First students earn degrees from new College of Business department

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Seven students will be the first to graduate from the newly formed graduate-level Department of Transportation, Logistics and Finance within the College of Businesson Saturday, May 12.

The new department and its degree programs offer the college its first doctoral program and boosts the overall Transportation and Logistics Program’s standing within the university.

Yong Shin Park, Nick Muhammad Aslaam Mohamed Abdul Ghani and Fesseha Gebremikael earned doctoral degrees in transportation and logistics. Park is from the Republic of Korea and teaches in the college. Ghani is from Malaysia and was a graduate research assistant. Gebremikael taught at the University of Alabama A&M before beginning his doctoral studies. He also was involved in research at NDSU.

Eric Loomis, a transit field supervisor with the South Metro Area Regional Transit in Lake Oswego, Oregon, will receive a Master of Transportation and Urban Systems degree. Jared Annexstad, who is currently serving in the U.S. Army in Fort Riley, Kansas. Terrance Anderson will receive a Master of Managerial Logistics, and is serving in the U.S. Army at Fort Riley. Kylene Murphy will earn a Certificate of Transportation and Urban Systems, a non-degree program that helps professionals improve their knowledge and skills. She is a staff planner for Williams County in North Dakota. The masters and certificate programs are offered via distance education, allowing students to stay on the job while earning their degrees.

NDSU’s Transportation and Logistics Program was established about 15 years ago and was part of the NDSU College of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies, administered by the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute. Most courses were taught by researchers at the institute. Most of those researchers now have dual appointments, as researchers within the institute and as tenure-track faculty within the Department of Transportation, Logistics and Finance.

“The research-oriented faculty in the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute will help us advance the research focus of our college,” said Scott Beaulier, dean of the College of Business. “The Transportation and Logistics Program has a history of producing outstanding students with strong applied skills. These skills help solve industry problems everywhere along the supply chain, from procurement to distribution to the end consumer, and the job opportunities for students from our programs are tremendous.”

Denver Tolliver, director of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute and the Transportation and Logistics program prior to its move into the College of Business, noted that the transition was a natural fit. “Transportation and logistics as a field of study is integral to the business world. Consequently, as our academic program has expanded, our relationship with the College of Business has grown. Moving the program into the college opens opportunities for our students and our faculty,” he said.

Joseph Szmerekovsky, a professor of management in the College of Business and a long-time collaborator with the institute, is chair of the new department. “Many of the latest technological developments in transportation and logistics, like drones and autonomous vehicles, will have dramatic impacts on businesses,” he said. “Likewise, many new business models are based on innovations in transportation and logistics. For example, Amazon.com is changing the face of retailing based on logistical innovations. It’s critical that our students understand those innovations and developments.”

Nine Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute researchers now have tenure track positions with the College of Business. Raj Bridgelall, Alan Dybing, Ranjit Godavarthy, Michal Jaroszynski, Jerry Mattson and Diomo Motuba are assistant professors. Jill Hough, Pan Lu and Kimberly Vachal are associate professors.

“The Transportation and Logistics Program helps the college further advance its mission of collaborating externally and internally,” Beaulier said. “The program involves our faculty and staff working closely with the team at the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute. Those connections along with many new industry connections adds tremendous value to our college.”

Szmerekovsky said those connections will help the College of Business provide even greater service to the state of North Dakota and the region. “Transportation and logistics is a central part of any society. Transportation is a factor, not only in cost efficiency, but in healthy living, accessibility and other factors that affect quality of life. In businesses, those same issues must be addressed to guarantee the sustainability of a business model,” he said. “North Dakota’s economy includes a large number of exported products such as agricultural commodities and products and petroleum, making transportation and logistics central to the state’s economy.”


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