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Original Press Release

ISM, ThomasNet to Recognize Young Supply Chain Professionals

Press release date: June 19, 2014

By M.L. Peck, Institute for Supply Management and Linda Rigano, ThomasNet

In an industry first, ThomasNet and the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) have launched an exciting new initiative to honor supply chain’s young “rock stars.” Their new “30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars” Recognition program will spotlight 30 professionals who are 30 years old or younger, and are already making their mark on the profession. The two organizations share a common goal—to advance the supply chain profession. ThomasNet does this through, which helps buyers with a free supplier discovery and product sourcing platform. ISM leads through its standards of excellence, research, promotional activities, and educational programs.

This shared goal goes back more than 100 years, when Elwood B. Hendricks, a salesman for the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers (’s predecessor), saw a need for an organization to help purchasing agents network and advance in their careers. That led to the formation of the Purchasing Agents’ Association of New York (now ISM—New York, Inc.) in 1914, which later became a springboard for ISM.

Joining Forces at a Pivotal Moment
The organizations are joining forces because of a major challenge ahead for the companies they serve.

“This is a pivotal moment for the supply chain industry,” says Mark Holst-Knudsen, President, ThomasNet. “The Baby Boomers who make up a large portion of the workforce are retiring, and making way for Millennials (ages 18-32) to come in. By 2025, this generation will comprise about 75% of the workforce. They’re the key to our industry’s future, and the need to bring more of them into the fold, and keep them with us, is urgent.”

Both ThomasNet and ISM hope that by highlighting the accomplishments of young supply chain “superstars,” they will encourage them to build lifetime careers in the profession. They will also serve as role models for other Millennials—helping to generate awareness of the exciting, fulfilling career opportunities in purchasing/supply chain management.

“Every day, supply chain professionals make decisions that affect their companies’ brands, competitive positioning, and bottom-line performance. This group of outstanding young leaders can make their own futures in one of the most strategic and dynamic careers in the global economy of the 21st Century,” says Tom Derry, Chief Executive Officer at ISM.

Reinforcing the “Cool Factor”
Indeed, supply chain programs in colleges and universities are increasing, but many Millennials are still unaware of the opportunities that the profession offers.

“We need to inject the ‘cool factor’ into this industry, which provides a rewarding career, great pay, and the ability to make a difference in people’s lives,” says Derry.

Millennials have the chance to get involved in areas that may dovetail with their personal values, such as sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Plus, being a key player in the global business arena is just one area that makes supply chain jobs so satisfying. Using new technologies and managing the complexities of different cultures, regulations, and tax codes is part of it, too.

At Zara, for instance, innovative supply chain practices are central to the company’s success. An industry pacesetter, Zara can get new products to their retail partners within weeks of designing them. They also have the flexibility to change their product strategies midstream. All this adds up to a competitive advantage for the company, with supply chain professionals behind it.

Another example is Diageo, which sells premium drinks ranging from Johnnie Walker to Baileys, and has a very complex supply chain system. Yet, its people are able to track every product at every stage, from the brewery or distillery to the retail store.

How the “30 Under 30” Program Works
Through the “30 Under 30” program, and ISM will honor 30 young professionals from the U.S. and Canada whose initiative, collaboration, innovation, and/or leadership have led to notable accomplishments. Examples include outstanding achievement, exceeding goals, or creating new processes. Nominees’ contributions to their companies, professional associations, and the industry at large will all be considered. All nominees must be 30 or younger as of December 31, 2014.

Each nominee who is named a rising star will receive a free one-year ISM membership. In addition, one “megawatt” professional from the group will attend ISM’s Annual Conference, ISM2015, for free along with his/her nominator.

Asking for Everyone’s Help and ISM are asking for everyone’s participation in this important program to enable it to succeed. They’re encouraging individuals who have built rewarding supply chain careers to help ensure their industry’s continued vitality, and nominate a deserving candidate. Millennials are also welcome to nominate themselves.

Nomination forms are available at, and the deadline is July 31. Please spread the word and nominate a rising star today.

M.L. Peck is Senior Vice President, Program and Product Development, for Institute for Supply Management (ISM). ISM's mission is to enhance the value and performance of procurement and supply chain management practitioners and their organizations worldwide through education, research, standards of excellence and information dissemination. Please contact her at (800) 888-6276 or +1 (480) 752-6276, ext. 3133, or

Linda Rigano is Executive Director, Media Relations with ThomasNet, a company that connects industrial/commercial buyers and sellers. is the leading free platform for supplier discovery and selection of OEM, maintenance, repair and operations (MRO), and other products and services. Please contact Ms. Rigano at 212-629-1522 or

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