Jake Dean

I’m equally nervous and excited as I write my first message for our newsletter. Nervous, because Jack and Verda have been such excellent stewards of the Grainger Center for so long that continuing their work is a task that is beyond daunting. Excited, because supply chain management continues to evolve into the business discipline organizations look to for transformative leadership, and we get to evolve along with it and train its future leaders.

When I started as Director in June, I had no idea how often I would find myself having to explain to people what the Center ‘is’. At least it’s 2017, so people have gotten their heads around what supply chain management is, and unlike in the Center’s earlier days I don’t have to start by explaining our industry! But I’m still left to explain to prospective students, employers, family, and friends exactly what is this thing the Grainger Center. It’s an interesting question. Is it the space we have in Grainger Hall? Sure, because it says so on the wall. Is it me, Danielle, and Greg? Also yes. Is it our students? Absolutely. What about our faculty? Our Executive Advisory Board? Our alumni? They’re not in our physical space, but they’re still a part of it. After some reflection, I’ve decided that it’s all of those things. So, back to my question on what the Center ‘is’, I say this: We are a close community of supply chain professionals with a personal connection back to Madison, and I am proud to be a current steward of that community.

One of the things I love about the Center is that as supply chain continues to evolve, we keep adding new groups of people to our community. We started by uniting Marketing and Operations, and since then we’ve added people in Finance, Data, and Sustainability. Now that we’re into our second 25 years, I’m excited (and not at all nervous!) to see who we’ll be welcoming into our community next. Let me know if you have ideas.