This course will inform attendees about the effects of unit load design on materials handling costs, and the fundamentals of unit load design using the PDS software.  Topics covered in this short course:

  • Learn how unit load design and selection affects materials handling costs.
  • Learn the fundamentals unit load design and performance
  • Learn how to use the PDS software to design unit loads


Fee Information

CPULD and NWPCA members contact Kate Bridgeman at jasmit29@vt.edu for the membership codes.

Location Information

This course is being held in person in 2023. It will consist of 2.5 days of lectures, assignments, and laboratory tours. All of these activities will be at the Brooks Forest Products Center, just off the Virginia Tech campus near the Corporate Research Center, in Blacksburg, VA.

Although this course is designed to be experienced in person, we understand that many are still under travel restrictions, so we are also offering a virtual option. The cost of attending virtually is the same as in-person, and live participation in assignments and discussions thru webcams and virtual meeting softwares will be expected over the full short course. You will be asked during registration whether you plan to attend in person or virtually by Zoom. 

Brooks Forest Products Center
Virginia Tech, MC 0503
1650 Research Center Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061



Dr. Laszlo Horvath
Associate Professor, Virginia Tech
Director, Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design

In 2010, Dr. Horvath received his Ph.D. in Forest Biomaterials from NC State. He is one of the few packaging professionals who have received the "ISTA CPLP – Professional Level" certification. He is the chair of the ASTM D1185 working group, a U.S. delegate of TC 51, and a voting member of ANSI MH1 and MH 10 committees.            

Dr. Brad Gething
Vice President
National Wood Pallet and Container Association

Brad Gething became a member of the NWPCA staff in July 2013, taking on the role of Technical and PDS Manager. Brads role includes participation in various standards bodies, promotion of research and development, and support on other technical issues related to the wood packaging industry. He also serves as a point of contact for PDS design support.

Kristen DeLack
Professional Engineer
National Wood Pallet and Container Association

Kristen DeLack is a 25-year veteran Structural Engineer who joined NWPCA in 2016.  She is a licensed Professional Engineer in Texas and Virginia.  Kristen graduated Summa Cum Laude from VA Tech with two Bachelor’s and one Master’s degrees, concentrating in multidisciplinary and structural engineering. Prior to joining NWPCA, Kristen worked in the offshore oil and gas industry as a structural engineer and engineering project manager.  During this time, she developed design and analysis software tools that helped engineers around the world efficiently design and build safe subsea structures.  She is widely recognized as an expert in finite element analysis, which serves as the backbone for calculations performed by PDS. In her spare time, Kristen is an avid woodworker and historic preservation enthusiast. 

Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrollment. Please complete a Course Inquiry so that we may promptly notify you when enrollment opens.
Required fields are indicated by .