Throughout his career, Dan Gardner has built expertise in both international trade and education, giving him a unique perspective on the expansive career pathway in global trade and what it takes for students to start or move forward on it.
Gardner is president of Trade Facilitators, Inc., a Los Angeles-based consulting and training firm that advises clients on global supply chain management, and was also named a Top instructor at the California State University Long Beach Center for International Trade & Transportation.
Gardner recently wrapped up a course on International Transportation and U.S. Customs Clearance Procedures that was delivered remotely to 18 students around the world, as part of a professional development program for the Port of Long Beach Maritime Center of Excellence at Long Beach City College.
Through the course of his career in global trade, Gardner said he’s seen people with a variety of experience levels, from no advanced education through people with master’s degrees. He said a degree is not required for success if you are able to obtain relevant certifications and develop specialized knowledge of customs and border procedures.
“You can get a license, which is a very valuable credential,” Gardner said. “There are also certifications that have a lot of credibility within the industry.”
Gardner said it’s also feasible for people to start their own businesses in the global trade industry and had a few students in his most recent LBCC class who had their own companies. The entrepreneurial spirit pairs well with the shipping and logistics business, he said.
“It is feasible to work on your own and a lot of this industry is experienced based,” Gardner said. “We know things that clients need and they pay us for it, so you can get trained on a subject and apply that by working for someone else or working for yourself.”
Regardless of whether a student has a degree, Gardner said some level of technical experience is helpful, as many of the career opportunities in customs and logistics are in the technology space, as opposed to physically moving goods from one place to another.
Gardner plans to continue teaching with the Maritime Center this fall and ranks LBCC among his favorite places to teach because of the focus on real-world skills to help students advance their careers. The Maritime Center adds to that value by focusing specifically on global trade and opportunities available in Southern California and beyond.
“They are giving people skills they can apply in the workplace tomorrow,” Gardner said. “LBCC is among maybe five nationally that can make that claim in global trade. They are creating a platform that gives students a clear vision of what they want to study next.”
Courses are offered in part through sponsorship by both the Global Trade and Advanced Transportation and Logistics Sectors of the California Community Colleges.
For more information on Gardner and his customs and logistics training, visit the Trade Facilitators YouTube channel. For more information about the Maritime Center courses, visit lbcc.edu/maritimecenter.