What began as an idea to heighten the effectiveness of Grainger’s recruiting has blossomed into a partnership with Howard University, one of the world’s... Grainger and Howard University Create Innovative Partnership

Tim Ferrarell

2011 Corporate Philanthropy

Tim Ferrarell
Chief Information Officer
W.W. Grainger

What began as an idea to heighten the effectiveness of Grainger’s recruiting has blossomed into a partnership with Howard University, one of the world’s leading institutions for African Americans.

“Howard is a diverse campus, and it excels in areas like supply chain, which is a perfect fit for us, but we were virtually unknown,” said Tim Ferrarell, chief information officer and executive sponsor for the effort at Howard University.

Tim enlisted the assistance of Chere Nabor, Grainger’s director of inclusion and diversity, and John Lawson, director of learning and development, who brain-stormed to find ways to take the company’s involvement to the next level.

“We looked at the campus and realized they had 120 buildings that could use sustainability upgrades,” lawson says. “What if we used our expertise to teach the students about sustainability and give them an actual campus project to work on?”

The university agreed, and the result was an Action learning Program that engaged about 100 students in the School of business executive leadership honors Program. The project focused on the School of Business building.

Students were divided into 10 teams that included not only Grainger experts, but also outside speakers from the EPA and U.S. Green Building Council. “It was a mind-blowing learning experience,” says Shani Carter, a senior from Raleigh, North Carolina, who led one of the ten student teams. “It was very satisfying to have some of our recommendations accepted, including the creation of a student-led sustainability committee.

W.W. Grainger
Corporate Headquarters: Lake Forest, Illinois
Website: www.grainger.com
Primary Business: Distributor, Facilities Maintenance Products
Employees: 19,000

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