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Unique Alliance - Carhartt and the College of Business Global Supply Chain Management Program

It all started with one phone call.

In 2014, Dr. James Kirby Easterling stepped out of his career as a corporate supply chain executive after twenty-two years of global service.  A three-time Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) College of Business graduate himself, Easterling felt led to give back to the university that gave him so much. This drove him to start the Global Supply Chain Management program within the College of Business.

Since the program’s launch, it has become one of the fastest growing programs at EKU.  It has drawn attention from numerous corporations and is already achieving high levels of success with over 150 internships, nearly 100% job placement for graduates, and very strong starting salaries that ranks amongst the highest in the university.  One company in particular that has displayed ongoing interest in the program is Carhartt.

Carhartt is a family-owned company that specializes in creating industrial workwear, whose mission is “to build rugged products to serve and protect hardworking people”. When Carhartt heard of EKU’s global supply chain program launch, it was one of the first companies to contact Dr. Easterling offering support.  As it turns out, Carhartt’s global supply chain headquarters is in neighboring Estill County and the Senior Vice President-Supply Chain, William Hardy, is also an EKU graduate. 

EKU Bass Fishing team member and SCM student David Gadd in Carhartt gear

After that initial contact with Carhartt, Easterling went to visit Mr. Hardy and other leaders at the Irvine location.  Carhartt wanted to increase their supply chain talent level and bench strength and were keenly interested in EKU supply chain students as prospects.  A unique alliance was born.

Dr. Easterling and Dr. Zhuang visiting Carhartt Global Supply Chain headquarters in Estill County

Since then, multiple supply chain students have interned at Carhartt, with many interning for multiple semesters. Some students have gone on to pursue full-time employment with the company, such as 2018 grad Cody Sedlatschek.  Shiloh DeVore, a current SCM student, is now in his second semester of interning with Carhartt at their Irvine location.  Carhartt interns get exposure to many different supply chain areas through functional rotations in areas such as purchasing, quality control, and inventory management. It’s a great local learning environment for students seeking a career in supply chain.  

Carhartt intern Shiloh DeVore with Vice President of Global Quality Jon Don Long

Easterling regularly references Carhartt supply chain operations in his classes as a brand in which many products students can relate. He’s adamant about experiential learning in and out of the classroom, and many Carhartt executives have come to speak with his classes on multiple different occasions over the past seven years. 

William Hardy guest-speaking in a supply chain class

Due to the close and ongoing engagement with Carhartt executives, the company was the foundational basis for Dr. Easterling’s doctoral dissertation, in which he gave signed copies to top executives in appreciation of their support for EKU’s Global Supply Chain Management program.

SCM students at 2019 Carhartt Global Supply Chain meeting

Since then, Easterling and Carhartt have collaborated on new educational offerings, such as workforce education and supply chain certificates. Carhartt’s Vice President of Global Quality, Joe Don Long, recently came to EKU to donate returnable packaging to supplement classroom content. 

Joe Don Long and SCM students with returnable packaging donation

Lockheed-Martin, Valvoline, Lectrodryer, Bechtel, Toyota, and Hitachi are just some of the companies actively recruiting as the SCM program continues to evolve into a program of distinction at EKU.  As Dr. Easterling shared, “We are so thankful to have such tremendous support from Carhartt.  Carhartt supply chain leaders answer the call every time our program is in need, whether coming to campus to speak to our students, engaging outside the classroom in experiential settings, providing internships, or making donations to our program”.

Published on September 09, 2021

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