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Why Blake’s heart beats to the supply chain drum

Why Blake’s heart beats to the supply chain drum

Blake Vilga’s career path took an unexpected turn during his freshman year, when Susan Lantz’s introduction to business class brought in each Chambers College department head to talk about the available majors. 

“I knew I wanted to do business; I’m the son of a businessman,” Blake said, “but I wasn’t sure what avenue I wanted to pursue.”

That’s when he first heard about supply chain management. “I started researching more and realized this is something I want to do. It’s always changing and evolving—and I don’t like doing the same thing over and over each day,” Blake said. “As my dad said, supply chain is the heartbeat of the business.”  

Now majoring in global supply chain management, Blake knew it was time to get real-world experience. He first tried searching on his own, then while looking for resume help walked into the Center for Career Development. From there, the search process went into high gear.  

“We just started talking about my career goals, and then I went to a career fair,” Blake said. That’s when he found a three-month internship at Fastenal, an industrial supply company in his native Cincinnati.

“I was allowed to witness the projects they did and get hands-on experience,” Blake said. He learned about how Fastenal used lean supply chain management (reducing waste and increasing efficiency), excellent customer service and agile warehouse management to increase business, despite global shortages and price hikes they experienced due to the pandemic.

“Fastenal had accounts that worked with them and a rival company,” Blake said. “I heard from those people, ‘You guys are so much better to communicate with, you’re here, we see you and interact with you [at the fulfillment center].’”  

Blake, now a senior, hopes to return to Cincinnati to pursue his career and build a relationship with his baby niece. He also plans to stay active playing doubles beach volleyball. “I’ve only played for a year, but during COVID I played six nights a week,” he said.

This fall, Blake returned to campus—and to the Center for Career Development. Blake credits the CCD’s director, Sarah Glenn, with helping him reorganize his resume and turn his intern experience into compelling bullet points.

“What I’d tell other students is use your resources, especially the CCD,” Blake said. “Career fairs, career fairs, career fairs. And get in touch with Sarah! She’s so consistent and probably the most impactful person I’ve met at WVU.”

Chambers College