components, not to mention the delivery of maintenance and repair services.” Those services, unlike

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manufactured products, cannot be made and inventoried. It’s complex, and the stakes are high. Get things wrong and the firm’s relationship with the customer may be irrevocably damaged; get it right and there’s money to be made. According to a 2001 Accenture study, General Motors earned more profit from $9 billion in after-sales revenue than it did from $150 billion in income from car sales. One company that gets it right is Caterpillar—the manufacturer of heavy, yellow equipment for road building, mining, and construction. The company’s core capability is reliable, long-lived machinery. One aspect of that capability is a manufacturing process that generates a superior product. The other aspect is a commitment to service, a promise that the company views as much a part of the product as engines and hydraulics. When you purchase a bulldozer from Cat, it comes with an assurance that the company will support the machine at the highest level of service for the 20- or 30-odd years of its potential life. Because the support of machinery in the field is a part of the company’s core strategic capability, Cat has kept the service logistics in-house, and over the years it has refined—and continues to refine—its service supply chain. Now, CEO Douglas Oberhelman is looking to develop technologies that will sense problems and send alerts to the owner, dealer, and “maybe back to the engineer who designed the product.” In addition to facilitating service for an individual piece of machinery, software would capture data from similar machines worldwide. “Then everyone in the chain immediately goes after correcting the problem,” Oberhelman told the Chicago Tribune. The company has nearly three million pieces of equipment in the field, spread out over all seven continents. They handle more than 50 million line items of inventory every year in customer orders and they do it at a near-perfect level of service. In fact, Caterpillar is so good at service parts logistics that the company created a subsidiary called Caterpillar Logistics Services to serve the needs of the automotive, industrial, mining, and other equipment-intensive industries. The successful venture was recently sold to a private equity firm, and Caterpillar retains a 35 percent stake in the new company.


A WELL TRAVELED MUG When it comes to our travel mug, we’ve planned, procured, manufactured, and moved. We’ve got a website to take orders and a system in place to accept returns. In an effort that has literally spanned the globe, our mug has been built in Vietnam with materials from four different countries, shipped to Arizona, customized to our exacting specifications, and now stocks the shelves of our outlets. Focusing on our core capability has allowed us to be responsive to consumer demand and craft a family of products based on our original design. We’re moguls! Our first million is only days away! Now, just so you know, our Harbert mug is entirely fictional. But, if you really want one, we know exactly what to do. Good. Fast. And cheap. Just tell us how many.

HM, Spring 2015 33


RESEARCH

Plugging Into Our Expertise In developing plans for a supply chain research center, Wilson Family Professor Brian Gibson says the supply chain faculty and its industry advisory board quickly identified three points of emphasis: 1. Provide thought leadership by pursuing research initiatives related to digitally-enabled supply chains, retail logistics, supply chain talent management, and other areas deemed critical by industry and the academy. 2. Ensure that supply chain students have access to the prime internships, case competitions, and related professional experiences that lead to excellent career opportunities. 3. Provide continuing education opportunities, customized training, and technical assistance for industry partners and their supply chain associates.

34 HM, Spring 2015

“We will align our supply chain expertise with marketplace needs,” says Gibson, who specializes in supply chain operations, omnichannel retailing, and talent management. “The center will be very industry-engaged, and it will leverage in-house faculty capabilities from SCM, business analytics, information technology, the RFID Lab at Auburn University, and other groups. These collaborations will enable us to address critical supply chain issues and produce high-quality research that you can’t find anywhere else.” Gibson said the new center will open in mid-autumn. The college is also developing two additional research centers, with interests extending to a variety of areas. Here’s a look at the university- and college-led centers and labs that draw on the expertise of business faculty:


Center for Ethical Organizational Cultures

RFID Lab at Auburn University

The center specializes in assessing whether businesses play by the rules and have internal climates that discourage abusive behavior, lying, conflicts of interest, and other behavior that can tarnish the company’s image and sap employee morale. Faculty research has focused on such areas as executive pay, workplace safety, moral disengagement and its effects on decision-making, and the relationship between spirituality and job outcomes.

This university-level lab draws on the expertise of faculty from the HCOB and other colleges to explore potential applications of radio frequency identification technology in supply chain, retail, and manufacturing settings. The lab recently established the first “tagged item” certification program to help manufacturers of apparel, electronics, jewelry, and other items optimize their use of RFID tags.

Geospatial Research and Application Center

On the Way

HCOB faculty and colleagues from other disciplines examine ways to use Global Positioning System, radio frequency identification (RFID), and other technologies to assist in preparing and responding to natural disasters and other emergencies. Recent efforts have included the mapping of infrastructure elements (fire hydrants, sewer manholes, gas valves, etc.) in Alabama coastal communities in preparation for hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship Research and outreach efforts focus on such areas as start-ups and small businesses, management practices, leadership development, the economy, and family dynamics within a business.

The college is currently planning two additional research centers:

Business Analytics Research Center The forthcoming business analytics research center will help businesses understand the pitfalls and possibilities of the “big data” era.

Harbert Investments Center As the result of the $40 million naming gift from 1982 alumnus and Harbert Management Corporation chairman and CEO Raymond J. Harbert, the college will create a research enterprise focused on securities and wealth creation.

HM, Spring 2015 35


WITH YOUR DOLLAR

Harbert Matching Investments Raymond J. Harbert’s $40 million commitment includes a $15 million matching gift—challenging other graduates and friends of the college to help it build momentum as the university publicly launches its next comprehensive campaign. This list reflects gifts and commitments through January 31, 2015.

The Harbert Match

Alumni Generosity

As part of a $40 million transformational gift to the college in June 2013, Raymond J. Harbert pledged to match certain new endowments dollar-for-dollar up to $15 million. His “challenge match” will effectively turn his original commitment to the college into $55 million. Here’s a look at where we stand in relation to that goal:

We’re happy to report that our alumni are increasingly investing in the success of the college as well as Auburn University. The percentage of Harbert College of Business alumni giving to any gift designation at Auburn University grew significantly from 2013 to 2014:

$10.3 million has been committed to the $15 million challenge match goal to date.

• 13.38% in FY 2014

87 challenge match commitments have been secured to provide for the following: • 45 general “Funds for Excellence” endowments • 18 designated “Funds for Excellence” endowments • 10 Study Abroad endowments • 5 Internship Support endowments • 2 new professorships • 4 new endowed faculty chairs • 3 new eminent scholar chairs

36 HM, Spring 2015

• 10.88% in FY 2013

Industry Support We pride ourselves on preparing students to meet industry needs and engaging in research and scholarship that improves industry practice. Our corporate friends believe in what we’re doing. So much so, in fact, that gifts to the college from corporations and corporate foundations grew by 385 percent from FY 2013 to FY 2014. The college received $2.06 million in gifts from corporations and corporate foundations in FY 2014.


