RENO, Nev. — As the Silver State’s logistics industry continues its upward surge, Northern Nevada companies are banking on continued growth with Truckee Meadows Community College’s new Logistics Operation Management program.
The program, the only four-year logistics degree offered in Nevada, had its first courses offered in fall 2016, with 55 students enrolled, according to TMCC. By the fall 2017 semester, that number increased to 133 students.
The first bachelor’s degree recipient graduated last May, said Brian Addington, logistics management instructor at TMCC, and five additional associate’s degrees were awarded.
“The biggest complaint I hear (from the program’s advisory board) is I can’t graduate students fast enough,” Addington told the NNBW. “Most of these companies are so busy they are adding third daily or weekend shifts.”
Benefits of a bachelor’s degree
Addington serves as director of the Frank N. Bender Center for Applied Logistics Management (CALM) in TMCC’s Meadowood Center, which houses the Logistics Operation Management program.
A key part of the program is the CALM Advisory Board, which consists of 17 representatives from Northern Nevada companies and organizations in the logistics, manufacturing and distribution sectors, including Arrow Electronics, Kimmie Candy, ITS Logistics, zulily and the Nevada Army National Guard.
The Advisory Board provides input for the TMCC program curriculum, in part to make sure students have the required skills to meet job requirements in the industry.
Under the program, students can earn a one-year Certificate of Achievement, or they can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree — which is a feeder degree to the four-year Bachelor of Applied Science in Logistics Operations Management.
Addington said because many students have to balance time between work and class, it can take as much as 4-6 years to complete the bachelor’s program.
Still, the bachelor’s degree can be particularly beneficial to employees looking to move into upper-level management or supervisory roles, Addington said.
“We are looking for people interested in getting off the floor and into management positions,” Addington said. “Veterans are a good market for the program, with many of them already having a background in logistics.”
REFERRING CURRENT EMPLOYEES
On occasion, regional logistics companies pinpoint current employees who display the potential to move into management or supervisory positions and refer them to the program.
One of those employees is Ronal Guerrero, who was recently promoted to the title of Continuous Improvement Specialist at ITS Logistics’ facility in Sparks, after serving more than a year as swing shift lead for the company.
To accelerate his career goals, Guerrero was referred to TMCC’s program. He intends to pursue the bachelor’s degree, and expects to graduate sometime in 2021 or 2022.
“I find the program very beneficial to my development,” Guerrero said in a phone interview with NNBW. “It’s been helping me tremendously in the path I’d like to pursue.”
Because students like Guerrero have to balance time between work and school, the Logistics Operation Management is composed of several elements, including a hybrid course, as well as a mixture of online and evening classes.
GROWING INTEREST OUTSIDE OF RENO
TMCC’s logistics program was founded in part from a $600,000 gift from the family of the late Frank N. Bender, known as the “Dean of Distribution,” who headed the Bender Group, a Reno-based, third-party logistics company.
The funds allowed CALM to create an endowment for student scholarships, as well as to market the program throughout Reno-Sparks and outlying areas.
CALM has also partnered with The Abbi Agency in Reno to develop marketing campaigns, such as YouTube videos featuring students like Guerrero, and local radio spots.
Despite the local focus, program interest from outside the Truckee Meadows is growing.
“I’ve already fielded calls from people in California, Oregon and even New York asking (about) TMCC’s program,” Addington said.
CALM is studying the possibility of offering 100 percent of program classes online, Addington said, which potentially opens the program to a wider audience.
The study still is in the preliminary stages, but if it happens, Addington said it could be a game-changer, although he added that even if that were to occur, it wouldn’t be until at least 2020.
Visit logistics.tmcc.edu to learn more about TMCC’s Logistics Operation Management program.