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Poole Advisory Board Spotlight: William Kimbrell ’09

“Work hard and work smart” is a mantra William Kimbrell embraces. It’s helped him build an impactful career, and it’s a life lesson he hopes to impart to students as one of Poole College of Management’s newest advisory board members. 

In 2002, Kimbrell earned a bachelor degree in textile and apparel management from Wilson College of Textiles, with a minor in business administration from Poole College. He later earned a Jenkins MBA degree with a concentration in supply chain management in 2009. 

Kimbrell began his career at Cotton Incorporated in 2003 and currently serves as the executive vice president and chief operating officer. In his most recent post, he was responsible for overseeing the companies’ Hong Kong, Osaka and Shanghai offices, and managed marketing initiatives throughout Asia. Prior to that, he held positions in both research and marketing. 

The education he received from Poole College of Management and Wilson College of Textiles gave Kimbrell the perfect blend of technical knowledge and business acumen for a successful career. “The two programs really complimented each other. With my undergraduate degree, minoring in business helped me develop other skills like marketing and analytics.”

Kimbrell states he was always interested in logistics, manufacturing and supply chains. “You can probably say I have a Type A personality. I’m a planner and I like to see things run smoothly. Naturally, this has driven my interest in how things are made, and how they’re sourced.” As textiles manufacturing and production began to branch around the globe, Kimbrell knew pursuing a graduate degree with the Jenkins MBA program would prepare him to navigate international markets and supply chains.  

Poole College has done an excellent job differentiating itself — specifically through innovation, entrepreneurship and supply chain management. Those concentrations are very practical to today’s global business needs.

Before Kimbrell enrolled at NC State, he attended a small high school in Durham, North Carolina. Within Poole and Wilson Colleges, he found a niche community. “There were roughly 20,000 students at NC State when I arrived. For me, Poole created an oasis of advisors and professors who really cared about my education and my college experience. It was a smaller community inside of the university.”

As a member of the advisory board, Kimbrell’s plan to support Poole is two-fold: equip students with the skills they need to compete in the workforce both domestically and globally, and to advance the college’s brand. 

“At NC State, we are doers.” Kimbrell says. “And Poole College has done an excellent job differentiating itself — specifically through innovation, entrepreneurship and supply chain management. Those concentrations are very practical and applicable to today’s global business needs. And that kind of education truly equips students to excel. I want to help strengthen the college, faculty and students for continued success.”

Kimbrell also has a few other fundamental principles he hopes to pass on to students. “Working hard is important. We’ve all heard the quote, ‘90% of life is showing up’. There’s some truth to that. It’s important to get involved and seize opportunities as they come up.

“Working smart is another key element,” he adds. “Listening and learning is crucial to shape your own ideas and opinions. I think those kinds of values and life skills will help students develop into well rounded professionals ready to enter the workforce, ready to think and do.”

This post was originally published by Poole College of Management News.