Muma College of Business to host free, virtual supply chain summit 

The Florida Supply Chain Summit will be held virtually March 9 from 9 a.m. until 5:15 p.m., and it’s free to register on the summit’s website. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

Through a virtual summit, the Muma College of Business (COB) will bring together several business executives across the state as well as the country to discuss and analyze the growing supply chain industry in Florida.

The college will partner with different companies across the country, including FedEx, Amgen, Walmart and Walgreens, to host the second Florida Supply Chain Summit. During the virtual event, business leaders and executives will discuss Florida’s cold-chain support — a system used to store and distribute vaccines — of the COVID-19 vaccine as well as the challenges posed by the pandemic on the country’s supply chain.

The summit will be held virtually March 9 from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Registration is available for free on the summit’s website and required for all attendees. Once registered, the event link will be sent to all attendees.

The summit will start promptly at 9:05 a.m. with opening remarks from the Lynn Pippenger Dean of COB Moez Limayem. He will officially kick off the summit, followed by a panel from Walmart’s Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Transportation Joe Metzger and Vice President of eCommerce Transportation Vipin Varkey about the company’s boom in Florida.

Throughout the day, speakers will touch on a variety of topics around Florida’s supply chain infrastructure, including the state’s supply chain technology, a case for investment in Florida supply chains as well as cold-chain support for Florida’s pharmaceutical industry, according to Director of COB’s Monica Wooden Center for Supply Chain Management and Sustainability Elaine Singleton.

“We’ve got a number of topics that are tangentially related to the pandemic and we also have a panel at the end of the day … that is focused specifically on the pharmaceutical supply chain and where are the vaccines, why are some states doing a better job than others [and] why is there such hiccups in the supply chain getting the vaccine distribution out there,” Singleton said. “So there’s going to be a lot of discussions around.”

Besides expanding the knowledge on the state’s supply chain industry, Singleton said the summit will be an opportunity for students to network.

“It’s great for students. I would encourage … every USF student to register, you get a whole education for free,” Singleton said.

The first summit was held in 2019 in Orlando. While it was supposed to be an annual event, organizers had to postpone it in 2020 due to concerns regarding the pandemic.

“Given the pandemic in 2020, there was really no way to pull off another event that quickly so we opted to wait until the following year which is 2021,” Singleton said. 

“And here we are. Now we’re staging a fully produced virtual event that will also have about 300 students, supply chain industry people, government, regulatory, folks … to find out what’s happening in the Southeast, [which] is definitely the booming area of the country.”

With the summit’s vision around “Florida, where the future arrives faster,” Singleton emphasized the state as well as the Tampa Bay area’s potential for growth due to the increasing demand of supply chain jobs in the area. She said the summit will be a “monumental event” for the region as supply chain experts share their insights about the industry and challenges ahead.

“The thing that makes it so amazing, especially for the Tampa Bay community, is the number of businesses that are just migrating into the Tampa Bay area and the number of jobs that are available,” Singleton said. “The demand for supply chain jobs is huge. There’s probably a 5-to-1 demand ratio to students available for the jobs, and the starting salaries … are upwards of $60,000 right out of college.

“Having the university, the industry and the government regulatory groups all together paints a picture of an explosion happening in Florida [and] that’s a good thing for the community.”