Nov 06, 2019 | Student Success

Columbia State and Tractor Supply Company Continue Capstone Program Partnership

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Nov. 6, 2019) - - -Columbia State Community College and Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ: TSCO), the largest operator of rural lifestyle retail stores in the United States, have continued their partnership by providing a capstone course in emerging technologies, which one student recently completed at the Company’s Store Support Center in Brentwood, Tenn. 

“At Tractor Supply, we strongly value workforce development, and we continually look for ways to assist students in preparing for their future careers – whether through internships or work-study programs,” said Rob Mills, executive vice president, chief technology, digital commerce and strategy officer. “Continuing our partnership with Columbia State has allowed us to extend this passion to local students and provide them with hands-on learning opportunities in retail and technology.” 

The capstone course allows students to research emerging technologies in the retail industry by exploring areas of study such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, big data and analytics and other progressive topics in the technology industry. 

Iyobed Zekarias, a Nashville resident, recently completed the 10-week course and gave a presentation about his experience.  

“Every single day I was here I was doing something productive,” Zekarias said. “I had the opportunity to work with analytics, which I had never really done before, and I enjoyed that.” 

Upon completing his coursework at Columbia State, Zekarias transferred to Lipscomb University this fall to continue his education in computer information technology and plans to work in data science in the future.

Deepa Janakiraman, Columbia State program director and assistant professor of computer information technology, has been involved with the program since its inception in December 2017.

“The Columbia State and Tractor Supply partnership has been a very rewarding experience for our faculty and students,”Janakiraman said. “The capstone partnership is a milestone in the push to develop the workforce needed for the future.”

Tractor Supply Company was instrumental in the course development and oversaw the students’ day-to-day work experiences. 

“This type of collaboration helps our students understand the corporate structure and take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it in a real-world job setting,” Janakiraman noted. “We have received exceptional feedback about our students from Tractor Supply mentors and are very proud of them.”

About Tractor Supply Company

Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ: TSCO), the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, has been passionate about serving its unique niche, as a one-stop shop for recreational farmers, ranchers and all those who enjoy living the rural lifestyle, for more than 80 years. Tractor Supply offers an extensive mix of products necessary to care for home, land, pets and animals with a focus on product localization, exclusive brands and legendary customer service that addresses the needs of the Out Here lifestyle.  With nearly 32,000 team members, the Company leverages its physical store assets with digital capabilities to offer customers the convenience of purchasing products they need anytime, anywhere and any way they choose at the everyday low prices they deserve.  At September 28, 2019, the Company operated 1,814 Tractor Supply stores in 49 states and an e-commerce website at

Tractor Supply Company also owns and operates Petsense, a small-box pet specialty supply retailer focused on meeting the needs of pet owners, primarily in small and mid-size communities, and offering a variety of pet products and services.  At September 28, 2019, the Company operated 176 Petsense stores in 26 states.  For more information on Petsense, visit 

Photo Caption: (Pictured, left to right):
Glenn Allison, Tractor Supply Company vice president of IT enterprise architecture and IT solutions; LK Browning,Columbia State director of economic and workforce development; Deepa Janakiraman, Columbia State program director and assistant professor of computer information systems; Iyobed Zekarias, Tractor Supply Company capstone student;Adam Gaines, Tractor Supply Company IT enterprise architect; Matt Cannata, Tractor Supply Company IT enterprise architect; Matthew Muterspaugh, Columbia State dean of the Science, Technology and Mathematics Division; and Chris Mead, Tractor Supply Company IT enterprise architect.

Photo Caption: 
Iyobed Zekarias, Columbia State and Tractor Supply Company capstone student.