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Mark Anderson ’84 Discussed Supply Chain Management Career With Students

On Thursday, March 21, Mark Anderson ’84 discussed the Logistics and Supply Chain Management industry with Catholic Central High School students as part of the ongoing Career Speaker series Event.  

Anderson graduated from Notre Dame with an accounting degree and is currently the CEO of a global company called United Road that delivers cars.  

“If you see those trucks going down the road and it looks like they are hauling jigsaw puzzles, that’s us. We pick up cars from factories, ports, etc. and deliver them to car lots, homes, and customers,” Anderson explained.  

His company delivers 3.5 million cars per year, owns over 1200 trucks, and has a network of 5,000 third party contract vendors.  

“I wanted a job where the hiring rate was the best, so I chose public accounting. It may not sound exciting, but it was the best career choice I could have made. You never know where this life will take you, and accounting for me was a huge network. Whatever job you take, it’s really important to network,” he stated. 

During this presentation, Anderson discussed the importance of culture and surrounding yourself with good people, both personally and professionally.   

“You’re going to have to make choices with who you hitch your wagon to in life, so choose wisely. If you get a feeling like this person is slimy or cuts corners, or you don’t like the way they interact with people, you don’t have to hitch that wagon to him or her. I picked a great mentor, and she has helped me throughout my career,” he stated. 

He also explained what students can expect to do with an accounting and logistics education, stating, “In accounting, you’ll be able to analyze any company. You’ll understand how it’s run, and this will take you anywhere you want to go. Accounting will lead you down a lot of different roads.” 

He covered several trucking and logistic topics, such as how cars are loaded on the trucks, the importance of having a diverse team, and how technology is used in daily operations.   

“It’s very important that we have diversity in our company. We want to be representative of our employment base. Our drivers are from very diverse backgrounds, and they are amazing. Truckers don’t get enough credit. When you see them on the road, don’t cut them off. They can’t stop as fast as you. They have it rough. Not only do they have to drive an 80,000-pound loaded truck, but they also have to navigate the road with us on it, braking and cutting them off. They aren’t just regular truckers. They have to go out in these huge lots, find a specific car, walk around and make sure it’s not damaged, then they have to load it, so it fits on the truck and doesn’t hit bridges. These people are like engineers. They safely deliver the car to the customer, using technology to navigate the path there and make sure the car isn’t damaged,” he stated.  

Anderson explained that his company uses technology to assist his drivers. “We tell them where to go to avoid bridges and give notification to the customer that the truck is within 50 miles, so please be ready to check the cars in. The technology isn’t automated. Text messages are automatically sent. There’s a lot more technology these days in logistics than there was previously,” he stated.  

One of the biggest challenges Anderson sees within his job is theft. He stated that when drivers stay overnight in a hotel on long trips to deliver cars, that’s when the load often gets stolen. 

“There are professional rings of people who steal our trucks. This can happen within an hour. Our technology helps, but we have to act fast. If we don’t act within a half hour, chances are, we’ll lose a half a million dollars and a full truck of cars,” he stated. 

He also discussed company culture and why working with good people is important.  

“My most important job as the CEO of a logistics company is to establish the culture. Every day, I make sure this is a place where we are safe, we treat people right, we’re a kind organization, and we put customers before everything else. If you don’t have a fit culturally within an organization, I’d leave right away. Culture matters. Choose wisely. If you have a bad feeling in your gut about the company culture, follow your gut. It’s really important who you’re [surrounded] with. If you’re around bad people, you’ll do bad things. You’ll be challenged. You’ll be asked to cut corners, but it’s not worth it. Stay true to yourself and your values,” he advised.   

As his last piece of advice to students entering the career field, he stated, “I would say don’t just work. Make sure there is a fine balance. Work hard but give back. It’ll differentiate you and make you more complete.” 

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