Scholarship Winners: Where Are They Now?

Devan Dunneback doesn’t have a pet of his own, but he plays an important role in feeding millions of dogs and cats each day. As assistant logistics manager for Nestlé Purina North America, he’s responsible for the truckloads of pet food that leave the company’s manufacturing plant in Clinton, IA, and arrive at retail locations and distribution centers across the country.

Dunneback, 27, manages day-to-day operations at the plant’s five warehouses while strategically planning ahead. He might be involved in evaluating how the plant’s outbound operations had been held up during a major snowstorm. Or, he might be researching ways for the plant to expand its operations significantly while minimizing the disruption to production—a challenge being explored because of the sales growth of the Pro Plan, ONE and Beggin’ Strips brands.

For Dunneback, the fast-paced, challenging nature of the job makes it rewarding.

“What I like most about it is that I don’t look at a clock very often, and it’s something different every day,” Dunneback said. “It’s been really interesting to try to work through a lot of growth while the plant is still running at full speed. It’s like a Rubik’s Cube, but I like puzzles, and I like working with people, so I’ve enjoyed it.”

Dunneback, a native of Grand Rapids, MI, has been interested in supply chain operations ever since taking a job right out of high school as a machine operator at a metal stamping plant supplying auto manufacturers. He worked full time while attending Grand Rapids Community College, graduating with an associate degree before moving on to Michigan State University, where he would earn a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management in 2016.

While at Michigan State, Dunneback landed an internship with Nestlé Purina as a customer-facing supply chain intern, helping to improve product flow at major retail partners such as Target and Costco. Upon graduating, he joined the company’s management development program for supply chain logistics and gained valuable management experience, leading a team of 28 workers at a plant in Missouri that manufactures Tidy Cats litter.

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