MSCM manager readies for deployment

Matthew Anderson

Jere Hawn is shipping out.

Hawn, manager of the Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management program in the Department of Decision Sciences, is being involuntarily recalled to active duty with the U.S. Navy.

He leaves in late May for a 500-day deployment, much of which will be spent on the ground in Afghanistan.

Though Hawn does have combat experience from his previous stint with the Navy, this will be an entirely new experience for him, he said.

“The stress level will definitely be different,” he said with a smile. “Here, I’m inflicting the stress. There, I’ll be receiving it.”

He’s heard a little about the place he’ll be stationed, though, and he does know some of what to expect.

“It can be dangerous,” he said. “I’ll be married to my gun. It’ll be like the Old West—everybody’s got one.”

Hawn, a lieutenant, has been in the reserves since the chief of staff of the U.S. Naval Reserves contacted him and asked him to return to the Navy in a reserve capacity. Hawn served in the Navy for nearly a dozen years, but it was the work he’d done after he got out—the work he does now at Western—that attracted the attention of the reserves, he said.

Hawn is an expert on lean Six Sigma.

“It’s all about efficiency, about making things more efficient,” Hawn said. “That’s what they wanted.”

He’s been in the reserves for roughly 2 1/2 years now, and this will be his first overseas deployment. He has three children—ages 21, 20 and 12—and he’s spending as much time with them as he can before he ships out.

He knows it’ll be dangerous, but what worries him most is that his decisions will affect so many people.

“One of my mistakes might get me killed,” he said, “but my decisions affect multiple people. If you’re in charge of people and you make a stupid mistake, that’s even worse.”

In Afghanistan, Hawn will be an embedded training team logistics officer. Basically, he’ll be ensuring that the troops get properly supplied.

During Hawn’s absence, the Decision Sciences department will hire an adjunct faculty member to handle all of Hawn’s classes.

Hawn, a WWU alumnus, has a number of Western graduates in his family. His mom and dad, for example, are Western alums. So are a bunch of his aunts and uncles. One of his aunts even taught here.

"I love Western," he said. "I have a long history here."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - 11:00pm