Curtis Rucker of Virginia Beach, an employee of Damco in Chesapeake, cranks up the pallet jack during the LogistXGames competition at the Ace Import Redistribution Center at CenterPoint on Friday. After four events, Damco placed third in the event, behind second-place Target and first-place Givens.
Curtis Rucker of Virginia Beach, an employee of Damco in Chesapeake, cranks up the pallet jack during the LogistXGames competition at the Ace Import Redistribution Center at CenterPoint on Friday. After four events, Damco placed third in the event, behind second-place Target and first-place Givens.

Spirited competition

Published 11:04pm Friday, June 6, 2014

Dozens of local warehouse employees spent part of their day Friday packing, stacking, labeling and moving boxes in a warehouse.

Sounds like a normal day at work, right? Wrong.

Seven teams competed in the first-ever LogistXGames in Virginia, held at the Ace Import Redistribution Center in the CenterPoint development.

Employees from Massimo Zanetti check lists for the SKU code that matches the one on the last box on their pallet during the LogistXGames at the Ace Import Redistribution Center at CenterPoint on Friday. The company’s warehousing and distribution employees were among those from seven different area companies competing in the event, which had been held 25 times before but was visiting Virginia for the first time.
Employees from Massimo Zanetti check lists for the SKU code that matches the one on the last box on their pallet during the LogistXGames at the Ace Import Redistribution Center at CenterPoint on Friday. The company’s warehousing and distribution employees were among those from seven different area companies competing in the event, which had been held 25 times before but was visiting Virginia for the first time.

Created in Louisville, Ky., in 2007 to promote the logistics industry, the LogistXGames featured four challenges designed to test the skills of the competing employees. But it was about much more than fun and games, officials said.

“It is really based on supporting workforce development, which is very important for the Hampton Roads region,” said Robert Harbour, senior vice president for infrastructure and transportation for CenterPoint Properties. “The efficiency of logistics in Virginia will attract companies to the Hampton Roads area.”

At the end of the day, officials presented a check for $6,240 to Paul D. Camp Community College as funds raised from the event. CenterPoint kicked in $1,000, and Felicia Blow of Paul D. Camp said the college will create an endowed scholarship with the money.

Teams from Expeditors International (the company that runs the Ace warehouse), Target, California Cartage, Massimo Zanetti, Givens, Damco and CBRE competed in a variety of challenges throughout the day.

In the first timed event, they assembled, labeled and stacked 36 cardboard boxes of various sizes onto a pallet. They also packed three bottles of liquor into a box with strategic placement of packing peanuts, bubble wrap and newspapers, being able to use only one or two of the three.

In the second event, they took their pallets through a timed relay race weaving through stacks of pallets. If any boxes fell, they had to be re-stacked before the team could continue.

In the third event, the labeled boxes had to be checked against a list and placed in the correct locations on warehouse shelving. The event was timed, with penalties for inaccurate placement.

And in the final event, one employee from each team tossed the box containing the spirits as far as possible, with points given for distance and deductions for broken bottles. Only the teams from Damco and CBRE heard the sound of broken glass during the event.

Participants said they had fun but also acknowledged the underlying purpose of the games.

“We see this as one opportunity to meet new people and also to assist in the funding of a good opportunity to develop the workforce,” said Allen Campbell from Givens. “It’s good team-building also.”

Tony Coles of the Target team assisted in the first event and said he learned that bigger boxes don’t always need to go on the bottom of a pallet — especially when there’s nothing in them.

“I learned a lesson as soon as I finished and looked up,” he said. “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

But, he added, Target’s team spirit was unstoppable.

“Just hearing my teammates going ‘Go, go, go’ motivated me to keep going,” he said.

Indeed, Target received the spirit award for the event. California Cartage earned the award for the best-decorated box. Damco earned third place in the points totals, beaten by second-place Target and first-place Givens.

“It’s a great team-building environment for the companies,” said Kevin Grove, a senior vice president for CBRE Louisville and the founder of the LogistXGames. “They can recognize some of their key employees.”

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