Funds for Excellence

These endowments help the college, an academic department, or a program accomplish strategic goals. Funding may support such endeavors as faculty research, travel to professional meetings, or technological improvements. Bill and Beth Allen Anonymous Whitfield and Katie Athey Chris and Melissa Baker Steve Baum Michael and Michelle Benoski Dave Blesch Bobby and Cindy Bowers Tony and Sue Brill Pat Brumfield Laurie Dasher Dan and Regan Davidson Bob and Martha Dumas Dee and Ann Duncan Mike Eckard Fastenal Mark and Addie Marie Forchette Amanda and Jeff Foster Wayne Grant Bertha and Jim Hoskins Tommy and Suzanne Inzina William R. Ireland Jr. Family Paul and Mara Jacobson Jim Jager Patrick Klesius Benny and Lynn LaRussa Jim and Susan McKee Tommy Morgan Bobby and Angela North Tim and Mindy O’Neill Allison O’Sullivan Earl and Melinda Parsons Laura Patterson Larry and Margaret Quimby Todd Reaves Jay Robbins Graham and Carla Roberts Cindy and Rick Rogers Rick and Carolyn Salanitri Jenny and Will Stegall Rick Ussery Dennis and Beth Weese Kelly Williams Biff and Ellen Woodruff You Might Be for Auburn Foundation

Eminent Scholar Chairs

Study Abroad Initiatives

This designation recognizes elite scholars who push the boundaries of research and are regarded as international “thought leaders.”

Semester-long or shorter-term opportunities for students to live, work, and learn in a variety of international settings.

Bob and Julie Broadway David and Terri Luck Mike and Jane McLain

Endowed Chairs These positions commend and retain outstanding faculty members who are leaders in their field. Jim and Mary Ann Benoski Rennie Bickerstaff Kerry and Laura Bradley Gaines Lanier

Professorships These positions honor “rising stars” in the faculty ranks. James Lowder & JK Lowder Foundation Martha and Allen Reed

Fellowships and PhD Programs Fellowships support graduate students in specific fields of work. The college currently offers PhD programs in finance, information systems and management. Fred Blatchford Roger and Donna Champion

Internships Building relationships with companies to provide on-the-job training for students. Nick Davis Price and Meg Hightower Steve Jager given in honor of Reagan, Jordan and Alex Jager Gary Martin Wendy S. Wilson

Marge and Lou Bifano Steve and Lily Brotherton Becky Dunn Wayne and Anna Harris Kay and Burke Jones Jane DiFolco Parker and William L. Parker Ron Sanders Todd and Kelley Slappey Daniel and Kathy White DeeDee and Dennis Wilson

Program & Departmental Support Gifts targeted to specific needs within the college’s academic units and expanded educational programs for students. Pat and Bruce Blankenship Lee and Amy Burleson Brian Casey Church Transportation & Logistics Deloitte Employee Contributions and Matching Gifts Ernst & Young Employee Contributions and Matching Gifts Warren and Kimberly Jolly Amy and Pat Jones Walt and Alicia Conn and KPMG Partner/Employee Contributions Melissa Love-Greenfield and Kevin Greenfield Buddy and Jean Metcalf Physicians Executive MBA (PEMBA) Class of 2014 PwC Employee Contributions and Matching Gifts Regions Bank John and Ann Roth honoring: John P. and Laura J. Roth Kevin Stacker

Get involved! Invest in our students and faculty by contacting the college’s Office of Advancement at 334.844.2983. Your willingness to invest in the Harbert College also serves to enhance the capabilities and reputation of Auburn University. HM, Spring 2015 37


ALUMNI NEWS You came to the Harbert College of Business where you developed skills and built relationships that have helped you in your career and life. We’re happy that so many of you have contributed headline-quality news about where your degrees have taken you. If we haven’t heard from you lately, please drop us a line and stay in touch with us and with your fellow alums. Give us the scoop. Send your news and comments to:

cobalumnews@auburn.edu

In Memoriam John “Jack” Linton Johns III

(’79, accountancy) passed away in January. He was vice president of client services for Financial Management Solutions Inc. in Alpharetta, Georgia. He was an active volunteer with Canine Assistants Inc. of Alpharetta, as well as the Cherokee County Humane Society. He also supported K9s for Warriors, a veterans’ organization.

Guy Young (’56, business administration)

works in risk management consulting with Gus Bates Insurance & Investments in Fort Worth, Texas. He previously served as vice president of human resources and risk management for a large construction and manufacturing company for 45 years. When he was a student at Auburn, he played on the baseball team and served as its captain in 1956. After graduating, he “married a gal from England.” They have three daughters and nine grandchildren.

1999 after 38 years of federal service. He lives in Orlando, Florida, where he taught at Rollins College from 1975–2012 and at Webster University from 1991–2013. He earned an award for academic leadership from each school and was named adjunct professor emeritus upon his retirement.

38 HM, Spring 2015

Carpet One in Opelika and enjoys playing golf in his spare time.

Russell P. Murray (’67, business administra-

tion) is retired and living in Headland, Alabama. He remains active helping his friends and neighbors, and is currently involved in building a new clubhouse for a local gun club. His hobbies include pistol and shotgun matches, as well as off-road extreme Jeep challenges.

William Gerald Sewell Sr. (’62,

1950s 1960s Shelton D. Granade (’59, business) retired in

Dan Cannon (’66, business) owns Cannon

R. Jackson Burkhalter (’69, accountancy) is

managing partner with FMR Partners LLC in Auburn. He recently sold the family business to plan for retirement from full-time work, but will continue to work part-time in real estate development. His hobbies include golf, church mission work, and spending time with his grandchildren.

business administration) is retired and living in Bremen, Georgia. A widower, he enjoys spending time with his three granddaughters and going on cruises.

Walter Edward “Ed” Stead (’68, business ad-

ministration; ’72, MBA) is a professor of management at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. He and his wife and co-author, Jean Garner Stead (’71, ’73), recently published the second edition of their book, Sustainable Strategic Management. In his spare time, he’s a yoga practitioner and part-time teacher.


A legacy of educational opportunity Vam York left Auburn with an accounting degree in 1946, was president of a real estate business for 35 years and continues to support education at Harbert College and at the University of Florida. VERMELLE “VAM” CARDWELL YORK is a staunch believer in higher education. So much, in fact, that the 1946 Auburn accounting graduate has a $300,000 endowment in her name—a fellowship geared toward helping select Harbert College graduate students.

“Who will finance the dress shop?” they asked. “What if it didn’t succeed? You would be involved six days a week.” “Why not think about an office job? That would be a five-day a week job and if you worked with the state government or federal government you probably would have more security than if you had your own dress shop.”

