Why Students Should Embrace Supply Chain: A Military Perspective From Rear Admiral Peter Stamatopoulos ‘88

Tuesday, August 18, 2020TOPICS: AlumniSpotlights

Rear Admiral Peter Stamatopoulos '88 (BBA)
begin quoteThe command that I run at NAVSUP is a $35 billion-dollar business. Supply chain management and supply chain integration is key and vital to everything that we do.

Supply chain has been a hot topic on the news in recent months as the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted supply chain’s critical role in maintaining the day-to-day operations of society. With an extensive military career focused on logistics, Rear Admiral Peter Stamatopoulos ‘88 (BBA), is a supply chain expert who’s “at the ready” to give crucial advice to those eager to enter the field of supply chain — especially those with a military background.

An effective military is powered by an efficient supply chain

But what does supply chain have to do with the military, one may ask? It turns out, a lot. The complex logistics that fuel the streamlined operations of the U.S. military are a testament to its mastery of supply chain. 

“Our military and affiliated services are a very large business,” says Stamatopoulos. “We have budgets, inventory, contracting, acquisition — all the things that make up complex supply chains. The command that I run at NAVSUP is a $35 billion-dollar business. Supply chain management and supply chain integration is key and vital to everything that we do. We absolutely need smart business majors who have an interest in supply chain integration and management.”

Analytics plays crucial role in supply chain

It’s clear that a business degree can be instrumental to building a career in supply chain, whether in the military or the private sector. For those considering studying business, it’s also important to develop critical skills around analytic proficiency if supply chain is where you want to make an impact. 

“Students need to challenge themselves to be analytically-minded,” says Stamatopoulos. “Data is a strategic enabler for companies to stay ahead and be relevant. It’s a very competitive world, supply chains are becoming more complex, and it’s going to take thinkers who can think their way through a variety of multi-domain business challenges. If you’re going to lead in the 21st century, you also have to be able to see across many disciplines and lead holistically.”

Stamatopoulos’ tool earns esteemed Naval Institute Copernicus Award 

Stamatopoulos is currently a commander at Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) and formerly served as the director of logistics for the U.S. European Command while stationed in Germany. While there, he fondly remembers his time coaching, mentoring and training NATO partners on the advantages of combining the logistics capabilities of the U.S. and Europe to become a stronger fighting force. Stamatopoulos played an integral role in bringing together 30 nations and each of their individual supply chains, a tough but “rewarding challenge.”

Furthermore, Stamatopoulos is a decorated officer thanks to his contributions to the military’s effective use of supply chains. One of his most meaningful accomplishments, he says, “was being awarded the Naval Institute’s Copernicus Award for designing the first operational logistics decision support tool. I actually relied on a few lessons from my computer science classes at USD when creating it.”

This tool proved to be instrumental in logistics planning after 9/11 and during the Gulf War — a version of the tool is still used by the U.S. military today.

An unforgettable student experience

When thinking back on his time at the USD School of Business, Stamatopoulos smiles and says, “It’s always going to be a special place for me. I wouldn’t trade the USD experience for anything. It’s a world-class educational institution and I’m proud to be an alumnus.”

“I recall in my business classes that there was a good balance between lecturing and team projects,” continues Stamatopoulos. “We had to interact in small teams and our professors created a very collaborative and communicative environment, which gave students the space to build our confidence. The faculty did a wonderful job of coaching and mentoring us and taking us along our academic journey.”

An exciting career ahead 

To prepare students for careers in supply chain, the USD School of Business offers several specialized programs that provide an in-depth understanding of sustainable, socially responsible management of global supply chains. Undergraduate students can pursue a major in supply chain management or supplement their degree with a supply chain management minor. Graduate students can opt to pursue a specialty master’s degree in supply chain management or choose a supply chain concentration as part of the MBA program.

“USD supply chain management students are really going to have an exciting career ahead of them,” says Stamatopoulos. “They will be leading teams of people who have disciplines in multiple areas and will be able to pull these teams together. This is a great time to be in the supply chain business.”

Stamatopoulos will not only continue to carry the Torero spirit in his heart but he’ll also pass it on to his son, who just began his junior year at USD. 


Bridget Breitenberg