Intern Spotlight | Aaron & Elizabeth

This summer, we had the pleasure of hiring Aaron Schreck (Intern at GRDC) and Elizabeth Kulich (Shuttle Switch Intern) as full-time interns. Both interns are from Central Michigan University and in the Logistics Management and Marketing program. Read further to get to know each intern a little bit more!

What year are you at CMU?

Aaron: “I am a senior at Central Michigan University, double majoring in marketing and logistics. I plan on graduating in May 2018.”

Elizabeth: “In the fall, I will be starting my Junior year.”

Where is your hometown?

Aaron: “Grand Rapids, MI”

Elizabeth: “Comstock Park, MI”

What have you learned from your internship? 

Aaron: “I have already learned so much from my time with Columbian – but most importantly I’ve learned how to effectively communicate with people. Communication is the key to success; whether it is communicating with the hilo drivers, truck drivers or even the administrative personnel, you need to be able to communicate effectively. I’ve also learned how important timing is in the logistics world. Whether it’s the truck driver making sure s/he is on time to his pick-up or the hilo driver loading the truck for an outbound shipment, everything in the warehouse revolves around timing.”

“I have learned that data is everything, especially when dealing with customers. When you pull and interpret the data for the customer, it helps both the customer and Columbian with the service they are providing. From there, the two teams can develop solutions to the problem from the root causes identified in the data.”

Has your perspective of the supply chain and warehousing changed since you have started your internship at Columbian? If so, how?

Aaron: “My perspective on supply chain and logistics has changed considerably since interning with Columbian. When learning about the supply chain from a classroom perspective it is difficult to understand the role that is taken on by a third party provider. At Columbian, the role taken on is expanded because of their excellent customer service. I’m told we don’t necessarily offer the lowest warehousing prices, but what we do offer is the best customer service around. Customer service is key in the third-party logistics industry because customers need to be able to depend on the company they choose. With Columbian Logistics, I believe that they can.”

Elizabeth: “I have always heard that supply chain “never sleeps.” After spending a month and a half at Columbian, I have seen this first hand. I constantly see the allocation of drivers diversifying, my supervisors working well over the amount of time they are “supposed” to work, and work constantly appearing and disappearing in our IT systems. Now that I have seen it first hand, I believe everything everyone has said. The pace is something I can thrive on.”

Can you list anything that they don’t teach you in college that you learned in the field?

Aaron: “I wish that colleges taught courses that focused more on the warehousing and space utilization side of logistics. Warehousing is becoming the standard for companies as they shift towards out-of-house warehousing and transportation. I think that a warehousing course would be beneficial to a significant number of students and would help them gain some perspective on what working in a warehouse consists of.”

: “A lot of things…but hard to put my finger on.”

What is a name of a class you wish they taught in college? 

Elizabeth: “Politics in the Workplace lol”

What’s your day-to-day role as an intern at CLN?

Aaron: “My day-to-day role at Columbian is always changing. I have been granted the opportunity to work with many different people, in many different areas of the company. I have worked with people such as; Tina Sutherland in an administrative support and transportation role, Brant Weaver in a warehouse management role, Alan Haynes in a continuous improvement role, and I have even been able to be a member of the discussion when it comes to bigger decisions within the company with Richard Schultz. Each of these opportunities has helped me gain a better understanding of the company, and have helped me to find out what I am truly passionate about. I feel that Columbian does an excellent job of allowing interns to work in many different positions within the warehousing industry, which helps them to find what fits them best. I would strongly recommend interning with Columbian Logistics to anyone interested in being employed by a 3PL company.”

: “I started at 36th Street Grand Rapids Distribution Center, but have since moved to Shuttle/Switch in Transportation. I have had several projects here.
First, I started looking at several procedures for Columbian and customers to reduce exposure and risk.
Second, stemming from that project, I reorganized the Shuttle/Switch Driver Manual in order to eliminate unnecessary information and create a manual that could be used as a step-by-step guide through a driver’s day. I also helped in creating a separate driver manual for Short Haul.
Thirdly, I analyzed data on service calls looking to allocate a dedicated service team member of Russ’ Steamer Service for a certain number of hours each week.
Fourth, I have been analyzing data for customers. This data will help Columbian allocate drivers based on busy days, times, and changing shift times to accommodate these things. Along with analyzing the data for customers, I have created a visual driver schedule.”

How did you hear about interning at CLN?

