Poole College of Management alumna Kate Lundy never thought she would see herself engrossed in the supply chain field. As a kid, she would pretend-teach and had a passion for baking. She also loved technology toys, such as Game Boys and NeoPets. But her go-to hobby—and one that followed her into adulthood—was writing in her diary; it was this activity that would help her later in life to organize her thoughts. Furthermore, she recalls being the kind of child who was a team player and enjoyed helping others. But what about now? How has Lundy applied these traits to present? And what does the future have in store?
Supply chain runs in the family
During her college years, Lundy had a job in finance at Kitchen Cabinets Distributors. She noticed how the work she was doing as a finance clerk benefited other employees out in the warehouse. “I was an accounting major—I did pretty well, and I was enjoying it,” she says.
She explains, however, that while finance touches everything in the company, she felt she could have more of an impact in the supply chain than she could in the back-office for accounting.
“I was interested in supply chain my freshman year of college,” she says.
“I could see the issues in accounting,” Lundy says, “but there wasn’t much I could control. I figured if I wanted to make real change and be proactive, it was through the supply chain.”
When asked about her field of study, she explains that “supply chain” is an encompassing term, essentially detailing how products flow from one place to the next, from the start to the finish. How products are found, sourced, made, and shifted: that was at least her initial definition.
However, she later learned that “supply chain” has many different layers.
Of course, her work in accounting was not the only factor that influenced her decision to move into the supply chain. In fact, her mother worked in this field as an operations manager, and her brother also studied supply chain management at Poole College. Watching the work of her mother and brother, along with her desire to seek a stronger role, she eventually made the transition from accounting clerk to warehouse supervisor.
While in school, after she had found the area of study she felt passionate about, a major obstacle Lundy faced was trying to balance her work goals while still trying to obtain her degree. Like many students, she had to make a tough call—whether or not to leave her job for a year to finish school.
“Quitting my job to focus on my studies was one of the biggest decisions I made,” she says.
Nevertheless, this choice worked in her favor.
The value of the NC State experience
The decision to focus on school paid off for Lundy.
The high-level 400 courses she took proved to be the most valuable, because she could apply her previous work experience to her schoolwork, making the information relevant and realistic. She has applied a lot of what she learned in the classroom to her career, and she states the professionalism of her professors has influenced her work.
Lundy says her biggest cheerleader was her academic advisor, Julie Lawson. She also cites Dr. Don Warsing as a major influence, who she took two classes on operations with. She states that while these courses were by far the most challenging, they shaped her astronomically, as well as the conversations she and Dr. Warsing discussed outside the classroom. Finally, she names Jessica Thomas as an inspiration, another professor Lundy says taught her about the ethics and future of business.
She explains the professors knew a good deal, but they also asked a lot of questions and exhibited great communication skills with the students. One of the most important lessons she learned from her instructors was to always ask thought-provoking questions, because asking questions always leads to learning and personal growth.
“Never stop learning,” Lundy says. “Set aside time to stay current and up-to-date, even if there is a lot to do. Stay curious”
Where is she now?
Currently, Lundy works for a company called OperationsRX, a management consulting firm specializing in gross margin improvement and optimizing cash flow, along with their sister company, CloudNext. On an average day, she works with clients to solve problems, applying the tools she learned at NC State .
Most recently, Lundy obtained her ERP consultant certification, which required a lot of studying and demonstrated proficiency using NetSuite to pass the SuiteFoundation and ERP Consultant exams.
When she isn’t taking on the world of supply chain, Lundy revisits her life-long hobby and finds time to reflect through journaling as a way to release tension, which she says there is no shortage of in the era of COVID-19. Nevertheless, she has acclimated to the current conditions of society and looks forward to the future.