PHOTO: MTOP graduate Giovanna Martinez with CITT Executive Director Tom O'Brien at 2018 graduation
Giovanna Martinez has had more than 16 years of experience in the logistics and trans-portation industry, with half of that time at EDI Express, a freight-forwarding trucking company. Despite being firmly situated in her job, with plenty of skills and knowledge about her chosen career, she still wanted to learn more. So when she discovered the Marine Terminal Operations Professional (MTOP) program at CSULB, she not only registered for the course, but persuaded several co-workers to join her.
“I came across the MTOP program and said ‘Wow!’” explained Martinez, who works as a Senior Logistics Coordinator at EDI Express. “I was so excited to sign up and bring my co-workers with me. I was surprised how interesting the course was; and I told them that, with what we would learn, we could strive further ahead in our careers.”
One of those co-workers was Claudia Moreno, a Customer Service Representative who has been with EDI Express for nearly six years.
“What led to my decision was really wanting to learn more about the industry,” said Moreno. “I always wanted to learn what really took place at the port.”
The co-workers began the MTOP program together in February 2018, on a mission to further their knowledge of all aspects of port operations. Their curiosity was piqued by the fact that the headquarters of EDI Express—in Torrance, CA—and their MTOP classes on campus at CSULB are both located just a short drive from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Combined, the two ports represent one of the world’s busiest trade and transportation hubs, supporting millions of jobs and generating billions in yearly revenue.
PHOTO: MTOP graduate Claudia Moreno in a helicopter during a tour of the Port of Long Beach
Attending classes while working full-time and maintaining their personal lives was challenging, but the MTOP program’s evening schedule and its unique appeal made it all possible.
“I started work at 5:00 a.m., then went to school from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.,” said Moreno. “I live in El Monte, which is pretty far, but I did not miss one class, because I loved every instructor, every lecture given by every single one.”
Moreno and Martinez both praised the MTOP instructors, who all work in and around the ports, for bringing their extensive professional experience into the classroom.
“The MTOP program could never be taught through just books,” said Martinez. “This course could only be taught by these experienced instructors.”
At the MTOP graduation ceremony this summer, Martinez and Moreno were each singled out for being exemplary students. While Martinez was chosen to represent her class as a featured speaker, Moreno was selected to receive the Kevin Turner Scholar-ship, based on peer evaluation for the work she performed while spearheading a final group project.
Both women feel that earning an MTOP certification has become a valuable addition to their employment at EDI Express, and has contributed to increasing their general knowledge of goods transportation, from the EDI Express trucks they deal with every day, to the many ships that enter the Port of Long Beach from around the world.