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UNT Logistics at 20: Center grows as recognition increases

🕐 4 min read

UNT Logistics

 Ranked fifth globally based on faculty publishing

 Seventh largest undergraduate program in the U.S.

 Fastest growing program nationally over the last 8 years

 National Logistics Challenge 6X National Champions

 All LSCM sections taught afternoon or evenings, leaving morning free for other courses or employment

 $227,751 in scholarships awarded to LSCM students since 1997

 Required paid internship

 Current employment opportunities: Five local jobs for each available graduate

 Graduates automatically qualify for professional certification with the American Society for Transportation and Logistics

UNT Logistics student awards

 2016: UNT students win at 35th Annual Operation Stimulus Case Competition

 2015: Students win first place for a third consecutive year at Annual Intermodal Challenge

 2014: second year in a row UNT students win the Intermodal Expo Academic Challenge

 2013: UNT students claim first place at the Third Annual Intermodal Challenge

UNT Center for Logistics Education & Research


It was 20 years ago that the University of North Texas began its logistics program. Dr. Ron Hasty started the Texas Logistics Education Foundation in 1996.

At the time, North Texas was sorely lacking in supply chain programs and most qualified job candidates with logistics degrees came from out of state, said Dr. Terry Pohlen, current director of UNT’s Logistics Center.

The program’s success has coincided with the growth of Hillwood’s AllianceTexas project and the BNSF intermodal facility, as well as the continued growth of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport as a cargo hub.

“Dr. Hasty, with the help of several other logistics professionals, helped start what is now the Center for Logistics Education and Research,” said Pohlen. In 1997, UNT became the first school in North Texas to offer a logistics degree. Eight years later, the UNT Logistics and Supply Chain Management program was officially named the third leading program in the nation for its research and incorporation of industry technology.

There have been other milestones along the way, Pohlen said.

In 2010, UNT became the first Texas public college or university to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in aviation logistics.

The combination of aviation and logistics will give UNT graduates a much broader perspective than they would get from aviation programs offered at other universities, Pohlen said. The density of aviation-related businesses and career opportunities made the new degree program essential to the area, he said. “The area is home to DFW Airport, Dallas Love Field, Fort Worth Alliance airport, American Airlines, Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin, just to name a few,” he said.

Many don’t consider the importance of logistics to aviation, Pohlen said.

“The flight crew, while an important and highly visible part of aviation, is just the tip of the iceberg. Every time an airplane takes off, literally thousands of dedicated people help put it in the air – from those who manage the airports and run the air traffic control system, to those who schedule flights and many others who do the jobs that need to be done,” Pohlen said when the program was announced.

Another key milestone occurred in 2012 when the university expanded its research cluster program and added logistics. Research clusters are areas of emphasis with the potential to address social and economic problems affecting not just the area, but also the world.

The area’s industries have responded well to the school, Pohlen said. “We now have 30 companies represented on our advisory board from a wide range of companies – DFW Airport, Southwest Airlines, Sally Beauty Supply, BNSF, Lockheed, PepsiCo and JC Penney, all major players in the market,” he said.

The students have certainly seen benefits from the Logistics Center. There are five local jobs for each available graduate, Pohlen noted.

That has understandably led to growth in the numbers of students enrolling at the Logistics Center.

“Over the last two years, we’ve seen steady, consistent double digit growth,” he said. “The challenge we’re facing is we’re running out of classrooms. It’s a good problem to have.”

Logistics has become very information and technology driven and Pohlen said students expect to see that reflected in the educational offerings. “Trying to keep up with that changing technology is a challenge,” he said. “Students have grown up with this technology and so classrooms have to work to stay up with it,” he said.

But Pohlen is pleased with where the Logistics Center is at 20.

“As we see Dallas-Fort Worth emerging as a logistics hub for North America, we’re going to see tremendous growth in the field,” he said. “This is a good place to be.”

And graduates shouldn’t fear that they’ll be relegated to a niche career inside a company.

“I tell my students the nice thing is that they can also become a CEO of a company like BNSF or UPS,” he said. “And it may be one of the least well-known, but it’s one of the most challenging and interesting professions you can choose. Every day is going to give you a different challenge. It won’t be boring.”

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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