Intermodal Association of North America Awards $25K Scholarship to Support UT Supply Chain Students

November 9, 2023

The supply chain management department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business, was recently awarded $25,000 in scholarship funds to support undergraduate students by the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA).

“While UT has historically had a strong relationship with IANA, this is the first time the association has directly provided scholarship money to support our students,” said John Bell, department head for supply chain management.

“For an organization of their stature to recognize our department shows our commitment to preparing students to succeed in the transportation industry.”

The award will be divided between direct tuition support—approximately $15,000 divided among six undergraduates—curriculum development, student research projects, and travel to industry events. In addition, IANA will cover travel and hotel costs for three undergraduate students to attend the Intermodal EXPO in Long Beach, California, from September 9–11, 2024. While there, the student team will represent UT in a case competition against other universities.

Don Maier, an associate professor of practice in supply chain and founding member of the Transportation and Logistics Collaborative within the department, serves as the academic liaison between IANA and the university. He oversaw UT’s application for the scholarship after witnessing its direct benefit on students during his tenure as dean of maritime universities in Maine and California.

“Career development is essential to supply chain education at UT,” Maier said. “This is a great opportunity for our students to get involved with professional associations in the industry. Beyond the financial support, it allows them to network with organizations such as CSX, J.B. Hunt, Norfolk Southern, Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd and other notable transportation and logistics providers.”

The department has a history of partnering with freight transportation businesses. Averitt Express, Norfolk Southern, BNSF Railway, Ryder and the South Carolina Ports Authority are among Supply Chain Forum partners whose work involves intermodal freight transport—the movement of intermodal containers (often referred to as shipping containers) using ship, rail, aircraft, and trucks.

“It’s one thing to teach a student what an intermodal container looks like from a textbook,” Maier said. “It’s another thing entirely to take them into a railyard and let them walk inside one.

The IANA award supports our efforts to continue developing professionals in the supply chain industry”.

In addition to the firms mentioned above, recent graduates of UT’s undergraduate supply chain program are currently working as operations supervisors, fleet managers, supply chain analysts, procurement specialists, and transportation planners for businesses such as BMW, Boeing, Dell, DHL, Geodis, and Lockheed Martin. To be selected among the scholarship recipients, the department will evaluate the academic performance of applicants as well as their engagement with the department and student organizations. Applicants must also write an essay about why they chose to major in supply chain management, what they’d like to achieve in the field, and how the scholarship will benefit their academic and professional pursuits. More information will be shared later in the fall semester.

About the Intermodal Association of North America

IANA is the only organization representing the combined interests of the intermodal freight transportation industry. Its members represent suppliers, motor carriers, rail, marine, and third-party logistics providers.

Since its inception in 2007, IANA has awarded close to $4 million to support students in university programs focused on freight and intermodal transportation. The Scholarship Award Program seeks to progress the education of the intermodal freight transportation industry’s next generation of leaders and managers by providing students with opportunities to attend Intermodal EXPO, take study trips to intermodal facilities across the U.S., participate in academic case competitions, interact with transportation executives and conduct intermodal freight research.



Brian Canever (