Student Spotlight: Brian Wagner

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Brian Wagner and in 2013 I graduated from Duquesne with a degree in Supply Chain Management.  Since graduating college, I have worked in logistics in various capacities.  My first job out of school was with PPG where I worked in their Domestic Logistics department to cover freight for their Fiberglass and Specialized Flat Glass business units.  Working in transportation was a fun, fast paced way to begin my career and I learned a lot about the industry at my time there.  After PPG, I went to work for a company called Equitrans Midstream as a Transportation Scheduler.

A few years ago I learned about the concepts of the triple bottom line and the circular economy.  I decided that I’d like to pivot my career in a direction where I could pursue those frameworks.  With a background in Supply Chain, I am interested in developing a skillset through this program where I can work to help companies close the loop in their supply chains.  I can’t wait to get started with the program!

What is one of your favorite things to do in Pittsburgh?
I absolutely love the parks system in Pittsburgh and I hang out in them multiple times a week.  I’m someone who loves to be outdoors and each park in the city has something different to offer.  Frick is a great place for mountain biking and walking my dog.  Schenley is my go to park for tennis and disc golf.  Since I live in Lawrenceville, I probably spend the most time in Arsenal Park though.  Basketball is my favorite sport and they have good pickup games pretty much every day once the weather gets nice.  Ultimately, I just love being active and outside, so the parks are perfect for me.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever been?
I think it will be tough for a place to ever top Paris for me.  In undergrad, I studied abroad in France. It was my first time being out of the country, so when I flew into Paris it was the first time I had ever felt a true culture shock.  On top of that, it was Paris!  A global hub of art, food, and culture. I was totally overwhelmed and never felt so independent in my life.  I’m not saying that Paris is the most interesting place in the world, but it is for me.  Paris is the place that opened up my eyes to the rest of the world.   

What could you give a 30 minute presentation about with no preparation?
Food.  I love everything about food. The process of growing food. The art of cooking it. The cultural significance of it. When I graduated college I picked up cooking as my one of my favorite hobbies. I figured that since I had to do it every day I might as well learn to be good at it. I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen learning all I can about how to cook.  In my mind, it’s tough to beat a night spent with friends and family with good music, some wine, and delicious food. I could talk about food forever.  Additionally, there are some pretty cool things going on in the sustainability space in regards to food and agriculture that I’d like to learn about during the program.

What are you most looking forward to in this program?
This program is exciting to me because it perfectly aligns my passion for sustainability with my background in business.  As the world shut down in March of 2020 it was a scary and sad time for all of us.  It also forced me to reflect on what was important in my life personally and professionally.  I had always had an enthusiasm for sustainability and did my best to incorporate it into my personal life by recognizing my choices as a consumer had some level of power.  I also knew that my choices as a consumer weren’t going to bring about the large-scale changes that I was looking to see.  For the change that I hoped to see, businesses would have to make changes to the way that they function.  I gravitated to the MBP-SBP program to grow my skillsets in the business and sustainability fields, so that I could be part of the solution.  It is exciting to have a career path going forward where my job and interests are in line with one another.

Where would you spend all of your time if you could?
I would spend all of my time in national parks if I could.  In 2015 I did a national park trip where we went to Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.  I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of each park.  The landscape in Glacier was breathtaking and Yellowstone offers more wildlife than I have ever seen in my life.  It was awesome to be outside for ten days straight where I could fully disconnect from my work and reconnect with nature.  By the time I got back from my trip I felt more recharged from a vacation than I had ever felt before.  I make it a point to go camping in a new park every year now and every trip is just as satisfying.