BA 1993, Political Science ll MBA 2003, Emory University
Vice President of Manufacturing, Sleep Number Corporation, Plymouth, MN
Chris White has over 25 years of operations management experience with expertise in lean manufacturing, process engineering, and team building. He has been Vice President of Manufacturing at Sleep Number since 2013. As an operations leader, Chris has a tremendous passion for developing talent and building high performing teams.
Chris attended Purdue University from 1989 until 1993. During that time, he completed honors coursework for a major in Political Science and a minor in Economics. As a Midshipman in the Purdue NROTC program, he enjoyed sailing on Lake Freeman and around the Midwest and served as the Commodore of the Purdue Navy Sail Team. He also completed an internship with Dr. Robert Browning at the CSPAN Archives, researching the impact of the Rules Committee in the House of Representatives on the legislative process.
After earning his degree from Purdue University, Chris entered the Navy Nuclear Engineering Program, where he finished first in his class at Submarine Warfare School, and then served as a Division Officer aboard the SSBN USS Nebraska from 1995 to 1998. Following his naval service, Chris joined CIBA Vision, a Novartis Company, where he held a variety of operations roles while participating in Novartis’ leadership development program. From 2004 to 2005, he was promoted to Head of Manufacturing Operations for CIBA’s extended wear contact lens department with facilities in Atlanta, Georgia, and Batam, Indonesia. He then went on to work as a project manager in the Office of the CEO from 2005 to 2008, where he led a global team with members in the United States, Germany, Singapore, and Japan in the implementation of an integrated Sales and Operations Planning process.
In 2008, Chris decided to join the Sleep Number team to run their Salt Lake City manufacturing facility, comprised of employees from 31 different countries. He has spent the last 10 years leveraging his global leadership expertise in leading his manufacturing operations team in the execution of Sleep Number’s mission to improve lives. This journey has centered around building an organization with a foundation of respect for each other and a commitment to investing in all employees to develop problem solvers at all levels.
Chris lives in Minneapolis with his wife, fellow Purdue College of Liberal Arts Alumnus, Michelle Henderson White. They have two sons, Forrest, Purdue College of Engineering Alumnus, and Andrew, freshman at Savannah College of Art and Design studying Architecture.
Chris holds a B.A. in Political Science from Purdue University, and an M.B.A. from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.