“There are so many deserving students who come from families who can’t afford to send their children to universities and if it “That was their philosophy and I agreed to weren’t for scholarships and working parttime, many students would never graduate,” it,” she says. says York, a Gainesville, Florida, resident York enjoyed her time at Auburn and conwhose endowment was established by her sidered her professors to be “encouraging,” late husband, Dr. E.T. York. especially Irvin B. Gritz. “I think there’s a real need to help those “It was during [World War II] and I think we who want an education and are willing to had something like nine or 10 girls and work for it. There’s so much more technoltwo boys majoring in accounting,” she said. ogy and there’s so much more knowledge “He was so good to our class and spent so now than when I was growing up. I don’t much time with us and invited us to his see how you can get along in this world home for homemade ice cream. He did a and advance very far unless you do have great deal to encourage all of us to really an education.” do something in that profession and do the best you could with whatever you did.” York parlayed her Auburn education into a 35-year career in the real estate business, After college, Vam married heralded serving as president of Tralisa Corp. (later Auburn agronomist E.T. York, who once re-named Caret Corp) in Gainsville. served as director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System before taking In addition to buying and selling tracts of leadership roles at the University of Florida. land, she also developed and sold three There, he served as provost for agriculture single-family neighborhoods. But while growing up in rural Evergreen, Alabama in the 1930s and early 1940s, Vam had dreams of one day owning a dress shop. However, her parents—a postal worker and former teacher— offered a number of questions and insisted that an education must come first.

Courtesy UF/IFAS photography Last October, Vam York was given the UF/ IFAS Champion Award by the University of Florida for her steadfast support for the Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences and spending decades supporting her late husband’s global work to end world hunger.

and interim president, founded the Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, and served as chancellor of the State University System of Florida. Dr. York retired from academia in 1980 and passed away in 2011 at 88 years old.

“I don’t see how you can get along in this world and advance very far unless you do have an education.” —VAM YORK

HM, Spring 2015 39


Rebuilding and renewing hope DAVID YOUNG JR. and his wife, Donna, went to Sri Lanka with a church group in 2004, and found utter devastation.

On December 26, a tsunami generated by the third-largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph killed more than 230,000 people in 14 countries, flattened seaside villages with waves up to 100 feet high, and left local economies in ruins. The

Youngs helped build 62 houses inland, where many displaced residents had been driven by the disaster. Young, who earned an accounting degree from Auburn in 1969, knew he wanted to return to Sri Lanka because of the immense need.

and livelihood skills. The Youngs obtained goats and chickens for poverty-stricken plantation workers and lay pastors to use as food or sources of income. They worked to feed, clothe, and educate orphans from the war-torn Tamil area.

After travelling back and forth for some time, the Youngs were finally able to obtain a five-year visa. In 2010 they sold most most of their possessions in the US and settled in the Sri Lankan village they had helped build. There they served as missionaries and community development workers.

“Our efforts were mainly concentrated on the young, as they are the leaders for their country tomorrow,” says Young, who is now retired and living in Arlington, Texas. “Our small investment will hopefully make a difference for them and their families in years to come.”

Much of their work focused on business development and education. The Youngs taught English to children and provided microloans to several villagers to help them restart their businesses. They opened a community development center to teach and train youth in Christian values

Donna and David Young in Sri Lanka

Representing an emerging giant OKWUDILI ODI NWOSU, who earned an MBA from Auburn in 1978, is experiencing Nigeria’s growth and development from a unique perch. In 2012, Nwosu was appointed by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan as ambassador to Burundi. In his capacity as the president’s personal representative in Burundi, Nwosu focuses on solidifying a variety of connections between the nations.

Nigeria’s nickname, the “Giant of Africa,” stems as much from its economic potential as it does from its population of more than 174 million. The West African nation already boasts the largest GDP on its continent, but ratings agency Moody’s predicts that Nigeria will rank among the world’s 15 largest economies by 2050.

“My responsibilities include ensuring the bilateral ties between Nigeria and Burundi are fostered and made to grow in all areas, including economic, cultural, social and educational spheres,” Nwosu says. Bordered by Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi has suffered through a history of civil war and instability. The United Nations began focusing on reconstruction efforts in the country in 2006, but approximately 80 percent of its residents live in poverty. While its per capita GDP represents one of the lowest in the world, Burundi offers valuable natural resources, including cobalt, copper, uranium, platinum and nickel. In attempting to foster mutually-beneficial relationships between the two countries, Nwosu draws on his Auburn management education, as well as his experience in the business world. “Prior to my appointment, I was a businessman and the chairman of the board of directors of Cutix Plc, which is a publicly quoted wires and cable manufacturer,” he says. “I . . . use my experience in running a business to run the Nigerian Mission in Burundi. My business and management background is useful in attracting potential business and investors from Nigeria to Burundi and vice versa.”

MOROCCO JORDAN

ALGERIA

LIBYA

SAUDI ARABIA

MALI

ERITREA

NiGER

BURKINA FASO

COTE D’IVOIRE

YE

NIGERIA

SUDAN

CHAD

ETHIOPIA GHANA CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC CAMEROON

BURUNDI

SOMALIA

UGANDA

GABON

CONGO

40 HM, Spring 2015

EGYPT

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

TANZANIA

KENYA


1970s

YMCA in Dallas, Texas, in January. His daughter, Caroline Mills [’11], earned a degree from Auburn and graduated from the Baylor University School of Nursing in 2014. His interests include hunting, volunteer work, and Civil War history.

Chris Byrnes (’73, business) serves as South- Douglas R. Moore (’79, business) is retired

east regional manager for Engineered Flu- and living in Phenix City, Alabama, where id Inc. He married Bridget Shaw in 2013. he enjoys playing golf and “taking care of our two puppy dogs.” Keith M. Cox (’79, accounting) serves as CFO and director of administrative services Mike Northrup (’79, industrial for the North Georgia Conference of the management) is senior vice United Methodist Church. The organizapresident and chief infortion serves as the administrative arm for mation officer for America’s more than 900 United Methodist churches First Federal Credit Union in North Georgia. He also serves as treain Birmingham. As CIO of a surer of the Brookhaven Rotary Club and $1.3 billion credit union, he’s responsible enjoys playing tennis and golf. He and his for IT operations, information security wife, Kay, have two granddaughters. and risk management. He and his wife, Pamela [’79, fashion merchandising], have Bennie Glenn Ellis (’72, accountancy) is vice two sons—Wyatt [’08, electrical engineerpresident of Southland International ing] and Parker [’10, industrial design]. Trucks Inc. in Birmingham. Recent travels He has two grandchildren who he says are have taken him across Great Britain. “destined for AU” as well.

John Robert Faulk (’73, economics; ’75, MS,

Ronald K. Outlaw (’78, marketing) owns

economics) is an attorney with McDowell, Faulk and McDowell LLC, in Prattville, Alabama. He has been practicing law for 34 years, with the last 31 in the same location. He will marry a certified public accountant this spring. Faulk enjoys spending time with his family, riding his CanAm Spyder motorcycle, and attending Auburn football games.

