Chick-fil-A leader inspires students

Typically, students graduate, find a job and move forward in their career. Southeastern graduate Rob Dugas moved into the leading position of a billion dollar company. Currently, as the vice president of supply chain for Chick-fil-A, he returned to his roots to impart words to current business majors for the annual Business Perspectives Week on Oct. 14.

“It’s not really about chicken, waffle fries and milkshakes at Chick-fil-A,” said Dugas. “Chick-fil-A is actually a leadership company. The premise of the whole concept is opportunity. Truett [the founder of Chick-fil-A] didn’t build a restaurant company, he built a leadership company that just happens to sell chicken.”

According to Dugas, it is up to each business major to discover what makes them different and then use that in the work environment. Chick-fil-A is about the experience for customers and employees. Just as Starbucks is not about coffee but the experience and atmosphere, explained Dugas, Chick-fil-A is more than selling chicken.

“This year we identified Mr. Dugas, who is among the highest ranking corporate executives of any SLU grad ever,” said Dr. Michael Jones, professor in marketing and supply chain management. “We have a major in supply chain management in business, and I believe it is a valuable opportunity for our students to see and hear from a person who has become a success in a billion dollar organization like Chick-fil-A.  Meeting and interacting with a person like Mr. Dugas shows our students what they can become and what qualities it takes to reach such a high level.”

Dugas graduated from Southeastern’s lab school as a child and from the undergraduate program in communication in 1989. Dugas worked in communication, including a position as an operations manager at KSLU, until 1988 when he entered the restaurant business.

According to Jones, this opportunity allows the business program and students to stay current in the business world, which changes quickly. 

Two students received a job from Walmart Logistics upon meeting the senior vice president of supply chain at Walmart last year. A scholarship was also given for students through supply chain.

For more information about the marketing and supply chain management program or other business degrees, visit the department’s webpage or call the department at 985-549-2277.