Prentice to lead UM Transport Institute
Dr. Barry Prentice, Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Asper School of Business returns as UMTI Director
“Manitoba is a transportation centre,” says Dr. Barry Prentice. “There are more jobs in transportation than there are farmers in this province.”
Manitoba’s transportation dominance and its corresponding opportunity for growth at the University of Manitoba is one of the main reasons Dr. Barry Prentice, Professor of Supply Chain Management at the I.H. Asper School of Business has decided to return to the role of Director of the University of Manitoba Transport Institute (UMTI).
Prentice returns to the position of UMTI Director on September 1, 2022, after previously serving in this role from 1996 to 2005.
As Director, Prentice will lead UMTI, an institute recognized for defining the future direction of and scholarly research in transportation, logistics and supply chain, while training graduate students, policymakers and practitioners in the industry.
“I am delighted and grateful for the opportunity to return as the Director of the Transport Institute,” said Prentice. “The Asper School is one of only a handful of business schools across Canada with a strong presence in transportation and supply chain management. The University of Manitoba has also held its unique position as a center for transportation economics and policy research since the 1960s. The Transport Institute is recognized nationally as an important voice for the transport issues in Western and Northern Canada.”
Prentice has extensive experience in transportation and logistics, with a long list of accomplishments. He was named the 1999 Manitoba Transportation Person of the Year by National Transportation Week and was made an honorary life member of the Canadian Transportation Research Forum in 2005. Since 2015, he has been a Fellow in Transportation at the Northern Policy Institute.
Among his industry accomplishments, Prentice was also instrumental in founding the Department of Supply Chain Management at the Asper School of Business in 2003. The department has expanded since its inception and now offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. This includes supply chain concentrations in the BComm, MBA and MSc programs along with the development of the Master of Supply Chain Management and Logistics program in 2021 and the PhD supply chain concentration in 2022. According to application statistics, supply chain is now the fastest-growing major in the Asper undergraduate program, with an almost 40% increase in student interest in the last two years.
“There are only a few places in Canada that have a supply chain management program. I worked for over a decade to get this educational program started and it has been a great success,” noted Prentice. “I would say that as I look back on my career, it’s the most important thing I ever did.”
Like the growth of supply chain and logistics at UM, over the past 30 years the UMTI has trained countless transportation, logistics and supply chain scholars and has facilitated the transfer of knowledge to professional communities. However, Prentice noted there is room for growth.
“If we can recruit the right people, we can build the Institute and become the foremost centre for transportation in the country.”
One of Prentice’s goals is to find these right individuals to teach and support students that enter the industry prepared with industry knowledge and the ability to speak intelligently about transport.
“Our number one job is to turn out really good graduates,” said Prentice. “Students can expose the industry to new, fresh ideas and come into the workforce with ideas that are at the cutting edge of supply chain management.”
Dr. Bruno Silvestre, Dean of the Asper School of Business, CPA Manitoba Chair in Business Leadership and CN Professor in Supply Chain Management has a close affinity for the Transport Institute as the former Director.
Silvestre noted that Prentice’s extensive industry experience and research expertise make him the ideal individual to help the Institute succeed at a time when the demand for trained transportation, logistics and supply chain professionals has exploded.
“Barry’s rich background, commitment to transportation innovation and previous experience in the role will provide an extraordinary opportunity for the Transport Institute to advance,” said Silvestre. “We are honoured to welcome him back to play a role in helping define the future direction in transportation, logistics and supply chain research in Canada.”