Skip to main content

April 2014

Wanted: 1.4 million new supply chain workers by 2018

The offices at Coyote Logistics in Chicago (Courtesy: Coyote Logistics)

The logistics industry has a recruiting problem. It's huge, making up 8.5% of GDP, and growing fast. But to most job seekers, it's misunderstood -- or invisible.

By Anne Fisher from CNNMoney

FORTUNE -- How can a $1.3 trillion industry, getting bigger every year, be hidden in plain sight?

Easy. The vast U.S. logistics business, which delivers 48 million tons of freight (worth about $48 billion) daily and already employs roughly 6 million people, operates mostly behind the scenes.

"When you order something from, say, Amazon, you know it arrives on your doorstep in two days, but most people don't think about how," observes George Prest, CEO of logistics trade group Material Handling Industry (MHI). He adds that the field gets overlooked by new grads in particular, who think of supply-chain work -- if they think of it at all -- as "a guy driving a forklift in a dusty old factory."

That outdated image is a huge hurdle for an industry that badly needs new talent in high tech, analytics, robotics, and engineering. Career changers, take note: Seasoned managers, marketers, data analysts, and human resources executives are also in demand. "There are currently six to eight management jobs available for each applicant we get, and the median salary is about $80,000," notes Prest -- and that's even before the wave of boomer retirements the MHI projects over the next few years. In total, says a new MHI report, the logistics business will be looking to fill about 1.4 million jobs, or roughly 270,000 per year, by 2018.

MORE: American truckers have been stranded by employers

"We've been living with this problem for eight or nine years now," says Ed Romaine, a vice president at Integrated Systems Design, headquartered in Wixom, Mich. "The competition for talent is so fierce that we've had to get creative." The company recently trolled LinkedIn for two new engineering hires, and "one of our top salespeople was recruited away from a former customer."

"I think the challenge we have is the same as for lots of manufacturing companies," says Chuck Edwards, president of Lenze Americas, the Uxbridge, Mass.-based arm of German logistics giant Lenze, which specializes in supply-chain automation, software, and systems integration. "How do you communicate to college kids that this stuff is cool?" Like other supply-chain employers, Lenze recruits heavily at a handful of colleges "with strong engineering and tech programs," including MIT, Cornell, and Purdue.

Lenze Americas also sponsors student projects and sends guest speakers to campuses. "The more we can get face-to-face with kids, the better we can explain where the real excitement, and the future growth, is," Edwards says. "You can't really convey that via social media."

For people who have been out of college for a while and want a shot at one of those 1.4 million job openings, supply-chain recruiter Eve O'Reilly has some advice. First, do enough research through the trade press to know which part of the sprawling logistics business is most likely to be seeking your skills.

For instance, "'strategic sourcing' is the industry term for procurement management [purchasing supplies and materials for companies]," says O'Reilly, who heads up supply-chain executive search firm O'Reilly Group. "Other fields call it something else, but it's one of the skills that's easily transferable. Likewise, there are lots of opportunities for proven salespeople."

Next, whatever your background, O'Reilly recommends studying for professional certifications through one of two big nonprofit groups, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and the Institute for Supply Management. "If you can, go to the huge national conferences CSCMP sponsors," she suggests. "It's a great way to meet people in the industry" who may know about specific job openings. CSCMP also has "lots of local chapters all over the U.S., even in small towns," so O'Reilly recommends signing up for one near you.

MORE: 5G wireless technology prepares for its moment

Chuck Edwards notes that "there are articles galore online about the industry, and most of them link to white papers that companies publish about the challenges the business faces right now. Take a look at those, and think about where your skills apply."

In his view, to fill the multitude of job openings, supply-chain companies will have to try harder to see how people from other industries fit in. "Analytics, scheduling, complex problem solving, project management -- we need all of these, and they're very easily transferred from another business," he says.

"But we as employers need to help people see where their skills fit, and not get hung up on the jargon in a job description," he adds. "It's up to us to get the word out about what we need, and convey that management talent need not come with industry experience."

Ed Romaine agrees. "We're always looking for capable people," he says. "We're hiring. Tell your friends."

Read more from CNNMoney...

Maroon SHRM participates in service project

Bianca Robles presents Shanna Wells with donated items

Over the years, EKU's Maroon SHRM chapter has participated in several service projects. This spring, Bianca Robles, COO of the EKU Maroon SHRM Chapter presented Shanna Wells, a Liberty Place volunteer, with a series of household and personal items for use by visitors to Liberty Place.