Bama Auto Parts & Industrial Supply Inc. in Saraland, Alabama. He is the past president of the Saraland Chamber of Commerce and a recent graduate of the “Leadership Saraland” program. His hobbies include trips on his Harley, boating in the Mobile delta and spending time with his three grandchildren.

Stephen E. “Steve” Goodson (’72, business)

administration) is retired from a career in banking with Bank of America and Bank of North Georgia and lives in Fayetteville, Georgia. He recently wrote I’m from Dothan, a book chronicling childhood in the 1950s and 1960s. The book was published in March 2014 by Tate Publishing.

serves as CEO and “resident visionary” of Saxgourmet Products in New Orleans. He was the subject of a cover story in the January issue of Saxophone Today magazine. He enjoys “living the New Orleans lifestyle” and participating in Mardi Gras krewe activities with the Mystik Oprhans and Misfits.

John G. (Jay) Hindsman, III (’70, business administration) is a community bank president with Trustmark National Bank in Panama City, Florida. James W. Mills III (’70, business administration), a lawyer with The Mills Law Firm, earned the Charles E. Seay Outstanding Leadership Award from the Park Cities

Bill Ramsey (’70, business

James Shanks (’78, business) is publisher of the Sparta Expositor in Sparta, Tennessee. He is fond of traveling and visiting with his new grandchild, who was born in December 2014.

Michael P. Thomas (’76, accountancy) is retired, and splits his time between Melbourne and Homosassa, Florida. He

worked for the Harris Corporation for 28 years, with the last 14 as vice president-controller of the Government Systems Division. He also served in the US Navy as a supply corps officer. He enjoys activities including hunting, fishing, scuba diving, and traveling with Rhonda, his wife of 38 years.

1980s D. Keith Andress (’89) serves as managing

partner for Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz PC. His areas of practice include business, construction, real estate, and civil litigation. Andress represents title insurers and financial institutions, and handles issues related to loan security and improvements to real property.

Forrest Burke (’87, industrial operation management) is the CEO of Connected Logistics in Huntsville, Alabama. Founded in 2007, the company has twice been recognized as the fastest-growing in Alabama, ranking in the top 10 and top 500 of the Inc. 500 list and ranking third on the Federal Fast 50 list. A specialized provider of network services, connected logistics provides technical and program management support to the Army and US Department of Defense’s logistics, financial and telecommunications systems. Brenda Clark (’85, MBA) is deputy director of the Contracting/Mission and Installation Contracting Command for the Army at Fort Benning, Georgia. She currently supervises the pre-award of multimillion-dollar contracts for Fort Benning’s Department of Public Works, as well as the award and administration of the largest dining facility contract for the Department of Defense. Her adopted daughter, whom she raised as a single parent, will enter Auburn as a freshman in the fall. Brenda is currently planning post-retirement excursions to China, Europe and Alaska. She remains active in her community, serving as a volunteer for her church and as president of a private school board. HM, Spring 2015 41


Rev. Sherill Sisler Clontz (’82, industrial management) is superintendent of the Cheaha District for the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church. Jan Leichti Colbert (’80, MBA), a former

25 years of marriage in December. Their children, Kate, Connor, and Kylie, are now six, six, and four years old.

Mickey Phillips (’88, accounting) just completed 10 years at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. He serves as the senior manager and head of finance and cost management.

Auburn University faculty member, now teaches accounting at Columbus State University. After graduating from Auburn, she earned her PhD at the University of Georgia and returned to Auburn as a Steven Phillips (’85, marketing) serves as faculty member. She eventually moved for managing director of Benjamin F. Edprofessional and family reasons, and took wards & Company in Birmingham. early retirement in Kentucky last year. Colbert now resides in Auburn and is “loving Frank Shaw (’82, finance) is an attorney with life on the Plains.” Smith, Thompson & Shaw in Tallahassee, Florida. He remains active hunting, Pamela Albright Conner (’82, marketing) fishing, and following Auburn football. serves as CFO and agent with the ConHis son, Frank Shaw IV, is an AU senior. ner Agency Inc. in Arlington, Georgia. During football season, she enjoys tailgatVictor Sower (’80, MBA) is ing at the University Station RV Resort. Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Operations Russell Dirks (’82, economics) is director of Management at Sam Housmanufacturing for Pharr Yarns in McAton State University. The denville, North Carolina. second edition of his co-authored book, Better Business Decisions Phil Jones (’85, accountancy) is corporate Using Cost Modeling, will be published this controller for Atlanta-based Theragenics month. His book Statistical Process Control Corporation. His youngest son will attend for Managers was published in fall 2014 by Auburn beginning in the fall of 2015. Business Expert Press. When he’s not working and spending time with his family, you will most likely find Melissa van Arcken Tinsley (’86, finance) is him on the golf course, enjoying a round CFO and administrator for Oak Landing with fellow Auburn alumni. Specialty Care in Attalla, Alabama. She said they are currently in the process of Jeffrey A. Martin (’89, accountancy) serves adding more beds to the Alzheimer’s and as chief financial officer and treasurer Dementia Unit. She married her husband for Mueller Industries Inc. in Memphis, Jerry, whom she met at Auburn 30 years Tennessee. ago, in May 2014.

Sarah Henderson Moore (’87, accountancy) serves as an administrator with Alabama Credit Union Administration. Alabama governor Robert Bentley appointed her to the position in July 2014 and reappointed her to a four-year term in February 2015. Susan Cantwell O’Farrell (’84) is

senior vice president, chief financial officer, and treasurer for BlueLinx (NYSE: BXC) in Atlanta. She went to work for the $2 billion building materials two-step distribution company after “15 terrific years at Home Depot.” She and her husband, Hugh, celebrated

42 HM, Spring 2015

Clark Tucker (’89, finance) serves as a senior consultant for Oyster Consulting LLC.

David Vinson (’86, accountancy) is a partner with Nolan & Vinson LLP CPAs in Albertville, Alabama. His oldest daughter, Lindsey, graduated from Auburn in May 2014 and is now a math teacher at Smiths Station High School.

Linda Cato Wurstner (’81) hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and stayed several days at the Phantom Ranch before hiking back up to the top, thus completing a “bucket list” item in 2014. She currently lives in Helena, Alabama.

1990s Sela Stroud Blanton (’99, marketing) was

named managing partner with the law firm of Bainbridge, Mims, Rogers & Smith LLP in Birmingham. She celebrated the birth of a son, Bryan Evan Blanton, in December 2013.

Hal Clemmer (’90, finance) was promoted to

president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank in Atlanta in January.

Michael Clifford (’90, finance) serves as direc-

tor of information technology for Sarasota, Florida-based X-Cel Specialty Contacts and is also an IT consultant for Infolytical Technology Solutions. In his free time, he plays guitar in a rock band and enjoys boating, motorcycle riding, travel, and music festivals.

