13:42 PM

BU Supplies Education to Walmart’s Napier

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

Walmart’s Jerad Napier benefited from a Bellevue University education; Now Walmart employees across the country are able to do the same for $1 a day.

Getting from Point A to Point B – Jerad Napier knows a thing or two about that as a Supply Chain Analytics Manager at Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

But back in 2012, when he was looking for a school where he could complete his bachelor’s degree, he also found a partner who could deliver in Bellevue University.

A U.S. Air Force veteran, Napier was working for a government military contractor at the time, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, and frequently deployed (four times to Afghanistan and twice to Ethiopia). The Bachelor of Science in Management cohort program not only meshed well with his non-traditional schedule, it simplified communication.

“I was looking around trying to find the best degree that would fit my situation,” he said. “I really thought the cohort program was a great thing especially for deploying. I wouldn’t have to explain to a new instructor that I was going overseas and that I might have limited internet access for three to four days.”

Napier had already earned associate’s degrees from both Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the Community College of the Air Force before enrolling at Bellevue University.

“Bellevue University applied all the credit from both places,” Napier said. “They accepted my credits basically to where all that was required were the classes for my degree.”

Seeing the World

Following high school, Napier had embarked on a military career, enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in July 2001. Love of country was his primary motivation. “I love America and that was how I felt I could give back. The benefits for serving were definitely great,” he said. “Once 9/11 happened, it just reconfirmed why I was doing what I was doing.”

Napier’s Air Force experience took him around the country and around the world including stops in Alamogordo, New Mexico; Gunsan, South Korea; and Fairbanks, Alaska. During that time, he worked on some of the most advanced fighter jets in the world, including the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter. He separated from the military in 2009 as an E-5 staff sergeant and went to work with General Atomics.

Napier had joined the Air Force in part to see the world beyond his hometown of Springdale, Arkansas. But after almost eight years in the military and another four years as a government contractor, he was ready to return to his roots. With his degree from Bellevue University in hand, Napier took a job with JB Hunt Transport Service in Lowell, Arkansas, before landing his current position with Walmart.

Getting The Result

In his role as a Supply Chain Analytics Manager for Walmart, Napier is charged with developing, creating, and maintaining analytics tools and processes. “My ultimate goal is to make my co-workers job easier with analytics tools,” Napier said. “I enjoy the challenge involved with the data – getting it, conditioning it, cleaning it – basically making it play nice with all the other data not only to get a result, but to get the result.”

Getting the result is what has allowed Walmart to leverage advances in supply chain technology and turn it into a competitive advantage. Napier’s employer maximizes its supply chain in a number of ways, using technology to accurately forecast demand, track and predict inventory levels, create efficient transportation routes, and manage customer relationships. That technology infrastructure, the largest of any private company in the world, is the foundation of Walmart’s supply chain.

Napier, who has gone on to earn a master’s degree, was pleased to hear that his employer and his alma mater had partnered to help other Walmart employees further their education.

“That’s absolutely awesome,” Napier said. “The fact that Walmart is only going to charge employees a dollar a day is astounding. It’s a tremendous benefit and I’m really happy that Walmart is doing it.”

And he expects that Bellevue University will continue to deliver for his fellow employees.

“Everyone at Bellevue University that I spoke with -- from the professors, to the administrators, to the counselors – was phenomenal,” he said. “I know my fellow Walmart employees are in for a first-class experience and a first-class education.”

For more information on the Walmart/Bellevue University partnership click here.