CCALS: Empowering you through world class logistics

To call 2020 challenging is an understatement, but it was also an inspiring year as we watched people rise to meet those challenges. The logistics sector was no exception, as resourceful thinkers pushed through roadblocks, pivoted to find opportunities, and solved new problems with innovative approaches.

A few of the highlights as we look back over 2020:


The Port of Virginia, a longtime CCALS partner, set a new annual record for container cargo volume. The University of Virginia (UVA) team continues to work with the port on intermodal ecosystems and data sharing as well as freight logistics.


Dominion Power completed a pilot windfarm project off of Camp Pendleton at Virginia Beach, readying Virginia to enter the commercial wind energy market. Besides clean renewable energy, this offers opportunity for creative logistics solutions in handling infrastructure, staffing and storing electricity.


Funded in part by a Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) CRCF grant via CCALS, the VCU School of Pharmacy completed a project making medical reconciliation possible in emergency settings.

Newly formed Phlow Corp. gains the support of several Virginia legislators, who recommend that the federal government enlist the innovative pharmaceutical research, manufacturing and development startup to help supply essential generic medicines.


The COVID-19 environment became the dominant focus of academia, government and business. This new high-stakes environment is disruptive, unpredictable and technology-rich, and had CCALS partners rethinking supply chains, materials sources, and processes of all kinds, with a focus on planning for the unexpected.


The Virginia General Assembly created the new Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA), with CCALS included as a VIPA Center of Excellence. VIPA is a consortium geared toward getting Virginia’s economy up and running by supporting innovation.

GoVirginia grants to support job creation in central Richmond during the COVID pandemic were awarded to CCALS partners at VCU.


CCALS welcomed Pam Norris and Vince Barnett as CCALS’ chair and vice chair, respectively.

Dr. Pamela Norris is the Executive Dean in the School of Engineering and Applied Science and has been the UVA Board Representative for CCALS since 2015. She is recognized globally for her work in nanoscale heat transfer and is known for her commitment to diversity in STEM disciplines.

Vince Barnet is s Vice President of Business Investment for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP and a CCALS board member since 2018. He directs the development and implementation of VEDP’s comprehensive lead generation and business retention, as well as VEDP’s Governor-led foreign and domestic economic development marketing mission program.


Social justice movements throughout the US and around the world inspired CCALS to recommit to its original goals of promoting diversity and opportunity in the workforce.


CCALS Chair Pam Norris followed up with a podcast emphasizing the importance of bringing diversity and different perspectives to innovation in the ongoing challenges facing society.


Another medical engineering project completed: Secure Compartmentalized Automated Refrigerator Storage (SeCARS) in a Hospital Setting project by the VCU School of Engineering, was partially funded by a CIT CRCF grant.

Virginia’s container-on-barge traffic continues to surge during the pandemic. CCALS partners Cody Pennetti and Dan Andrews, both UVA Systems Engineering students who earned their doctorates in 2020, developed route management tools to help facilitate flow. Pennetti used big data for new insights into overland freight transportation logistics, while Andrews worked with Inland Waterway Transportation networks. Each collaborated with professionals including Virginia Port Authority, Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Economic Development Partnership to find new insights into transportation system performance needs.

CHEST Center, which includes longtime CCALS partner UVA, inspired congressional action with its recommendations on bolstering cyber security.


Richmond Technology Council awarded the Outstanding Collaboration in Tech Award to Phlow USA & VCU Engineering’s Medicines for All (M4ALL) Institute last month. The partnership, which also includes Civica Rx and AMPAC Fine Chemicals, aims to create an end-to-end pharma supply company handling research, development and manufacturing in the US. Phlow’s vision gained urgency and support during the pandemic and has been awarded a $354 million federal contract to make COVID 19 drugs.


Jim Lambert was elected a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Jim is a longtime CCALS partner and has served on the Technical Advisory Committee since the beginning.


The VIPA Board met for the first time to discuss business including formation of advisory committees to position the organization for the coming year.

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