How far do you travel to shop at Costco? I went all the way to Seattle, and I stopped at Amazon while I was there. Ok, I wasn’t shopping. I was doing one of my favorite things – meeting with alumni, parents, and employers of our students.
An SBA alum and father of a current freshman at USD, Jim Klauer (BBA, ‘83), runs a large section of Costco. That would be the non-food items section, such as furniture, electronics and seasonal items. Jim is in charge of supply chain (another one of my favorite things), merchandising, and a host of other activities and people. For a supply chain guy like me, it was fun to speak the same language with Jim.
Did you ever want to buy a lawn chair at Costco in November, and there wasn’t a chaise lounge in sight? One of Jim’s supply-chain stories is how fast his team turns over seasonal departments of the stores. On December 26th, for instance, they remove any unsold items for the season and immediately restock the space with truckloads of products for the next season. Jim and his staff have worked their supply chain magic behind the scenes to make sure that the right containers are queued up at all the stores nationwide and ready to be unloaded so the floor space doesn’t sit empty. A supply chain in action is a beautiful thing.
I also met SBA alum, Scott Di Valerio (BBA, ‘85). Scott has had an amazing career, starting with PricewaterhouseCoopers in public accounting. His clients included SAIC, the huge defense and technology firm in San Diego, Qualcomm and others. He has spent significant time abroad, and he ran the Americas for Lenovo (owners of the former IBM PC division). Now, Scott is the CFO of Coinstar, the company that turns all those coins into paper currency, and that also owns Redbox. The best news is that Scott has agreed to join our Board of Advisors at the SBA.
We have alumni and friends of the school working for Amazon and Boeing, as well as in the healthcare and scientific software industries. Seattle is a vital and tech-savvy city, and I’m already looking forward to my next visit.