Faculty Spotlight!

Keith Story, Assistant Professor
Marketing and Logistics Department

Keith StoryAssistant Professor Dr. Keith Story is the Kessler and Lewis Research Fellow of Marketing and Logistics at California State University, Fresno and joined the Craig School Faculty in the fall of 2015.  He received his PhD from the University of Memphis.  His research interests include business-to-business marketing, marketing strategy, and the marketing-supply chain interface.  Dr. Story’s current research looks at the ability of firms to recognize and act on innovation opportunities as a strategic resource, and how that resource can be used as a competitive advantage.  He is a Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Fellow and was awarded a fellowship for his doctoral studies from the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute at the University of Memphis.  Prior to his academic career, Dr. Story worked in supply chain and marketing roles for leading companies such as Alcoa, Johnson and Johnson, Deloitte Consulting, and Accredo.  His professional responsibilities spanned several areas of marketing and supply chain, including brand management, product management, inventory management, and operations improvement.  Dr. Story is a graduate of the Industrial Engineering program of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and has an MBA from Cornell University.

He teaches Supply Chain Logistics (MKTG 114), Global Logistics (MKTG 115), and Purchasing and Materials Management (MKTG 126) as part of the Logistics option.  We’ve asked Dr. Story a few questions to get to know him better:

Where are you from?
I am a native of Memphis, Tennessee but I have lived in several parts of the country.  Ithaca, NY, Knoxville, TN, and Bettendorf, IA are some of the places that have shaped my view of the world.  It’s made me appreciate how big and diverse the country is not only demographically, but geographically as well.

How did you select your college major?
I always knew that I wanted to be involved with technology and science and business.  I just didn’t know what particular field I would take up.  I decided that Industrial Engineering was the best fit because it seemed to be the most flexible of the engineering disciplines, and it requires that you work with people.  Many of the other disciplines seemed to be focused on solitary design work at a desk, while the IEs were in the plant learning about machines, talking to workers, designing new systems, implementing plans, etc.  The major requires a broad knowledge of engineering, systems, manufacturing, and business areas, all of which, I thought, would give me a great deal of flexibility and many options when I graduated from undergraduate school.  It paid off – I began working for a management consulting firm leveraging my IE training and work experience to assist firms with implementing just-in-time processes in their facilities.

What would you tell students interested in the Logistics option?
Story and PresentationI believe supply chain/logistics to be the backbone of business.  Every company is involved in this area in some way, and students will be more competitive if they add knowledge in this area to their toolkit.  During my time in corporate America, having knowledge about the SCM/L part of a business gave me a distinct competitive advantage versus my peers.  Understanding of the language, challenges, and the objectives of the supply chain allowed me to make unique contributions to work efforts and made me a great candidate for roles that involved leading cross-functional teams and projects. Also, having SCM/L knowledge allowed me to work on both the commercial and operational side of business, a key set of experiences for those looking to navigate the corporate ladder.

What was the biggest influence in your selection of career pathway?
My intern experiences were instrumental in helping me determine what path to walk with respect to my career.  I thoroughly enjoyed my work experiences and learned a lot!  It did however, let me know what I did not want to do.  I did not want a traditional engineering job at a plant that seemed limited in its scope and limited in the exposure I could get to new things or areas of the business.  I decided to have a career that contained continuous learning and exposure to a variety of business problems and business functions. This idea of continual learning and growth led me to eventually pursue an MBA and finally a PhD.

What attracted you to academia?
I think a few things attracted me to this career.  The continuing theme of being in a learning environment, being connected to the latest business thinking, being able to contribute to the knowledge that fuels the next generation of business leaders, and being able to give back are all elements of this profession that I like.  This job is a lot of work.  But, it is intellectually stimulating, professionally satisfying, and personally rewarding.  How can one pass that up?

What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I believe that the pathway to prosperity is through education.  Being in a job where I can live that mantra every day and help others realize their dreams (in my small way) is kinda cool.

If you could go back to undergraduate school and select any elective course to take that would have better prepared you for the future, what would it be?
Computer programming.  I wish I could code.  And English composition.  It’s way more important than they tell you in undergrad…