Remembering Don Bowersox: Educator, Energizer, Communicator

By Francis J. Quinn, Editorial Director
July 06, 2011 - SCMR Editorial

We just got word of the passing of Donald J. Bowersox. To say that Don was one of the founders of the modern supply chain movement is no exaggeration. His record of accomplishments speaks for itself.

First and foremost, Don was an educator—and not just in the classroom setting at Michigan State University where he taught for four decades, but wherever he met people in the logistics (and later supply chain) community. It could be an industry seminar, an executive education program at Michigan State, a talk to corporate executives, or just at a coffee break somewhere. Don wanted to communicate with you; he was a teacher who also wanted to learn.

image

One of Don’s long-time goals was to help the broader business community understand the true potential of logistics and SCM. And he fostered this understanding through books, papers and articles (he had over 200 to his credit) and through professional associations. In fact, Don was a founding member of the National Council of Physical Distribution Management, which became the Council of Logistics Management and now the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP).  Don was a “star” at the annual CSCMP conference, having served as the organization’s second president and being honored with its Distinguished Service Award.  I’ve attended 20 or so annual CSCMP meetings over the years and I can’t recall a single one is which he was not featured in a keynote or workshop session.

As a young editor at the then-Traffic Management magazine one of the first books I read was Don’s Logistical Management. This book, like just about everything he wrote or spoke about, explained new, sometimes difficult, concepts in easy-to-understand terms. As much as anyone I’ve known, he had that knack of demystifying supply chain management for the student and practitioner alike.

When I was breaking into this field as a young editor, Don was more than generous with his time—and not just with me, but with the other writers at competing publications.  Anytime we were looking for some meaningful insight on a particular logistics topic, we knew we could go to Don. And we knew that, more often than not, the comment would be candid and colorful.

And when we launched Supply Chain Management Review back in 1997, Don was one of the very first people to step forward and say what can we do to help get this publication off the ground?  The very first issue of SCMR, in the Spring of 1997, featured an article by Don titled “Lessons Learned from the Word Class Leaders.” Don also served on the magazine’s first Editorial Advisory Board.

Don was justifiably proud of the logistics and supply chain program that he and his colleagues built at Michigan State. Anybody with even a passing familiarity with the education scene knows that the school is consistently ranked among the world’s top supply chain programs.  Don’s dedication—and the dedication and energy he transmitted to his fellow professors, researchers, and students—is part of the enduring Bowersox and Michigan State legacy.

Don served briefly as dean of MSU’s Broad School of Business in the early 2000s. I remember asking him how the job was going and how it compared to classroom teaching.  He said the new job was fine…if only he could get rid of his two biggest administrative headaches: meting out parking spaces and football tickets.  Somehow, I think his heart was always in the classroom.

Don’s loss is a great one to so many people…to his friends and family of course, to all his former students, to the many supply chain educators he nurtured, to anyone who has benefited from membership in CSCMP, to the many companies and practitioners that have put his ideas into action, and to all of us covering the supply chain scene who benefitted so much from his openness and friendship.

For related articles click here.



About the Author

image
Francis J. Quinn
Editorial Director
Frank Quinn is the editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review, considered the premier publication for supply chain executives. Frank was the founding editor SCMR and has overseen its growth over the past 14 years. He has been covering the logistics/supply chain scene in various editorial and consulting positions for more than three decade. Frank is co-author of the recently published book Diagnosing Greatness: Ten Traits of the Best Supply Chains. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Getting items ordered online to your home on a same-day basis is as important or relevant as it needs to be, and it depends on things like the type of products being ordered and its relative urgency as well. This was put into better perspective for me during a recent conversation I had with Dr. Victor Allis, CEO of Quintiq, a supply chain vendor specializing in a single optimization and planning platform.

Diesel prices dropped for the third straight week, with the average price per gallon seeing a 2.5 percent decline to $3.869 per gallon, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in June dropped 0.8 percent on the heels of a revised 0.9 percent (from 1.0 percent) increase in May and was up 2.3 percent annually.

Even as Congress was putting the finishing touches on a 10-month short-term funding extension to the federal aid highway bill that temporarily averts a funding crisis, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was ripping the measure as a short-term “gimmick” that once again fails to adequately fund U.S. infrastructure needs in the long run.

ISI is comprised of Integrated Services, ISI Logistics and ISI Logistics South and is focused on the warehousing and transportation needs of automotive shippers. RRTS said that in 2013, Integrated Services generated revenues of approximately $21 million adding that Integrated Services is expected to be accretive to Roadrunner’s earnings in 2014.

Article Topics

Blogs · Supply Chain · Management · Education · All topics

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. Patrick covers international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. Contact Patrick Burnson

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA