Advanced Transportation & Logistics

Northeast Florida – America’s Logistics Center.

Transportation and Logistics in the Northeast Florida region, offers advanced career opportunities in all four pillars of logistics: rail, air, maritime and highway. Opportunities lie in a wide array of fields including intermodal distribution, third-party logistics, autonomous vehicles and more.

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Transportation & Logistics Industry Report

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Industry Deep Dive

Advanced Transportation & Logistics Companies in the Region

Networking is critical. In this industry, everyone knows everyone. You never know who will help you. Be open to opportunity and take on challenges.

Matt RogersSenior Transportation Systems Manager, Kehe

I like knowing I can help. There are tangible results of my efforts. It’s important to know that I’m being useful with my time and that I can have a piece of this huge industry.

Beth WilderMarine Personnel Specialist

Veteran-owned businesses such as Global Freight & Commerce are examples of the talent and dedication of our nation's veterans.
-Marco Rubio

Jesus GarayOwner of Jacksonville’s Global Freight & Commerce

Beth Wilder

Marine Personnel Specialist at TOTE Services

Putting the Puzzle Together: A career transition to Transportation & Logistics

Beth Wilder is a Navy veteran having worked as a mechanic as well as in quality assurance while serving. After transitioning to civilian life, Beth worked multiple jobs to support her three children, one of which brought her to Jacksonville to play football at a top-notch high school. After moving to Northeast Florida, Beth chose Keiser University as she needed flexibility to keep working while pursuing her education. This choice moved her closer to the goal of obtaining a fantastic job that facilitates making worthwhile professional contributions.

Beth chose her studies carefully after considering what mattered most to her and how she can best add value to an organization. Beth spoke with various professors about the transportation and logistics industry and how to maximize her opportunities within it. She heeded their advice to participate in various clubs of genuine interest as well as networking within the industry.

As a result, Beth will graduate from Keiser University with a degree in Business Administration in May 2021 after four years of study and participation in various clubs which provided exposure to employers as well as offered scholarship opportunities. For example, she earned a $2,000 scholarship from Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) Northeast Florida which advances women’s careers to strengthen the transportation industry. Involvement in the International Propeller Club, JAX Chapter generated award recognition as well as an interview with TOTE Services.

While still pursuing her degree, Beth obtained a position at TOTE Services as a result of this interview. TOTE Services facilitates ship operations and management of U.S. flag vessels and U.S. government owned vessels. As a Marine Personnel Specialist, Beth processes paperwork ensuring that all people can safely board ships, ensuring adherence to regulations and compliance, and interfacing with the officers to ensure the processing meets their needs. “I love puzzles and I miss the sea. This role is as close as I can get while still ensuring my role as a Mom comes first and still having satisfaction of serving others.”

Beth will start graduate school with a focus on Business Administration in Marketing or Accounting so she can continue career laddering. “I like knowing I can help. There are tangible results of my efforts. It’s important to know that I’m being useful with my time and that I can have a piece of this huge industry.” She also takes advantage of virtual training and educational programs offered by TOTE Services via the Blue Ocean platform.

Trends that Beth anticipates seeing include more ships powered by Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), a move in the maritime industry that began with the company with which she now works and which fueled the world’s first LNG-powered containership in 2015.

She also sees the increase of automated functions with an increased need for specialized personnel to maintain machines. The push for a balanced, happy employee in the industry
is also important, as is instilling confidence and leadership in the next generation of the workforce.

Beth states, “I want people like women and young professionals to feel empowered. Get past the fact that I’m a woman and just think about my abilities. Look at who you are, not what you are. See beyond a demographic.”

Jesus Garay

Owner of Jacksonville’s Global Freight & Commerce

Senator Marco Rubio, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, recognized Jesus Garay (pictured left), owner of Jacksonville's Global Freight & Commerce during National Veterans Small Business Week.

After 20 years of active military service, which included 6 combat tours in Iraq and Bosnia, as well as 3 tours in Korea, Jesus Garay started Global Freight & Commerce. Not one to let military retirement in 2014 ease his schedule, Garay has not only started a small business, but lends his time and support to community endeavors. A Jacksonville native, Garay is passionate about investing in real opportunities for the community so that others can have a solid, profitable career. He participates in events such as job fairs, conferences on topics such as Opportunity Zones, and community events like the JAX Chamber's The Longest Table. His abundant energy and commitment to seeing others succeed makes him a valuable entrepreneur in Northeast Florida, as well as an excellent mentor to employees and community members seeking to change their lives.

According to their website, Global Freight & Commerce is a 100% owner-operated trucking company and an industry-freight leader. Owner-operators have the ability to earn above average wages in the industry. Partners include Department of Defense, FEMA, JB Hunt, and Pepsi.

When honoring Garay, Rubio stated, "A member of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, Global Freight & Commerce is also involved in the community… which provide leadership training to assist and develop the local workforce. Veteran-owned businesses such as Global Freight & Commerce are examples of the talent and dedication of our nation's veterans. I look forward to watching Global Freight & Commerce's continued growth and success."

Matt Rogers

Senior Transportation Systems Manager at KeHe

Formula for Success: Education, Research, Networking, Internships

Matt Rogers, Senior Transportation Systems Manager at KeHE in Elkton, Florida, said, “My Dad taught me that there are three decisions that you can make: the right one, the wrong one, and none at all. “ This advice appears to have guided Matt’s career pathway in the Transportation and Logistics (T&L) industry. Through careful research, making decisions on the educational program most suited to his learning style and area of interest, and being open to industry opportunities and challenges, Matt has found success in the industry in Northeast Florida.

