Strong advisory board supports new Supply Chain and Transportation Management program in College of Business

Industry leaders set clear direction to serve fast-growing economic sector in Nevada

Group of individuals in Business Professional wear standing in front of a building with stairs.

Strong advisory board supports new Supply Chain and Transportation Management program in College of Business

Industry leaders set clear direction to serve fast-growing economic sector in Nevada

Group of individuals in Business Professional wear standing in front of a building with stairs.

A strong Executive Advisory Board composed of respected industry leaders has established a durable foundation and clear direction for the Supply Chain and Transportation Management program in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Less than 18 months after the program’s first course offerings in spring 2023, 10 students already have graduated from the Supply Chain and Transportation Management (SCTM) program. Each graduate has secured employment in the field, with the majority finding positions with companies located in Northern Nevada.

Robyn Brunscher, the program director, attributes much of the success of the Supply Chain and Transportation Management program to the 12-member Executive Advisory Board.

“Our primary indicator of success in the College of Business is student employment after graduation, and the Executive Advisory Board has ensured that graduates of our programs have the skills and training that they’ll need to succeed in this important industry,” Brunscher said. “The Executive Advisory Board also helps the program build connections with top industry leaders, opening the door for career and internship placements.”

As the program continues its growth, Brunscher said it’s seeking involvement on its Executive Advisory Board from additional leaders in the logistics sector.

Logistics, distribution and warehousing companies continue to flock to Northern Nevada because of its strategic location near to major Western markets, its favorable tax environment and its attractive lifestyle.

Brunscher noted that the Supply Chain and Transportation Management program, which positions itself as the finest university logistics program in the West, meets a growing demand for trained, talented staff members from employers in the region.

The Executive Advisory Board played a key role in the recent development of a five-year strategic plan for the Supply Chain and Transportation Management (SCTM) program.

The plan aims to establish a major in Supply Chain and Transportation Management by the beginning of the 2026-2027 academic year and targets 130 declared majors by the subsequent year. The SCTM program currently only offers a minor.

The program was launched through the financial support of ITS Logistics, a major third-party logistics provider headquartered in Reno. The company sees strong demand for the program’s students, said Scott Pruneau, the chief executive officer of ITS Logistics.

“Logistics is ultimately about collaboration and problem solving. As northern Nevada becomes an increasingly important logistics hub, the need for talent across a wide range of disciplines is also becoming increasingly important,” said Pruneau. “This program will be an integral part of developing talent to meet this need while providing a fantastic growth opportunity for the next generation of supply chain professionals in our community.”

“With further investment, awareness and community support we believe this program can be truly impactful to our community and the logistics industry,” Pruneau said.

Industry leaders who serve on the Executive Advisory Board include:

  • Pruneau, who has more than 25 years of experience as a top executive for major national transportation and logistics companies.
  • Mike Crawford, the chief operating officer of ITS Logistics with expertise in asset-based and asset-light logistics operations.
  • Bryan Brown of Patagonia, recognized for leadership in sustainability as well as social and environmental change.
  • Kenneth Cherry, vice president of global operations, planning, logistics and technology for Amazon in its groundbreaking Amazon126 innovation hub.
  • Jin Hong, director of Americas Logistics Operations for Google, a University graduate recognized for his expertise in analytics, systems and research and development.
  • Keith Q. Kellison, a senior vice president of UPS Global Public Affairs who brings deep experience in domestic and international trade as well as regulatory affairs.
  • Danny Weibel, executive vice president of the Americas region for Arrow Electronics with wide-ranging experience in development and management of global supply chains.

Two other industry leaders recently completed service on the board. Jim Bacon, a nationally recognized expert in cold-chain and clinical logistics, and Ward Strang, executive vice president and chief operating officer of FedEx Ground, played key roles as members of the board during its startup, Brunscher said.

With more than 25 years of experience as an executive with major corporations as well as entrepreneurial startups, Brunscher herself brings experience in supply-chain, transportation and global business-development to her role as director of the Supply Chain and Transportation Management program. She’s also a member of the Executive Advisory Board.

Along with Brunscher, leaders from the College of Business who serve on the Executive Advisory Board include:

  • Ron Lembke, professor of supply chain management and business analytics . He also serves as chair of the Marketing Department.
  • Jim McClenahan, executive director of outreach and engagement.
  • Armina Karapetian, lecturer of marketing.
  • Sandun Perera, associate professor of business analytics and operations.

“The contributions of the Executive Advisory Board are important in creation of the ‘Best in the West’ logistics program,” Brunscher said. “More important, the board plays an important role in shaping the path of career success for our graduates.”

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