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Grainger Executive Advisory Board

Ernest Nicolas

Ernest Nicolas

Chief Supply Chain Officer


Ernest Nicolas is senior vice president of Integrated Supply Chain. Governed by the enterprise quality function, Integrated Supply Chain plans, sources, makes and delivers Rockwell products and services to customers. In this global leadership role, Ernest has accountability for functions including: Logistics and Customer Care, Manufacturing Engineering, Manufacturing Operations, Quality, Strategic Sourcing and Workplace Services, and Supply Chain Strategy. Integrated Supply Chain has about 9,500 employees and contractors and 19 manufacturing plants globally.

Ernest holds an MBA degree in Operations Management and Master of Science degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Kettering University.

While pursuing his undergraduate degree, Ernest began his career in 1997 as a cooperative education employee (co-op) with General Motors Corporation which eventually led to a 9-year career. This career included positions as an Industrial Engineer, Production Supervisor, Supply Chain Planner, Business Analyst and Supply Chain Launch Manager. During his tenure with General Motors, Ernest was awarded the General Motors Graduate Fellowship to pursue full-time graduate study.

In 2006, Ernest joined Rockwell Automation as a Lean, Six Sigma Project Manager and has held several roles within the Operations & Engineering Services (OES) functions which have included materials planning, manufacturing operations and strategic sourcing. Prior to his current role, he held the position of Vice President – Global Supply Chain. In this position Ernest was responsible for the development and execution of strategies that enable cost reduction of purchased product and services, on-time performance across supply chain and the simplification of customer’s experiences through order management and issue to resolution processes.

Ernest grew up in the southern suburbs of Chicago and is married with two children. Through employment opportunities, Ernest has lived in both North America (Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin) and Asia (Singapore). Ernest serves on the Board of Directors for the Milwaukee Urban League and is also an Executive Advisory Board member for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Supply Chain Management program within the School of Business.