While working as a United Parcel Service manager and studying chemical engineering at the University of Washington, Brad Bjorklund decided that he wanted to change the direction of his education to better accommodate his line of work.
Having a schedule jam-packed with work and life obligations, Bjorklund decided to transfer to CWU-SeaTac—a satellite campus once operated by CWU near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport—and, later, CWU-Lynnwood, where he could attend classes in the evenings.
“I picked South Seattle because when I was working at UPS, it was literally right up the hill,” Bjorklund said. “It was extremely convenient; I could work full time during the day and still change my major to finance and go to evening classes.”
In 1995, Bjorklund earned degrees from Central in business administration and finance, and continued working for UPS until joining Amazon in 2014.
There, he started out in North America Outbound Transportation Execution, finding ways to get Amazon packages into customers’ hands as quickly and cost effectively as possible.
A year later, Bjorklund was working diligently on a project, launching 16 aircraft during a 15-month time period. That initiative would later become known as Amazon Air.
After joining the Inbound Transportation team for two years, he returned to Outbound as the senior manager of transportation execution, network optimization, design, and engineering.
Bjorklund was asked to develop a solution to speed up Amazon’s network, leading to the announcement of Amazon moving from a 48-hour delivery system to a 24-hour delivery system for Amazon Prime customers.
“My finance degree and classes at Central helped prepare me and gave me the tools and skills to be effective as an engineer at UPS,” he said. “That experience and the things I learned at Central and UPS then paved the way for my senior leadership position at Amazon.”
Bjorklund is currently working to schedule a tour of the Amazon fulfillment center in Kent for current CWU students who are working toward supply chain management and information technology administrative management (ITAM) degrees.
“This is an opportunity for Central students to see how we are using our robots to pick, pack, and move inventory to our associates, as well as to see the scope and scale of all of the volume coming through,” Bjorklund said. “They can see inventory coming into our fulfillment center, see it being processed, and then see it departing using different carriers and different vendors at different times of the day. They can really see the full end-to-end [process].”