Logistics with Purpose
Episode 85

We need visionaries, and we need big, big thinkers out there who are willing to not just change the status quo, but absolutely destroy it.

-Sam Berman, Founder and CEO of the Logistics Advanced Research Center (LARC)

Episode Summary

There are a lot of inventors and products out there, but only a few innovators and solutions. In order to develop a true solution, entrepreneurs need to think big and allow themselves to escape the conventions of the past.

In this episode of Logistics with Purpose, Kristi Porter and Maureen Woolshlager are joined by Sam Berman, the Founder and CEO of the Logistics Advanced Research Center (LARC). Sam is a serial entrepreneur, where he has developed skills in supply chain management, marketing, and consulting in product development. He understands the challenges faced by early-stage startups and is committed to fostering an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship by mentoring budding entrepreneurs. Listen in as he talks about his unique perspective on the energy and destruction required to create something new.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:00:02):

Welcome to Logistics with Purpose presented by Vector Global Logistics. In partnership with Supply chain. Now we spotlight and celebrate organizations who are dedicated to creating a positive impact. Join us for this behind the scenes glimpse of the origin stories change, making progress, and future plans of organizations who are actively making a difference. Our goal isn’t just to entertain you, but to inspire you to go out and change the world. And now here’s today’s episode of Logistics With Purpose.

Kristi Porter (00:00:35):

Hi, and welcome to another episode of Logistics with Purpose. I am Christie Porter of Vector Global Logistics, and today joined with my cohort in crime, my partner in crime, and one of the people I love to chat with. Maureen Ger. How are you Maureen?

Maureen Woolshlager (00:00:49):

Hi Christie. How are you doing this Wednesday?

Kristi Porter (00:00:52):

I am. Good. We’ve had some good interviews lately, you and I. We have another one teed up. You’ve been telling me about this one between the scenes and mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I’m finally excited to talk to today’s guest as well, which I will let you do the honors of introducing.

Maureen Woolshlager (00:01:06):

Yeah. Well, everybody welcome. Sam Berman, c e o, and founder of Lark. Welcome to the show, Sam.

Sam Berman (00:01:12):

Oh, good to be here. Thanks for having me. Really appreciate

Maureen Woolshlager (00:01:15):

It. Yeah, we’re happy we could get this on the calendar and schedule this. We wanna talk to you about your product and your company.

Sam Berman (00:01:20):

Yeah. Looking forward to it.

Kristi Porter (00:01:22):

Yeah, yeah. We’ll hear in a few minutes about how you’re sort of shaking up the industry, heading us into a direction we all need to be going. But first we wanna hear just a little more about you personally. So if you can tell us just a little bit about where you grew up and your childhood in those, those early years.

Sam Berman (00:01:39):

Yeah. So originally from Georgia, but uh, grew up in Los Angeles. Strange thing, you know, a little southern kid grew up in Los Angeles, but that’s what happens. Spent, that’s sort of my formative years there. Went to ucla, but, uh, have to admit, never graduated. I’m kind of one of those guys, a serial entrepreneur that doesn’t wanna be told what to do ever <laugh>. So did that, spent after that, spent a career in Silicon Valley and go days into what that whole thing’s about. But probably the reason I lost most of my hair and pretty stressed out in general. But, uh, yeah, did that, I’ve been kind of a serial entrepreneur. I’ve had a number of companies. I’ve started from toy companies, app companies, but I’ve been a logistics guy for many, many years. And some of the companies I’ve started were logistics software companies.

Sam Berman (00:02:20):

Uh, and my latest one is Lark. I started that about six years ago in California. Restarted here I’d live now in Nashville, Tennessee. Restarted my partner in from Chris Taylor, who’s our, our c o o and co-founder. And it was really set up just to look at logistics from a very different standpoint. You know, one of the things I learned about logistics a long time ago was that it’s very archaic. I mean, when I started back years ago, we were still using fax machines and people weren’t communicating very well. And so I started some software companies to help with that type of thing. But really, it’s still for what is really the largest industry in the world. You know, most people don’t know that they think healthcare or defense. It’s really logistics and supply chain. It’s very arcane. There’s not a lot of technology. It’s starting to happen. Uh, and we looked at it, said, you know, we need something that’s really like a dark bite. So Lark is action, acronyms, logistics, advanced Research Center. And so we really focus on packaging and systems helping companies really solve those problems that sometimes they don’t even know they have. It’s kind of in a nutshell, that’s where I come from, where I’m at now, and looking forward to talking about it.

Kristi Porter (00:03:23):

Well, I don’t wanna back, I don’t wanna go forward too much though, because before we started, you’re gonna have to reveal to everybody you’re fun fact and why you’re a big deal in Japan. <laugh>.

