Liberal Arts = Connections Across Disciplines
Adam Mademann ’07
While at Carthage: German and history double-major, soccer player, and his family’s “guinea pig” for a liberal arts education.
Now: Logistics manager at The Chef’s Warehouse, a $1.5 billion retail and wholesale specialty food distributor.
Anything else? He’s “100 percent satisfied” with his Carthage education.
Adam Mademann ’07 quickly figured out there’s more to logistics than “moving freight.”
He’s a logistics manager with The Chefs’ Warehouse, a $1.5 billion retail and wholesale specialty food distributor. Working out of the Chicago office, he coordinates protein offerings — officially categorized as “Center of Plate,” for meat’s traditional spot on a dinner plate.
What’s proven most valuable in that job is his ability to draw from the proverbial left and right sides of his brain and “fuse it all into one.” Mr. Mademann can look more broadly at the beef industry to identify gaps and come up with solutions.
“When possible, it never hurts to take a step back and ask, ‘Is there another way to look at this problem?’” he said.
Like most skills, that one grew through repetition, as Carthage’s emphasis on interdisciplinary study taught him to see how different subjects overlap. One course that stuck with him was Historical Methods, in which history professor Tom Noer demonstrated through required readings that statistics could be used to examine certain time periods.
Mr. Mademann was something of a guinea pig in the family, since all of his relatives attended larger universities. A German and history major who also found time to study abroad and play soccer at Carthage, he’s “100 percent satisfied” with the well-rounded education he received — even the communication skills he grudgingly puts to use.
“I don’t think there’s any good substitute for public speaking, as much as some of us hate it,” he said.
He came to college undecided on a career path. Even after declaring majors, with tentative plans to become a college professor, Mr. Mademann felt a tug toward business.
Soon after graduation, his language skills landed him a position with a German freight forwarder. There, he was introduced to logistics. Nine years later, he believes strongly it’s “a crucial part of the world economy.”
His field might rely on precise timing, but it’s safe to say Mr. Mademann will never be a clock-watcher: “No two days are ever the same.”