Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Incoming WERC Board President Ken Woodlin dedicated to initiatives that increase member value
Vice President, Supply Chain
An attorney by training, Ken Woodlin—2018-2019 President of the Warehousing Education and Research Council’s (WERC) Board of Directors—initially found himself in the supply chain field advising a manufacturer of industrial wastewater treatment chemicals. He then took his expertise in meeting compliance regulations surrounding the storage, handling and transportation of hazardous materials to Walmart in 2007, where he subsequently gained oversight of the U.S. Supply Chain’s compliance, safety and asset protection efforts.
“During that time, my former colleague Rick Wilkinson—who is also now a member of the WERC Board—asked me to facilitate a session at the 2012 Annual Conference in Atlanta about creating a culture of safety in the warehouse,” he recalls. “The session was really well attended, with lots of interaction between the audience and myself as people shared insight on their team’s safety culture and asked questions about ours.”
Additionally, Woodlin made numerous contacts during his first Conference experience, finding each one to be equally as passionate about improving safety culture and warehousing practices as he. “One of the folks I chatted with extensively at that event was past WERC Board President Tim Feemster, who suggested I consider getting more involved in the WERC organization,” he continues. “So I did.”
Today, as a Vice President in Walmart’s Supply Chain, Woodlin says it’s an honor and privilege to serve as Board President as a means to give back for the many gains he’s received from being a part of the organization.
“The number one benefit for me with WERC—both personally and professionally—has been networking and building relationships. That’s been foundational to the numerous learning opportunities the organization provides, whether it be from interacting with others, content from Conference sessions and webinars, or facility tours,” he explains. “The amount of wisdom and experience derived from the people component of WERC has been absolutely incredible.”
Woodlin notes the willingness of other WERC members to share their knowledge and insights about processes, equipment and best practices has compelled him to encourage many of his Walmart colleagues to join him in attending, participating in and/or helping lead subject tracks of the Annual Conferences, as well.
“Some have attended to experience the awesome content and to network with other industry leaders. Others have served as session facilitators or topic track chairs,” he notes. “Further, a few of my colleagues recently led the development of the Women @ WERC Conference track. I’ve attended a couple of those sessions and they’re very innovative. As a father of two daughters, I’m particularly proud WERC has taken a deliberate approach to encourage diversity in the industry.”
As incoming Board President, Woodlin wants to continue helping members and their companies succeed through what he terms “unparalleled learning experiences.”
“By that I mean not just networking opportunities, but also increasing access to research that is incredibly relevant to our members,” he explains, “as well as expanding the mechanisms WERC currently has in place to conduct its own research and provide those findings to members. I want to continue to establish the organization as the predominant resource for industry information.”
Woodlin also plans to focus on initiatives to broaden and diversify WERC’s membership, and to expand resources associated with better understanding of the dramatic technological changes impacting the field.
“All of these objectives relate to my intention to stick to the core values of the WERC organization and its goal of advancing the art and science of warehousing,” concludes Woodlin. “It’s important to me we continue to service our members and provide them a competitive advantage. I look forward to sharing more details with our members soon about additional technology initiatives we’re developing to further increase WERC’s value.”
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