Alumnus Ryan McKenzie Speaks to RBLP Students about Servant Leadership
March 7, 2018 | By: Kaitlin York
Ryan McKenzie, chief operating officer of Grocery Supply Company (GSC), spoke with Rawls Business Leadership Program (RBLP) students Feb. 23. His visit consisted of a luncheon with a small group of the students and a formal presentation on servant leadership to all RBLP students later in the day.
McKenzie graduated from the Rawls College in 1998 with his B.B.A. in Management. Following his graduation, he went to work for his family's business, GSC, where he worked in multiple positions and in every department before moving up to COO. He began the luncheon by expressing his love for Texas Tech and how impressed he is by the resources provided to Rawls College students.
After providing some background on himself, he touched on how his family has strong ties to Texas Tech, with his parents, siblings and wife graduating from the university. He also briefly discussed the history of GSC, which is a full-line wholesale distribution company that primarily serves convenience stores in nine states.
GSC was founded in 1947 by Curtis and Kenneth McKenzie, who recognized a need among small, family owned grocery stores. The company is now comprised of two business segments: GSC, which has stayed true to its origins by providing convenience store distribution, and Fidelity Express, which is a premier leader in the walk-in bill payment and money order space.
He explained the culture of his company as "families serving families," and although the company has evolved and changed as it has grown, McKenzie talked with pride about how its employees have stayed constant. Many of GSC's employees have worked for the company 20 to 30 years, and he has known them since he was a child. He went on to say how much he loves his position because he is passionate about people and enjoys interacting with all of his employees.
McKenzie also encouraged students to ask questions and happily provided answers about the distribution industry and the implication of new technology, among other topics.
For the formal presentation, McKenzie focused on servant leadership and how important the concept is to running a business. He discussed the attributes of servant leadership, including stewardship, humility, service, gratitude and self-awareness. The presentation ended with students asking questions about McKenzie's experience and the company.
Through the years, McKenzie and his family have given back to the university and college in many ways. McKenzie has served on the Rawls College's Advisory Council since 2014, where he helps guide the college by providing his expertise and leadership. Additionally, his parents Mickey and Barbara McKenzie, helped with the creation of the McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center and established the McKenzie Scholars with a gift that is used to encourage students to pursue international experience through study abroad.
To view pictures from the event, please visit the Rawls College Flickr account.