Alumni help drive logistical success across the south
Since 2017, nearly a dozen Louisiana Tech University graduates have launched their careers in various locations and positions at Southeastern Freight Lines, a leading provider for less-than-truckload transportation services with 90 locations.
Southeastern is a valuable employer partner, regularly attending campus-wide Career Fairs and College of Business Employer Receptions. The company also has a presence during the College’s Speed Interviewing Workshops and often sends representatives to speak in supply chain management classes.
Blake Cheatwood, ’17, joined SEFL after graduation as a Process Improvement Specialist. He currently serves as SEFL’s Assistant Service Center Manager in Jackson, Mississippi, where he helps lead a team of 68 associates.
“I chose to pursue a career with Southeastern Freight Lines because of the culture, the chance to have a positive impact on the growth and development of our associates, and the opportunities available,” said Cheatwood. “Without the guidance and influence from professors in Tech’s Sustainable Supply Chain Management program, I very likely would not be with such an incredible company with a career that I am passionate about.”
Cheatwood’s classmate, Hannah Yi, ’17, also decided to join the SEFL family. She knew she wanted to work in the supply chain industry and be close to her family in Columbia, South Carolina. “After searching the job market and learning about the culture at SEFL, I knew it was a company for which I wanted to work.”
Hannah began her career in the sales department at SEFL’s corporate office before being promoted to the National Account Pricing Specialist role.
“Blake and I were the first two Louisiana Tech graduates SEFL hired in 2017,” Yi said. “It’s so exciting to see the doors it has opened for other alumni to join the SEFL family.”
Following Cheatwood and Yi, seven Louisiana Tech graduates were hired between 2018-2020 in various leadership roles including Outbound Supervisor, Assistant Manager, Account Manager, and Operations Manager. SEFL associates all shared similar sentiments about their time as undergraduates at Louisiana Tech. Alumni reflected on learning problem solving skills, forging relationships with prospective companies, gaining hands-on experience, and engaging in rigorous curriculum.
Joining SEFL because of culture and growth opportunities, Fred Hardmon, ’18, was first hired as a Pickup and Delivery Driver. He quickly transitioned into an Inbound Dock Supervisor Role upon completion of his Industrial Engineering degree.
“Louisiana Tech prepared me to be a problem solver and provide continuous measurable improvement,” Hardmon said. “Southeastern has shown me the value of people and what it means to be a leader.”
Garrett Dustin, ’19, leveraged his Supply Chain Management degree and skillset to be successful as SEFL’s Assistant Service Center Manager in Shreveport. He credits Louisiana Tech with “providing the tools and training necessary to be successful in this field. The administrative staff was extremely helpful with job placement and very persistent to guarantee that you had a career lined up after graduation.”
Dustin chose a career with SEFL after attending a College of Business Employer Reception. “I had always heard good things about the company and when I began doing research it seemed like a great fit,” he said. “It truly
is an honor to work for a company that has such a clear and valuable mission.”
With a combination of analytical problem-solving skills and leadership development, Louisiana Tech’s supply chain students are uniquely qualified to add value to an organization from day one.
“Our sustainable supply chain management program is designed with employers in mind,” said Dr. Kevin Watson, Assistant Professor of Management. “We seek feedback from our employer partners and alumni to ensure the skills being taught in the program align with those in demand in the workforce.”
Watson noted that input from employers like Southeastern Freight has led the department to increase coverage of quantitative skills like data analytics and “soft” skills like leadership and negotiation.
“While the program is designed to provide students with an understanding of the functional skills necessary for success, it has a strategic focus, which allows the student to grow into increased levels of responsibility,” said Watson. “One of the best traits our students have is the understanding that, sometimes, it is necessary to get your hands dirty – not only to get the job done but to gain the respect of their workforce.”
Southeastern Freight Lines, a privately-owned regional less-than-truckload transportation services provider founded in 1950, specializes in next-day service in the Southeast and Southwest and operates 90 service centers in 13 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The company provides more than 99.35% on-time service in next day lanes. A dedication to service quality and a continuous quality improvement process that began in 1985 has been recognized by more than 500 quality awards received from customers and associations. For more information, visit sefl.com.