Logistics instructor featured in San Antonio Express-News
Ronnie Brannon, who is featured as one of the faculty in the Alamo Colleges TV commercials, teaches logistics, which involves the transportation, warehousing and delivery of items. He was a logistician in the military and uses his vast experience in his classes at Palo Alto College.
Ronnie and his program were featured in David Hendricks' business column in the San Antonio Express-News.
Click here to read the story on mySA.com and here to see the article in the San Antonio Express-News.
By David Hendricks
San Antonio Express-News
Ronnie Brannon, lead logistics instructor at Palo Alto College, has a novel way to explain logistics when he visits high school groups to recruit students for his program.
Brannon brings pizza.
“They (the students) can smell it,” Brannon said with a devious smile. While the pizza sits there emitting its tempting aroma, Brannon explains with a PowerPoint presentation that logistics brings together tons of flour, pork and cheese, by truck, train, ship and aircraft, so the food item can be prepared and delivered by pizza companies and restaurants.
“It brings to the forefront the impact of logistics on the economy, our nation and each individual,” Brannon said. “They realize that without logistics, you don't get to eat the pizza.”
Once the point gets across, they eat.
It's still an uphill battle.
Only one out of every 300 high school students know what “logistics” means, Brannon said. That is only if their parents are involved in the industry or if they have been in Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs.
About 90 percent of enrollees at Palo Alto's Logistics Management Department are older than the typical college student. Some enrollees are former military personnel who received logistics training while enlisted and want to make their career in the supply-chain industry.
Brannon wants to see more young students in his classes. In fact, his goal is to try to bring in students directly out of high school. He hopes to start a competition for high school logistics teams, among other methods.
As the fall semester started this week, 80 seats in the program were filled, with a capacity for 140.
Logistics is a career field with a growing demand for workers with program certificates and degrees, especially in San Antonio because of the Eagle Ford Shale drilling activity. Workforce Solutions Alamo Business Services Director Charlie Moke said the area has 2,336 logistics jobs spread among 53 occupations.
It's widely known that the demand for truck drivers has expanded exponentially in South Texas. Logistics and supply-chain professionals are the people behind the scenes who position the freight to be delivered by truck drivers to the oil and gas fields.
“Companies are coming to me asking, ‘Can I get the resumes of your students?'” Brannon said. Some students begin working in the industry before they finish the program.
Who's hiring? The members of the program's advisory council give a good indication:
H-E-B, Southwest Research Institute, Union Pacific Corp., United Parcel Service of America Inc. and the U.S. Army.
Palo Alto issues various certificates and two-year associate degrees related to logistics, and it also operates a two-year plus two-year agreement with Texas A&M University at San Antonio so students can obtain logistics bachelor's degrees.
Considering how vital logistics is to nearly every industry, especially manufacturing, it is critical that San Antonio can educate its own professionals.
But the city was late to the game. Palo Alto's program is only 15 years old.
The program can and should grow. It's a matter of awareness. All it takes is for potential logisticians to smell the career opportunities.