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Events Calendar

EVENTS IN May 2015

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

3:15 PM - 5:00 PM

Rail Group Mtg: Market Development - Pre & Post Staggers

Sandhouse Gang Meeting (Rail Interest Group)

Speaker Gene Harmon, Transportation &; Logistics Expert

America's railroads have many tools available to produce profitability and thus fund new investment and returns for investors.  These tools were restricted prior to the Staggers Act.  The entire American rail industry was heading to oblivion as unplanned and accelerating disinvestment corroded the railways infrastructure and thus the ability to produce earnings.  With the Staggers Rail Act management had new tools to better serve customers.

 This presentation describes two strategic initiatives Gene Harmon led at the ICG pre-Staggers and at the SP post-Staggers.  The ICG was in severe decline by the early 1970s.  Profits had evaporated, track and equipment maintenance were severely restricted and ICG was struggling to compete with barge and highway competitors.  Harmon became Market Manager-Paper in late 1974 after a revolution approved by Paul Reistrup led to the formation of an integrated market development and pricing organization.  He will describe how they formed a team to address serious service and car supply issues with our paper customers then transformed the financial results of the 3000 car paper fleet.  Then, he will put these developments into the context of ICG's financial results.  In spite of not having the flexibility allowed by Staggers the team was able on a small scale to show what could be done to better serve customers and improve financial results.  It took Harry Bruce, Rick Bessette and the ICG management team post-Staggers to realize the true benefits of relaxed economic regulation.

 In 1978 Harmon joined the Southern Pacific under Pete Vajta who had been charged with instituting Marketing at SP.  Carload business was deregulated in 1980 and the SP began a series of very specific steps to address Crown-Zellerbach's (CZ) supply chain opportunities.  What resulted was a complete restructuring of CZ's west coast distribution built around SP and not Interstate 5.  SP had the ability to contract with CZ for specific business with complete flexibility to price to the market.  The program both reduced costs and dramatically improved SP's competitive position.  These innovations cut costs for CZ and allowed them to compete for new business.   SP would have needed about 100 similar programs annually to permit a major financial turn-around and alas this was not to be.

 The presentation looks at the overall financial performance of both the ICG and SP pre and post-Staggers.  In addition, notable personalities such as Paul Reistrup, Doug Hagestad, Harry Bruce, Dave DeBoer and Rob Krebs were actively involved in these programs.  There will be some personal reminiscences to enliven the presentation.

Gene Harmon -Biography

 Gene Harmon recently retired from a 44 year career in transportation and logistics management.  Between 1985 and 2013 he owned and operated a logistics management and consulting business.

 Gene has worked on the restructuring of Safeway Stores and the State Railway of Thailand, and led the turn-around of a moribund freight brokerage firm.  He led the installation of a Quality System for a logistics company and provided management consulting services for a wide variety of transportation clients.  In 2000 he secured start-up capital and led the implementation of Speedlink, a total logistics freight service combining rail and truck services using unit trains of box cars between Portland, OR and Los Angeles which were integrated with cross-docks and trucks for pick-up and delivery.   

 Gene had summer jobs with the AAR and Erie Lackawanna during college.  After graduation, Gene joined with the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad in Chicago during the Paul Reistrup era.  At the ICG, he managed the turnaround in profitability of the $90 million paper and fiber business.  Moving to the Southern Pacific Transportation Company he managed the $200 million paper business segment. At the SP, he conceived then implemented a major logistics service with Crown Zellerbach.  Today's presentation describes these two railroads and two of the strategic market development programs he implemented both pre and post Staggers.

 Mr. Harmon has a BA in History from Lake Forest College, has taught logistics at the California Maritime Academy and LSU/MSU Logging School and worked with numerous interns seeking real world business experience as part of their MBA graduate work at UC Berkeley.

 He travels extensively around the world, enjoys hiking, working out, reading, model building and photography.  Mr. Harmon is active in a non-profit organization serving northern California.





Contact Info: Diana Marek

Location: Donald P. Jacobs Center 2001 Sheridan Road Room 276 Evanston IL 60208

Event URL: http://www.transportation.northwestern.edu/

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Uncertainty in Hazardous Materials Transportation

Speaker:  Changhyun Kwon, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Industrial &; Systems Engineering,  University at Buffalo, SUNY

Abstract: This talk addresses various types of uncertainty in hazardous materials (hazmat) transportation. First, we discuss advanced routing methods to mitigate the uncertain risk of hazmat accidents and to avoid catastrophic consequences. In particular, value-at-risk (VaR) and conditional value-at-risk (CVaR) concepts are applied to truck transportation of hazmat. VaR and CVaR offer more flexible and computable schemes.

Second, we discuss data uncertainty in measuring the risk of transporting hazmat. The two important data types in hazmat transportation are accident probabilities and accident consequences, both of which are subject to many ambiguous factors. In addition, historical data are usually insufficient to construct probability distributions of accident probabilities and consequences. This motivates a new robust optimization approach to consider the robust shortest path and the Worst-case CVaR (WCVaR).

Third, we discuss uncertainty in the behavior of hazmat truck drivers. In the current literature, most, if not all, hazmat network design problems assume drivers' perfectly rational route decision making; that is, drivers will always choose the very shortest path available. However, recent research indicates that drivers often are not perfectly rational. Rather, drivers are usually boundedly rational such that they choose routes whose length is comparable with the shortest path length within a certain threshold. We discuss a generalized mathematical framework to address various boundedly rational behaviors of drivers in the context of hazmat transportation network design.

