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Georgia Tech and Puerto Rico students win first-ever FreightTech Case Challenge

FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller presents a check to the first place winners of the First-Ever FreightTech Innovation Challenge winners from Georgia Tech and the University of Puerto Rico. From left, Fuller, Shaiv Gandhi, Geurgana Ilieva, Marlene Frias Hiraldo, Sims Pettway, Sanjana Teje, Jennifer Skjellum and Marcus Shaw, both of Co.Lab.

College students interested in supply chain and logistics from 14 schools across the country competed in the first-ever FreightTech Innovation Case Challenge Competition this weekend in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Approximately 60 students from 14 different schools across the country competed in the 24-hour case challenge out of more than 130 who applied.

The students were tasked with finding transportation and logistics solutions based on a fictitious customer looking to expand its operations throughout the Southeast.

The first-place team, consisting of four students from the Georgia Institute of Technology and one from the University of Puerto Rico, was awarded a cash price of $5,000 for their innovative transportation and logistics solutions based on a case they received 24 hours earlier.

The students reorganized the supply chain and rationalized operations to create a more efficient model that would give the firm a foothold for future expansion in an e-commerce world, a common problem with which many businesses are currently struggling.

“We used a balance of data and common sense to come up with our solutions to make our case,” Shaiv Gandhi, a student at Georgia Tech, told FreightWaves. “If the data didn’t make sense, we looked at why it didn’t work and worked together to find solutions.”

FreightWaves, along with The Company Lab, or CO.LAB, Reliance Partners and U.S. Xpress, sponsored the inaugural event.

“What we saw today was that Chattanooga is becoming a leader in the freight and transportation space and we attracted some of the best talent in the country at this event,” Marcus Shaw, chief executive of CO.LAB, told FreightWaves.

Students used FreightWaves’ SONAR technology system, which is the first-of-its-kind freight market data and analytics platform, to help find the most efficient and cost-effective transportation and logistics solutions for the customer in their case.

Students were able to ask SONAR market experts and coaches from various corporate sponsors to help them “solve” the case,” said Jeff Mason, managing director of alliances of FreightWaves.

“I am impressed with the level of talent among the college students competing in this challenge,” Mason said. “It was hard to pick a winner because they are all going to be successful. I would hire everyone of them.”

Mason heads FreightWaves’ efforts to partner with universities across the country to implement SONAR into their curriculum.

The second place team from Georgia Tech and Tennessee State University won a $3,000 cash prize and the third-place team, consisting of students from Dalton State College and Georgia Southern University,  received $1,000.

“This competition was an excellent opportunity for students to solve real-world supply chain and logistics problems using real-world data,” Victor Marshall, assistant professor of management of Dalton State, told FreightWaves.

Marc Scott, assistant professor of logistics of Georgia Southern University, said the feedback from the judges set this 24-hour case challenge apart from others in which his students have participated previously.

“This was a unique opportunity for our students to get great feedback from industry leaders in solving time-sensitive problems real supply and logistics companies face on a daily basis,” Scott told FreightWaves.

Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 14 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to [email protected]