UNF logistics program can help ‘find your bliss’

Special for Jobs

From left, UNF instructor Brett Harper, David Stephens, Beth Stephens and instructor Ron Shamlaty are pictured at a ceremony for David Stephens’ Certification in Logistics and Transportation graduation.

David Stephens (right) shakes hands with Warren Taylor, an owner-operator truck driver for The Grimes Companies in Jacksonville. Special for Jobs
David Stephens said he was never discontent with the longtime truck-driving job that he voluntarily gave up this year.

But the 50-year-old Jacksonville resident was certain there was a more ideal career for him. As a newlywed, especially, he didn’t want to continue being away from home as much as four weeks at a time.

“You have to find your bliss in life,” he said.
Now he’s found it.

Stephens completed the six-month University of North Florida’s Certification in Logistics and Transportation (CTL) program and is now working as a driver resources coordinator for The Grimes Companies.

In his new position, Stephens has a key role with one of the Southeast’s leading logistics and transportation firms.

“I wanted to expand on what I knew, which was basically transportation, warehousing and logistics, and be able to go somewhere in life,” he said. “There are a lot of opportunities out there in this town if people will take advantage of what is out there.”

CTL is an internationally recognized industry certification offered through the American Society for Transportation and Logistics. The UNF instructors are industry professionals who share best practices in costing and pricing and applying strategies to increase productivity. Supply chain management is moving the right items to the right customer at the right time by the most efficient means; the movement of cargo through the supply chain is also known as “logistics.”

Brett Harper, a lead instructor for the CTL program, said that the certification offers the same principles taught during a four-year degree program — but in “hyper-speed.”

“Not everybody can afford to go to a four-year university and some people are too far in their career to do that. So certification is filling that void,” he said. “You learn about the entire supply chain industry, not just one aspect.”

Among the benefit to program participants is that the instructors help the students make key supply chain management industry connections that may be utilized in their career path.

Nearly 350 people, many already working in logistics fields, have received the certification through UNF since the program began in 2009.

“We have people coming into the program who either want to change their career path or who are already in the industry and want to expand their knowledge,” Harper said. “The thing certifications do is give an educational level that people can’t get anyplace else. If you think about it, nobody grows up thinking about getting into warehousing and transportation.”

While the program covers topics ranging from inventory control to international logistics, it starts with a module on business.

“About $1.4 trillion is spent in the U.S. each year on logistics, so it is a business,” Harper said.

Lori Frederick, UNF’s continuing education director, said the program is helping employers fill key positions in the community, and that it’s especially filling a niche for people with military backgrounds.

“With the logistics industry experiencing such growth, the program is providing employers an opportunity to solidify or increase their market share by having employees who understand all aspects of the supply chain,” she said. “For the attendees, they feel like they are able to do their jobs better and realize the value of networking.”

At UNF, the CTL is offered through cohorts, which group students into the same classes throughout the program. Stephens said he particularly benefitted from and enjoyed the team-based learning experience, which enables classmates to build professional and personal relationships that will last a lifetime.

A U.S. Air Force veteran, Stephens is philosophical about his upward career development in 2015.

“The difference between who you are and what you want to be is what you do today; my brother told me that,” he said.

Stephens said his wife, Beth, had a key role in him researching, enrolling and completing the program. The couple paid for the program out of pocket.

“We went into this together,” Beth Stephens said, “and I couldn’t be more proud of David.”

Harper, meanwhile, said Stephens was a model student.

“David was like a sponge, taking information in, on Day 1. It was clear that he came to learn,” he said.

New CTL programs begin in January and February. For more information, call (904) 620-4200 or visit http://www.unf.edu/ce/logistics.

Article featured in Jacksonville.com By Kevin Hogencamp Tue, Dec 22, 2015 @ 9:20 am | updated Tue, Dec 22, 2015 @ 4:13 pm

UNF’s Certification in Transportation & Logistics

The Certification in Transportation and Logistics (CTL) is an internationally-recognized industry certification, since 1948, offered in partnership with the American Society for Transportation and Logistics (ASTL). The first UNF Division of Continuing Education cohort program started in June 2009 with nine students. The program has more than 300 graduates.

The CTL certification is awarded to professionals who demonstrate a deeper understanding of the fundamentals and industry knowledge through classroom discussions, team presentations, active participation and successful completion of all five modules.

Our instructor-led program is taught by highly regarded industry professionals with more than 75 combined years of hands on experience. Ensuring that your education and your employees’ education requirement meets and/or EXCEEDS industry standards. UNF Continuing Education specializes in training programs designed to meet the specific needs of a company or organization. Special training programs may draw from the content of other courses listed on our web site or brochures or may be focused on other subject areas.

The classroom experience offers tremendous opportunities for both the individual and those that are attending from a company. Students will learn to identify best practices in costing and pricing, how to reduce costs, apply strategies that will increase productivity, network with other industry professionals, make lifelong connections that may be utilized down your career path and much, much more.

Companies that send participants to the program have seen savings in time and resources, increased employee satisfaction, higher level of customer service, improved performance and competitive advantage.

Benefit to Companies

Here’s what company executives told us when asked what they felt was most valuable for their employees attending the CTL program.

  • Attending the CTL program enabled our newest executive to have better focus on his duties. He was able do a better job because he had covered all aspects of supply chain and broaden his thinking.
  • Sending our employee has helped us find our place in the marketplace and grow strategically using what was learned.
  • Upon completion of the program our employees were more engaged in the process and how what they did crossed all facets of the organization.
Companies that send participants to the program have seen savings in time and resources, decrease in turnover, increased employee satisfaction, higher level of customer service, improved performance and competitive advantage. The transportation and logistics industry in Florida is fierce and in need of educated professionals. With more than 500,000 jobs throughout Florida employers need to begin by filling the knowledge gap. Employer-provided training has the same effect on job satisfaction as a 17.7% net wage increase.

Benefit to Individuals

Here’s what former students said they found most valuable.

  • I’ve been in the industry for 10 years and after the completion of the CTL program I felt like I learned 10 years more of experience.
  • Attending the program has inspired me to return to school for my masters.
  • The program helped me to focus on and remind me of things I’d forgotten about.

The classroom experience offers tremendous opportunities for the individual to identify best practices in costing and pricing, how to reduce costs, apply strategies that will increase productivity, network with other industry professionals, make lifelong connections that may be utilized down your career path and much, much more.

Training Modules Include

  • General Management Principles and Techniques
  • Transportation Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • International Transportation and Logistics
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management and Strategy

Certification Requirements

Those seeking certification should have at minimum a four year degree and/or three years of full time experience in the field of transportation and logistics. Qualified individuals with appropriate experience in a related field, unemployed or underemployed are also eligible.

The modules we offer satisfy the academic requirement portion to achieve your CTL certification. To receive and uphold your certification from ASTL, you must recertifiy with 45 Professional Development Hours (PDH) every three years.  A one year membership is included with your program cost.

For more information, contact Lori Frederick, program director at lori.frederick@unf.edu or (904) 620-4200.