Shel Davis (’98, business management) serves as Alabama Crown Distributing Company’s director of marketing for wine in Alabama. Shel is based in Alabaster, Alabama. In addition to hunting and fishing, Shel enjoys spending time with her two-year-old son Hunter. Tom Feary (’94, business administration) joined LogoGarden Inc. as chief marketing officer in November 2014. He’s engaged to Sharon Weidner [’92]. A


As seen on TV: Jones and his team win big at the Super Bowl During the MVP award presentation of Super Bowl XLIX, cameras cut between triumphant Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and a beautiful red pickup truck, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado. Behind the scenes, alum MICHAEL P. JONES (’82, marketing) has good reasons to be proud of the sight.

“Looking back, I can honestly say there is nothing I would trade for my time at Auburn. I wouldn’t change a single thing.” Now Jones’ hard work is helping make others’ dreams come true. “After consulting Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady, Chevrolet presented an all-new Colorado pickup to New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, whose end zone interception preserved the Patriots’ victory in Super Bowl XLIX,” GM wrote in a press release.

As product manager of fleet & commercial sales for General Motors, Jones has been a part of the team working on the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon since they were “nothing more than ideas on paper.” “The launch just began in this past October, so seeing it come to life on the road, and then displayed at an event viewed by so many people has been really cool,” Jones says. “I’m sure it was the same for the hundreds of GM engineers and suppliers that worked extremely hard to bring the product to market.” Their hard work is paying off. The Colorado has already earned Motor Trend Truck of the Year honors. Jones credits his marketing degree with assisting in that success. “GM has always instilled a focus on the customer. My degree has helped maintain that focus and the need to understand and consider customer perceptions,” he says.

music enthusiast, he recently saw Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Ryman in Nashville and is in the process of “planning our Dave Mathews Band trips.”

Justin Gilder (’98, accountancy; ’99, MAcc)

serves as director of tax for ProAssurance in Homewood, Alabama. His hobbies include scuba diving, running, reading and playing with his children, ages six and two.

Malcom Butler and the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado / Image credit: Chevrolet “I am ecstatic that Chevrolet has chosen to reward me with a Colorado,” Butler said in the same release. “It is just another unreal event in what has been an incredible week.”

Col. Rick Hoerner (’96, management) is

deployed as the J8 to the commander of US forces in Afghanistan. In this role, he advises Gen. John Campbell on financial matters and has oversight of the budget for all US operations in the country.

Catherine Reeves Glaze (’90, business administration) earned a promotion in 2014 to attorney/administrator with Hale Sides LLC in Birmingham.

James Matthew Hayes (’93, accounting)

recently celebrated his fourth anniversary with Nashville-based Community Health Systems, where he serves as vice president of operations—Division III. He said he “fell in love with the British Virgin Islands” during a 2014 trip and plans to return there this summer.

Spencer Lee (’92, MBA) recently earned a

promotion to securities analyst supervisor for the Alabama Securities Commission.

David McClinton (’97, management; ’15,

MBA) serves as president and CEO of McClinton Commercial Real Estate. He’s currently involved in the redevelopment of a closed school property, Perry Hill Crossing in Montgomery, which will result in a shift to commercial, retail and restaurant space. For the last year and a half, David has been a student in Harbert College’s Executive MBA program. “The program content, administration and faculty have been outstanding,” he said. “I’m looking forward to graduation in the spring of 2015 and I’m already realizing the benefits of the Auburn MBA in my businesses.” When he’s not working or studying, he enjoys spending time with his wife (a fellow Auburn grad) and their children (ages eleven, nine, nine, and seven).

Amy Bell Nelson (’98, international business) is an attorney and partner with Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal LLP in Birmingham. HM, Spring 2015 43


Security through information superiority Auburn University has established itself as a leader in cyber security research through the knowledge and know-how of individuals like retired Army Lt. Gen. Ron Burgess, who serves as the university’s senior counsel for national security programs, cyber programs, and military affairs.

More than a few Auburn graduates, including US AIR FORCE LT. COL. DAVID B. BLAU, have established themselves as leaders on the front line. Blau, who graduated in 1998 with a degree in management information systems,

J. Don Overton (’92, finance) owns the Overton Firm/Sustainable Construction in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was re-elected as a national director for the National Association of Home Builders and to the board of directors of the Home Builders Association of Greater Little Rock.

Justin Panzer (’99, MBA) co-founded and serves as CEO for eventuosity, a software start-up offering cloud-based tools for event planning professionals. The company is based near Philadelphia. Jeffrey Powell (’98, manage-

ment) is president of First Baldwin Insurance in Foley, Alabama.

William Glen Ratliff (’91, accountancy) earned a promotion to chief financial officer at Scott Contracting LLC in Duluth, Georgia, in January.

44 HM, Spring 2015

serves as commander of the 347th Communications Squadron at Yokota Air Base in Japan. He earned a promotion to his current rank in October 2013, and was selected as commander of the Pacific Air Force’s largest communications squadron. He took command on July 10, 2014, and will serve as commander through the summer of 2016. In his present role, Blau “ensures information superiority” for US forces in Japan, the 5th Air Force, the 347th Airlift Wing, and forces deployed in the Western Pacific. His areas of oversight include airfield and theater battle management systems. One of Blau’s more recent highlights included the MacArthur Award at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, for a paper he co-authored on cyber strategy. Blau and his wife, Andrea, a 2000 Auburn Pharmacy School graduate, and their children—Aaron, seven, and Anna Kathleen, five,—have enjoyed taking in Japan’s cultural highlights during his deployment.

Kerri Sauer (’98, international business; ’00 MBA) became vice president of technology delivery for Global Technology Solutions Elavon in Atlanta in 2014.

Natalie Newman Strickland (’90, marketing)

is a business teacher with the Etowah County Board of Education. She is pursuing a master’s in ESL from UAB. “With graduate classes and volleyball, basketball, and baseball games to attend, who has free time?” she says.

Aaron and David Blau “We’ve toured Kamakura and seen the Great Buddha, toured the ancient temples of Tokyo, been to Mt. Fuji, and enjoyed the snow monkeys in Nangano, Japan,” says Blau. “We’re looking forward to a trip to Singapore this summer to experience another country in the region.”

System. He’s also the proud father of Hayden Verinder, who will be entering Auburn as a freshman in the fall.

Mathew A. Watson (’98, finance) was pro-

moted to vice president and BSA/AML monitoring manager with Regions Bank in Birmingham in August 2014.

Matthew Zinkus (’95, accountancy, ’96,

MAcc) is a partner with KPMG LLP and is on an international rotation in Dubai. Overseas assignments are nothing new to Craig Tindall (’93, marketing) is a managing Matthew, who lived and worked in Sydney, member/partner with Principal Mortgage Australia, for four years before moving to LLC in Birmingham. “We just celebrated Dubai for the last three. His next assigneight years of our company,” he says. “In ment will take him to Paris. He’s currently the banking industry, and given the last living on the 90th floor of the Burj Khalifa, few years, that is a milestone.” He thorthe world’s tallest building. He and his wife oughly enjoys playing sports with his three enjoy spending time with their daughter sons and spending time with his family at and are expecting the arrival of another Lake Martin. child in July.

