Catching Up with an MHEFI Scholarship Recipient

Helping Doctors Give Patients the Gift of Better Eyesight

Every manufacturer needs someone like Douglas Sullivan, whose mission is to acquire everything needed for production and then to get the finished products out the door. It’s all in a day’s work for Sullivan, who’s in his second year as the supply chain manager at Sight Sciences Inc., a California-based medical-device company focused on addressing eye diseases.

Sullivan, 31, manages the end-to-end supply chain for the company, which includes working with suppliers on manufacturing schedules and demand forecasting and organizing distribution through third-party logistics providers. Sight Sciences currently manufactures two products and distributes them throughout North America and Europe.

The OMNI Surgical System is a manually operated surgical device used for micro-invasive glaucoma surgery. The TearCare System is a software-controlled, wearable device that applies heat to the eyelids to remove blockages.

“Because it’s a smaller company and a startup, my role has a pretty broad scope, so my focus isn’t just on purchasing or planning or manufacturing; it’s kind of bringing all of those pieces together,” Sullivan said. “I’m able to really see what’s going on at the company and make a pretty big impact by shaping the supply chain and delivering savings to the company.”

Sullivan earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Penn State in 2011 and has been working in the supply chain industry ever since. Prior to his senior year, he won a scholarship from the Material Handling Education Foundation Inc. (MHEFI), which has awarded more than $2.5 million in scholarships and grants since its inception in 1976.

The MHEFI is an independent charitable organization dedicated to supporting the study of material handling, logistics and supply chain, exposing students to the many opportunities in the industry. More than 1,000 students and educators have benefitted from MHEFI support.

“The scholarship definitely helped reduce my financial burden and made it a lot easier to pay off my student loans,” Sullivan said. “That was a big help.”

Sullivan started out as a pharmaceutical quality engineer intern at Johnson & Johnson before interning at Intel Corp., where he significantly cut the lead time for orders of critical parts by using process-mapping tools. He stayed at Intel for more than five years, working as a quality engineer before being promoted to global commodity manager.

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