Sam Berman (00:03:32):

Oh, no, I, it was, yes.

Maureen Woolshlager (00:03:34):

Why I was gonna ask story, I wa

Sam Berman (00:03:36):

Was

Maureen Woolshlager (00:03:37):

Stories from this childhood. So Yeah, they asked Talk about that <laugh>.

Sam Berman (00:03:40):

Yeah. Yeah. Just, oh my God, I can’t believe you just said that to me. Um, <laugh>, when, when I was about 11 years old, I got asked to be in, in a, a commercial for a Japanese product and with a bunch of friends of mine playing baseball. And during one of the scenes I was playing catcher and I tagged the guy out at the plate and he was clearly out, but the umpire called him safe. And being a hot blooded fellow that I am, I threw my mask down and kind of screamed at the umpire and they caught it on camera. I guess it ended up in the commercial. And somehow it became sort of a big thing for a little bit there in Japan. And sometimes once in a while when I was a kid in Los Angeles, Japanese, George would kind of recognized me a little bit cause I was kinda a course kid with curly hair. You easy to spot. So I guess that I thought, as I told you earlier, I thought that this podcast was my 15 minutes of fame. Clearly I’ve had it already at the age 1112. So yeah, that’s my big story. No, it’s

Maureen Woolshlager (00:04:29):

Just chapter one. This is chapter 2:00 AM chapter.

Sam Berman (00:04:31):

That’s chapter. It’s like your next. I hope that’s not Yeah. And that’s not the pinnacle of my life, I hope.

Kristi Porter (00:04:35):

Right. I will be, however, searching YouTube for that commercial later. Yeah, keep,

Sam Berman (00:04:39):

Keep, keep looking. Lemme know if you find it. Yes.

Maureen Woolshlager (00:04:42):

<laugh>, it was pre Isight. It was probably one of those big, big video cameras. Oh, it

Sam Berman (00:04:46):

Was,

Kristi Porter (00:04:47):

It was like, thank you actually recorded onto the vhs and let’s wonder how many of our viewers actually know what the VHS is, but

Sam Berman (00:04:55):

Yeah, exactly. But you know, I actually did it just to get outta school, so of course it was, I tripped over my, my

Maureen Woolshlager (00:05:01):

That was actually pretty smart. Yeah. Yeah. Well, other than the Japanese baseball commercial mm-hmm. <affirmative>, are there, is there another story from your childhood that possibly helped shape who you are today?

Sam Berman (00:05:14):

Wow, that boy, I didn’t see. How come, oh, was that

Maureen Woolshlager (00:05:16):

The only one? No, I’m kidding.

Sam Berman (00:05:18):

That’s it. That was it. That was the pinnacle of my life. No, I mean, I’d have to, I’d have to think about it. I grew up in Los Angeles. I just said, you know, it was a very different environment for me. I grew up with a very Yes ma’am, no ma’am. Yes sir, no sir. Type of thing. And I’ll tell you a very funny story. The first time I ever <inaudible> Georgia to California, he called my mother by her first name. And I thought at that point, the earth was gonna open up and swallow us all whole, because where I was from, that just didn’t happen. Right. And the way my mom looked at me, I’ll never forget. But that was just kind of some of the funny things that happened when, you know, sort of, you can kind of write a book about this kid from the south living in Los Angeles, but no, yeah, there a lot of things kind of like shaped my life.

Sam Berman (00:05:56):

You know, I, on a more serious note, my father passed away when I was quite young. I was 16 years old. And that really shaped my life and made me go off in a direction of sort of, you know, having to take care of myself. And really, I think it, my mother had run her own company, his own company. I think my life would make more of an entrepreneur. I have a, uh, a distinct disdain for authority at some level. I’m gonna question everything and challenge everything. I can’t stand the status quo. I’m just one of those guys who I’m always come up with an idea and I try and execute on it. And I see blank canvases wherever I go or I, I look at things and I say, wow, you know how we can make that better. So it sort of annoying to, to people at some level.

Sam Berman (00:06:31):

But I’m that kind of type a personality as a result that I’ve been very self-driven, self-motivated, had to kind of grow up pretty fast. And I’ve done a lot of things. I’m a guy who wears many hats. And I mentioned earlier, I never, I went to college, but remember, here’s a great story. I was sitting in college one day, I’d gone to Santa Monica College, paying my own way, transferred to UCLA l sitting in a Western studies class one day. And, uh, this guy’s talking about how to bribe cops in Mexico if you get pulled over this professor, and this is the whole extent of this. And I, the whole class that’s going on about this story. And I had said to myself, I paid how much outta my own pocket to be here. I, this is literally, I, I stood up, I walked out of the room, I walked over to the dean’s office, said, I want my money back.

