Despite being nearly 200 years old, Gardner was the organizations first VP of Communications. In that role he hired USP's first global PR firm just before the surprise announcement that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang would be visiting USP's facility in Shanghai. With only two days to prepare and unable to get to Shanghai in time, from his desk in the US, Gardner managed the media training and preparations with the global team and the new consultants on the ground in Shanghai. There were more than 400 stories as a result of this visit.
Gardner retired a quarterly newsletter (still in paper in 2013) and replaced it with the blog Quality Matters. He restructured the media relations function, added in-house video capabilities and managed internal communications that included two restructures of the organization after the arrival of a new Chief Executive.
Media coverage of USP increased ten-fold during Gardner's tenure.