Rodney Bonilla Gonzalez, Supply Chain Management


Name: Rodney Bonilla Gonzalez

College: ECU College of Business

Major: Operations of Supply Chain Management & Marketing with a Professional Sales Certificate

Age: 22

Classification/Year: Senior

Hometown: Apex

Hobbies/interests: Fishing, bonfire with my friends, going to any sport games, fishkeeping, road tripping


How will you take ECU with you after graduation? I have the memory of who I was, and how I came to enjoy the journey and not only the destination. I had many endeavors that brought me to a breaking point, but through believing in myself and a perfect amount of time management, I performed what appeared impossible to me, and that’s all I could ever come to enjoy and learn from my time here at ECU.

Rodney Bonilla Gonzalez will be the first to tell you that it didn’t all come together for him until his junior year at East Carolina University. The university was in deep COVID-19 protocol; his first year was spent online.

It certainly didn’t start like he thought it would.

“I had a fairy tale notion (of the college experience), and I didn’t give it its respect,” said Bonilla.

His grades excelled, but his sophomore year saw the campus open again, and the distractions came.

“I was trying to get the lay of the land,” he said. “I wanted to join all the clubs and social groups.”

“I wanted to have as many friends as possible.”

Bonilla says he wouldn’t change what happened during his first and second years, but to be successful, he had to do one thing: heed his father’s advice.

He needed to find his edge, which came in his junior year.

“My dad always told me you must have an edge to set yourself apart from your competitors,” said Bonilla.

How did Bonilla find his edge?

He focused on efficiency and effectiveness.

“That’s basically my life motto right now. I must be as efficient as possible while still being effective as possible,” he said.

With his new edge firmly in place, Bonilla soon discovered a passion that would carry him through his final years, and it was found in the College of Business’ professional selling class.

“I was just enthralled by it,” he said. “I wanted to know everything about it.”

Bonilla appreciates what the class has taught him and its role in “building the foundation for my future.”

“It’s just learning how to sell myself,” he said. “I want every first impression I make to be the best impression somebody ever receives.”

The COB is feeling the effects of those impressions, and what better place to encourage those impressions than the Twilley Sales Academy of Leadership.
Thanks to the resources the Twilley Academy brings to the COB, Bonilla, with the help of COB student Olivia Grubb, has reinvigorated the sales club to an award-winning group sales club with up to 91 members that placed third in a national sales competition out of the University of South Florida (USF).

With numerous possibilities in front of him, Rodney Bonilla Gonzalez plans to continue his ECU experience by participating in the Arthur School’s immersive MBA pathway.

With numerous possibilities in front of him, Rodney Bonilla Gonzalez plans to continue his ECU experience by participating in the Arthur School’s immersive MBA pathway.

“Rodney asked if we could lead it from day one, and I said you sure can,” John Chapman, director of the Twilley Academy. “Since then, he’s driven the club to the next level.”

“Many people might see it as an overnight success but may not understand why we’re so successful,” said Bonilla. “They don’t see what Olivia and I, along with John Chapman, did to pull the strings and carry ourselves in a way where we need to be professional all the time.”

Bonilla had an opportunity to put that professionalism on display for Richard Twilley, the namesake of the Twilley Academy. According to Bonilla, during the USF competition, Twilley saw the sales club at work and even mentored the students between rounds.

“It was incredible to see,” he said.

Bonilla is very appreciative of all that he’s been exposed to at the COB. He realizes that not only is he making a first impression meeting alumni, like during a recent COB trip to New York, but he’s also representing East Carolina University.

“I also want to make them proud,” he said.

Though graduating in May with a BSBA in supply chain management with a marketing concentration, he still plans to represent ECU and himself during a summer supply chain conference in Las Vegas and a COB-sponsored trip to Silicon Valley, California.

He’s excited about what his future holds.

“I’ve put myself in a position where I worked so hard for the last four years that I can choose anywhere I want to go,” said Bonilla.

And, where he goes next is not far away. He’ll be in the same building, Bate. Bonilla will be part of the second cohort of the immersive master of business administration pathway found in ECU’s Thomas D. Arthur Graduate School of Business.