Sam Berman (00:07:15):

And I got my bar and I never went back to college. Wow. It’s not for me. I’d, instead of spending money, I’d rather just go make money now. Hey, parents out there. Don’t blame me if your kids see this podcast. Okay. A conversation. But I do believe in that, you know, as far as education goes, I believe a lot in self-education. I think formal education, if you’re gonna be a professional in some way, engineer, doctor, Indian chief, whatever you’re gonna do there. I do think that college has its role, but I’m starting to think more and more that it doesn’t, I think people really should get up there and get experience and start to learn. There’s a lot you can learn in 2023 that doesn’t revolve sitting around a class and what someone deemed an expert. And I really think challenging the status quo and challenging the experts, that’s how we move things forward.

Sam Berman (00:08:00):

That’s called entrepreneurship. And it’s a bit of a blood sport, but at the end of the day, it also is something that, that people say, well, I don’t have any experience in that. We’ll figure it out. Go, if if you’re gonna build a better mouse trap, you gotta, there’s something that’s never been built, you know, you gotta do something that’s never been done. And that’s kind of the way I, I drive my life. So, uh, a bit like I said, I can be a bit intense, but, uh, in general that’s what it takes to, to do this kind of job. So. Sure.

Kristi Porter (00:08:25):

Well, let me ask you then, since you didn’t graduate from college, you spent there, you went another direction, sounds like obviously it’s gonna work out for you in the end. Spoiler, I’ll,

Sam Berman (00:08:35):

I’ll, I’ll let you know. Yes,

Maureen Woolshlager (00:08:36):

Yes. But don’t give away the ending. Christie, come on, <laugh>.

Kristi Porter (00:08:39):

Sorry. Yes. Sorry. Stay tuned. But I am curious from that is a big decision at a very young point in your life when most of us really don’t know what we’re doing or how we’re gonna function or what’s happening, and we’re getting to know the world in a new way. So from that time, those early days that you were like, okay, let me just go make money, what are a couple of those lesson from around the, just the beginnings of that and what that looked like?

Sam Berman (00:09:02):

Yeah. And the lesson number one, it’s hard, but anything worth doing is hard, right? It takes focus, it takes discipline. You’re gonna do a lot of things you don’t want to have to do. But you’re going to come out of that with a much broader understanding of how the world really works. You know, I know a lot of people having worked in Silicon Valley as an executive, that they would come in and say, Hey, I’ve got, you know, a bachelor’s degree in this and a master’s degree in this. And you said, okay, I need you to go do this function. Or, and they, they quickly realized that, that life is not a classroom, right? Life is not what a professor told you will necessarily be. It is, it works in a very different way. And so getting that real world experience is critical. And you know, the thing that you’re going to learn in that role is that there is no substitute for hard work.

Sam Berman (00:09:49):

There’s no substitute for just grinding things out and that you have to be a grinder to, to get things done. And that no, no, the world’s never gonna beat a path to your door. I always tell people, you can invent the greatest product that the world has ever known. And at the end of the day, there’s this idea that, man, they’re just going to just come and get it. And it just never works out that way. And so, the number one thing, and I tell my own children and I says, you can be my, my children are bright and they’re ally talented in many, many myriad of ways. And say, none of it matters unless you’re willing to put in the work. And that really is true. And when you invent something like what we do at Lark, like we invent state-of-the-art, reusable, patchy systems for highend electronics and robotics and data servers and all this kinda stuff, what you realize very quickly is that it doesn’t matter how good that product is, unless you can get out there and really push you the vision and let people understand it.

Sam Berman (00:10:45):

The truth is proceed. The truth is that the world is very locked in, right? We used to be an entre, more entrepreneurial system. Our country, greatest country that’s existed in world history was built on the small business owner, the entrepreneur who would just grinded out. And now so much has consolidated to big companies and, and people start businesses for the wrong reason. This is something I’ve learned. Never start a company. If your vision is we’re gonna build it up and then sell it to somebody else, you will fall down every time. Not, well, not every time. Cause some, some people sure they’re set up from that from the beginning. But if you’re really wanting to build, you better do it from the perspective, I’m going to build an empire. Because if you do it from a short term perspective, you’re gonna make short term decisions.

Sam Berman (00:11:29):

And you’re not gonna be doing it for the wellbeing of the company and the idea and the product. You’re just trying to get to a goal versus build that empire, which I think in this country, in this world, we know a lot more empire builders and a lot fewer, I’m gonna build a something and sell it off a little widget, right? We need visionaries and we need big, big thinkers out there who are willing to absolutely not just change the status quo, but absolutely destroy it. And it’s strange because I, when I talk to some people at big companies, they find that statement, if I make that offensive, what are the people gonna do? They’re gonna lose their jobs. And see, there’s something in this world called creative destruction. It’s how we drive the world forward. And the entire world is set up this way.

