Abe Cheung was a senior in high school when his business teacher approached him about enrolling in the Georgia Tech LEAP program. Having previously taken some logistics courses as part of his high school curriculum, Cheung knew that he was interested in pursuing additional education in supply chain and logistics. Plus, he said, there was the motivation of doing work that was recognized by Georgia Tech.
Cheung enrolled in LEAP and – in addition to completing all four courses that compose the program – went on to earn national certifications in supply chain management, customer service operation, transportation operation, and warehousing operations. Perhaps the most important takeaway from the LEAP program was what Cheung learned about manufacturing, but warehousing and transportation were also key.
As he pointed out, “Without being able to move and store products, manufacturing doesn’t help anyone. The main pieces are really in transportation and warehousing, because this gets products to the consumer.”
Thanks to the LEAP program and his national certifications, Cheung attained a job with Ceva Logistics, working as an operations clerk on the company’s contract with Daimler Trucks North America.
“Ceva is hired out by Daimler to do their ‘milk runs’ – their daily routes,” explained Cheung. “We deliver truck parts to all their dealers in the Southeast region.”
Cheung values his current position with Ceva, saying that when he interviewed for the role, his now-supervisor asked, “Why do you want to be a clerk, when you have this [LEAP] certification from Georgia Tech?”
“My answer was that I needed experience, because logistics are ever-changing,” Cheung said. “Logistics won’t be the same in 30 years, much less 10 years. It changes on the dime – it’s never the same, and if it is, something is wrong.” Currently, he schedules trips for drivers and tracks both their hours of service and bills of lading.
Cheung plans to further build on his LEAP education. While working at Ceva, he is also enrolled at the Florida Institute of Technology, working online toward a bachelor’s of business administration degree. After he completes his undergraduate degree, he plans to get his master’s degree in supply chain engineering.
In addition, he has remained involved with LEAP at his high school alma mater by encouraging students to enroll in LEAP and mentoring them once they do. Cheung makes himself available both by email and by text, helping the students work through questions that arise on the class discussion boards. He periodically stops in at the school and meets with the students in person.
When asked what makes him so passionate about LEAP, Cheung has a ready answer: “[On a practical level], logistics is a good industry to be in; it’s recession-proof. Regardless of the economy you’re in, you still need to get goods from one place to another. Plus, the industry always needs more people to do the work.”
“It was a great experience,” he added.
The LEAP program is housed in Georgia Tech’s Supply Chain & Logistics Institute (SCL) and is supported by a $350,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co. Additional funding has been provided by Schneider National, Inc. The certification is designed to attract a younger workforce and prepare them for successful careers in supply chain and logistics.