A group of students from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business boarded three buses Feb. 6 to join Amazon, Inc., at the Ryman Theater in Nashville. The students participated in the company’s celebration of its new $230 million Nashville Operations Center of Excellence, which will create 5,000 jobs.
The group included students from Haslam’s programs in business analytics, supply chain management and others. Dave Clark (HCB, ‘99), Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, hosted the event.
“When I left Knoxville 20 years ago to join Amazon, I graduated on a Friday and started on a Monday,” Clark told the audience. “I never imagined the journey I’d be on. All of us at Amazon are thrilled to be growing our presence here in Nashville, and we really wanted to make sure we came and did it right. We wanted to make sure we connect.”
For Mia Becker, an MBA candidate concentrating on supply chain, the event was an exciting opportunity to learn about Amazon as a company.
“We read about it in the news and see it on TV, but then to hear it from the actual vice presidents is really interesting,” Becker said. “Amazon has a great culture and talent pool, and I think that’s something a lot of people want to be a part of.”
Amazon will begin hiring in Nashville this year, according to Clark, and open its new operations center in 2021. During construction, it is leasing office space in downtown Nashville for 1,000 employees.
Ted Stank, the Bruce Chair of Excellence in Business at Haslam, said having a personal connection with Amazon helped his students learn first-hand about the company’s operations.
“I’m excited to see one of our own leading innovation in such a high-profile organization,” Stank said. “It’s really special that Dave, who oversees a vast, worldwide fulfillment network, took time to see it home in Tennessee.”