Liberty Place Recovery Center for Women is a place for women who are recovering from substance abuse. The services provided by Liberty Place are free to those who live there. Liberty Place works with these women to help restore their lives and start their lives over. Liberty Place currently has 108 beds and is located in Richmond.

The goal of the center is for them to have two facilities in each district, one for women only and one for men only. The people who come to Liberty Place must be committed, as well as over 18 and homeless. Liberty Place is always thankful for and in need of any donations of various home and personal items.  For more information about opportunities to support this locally based organization, contact Gwen Holder, Director, at 859 625 0104.

Maroon SHRM members have also collected donations to assist in preventing families from losing their homes and sending care packages to troops.  Members also receive a wide variety of professional benefits from participating in Maroon SHRM. Other events include guest speakers from business leaders in related industries, insight into graduate school options, plant walkthroughs, and other networking experiences.

Maroon SHRM meetings are posted on the SHRM bulletin board outside of Room 102 in the EKU Business and Technology Center.

Business Majors Most in Demand by Employers

College majors in demand list

Over half of employers are looking for business or communication technologies graduates - and they're hiring!

College Majors Most in Demand by Employers, by Ronnie Polidoro

As college commencement season approaches graduates might be surprised to hear they should expect improving job prospects, according to a new study released Thursday by CareerBuilder and

The study finds that 57 percent of employers say they plan to hire new college graduates, up from 53 percent last year. Of those surveyed, 51 percent said business majors were most desirable including 12 percent Communication Technologies.

Read the full text from

Scholar Athlete: Patric Sundlof

Patric Sundlof (front center) with 2014 All-OVC Team

General Business junior Patric Sundlof was selected to the 10-member All-Ohio Valley Conference team and was one of five chosen to the 2014 OVC All-Newcomer team. Sundlof, a native of Tullinge, Sweden, joined the Eastern program last summer after playing two years at Shorter University in Rome, Ga.

Sundlof is also a Colonel Scholar. He was recognized at the Student-Athlete Academic Awards Breakfast for achieving the Dean's List and was inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma - the student-athlete academic honor society.


International Business Major Experiences Japanese Culture in Study Abroad Program

Russell Adams

After preparing for the day, Clark County native Russell Adams walked a little less than half a mile to the train station, where he would then ride a train to the end of the line, walk another half mile, eat lunch nearby, and go to class … in Japan.

Adams, an international business major at Eastern Kentucky University, recently studied business and international business at Rikkyo University in Ikebukuro, Japan, part of the metropolitan Tokyo area, through EKU’s Study Abroad program.

“EKU facilitated the opportunity to go on this exchange,” Adams said. “Many of my classes, such as Japanese language and culture, as well as my business courses, such as accounting and international business, helped me be prepared for life in Japan, as well as the course work I had there. Classes with sensei Noriko Okura helped to peak my interest in Japan to even be interested (in studying abroad).”

Within an hour of anywhere in Tokyo, Adams traveled often during his stay. “One day I might go to Shinjuku, then on another maybe Akihabara, then on another maybe Odaiba,” he said.

Adams, a graduate of George Rogers Clark High School, attended Rikkyo without any EKU peers, but he created many new connections there.

“The people of Japan and all the other students from all around the world, getting to meet them, getting to know them, and spending time with them has been one of the best experiences of my life,” he said. “It has provided me friends from many different places and many different cultures and ways of life that I will stay in touch with for the rest of my life. I can now say that I know and consider myself friends with people on five of the seven continents, from over 17 different countries. These connections are something that a person just does not get the chance to have without going abroad for something such as this. Japan is a place that a person can read and study about for years, but until one goes and experiences it first hand for a decent amount of time, they will never quite get it.”

After his EKU graduation in Fall 2015, Adams hopes to work with a Japanese company and return to Rikkyo University for graduate school.

Though the Japanese culture differs from his own, Adams overcame barriers such as language.

“The majority of signs and some other things are in multiple languages, normally Japanese and English, but sometime Korean as well,” he said. “One example: ticket machines to buy a train ticket can be switched over to English with just a button press. While most people in stores and restaurants typically only speak Japanese, sometimes I would run into someone who spoke English. At most non-western style restaurants there is one of two ways to order food. At some places there is a vending machine by the door where you purchase a ticket for your food then go sit down at the counter, put your ticket up on the counter and soon your food will be served. Or you sit down, pick up your menu which has pictures of all the food and point at what you want to the waiter. In general, most Japanese have a higher educational attainment level than most Americans so I never had to deal with anyone who was unable to help me despite being unable to communicate through speaking.”

 Adams encourages students to study abroad and be accepting of various cultures.

