Lieutenant General William Gus Pagonis
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1964–1993|
Operation Desert Storm
Bronze Star with "V" device,
Combat Infantryman Badge
|Other work||Executive Vice President of Logistics, Sears Roebuck & Co.
Chairman, Defense Business Board
Chairman of the Board/Director, Railamerica, Inc.
Lieutenant General William Gus Pagonis was the director of Logistics during the Gulf War of 1991 and is widely recognized for his logistical achievements particularly during Desert Storm. After successfully masterminding logistics for the Gulf War and winning high praise from General Norman Schwarzkopf, Pagonis left the Army in 1993 and was elected Executive Vice President of Logistics for Sears Roebuck & Co. In 2000 he joined Railamerica, Inc.
Pagonis served in the United States Army for 29 years, retiring with the three-star rank of Lieutenant General. He earned both a Bachelor's degree in Transportation and Traffic Management and a Master's degree in Business Administration from Pennsylvania State University. He is a brother of the Alpha Chi Rho Fraternity. Called "the logistical wizard behind the Allied success in Operation Desert Storm", in the book Delivering the Goods by author Damon Schechter, who goes on to say that one of the greatest inspirations Pagonis credits is none other than his Greek ancestor, Alexander the Great, who inspired one of Pagonis’ best-remembered logistical innovations during the Gulf War, the mobile firebase.
In the Gulf War Norman Schwarzkopf's supply expert was then Major General Pagonis, a short energetic Greek-American. Pagonis was actually the first American to arrive in Saudi Arabia, hours after it was decided to send troops. Lacking a hotel room, he had slept two nights in the back of his rented Chevrolet near the port of Dammam. He would be promoted to Lieutenant General during the war, the only promotion given during the entire event.
As he confirmed in interviews, his personal hall of fame also includes such generals as Ulysses Grant and George Patton. Pagonis has shown that when it comes to expertise in logistics and overall leadership in management of very complex projects and organizations, few people are better qualified than the retired three-star U.S. Army General. Lieutenant General Pagonis, as head of the Sears Logistics Group, functioned as the single point of contact for all Sears’ logistics and was responsible for Vendor Relations, Distribution, Transportation, Home Deliveries, Outlet Stores, International Logistics and the integration of Information Systems to cement it all together. With Pagonis incorporating the logistics he learned in the military into the corporate world he has turned Sears - dismissed as a dinosaur only years ago - into a star of the retailing universe. Pagonis has been one of the key players in the turnaround of Sears. He explains, "The secret of logistics is never to lose sight of who the customer is." Since then he has left Sears and now is Chairman of the Board/Director for Railamerica, Inc. Mr. Pagonis is also Chairman of the Defense Business Board, having been appointed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He is also Vice-Chairman of GENCO ATC and previously served as an advisor to CombineNet, Inc. He retired as President of Sears Logistics Services during 2004, where he also served as Senior Vice-President for Supply Chain for Sears, Roebuck and Company. He has since retired from Sears, he is currently the chairmen of GENCO, a logistics firm based out of Pittsburgh.
Pagonis is also an author, having written Moving Mountains: Lessons in Leadership and Logistics from the Gulf War, published by Harvard Business School Press.
- Quoted from page 87, chapter 8 Stormin Norman The man, the mission the triumph by Richard Pyle.