By Lauren Shinske
Devan Dunneback, Supply Chain Management ‘16, embodies the true meaning of “Spartans Will”. As a student, he submitted over 50 scholarship applications to help him fund his education. Because of his dedication and enthusiasm for the field of supply chain, he was able to earn twelve scholarships totaling $21,250. Awarding organizations included the National Association of Rail Shippers, APICS, ISM, and the United Auto Workers (UAW). Because of the generous donations he earned, Devan was able to leave Michigan State University with zero debt. “I am extremely thankful and humbled by the awards and opportunities I have been given,” said Devan.
Devan spent his first two years studying at Grand Rapids Community College while working full time. His first encounter with supply chain management was at a metal stamping plant while working as a Quality Control Auditor for Pridgeon & Clay. After a year, he was promoted to work in the warehouse and was exposed to logistics, specifically the packaging and loading of trucks. Devan found a lot of enjoyment learning the processes and wanted to expand his knowledge and skill set in the field. He decided a major in supply chain management would be a good fit and because Michigan State University has the No. 1 Supply Chain Program, he knew it was the best choice.
Once enrolled at Michigan State University, Devan continued to round out his supply chain management degree with multiple internships. He started with an internship in procurement at Gill Industries. There he learned about the sourcing of steel coils and optimizing the manufacturing process. Then, Devan held multiple positions at Nestle Purina. He started in St. Louis working in data mining and analytics and then moved to product forecasting and optimization for Meijer in Grand Rapids, MI and Target in Minneapolis, MN.
Devan has some good advice for students who are currently applying for scholarships, “The opportunities are out there, some are so crazy specific and are not well publicized though, so they don’t get many applicants. Don’t just search for ‘supply chain management scholarships’.” Devan suggested students look at what they have accomplished to find other topics to use in their search. He had luck when using search keywords like: Michigan State Scholarships, procurement scholarships, manufacturing scholarships, logistics scholarships, metal stamping scholarships, and community college transfer scholarships. To organize his search, Devan used a spread sheet to list out the name, location, deadline, and needs for each scholarship he applied to. Once he mailed them out, he heard back anywhere from a month to six months later. Each scholarship took him only an hour or two to complete. “Once you have something built it gets easier,” said Devan, “As students, we already have most of the requirements; it’s just a matter of putting it all together. Professors always talk about going the extra mile and giving it that extra push; something good will come out of it.”
Since graduating from Michigan State University in December, Devan has started working full time at Nestle Purina as a part of their Management Development Trainee program. The one year program has him currently stationed at the Nestle Purina liter factory in Bloomfield, MO. After he finishes his year at the plant, Devan will move to Nestle Purina corporate in St. Louis to become familiar with corporate logistics. In the future, Devan hopes to spend 3-5 years at the plant level so he can bring more to the corporate decision making process.