“I think that all study abroad experiences will have different effects on different people, but the experiences that students will have change them and give them a different outlook on life,” he said. “I can just about guarantee a good time if you are accepting of the different culture you will have to live in for your time abroad. Don’t let that (culture) be a deterrent. The experiences and connections to be gained are too great to turn down. Always remember there are good people all around the world. Just go, be prepared for something different and have fun.”

Read more EKUNews...

Three EKU students intern at The Masters in Augusta, Ga.

l-r: Chris Bunge, Mikal Harpster, Tyler Brightwell

Three students from the PGA Golf Management (PGA/GM) program at Eastern Kentucky University received internships at the 2014 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga., from April 7–13.


PGM students go above and beyond supporting Relay for Life

Relay for Life logo

Friday April 11, 2014, Eastern’s chapter of Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) hosted the Relay for Life fundraiser on campus to benefit the American Cancer Society.

This event gives participants the opportunity to honor cancer survivors, remember those who have been lost, and raise funds and awareness to help fight back.

The College of Business and Technology’s own PGA Golf Management student association was among the participating RSO teams.


EKU Honors Management Grad Who Is Now Executive with Brown-Forman

Diane French Nguyen

She grew up one of nine children in a blue-collar family.

Higher education was hardly discussed in her Bullitt County home, though certainly the values of hard work and making one’s own breaks in life were instilled. The father retired as a machinist from Reynolds Metal Company, while Mom stayed home to raise eight girls and one boy, born only 15 years apart.

They lived on a 13-acre farm, where a garden sustained all their needs, ate every meal together at the family table, played “house” in the barn and made too many mud pies to count. Every Sunday found the entire family in church, the eight girls marching down the aisle in nice dresses.

After graduating with honors from Bullitt East High School, Diane French (now Nguyen) headed to Eastern Kentucky University, where, like many freshmen away from home for the first time, she put her social life ahead of her studies.

It was her lone brother, who had gone on to veterinary school at Auburn University, and a prophetic EKU professor who changed the direction of the impressionable young college student. Oh, and Ronald McDonald helped a little along the way, too.

“I remember (my brother) reinforcing the importance of education to me,” she said. “His words and tone are forever seared into my memory when I brought home a GPA lower than my capabilities my second semester of my freshman year. He knew I could do better, and he was right.”

She began as an undeclared student and didn’t take her first elective in human resources management until the end of her sophomore year. Soon she would meet EKU management professor Dr. Mike Roberson.

“He called me his star student, told me I had so much potential to be great,” Nguyen recalled. “And while I didn’t believe it then, I knew I liked what I heard. It opened up my aspirations and belief in me about my abilities. I just decided to work hard and do what it took to make it.”

And make it she did. Today, Nguyen is a vice president and director of human resources for global production with Brown-Forman, with responsibility (speaking of large families) for approximately 2,000 employees globally. She was back on the Richmond campus April 4 to receive this year’s Distinguished Alumnus award from the Department of Management, Marketing and International Business.

“My technical knowledge came from my classes, and the projects were real life,” Nguyen noted. “We worked in teams, and this is the way business works today. Also, my HR internship was invaluable, and I believe without the connection from Dr. Roberson or the school, this would never have happened for me. These are the foundations that allowed me to build my success, and I am forever thankful.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in management (with a specialty in human resources) from Eastern in 1992, she went on to earn her MBA from the University of Louisville while working full-time in the HR field, most notably for 10 years with Colgate-Palmolive. She joined Brown-Forman, a Louisville-based wine and spirits company, six years ago.

Nguyen got her first taste of the working world (away from the farm, at least) at McDonald’s, where she began working at age 15 and continued through the summers of her college years. While her paychecks helped her finance her college education, she was determined not to live her life under the Golden Arches.

“I didn’t have money to finish my school after my financial aid ran out my sophomore year. I did not want to go back home and work at McDonald’s. I was determined to finish – no clue how – and I enrolled in school anyway with no way to pay for it. My mom and my sister scrambled together enough money to pay my tuition and I continued. I paid them back when I graduated.”

Now, as Nguyen looks to hire the best employees for Brown-Forman, she looks for prospects with the same qualities that her brother and Roberson saw in her some 25 years ago.

“I look for people with potential to grow and the willingness to learn,” she said. “What you learn and do and how you work with others will ultimately determine your success. School is a training ground that shows you have the fortitude and discipline to accomplish a goal. Every obstacle I have faced has been overcome by hard work, relationships I have built with others who are willing to help me, and optimistic thinking where I search for the win or learning in everything I have done.

