Fast 15: Adam McFain

by Nancy Peevy ([email protected]) 1,440 views 

Class of 2022 Adam McFain Co-Founder Spark Strategy LLC

Adam McFain has dreamed of owning a company since he was a kid, buying candy boxes at Sam’s Club and selling them to his friends. Growing up in Greenwood, McFain’s dad taught him hard work and success with the mantra: “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better than your best.”

Those lessons paid off at the University of Arkansas, where McFain was a walk-on kicker with the Razorback football team. He ended his career as a three-year letterman. Studying supply chain management at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, McFain was selected for Leadership Walton and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He was awarded the Brandon Burlsworth Scholar Award, named the John Ozment Outstanding Supply Chain Student and was an All-SEC Academic Honor Roll honoree all four years.

During a summer internship at Walmart in replenishment, “I fell in love with becoming a buyer because I had a passion for the product and a passion for leading,” McFain said. After graduating in 2016, McFain joined Walmart’s Merchant Talent Program and went from merchandise specialist to merchant in four years. A part of Walmart’s first omnichannel team, his influence set the foundation for Walmart’s structure change to its current omni-merchandising model. His team won Team of the Year in 2019.

“The entire team navigated a really difficult retail environment, and we delivered on all our numbers and had fun doing it,” he said.

In May 2021, McFain and Reid Thornton, his former mentor at Walmart, started Spark Strategy, a retail consulting firm, offering suppliers the perspective of Walmart merchants to help them navigate the quickly changing retail environment and reach their full potential. The company has grown organically to six clients. McFain hopes to add eight employees over the next five years.

Motivated by the success of his clients, McFain strives to be the best. “No matter what I’m doing, even if it’s the simplest thing like writing an email — all the way up to the biggest project for a client, I can’t cut corners. I’ve got to do it to the best of my ability because it’s ingrained in me.”

Captain of his recreational soccer team, McFain also enjoys golf, mountain biking and traveling with his biggest supporter, wife Natalie.