MODEX Student Day brings participants together despite COVID-10 and travel challenges.
By Maria Leggett
Even with the environmental challenges at this year’s MODEX 2020 due to COVID-19, the growing opportunities in the fast-paced and increasingly more technological supply chain and material handling industry still attracted high school, career and technical education (CTE) and university students to the show. With a generous travel grant fund to support the initiative, 124 faculty and students from 23 schools attended the 17th annual Student Day event held on March 11 at MODEX 2020.
Student Day is a partnership with MHI, the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA), MHI’s College Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE) and the Material Handling Education Foundation (MHEFI). The day-long program included a panel, networking, a two-hour tour of the show floor and a special appearance by Peyton and Archie Manning.
The event was kicked off by Larry Strayhorn, president of Pulse Integration and MHI Board member. Strayhorn spoke about the different partnerships that make Student Day possible, especially the companies exhibiting at MODEX who participate by volunteering their time as a tour stop or tour guide for the event.
To help students prepare for the job search process, a panel session with human resources and industry experts shared interviewing best practices. Jennifer Winston, manager of talent management at MHI member BEUMER Group, and Austin King, senior project manager at MODEX exhibitor Conveyor Solutions, explained the importance of doing research on companies to learn their products, services and company values. The panelists also discussed the increasingly expanding role of technology in the interview process. Even panelist Britney Ross, talent advisor at Waste Management, utilized technology for the panel speaking via video as she could not attend in person.
Of course, the show floor tour is the highlight of the program every year for the students. The two-hour tour highlights the different facets of the industry—manufacturers, integrators, consultants and partners. This year, 46 exhibitors and 31 tour guides participated in the event. Prior to kicking off the tours, Dr. Bill Ferrell, Fluor Professor of Industrial Engineering at Clemson University, highlighted three themes that students would see in the industry and the trade show floor—connected, autonomous and robots.