 Bio: Changhyun Kwon is currently an Assistant Professor in Industrial &; Systems Engineering at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York. His research interests include transportation systems analysis and service operations problems. His research has been supported by various organizations including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and Canadian Embassy. He received a PhD in Industrial Engineering in 2008 and an M.S. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research in 2005, both from the Pennsylvania State University. He also received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from KAIST in 2000. He received an NSF CAREER award in 2014.


Contact Info: Diana Marek

Location: Chambers Hall 600 Foster St Ruan Conference Center - lower level Evanston IL 60208

Event URL: http://www.transportation.northwestern.edu/

Thursday, May 14, 2015

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Green Urban Freight Strategies in the New Mobility Era

Speaker   Dr. Jie (Jane) Lin, Associate Professor, Civil and Materials Engineering; and Research Associate Professor, Institute for Environmental Science &; Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago

Abstract The rapid advances in wireless communication and ubiquitous mobile is changing the way people and goods move in the new mobility era.  I define "new mobility" as having the following features: (1) utilizing wireless communication and mobile computing, (2) real-time response to demand, and (3) resource (e.g., capacity, facility, and information) sharing. Specific to urban freight, one important driving force for increasing volumes of goods and demand for expedited delivery time and reliability by consumers is the fast growing e-commerce industry. On the other hand, environmental and energy concerns are taking center stage in transportation planning, policy making and way of doing business. For example, highway trucks and other heavy vehicles account for 33% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and 23.3% of PM10 emissions from all transportation sources. In addition, freight transport accounts for 74% of total transportation energy consumption and fuel cost contributes 39% of the operating cost for the trucking industry (The truckers report 2013). In my talk I'll present two potential green urban freight strategies drawn from my past and ongoing research: urban consolidation center (UCC) and dynamic en-route cargo consolidation. Some of the research questions are "Is UCC the way to go?", "Is Google Express or Uber-like crowdsourced delivery the future of urban goods delivery?". I'll share my thoughts from the energy and environmental point of view.

 Biography   Dr. Lin is an associate Professor of Department of Civil and Materials Engineering and holds a joint appointment with the Institute for Environmental Science and Policy (IESP) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Her research is focused on modeling of transportation environmental impacts, freight transportation and logistics, and intelligent transportation systems (ITS).  Dr. Lin is Chair of the Transportation and Air Quality Committee (ADC20) of the Transportation Research Board, National Research Council of the National Academies (2011-2017).  She serves on the editorial boards of Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice (2008-present) and the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation (2011-present). Dr. received her MS and PhD degrees from University of California, Davis, and BS from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. She was a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment, Cambridge, MA between 2002-2003.

Contact Info: Diana Marek

Location: Chambers Hall 600 Foster St Lower Level - Ruan Conference Center Evanston IL 60208

Event URL: http://www.transportation.northwestern.edu/

Thursday, May 28, 2015

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Transportation Seminar: Connected Cars - Lifestyle Delivery

Speaker:     Dr. Sania Irwin, Head of Systems &; Applications, Chief Technology Office, Nokia Networks

Abstract: The world is quickly evolving into the “Connected Everything Society” – from intelligent cars to smart homes to health and wellness solutions. Amongst the various Internet of Things (IoT) verticals, automotive brings unique challenges by significantly increasing the number of high bandwidth high mobility connections. At the same time it opens up a realm of possibilities. We are in an unique position to leverage the deep knowledge of the wireless infrastructure and the applications it carries, with precision mapping and road traffic technologies, to create new experiences not otherwise possible. We have generated a suite of “Lifestyle Delivery” use cases which aim to make the world safer, greener, smoother, and more enjoyable. We look forward to sharing these ideas with you, and learning more about how you see the world changing.

 Bio:  Sania Irwin established and heads up the Systems &; Applications organization in the Chief Technology Office (CTO) at Nokia Networks, focused on generating the vision, the blueprint, and the collaterals to transform today's society to the intelligently connected world of the future (e.g., through Smart Cars, Smart Homes, Smart Cities …). The entity creates cutting edge products and solutions for the wireless market (e.g., in the space of Internet of Things (IoT), Over The Top (OTT) Applications, Self Organizing Networks, Wireless Experience Management, Smart Analytics and Machine Learning, etc.). She has set up Technology Labs where these industry leading solutions are prototyped and showcased – generating customer mindshare, demonstrating thought leadership, and accelerating the pace of innovation. Previously she led the Systems Engineering unit at Motorola Networks, charged with delivering product architectures and specifications, as well as network planning and optimization solutions for its UMTS offerings. She has spearheaded the creation of technology portfolio aligned with business strategy. Prior to working in the Telecommunications industry, Sania guided Operations Research efforts at General Motors Corporation, and championed solutions in the Information Technology domain at Xerox Corporation. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from University of Rochester, and her Master's and PhD degrees focused on Wireless Communications and Operations Research from Northwestern University.


Contact Info: Diana Marek

Location: Chambers Hall 600 Foster St Lower Level - Ruan Conference Center Evanston IL 60208

Event URL: http://www.transportation.northwestern.edu/