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KBR Mentors UH Students Through Supply Chain Program

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Last year, KBR’s Government Solutions business unit began a transformational journey to create a world-class end-to-end supply chain management organization. This transformation, which seeks to improve operations and services for customers and bring more efficiencies to processes and procedures, aligns with KBR’s community engagement efforts. Through new, innovative ways of working with corporate partners and local stakeholders, KBR is seeking to make a positive, long-lasting impact in the communities it operates in.

In a recent move to support these efforts, KBR’s Supply Chain Department partnered with the University of Houston’s Supply Chain and Logistics Technology Department. Through this partnership, KBR provides the next generation of supply chain professionals a global, first-hand experience of working in the supply chain industry. Students receive a robust mentoring experience that  exposes them to real-life challenges. In addition, KBR receives a direct line into supply chain talent pools in order to attract the most promising and diverse candidates in the Houston area.

“This program not only allows KBR and its employees to support higher education in Houston, but it brings significant value to both the students and KBR,” said John Stafford, KBR Director, Procurement Materials. “Students are afforded the opportunity to interact with experienced supply chain professionals giving them exposure to real world situations and play a part in the decision-making process to solve complex issues.”

This past spring semester, six undergraduate students and one graduate student worked with a KBR supply chain mentor on select KBR projects supporting American troops and military installations overseas. According to Austin Myers, a senior in the UH program, the work, even though done remotely, has been a great benefit to the students and has given them a great deal of experience.

“The progression of the COVID-19 crisis allowed the student team to put to use theoretical concepts of agile supply chain principles in a real-world setting,” said Myers. “We truly left with a better understanding of global supply chain principles both during natural disaster and manmade.”

Margaret Kidd, director of the UH program, added, “This is an innovative approach for providing real-world supply chain experiences that goes beyond the scope of what the students typically do in practicum. This is a unique opportunity for students pursuing professions in this essential industry.”

The partnership between KBR and the University of Houston has grown substantially since the beginning of this year. In addition to the seven students that participated in the program this semester, Stafford and Jose Manuel Velarde, KBR Maintenance, Repair and Operations Category Manager, have been invited to join the University of Houston’s Supply Chain and Logistics Technology Department Industry Advisory Board.

KBR is a recognized decision maker in this supply chain arena, and has the opportunity to steer the future of the supply chain education in Houston. Velarde has also been invited to serve as an adjunct faculty of Global Supply Chain starting this  summer session, and for one of the three capstone courses in the fall, giving KBR the opportunity to recruit the brightest supply chain talent from the university.

“As a supply chain professional and as a supply chain college professor, I am passionate about mentoring and developing new talent, especially those that want to make a career in this field,” said Velarde. “Having a close interaction with these talented UH supply chain students both in their global supply chain and practicum courses will allow me to share some of KBR’s cultural values while they are students, such as Zero Harm, great customer service, sustainable relationships, innovation to drive business forward, and a drive for greatness.”

Each student’s contribution to the program helps KBR stay on the leading edge of the industry, enabling the company to effectively deliver innovative solutions to our customers.

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