Charles L. "Chuck" Taylor, Jr., a longtime executive with decades of experience in the fields of transportation, logistics, and supply chain management, died July 11. His passing was unexpected, according to a family friend.
Taylor was principal and "head coach" at Awake! Consulting, a consulting and executive coaching firm he founded in 2005. He was equally at home as a shipper, carrier, consultant, or logistics service provider. Over the course of his 40-year career, he held managerial and executive-level positions at such companies as Mercer Management Consulting, Tri Valley Growers; Nabisco Brands; Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway; Ryder System Inc., and ServiceCraft Logistics. His expertise encompassed everything from distribution center and truck fleet management to Lean/Six Sigma and business turnarounds.
Taylor felt it was important for logistics and supply chain professionals to be engaged in "big picture" issues that would affect the industry as a whole, as well as in day-to-day operations and business management for their own companies. A keen analyst who was deeply concerned about the future, he spoke to industry groups in the 1980s about the need to adapt business models following transportation deregulation and in the 1990s promoted the adoption of emerging strategies in lean and third-party logistics.
Throughout the last decade he worked tirelessly to educate his peers about the consequences of the end of "cheap oil," urging them to prepare their supply chains for potential fuel shortages and to play active roles in shaping national energy policy. He spoke at numerous industry conferences and wrote articles on the topic, including the influential and widely read article "The end of cheap oil: Are you ready?" in the inaugural issue of CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly (Q2/2007).
In 2010, Taylor received the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Distinguished Service Award for his lifetime commitment to finding practical solutions to industry problems as well as for sharing that knowledge with others. He was named a 2007 Rainmaker by DC Velocity and wrote DCV's "On Energy" blog from 2009 to 2010. While he was business unit vice president for BNSF Railway, he championed a unique partnership between the railroad and Coors Brewing Co. that won the 1993 Distribution Magazine/AST&L Partnership of the Year Award.
Taylor earned a bachelor's degree in production and logistics management from the University of Houston and advanced business degrees in logistics and finance from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business. In preparation for his executive coaching venture, he earned a master's degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica.
Taylor lived in Smithville, Texas, with his wife, Karen. He also leaves three children.