Carlos Urrea, CITP|FIBP has had his eye on a career in global business since attending university in his home country of Colombia. After graduating he chose to focus his talents toward it, with a particular interest in agri-trade.
“While completing my BA in Economics I was always interested in international commerce and economic development. In fact, my graduate work was in economic development, commerce and agricultural subsidies.”
“After graduating, I decided to pursue the international commerce path for my career.”
In order to do that, Carlos decided to move to Canada, where he hoped to find greater opportunities to learn and improve his international business skills. Friends of his, who were familiar with FITT, suggested he look at taking FITTskills courses at Mohawk College in Hamilton, ON. After learning about FITTskills, he saw the value in the practical training and applied to the program as the next step in furthering his career.
He enjoyed the chance to learn real-world skills from professors who had years of international trade experience to draw from.
With FITTskills courses, I found an opportunity to enrich my career by adding knowledge of logistics, marketing, and law to my business foundations. The courses were a great opportunity for me to get hands-on international commerce experience.
“The instructors were very knowledgeable and inspiring professionals who taught us the importance of each course using their own firsthand experience to explain concepts on a case by case basis.”
Getting the goods where they need to go
Carlos completed the FITTskills courses and graduated with honours from Mohawk’s International Business Program in 2009. Soon after, Carlos was hired as an order administrator by JTI Foods, who specialize in delivering high-end preserved foods to grocery stores in North America, Europe and Australia. He also tracked shipments to ensure all deliveries were made on time, properly labelled and compliant with related regulations.
While proving talented at the job, Carlos also found it to be an eye-opening experience. He gained a deeper understanding of the number of steps between initial production and final delivery. The position also taught him how a change in the timing of one step sets off a chain reaction throughout the entire process.
“When you first start in international trade you feel aware of transit times, customs clearance and DC deliveries, so you think that’s all the timing you need to consider. However, when you involve operations, your timing now needs to go from raw material scheduling to design, production, bottle necks buffers, quality checks and, most importantly, your time for selling. If you miss a step and have to change your timing, you won’t be able to achieve the same level of expected success.”
Within months, he moved up to the role of Manager of Business Operations, where he coordinated and supervised the company’s entire global supply chain. He also tracked inventory to know when more products needed to be delivered or produced, and improved shipping and warehousing efficiency by writing new manuals for all suppliers and staff.
Carlos not only gained a great deal of experience from handling these responsibilities, but also made valuable connections with colleagues and other professionals across the world.
“Some of my favourite stories are about the great people I have been able to meet and work with around the globe. Learning about their culture and experiences has helped me build connections and facilitated my role in international operations.”
Leading products to the top of the food chain
In 2013, after nearly four years with JTI Foods, Carlos decided to take a new position as the Retail Operations Manager for Mabel’s Labels, reporting to the VP of Retail. In charge of the retail products operations, including product development, supply chain management, procurement, sales and compliance, he had a tall order ahead of him.
Playing a key role in the company’s retail team, however, the products became hugely successful and the leaders in their respective categories. It was a lot of work for Carlos, but the results paid off exactly as he hoped.
“One of my proudest accomplishments is introducing new CPG (consumer packaged goods) products to the market and seeing them succeed.”
I have actively participated in the product development and launch of over 220 individual products, and some of those are currently leaders in their category segments.
“We also completely transformed the supply chain design, improving performance and reducing operational costs. Then we introduced fast, dedicated and customized fulfillment processes for specific locations, improving sales while managing inventory resources.”
Carlos also managed major improvements to the company’s demand planning, warehousing, risk analysis and vendor fill rates.
Reaching new career heights as a Certified International Trade Professional
Now with several years of experience to back up his skills and knowledge, Carlos has achieved the elite CITP®|FIBP® designation to serve as a sign of his talent and strong reputation in the industry.
“I think I have a more senior understanding of international trade than when I finished the FITT courses 7 years ago. I find it relevant to be a part of this selected group of professionals and it is the right time to expand my career to new horizons. When I found out that I had officially earned the designation, I felt great and had a sense of valuable accomplishment.”
With his designation in hand, he now hopes to build relationships with other talented professionals, and find new opportunities to excel in his chosen field.
“This will help me consolidate my footprint in the international trade and operations arena. I find in this designation a great opportunity to connect, learn and share with other peers.”
As Carlos takes his next steps, we know any company would be lucky to have him, as he has proven adept at taking on any challenge thrown his way.
LinkedIn: Carlos Urrea
Learn more about the CITP®|FIBP® designation
International Business Certification—CITP®|FIBP®
Advance your career and build your professional credibility in the field of global business by earning the Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation.
Why Earn the Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) Designation?
The Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation is the world’s leading professional designation for the field of international business. So whether you’re new to global trade or have over a decade of direct experience, you’ll find the CITP designation can help advance your career and build your professional credibility.
The CITP designation sets you apart in the competitive international business industry because it’s proof you possess the competencies global business experts have identified as being essential for a successful career in international trade. It also recognizes your dedication to ethical business practices and ongoing professional development—both of which are desirable traits for today’s global business practitioners.