Supply Chain students get real-world experience

SPC Supply Chain students recently toured two local firms to see first hand what working in the Supply Chain industry is like.

Most of us remember the days of permission slips and field trips. Typically scheduled to reinforce classroom lessons, these breaks from the routine literally bring learning to life.

This educational strategy was effectively evidenced in the past few months when we took the students enrolled in our LINCS Supply Chain Management program to tour Great Bay Distributors and Valpak, respectively.

An inside look at Supply Chain from Great Bay Distributors

Renowned for their almost 50 year history, Great Bay Distributors is Florida’s largest independently, and family-owned distributor of Anheuser-Busch produGB4cts. The tour itself was facilitated by Mr. Scott Penland, Chief Operations Officer at Great Bay Distributors, and Mr. Matt Sokolowski. Our students were treated to a first-class, behind-the-scenes view of the operations of the distribution center. Whether new to the workings of the supply chain management industry or not, for many students, this was their first time inside a distribution center.

Great Bay Distributors is a local powerhouse, and according to their website, has “rapidly become a leading wholesaler in the beer industry – distributing six of the top 10 beers in the Pinellas, West Pasco, Hernando and Citrus county markets.” They currently operate two distribution centers in the greater Tampa Bay area, including St. Petersburg in Pinellas and Holiday in West Pasco. The message inherent in their success speaks volumes about the supply chain employment opportunities that exist in our geographic region and how powerfully privately-owned companies can emerge.

Valpak shows supply chain students state-of-the-art facility

Valpak, a subsidiary of Cox Target Media and North America’s leading direct marketer, has built one of the most advanced and automated manufacturing centers in the world. LINCS Program students were treated to a special floor tour of the facility thaSupply Chain Program - Valpak Tourt enabled them to observe the operation up close.  Valpak’s state of the art facility, occupying nearly 500,000 square feet of space, is a hub of technology where automation and robotics is at the core of the operation.  The implemented technology and automation has allowed Valpak to decrease business processing time for a new marketing piece from four days to four hours. In addition, they use extensive targeting tools to get the right offers to the right consumers. The tour, which was facilitated by Ms. Tonya Jones, Logistics Operations Manager, and Mr. Scott Graves, Logistics/Planning & Scheduling Operators Lead, also included a short video presentation about the company providing students with additional insights.

Besides being very informative, the tours brought a dimensionality to the concepts that supply chain students have been learning in the classroom. Seeing such operations up close, allowed students to witness how supply chain concepts and principles of management are applied in a real world setting.

To learn more about SPC’s LINCS Supply Chain Management, please contact us at  Our program allows students to earn SCPro Fundamentals industry certifications, endorsed by the national Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), in as little as six-weeks.

Our SCPro Fundamentals industry certifications tracks include:

  • Supply Chain Management Principles
  • Customer Service Operations
  • Transportation Operations
  • Warehousing Operations
  • Demand Planning
  • Inventory Management
  • Manufacturing and Service Operations
  • Supply Management and Procurement

Because of the logistical nature of this industry, we have integrated guest lecturers and industry tours such as these into the curriculum to enhance the student experience.

Supply chain needs of today’s workforce

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for supply chain talent “has been rising and jobs in logistics are estimated to grow by 26 percent between 2010 and 2020.” SPC is complying with this growing urgency by “educating and training a local, skilled, and qualified workforce.”

Leading the Way

We agree that outings such as these give the flavor our Supply Chain Management students need to experience the program’s far-reaching impact on distribution and consumerism. Our program offers multiple tracks that can be selected based on individual educational and career goals.

Check out the list of upcoming classes and contact us at or 727-341-7973 to find out how to jump-start your career in supply chain management.

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