Sam Berman (00:12:07):

If you think about, I always tell, like I look at who think birth two children, right? I go, boy, that’s the greatest creative destruction I’ve ever seen. Because what that does to you is unbelievable. But what it brings into the world is remarkable. We cannot sit on our laurels. We cannot sit on, this is how stuff is done, this is how we continue to do things all the time. We have to be willing to destroy the oldness. The reason we’re not driving around a horse and buggy right now, it’s the reason we’re driving around state of the automobiles. And we can get on an airplane and fly across 3000 miles in five hours. It’s creative destruction. But we need to get rid of that mindset. So you asked me a simple question, I think about my childhood about 17 minutes ago. So I’ll stop, I’ll take a breath and let jump back in here.

Maureen Woolshlager (00:12:49):

Thank you. Yeah. Well, no, I mean, you’ve had quite an interesting career path and it hasn’t always been in the supply chain logistics space. Can you talk to us a little bit about your entrance into that? Cause you mentioned Silicon Valley and being out in LA and the entrepreneurship. Yeah. There is, like you also mentioned, supply chain logistics operation is a very sort of antiquated industry in a lot of ways. So how did you make that jump? Or did you dip your toes in? Did you jump right in?

Sam Berman (00:13:19):

Oh yeah, yeah. Buckle up on this if you want the story here, <laugh>. So, you know, my, my mother actually, I’d said she had a company, she had a believe a type setting company. And when I say that, most people never know what I’m talking about. Metal type. I mean, it goes way back. And actually desktop publishing from app sort of wiped that industry out. And so transitions were made into other marketing. Uh, so I got, I kind of cut my teeth in marketing larger my mother and working a little bit for her. And then I worked with a number of ad agencies and some of the largest ones, some of the smaller ones, and really learned quickly. I didn’t wanna be in that business. If you ever watch a show Madden, then it was down. I mean, it really was crazy like that. And so I got away from that, but I, I learned a lot about marketing and I, I moved to Silicon Valley, ended up working in the semiconductor space for a while in marketing.

Sam Berman (00:14:04):

And part of what I did was getting stuff printed that got mailed out. And one day I just saw that it was costing a lot of money to ship stuff. So I went and negotiated deal that cut the cost in half. And our c e o, a guy named of Jack Gifford called Maximum Time. He asked somebody what happened. He looked at line, I said, what happened right here? How did this happen? And the analyst said, oh, Sam did that, said, I’m gonna talk to him. I’m being called into the principal’s office. So I, I go in and he says, you’re the new head of our shipping. And I said, wait, what? I’m the head of what? He said, yeah, you’re the, you’re gonna handle all of our shipping companywide. I said, why is that? Because you cut this 50%. I said, that was one phone call I made to change something.

Sam Berman (00:14:46):

And so I had a, uh, fortunately it is interesting. I wasn’t formally trained in it. It, and I think that was more of an advantage than a curse, right? Because I didn’t know. And when you don’t know, you just do what makes sense, right? I’m not, I wasn’t sort of saddled to a thousand years of this is how the carton mule pulled this thing, and this is how we’re gonna do it today. Which actually is funny because that’s when Lark we face is that we face that sort of territorial imperative or that historical imperative that, but we’ve always done it this way, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that’s something that every new venture faces is that, that cultural shift, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So anyway, I, I got into that business. I had started a number of companies. I, my first company was, I was a kid, a buddy of mine.

Sam Berman (00:15:28):

I, I started a surfboard repair company. Strange. But that’s what we did. And we n fixing some of the boards for the best surfers in the world, right? And didn’t know anything about it, but got the equipment and we went to work and just worked hard in ultimate time. I like to do things concurrently because why not? I’m not busy enough. So I started at a toy company. I invented a toy called Tickle Monsters that were really, really popular for a while. Little things you put on your hands, tickle kids. And I saw it because I called mom, actually tickle her daughter to the little puppet on her hand. I said, that’s kinda interesting idea. So I wrote a little book about it. I happened to be an illustrator artist too. So I illustrated and did all that kind of stuff. Started a logistics software company at the same time. That’s, I’ve so sold that, gosh, 2011. Um, I’ve started an app. I, cause I, I, again, I used to write illustrate children’s books. And so I started an app company and that Do you

Maureen Woolshlager (00:16:18):

Sleep? I’m just curious, like what’s the trick? Do you sleep?