David Verinder (’91, MBA) is president and CEO of Sarasota Memorial Health Care


2000s Jonathan Adamson (’07, logistics/supply

chain management) serves as plant logistics operations specialist for LyondellBasell in Houston, Texas. He enjoys biking, tennis, and attending crawfish boils and is excited about soon becoming an uncle.

Steven Aldridge (’07, finance) is an associate in healthcare investment banking with Jefferies LLC in New York City. Ashley Allen (’05, logistics) is a transportation analyst with H.J. Heinz in Jacksonville, Florida.

William Baker (’02, finance) became a CPA and serves as international accounting manager for Papa John’s International. Amy Canafax (’05, accounting) lives in

returning to the US to work and live in the New York City metropolitan area.

Haley Dyer (’08, MAcc) was promoted to assurance manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in June 2014 and accepted a senior lecturer position with Auburn University Montgomery in August 2014. Guy Etheridge (’08, finance) serves as a business systems analyst and recently earned a promotion to assistant vice president with BBT in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He recently purchased his second home in North Carolina and enjoys making craft beer in his garage, although he confesses “it tastes terrible!” Andy Garlington (’03, accounting and

finance) was recently promoted from director of corporate accounting to senior director of financial operations for Community Health Systems in Franklin, Tennessee. His hobbies include fellowship with family and friends, exercising, taking mission trips, playing with his children, and following the Tennessee Titans and Liverpool FC, as well as Auburn sports.

Hermosa Beach, California, and recently earned a promotion to branch manager for the Westwood office of Robert Half Technology. The firm provides technology Brent Grainger (’01, accountancy) serves as staffing solutions to corporations. assistant Jefferson County attorney for the Jefferson County Commission in Andy Capps (’06, business administration) is Birmingham. a managing/founding partner at Residential Capital Management in Atlanta, Brian Harris (’08, MBA) is broker/CEO for which was recognized as Georgia’s fastest Harris Properties Management Inc., a growing company in 2014 by Inc. RCM is full-service real estate brokerage speciala leader in single-family real estate needs. izing in vacation rental management and investment. The firm manages more than John Tillman Clements (’00, marketing) works 60 rental properties on the Alabama Gulf in Montgomery, Alabama as a financial Coast and at Lake Martin. He and his wife services representative with Clements welcomed their second daughter, Vivien Financial, which is part of the MetLife Leigh Harris, into the world in February. Premier Client Group. He has worked with Clements Financial/New England John William Harris (’09, business adminisFinancial, now MetLife Premier Client tration) serves as director of operations Group, for 15 years. He and his wife, Kellie for the Southern League of Professional [’03], have been married for 12 years and Baseball Clubs Inc. have three sons, ages nine, seven, and five. [LO115408227, exp. 0116 AL] N. Joel Harris (’03, finance) is assistant vice president for Fidelity National Financial. Paul M. Dickinson Jr. (’00, MBA) is a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers in David Heath (’02, MBA) earned a pair of Bangalore, India. After working in India promotions in the last year and now serves for the last three years, he will soon be as worldwide sales leader of financial op-

erations for IBM. Heath said the financial operations side of the business grew 240 percent from the previous year. When he’s not working, he enjoys traveling with his family and has checked Paris, London, Dublin, Rome and Sydney off his list.

Andrew Hyatt (’02, aviation management) is facility manager for James Lang LaSalle in Denver.

Lucy Jin Kobliska (’07, finance) married

fellow AU alum Sam Kobliska [’07]and is the proud mother of two children, ages three and five months old. Her activities include embroidery and freelance translation work.

Bradley Lehmann (’07, finance) is a senior

financial analyst with Fiserv. When he’s not busy with work, he enjoys homebrewing beer.

Dustin Love (’05, business administration) works for Murray Building Company Inc. in Birmingham as lead project manager. He serves on the board of directors for the Associated General Contractors of America’s Alabama Division and is the Birmingham section vice president.

Dr. Nicholas Manzari Jr. (’06, MBA) serves as emergency room physician, special operations for TeamHealth.

Jeremy Mosteller (’00, accounting) has been named partner in the Tax Services Group for Anglin, Reichmann, Snellgrove & Armstrong. Mosteller, a 15-year veteran of public accounting, provides comprehensive tax planning and technical advisory services to closely-held businesses and high-net-worth individuals. He serves clients in government contracting, biotechnology, non-profits, information technology, and professional services. HM, Spring 2015 45


Ripe on the vine: Thomas brings grandfather’s ideals to wine industry When SEAN THOMAS graduated from Auburn in 2009 with a degree in entrepreneurship and family business, it wasn’t

Wendy’s, mopping floors, degreasing fryers, and, eventually, running his own store. “Some of my friends were working for Fortune 500 companies, and here I was proudly working at a Wendy’s,” Thomas says.

Dave and Sean Thomas a particularly good time for job hunting. Some of his friends were fortunate to land great jobs immediately, but Thomas moved back home to Ohio and went to work at

It wasn’t a bad place to be, given that his grandfather, Dave, founded the chain in 1969 after lamenting that he couldn’t find a decent burger in Columbus, Ohio. And, yes, Sean happens to be the nephew of the Wendy, whose childhood freckles and red pigtails became the hallmarks of an iconic brand. Thomas took what he learned within the family’s fast food empire and applied it to his own business ventures, co-founding Chicago-based wine importer/negotiant Sipp LLC with Carlos Quimbo in 2012 and launching two products—Good Vines in 2012 and, more

Brandt shines on the big stage JIMMY BRANDT finally got his big break. The former Auburn University golf walk-on notched a few tournament wins on the little-known Peach State and Emerald Coast Tours in 2012, but nothing compared to the payout and notoriety he won on reality television last year. Brandt, a 2008 Harbert College alum with a degree in logistics, captured the Golf Channel’s most recent “Big Break” season—pitting aspiring golfers against one another through weeks of matches, mini-competitions and elimination rounds in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Brandt defeated Utah native Toph Peterson in match play on June 25, 2014, to clinch the championship. The reality show did not air until December—when Brandt’s six-month secret victory finally went public. Not only did the victory earn Brandt a spot in the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship in Tampa, Florida, but also $75,000 in cash, an endorsement contract with Adams Golf, $10,000 in travel credit, $10,000 in car rental credit, and full exempt status on the SwingThought.com Tour (formerly the Hooters Tour) for the 2015 season. “I can’t believe it. This is surreal right now,” Brandt said after clinching the Big Break title. “This is going to change my life. It’s the biggest win of my career and the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.”

