After graduate school, he was an international transportation specialist at Fleetguard, a subsidiary of Cummins Engine. He earned the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) certificate in 1982. He was licensed as a CHB in 1984 and opened import operations for USA Cargo Services in Atlanta. In 1986, he started his own firm, Lee Hardeman Customs Broker, Inc. His firm employees 10 people, 4 of whom are both licensed brokers (CHB) and Certified Customs Specialists (CCS). His firm has filed over 220,000 entries on commodities ranging from aircraft to zippers, and they are internationally recognized by U.S. Customs, importers, and shippers as leaders in their field.
In 1994, his firm was a founding member of Global Freight Group, a network of freight forwarders, customs brokers, and ocean transportation intermediaries around the world. Today, GFG has over 75 members in more than 55 countries.
Lee is a former president and chairman of the International Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers Association of Atlanta, and he served on the board of directors of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America from 1994 to 2003. He is currently chairman of both the Bylaws and the Counsel Review Committees of NCBFAA. Other honors include Outstanding Young Men Of America (1983); Beta Gamma Sigma (the business school honorary); former board member of Executive Leadership Foundation, which promotes ethics in business; and a former member of the Marietta Rotary Club.
Additionally, he retired from the Air Force Reserve in 1998 as a lieutenant colonel. He served on active duty in the Air Force as a navigator on jet tankers from 1973 to 1979. Subsequently, he was assigned to the Tennessee Air National Guard as a senior navigator, and he finished his Air Force Reserve career commanding an aerial port squadron, which was responsible for loading and unloading military transport aircraft.
Lee is married, has four grown children, and six grandchildren. He is active in the Roswell United Methodist Church.