William C. "Bill" Copacino, a longtime leader in the field of supply chain management, died on May 17 at the age of 61 following a long battle with cancer. He was a resident of Newton, Mass.
Copacino's long career in consulting and private industry was characterized by constant achievement. He graduated from Cornell University in 1972 with a B.S. in industrial engineering and operations research, and after several years in General Electric's manufacturing management program, earned his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1978. He then joined Arthur D. Little Co., where he rose to become managing director and vice president of the operations management practice. In 1989, Copacino joined Anderson Consulting, later known as Accenture, as a partner. He became the firm's global managing partner of supply chain management and served on Accenture's executive committee. After retiring from Accenture in 2004, he turned his attention to private industry, first as chief administrative officer for C&S Wholesale Grocers in Keene, N.H., and then as chief executive officer of Oco Inc., a software company that was acquired by Deloitte Consulting in 2011.
Copacino wrote three books and more than 150 articles on supply chain management. His contributions to the profession as a consultant, practitioner, and educator were widely recognized. He received a number of industry awards, including the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' Distinguished Service Award in 1998 and the Salzberg Medallion from Syracuse University in 2002.
Those who knew Copacino spoke more often of his kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness than of his business achievements. Developing the next generation of supply chain management professionals was a particular focus for him, and he was a mentor to many young people.
His concern for others was evident early on. In 1974, he and a Cornell classmate co-founded Agua del Pueblo, a humanitarian organization that builds potable water systems to improve the health and lives of Guatemalan villagers. He also served on several charitable boards, including Boston Cares and The Carroll School, where he spearheaded a multimillion-dollar capital campaign to expand the facility in order to serve more students with language-based learning disabilities.
Copacino is survived by his wife, Janet Hall, M.D., and three children: Michael, 23; his twin brother Steven, 23; and Caroline, 17. Copacino also leaves a twin brother, John, of Washington, D.C., and an older brother, James, of Seattle, Wash.