46 HM, Spring 2015

recently, the Fabio Viviani Wine Collection with the “Top Chef” fan favorite. “With entrepreneurship being in my blood, I figured I might as well take a shot at it,” says Thomas, who trained at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and earned certification from the North American Sommelier Association as an Italian wine specialist. “It’s a really hard industry. Every day is a learning experience. There’s no ‘Selling Wine 101’ guide to tell you what to do. We’re a small guy, but we’re making a lot of noise right now.”

Center: Fabio Viviani. Right: Sean Thomas


Jimmy Mason (’01, operations management) Kelly Dorward Ridgeway (’01, finance; ’03, MS

as chair of the Division of Management, Marketing and Business Law for Troy University’s Sorrell College of Business.

Erica Musgrove (’02, finance) completed her first marathon—the Marine Corps Marathon—in October 2014. She works for Asurion LLC in Nashville as senior financial analyst–Hyperion.

Carly Stafford (’03, finance) began a new position in July 2014 as account manager with Wandering Wifi in Atlanta. She enjoys working out, traveling to Santa Rosa, Florida, and playing with her two recently adopted Australian Shepherd puppies.

serves as plant manager for Louisiana Pacific in Roaring River, North Carolina.

in finance) earned a promotion in 2014 to senior financial analyst with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. After graduating from Auburn in 2003, she took a position as a federal investigator with the US Department of Labor in Atlanta. She joined the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in Birmingham as a financial analyst in 2009. She and her husband Patrick, who have been married since 2011, welcomed their son, Colton Gregory, “our greatest joy,” to the family in 2013.

Kris Tietig (’01, finance) serves as CFO for Miracle Fruit Farm and will soon launch a new company, Farm Life Supplements, which will offer Miracle Fruit products to individuals suffering from taste disorders.

Brad Neighbors (’03, finance) serves as a

partner and member of the Financial Services and Transactions section with Balch & Bingham LLP in Birmingham.

Robert Henry Thayer II (’01, marketing; ’09, Wolfgang Schmitz (’04, finance; ’04, MBA)

recently celebrated his 10th anniversary with TSYS, where he serves as a client services consultant. He and his wife, Brenda, live in Duluth, Georgia.

Jon Pate (’07, logistics) is a supply chain consultant for Morris Consulting and Training in Birmingham. His company has developed a web-based PFEP and parts ordering system, and has won several large projects with Fortune 500 companies. He enjoys playing in a men’s soccer league and spending time with his children, Bennie and Mims.

MBA) was recognized as one of the “Top 40 Under 40 Executives in Wisconsin.” He serves as vice president of marketing for Tri-North Builders in Madison, Wisconsin. He welcomed his second child, Robert Henry Thayer III, in December 2014. His children serve as inspirations for some of his hobbies, which include making weekly family videos and visiting Disney World.

Lauren Jansen Scott (’05, marketing) recently

earned Certified Treasury Professional certification and currently works in treasury management sales for Regions Stephen “Phillip” Poitevint II (’06, finance) Financial Corporation in Birmingham. serves as managing director at Investor’s She and her, husband, Justin, recently Resource/Raymond James Financial traveled to Riviera Maya, Mexico on Services in Madison, Alabama. The firm is vacation. They have a two-year-old the top branch in the state for Raymond daughter, Harper. James Financial Services.

Jason Prince (’06, MBA) serves

Andrew Stinson (’00, MBA) serves as managing director at Bank of America in Chicago.

as director of meat operations for Golden State Foods in Conyers, Georgia. Jason helps the company meet its objectives for quality, efficiency, cost, safety, and customer satisfaction. He resides in the Atlanta area with Dr. Dennis Self (’05, PhD, management) his wife, Emily, and three children. serves as a professor of management and

Evelyn Todd (’04, MBA) enjoys skydiving,

sailing and traveling. She spent November 2014 in London and is looking forward to visiting Scotland in May and June.

Davis Ulm (’07, marketing) is a special ops

pilot with the US Air Force. He’s currently on his eighth deployment (one to Iraq, three to Afghanistan and four in East Africa). “I’m finishing my MBA and French this spring before the ninth deployment,” he says. He and his wife of four years plan to take a 60-day tour of the West. “Our plan is to hit up every national park on the big list, drive the Pacific Highway en route to Alaska,” and meet up with friends to hunt and fly in the bush country.

HM, Spring 2015 47


MBA graduate trades a player’s jersey for a business suit administration intern with the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, and, most recently, as a TV production finance coordinator at NBCUniversal. For seven months in 2014, James played a behind-the-scenes role in Los Angeles: tracking expenses and transactions while serving as a liaison between shooting locations and the corporate office for shows such as Odyssey, Parenthood, and Law and Order: SVU. Time spent in Harbert’s MBA program prepared him for working at NBCUniversal and for the rest of his career. “The entertainment business moves very fast, with many moving parts,” he says. “The MBA program was very similar. Initially it can be stressful, but then you figure out how to manage and prioritize what’s most important and sustain.”

James and the Los Angeles skyline

Jeremiah James and the Los Angeles skyline Ever heard of the Gwinnett Gwizzlies? They’re not the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics, but the former Atlanta-area American Basketball Association franchise once gave JEREMIAH JAMES the avenue to fulfill a dream—playing pro basketball. “I made the team through an open tryout and played three or four games [in 2010–11],” says James, a 6-foot-tall guard who played at Heritage High in Conyers, Georgia. “I started and played well in a couple of them. The reason I stopped playing is because I don’t think the team was actually legitimate.”

Courtney Wolf (’08, international business

and marketing; ’10, MBA) serves as a sales representative for the Hershey Company in Birmingham. She’s in the process of going for a “three-peat” for top-tier performance rating. She and her husband, Greg [’11, building science], are in the process of building their dream house in Chelsea. They celebrated their second anniversary last year with a trip to Kauai, where they enjoyed hiking Kalalau Trail.

Uh-oh. “The history of the ABA has many teams that disband or just don’t last because of money reasons,” he adds. “After a 7-plushour-long car drive to Pikeville, Kentucky, in my own car along with two teammates, to play immediately upon arriving, plus several other situations, I realized that things weren’t adding up.” So James traded the ABA for an MBA. The 2012 Harbert College MBA grad looks forward to a long finance-related career path. He has already worked as a VIP services intern with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, a finance and

Jay Wright (’03, accountancy) earned a promotion to division director with Robert Half Management Resources in Tampa, Florida.

2010s Delia Barnes (’12, business administration)

works for TTI Inc. in San Jose, California, as an account executive. Her hobbies include hiking and traveling.

48 HM, Spring 2015

“That’s almost exactly how my experience was with my first entertainment finance job. There were times that I was responsible for eight to 10 shows at a time, along with having production accountant responsibilities for some that hadn’t yet started shooting.” Despite his career trajectory, James hasn’t given up on basketball. “It’s something I still have a passion for,” he says, noting NBA Development League teams are worth a try. “Any time I’m not working, I’m looking for opportunities to play.”

