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Smith School honors Person of the Year

By Melissa Moore
On November 9, 2010

This year the students and faculty involved in the Smith School's Supply Chain Management Society and Supply Chain Club honored Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Mark Holifield as the "Person of the Year."

Holifield got his award at the Smith School's annual Industry Day, an event which allows students interested in supply chain management the opportunity to network with different employers from the field.  This year, more than 25 companies participated in the event. 

Holifield, a University of Texas alumnus, started working for Home Depot in 2006 and manages the company's retail logistics, import and domestic distribution, delivery, transportation, and inventory planning and replenishment operations.  He has more than 25 years of experience in the field and has spearheaded Home Depot's supply chain renovation which was announced in 2007. He was also instrumental in the company's push to better manage transportation and increase inventory turns. 

Faculty advisor to the Supply Chain Management Society Gary Cohen said that these accomplishments made Holifield the perfect candidate for person of the year.

"We look for supply chain executives with major accomplishments in the field and we honor them," Cohen said. "[Holifield] took Home Depot through a major supply chain transformation and we wanted to recognize him for that."  

Holifield was asked to give the keynote address at Industry Day, where he delved deeper into Home Depot's supply chain overhaul and gave students career advice.

"If you talked to students you'll find that they came away with a tremendous amount of knowledge," said Cohen.

According to students, it was not only Holifield's accomplishments that made him an inspiration but his personality as well.

"He gave me recommendations about how I should approach my career and he is definitely really laid back," said senior supply chain management and operations major Josh Larkin, who is also president of the Supply Chain Management Society. "Every person who is a supply chain management major should aspire to be something like that at some point in their career."

Students also said that, although the event was geared toward students interested in the supply chain management field, the advice that Holifield gave and the success that he has accumulated is something that all students should be able to relate to and model their careers after.

"Just when he was talking about career advice and having aspirations, [he talked about having] that constant push to better yourself not just in your company but with yourself, and he's definitely a great model for all students," said Larkin.

Holifield joins past honorees like John T. "Jock" Menzies, chairman of the Terminal Corporation, a warehouse, trucking and distribution company, Linda Morgan, former chair of the Surface Transportation Board and the Interstate Commerce Commission; Michael J. Ward, chairman, president, and CEO of CSX Corp.; Don Schneider, president of Schneider National Incand and Edward Emmett, president of the National Industrial Transportation League.

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