“Sometimes you just have to stay focused and keep going, but you will make it to the other side.”

Read more on EKUNews...

Hopkins named 2014 MMIB distinguished senior

Ian Hopkins

Mr. Ian Hopkins has been named the 2014 Distinguished Senior for EKU's Department of Management, Marketing and International Business. He was honored during a presentation on Friday, April 4, 2014, at the School of Business College to Careers Conference.

The student is selected based on superior academic achievement, excellent leadership, citizenship, character and services to EKU.

Ian, photographed above, was presenting at the National Honors Conference on April 4th.

Ian, from Frankfort, Kentucky, has been invited into membership of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. He will be graduating in May with a Bachelor’s degree in Management.

Ian has had a stellar academic career at EKU!  He is a Management major, Honor’s Program student, Patterson Scholar, exchange student in Valencia, Spain, through the Magellan program, and was selected to present his research at the 2014 National Conference for Undergraduate Research.

As a Patterson Scholar, Ian led MMIB recruitment activities, spoke before hundreds of FBLA high school visitors, and was a discussant at the School of Business Student Organization Rally.

Following his Magellan Exchange international experience where he attended the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain, he visited business classrooms to engage students in conversation that would answer their questions and encourage them to study abroad.

No stranger to travel and involvement, Ian has participated in Honors Council National and Regional conferences. His proposal was accepted to Posters-at-the-Capitol as well as the National Conference of Undergraduate Research.

To fill up those summer months, Ian has worked with the Frankfort YMCA and Theatre Arts Day Academy as a camp counselor.

He is a member of Phi Beta Lambda, Golden Key International Honor Society, Alpha Lambda Delta, and the Society for the Advancement of Management.

Please join me in congratulating Ian Hopkins on being selected as the 2014 distinguished senior representing the Department of Management, Marketing and International Business. We will present Ian’s certificate to him when he returns from the National Honors Conference.

At the luncheon, the college honored distinguished seniors and distinguished alumni from each of the academic departments within the College of Business and Technology. Ms. Diane French Nguyen was selected as the MMIB departmental distinguished alum. In addition, recipients of scholarships and awards for the 2013-14 academic year were recognized and honored for outstanding achievement.

Scholar Athlete: Nicole Henry

Nicki Henry

PGA Golf Management junior Nicki Henry received the Bratzke Award of Excellence at this spring's Student-Athlete Academic Awards Breakfast. Henry, a native of Chagrin Falls, Oh., received multiple honors at the annual event.

The Bratzke Award of Excellence is earned by the student-athlete who achieved the highest GPA on their team for the previous academic year. Henry was also recognized as a Colonel Scholar, is on the Dean's List and OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll, received the OVC Medal of Honor for maintaining a 4.0 GPA, and was inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma - the student-athlete academic honor society.


MMIB Student Wins Collegiate Business Concept Challenge Competition

Colin Elrod accepts CBCC first place certificate

The Excellence in Entrepreneurship Collegiate Business Concept Challenge (CBCC) Competition held on Fri., March 28, was won by Colin Elrod! Marketing instructor Kevin Cumiskey was his mentor for the competition. As the first-place winner, Colin will receive $1,000 to support development of his idea.

The competition included 15 groups representing 6 institutions. Six finalists were selected to compete for the prize. Three MMIB mentees were selected as finalists:

  • Rachael Beechboard (FR, General Business/Corporate Communication & Technology from Monticello, Ky.) - Stick em up ads, Mentored by Laura Barthel
  • David Worthington (FR, General Computer Information Systems from Fulton, Ky.) - U Maps, Mentored by Laura Barthel
  • Colin Elrod (JR, International Business from Lexington, Ky.) – Mochi, Mentored by Kevin Cumiskey

Also participating in the Challenge (from left to right) were:

  • Jarod Wolfe - mentored by Micheal Rodriguez and Laura Barthel
  • Nayoung Lee - mentored by Weiling Zhuang
  • Nathan Hall - mentored by Laura Barthel

EKU's College of Business and Technology, The Center for Rural Development, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, Berea College Entrepreneurship for the Public Good, and Lindsey Wilson College host the Annual Excellence in Entrepreneurship Collegiate Business Concept Challenge. The competition invites business ideas from Eastern and Southern Kentucky university, college, and community college students to compete for cash awards and professional consultation.

The winning contestant or team, along with their faculty sponsor, will be recognized at a formal luncheon as part of the larger Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards program on the second Monday in September at The Center for Rural Development headquarters in Somerset, Kentucky.

View the photogallery...

Open /*deleted href=#openmobile*/