Anthony Botticella (’11, MBA) now serves as executive vice president and managing director of trust for Cornerstone Private Asset Trust Company LLC, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Before joining Cornerstone, he served as senior trust officer for several Midwest-based financial institutions. Botticella serves on the board of directors for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the Kansas City Sluggers, and the Children’s Mercy Hospital Donald Chisholm Planned Giving Council. Demi Burton (’13, international business)

serves as a regional sourcing agent for Georgia-Pacific at its Atlanta headquar-


ters. She was recently selected to lead the entry level procurement team she was hired into less than a year and a half ago. The group consists of 78 employees nationwide and in Koch Industries. In her current position, she manages “the strategic procurement and negotiations of multimillion dollar commodity categories consumed nationwide.”

her first year with Deloitte & Touche in Birmingham. She also married her husband, Justin, in October 2014. Since graduating from Auburn, she’s run two half-marathons.

Yizhuo Wang (’13, finance) serves as CEO of

MHW Health Technology Company Ltd. in Beijing, China.

Jeb Coker (’12, finance) is

self-employed as a business English teacher in South Korea. He received his permanent visa and business license this year. Last year, he married his wife, Jaeryung, whom he met at Auburn. In their free time, they enjoy traveling around Korea and Southeast Asia, including trips to Japan and Taiwan.

Drew Dunkin (’14, professional flight man-

agement) is first officer with Hyannis Air Service Inc. In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf.

Capt. Alex Mileshko (’11, supply chain man-

agement) serves as a battalion staff officer with the US Army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was married last year, and recently earned a promotion to captain.

Jeffrey Mitchell (’13, finance) earned a

promotion from analyst to associate in institutional US energy equity sales/trading with GMP Securities LLC in Houston after 10 months in investment banking. When he’s not busy studying for the CFA Level II and CMT Level 1 exams, he enjoys hunting, fishing, golfing and spending time with friends.

Justin Haigler (’13, management) serves as operations supervisor for C.V. Holdings in Auburn. He enjoys fishing, hunting, and collecting guns, and has recently adopted Brett Mixon (’11, finance) serves as a finantwo dogs. cial advisor with BBVA Compass Investment Solutions in Houston. He earned Robert Hall (’14, supply chain management) Series 6, Series 63 securities licenses. In works for Dollar Tree Distribution Inc. October, he will marry his fiancée, a fellow as an L1 receiving manager. Auburn graduate. William Haynes (’14, management) recently Ben Peterman (’13, finance) is a research anbegan his career as a producer (sales alyst with Fortress Group Inc. in Atlanta. associate) with CBIZ Insurance Services in Alpharetta, Georgia, but the highlight of Kristi Smith (’10, MAcc) is an investment his year came in December, when he accountant with Aflac in Columbus, married former AU student Ashley Cryan. Georgia. Shelby Jansen (’10, marketing)

serves as marketing director for Sovereign Risk Solutions in Atlanta. She formed the company’s marketing department in 2012, which has contributed to double-digit revenue growth each of the last three years. Away from the office, she enjoys hiking and spent a month backpacking across Europe.

Lisa Noble Martin (’11, accountancy) recently earned a promotion to audit senior and earned her CPA license after completing

rently a senior associate with BrightLine CPAs & Associates in Atlanta. He said a corporate trip to Cancun “would classify as a ‘bucket list’ vacation, considering the activities we participated in, as well as the sights.”

Becky A. Smylie (’13, MAcc)

obtained her CPA license and started her own firm, PlumRuby LLC in Aurora, Colorado and Douglas, Wyoming. Her hobbies include playing tennis and gardening.

Collin Varner (’10, management of information systems) has experienced a good bit of change in the last two years. “Within the past 18 months, I’ve changed employers, received a promotion, and obtained two certifications in my industry.” He’s cur-

Ross Winkler (’11, marketing) joined Houston-based Winkler Public Relations as marketing strategy manager in October 2014 after working with the Montgomery Biscuits Baseball Club for four seasons.

All in the family We’re glad you read the alumni notes section, but you don’t have to wait for Harbert Magazine to land in your mailbox to catch up with friends and former classmates. Harbert College alumni 35 and under in Atlanta and Birmingham can network with colleagues through Young Alumni chapters. The groups host quarterly happy hour social events featuring guest speakers. Join today, or start a chapter in your city, by contacting Harbert College Development Coordinator Stephanie Froehlich at 334.844.2983 or stephanie@auburn.edu. You can also show your Auburn spirit through involvement in one of the more than 90 AU Clubs nationwide. Find your closest chapter and learn how to join by visiting www.aualum.org/clubs.

Stay connected with Harbert College! Keep in touch with former classmates and share your good news on these platforms:

Facebook: facebook.com/AUBusiness Twitter: twitter.com/AUBusiness LinkedIn: linkedin.com/groups/ Auburn-College-Business-Alumni-153974

HM, Spring 2015 49


DEAN’S LAST WORD

Brewing Mutually-Beneficial Relationships Most of the folks in line here at the Harbert College Starbucks are simply looking forward to their next caffeine fix. It’s easy to forget that nearly 20 countries helped bring that morning jolt to us. Everything we’re holding in our hands—the steaming dark roast, the cream, the sugar, the paper cup, and the cardboard band protecting our fingers from the hot cup—were sourced, produced, and shipped from all corners of the globe. Thanks to an effective supply chain, all of those things were waiting for us in the right form at the right time. If the supply chain functions the way it’s intended, the consumer won’t be conscious of the machines and movements necessary to bring the end product to them. Similarly, as a college of business, we serve as a vital gear in a supply chain that may not be clearly visible to others. Our core efforts focus on providing the business world with two essential commodities—knowledge in the form of our research, and talent in the form of our graduates. A well-oiled supply chain represents a continuum, one responsive to feedback from consumers. That’s why we aggressively pursue partnerships with industry. In addition to remaining responsive to their immediate needs, we’re better able to forecast the challenges and opportunities they will face in the coming years and focus our research and instruction accordingly. Our new supply chain research center, which will open later this year, will enable students, scholars, and industry leaders to collaborate in an effort to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities.

It’s fitting that our supply chain management program, which recently earned a top 10 ranking from Gartner, epitomizes the Harbert College supply chain. We are one of only two programs nationally to require internships of our students before graduation. By doing so, we produce employees who, from day one, can help companies operate more purposefully and profitably. We’re not just part of the supply chain. We’re driving it. It’s one of the many reasons why I’m so enthusiastic about the future of Harbert College. Given our progress and the exciting developments we have in store, I may have to switch to decaf. War Eagle!

Bill C. Hardgrave, PhD

Dean and Wells Fargo Professor Harbert College of Business

50 HM, Spring 2015


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Harbert Magazine -- Spring 2015  

The spring issue of Harbert Magazine focuses on the thought processes and approaches that drive the global supply chain.

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