Thrice as nice: UNT logistics students win national IANA competition for third straight year

Friday, October 2, 2015 - 18:45

DENTON (UNT), Texas — It happened in 2013, 2014 and now this year: Students in the University of North Texas logistics program have taken the top prize at the Intermodal Association of North America's annual Intermodal EXPO Academic Challenge held in September in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They bested fellow undergraduate students from three of the nation's top logistics programs to win first place in the case competition for the third consecutive time, providing solutions to help the transportation industry address a severe shortage of truck drivers.

The UNT students, all seniors, are Mary Catherine Schoals of Flower Mound, Texas; Ripley Wren of Saginaw, Texas; and Laura Catalina Quinones Rios of Medellin, Colombia.

"Our annual student competition, held during the Intermodal EXPO, is a wonderful opportunity for industry executives to observe the next generation of intermodal transportation leaders as they display their insight and knowledge," said Joni Casey, president and chief executive officer of IANA, in a press release. "Congratulations to UNT for winning the Academic Challenge for the third year in a row."

"I can't convey how incredibly proud we are of this student team," said Terrance Pohlen, director of the UNT Center for Logistics Education and Research. "They have worked through the summer to prepare for this competition. They already have their sights on winning the upcoming 'Operation Stimulus' competition in Denver, Colorado, in January, where they will compete against 20 schools from across North America."

The annual IANA EXPO has a student case competition designed to bring young professionals into the intermodal transportation industry. With less than a month to prepare their case solution, students developed creative ways to bring their generation – millennials – and others into the trucking industry during the existing driver shortage.

"For the short term, we said the company should diversify its fleet by focusing on marketing to women, people from other ethnicities and millennials age 18 to 34," said Wren, adding that they recommended specific techniques to target and retain those populations. She also noted that for the long term, major logistics associations should "band together and change the perception of the trucking industry" so that more individuals make truck driving their career choice.

The UNT students competed against students from the University of North Florida, the University of Maryland and the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

The trio was among a group of four UNT students that also won the separate 2015 IANA – University of North Florida case competition in the spring.

About UNT's College of Business

With more than 5,800 students, UNT's College of Business is one of the largest business schools in the nation and has been continuously accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International since 1961. With 105 full-time faculty members, the college offers 18 undergraduate degrees, 22 master's degrees, seven doctoral programs and 17 certificate programs. Two centers in the College of Business create synergy among scholarship, research and teaching.Classes take place in the 180,000-square-foot Business Leadership Building, which opened in 2011.Students enhance their learning experience through student organizations, study abroad programs, internships and the Professional Leadership Program to develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today's technological and global business environment.

About the Intermodal Association of North America

IANA is North America's only industry trade association that represents the combined interests of the intermodal freight industry. The association's mission is to promote the growth of efficient intermodal freight transportation through innovation, education and dialogue. The association offers valuable information and services specific to the intermodal industry encompassing consensus business solutions that facilitate: operations, regulatory compliance, and policy issue management. IANA's membership roster of over 1,000 members represents the diverse companies critical to moving freight efficiently and safely. IANA provides a discussion forum for the many types of stakeholders long the supply chain, resulting in a strong unified voice advocating the needs of intermodal freight transportation. For more information, visit

UNT News Service
(940) 565-2108