Dr. Chris Caplice, executive director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Transportation and Logistics, received CSCMP's 2016 Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his ground-breaking work both as an academic and as a practitioner. In addition to his role at MIT, Caplice has also held key roles at Logistics.com, Sabre Holdings, and the Virginia Military Institute. He also served as an officer in the U.S. Army.
Nominator Yossi Sheffi, MIT professor and a past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, noted that Caplice's research is not only well-respected in the academic community, but has also been used by numerous companies to improve their operations, cut costs, and improve service levels. "His work has even contributed to various governments' understanding of the challenges of supply chain management," Sheffi said.
Caplice was also lauded for his efforts to spread supply chain education through online learning. For example, MIT's "Micromasters" program, which Caplice helped design, allows learners all over the world to take courses online, complete a comprehensive exam, and then apply to MIT. If accepted, these individuals are able to attend the university for a semester and obtain a master's degree.
During his acceptance speech, Caplice joked that he is "too much of a practitioner to be a good academic, and too academic to be a good practitioner." He went on to challenge practitioners to seek out academics and learn about the latest research, and he urged his fellow academics to listen to practitioners and attempt to "solve a really practical problem every once in a while."