Today at #ISMWorld2023: 20 Years of Richter Scholars

May 08, 2023
By Dan Zeiger, Sue Doerfler, Melanie Stern
The 2023 R. Gene Richter Scholarship Award recipients (from left): David Hinkle, Zach Abdulnour, Nicole Carvagno, Madison Dober, Peter Estefan and Garrett Callenberger.

At the dinner ceremony honoring the R. Gene Richter Scholarship winners on Monday night at the ISM World 2023 Annual Conference in Grapevine, Texas, the numbers cited were impressive: 20 years and 140 recipients from 25 universities.

But for the crowd gathered in the ballroom at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, the calculations were not nearly as impressive as the community. For many in the audience were previous years’ honorees — no Richter recipient is classified as “former,” because the Scholars, including the six newest honored on Monday, become lifetime members of a network of colleagues, mentors and friends.

“The success of the Scholars and mentors here tonight amplifies the impact of the program,” said emcee Karen Burlingame, discovery and preclinical category manager at Johnson & Johnson and a 2016 Richter Scholar. “We have so much to celebrate.”

The 20th class members are David Hinkle of Lehigh University, Garrett Callenberger of Penn State University, Madison Dober of Western Michigan University, Peter Estefan of Michigan State University, Zach Abdulnour of Wayne State University and Nicole Carvagno of the University of Tennessee.

A partnership between Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) and the R. Gene and Nancy D. Richter Foundation, the program is considered the most prestigious scholarship program for supply management students in the U.S. Each recipient is awarded US$10,000, as well as the opportunity to work with a previous Richter scholar, who serves as a junior mentor, and an executive, or senior, mentor.

In a video message, Tom Slaight, the 2017 J. Shipman Gold Medal Award winner, cited the vision and drive of Nancy Richter, president of the foundation, as key to the program’s success: “Nancy’s vision went far beyond securing the funding,” Slaight said. “She wanted it to be about mentorship and support from the community of Scholars.”

Stat of the Conference (So Far)?

For anyone who has attempted to clean up and make better use of their company’s data, harmonizing duplicate suppliers can be one of the most tedious and time-consuming tasks. For example, a major supplier’s name can be determined by the whims of the practitioner or engineer entering it in the ERP system — in full, in part, as an acronym, with “incorporated” written out or abbreviated.

Multiple versions of a name in the system can create greater inefficiencies in the ordering process. During his session “Top KPIs and Future Trends from CAPS Research” on Monday, Executive Director Denis Wolowiecki described the most byzantine example of duplicate suppliers he’s encountered: One company had supplier W.W. Grainger entered 23 different ways.

“And they were all active,” he said. “Think about that from an accounts payable standpoint. Think about the transactional control around that.”

Board Meeting Highlights

The ISM Board of Directors held a meeting on Sunday at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center. The Board voted on a slate of candidates, presented by the ISM Nominating Committee, for the 2023 Board of Directors ballot. Also, the Nominating, Finance, and Human Resources & Compensation Committees provided progress reports.

In addition, the Board:

  • Reviewed strategy and product updates
  • Examined the financial outlook and planning process for fiscal year 2024
  • Discussed final preparations for ISM World 2023.

Copies of meeting minutes and appendixes are available at — select “About ISM,” then “Governance” — within 90 days of the meeting. They are also available by emailing Kristen Moreno at

The next meeting of the ISM Board of Directors is August 24.

Going Exclusive With ExecIn

The invitation-only ExecIn garnered executives and high-level managers as well as the R. Gene Richter Scholars for a discussion on leadership, the current state of the profession and supply management’s value.

The two-hour Monday event was facilitated by ISM’s Thought Leadership Council. A second event, also invitation-only, will be held Tuesday, with the discussion centering around the economy and the factors shaping economic outcomes.

And This Happened ...

Tuesday’s Highlights

Perhaps the most well-received session at ISM’s Annual Conference the last two years has been the panel discussion among J. Shipman Gold Medal Award winners, moderated by ISM CEO Thomas W. Derry. Two recent honorees, Jimmy Anklesaria, MBA, FCA, LL.B. (2022) and Sue Spence, MBA (2020), will join Derry and this year’s medalist, who will be revealed to the full Conference audience during the General Session at 8:30 a.m.

Prior to the Shipman panel, the keynote session features John Engel, CEO of WESCO International, the Pittsburgh-based Fortune 500 electrical distribution and services company.


  • Breakout sessions continue, on such topics as sustainability, spend data, risk and technology, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 2:30-5 p.m.
  • Presentations on various topics by ISM Supply Chain Trailblazer Award-winning companies, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 3-5 p.m.
  • ISM Student Case Competition, 3 p.m.
  • ISM Women’s Community reception, 5 p.m.
  • Closing party, 6 p.m.

A detailed ISM World 2023 agenda can be viewed here.

About the Author

Dan Zeiger

About the Author

Dan Zeiger is Senior Copy Editor/Writer for Inside Supply Management® magazine, covering topics, trends and issues relating to supply chain management.

About the Author

Sue Doerfler

About the Author

As Senior Writer for Inside Supply Management® magazine, I cover topics, trends and issues relating to supply chain management.

About the Author

Melanie Stern

About the Author

Melanie Stern is Manager, Communications at Institute for Supply Management®.