Prior to entering the field of academia, I worked in industry for 16 years as a programmer and consultant for Enterprise Resource Planning systems, first in Germany and the last year in Atlanta, Georgia. I chose to pursue a Ph.D. as part of my ongoing professional development in industry. My extensive professional experience prepared me well to compete for limited doctoral fellowships. I was awarded a Toyota fellowship to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky. The Toyota fellowship enabled me to integrate academia and industry by creating and testing a cross-docking simulation and optimization model using Toyota’s data. The integration of academia and industry is a practice that I continue to incorporate into all of my classes.