After joining the National Guard his senior year in high school, Ryan Riss discovered a career in fleet management was the perfect fit for him. Luckily for the senior from Rapid City, South Dakota, the UNL College of Business Administration started the supply chain management major in 2012 to meet his career needs.
“The supply chain management major has been the perfect combination of math, theory and management. The courses center around practical applications,” he said. “We had site visits to businesses where we heard about real-life examples of solutions to make their supply chains more effective, and we also applied each other’s internship and work experiences to our discussions in class.”
Riss recently achieved the designation of Certified Automotive Fleet Manager (CAFM), the fleet management industry's highest level of certification, from National Fleet Management Association (NAFA). To become a CAFM, he passed a series of comprehensive examinations to demonstrate expertise in the eight disciplines of automotive fleet management. His supply chain management courses at CBA gave him an advantage in preparing for the professional examinations.
Riss at work at UNL Transportation Services
“As a student who became familiar with fleet management and logistics in the National Guard, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to pursue,” said Riss. “By earning this certification now as a student, I will be best prepared to enter the job market after graduation.”
Riss prepared and took the examinations through his internship with UNL Transportation Services. He is able to share real-time work experiences in class about multiple projects utilizing the university’s driver administration system and collision reporting and analysis system. Riss also helped update the department’s business plan.
“My favorite experiences during my internship has been being a part of the decision-making process. I am asked what we should do as we talk about the situation from all angles. I’ve gained a lot from these critical thinking exercises,” he said.
Patrick Barrett, director of Transportation Services, created this internship program to help produce the next generation of fleet managers.
“In the near future, there will be a major need for fleet professionals to replace the baby boomers who are retiring. Our internship is designed to help people gain experience and specialized knowledge which will allow their advancement in fleet management,” Barrett explained. “Obtaining the CAFM designation during the internship allows students to meet employers’ increasing demands for this professional certification.”
Both Riss and Barrett agreed the CBA supply chain management program is valuable to students–especially when coupled with the CAFM designation–interested in fleet management managerial positions.