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RMI Scholarships Support The Future Of Rack Design, Use

RMI Scholarships

Annually, the members of the Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI) sponsor academic scholarships as part of the Material Handling Education Foundation, Inc. (MHEFI). RMI’s scholarships support undergraduates who represent the future of rack design, engineering, and use.

RMI offers these scholarships in hopes of encouraging more of today’s students to pursue careers in the supply chain, said Paul Neal, President and CEO of RMI member UNARCO Material Handling. Neal also currently serves as RMI President.

“The growth of e-commerce and importance of the supply chain has changed the face of jobs in the material handling industry. These jobs not only tie into the complex engineering and manufacturing of material handling structures like racks, but also into automated material handling solutions, data analysis, and related software needed to maximize and successfully operate within a supply chain,” he explained.

“To attract top talent, RMI and other corporate leaders in our industry have to support the educational process in universities,” Neal continued. “Offering scholarships is one way to highlight the exciting career opportunities our industry offers to the leaders of tomorrow.”

“The demands of today’s global economy and fast-paced technological change reinforce the need to attract top talent to our industry,” agreed Donna Varner, MHI Director of Events and Administration and MHEFI Executive Director. “Through RMI’s scholarships and others, MHEFI helps sustain and strengthen material handling and supply chain businesses for the future.”

RMI Scholarships Support Undergrads

To be eligible to apply for an RMI scholarship, students must enroll for the entire academic school year. Only undergraduates — freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors — can apply. Applicants must be pursuing a career in material handling, logistics, or supply chain. They must also demonstrate dedication to excellence, strong leadership skills, potential for growth, and persistence in pursuing their education. The awards fund tuition, fees, books, and other costs associated with full-time enrollment.

RMI offers two scholarships, noted Neal. “One honors Dan Clapp, who served as Chair of RMI’s Standards Advisory and Engineering Committees for many years. The second is a group of Honor Scholarships sponsored by ASG Services, a producer of load capacity plaques,” he explained.

Daniel Clapp Memorial RMI Scholarship Honors Memory of Long-Time Volunteer

Established shortly after his death in July 2020, the $5,000 Daniel Clapp Memorial Scholarship honors the legacy of the engineer who volunteered for RMI for many years.

“Dan was instrumental in leading the development of various standards, publications, and the R-Mark Certification program,” continued Neal. “The current state of safety in the rack and storage industry is due in large part to his engineering expertise and leadership.”

For the 2023-2024 academic year, RMI awarded the $5,000 Daniel Clapp Memorial Scholarship to Max Lovell. Lovell is a freshman Supply Chain Management student at Miami University in Ohio. Inspired by his father’s career at an automotive manufacturing plant in his hometown, Lovell is fascinated by the movement of materials and equipment inside and outside the plant. He plans to use his focus on computer science to improve communications between humans and automation.

RMI Honor Scholarships Partially Funded by Load Capacity Plaque Sales

ASG Services, which worked with RMI in 2007 to develop the load capacity plaque program, sponsors the RMI Honor Scholarships. Funding for these awards comes in part from a portion of all load plaque sales, said David Grundy, Director at ASG Services.

“Shortly after opening ASG Services here in the U.S., the company founder joined MHI and met then-CEO John Nofsinger,” recalled Grundy. “John and MHI helped us make connections in the industry, which was increasingly working to improve safety practices in warehousing at that time.”

ASG Services built a website specifically for RMI members. The site creates a standard layout of rack system specific information printed on the plaques. It automatically applies the rack manufacturer’s logo and R-Mark as well. RMI members pay a discounted rate for each plaque produced, of which ASG Services donates a percentage to the RMI Honor Scholarship fund. Additionally, a portion of any other purchases made by RMI members via ASG Services’ online store are also added to the fund.

“As you can imagine, that adds up quickly,” Grundy continued. He estimated that more than $170,000 has been donated to fund scholarships since the program’s inception.

In addition to supporting the education of the industry’s future workforce, Grundy said that ASG Services appreciates the connections, resources, and support the company receives from MHI. “We value MHI’s encouragement and assistance over the years. Funding the scholarships is a way to reflect that loyalty back,” he said.

Four students received RMI Honor Scholarships for the 2023-2024 academic year. They include:

Eliza Bohart, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Bohart, recipient of a $5,000 RMI Honor Scholarship, is a senior Industrial Engineering student. She is a gold star active member of the Society of Women Engineers and a mentee for the College of Science and Engineering Ambassadors. In summer 2022 she interned at Cummins as a supply chain and manufacturing intern. She followed that with a manufacturing engineering internship at Boston Scientific. She plans to enter the workforce upon graduation.

Brian Blood, Kansas State University

Granted a $5,000 RMI Honor Scholarship, Blood is a senior Industrial Engineering student. He is a case competition member of the K-State Global Supply Chain Club, and an Eagle Scout. He previously interned as an Industrial Engineer at Walt Disney World. While there he created a machine learning (ML) model used to predict demand and support labor planning. In summer 2023 he interned at the data science arm of The Kroger Company. There, he concentrated on facility planning, material handling, and space optimization. Blood plans to enter the workforce after graduation.

Sylvi Frogness, University of Minnesota

Awarded a $5,000 RMI Honor Scholarship, Frogness is a senior Industrial Engineering student. She worked a co-op at Greenheck Group where she initiated a warehousing system for external storage. The project resulted in a two-day decrease in build cycle times. After graduation Frogness would like to work as a manufacturing engineer focused on systems and processes.

Seth Thibodeau, Oklahoma State University

Thibodeau, a junior Industrial Engineering student, received a $3,000 RMI Honor Scholarship. He currently works as a Facilities Systems Technician for the Stillwater Public Schools while also attending school full-time. In his job he designs and creates warehouse inventory systems and manages the warehouse. After graduation, Thibodeau would like to work as an industrial engineer focused on structural design processes to avoid future problems with facilities.

Want to learn more about RMI’s scholarship program and how students can apply? Visit MHEFI’s Student Eligibility information site. For information about donating to MHEFI scholarships — including those offered by RMI — visit the donor page.