Winning team members and Home
Depot executives join for a post-competition photo.
From left: Jenna Kushner, Hae Kyoung Joung, Lacey Barnickel, Paul Hilsdon (Home
Depot Manager of International Logistics and Global Liner Operations), Robert
Arwood (Home Depot Logistics Manager), Eric Scholar (Home Depot Director of
International Logistics), Logan Stratchko, Todd Schrecengost and Andrew
Supply Chain Challenge Engages
Smith Students, Fortune 500 Execs
Leaders of Fortune 500 company The Home Depot traveled from Atlanta to the
University of Maryland on Dec. 12, 2011, to listen to potential solutions to a
looming logistical problem.
Home Depot, like other companies in the United States, is bracing for ocean
liners to discontinue providing chassis (truck-towed steel frame trailers) for
inland shipping of imported goods. The problem was one of two scenarios in a
semester-closing Global Supply Chain Challenge involving Robert H. Smith School
of Business undergraduates. The other problem involved a procurement scenario in
disaster-afflicted Japan for Baltimore-based Constellation Energy.
Participating students demonstrated analytical and problem-solving skills
with a real-world logistics challenge through a course, International Supply
Chain Management, taught by Distinguished Tyser Teaching Fellow Gary Cohen.
Winning-team member Lacey Barnickel summarized her group's solution: Home
Depot coordinating hybrid chassis pools via trucking and chassis leasing
companies. "The scheduling of chassis utilization and tracking will be left to
the pool and trucking companies, enabling the Home Depot to remain as cost
neutral as possible through this change," said Barnickel, whose teammates were
Jenna Kushner, Hae Kyoung Joung, Lacey Barnickel, Logan Stratchko, Todd
Schrecengost and Andrew McCullough.
Eric Scholar, director of international logistics for Home Depot, described the
idea as plausible and worth further examination related to financials and other
Collectively, the students' performance impressed Scholar and two of his Home
Depot colleagues on hand to judge the presentations. "They researched a topic
that’s not well-known, so this wasn’t something they could just wing. They
really had to do the work," he said. "They answered some very tough questions
that showed they did their work and provided facts backing their argument – so
it wasn’t case of them throwing out ideas and seeing which ones stuck."
Runner-up participants were Lizzi Bollinger, Elise Mendelsohn, Ryan
Rosenfeld, Anett Soot, Lisa Wagner, and Alexander Wang. Executives from both
participating companies had chosen semi-finalist plans from eight participating
team proposals on paper sent earlier by Cohen.
Leaders of Constellation Energy, unable to participate in a final round, had
selected a pair of Smith student proposals advising whether to procure and
install a new electric generator from Japan-based Mitsubishi. Assessment was
largely based on supply chain risk factors associated with the 2011 Japan
earthquake and tsunami disaster.
Comprising the CE-selected teams were Nathan Blaker, Arin Damar, Victor
Kulnarang , Jenna Levine, Rachel Tyrer, Gabe Bustos, Mark Faegans, Lauren
Filocco, Zarina Reznikov, Gina Wickless, and Xiaoxiao Yu.
"The competition gave students opportunity to experience real-world scenarios
in global purchasing and supply chain management and provided The Home Depot
executives, in this case, the chance to meet members of the next wave of supply
change talent entering industry," said Cohen, who has held several senior
executive positions in his 30-year corporate career.
The Smith School's logistics, transportation and supply chain management
program is consistently recognized among the best business school programs in
the country. U.S.News & World Report ranked the undergraduate program
No. 9 in the United States in 2011. The Smith School launched a master's of
business in supply chain program in fall 2011. Smith's supply chain management
curriculum incorporates all aspects of the industry, including expanding global
networks and cutting-edge technology. In addition to offering a range of
academic courses, the school is home to the Supply Chain Management Center,
which provides research, consulting services and education highlighting the
latest advances in e-supply chain management.
For more information, go to
Greg Muraski, Office of Marketing Communications