FVSU students visit Georgia Port Authority



December 11, 2015 – Six Fort Valley State University students  — Teris Dixon, Nicholas Finley, Antionna Jefferson, Tanisha Leonard, Willie Mitchell and Norman Whittington —  recently took a trip to a major United States port to learn about future career opportunities in supply chain management. The group visited  the Georgia Port Authority facility in Savannah, Ga. on Nov. 9 as part of the Warehousing and Terminal Management class. They were accompanied by their instructor, Dr. Samuel Gyapong, chair of FVSU’s Department of Business and Economics,  and David Salone, an FVSU supply chain logistics management instructor.

“The visit was a follow up to a similar visit to the Tractor Supply Warehouse in Macon as part of the requirements for the course,” Gyapong said. “That requirement is an effort to expose our students to Warehousing and Shipping terminals, which form the stopping points in the complex global Supply Chain, and the exciting career opportunities in these areas of the U.S. economy.”

The group was received on arrival by Stacy Watson, general manager of economic and industrial development for the Georgia Port Authority. He took the group on a bus tour of the facility to see several functional areas of the port and the  equipment used for loading and offloading of ships. The students also viewed the loading of a container ship in progress  and saw a leaded ship leaving the port. They also learned how arriving or departing containers are scanned for illegal goods using infra-red scanners. There were acres of containers either awaiting shipment or waiting to be scanned prior to being loaded on ships.

After the tour, the group was taken into a conference room in the office building, where Watson gave a 45-minute presentation tracing the history of the port through its development stages to the current status of the port as the 4th largest container seaport (in volume of import and export traffic) in the United States.

“The PowerPoint presentation also covered planned development which includes millions of state and federal funds for expansion of the harbor, known as the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP), which will create more jobs at all levels and further increase the capacity of the port, and deepening of the water to accommodate even heavier container ships,” Gyapong said. “This trip was quite an eye-opening experience for the students as well as the faculty members who accompanied them. Mr. Watson has agreed to take on some of our bright students on summer internship that could lead to career opportunities for the interested student. He revealed that it was through internship that he got started at the GA Port Authority.”

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