Sam Berman (00:16:21):

I do, but not enough. I’m just, I’m just one of those guys. Like, like an idea comes, I say think I like to build that, right? Um, I think market for that. I don’t spend a lot of time on it saying, I think I’ll delve into 18 months of market research and some things that are sort of obvious, right? There’s some things that are sort of make that would make a lot of sense. So yeah, how I tend to build ideas I have to kind of whole self back from doing, cuz then I get sidetracked. It’s just, again, it’s just one of the things that, that is the key to success. And Chris, you asked me, what I learned earlier from all this stuff is success sort of breeds success. And the only way to get there is action, action, action. You just, you have to keep moving forward.

Sam Berman (00:17:01):

You’re gonna fall down a thousand times. People are gonna do crazy things, nutty things are gonna happen to you. But you just keep driving, driving, driving, and eventually, you know, something clicks. And so yeah, from there, the Silicon Valley, I spent my time there, had enough of that. It’s, you could go on, you could have a thousand podcasts talking on Silicon Valley, and it happens in that place. But about seven years ago, I just looked at my wife said, something’s gonna change. I, yeah, I’m done with the ridiculous taxes. I’m done with trying to get companies off the ground in this environment. I said, we’re, we’re gonna move back to the south. And we picked up and, and moved our family here to Nashville, Tennessee. And I closed Lark down in California, restarted it with my partner Chris here. And we’ve been the only kind of gang busters ever since. So, not that it’s been a absolute trajectory, be uphill, but you know, it’s, uh, we, we’ve been moving forward ever since.

Kristi Porter (00:17:54):

Love that. Well, let’s dig into Lark. So L a r c for, um, people listening Lark. Um, tell us what it is and also where the inspiration came from. What, why was this an idea that you had to act on?

Sam Berman (00:18:08):

Okay, I’ll start there and I’ll tell you what Lark is. This is the absolute Silicon Valley story at lunch with a guy, he had asked me to come in and help diversify his company and said, okay, so I’m at lunch with him and he takes a phone call, he owns a creating company, or he has a creating company. Gets off the phone and says, oh man, I’ve got all these St Rocks coming in for the next three or four weeks and I gotta create ’em all in. I said, well, how much do those crate policy? He said, oh, they’re about $1,200 a piece. And I just went, wait, what? You’re talking millions of dollars of crates? And they get, majority of those get used one time thrown at it’s crazy. You mean like

Maureen Woolshlager (00:18:43):

The wooden ones? Is that what you mean? Like

Sam Berman (00:18:46):

Wooden, wooden, wooden cage. Yeah, wooden cage. And the vast majority, I mean, 90 to 95% of those are used one time. And then someone paid some little dispose of them. And so I, I literally said him, why don’t you just put a big giant tube around these things and chip ’em out like a cardboard tube? Why you build it? Why you spending on timer? Yeah. And he actually’s gotta go to the restroom. And so I literally asked the waitress, I said, Hey, can I grab a, a napkin and a pen real quick? I just have an idea <laugh>. And so I, I sketched this out and I went, I think that’ll work. And so then I went home and I, here’s the extent of my market research. I did a little, probably an hour on it. I said, oh my gosh, there’s like 2 billion worth of wood crates built around server racks, just server racks alone.

Sam Berman (00:19:25):

I thought, I think there’s a market here. And so I went and hired an industrial designer, did some design work on it. And as we were designing, I said, oh my gosh, I think we’ve invented something. Not just removing one product. I think we may even been saying soybean thousands of products. And so again, brought that out to Tennessee. My partner c is a mechanical engineer, a lot of international experience. And so we spent a lot of time engineering a solution that ended up becoming a platform, not just a supernatural box. It’s a platform that you can build all kinds of different fixturing systems on ’em. So we were already thinking server racks to robotics, to high end consolidations. There’s, we’re talking with folks now about moving luxury brand products because they’re stolen. And we’ve invented a new thing that’s a high security ver version of our box. It’s funny if I was tell you so not me on a stock, some folks over in Europe and they make these wen shoes and purses. And I said, well, how much is each one? I said, well, this one’s 35,000. I said, excuse me third

Maureen Woolshlager (00:20:27):

For one heel. I said, I

Sam Berman (00:20:29):

Think my wife’s gonna need some samples of those to, for the shipping. Yeah,

Maureen Woolshlager (00:20:31):

Yeah. Agree to test the product.

