Valparaiso University Wins First Place, $5,000 Cash Prize in First-ever Conexus Indiana Logistics Case Competition

Valparaiso University walked away today with a $5,000 cash award and a 3-day experience with Indiana’s top logistics industry executives committed to developing talent to fuel Indiana’s position as the “Crossroads of America” and a global logistics leader.

The team from Valparaiso University was among the more than 65 Indiana students from 17 colleges and universities who gathered in Indianapolis Oct. 12-14 for the first-ever Conexus Indiana Logistics Case Competition. The goal of the event was to increase awareness of logistics career opportunities and build the pipeline of students seeking logistics careers. The awards for first, second and third place, totaling $8,000 in cash, were presented by U.S. Representative Todd Rokita.

"This event, hosted by Conexus and leaders of Indiana's logistics industry, is a positive and proactive way to showcase the talent at Indiana's colleges and universities,” said U.S. Representative Todd Rokita. “The insight and resourcefulness of these students is indicative of the innovative programs offered at the institutions they attend.  These future industry leaders will help ensure Indiana continues to be a premier destination for companies looking for excellence in logistics service."

Purdue Polytechnic Institute placed second and won $2,000 and the University of Evansville placed third and won $1,000.

As the “Crossroads of America,” Indiana is a global logistics leader thanks to its central location and excellent business environment. Logistics career opportunities, which pay a median salary of $74,000, are only expected to increase as the business of moving products from manufacturing floor to store shelf is projected to double by 2035. The logistics sector employs approximately 300,000 Hoosiers and an estimated 75,000 more are employed in logistics positions by the state’s manufacturers.

“The Conexus Indiana Logistics Case Competition couldn’t have come at a more opportune time,” said Mark DeFabis, CEO of Integrated Distribution Services (IDS) and chairman of the Conexus Indiana Logistics Council. “In the last few months alone, Indiana has announced significant investments by a handful of logistics companies in Central Indiana and in communities around the state. The need for a skilled talent base continues to increase as more companies locate and grow in Indiana because of its ideal business environment.”

Students worked in teams of four to develop a solution to a real-world logistics business case that replicated the kinds of issues today’s industry leaders face in the high-tech logistics environments, said Nick Hoagland, COO/CPO of Backhaul Direct, vice chair of the Conexus Indiana Logistics Council and chair for the council’s Workforce Development Task Force. “Perhaps just as important,” he added, “these students had access to many of the state’s highest-ranking logistics executives to discuss career opportunities, learn more about the logistics industry and solidify their educational pathways for future success.”

Conexus Indiana has worked closely with Indiana’s universities to encourage the best and brightest students pursue the skills and education to succeed in the logistics industry. In addition to the Conexus Indiana Logistics Case Competition, Conexus Indiana sponsors multiple opportunities for students to meet with logistics executives on campus and at Hoosier logistics company sites.

Competing Schools:

Ancilla College

Ball State University

Butler University

Indiana State University

Indiana University (Kelley)

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

Ivy Tech Community College (Indianapolis)

Ivy Tech Community College (Lafayette/Fort Wayne)

Manchester College

Marian University

Purdue University (Krannert)

Purdue University (Polytechnic)

University of Southern Indiana

University of Evansville

University of Indianapolis

Vincennes University

Valparaiso University


Conexus Indiana Logistics Case Competition Supporting Logistics Companies:

Backhaul Direct



Duke Realty

Frost Brown Todd




Allison Transmission

Red Gold

Colliers International

MD Logistics


Buchanan Hauling and Rigging

Merchandise Warehouse Co.

Langham Logistics

Martin Riley


First Merchants Bank

Cushman & Wakefield

Safe Culture Consulting Group