Syfan partnership boosts new academic program, job opportunities

In fall 2017, Syfan Logistics’ human resources recruiting manager Dan Bacus and head of strategic recruiting Stuart Millar knew the transportation logistics firm needed employees for its annual holiday shipping project. They looked to UNG as a source of talented applicants.

Elaine Fitzpatrick, internship coordinator for the Mike Cottrell College of Business at UNG, knew students majoring in business administration with the new concentration in supply chain and logistics needed real-world experience.

The business and university formed a mutually beneficial partnership, which has evolved and strengthened during the past two years. Syfan Logistics officials worked with Dr. Cesar Ayala to hone the curriculum for the Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in supply chain management and logistics.

“It was a good collaboration for both sides,” said Ayala, assistant professor of management in the Mike Cottrell College of Business at UNG. “It helps us tailor our curriculum to include attributes and qualities industry officials are looking for in future employees.”

This partnership has been a boon for both institutions and will prove profitable to Georgia. The collaboration will help prepare the region for the workforce needs associated with the Georgia Port Authority’s new inland terminal in Hall County.

Announced in late 2018 by then-Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, the 108-acre facility is scheduled for completion in 2021. Construction is expected to start in August 2019 along a long, thin strip of land next to Norfolk Southern railroad lines off Ga. 365 in northeast Hall County.

The inland terminal will become a hub to the logistics industry, which is not limited to truckers and dispatchers.

“There is a world of opportunities in logistics from finance and business to operations management,” Millar said.

That message resonated with UNG alumna Kondwani Kapembwa. Before she graduated in May 2019, Kapembwa interned at Syfan for 10 weeks in summer 2018.

“Not a lot of finance majors look at supply chain management as an option. But the internship opened my eyes to what I could do with my finance degree,” the Atlanta, Georgia, resident said.

Kapembwa said the Syfan internship helped her land a job with a capital investment firm in Virginia.

“Having that experience helped,” Kapembwa said. “It was a highlight on my resume, and the capital investment group saw it as an asset.”
Students aren’t the only ones who benefit from the partnership.

“Students have injected an energy level and enthusiasm into our work environment that has become contagious,” Millar said. “Students pick up the training faster, master technology quicker and adapt to a flexible schedule. They also bring a fresh perspective to the table and help make the business more efficient.”