Truck pull at AACC highlights transportation and logistics program

It is perhaps one of the shortest trips a UPS delivery truck has ever made. The brown, boxy, 14,000-pound vehicle traveled 90 feet in about 23 seconds in Anne Arundel Community College's parking lot as five AACC students hauled it by rope in the Inaugural AACC Truck Pull competition.

"It's harder than I expected it to be," said AACC second-year student Alex Bohlman, who participated as part of a group of e-marketing course students. They posted live Twitter feeds about the competition, which was sponsored by the college's program in transportation, logistics and supply-chain management.

The competition highlighted the program's offerings while allowing students to meet with officials from supply chain companies who provided industry information and career opportunities.

"We were hoping for a nice strong person up front to get it going," said Bohlman. "We were thinking that first shot of getting that momentum from a dead stop would be the hardest. But I feel like my last 10 feet were the hardest. My legs were just dead by then."

"But once we got it going," said AACC first-year student David Smith, Bohlman's teammate, "we got in rhythm. We pulled it in."

Teams of students competed against one another, as did faculty and groups from the school's corporate partners. In addition to the UPS truck, teams pulled an 8,550-pound FedEx van. Each group was timed as it pulled the vehicle from one parking lot light pole to another. Most of the groups got off to slow starts but ultimately managed a steady pull once they dug their heels into the pavement.

"I'm glad I go to the gym, because it's harder than you think," said Steve Berry, an instructional specialist in the AACC business management and entrepreneurial studies department.

Kipp Snow, AACC instructional specialist for business management and entrepreneurial studies, said he came up with the idea as a way to garner attention for the program. About 20 teams signed up for the competition, he said.

"How many people can say they pulled a truck?" Snow said. He added that among the prizes awarded was a tuition award, donated by two of the school's industry partners, for students to take an AACC transportation and logistics course. Several companies set up vendor booths adjacent to the parking lot, offering demonstrations and job recruiters.

"This is the big picture," Snow said.

AACC officials said they developed the transportation, logistics and supply-chain management program with a focus on such fields as cargo handling, airport and seaport operations, and security requirements. Wednesday's event coincided with the Arizona-based Institute for Supply Management naming March as Supply Management Month.

Said Berry, "I work with entrepreneurial studies, and we help students who want to start businesses, and the more they understand about logistics, transportation, cargo, product, supplies, the better they can run their business."

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