Nobody paid much attention to the world’s supply chain until headlines, declaring that Christmas could be put on hold because cargo ships containing presents were unable to reach their port destinations, dominated the news cycle several months ago.
Nobody, save for a select few. Wright State University business graduate Brent Probasco not only pays close attention to the supply chain, but he also has a vested interest in it.
As vice president of logistics and security for R + L Carriers based out of Wilmington, Probasco is focused on developing a corporate security department in addition to working with leaders on strategic initiatives both in R + L’s LTL (less than truckload) and Global Logistics companies.
While a career in logistics and supply chain management may not have been on his radar initially, his path has followed a natural progression. Probasco grew up in Wilmington, graduating from Wilmington High School and then Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in sports industry and a minor in business administration.
“I graduated college before supply chain and logistics majors were well known,” he said. “Like many others my age, the transportation industry sort of found me.”
After interviewing with several companies, Probasco was offered a job with R + L as a sales account executive and relocated to St. Louis.
“The decision was based on how I felt about the people and their approach to business,” he said. “I jumped into it knowing I had a big learning curve ahead of me, but also the support of some great people with a growing company.”
Flash forward to 2010 and while living in Columbus with his wife and two daughters, Probasco was promoted to a role that collaborated between R + L corporate and the company’s growing logistics and freight forwarding divisions.
Wanting to gain a better understanding of the full supply chain, he earned a master’s degree in logistics and supply chain management from Wright State’s Raj Soin College of Business. The program allowed him to take classes online in the evenings with occasional in-person weekend sessions for lectures and collaborative group work.
“This was the best program for someone within driving distance that has a family and a career in constant motion,” he said.
While it was hard to imagine adding a graduate program to the heat of a busy day, Probasco said, doing so was well worth it. Not only was there good value in concepts and topics relative to his profession, he said, but he also received outside perspectives from many different industries and professionals.
As for the tools instilled in him through the program and Wright State, he says there are many.
“I became more focused and organized as a person and as a professional,” he said. “More specifically, I gained knowledge and skills in project management and process improvement that I hadn’t in my previous education. And most importantly, I learned how decisions in one area impact all other areas. This is evident not only in supply chains but in all aspects of business.”
Probasco has remained engaged with Raj Soin College of Business since graduating from Wright State, serving on the Corporate Advisory Board of the Department of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management.
“I chose to join because I enjoy helping others find their own path and also stay connected to new ideas,” he said.
Daniel Asamoah, Ph.D., professor and interim chair of the Department of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management (ISSCM), lauded Probasco’s efforts to give back to Wright State.
“Brent is instrumental on our Corporate Advisory Board, lending his expertise and experience to help the ISSCM department design, develop and deliver our programs in a way that equips students with the skills and knowledge they need to build a successful career,” Asamoah said. “He champions the cause of students in terms of mentorship and career. He has in the past hired some of our students into his organization.”
Probasco and his wife have been married for 17 years and have two daughters, ages 15 and 13. In his free time, Probasco enjoys visiting family and friends, reading, riding and working on motorcycles and playing guitar.
Probasco said a degree in logistics and supply chain management is the most applicable degree of our time.
“There are seemingly endless career paths you can take with a supply chain degree,” he said, “and it continues to become clearer to C suite executives around the world that professionals with an understanding of supply chain bring tremendous value to their business.”