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Student, Supply Chain Management
Braeden Stewart was the Harbert College of Business recipient of the President's Award,
one of Auburn's highest student honors.
Whether it be in the classroom or on the job, supply chain management senior Braeden Stewart is passionate about observing how things work and using his business knowledge to try and make them better.
As a result of his determination and hard work, Stewart was selected as the Harbert College of Business recipient of this year’s President’s Award, one of the university’s highest student honors. Given each year to one student from each college, the award recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding qualities of leadership, citizenship, character and promise of professional ability. Selected by the dean, Stewart received the award from President Christopher B. Roberts on April 11 at the annual President’s Luncheon.
As a freshman, Stewart worked on a student-run project through an entrepreneurial club that procured surplus medical supplies from the United States that they planned to ship to Antigua. By sophomore year, he was leading and expanding the project.
“I started a Board of Directors…and we had a marketing and finance team to handle all the donations and create the 501-(c)(3) and do event management,” he said, adding that the organization had even secured interest from Delta Airlines to help with transporting and storing the supplies.
Unfortunately, the pandemic lockdowns that began in the spring of 2020 ended the operation abruptly. However, Stewart redirected his problem-solving skills as an intern with Harbert’s Office of Professional and Career Development.
According to Stewart, he helped transition many of the in-person functions of the office to an online delivery method.
“We built out software and tied in interactive activities to engage students,” he said.
That fall, Stewart was among several Auburn students who reached out to campus leadership to offer student perspectives on ways to make the 2020-21 school year as normal as possible given the government health-related restrictions.
Later, he worked as a summer intern with the Enterprise Resource Planning System at Bonnie Plants, the largest grower of vegetable and herb plants for home gardens in the nation.
Stewart helped the company implement scan gun technology to better track its plant inventory and train its station managers on using Microsoft Teams software to enhance communications with their growers, he said.
As a junior, Stewart was selected to be the project manager of a four-person team in faculty member Erik Sjolseth’s Supply Chain Consulting class. The team’s mission was to help the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama integrate scan gun technology into its operations.
A regional non-profit that serves 250 local agencies across 12 counties and distributes millions of pounds of food each year, the Food Bank was looking for new approaches to improving the accuracy of its inventory and expediting the process of transporting goods from suppliers to food pantries and other initiatives designed to better feed communities. Working with the team, the students were able to successfully identify patterns for better operations and easily incorporate the technology into daily operations.
“We developed a strategy for them—which scan guns would work best for their processes,” said Stewart, who traveled to the food bank’s headquarters in Birmingham to see their processes and understand what change management strategies would be required for associates. “I enjoyed getting to see the impact we had on the community food bank, allowing them to track and trace orders better.”
This past summer, Stewart worked as a supply chain intern with EY in Atlanta, and he looks forward to joining EY’s supply chain consulting practice after he graduates in May.
“I am most looking forward to using AI to leverage big data for smart factory digital transformations and digital twin simulations and other forms of sustainability like electric vehicles and green energy,” he said.
According to Alex Ritenbaugh, program champion for the department of supply chain management, Stewart has been an exceptional leader and ambassador for the College.
“Having completed two internships (Bonnie Plants ERP implementation intern and EY operations consulting intern), Braeden brought back that knowledge to the classroom and led his team in a consulting project for the Alabama Foodbank Network,” Ritenbaugh said. “Braeden has accepted a full-time role with EY in Atlanta upon graduation and will be an asset to their supply chain consulting team.”
Asked what receiving the President’s Award means to him, Stewart reflected on his faith. “My life is to serve [Jesus] and it is right that He be glorified through this.”
As part of the President’s Award, Stewart and the other recipients will receive a $1,000 award from the Samford-Cannon (formerly the James. W. Samford, Jr.) Foundation.