Donavon Favre: 13 Years of Raising the Pack
For over a decade Donavon Favre was a supply chain management leader, consulting for some of the largest corporations in the world. His expertise and management excellence brought him opportunities to work with clients across a range of industries, but it wasn’t until his teaching with Poole’s Supply Chain Management program that Favre finally realized his true passion: raising his pack while teaching the Pack.
Since 2005, Donavon and his three daughters (Katie, Meredith, and Jamie) have called Raleigh their home. In that time he has also prepared a generation of students by sharing his practical knowledge of Supply Chain Management. As a shining example of Poole’s focus on providing real-world curriculum, he has been an integral part of one of the leading supply chain programs in the nation.
Now that his daughters are grown, Favre is once again returning to consulting. But his impact on supply chain students in Poole will endure. “His enthusiasm and passion for the subject in the introductory class led to many students choosing supply chain as their concentration. We’ll miss him but we wish him well in this new chapter in his career.” said Richard Warr, Ph.D., Professor of Finance, Head of Department of Business Management, NCSU.
Before heading back into the world of supply chain management, Donavon provided us some perspective on his time here as a Poole faculty member.
What brought you here to Poole from the consulting world?
With Poole I was able to realize my dream of teaching, earlier than I had planned. Consulting was a great career but consisted of very long hours and most weekdays on the road away from home (Monday through Thursday). We somehow managed to have 3 daughters during all of this (Katie, Meredith, and Jamie) and I increasingly missed spending time with them as they were growing up. I had a long-term goal of teaching when I finished my work career and had an epiphany one day that it was time to get off the road before my children were in college. Poole’s focus on real-world curriculum made it easy for me to apply my experience in a classroom setting.
What is your teaching philosophy and how did your time and background in supply chain inform your curriculum?
The number one objective for me in teaching is to prepare our students to be effective supply chain practitioners in the real world. In the classroom, I tailored the cases, examples, analysis, and recommendations to real-world supply chain challenges that companies face daily. Working in supply chain and consulting provided me with the background to develop realistic situations that students could work through in the safe environment of academia. I always told them “make your mistakes now when no one will fire you”.
When recruiters come back year after year to NC State to hire our graduates and talk about how well prepared they are right off the bat, it makes me proud.
What did you find most fulfilling here at Poole during your years of teaching?
The ability to bring the practical work of business – the types of real-world problems companies face, approaches to analyzing and solving these problems – into an academic environment. When recruiters come back year after year to NC State to hire our graduates and talk about how well prepared they are right off the bat, it makes me proud.
What advice do you have for students as they move into the career world after graduation?
I think the typical advice – doing something you really love and are passionate about – is true. The non-typical advice I would give them is that all jobs at some point require work that needs to get done but is largely unfulfilling. Make just as strong an effort to get this necessary work completed with a good attitude and even find ways to try to add more value or improve the way the task is done. This will impress your boss as much (or more) than the high profile projects.
What are your plans now that you are shifting back into consulting?
The good news is that I loved the professional challenge of consulting and have kept in touch with those I worked with – many of whom are still in consulting. The short answer is that I plan to pick up where I left off 13 years ago, hopefully, a little older but maybe a little wiser and more patient.
What will you miss most about your students here in Poole?
When we are successful in our jobs as teachers, we make a difference in young people’s lives. I will miss being a part of that. As much as “these young people” are painted in the press (and by us old people) with many non-flattering adjectives, I did not find much truth in those characterizations. I largely found a generation who is hard working, respectful and trying to make a difference for the better. My fondest moments have been converting a student to supply chain in the large lecture hall, teaching them in their senior level classes, helping them get a job in supply chain and then watching them come back to recruit more members of the Wolfpack. I have felt truly lucky to be part of the Pack.