James Younker ’22 — First off, I would like to thank Wabash College, the Career Services Office, Roland Morin, and those involved in the Dill Small Business Internship Fund. Without them I would not have had such a wonderful experience this Summer. I would also like to thank the several individuals who made this summer internship experience one for the books; an experience that will, later on, prove to have been critical to the advancement of my professional development. A special thanks to the several Wabash Alum that worked along my side throughout this opportunity, Erik Ness, Alex Cisneros, Adalid Cruz, Fabricio Monroy, Jack Wagner, and Saul Villeda. Your guys’ expertise, insight, inclusiveness, and resourcefulness has greatly impacted me and altered the potential for a worrisome experience away from home, into a positive memory worth remembering. Additionally, to the others I had the pleasure of working with, Tristan Quintanilla, Jake Fessler, Shawn Palmer, Shawn Jr., Garrett Ness, D’Avion Peebles, Toni Ness, Derek Davis, Johnathan Price, and Jarrad Eads; you all have either acted as a mentor, teacher, and/or friend during this experience and those moments shared with each one of you will be cherished, thank you!

This Summer I had the fantastic opportunity to improve my professional skills, logistical knowledge, and rhetorical abilities out in Phoenix, Arizona. I worked for Erik Ness at Commodity Transportation Services (CTS). Commodity Transportation Services, or CTS, is powered by its hard-working committed staff who play a significant role as an essential cog in the large and continuously growing logistics industry. To be particular, this company heavily interacts with large producers or shippers who look for Reefers, Semi-Trucks, or Vented Vans to send their product to the buyer. Employees here work with dispatchers, truck drivers, and large companies such as Walmart. They work on the ability to recruit, negotiate, and build relationships with carriers and/or truckers to ensure that a shipper’s product is delivered safely, efficiently, and most importantly on time. Initially, my role at CTS was to update specific spreadsheets regarding available truck loads and ones currently booked, which would assist my fellow employees in their daily professional duties as brokers and dispatchers. Additionally, right off the bat, I was put in charge of sending out what was called the Constant Contact email, a sheet showing our daily available loads, which was sent out to over 25,000 contacts. These beginning assignments allowed me to gain some critical insight into the work that goes on in this office and the logistics industry. Through these assignments, I was able to test my innovation skills which ultimately led to improved outreach, and smoother/more efficient engagement between my supervisors and their customers. After a couple of weeks, I was given more tasks vital to the company’s success such as reaching out to our associate carriers to receive crucial paperwork that helped all parties involved get paid. More importantly, I was also put in charge of our Quick Pay financial system, this is a process that gets drivers paid at the end of a load. In doing Quick Pays, I was met with many challenges but thanks to my coworkers, and a little bit of intuition, I was able to please both parties when it came to various financial transactions.

As stated previously, I was able to polish my rhetorical skills. One of the most important things I learned was the importance of defusing. Like any job, work can be stressful. Like life, not everything goes according to plan. Not everyone you interact with is going to be on their best behavior. Thus, you must be able to defuse, because it is imperative to continued success whether or not everyone may be annoyed or angry that both individuals continue to work towards success in a situation. Additionally, I was able to experience the art of negotiating. Negotiating in this business is a crucial skill to improving the company’s profits. From this, I can now tell if a truck driver is receiving a good and reasonable rate for his/her travels. Lastly, I improved my networking skills. In this industry, it is important to create relationships, especially with reliable people to ensure the product is both taken care of, and that the delivery will be made on time.

The complexity of logistics and how this business will only continue to grow is an insight I believe is worth sharing. In a conversation I had with a truck driver named Jefferey on our way down to Tucson, I asked him why he pursued truck driving as a career. Without hesitation he responded with “look in front of you, what do you see that was brought here by a truck?” The clear answer almost everything from the materials used to build the roads, the cars, and even the trees placed along the highway. They were all brought here from somewhere else. There are a ton of profitable opportunities in this business. On a final note, I wanted to thank everyone again for this wonderful experience. The CTS office in Phoenix was an absolutely incredible working environment, very friendly and welcoming.