Sam Berman (00:20:33):

We’re gonna test those products for you. But it is, there’s a sort of insanity to that, right? That someone would do. But even in the worst of times, those things they’re selling and they’re incredibly high value targets. Yeah. But on the second side of your question, what is Lark? Lark as an innocent acronym? Means Logistics, advanced Research Center. And the goal is to really inject really high-end engineering and kind of solutions into the problems that exist in logistics. And a couple of the big problems today, and we hear of’em as buzzwords are environment and security, right? And so with environment, if you have a reusable container and are three tier, for example, every time that you use one of them, I’d saves two trees from them, cut down three gallons of fuel. Lot of, so it’s a huge tune for a company that switches to a reusable packaging system.

Sam Berman (00:21:23):

And people give us griefs that say those things are made out of plastic stuff. Say, yeah, they’re made out of plastic cause you’re gonna use a thousand times, right? And then you’re trying recycle that and they get into a new crate and use that a thousand times. So it really, we don’t just take and make a great product, like we really try and put solutions around it. So we’re partnered with a number of, we’re partnered with the up s pegasis logistics, a i t aero net. So they go out and we wrap their services around our product and then we engine solution. So we say, all right, this might be a highlight foundation. We’re gonna introduce solution to hold that onto our platform, put our walls on, put our lid on, ship it out, maybe put our electronics in there to track it. We have covers for security, we have locking bars.

Sam Berman (00:22:06):

Whatever you need, we build it for them. And so what we’ve really developed into is an engineering solutions company. We’re, we’ll, people will come to us and say, I’ve got this thing, I’ve gotta ship it. I got so many of ’em. Can you build a system that so we’ll engineer assistant that goes around it, locks it down in place, puts our walls on, put the lid on, ship it out. And I’ll tell you something, we’re very proud of. We have never knocked on wood, damaged a piece of cargo in one of our crates. Wow. And so we hold that because I always tell companies, if you are the company that actually does it, that damages one of our crates, we are going to give you a trophy. But we’ve had them knocked off of trucks, we’ve had them fall off forklifts for mishandling anything. We’ve never damaged a piece of cargo.

Sam Berman (00:22:48):

We’re very proud of that. But, uh, yeah, I can get into more of the soil with the detailers weeds, but uh, yeah, I mean we make, at the end of the day, we make a super cool reusable crate system to ship all kinds of different products. They fold flat. So I a three tier will go out and ship back as a one tier cause all folds into itself and we’re helping this company solve those environmental issues, those cargo damage issues. Okay. Those security issues. Hey, we talked to a company recently had a hundred million in pillage in their product. Wow. Hundred million. And they said, why does it matter <laugh> at this point if it fixes that problem? So we solve a lot of problems. You know, the cool thing about LAR is we’re a very small company and we work handing love I with our customers because we wanna be a part of the entire solution set.

Sam Berman (00:23:36):

So we’ll bring one of our partners, we’ll, we’ll look at their entire network, their entire system, and we’ll work with them to create an entire suit to nut solution. If all I was doing was saying, here’s a really cool box, good luck. It just doesn’t work. And that’s not who we want to be. And even our business model is very different because we don’t sell crates. We actually have creating our packaging as a service. So we actually lease them monthly, we provide solutions to fix them, we provide parts or something breaks on them. And so you’re always getting a whole crate, you’re always getting something that is, is workable for you and you get with, with part of that. So we’re always right there with each front us all of those problems. And we have a different business model in terms of our four is just a small group of four people, but we have concentric rips around us that do different things.

Sam Berman (00:24:25):

And that allows us to be incredibly flexible, incredibly fast. So take a wood trade, for example. My cost $1,400, it’s just gonna take a day to get that bill. I can send you mine, you can pack up your stuff and ship it out by the time that thing is built. And I’m gonna charge you far less than that wood trade model. And so people always assume that we’re gonna be more expensive, for example, and we’re not. And because of the way we do things, I’m gonna leash you my credit on a monthly business. You’re gonna use it two, three times. Great. I don’t care what you put in it. And then you’re going to, yeah, if it gets damaged, we’re gonna fix it, replace it, whatever. And then you’re gonna continually just cycle through this cycle through it cycle and the cost goes way down.

Sam Berman (00:25:01):

And really what’s neat about that is people think, oh gosh, companies think greenwash everything. You gotta spend green to be green, not if you rethink how you do it. Right? So we’re actually a green solution with better protection, better security, better visibility that is actually far superior to the current model and we’re far less expensive. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so it’s really an idea of just how do we work together? How do we have common interest? How do we have a shared economy on this? If I have a customer who has a return or pre cause they’re using it, I can move it over to another customer. I only have to make it once. Right? Right. Maybe repair it, that kind of thing. So, but we’re always looking at other things and I don’t want people think, oh, these guys make a really cool box. They’re packaging engineer, we’re not packaging engineers anything. More mechanical engineers and systems engineers. But we’re really just solutions providers that come in and trying to say, here’s the cutting edge. This is how we solve the problem. Very cool.

