Glenn Gray is one of two winners of the 2017 SCMA Fellow Award
Each year, the Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA) recognizes those who have contributed to the field. The SCMA Awards of Distinction are presented at the association’s national conference, held this year in Winnipeg. Glenn Gray, FSCMP, was one of two winners of the 2017 SCMA Fellow, the highest honour the association can bestow on its members. Fellows are recognized for demonstrating the highest excellence in supply chain management and dedication to promoting the profession.
Q: How did you get involved in procurement and supply chain?
Soon after joining Manitoba Hydro, fleet services department in 1979 I became involved in sourcing and ordering parts and accessories for various types of fleet vehicles. Enjoying that type of work, I decided to become more involved in procurement and supply chain. I met with the supervisor of the purchasing department to discuss any future employment opportunities. It became apparent that due to my lack of education, skills and experience, becoming a supply chain professional was attainable however there was lots of work ahead. I made it one of my personal goals to pursue supply chain as a career. I enrolled in the Purchasing Management Association of Canada and at the University of Manitoba-Extended Education. In 1985, I accepted my first position as a junior buyer with the purchasing department. My career evolved into a 38-year profession in many different and challenging capacities.
Q: What career highlights stand out, and what do you like most about your job?
In general, Supply Chain Management was a very rewarding career choice. It’s a very diverse profession. However related, no two business situations are the same. Experience becomes very important to success. I spent the majority of my career with Manitoba Hydro, holding various positions in many capacities that covered most aspects of supply chain management. One of the most memorable and rewarding positions was purchasing agent of major projects and logistics. I oversaw the tendering and contract awards for major capital projects and the transportation and logistics sector for the corporation. It was during the Red River flood of 1997 and the Quebec ice storm in 1998 where I played a role in arranging the transportation and logistics for manpower, equipment and materials to assist communities along the Red River in Southern Manitoba, Minnesota, and North Dakota. It was declared the most severe flood of the Red River since 1826. The Quebec ice storm of 1998 was declared one of the largest natural disasters in Canadian history. It was very rewarding to assist these communities in state of emergency.
Q: What’s your education background and why is continuing education important?
After receiving my four-year certificate in management from the University of Manitoba in 1989 and my Certified Professional Purchaser (CPP) designation in 1992, I pursued and received my Certificate in Traffic and Transportation (CITT) in 1998 and finally my four-year bachelors degree in business administration from the University of Winnipeg in 2014. I believe the key to a fulfilling career is to continue to develop your educational skills and experience to meet the ever-changing work environment.
Q: Why did you earn your SCMP designation?
Like others, supply chain management was not my initial career choice. During and after high school I worked in the automotive field where I considered apprenticing as an automotive mechanic. It was after I joined Manitoba Hydro fleet services in 1979 as an equipment parts supply man that I received my introduction to supply chain management and my career began to evolve. I decided to become more involved in supply chain management. New to the industry and lacking the necessary education, skills and experience I joined the Purchasing Management Association of Canada’s professional development program which provided me with a dynamic career choice and the foundation for personal growth and development. Joining PMAC also provided the opportunity to meet and network with peers and supply chain professionals—all of whom have a common goal.
Q: What does receiving the 2017 SCMA Fellow Award mean to you?
Receiving the highest honor bestowed by SCMA was one of the greatest highlights of my career. Receiving the prestigious SCMA Fellow designation acknowledged the hard work and dedication that I contributed to the profession throughout my 38-year career. I have reached the mountain peak and joined a select group of professionals who have made significant contributions to the supply chain profession. I now have a bookmark in the history of SCMA. I feel very fortunate to have crossed paths with so many great people and thank all the work associates and friends who highlighted and acknowledged my accomplishments and contributions.
Q: What future plans do you have in the field?
I plan to continue consulting and teaching within supply chain. My adventures overseas in East Timor and Saudi Arabia have greatly expanded my knowledge and understanding of international business. I hope to continue consulting and continue to develop a supply chain module for Manitoba Hydro International and support SCMA when they ask. I retired from Manitoba Hydro in November 2016. Consulting and teaching are great opportunities to pay it forward.
Q: Tell us something about yourself that most people in supply chain wouldn’t know.
I consider myself a handyman and an educated gear head. As a handyman over time I have completed several home and cottage renovation projects and several automotive restoration projects. My most memorable restoration project was on the first car I ever owned, a 1966 Mustang that I still own and drive. In addition, I obtained my class one driving license and on occasion drive a semi tractor-trailer. I also bought my first Harley Davidson motorcycle in 2003 and my second in 2011. I enjoy annual biking adventures with family and friends.
Q: What skills, background or education will procurement and supply chain require in the future?
I believe that change is understated in terms of the evolution of today’s supply chain. It’s becoming more about linking nations. The world is getting smaller and becoming more complex. Borders are opening and closing and the global market is expanding. Supply chain management professionals will have to become more aware and adaptable to globalization to ensure overall best value is achieved. Many baby boomers are close to retiring. The demand for trained supply chain professionals has never been so great. I believe this trend will continue to grow. Diversity in skills and experience and ongoing education will be very important to the supply chain profession. I also believe networking through business media and with peers within the supply chain profession will without a doubt become more advantageous in the future.
Q: What advice would you give those just starting out, or considering a career in procurement and supply chain?
The procurement and the supply chain profession are—and will continue to be—among the most dynamic and diverse professions. It will continue to open doors and provide experiences and career opportunities for the next generation of supply chain professionals. The bar has been raised and will continue to do so. My career has provided me with a variety of business opportunities in other countries. International business is very challenging and rewarding. At times you may have had to go back to the fundamentals and at other times advance to innovative strategic sourcing strategies. For those familiar with Harley Davidson, here’s a quote: “it’s all about the journey, not the destination.”