Skip to main content

May 2019

EKU Global Supply Chain Welcomes Back Recent Graduates

(l-r) Connor Hill, Teresa Smith, Sarah Beard, James Kirby Easterling

EKU’s School of Business recently welcomed back three May 2018 graduates to campus to speak to James Kirby Easterling’s Global Supply Chain classes.  Connor Hill (Global Supply Chain), Teresa Smith (Global Supply Chain) and Sarah Ruth Beard (Marketing) all accepted positons as Buyers with Hitachi Automotive upon graduating last year.   Hill, Smith and Beard were invited back to campus to share with supply chain students their respective responsibilities as well as keys to success in transitioning from college into the professional workplace.  Students in Easterling’s MKT431 (Supply Chain, Procurement) and MGT375 (Supply Chain, Planning) actively participated in the special event and were further tasked with writing reflective essays on key take-aways from the event that they can apply to their own upcoming transition into the workplace.

Easterling posing questions to guestsAll three graduates work in Hitachi Automotive’s Procurement Department as Buyers, though they each have their own respective commodities.  Hill and Smith both interned at Hitachi as students in the Global Supply Chain program and accepted offers of employment upon graduating.   Hill gave a very interesting presentation highlighting a Decision Analysis (DA) spreadsheet that he created to assist in choosing suppliers by focusing on a wide range of important criteria, which is known as Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Hill, Smith, and Beard answered questions from Easterling as well as from nearly 100 students in attendance.  All three are already working as ‘alumni ambassadors’ in highlighting the program to prospective college students, as well as to other companies seeking entry-level supply chain talent.  Smith, who once owned her own trucking company in Bowling Green, Kentucky for more than 12 years, chose to attend EKU exclusively because of the Global Supply Chain program.  In addition to being a stellar student during her time at EKU, Smith was also the first president of EKU’s Global Supply Chain Student Club, which is affiliated with APICS/ASCM—the premiere organization for supply chain professionals.

Beard majored in Marketing during her time at EKU but took multiple supply chain classes, which provedQ & A with students instrumental during the interview process with Hitachi.  Beard stated “the supply chain classes at EKU are taught in a manner that emphasizes not only mastery of the subject matter, but also the terminology that is used throughout the supply chain profession.  Hitachi’s interview process is very intense, and I think I impressed them with my ability to speak articulately in integrating supply chain terminology and concepts.”

Easterling shared that “upon graduating from EKU in the early 1990s, I started my own professional career with Hitachi Automotive in Berea as a Production Planner/Inventory Analyst and the experiences I gained during my four years there positioned me for great success throughout my 22-year corporate career.  It’s so rewarding seeing many of my recent graduates now working with Hitachi leaders that were once my own colleagues more than 20 years ago.“

Easterling further shared that “we are very grateful for the support that Hitachi Automotive continues to extend to our Global Supply Chain program.  We have developed multiple alliances with leading companies in the region since launching our program in 2014, but Hitachi has taken on more of our SCM students as interns and hired more of our SCM graduates than any other company.  In addition, their SCM leaders are very active on campus, with senior Procurement and Human Resource leaders serving on our SCM Advisory Board.  Hitachi Automotive has also held their annual global supplier conference here at EKU for multiple years with our SCM students serving as campus ambassadors.  It’s very exciting for me to see so many EKU graduates in key positions with Hitachi.”

Q & APlease contact James Kirby Easterling ( for more information on EKU’s Global Supply Chain program.  Easterling is a 3-time EKU School of Business graduate who worked in supply chain leadership roles for over 22 years including international assignments with Corning Incorporated in both Japan and Singapore.  Easterling also earned a Master’s degree in Global Supply Chain Management from Penn State, and is nearing the completion of his doctorate at the University of Florida.

Open /*deleted href=#openmobile*/