In the six months since the first cases of COVID-19 could be found in the United States, ensuring his customers have the tools they need to keep their operations running and their people safe has been a constant priority for Jonathan Huisel ’14, supplier manager of personal protective equipment (PPE) for W.W. Grainger, a industrial and safety supplies distributer. He has seen how essential equipment including masks, gloves, helmets, goggles, and isolation gowns are vital to keeping hospitals, factories, manufacturing sites, government facilities, and other essential businesses functioning.
“We’ve worked with factories that would have had to shut down because they were running low on critical safety supplies,” Huisel said. “While the day-to-day work consists of strengthening relationships with my suppliers, negotiating product costs, and managing operational performance, our goal is to get the products to our end customers. I take pride in that my work allows essential businesses to keep their operations running and their people safe.”
Huisel first took an interest in “how businesses work and operate” as a business economics major at The College of Wooster. “We learned to apply philosophy to real-world situations. My professors made me love what I was studying,” he said. Amyaz Moledina, associate professor of economics, business economics, and global and international studies, “challenged and pushed me to do better,” Huisel added. “He really approached things in a different way. I enjoyed his attitude on life and in the classroom.” Huisel attributes his time management, work ethic, and accountability to his experience at the College as well. Further, he developed a sense of pride in his work that continues to push him today. “Wooster drives accountability within people to want to get better and make sure that they’re following through with their commitments.” He strives to provide that same sense of confidence to his customers today. “We’re working with the largest PPE suppliers to get as much product in the door as possible so that customers have a one stop shop to get what they need,” he said.
Part of what Huisel enjoys most about his job is the company culture. “There are a lot of really great positive people,” he said. Initially intimidated by the idea of working for a corporation, he compares Granger to the attitudes he experienced at Wooster, and he hopes he can inspire other Wooster students to follow a similar path. “I know how talented our Wooster community is and being able to promote and showcase that is something I try hard to do,” he said, noting that he enjoys networking with Wooster students and fellow alumni. “I walk around with my chest so held high that I went to Wooster,” he said. “It’s really important for people to have a strong background and be proud of where they came from.”