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Students take part in IANA-sponsored intermodal spring break trip

Posted on Apr 28, 2017

University of Wisconsin-Superior Transportation and Logistics Management students accompanied by Dr. Daniel Rust traveled to multiple intermodal transportation-related locations throughout Wisconsin during spring break, the week of March 20-24.

The group of seven students visited the Canadian National Chippewa Falls Intermodal Facility and were given a tour by the senior operations manager. The students learned that 95 percent of the cargo inbound is for Menards and that outbound containers are loaded with grain for export to China.

In Mondovi, Wis., the group toured the Marten Transport headquarters/operations center as well as the company’s main maintenance facility. The vice president of maintenance showed the intermodal trailers that were in the shop for modification and repairs. He also demonstrated how intermodal refrigerated trailers work and pointed out the importance of proper truck and intermodal trailer maintenance. The students were impressed with the technology found in Marten trucks, including a Doppler radar that can see what is ahead of the truck and automatically apply the brakes if the driver is not paying attention. 

The following day, the students continued to Madison, Wis., where the Grainger Center for Supply Chain Management hosted the group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Representatives of both the UW-Madison M.B.A. program and the graduate supply chain management program provided overviews, and students had opportunity to talk with admissions representatives, current students as well as graduates of the supply chain management program. A senior lecturer gave an informative and engaging mini-lecture on distribution centers and the importance of warehouse organization. Spending time with the hosts at UW-Madison prompted several students to consider pursuing a graduate degree after they complete their studies at UW-Superior.  

The students spent the afternoon at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation headquarters. Several Wis-DOT administrators gave presentations on key transportation issues. Donna Brown-Martin, Director of the Bureau of Planning and Economic Development, briefed the group on the recently completed state freight plan. Other speakers provided information on topics including how the department uses GIS map systems and how the department collects highway traffic data with cameras and sensors. The students also learned about the problem of oversize and overweight trucks damaging roads and bridges and how Wisconsin is addressing the issue of truck parking. The DOT has placed real-time sensors that are linked to signs indicating how many truck parking spaces are empty at a particular rest area so that truck drivers will know they need not park on roadway shoulders – a safety hazard that also accelerates the deterioration of the roadway.

“Personally, I loved visiting Wis-DOT,” said UW-Superior student Undral Naran. “All the presentations that Wisconsin DOT professionals made were very informative and interesting. They talked about many subjects from how they maintain road information to what they are trying to implement in next few years in terms of the state transportation system."

The following day the students toured Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., where they saw parts of the stadium such as the view from the roof to the field at ground level. They also had the opportunity to go inside a box suite and listen to a team owner relate the history of the Green Bay Packers.

The students visited JB Hunt’s Green Bay office. The Regional Operations Manager gave a tour of the facility and provided much information about the company’s intermodal operations as well as the importance of truck and trailer maintenance. One of JB Hunt’s driver safety trainers addressed the students about the importance of safety.

Later that day, Rik Somerville, one of the very first UW-Superior Transportation and Logistics Management graduates, gave the group a tour of Schneider National’s headquarters in Green Bay. Somerville is the Energy/Driver Development Director for Schneider. He emphasized how Schneider focuses on adding value to their services that may cost a little bit more than their competitors charge, but the customer will get a lot more in terms of service and reliability. One of the most impressive parts of the tour was seeing the massive customer service floor with 28 rows of desks and hundreds of people serving different regions of the country.

"I am extremely grateful for the great trip that we had during this spring break,” said Naran. “We visited transportation firms, intermodal fields and even got a chance to have a glimpse of projects that Wisconsin department of transportation has been working on.”

“I really enjoyed my travel group,” said UW-Superior student Joe Wambach. “The group had a wide variety of international students with Mongolia, China, Guinea, and Sweden represented by four of the seven students.”  

Dr. Rust and the students who participated extend a special thank you to the Intermodal Association of North America for sponsoring the trip.

Story by Robert Anderson

Students take part in IANA-sponsored intermodal spring break trip
Posted on Apr 28, 2017

UW-Superior students accompanied by Dr. Daniel Rust traveled to multiple intermodal transportation-related locations throughout Wisconsin during spring break.