Matt works for KeHE, a national company with a location in St. John’s County. KeHE specializes in order fulfillment and distribution to 30,000 stores in North America with continuing acquisitions. With 550 trucks and 15 North American distribution centers, KeHE is able to provide fresh, natural, and organic specialty foods to companies such as Publix and Sprouts. They serve big box stores to smaller family-owned operations.

Matt’s current role will allow him to improve route visibility. This industry trend incorporates technology and is the result of “The Amazon Effect.” The expectation of knowing when delivery will take place is a customer service issue that also allows businesses to be more responsive. Due to the distance trucks travel to each their many locations, an estimated time of arrival may change depending on traffic, accidents, or a variety of other factors. Matt’s work will involve a device in trucks that provides customers with real-time data and a notification when the driver is 30 minutes away from his or her destination. He previously worked for other regional companies such as Shoreside Logistics, Interstate Distributor, and Interline Brands.

After relocating to Jacksonville in between his junior and senior years of high school, Matt obtained his Associate of Arts degree at FSCJ and attended University of Florida until his Junior year. Matt began investigating the program at the University of North Florida (UNF) and was attracted to the smaller class size. He also realized that he needed to distinguish himself from many other students pursuing a business degree. Matt also realized that his hometown of Jacksonville was a major site of T & L activity encompassing road, rail, sea and air.

In 2008, Matt graduated from UNF with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Logistics and Transportation with a minor in Economics. Studies in this degree track at UNF qualified Matt to register for free and bypass the exam for the Certification in Transportation and Logistics (CTL), an internationally recognized industry certification.

Matt finds the industry interesting because “It’s so broad. The general public doesn’t understand how T & L impacts everything. The goods that reach families have a supply chain behind it.” Also, the industry is fun because “It’s always different.” Technology changes lend excitement to the industry as well. For example, on the warehouse side, KeHE’s Pick-to-Light capacity means that a light guides a picker to carious aisles and rows that house goods needed for multiple bins. This replaces print-out sheets of the past. Also, voice-to-pick technology provides opportunity for ESL workers, as the system can read orders in their native language.

Working while in school was a key to Matt’s success. In high school, he worked at Publix and realized how close and vast their warehouses were to the region. While at UNF, Matt worked at Medtronic, an opportunity secured through networking. While there, he was able to learn many aspects of the business including warehousing, purchasing, and customer service. This provided valuable cross-training and exposure in the company.

Matt cites the primary characteristics of people who are successful in this industry include thriving in a non-repetitive working environment that is deadline and time sensitive. Someone must be able to pivot quickly and realize that despite planning and strategy, not everything goes according to plan. “You can’t take it personally despite being invested. If something doesn’t work out, learn from it and move on.”

When asked what kind of helpful advice he’d share with individuals seeking to get into this field, Matt said, “Networking is critical. In this industry, everyone knows everyone. You never know who will help you. Be open to opportunity and take on challenges.“ He would encourage students to “work while you’re finishing your degree or secure an internship. If you can reduce debt while in school by working or using Bright Futures, it will pay dividends down the road.”
Clearly, Matt has made many choices and taken specific actions to reach this juncture in his career pathway. Now, you have more information equipping you to do the same.

Trailer Bridge

Expanding in the Marketplace, Growing a Dynamic Company Culture”

Trailer Bridge is an asset-based, full-service logistics firm that offers transportation over water and land. Trailer Bridge service lanes run throughout North America and the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, USVI) Trailer Bridge has enjoyed rapid expansion in recent years, but is proud to be founded on historical significance. Its founder, Malcom McLean, is considered to be the father of containerization, something in which the company is very proud. McLean’s methods of shipping goods completely altered the way ocean bound goods are loaded, stored, and offloaded, dramatically increasing the efficiency of these operations.

The fastest growing arm of Trailer Bridge’s business is the North American Logistics line. Trailer Bridge has dramatically increased the number of operational locations to include Los Angeles, CA, as well as sites in Jacksonville, FL, Atlanta, GA, Harrisburg, PA, Minneapolis, MN, Houston, TX, Chicago, IL, Raleigh, NC, Mexico City, MC and Cincinnati, OH.

Trailer Bridge is distinct for their history, but they’re also set apart by factors other than growth. Their assets including seven barges, and an extensive fleet of containers and chassis. They also see their workforce as their most important asset and consider them family. Trailer Bridge also intentionally serves their community.

When Trailer Bridge began their growth strategy, they wanted to create a culture where employees enjoyed their work and felt a sense of purpose in serving their customers. They felt that having a great working environment would not only maintain productivity, but also translate into superior customer service. The leadership team shifted the focus to employees, establishing a collective leadership philosophy via a common ground. They started by asking the teams what attributes they wanted in leadership and that would create the kind of culture in which they would thrive. This resulted in the creation of the TB12 Core Values which are the foundation of Trailer Bridge’s culture, and which could be described as old school values meets fun start up. These values include: Deliver Exceptional Service to Everyone, Be Kind and Fair, Be Honest and Fearlessly Authentic, Act with Integrity, Pursue Growth and Learning, Create and Be Fun, and Be Fast and Accurate. But they didn’t stop there. They designed and launched a customized training program to implement a common philosophy among leadership to support these values, as well as training to keep the teams growing and innovative.

The TB12 serve as the core of what drives the team and leadership to create the best experience for employees and customers in an industry known for a fast pace. It results in a high level of service, a natural result of a workplace atmosphere where employees feel cared for and enjoy what they do.

Another aspect of the company that permeates the culture is community involvement through the TBGives Program. The TBGives service team supports causes like Habijax, The Clara White Mission, and Dreams Come True to name a few. Trailer Bridge believes this is a natural extension of their business of serving others, so they also help smaller groups, such as a local dance team who lacked funds to travel for competitions. More information can be found at www.trailerbridge.com.