Andrew McCullough '08: Oversaw NBC Rio Olympics Logistics

When Andrew McCullough '08 graduated from St. Anne's-Belfield School, he knew he wanted to study business but didn't feel he'd really found his niche until he took his first Supply Chain Management course at University of Maryland, College Park.

"Supply Chain was something I never thought about, but it affects every part of our life, especially in the business world," said McCullough, who graduated from the Smith School of Business in 2012.

"Everything that is purchased in stores or used in the home or work place is manufactured in a plant in the US or abroad, and those products must find a way from the assembly line to the store shelves."

After gaining experience in logistics within the auto industry, McCullough took a job as manager of technical logistics with NBC Sports in 2016.

"I was yearning to move back to the East Coast and find a position that would allow me to travel and work abroad and be around sports. I saw a posting for NBC Olympics and thought 'Yes, NBC would have logistical needs to get their equipment to the Olympic cities to broadcast.' Little did I know exactly how much equipment and gear was needed to produce the two weeks of Olympic programming!"

McCullough arrived in Rio on July 23, and stayed until October 29, staying in an apartment located between Olympic Park and the warehouse where equipment is inventoried and dispersed to the International Broadcast Center and venues around the city.

"I was in charge of the transportation of all of the company's equipment for the Olympics from the United States, and a select vendors in the UK, into Brazil, as well as exporting out of Brazil once the games are complete," said McCullough.

"I coordinated the transport of 102 forty-foot ocean containers, 120,000 pounds of air freight, and nine Television Broadcast Vehicles the size of full tractor trailers into Brazil, and then back out at the conclusion of the Games. We had about six months to get all of our equipment to the host city, and we had about two months to get the material loaded and ready to export after the Closing Ceremonies. "

Cameras and televisions are just the beginning of what McCullough's team transported. In practical terms, they built an entire new office and multiple TV sets at different venues, including the Today Show set on Copacabana Beach. They also supported the work of about 2,500 NBC personnel who arrived from around the world including electricians, carpenters, cameramen, drivers, make up artists, hair stylists, and more.

"In order for all of these people to be able to do their jobs, we need to either ship in or source locally everything and anything these individuals would need to work.," said McCullough. "I like to think that the Olympics are the largest logistical project outside of military operations that occur every two years."

McCullough describes his Olympic experience as unforgettable, with too many memorable moments to count.

"It's hard to pinpoint one single event or moment that has bene most memorable for me. I was present to see Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky win multiple gold medals in the pool. I was at Olympic Stadium when Usain Bolt defended his title as the fastest man on the planet and when Wayde van Niekerk broke the 400 meter track record that many thought was unbreakable. But I think the most memorable moment had to be sitting in the stands at midnight in the pouring rain at Copacabana Beach watching the gold medal match for Men's Beach Volleyball at between Italy and Brazil. Beach volleyball is the second most popular sport in Brazil and to see the host country win the gold was extraordinary. I have never been in such a raucous venue!"

For McCullough, a great deal of his professional success began at St. Anne's-Belfield School. He describes the School as the perfect size, just large enough to generate healthy competition among students but small enough to stand out and be supported in stepping outside of one's comfort zone. He remembers vividly the success and sometimes failure that accompanied public speaking during class elections, academic presentations, and participating on sports teams.

"Success in my career path is really not that different than success in other paths. I believe that my success is due to working hard, respecting my superiors and co-workers, asking questions, not blending into the crowd, making myself visible and memorable to upper management and executives, putting myself in a position to be tapped for special projects and new opportunities, and having a little bit of luck," he said.

"If St. Anne's-Belfield School students keep that in mind and pair that with the academic lessons they learn, there is no doubt in my mind they will be successful in any field they choose."


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