Mark W. Bray, supply chain director for ACR Supply Co., has worked in the distribution industry since high school, when he worked at an agricultural supply warehouse as part of a co-op program.
“I became very curious about the things that were going on around me in the workplace,” said Bray. “Who was ordering the products that I was unloading off of the delivery trucks? How did they know how much of these products to order? Who was coordinating the delivery trucks?”
Bray sought answers at East Carolina University, where earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial distribution & logistics in 2006 and a master’s degree in technology systems with a concentration in distribution and logistics in 2013.
“During most of my time in college, I worked around my class schedule for a large industrial distributor and then for a large building products distributor after graduation,” he said. “When the housing market crashed at the end of 2007, the building products industry took a huge hit, and I was laid off after only 18 months of employment. This layoff led me to ACR Supply Co., where I have spent the past ten years in the HVACR industry.”
Throughout his lengthy tenure in the distribution sector, Bray has occupied various roles. He’s spent nine years in warehousing, six years in branch operations/counter sales, four years in procurement/supply chain positions, and one year as an outside salesman.
“The biggest and most valuable thing I’ve learned in working through these different roles is that each area of the business is totally dependent on the other areas of the business to their job well,” he said. “Each functional area must perform at a high level in order for the company to be successful.”
Bray serves in multiple leadership roles for numerous organizations. He’s currently the vice chair of HARDI’s Supply Chain & Operations Committee and is the president of the Raleigh Roundtable for the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP). He also serves as an advisory board member for East Carolina University’s distribution & logistics program, Wake Technical Community College’s supply chain management program, and Distribution Center’s advisory board.
“My biggest advice to other young professionals entering the industry would be to learn as much as possible, stay disciplined on personal growth and development, and be patient because many new opportunities will eventually be coming your way.”
Ultimately, Bray is confident that if he continues to work hard and continue to develop as a leader, his career will take care of itself.
“I can’t say that I have any specific job or job title that I aspire towards in the future,” Bray said. “At this point in my career, I’m very fortunate that I’ve gotten to work directly in my field of study, and I hope to continue building on the work experiences that I’ve had thus far. On a side note, I can definitely say that I want to publish at least one book before I retire.”
On June 2, Bray married his wife, Jeanne. The Brays recently purchased their first house in Holly Springs, North Carolina, and are living happily together with their cat, Theodore.
Every Wednesday, Distribution Trends magazine will feature a full profile on one of its 2018 Top 40 Under 40 winners. To see the list in its entirety, visit http://bit.ly/DT2018Top40. To see each of the full Top 40 features, visit http://bit.ly/DT2018Top40U40.