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Randy V. Bradley, the Harbert College Auburn University Outstanding Black Alumnus of the Year, was recently inducted into the PhD Project Hall of Fame. This initiative actively promotes diversity within the classrooms and industry.
“Once you change the way the front of the classroom looks, you can change the way the rest of the classroom looks, and that’s how you change the way industry looks.”
For many companies, it’s not clear where the supply chain ends and information systems begin. But Harbert College of Business alumnus Randy V. Bradley, a respected expert in the field and associate professor at Tennessee, believes a symbiotic relationship between the disciplines – and bright minds who can marry the two -- holds the key to industry success.
“One of the greatest challenges in industry right now is hiring and retaining qualified talent,” said Bradley who earned a Master’s in Information Systems Management in 2001 and PhD in Innovation Technology and Innovation in 2006, both from the Harbert College. “We’re producing more supply chain professionals than ever now with the great programs like Auburn, Tennessee, and Michigan State. This led me to think, ‘It’s not just about talent – it’s talent with the right skillsets.”
Randy Bradley earned a Master's in Information Systems Management in 2001 and a PhD in Innovation Technology and 2006, both from the Harbert College.
In other words, it’s building supply chain professionals with information systems acumen and IT professionals with business acumen to create a harmonious, efficient supply chain organization. But for Bradley, who played tuba in the Auburn University Marching Band, he realized a desire to create more than a harmonious, efficient supply chain industry – he also recognized an opportunity to diversify classrooms and boardrooms.
Bradley’s passion for helping others began as a doctoral student at the Harbert College as he became involved in the PhD Project, an initiative started by the KPMG Foundation with the goal of increasing diversity within industry. Bradley became an active recruiter for Auburn’s PhD programs as a student and has continued his involvement with the PhD Project for 19 years. For his dedication to the program, Bradley was recently inducted into the PhD Project’s Hall of Fame.
“They wanted to increase diversity in the front of the classrooms,” he explained of the PhD Project, and “by increasing the number of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans who hold PhDs in various business disciplines, with the goal of becoming business school professors. The premise behind that is once you change the way the front of the classroom looks, you can change the way the rest of the classroom looks, and that’s how you change the way industry looks.”
On Friday, October 2, he was recognized as the Harbert College Auburn University Outstanding Black Alumnus of the Year.
“My grandmother cleaned the floors of houses that she could never afford to live in so that one day I could,” said Bradley, who grew up in rural Baldwin County, Alabama. “She didn’t do it just because I could one day say, ‘I made it.’ She did it so that I could have a positive impact on others who will come behind me. This is where the role of the PhD Project came in.
“It’s so special because it comes from people who have recognized the impact that I had on them,” he said. “Remember, it’s not just what you do in the classroom. It’s how you carry yourself and work for the good of others.”
And leave a legacy.