Meet a Member

October 2017 

Diane Mollenkopk

McCormick Associate Professor of Logistics, University of Tennessee

CSCMP Service
Academic Strategies Committee Co-Chair, January 2014-present
Research Strategies Committee Member, 2011-2014 


Education:

Drexel University, Ph.D. 
Michigan State University, Master of Business Administration
Bowling Green State University (Ohio), Bachelor of Science in Business Administration


When and why did you join CSCMP?
I actually don’t remember when I first joined CSCMP! I do remember attending my first annual conference in Anaheim in 1998. I was living in New Zealand at the time, so it was a pretty big deal to be able to attend the conference. I reconnected with some of my MBA professors, and met some new colleagues that continue to be friends and colleagues to this day.

I first learned of CSCMP back when it was called the National Council of Physical Distribution Management, when I was a student of Don Bowersox at Michigan State University in the early 1980s. So, I always knew that NCPDM/CLM/CSCMP was THE organization for logistics (and now supply chain) education. I have always appreciated the link between academics and professionals that has been central to the organization since the very beginning.

How has being a CSCMP member helped you in your career?
Membership in CSCMP has helped me make so many valuable connections with both industry and academic colleagues. I appreciate all the ‘real-world’ professionals who have opened their organizations to my research and to my students over the years. Attending the annual conference and the Academic Research Symposium each year enables me to reconnect and strengthen relationships with colleagues.
 
What advice would you give to new members to help them maximize their membership value?
My best advice is “get involved.” I’ve been a member for years, but it wasn’t until I joined the Research Strategies Committee that I really began to appreciate all that membership has to offer. Now, as Co-Chair of the Academic Strategies Committee, I hope to help other academics get more involved in the organization. 
 
How did you get into supply chain?
To make a long story short, I actually went to Michigan State University for an MBA in Marketing; but in that same department I discovered a ‘new-ish’ program called the ‘Materials and Logistics Management’ program (remember, this was in pre-supply chain days). In my mind, Marketing and Logistics are two sides of a coin, and I immediately loved the operational focus of logistics on serving customers’ needs. So, it was an easy transition to change majors and pursue what has been a wonderful career in logistics/supply chain management. I worked in industry for about 10 years before earning my Ph.D. and shifting to the academic realm of supply chain management.
 
What are you passionate about in the supply chain field?
I love teaching undergraduate students about the supply chain field, and getting them ready to launch their own careers in the profession!
 
What is the biggest challenge you face on the job, and how are you managing it?
Diversity in the student pool is a big challenge for us in the academic world. Recruiters seek diversity in their applicant pools, so we must get better at putting a diverse set of students in front of our corporate partners. Supply chain management is the biggest major at the University of Tennessee, but the male/female ratio has been highly imbalanced. Several of my female colleagues and I have initiated a movement in the Haslam College of Business to attract more female students into the supply chain major. This ranges from a new student club for women in supply chain management (working very collaboratively with the CSCMP student roundtable), to summer academy camps for high school women throughout the state, to working at the state level to introduce supply chain topics into statewide high school curricula. Our corporate partners have been very supportive and engaged in our efforts. We have a long way to go, but the momentum is contagious! And of course, we need to move beyond gender diversity to normalize a broader form of diversity in our student body.
 
What are the biggest challenges facing the supply chain profession today?
Being an academic, I definitely see the talent management challenges facing our corporate partners. Back to the diversity discussion, even though our recruiters are hiring more women into entry level supply chain positions, the challenge remains to grow and develop women into corporate leadership roles.
 
Is there anything you’ve learned at a CSCMP conference or from a CSCMP publication that helped you solve a work-related issue?
CSCMP publications and conference attendance has helped me stay up to date with what leading edge organizations are doing, which I happily translate in to classroom discussions and learning opportunities for my students.
 
Where do you see the future of the profession headed?
The future of supply chain is exciting. Technological advances mean that the supply chains of tomorrow may not look anything like the supply chains of today, but as long as ‘stuff or things’ needs to be moved around the world, there will be a need for supply chain professionals!
 
What hobbies and interests do you have outside of work and career?
My family and I love to travel and explore new parts of the world. I think this is one reason I have always loved being in logistics and supply chain management – it keeps me connected to the wider world. Travel and food to together, so I am a self-confessed foodie – I love to cook and try new foods when we travel. My family and I also love outdoor adventures – hiking and wildlife encounters of various kinds.

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