Transportation and logistics giant J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. is partnering with the University of Arkansas in a new $2.25 million collaboration to address diversity and sustainability in the industry, the two groups announced Tuesday (Dec. 22).
Lowell-based J.B. Hunt’s partnership with the UA Sam M. Walton College of Business will increase awareness of inclusion and diversity in transportation and logistics and explore new, sustainable solutions to address current and potential industry challenges.
“The transportation industry has changed so much in the last decade that fresh, innovative thinking is necessary for developing modern solutions,” said John Roberts, president and CEO of J.B. Hunt. “Through this collaboration, we will help educate and promote the value of an inclusive workplace, one that respects the individual and creates a welcoming environment for all ideas, values, and beliefs. It will also ensure that we remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, ensure the safety of all employees, and better the communities we serve.”
The initiative will be seeded by a $1.5 million gift from J.B. Hunt to the university. An additional $750,000 will be reallocated from the J.B. Hunt Innovation Center of Excellence, an ongoing effort between the two entities to improve supply chain management efficiency through technology.
Two funds benefitting the Department of Supply Chain Management in the Walton College have been established that outline the direction for each initiative:
J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. Inclusion Education and Thought Leadership Fund, a $1.25 million contribution, will promote a diverse educational environment by supporting the needs of students, faculty, and external partners in addressing the challenges faced by individuals from historically underrepresented backgrounds in supply chain management.
J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. Sustainable Supply Chain Management Research, Innovation, and Education Fund, a $1 million contribution, will support educational pursuits that pertain to sustainable business practices and encourage engagement among industry experts to address environmental, social, and corporate governance issues.
“It’s difficult to find many companies that have made this type of investment in and on behalf of future leaders. However, the leaders throughout J.B. Hunt are committed to the growth of their people because they understand that those people will innovate business models and mechanisms that will keep the company ahead of its competition,” said Matt Waller, dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business. “And while many Walton College students will go on to work for J.B. Hunt, many others will lead in other companies. So, J.B. Hunt’s willingness to innovate stretches far beyond its walls and impacts the entire economy. That’s visionary innovation at its finest.”
The J.B. Hunt Innovation Center of Excellence, made possible through a $2.75 million grant from J.B. Hunt in 2017, is a combined effort among the company, the Walton College, and the College of Engineering to brings researchers and students together with J.B. Hunt employees to develop solutions through innovative design and technology.
In 2018, J.B. Hunt opened an on-campus intern office that provides up to 60 students with real-world industry experience each semester.