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Two Global Supply Chain Management students in Eastern Kentucky University’s Department of Management, Marketing and International Business have been working the past few months on a collaborative, real-time project designed to enhance economic expansion in Madison County.

Seniors Robert Combs and Adam Cosentino were selected to participate in the Madison County Supply Chain Assessment Survey. Work began over the summer and continues this fall.

The survey stems from a request by Tonita Goodwin, executive director of the Richmond Industrial Development Corporation, to assess the current state of supply chain activities, practices and opportunities in Madison County.

“The expansion of nearby supply chain partners will hopefully lead to economic expansion in Madison County,” said Kirby Easterling, an EKU School of Business executive-in-residence using his 22 years of corporate supply chain leadership experience to direct the University’s Global Supply Chain Management program. “This is an opportunity for EKU to learn what the community needs and try to respond. The survey has a universal applicability that, with minimal modifications, makes it pertinent to other economic entities. We have already had leaders from the state’s economic development office in Frankfort asking about the survey’s applicability in other counties.”

Easterling, along with Dr. Lana Carnes and Dr. Weiling Zhuang, also of the EKU business faculty, assisted Combs and Cosentino as they developed the survey from scratch.

Specifically, the survey aims to:

·         broaden understanding about how developed and systemized the practice of supply management is in Madison County.

·         identify supply chain management trends and/or opportunities for helping local entities become more competitive.

·         determine identifiable knowledge and competency gaps among surveyed firms that may need to be addressed to encourage further overall economic development at the local, county and regional levels.

Now that the survey has been created and vetted, Combs and Cosentino are already meeting with the top executives at approximately 25 manufacturers in Madison County to discuss its contents. The project will conclude with the students will presenting their analysis to EKU faculty and staff, local manufacturers and local, county and state officials.

Cosentino said EKU’s Global Supply Chain Management program has prepared him well for the job market, noting that employment opportunities abound nationwide, especially in “hot spot” port cities and air freight hubs such as Louisville, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego and Charleston (South Carolina).

EKU is the first public university in Kentucky to offer an undergraduate Global Supply Chain Management Program. For more information, visit or contact Easterling at or 859-622-7893.