Aaron: “I heard about Columbian Logistics through a couple of business associations that I am member of at Central Michigan University. I joined the Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA) last August, and then was asked to interview for a position in the Logistics Management Council (LMC) in January. As a member of these associations, I was granted the opportunity to be a part of networking nights. At the networking nights, I met Jim Gadziemski, who told me about the company and really caught my interest.”

: “When I first heard about Columbian, I was researching companies that were going to be at our Supply Chain Management Association’s Networking Night. As I was talking to recruiters from different companies, I was introduced to Jim Gadziemski. From there, I was connected and offered an interview a month or so later.”

What is your dream job?

Aaron: “I have always been extremely passionate about leading. I have been a leader throughout my entire life. I was a captain of all my sports teams, managed at the West Michigan Whitecaps from a young age and have taken the lead on business projects throughout school. Since I have had success in these leadership roles, I would love to start off in a management or supervision role with whichever company I end up working for after college.”

: “I’m not so sure of a dream job, but I would love to live and work in Chicago some day!”


Columbian Logistics Network Educates Michigan Transportation Planning Association

Columbian hosted Michigan Transportation Planning Association (MTPA) Conference attendees for a tour of our warehouse facility at 900 Hall Street Southwest. Attendees included employees from Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), members of the Grand Valley Metro Council, municipal planners and engineers, consultants, elected officials, and staff from other similar metropolitan planning organizations throughout Michigan. Grand Valley Metro Council was the lead agency of the MTPA conference this year.

The tour was one session of the conference’s Transportation Planning track. Tour attendees gathered information on various aspects of freight transportation (specifically truck and rail), warehousing, and how Columbian operates. The MTPA Conference has an overall education component related to transportation planning.

Dennis Kent, region transportation planner at MDOT, said “We anticipate the participants will have a better understanding of the logistics process in general, and this is an opportunity to highlight a locally based logistics company.”

The relationship between Columbian and MDOT dates back approximately 10 years ago. Staff members from MDOT and The Right Place worked with John Zevalkink, CEO at Columbian Logistics Network, to secure a loan through Michigan Rail Loan Assistance Program to fund repairs to the Plaster Creek Bridge on the CSX rail spur which serves Columbian. This partnership allowed Columbian to re-establish rail service into the Hall Street facility.

Kent said, “This tour will help transportation planning professionals to better understand the logistics industry and the issues affecting it locally and statewide.  This partnership with Columbian, MDOT and the MTPA should lead to a better understanding of how public investments in the transportation system impact private sector operations.  We appreciate Columbian allowing us access to their business and facilities as part of the MTPA conference in Grand Rapids.”

American Heart Association FUNdraising

Columbian Logistics - Heart Month Collage

February is designated ‘Heart Month’ by the American Heart Association, and Columbian Logistics Network employees engaged in a variety of fundraising and awareness activities to help strike out heart disease. A  company wide 50/50 raffle, Bowl-A-Thon, and ‘Pie Your Manager’ challenge raised a total of $2,801 for the American Heart Association!

Extra special thanks go to the Columbian Human Resource Team, who organized and ran all of the Heart Month Events. Thank you Jilia, Chris and Julie!!

If you have questions about Columbian Logistics American Heart Association Fundraising efforts, please contact Jilia Hagen at

Click here to watch the video! 

Columbian Logistics Network To Present at Michigan Safety Conference

Columbian Logistics Network is pleased to announce that it will present at the 86th Annual Michigan Safety Conference ( April . The two day conference April 19-20th) is organized and operated as a not-for-profit corporation. Membership is on a voluntary basis, with representatives from business, industry, education, labor and government. Over 3,000 attendees make up the safety, health and environmental employees who seek information on the latest techniques and equipment. This year’s event will be be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the Devos Place Convention Center. Content divisions include:

  • Agricultural Safety & Rescue
  • CET Division
  • Chemical Division
  • Construction Division
  • Emergency MGT & Fire Safety
  • Environmental MGT. Division
  • Healthcare Division
  • Industrial Division
  • Industrial Hygiene Division
  • Metal Fabricating Section
  • Public Utility & Employer Division
  • Risk & Insurance Division
  • Security Division
  • Transportation Division

Bob Christian, Executive Vice President of Operations at Columbian Logistics Network, will present ‘Building a Culture of Safety’, which will detail the successful steps Columbian Logistics has taken to promote safety throughout the organization, as well leveraging it’s commitment as a competitive advantage.

For questions about Columbian Logistics Network’s presentation, please contact Blair Thomas,, Director of Customer Care.

For more information about the Michigan Safety Conference,  visit