In Conversation with Brad Marks
With more than three decades worth of experience in manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, and supply chain, Brad Marks brings a breadth of knowledge to Second Harvest’s Board of Directors. We recently spoke with Brad his background, as well as why is a passionate about the food bank’s mission of providing food to people facing hunger and working to advance hunger solutions.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in northern Indiana and went to Purdue University for my undergraduate degree. After graduation, I went to work on the north side of Indianapolis for Firestone Industrial Products, a division of Bridgestone Americas. For the next 20+ years in Indiana, I worked in a wide variety of roles in manufacturing for Firestone. I completed my master’s degree at Indiana Wesleyan University and got married. My wife, Jeni, and I have been together for 25 years. We have three daughters who have all left the house to be successful adults.
Then in 2016, Bridgestone consolidated all corporate functions in a great new building in downtown Nashville, so we packed up, tossed out the snow shovels, and moved to Nashville.
What is your career background?
In 2022, I celebrated my 30th year working for Bridgestone Americas. My current role is Vice President of Global Operations for Firestone Industrial Products. We produce Air Springs for all types of applications but primarily buses (even school buses), passenger trucks, cars (many of the JD Power top Electric Vehicles), semi-trucks and trailers, and trains (think every airport train you have ridden on).
I am responsible for six manufacturing plants – one each in Poland, Brazil, Costa Rica, China and two in the United States. I am also responsible for our global warehousing, Logistics and Supply Chain activities, and Customer Service. Basically, my global team owns all actions to fill customer orders from beginning to end. We are charged with doing so in the safest and most sustainable possible way with the highest quality.
How did you first become introduced to Second Harvest?
Since moving to Nashville, I had been searching for a way to give back to the community in my new city. I had heard the name Second Harvest many times, my family had volunteered in the past, and Bridgestone had a great history of partnership with Second Harvest. When the opportunity to represent Bridgestone and serve on an active board with a fantastic mission, I jumped at the chance. I have been honored to serve on the Second Harvest Board for just under two years.
How does your expertise help advance Second Harvest’s mission?
All my working life has involved bringing product in, streamlining activity in the most efficient way, and shipping product out. The entire Second Harvest team does this every day to serve the community and is dedicated to ending food insecurity. The team at Second Harvest has an incredible difficult job of sourcing the best possible food, sorting, storing, and shipping this to all those in need in Middle Tennessee.
What has been one of your favorite memories?
The Holiday Mobile Food Pantry in 2020 at the Second Harvest facility. This was really near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when so much of the country was closed and so many were sick or out of work. It was so awe inspiring to see the entire team in the parking lot, filling cars with food for the holiday at such a difficult time for so many. There was music and lots of reindeer ears on heads- what a great way to kick off the holiday season.
Why should someone become involved with Second Harvest, whether volunteering or becoming a donor?
There is nothing in the world more basic than food and shelter to our existence. Second Harvest works ever day all over Middle Tennessee to provide one of those basic needs. The idea that you can work to bring emotional and financial relief to struggling families with something as basic as good quality fresh food should be considered for every volunteer or donor.