Maureen Woolshlager (00:25:50):

I mean, you talked a little bit kind of in circular about innovation, but you know, your website, you talk about beyond the box and innovation in the logistics industry. So can you talk a little bit about that? Sure. Um, more, I mean you’ve mentioned it, you know, by product of your talking about the company, but specifically mention in your website, is there a story or a case study or something that you’ve used to demonstrate that?

Sam Berman (00:26:16):

Yeah. So let me talk about why beyond the box early on, one of the things, there’s buzzwords there and the one that’s most cliche is, oh, think outside of the box. And someone literally said that to me early on and said, think the box. I said, how about we just get rid of the box? Stop thinking outside, but just get rid of the box. Let’s do something entirely new instead, let’s just build the box. And so, you know, as far as innovation goes in innovation, companies spend billions of dollars thinking we’ve gotta discover innovation. We’ve gotta, you know what innovation is? Innovation is what I talked about earlier. It’s trial and error. It’s failing quickly at something and redoing it and it’s going out and just trying in action and building things and just keep building it until it works. That’s a real innovation. Everyone thinks here is a magic pill, that there’s some kind of, this is how we’ve gotta get experts and experts in innovation are knuckleheads like me who come in and say, I think I could do that better.

Sam Berman (00:27:04):

You know? Yeah. It’s, it’s ilo Farmsworth who builds the television set. No one even knows the guy’s name, but he’s the guy that did it, right? Or Marconi, who people say, oh, we invented the radio, but it was actually Nick La Tesla who did. It’s like, people just go out there, the tinkerers, the builders, the guys work in their garage. The Hewletts and the Packers, literally the Steve Jobs and Laak, those guys are out there just tinkering their garage. Just think, why not do something different? Why not build something better? I tell people, wood crates are awesome. We used to have an ad that we put out on LinkedIn and so forth, and it showed a wooden crate that was found in an Egyptian tomb from 4,000 years ago. I said, wow, we’ve really come a long way, haven’t we? We mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I said, the only different, and I put it next to a, a modern crate.

Sam Berman (00:27:50):

I said, the only difference between these two crates is that this one’s in a landfill and this one’s in a museum and Cairo mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And the fact is that we have not built anything new in 4,000 years, whether it’s in a barrel full of rum or gunpowder or it’s a, it’s an Egyptian crate moving up pious regions, right? This was the same thing. And so innovation is just being willing to challenge everything and everyone, but it creates the problem of that’s how we’ve always done it. We’ve always cut down trees and processed them with thousands of different chemicals and put them on trucks for 3000 miles before they reach you to get assembled with nails and everything else. Stuck your million dollar piece of equipment in this wooden box and then shipped it somewhere another 3000, 4,000, 5,000 miles, took your stuff out of there and then threw that into a landfill.

Sam Berman (00:28:40):

And it’s it mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if you look at it on paper, it’s insanity, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that’s how we’ve always done it. So that’s how we’re going to do it, right? So innovation really is just look at something and say, well, that’s dumb. I can, I can do that better. And as human being, we do that a thousand times a day. Yeah. We might be driving our car. One, one of the stories that, there’s a guy, I don’t remember his name, but he invented this thing that goes into your car that fills the gap between your seat and the console next to you. Because he kept dropping things in it, listening to off the things. I thought absolute genius, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think the guy made a boatload of money doing this, right? And so in, in innovation invention, it truly is just out of necessity or need for doing something better.

Sam Berman (00:29:26):

And I find the world interesting today in that we don’t do that a lot. People think, for example, oh gosh, these electric cars are amazing. Look at these things. Do you know the first part of built or electric? They were, they ran on batteries. Most people don’t know that, but it’s a fact. Others ran on wood and coal, right? And so we think we are inventing things, we’re just reinventing things sometimes. And so real innovation is where you are absolutely willing to challenge everyone and everything and do it differently. And you’ll face mountains of descent. You’ll face mountains of people trying to stop you. You’ll face mountains of negativity. When, when I invented, I told you I’ve been in a toy called TLA Monster, and one guy at a at a meeting walked at me. He goes, why could have made that? I says, but you didn’t. Mm-hmm.

Kristi Porter (00:30:16):

<affirmative>,

Sam Berman (00:30:17):

I didn’t. There’s

Maureen Woolshlager (00:30:17):

So many things I had to Google after this podcast just to see. Yeah,

Sam Berman (00:30:22):

Yeah. I’m, I’m a font of worthless knowledge. It’s, if you ever need a partner on Jeopardy, I’m, uh, or, or

Maureen Woolshlager (00:30:28):

The, um, the, what is it called for? Who wants to be a millionaire? The phone a friend. Yeah.

