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Rob Hoffman

Adjunct Professor, Industrial Technology and Management

Mies (Main) Campus Phone: 




Oxford and London School of Economics


INTM 430/540 Transportation


Worldwide Intermodal Transportation


Hoffman is an expert in worldwide intermodal transportation, having studied how different freight modes (sea, air, rail, road, pipeline and inland water) are interconnected, how they operate in different parts of the world, and why some dominate in certain regions. He is very familiar with the role of operators, brokers, forwarders, agents, pricing, ports, airports, infrastructure spending, public transportation policy, public/private partnerships, alternative energy options, and future challenges facing the freight industry supply chain.

Hoffman was born in Great Britain. He spent 28 years as a career diplomat with the British Foreign Service where he served in 17 different countries. He specialized in trade matters, assisting British firms to export and/or invest in the local market. In the latter part of his diplomatic career, he served in Chicago and as British Consul-General in Miami where he focused on encouraging US firms to expand their presence in Europe by investing in operations in Britain. After leaving the Foreign Service, Hoffman held several positions in manufacturing in Chicago. He led the Industrial Marketing and Sales practice at the Chicago Manufacturing Center (CMC), and was a founding member of World Business Chicago, the region’s award-winning, non-profit economic development agency. He specialized in the attraction and retention of distribution, air, land and water transportation as well as manufacturing industries. He has also been Director of Business Development at the Chicago Workforce Board and Director of Chicago LEADS, a mayoral initiative to improve the focus of Chicago’s publicly-funded, pre-employment preparation and recruitment activities. In these positions he created a comprehensive training program for the transportation, distribution and logistics sectors in the city.

Hoffman continues to be active in promoting the need to maintain and expand the existing transportation infrastructure to meet the demand that will arise as the nation’s population grows and world trade doubles in the next 20 years. He is a member of several state and local transportation advisory groups. He also currently owns a part-time consulting practice that helps transportation sector associations and interest groups lobby for increased infrastructure spending and secure alternative sources of funding.