USF Celebrates Grand Opening of Monica Wooden Center for Supply Chain Management & Sustainability
By Elizabeth L. Brown
TAMPA (October 26, 2021) -- Never before have consumers been more aware of the crippling effects from a supply chain breakdown.
Ports choked with cargo ships. A shortage of truck drivers. A continuing pandemic. It all adds up to a logistics nightmare snarling the delivery of everyday goods onto store shelves and consumers’ doorsteps.
The importance of training USF students on the challenging and complex ways to unravel the nation’s supply chain knots was at the forefront of Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. Local business leaders joined USF Muma College of Business leaders and educators on Oct. 26 to celebrate the grand opening of the Monica Wooden Center for Supply Chain Management & Sustainability.
The center positions USF as a leader in the booming multi-billion dollar supply chain management and logistics industry — in academics, research, and business partnerships.
Tuesday’s in-person event featured a celebratory luncheon with speakers talking about the importance of cutting-edge research in keeping global supply chains moving.
About 90 participants and special guests attended the open house and toured the newly renovated space that houses the center.
The pandemic has shone a light on the critical role logistics and supply chain management plays in our daily lives. Consumers are seeing how a crimp in the global supply chain can have a domino effect on getting everyday staples onto supermarket shelves.
USF Muma College of Business Lynn Pippenger Dean Moez Limayem congratulated the faculty and business community supporters who have worked tirelessly in building the supply chain undergraduate and graduate program where employers are competing to hire the college’s supply chain graduates.
“Faculty worked with industry leaders – like the one we will laud today – to build an innovative program with industry-specific approaches to logistics, one that is soon to make supply chain management education in Florida a worldwide model,” said Limayem.
Over the past two years, the supply chain and logistics industry have created 30,000 new jobs in Florida, he said.
In 2019, Monica Wooden, co-founder and chief revenue officer of MercuryGate International, donated a $5 million gift to the college’s Center for Supply Chain Management & Sustainability to support more research in the field of logistics and supply chain management.
“The supply chain industry is the right industry for growth and jobs. Florida is the right place. And today, you are in the right center with the woman who helped make USF the right place,” said Limayem.
The center is the first of its kind in the state of Florida. Aside from producing ground-breaking research, the center also strengthens practical research skills and provides experiential learning opportunities for students.
In her remarks, Wooden said it’s important to lift up the next generation of students by offering them opportunities to get relevant experience.
“The ability of USF to graduate students ready for the real world is why I made this contribution,” she said.
Wooden and MercuryGate, a company she founded and later sold, were instrumental in starting the center. MercuryGate provides transportation management solutions in the field of transportation logistics and has donated transportation management software license for classroom use.
USF Interim President Rhea Law said disruptions in the global supply chain have shown that expertise and talent at all levels in the supply chain management industry are in high demand.
“Today’s event to open the Monica Wooden Center reflects USF’s commitment to…conduct world-class research that makes systems and processes better,” Law said. “It reflects the importance of our community and business partnerships to provide innovative solutions to problems.”
“We are excited to educate students about this fantastic career opportunity and to provide meaningful opportunities for them to explore this field,” she said.
The event also featured an alumni panel where two recent graduates spoke how the college prepared them for high-paying jobs in the global procurement field.