Supply chain management graduate Derrick Freeman talks baseball and Boeing
Derrick Freeman has been part of the University of Missouri–St. Louis community since he was a child. His parents work at UMSL, and Freeman attended sports camps and visited campus throughout his childhood.
When it came time to choose a college, UMSL didn’t rank on the University City native’s list of top choices at first. But the university’s award-winning College of Business Administration, baseball program and scholarship package were too attractive to pass up.
Freeman will graduate this week with a BSBA with an emphasis in supply chain management, minoring in international business and transportation studies. He’ll begin working as a procurement agent at Boeing Research & Technology in June.
A supply chain degree focuses on best practices for transporting goods from one place to another efficiently. It’s becoming a major focus for businesses, particularly in the wake of supply disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Not only does it keep me on my toes with different things to do every day, but there are a lot of opportunities in the field for growth, especially in the St. Louis area,” Freeman said.
It’s a different career path than he imagined when he initially enrolled as an accounting major.
He became interested in supply chain after interning with Boeing through its Future Leaders in Thought and Experience program the summer after his freshman year. He focused on accounting but didn’t find much excitement in the subject.
After his sophomore year, Freeman interned in Seattle, focusing on Boeing’s supply chain in aftermarket contracting. He became passionate about the subject and soon changed his major. He interned at Boeing’s operations division in South Carolina the next summer and got a well-rounded look at the company’s supply chain.
In his full-time procurement agent position, Freeman will serve as a connection between outside suppliers and engineers, purchasing parts and equipment to manufacture products.
It will be quite a change from life as a student-athlete. Freeman was an outfielder for the UMSL Tritons baseball team, juggling practices and games with his academic commitments.
“It really brought me closer to the UMSL community, not only because I had my teammates that I got to know and became best friends with but I also got to know people from the other sports in UMSL Athletics,” he said. “It got me closer to my professors because I had to make sure I stayed in contact with them a bit more due to travel and practice to make sure I had everything I needed to be successful in the classroom as well.”
One of his standout moments came from hitting a grand slam that put his team ahead during a game against Drury University. He fondly recalls the excitement from his teammates, Triton fans and students who had seen highlights of the game.
In addition to playing baseball, Freeman served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and was president during his senior year. The committee votes on rule changes, volunteers for charity events and raises funds to support those charities.
Freeman plans to remain involved with sports by coaching youth teams. He became passionate about working with young people while volunteering at St. Ann Catholic Elementary School.
“It was just so fun to see the looks on the kids’ faces when we would come talk to them and how excited they got,” he said. “They actually listened to everything we were saying because they looked up to us. It’s one of the reasons why I want to get into coaching because being around the kids was such good energy and so much fun.”
When it comes to Freeman’s success – both on and off the baseball field – he is grateful to his parents, Derrick and Melody Freeman. Their influence and encouragement were the biggest factors behind earning his degree.
“Without them, none of this would have been possible, not only because they worked at the school but because of all the support I have from them forever,” Freeman said.
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