URI supply chain graduate in demand

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Haverhill, Mass. resident lands job with Fall River manufacturer

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 17, 2010 – Jeffrey Stanley has something many new college graduates don’t have–a good job in his field.

When the Haverhill, Mass. resident graduates from the University of Rhode Island May 23 with a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management from the University’s College of Business Administration, he will have already been on the job for a few weeks at TracRac. The Fall River, Mass. firm manufactures rack systems for pickup trucks that hold ladders, heavy tools and other necessary items for those businesses that have to move their gear from place to place.

As the production/logistics team leader, Stanley is responsible for improving all processes, including manufacturing, management of inventory, and development of visual aides to enhance the entire work environment, all with the goal of increasing competitiveness.

Also this month, Stanley expects to be certified in Transportation and Logistics, in Lean Management and as a Six Sigma Green Belt. All of these national credentials relate to efficiency in business and industry.

Stanley said the supply chain program at URI, through rigorous coursework and work with local and national companies, prepared him well for earning these certifications and the new job.

Earning his bachelor’s degree at URI actually marks the successful completion of a major transition that occurred between his freshman and sophomore years.

He was a freshman engineering student at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth when he discovered the major and the school weren’t a good fit.

“When I went for a tour of URI, I just fell in love with it,” Stanley said. “People were really friendly.”

At URI, he switched his major to supply chain management and was hooked right away.

“The professors are great, especially Doug Hales and Jim Kroes,” Stanley said. “They brought in recent grads to do presentations on supply chain management and conduct interviews with us. Those experiences helped us get a real feel for the career.”

Hales and Kroes also involved students like Stanley in the CONNECT (Coalition of New England Companies for Trade) Conference in Newport. “We worked the conference as volunteers, which gave us the chance to go to seminars and network with the companies there.”

While diving into the academic side of URI, Stanley also immersed himself in other activities.

“I found the fraternity I am now a member of, Zeta Beta Tau, and the brothers showed me around and helped me get to know the community,” said the three-year-member of the URI men’s volleyball club team.

“I liked the idea of a club sport because it’s not full time,” Stanley said. “We practiced three days a week, which left time for completing homework and getting involved in other things. We car-pooled to tourneys around New England because we didn’t have money for buses. It was fun and a real bonding experience with the other guys.”

Meanwhile, he was also building his supply chain and lean management expertise. In fall 2009, he and his classmates completed an exercise as part of his advanced topics in supply chain management class for the Sara Lee Corp., a worldwide food and health and body care company.

“We took everything we learned about supply chain management and reconfigured the entire supply chain for Sara Lee,” Stanley said. “It was a mock project, but a Sara Lee representative came to listen to our presentation and he was impressed.”

Last September, he also began an internship at VIBCO Vibrators of Wyoming, R.I., makers of high-quality industrial vibrators for a wide range of industries, including construction and agriculture.

“These are large products that go in dump trucks, cement mixers and industrial hoppers that help shake out or mix the material,” Stanley said.

“They treated me as a member of the team, and I did projects to help on the floor, worked to decrease inventory, and worked directly with the manufacturing employees.”

Probably most beneficial was his work with Paul Cary, a leader in the lean manufacturing movement, whose main job at VIBCO is eliminating waste and enhancing efficiency and productivity. Stanley also appeared on the AM 790 talk show, The Lean Nation, which is hosted by Karl Wadensten, the president of VIBCO.

“The experience at VIBCO led me to my current job at TracRac,” Stanley said. “There are 30 employees at TracRac, and it appears to be a great place where I can apply all my lessons from VIBCO.”

Soon, he’ll be moving from Narragansett to Warwick so the commute will be easier. But he wanted to stay in Rhode Island.

“Once I came to URI, I fell in love with Rhode Island,” Stanley said. “I love the beach. I am definitely going to miss all my friends, all the brothers in ZBT. I am going to miss living in Narragansett and waking up to sunrises and relaxing during sunsets. Coming to URI was one of the best choices I have ever made. I really found myself here and I really flourished.”

Pictured above

Jeffrey Stanley

URI Department of Communications & Marketing photo by Michael Salerno Photography.