Twenty-four supply chain students from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business traveled to the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) EXPO on Sept. 20-22, 2015, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The students are in the school’s Supply Chain Management Fellows program, which is fully funded by IANA, and the trip was part of the “Seminar in Supply Chain Management: An Executive Perspective” (BMGT 471) course.
Accompanying the students were Philip Evers, associate professor of logistics management; Thomas Corsi, Michelle E. Smith Professor of Logistics and co-director of Smith’s Supply Chain Management Center; and Dianne Fox, supply chain program manager.
At the IANA EXPO, students attended the opening ceremony and then visited booths and learned about industry products. They also participated in a student case competition, which addressed the critical shortage of truck drivers, nationwide.
In addition to attending the EXPO, students went on tours to the Port Everglades/Florida East Coast Railway Transfer Facility and the Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport.
Here’s what some of the students on the trip had to say about the experience:
Luke Makris, a junior double major in marketing and supply chain with a minor in business analytics, said his favorite parts of the trip were the tours to the airport and sea port. “I did not expect to be almost run over by a plane because we were on the runway. That was by far the coolest thing. The trip really just gave me a broader understanding of the different opportunities, but no real guidance as to what path I want to take. There are so many paths and opportunities that you just need to be very flexible.”
Michelle Meshnick, a senior double major in supply chain management and operations management, said, “My favorite part of the trip was the going on a tour of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. It was really interesting to learn about the operations of the facility and witness planes land right next to our bus. I didn't expect that I would meet some of the most important executives in the intermodal industry. It was great to see how these leaders were revolutionizing the way goods and commodities are transported and learn about the newest technologies in the field. I am so appreciative that the Smith School offers programs like Supply Chain Fellows. This program has allowed me to get the exposure to real-world applications of the concepts that I have learned about in class. Without the Smith School and IANA, I would not feel as prepared to enter the intermodal industry as I do now.”
Maher Khan, a senior double major in supply chain management and Arabic studies, said, “My favorite part of the IANA Conference was the Technology Breakout Session where we discussed future innovation in the transportation and logistics industry. One of the most captivating presentations was centered on a completely automated port in development in which chassis were loaded with containers on an automated, 100 percent efficient basis and other traditionally manual functions could be done through a simple user interface. This sort of simplification and efficiency is crucial for the industry's future but has other ramifications in the social-economic realm of labor markets.”
Thendo Todani, a senior double major in supply chain management and information systems, said, “The best part of the trip was being given the opportunity to travel. We expanded our knowledge of the supply chain industry in a completely new environment. It's a different experience learning about supply chain initiatives, but it is more insightful being up close and personal with the operations and the people working to make everything happen! Interacting with logistics professionals was an interesting experience. We typically expect that executives are tense and uptight, which makes most of us anxious about approaching them. The professionals we met at IANA were friendly, relaxed and extremely welcoming! We could see how passionate they were about their functions and always ready to answer questions about their organizations and their personal experiences. I did not think I had any interest in working at a port, or working at an airport. Typically, we have a perception about how organizations in different industries operate; you might already assume you wouldn’t fit in that culture. However, once you meet the people and experience the environment for yourself, it drastically shifts your perspective. It’s definitely an eye-opener from a career perspective! Meeting and interacting with the students from the other universities was a great networking experience. We never think how important relationships like that are, but knowing future professionals in supply chain from all over the country is a great benefit. I would like to thank Dianne Fox. She has been a dynamic contributor to the program and our on-campus student society. I have the utmost respect for her, and everything she does to ensure that we are on the right track; we couldn't thank her enough.”
For more information about our logistics, business and public policy department at Smith, visit: www.rhsmith.umd.edu/lbpp.
- Alissa Arford, Office of Marketing Communications