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Leadership Views: Dean Wise, Dean Wise LLC

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Denver Transportation Institute

Profile  •

Name: Dean Wise 
Position: President, Dean Wise LLC
Years with the board: 8

dean wise

You have been involved with the Institute for at least eight years, and your participation on the board and with the students has been exemplary. What drew you to this partnership, and why have you remained such a supporter?

I have been on the board since 2014, initially representing BNSF, where I was Vice President of Network Strategy. I followed in the former Group Vice President Steve Branscum's footsteps. When I retired from BNSF in 2017, I was fortunate to be invited to continue to serve on the board and support the program. Certainly being involved in the thoughtful transition from ITI (the Intermodal Transportation Institute) to DTI (the Transportation Institute at the University of Denver) to TSCI (the Transportation and Supply Chain Institute at the University of Denver) has been interesting, and I've enjoyed reflecting and responding to how our industry, educational requirements, and educational resources have evolved within the last decade. For me, however, the biggest draw has been the board itself and the very big opportunity we have to increase the scale and breadth of our offerings to serve a larger professional audience. 

The Board is really as unique as the program itself. What other educational program has nearly 50 leading companies in its sector rooting for it and sourcing most of the cohort talent, who then move on to leadership positions throughout the supply chain, having established lifelong partners scattered across multiple subsectors of their industry? Having our own board "cohort" step back twice a year to discuss TSCI's challenges and explore solutions is always refreshing and stimulating. 

In terms of increasing our scale and breadth, we've made progress this year by introducing the Bachelor's Completion Program in Supply Chain. I strongly believe we can and should launch a variety of offerings. Most compelling to me is the "short course" concept, possibly replicating our successful multi-modal cohort mix for early/middle managers in a one-week academic-field setting (preferably at a busy port or inland hub). While we haven't perfected that model yet, we surely can. I think demand is strong enough to offer several sessions each year. Short course offerings and convening models such as webinars, summit sessions, and "MOOCs" are all ways we can leverage the board, the university and staff to expand TSCI's presence and brand and establish ourselves as truly world class. Addressing those challenges is what keeps me inspired and involved!

What transformational or disruptive technologies do you see impacting the transportation industry?

Transformational technology is the No. 1 theme of my consulting work since I left BNSF. I'm now advising nearly a dozen startups and mature companies on how to play the transportation and supply chain space - ranging from autonomous trucking, self-propelled rail, mobile telematics, new business models for air cargo, and even mobile utility scale batteries - most with a big wrap around of AI, robotics, and other advanced tools. I think that most senior corporate executives now realize that many of the initiatives are more than dreams and will happen in a matter of time. Positioning their companies to take advantage of, or successfully defend against them, is another story. By 2030, some clear winners and losers will have emerged. Many new initiatives will also be in motion (don't laugh, I'm talking about the metaverse and quantum computing, to name two). That's a big reason why we need career professionals schooled in the processes, risks, and rewards of supply chain innovation and adoption, as well as the leadership agility to exploit, evolve, and defend their companies' market positions. TSCI is in a good place to provide those leadership skills and insights. 

More than 40 industry leaders serve on the TSC Institute's Board. Following on our successful Transportation Talks webinar series, we feature brief thoughts from a member each month.