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Georgia Southern student team achieves first place win for first time at national IANA Expo Competition

Jerry Burke, Ph.D., department chair for logistics and supply chain management, David Vaughn, John Eubanks, Santiago Suarez and Marc Scott, Ph.D., assistant professor of logistics and supply chain management.

A team of undergraduate logistics students from the Parker College of Business won the Intermodal Association of North America’s (IANA) ninth Intermodal EXPO Academic Challenge in Long Beach, California. This win, the university’s first in this annual national competition, follows back-to-back wins at IANA-UNF competitions as Georgia Southern University students continue to outperform IANA scholar schools in the past few years. 

Three Parker College of Business student leaders with varied backgrounds and interests, John Eubanks and Parker Business Scholars David Vaughn and Santiago Suarez, outscored the competition with their response to a business case study that focused on analyzing volume trends from both the intermodal and over-the-road perspectives. Georgia Southern was one of seven IANA scholarship schools that competed. 

“It was an absolute honor being able to represent Georgia Southern University and the Parker College of Business at the IANA competition,” said Suarez. “I am very grateful that I was given this opportunity that allowed me to develop professional skills like teamwork, public speaking, research and data analysis. Overall, this has been the most beneficial, educational and challenging experience I have had in college. Getting first place is a reflection of the excellent job the [Logistics &] Supply Chain Management Department and the Parker College are making at preparing students for success.”

The competition supports class instruction designed to educate logistics and intermodal transportation students, thereby attracting them to the industry upon graduation.

“I found the IANA Competition to be an indelible experience that gave me valuable opportunities to better my research, teamwork, presentation and networking skills,” said Vaughn. “I know that all of the skills and relationships this competition helped me develop will prove essential in my remaining semesters in college as well as the entirety of my professional career. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and will always remember the Parker College faculty who helped make it possible.”

Marc Scott, Ph.D., assistant professor of logistics and supply chain management and director of the Southern Center for Logistics and Intermodal Transportation, believes a hands-on learning opportunity such as competition like this gives students an advantage over their peers.

“I think that this competition drives value in three ways,” stated Scott. “It connects students with the industry, which makes them enthusiastic; the case study itself encourages critical thinking, and it shows to the students there’s a lot of opportunity in this industry.”

Since IANA began the Scholarship Program, it has awarded more than $2.8 million to support students in university programs focused on freight and intermodal transportation. These funds support tuition, student research projects on intermodal issues, and curriculum development.


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