Two South Carolinians selected to help advise U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
CLEMSON — A Clemson University professor who is close to finishing a sabbatical with Amazon is one of two South Carolinians selected to serve on a nationwide committee that advises U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Scott Mason is headed to Washington, D.C., on June 20 and 21 for his first meeting as a member of the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness.
Joining Mason on the committee is Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority.
“There are two South Carolinians on this panel out of 45 members,” Mason said. “That’s more than our one-fiftieth representation. I’m looking forward to seeing what turns out from it.”
Mason is an industrial engineering professor and the Fluor Endowed Chair in Supply Chain Optimization and Logistics.
When Mason arrives in Washington, he will bring the experience he has gleaned from a career of working directly with companies. He estimates that of the $6 million in research he has done, $5 million has been with industry.
“Providing faculty expertise to help our state and national economy flourish is a central part of Clemson’s 21st century land-grant mission, and Dr. Mason’s deep industry knowledge makes him ideally suited to serve in this role,” said Clemson President James P. Clements, who also is very active in economic engagement endeavors and currently serves as a member of the National Council on Competitiveness. “Scott’s appointment also speaks directly to the strong and growing reputation of our College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences and to Clemson’s leadership role in South Carolina and nationally.”
Mason is in in his last two months of a one-year sabbatical with Amazon at the retailer’s Seattle headquarters. He works in a group that looks at where in the country to strategically place inventory so that it can get to customers as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
It can be a delicate balance. Putting all the inventory in a Kansas warehouse would assure two-day delivery from Seattle to Clemson, Mason said. But it would endanger two-hour delivery, which is available some big cities, including Seattle, he said.
“Working at Amazon, I’ve gotten to see the size and the scale of one of the world’s most complicated supply chains and had the opportunity to help figure out how the pieces go together,” Mason said.
Mason plans to return to Clemson in time to teach fall classes on campus.
“Dr. Mason has impeccable credentials,” Smith said. “Not only will the country benefit from his years of experience, but Dr. Mason’s service will help spread the word about Clemson’s excellence in industrial engineering, specifically logistics and supply chain. His involvement could lead to future collaborations and has the potential to inform student research.”
The committee was formed in 2012 to provide the commerce secretary with “detailed advice on the elements of a comprehensive national freight infrastructure and freight policy to support U.S. supply chain and export competitiveness,” according to the committee’s website. “The Committee’s work is intended to further the Administration’s export, economic, and job growth goals.”
Mason’s appointment to the committee lasts a year and a half, and he expects about six meetings will be held during his term.