Sam Berman (00:30:32):

Yeah. I’ll give you my number. I can really actually rock a trivial pursuit. But in seriousness though, I mean, th these are the things people talk about being educated. Hey, I’ve got a college degree in whatever, but they don’t know the basics of, look, this is how you do stuff, right? Because you learn. So go, go read. I just put out, it’s essentially, I just put out something on LinkedIn. When I used to interview people in Silicon Valley, one question I asked absolutely every time is tell me the last three books you read and why you chose them. And you wanna talk about how you would become an innovator? Read everything you can read. I was stunned by how many people told me why don’t really read? Yeah. So well, what do you mean? Well, no, I don’t, I don’t have time. I don’t, but you, how do you grow?

Sam Berman (00:31:21):

How do you learn? How do you gather the wisdom of the past so that you can move something forward and they just don’t do it? And so you wanna talk about what in innovating the future is understanding the past, right? And so when I talk about a 4,000 year old system, I’m not joking. I mean, it really has been 4,000 years, right? Right. And now it’s time to change that. Right? And it’s time to change the way we do things. But there’s pains, all, all innovation is painful. All creativity is destruction. And so, you know, even if you look at the painters of the past or the great artists you look at, you know, they’d go from the renaissance to another form, to another form to another form. And you could see how they grew off each other, but some were so shocking. So you see how Pablo Picasso and you say, I mean, that’s just shockingly different than Vermeer, right?

Sam Berman (00:32:13):

And you say, but someone changed some, someone saw a vision, someone saw, you know, the movies from the 1950s are very different than the movies today or the 1951 actually. But things have to advance. Things have to change. You have to be wanting to absolutely just crushed the status quo. So that’s innovation. You have to be a destroyer of things. When I tell my son a 17 year old son, John, all the time, I said, name’s Nathan. I said, Nathan, you if you really want to be successful, be willing to destroy what was before, not, I’m not talking about me, don’t come after me. He’s bigger than me. But you must be willing to destroy what people believe worked before. Because so many times, and I had so many times, people don’t understand that the old way of doing thing might not be the right way. Oftentimes you’re gonna find the old way is an even better way. You just have to refine it a little bit. So

Maureen Woolshlager (00:33:07):

Sometimes it just seems easier, or it’s like you said, the status quo or the paradigm and you need some sort of disrupting event or product coming into the market or to really think about things a little bit differently. But that’s what entrepreneurs bring to the table, I think is that mindset that does kind of challenge the, the way it’s always been done. And so there is a balance because the constant pushback from the status quo does make you continually try and disrupt the system and think of more creative ways to challenge it. So it is like this rubber band going back and forth. But I definitely agree there’s quite a bit of innovation out there and you guys are, are really leading with that right now. Certainly seen during a disruption like the pandemic for sure. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Well, before I ask you another question about Lark, I’m gonna put you on the spot. What are some book recommendations? <laugh>

Sam Berman (00:34:05):

<laugh>, I don’t really read no. Um, <laugh>

Maureen Woolshlager (00:34:08):

And up tied for reading.

Sam Berman (00:34:09):

Yeah. I, I, I, you know, I’m a big fan of history. Actually right now I’m reading two books. Apparently I’m reading a hundred greatest artists in history. And I’ll tell you my favorite, I I actually mentioned horror was Johanna’s ver if you haven’t seen mm-hmm. <affirmative> work yet. It’s shocking. People think that Mona Lisa’s amazing. Go look at the girl with a pearl earing a shocking piece of work. But, so I, I love learning about art because art is history. I’m also, what else am I reading? So I’m reading a book called Dominion right now about the history of Christianity and how it changed all of history. So again, there’s nothing new under the sun. And once you learn what was, you will learn what is and what’s to come, everything the world serves goes, goes like that. I just finished a biography of John Paul Jones and the first sort of naval officer of the United States read a lot of magazines. I, I have Scottish descent, so I’ve been in the Scottish history lately. I’m reading a lot about that. Yes, I have watched Outlander in case he wants to know what else. Yeah, just a lot of history lately. I tend to get, I just, I’m sort of revisiting some of the classics right now. I just heard the start of the Nel, that’s, he’s sort of the first action hero

Kristi Porter (00:35:18):

So much. Yeah.

Sam Berman (00:35:19):

You know, it’s a whole series of books. There’s like 20 of ’em.

Kristi Porter (00:35:22):

No, okay. I’ll have to look into, I’ve read that one, two or three times. Yeah, yeah.

Sam Berman (00:35:26):

And I actually was just revisiting and reading Uncle Tom’s cabin. It’s funny because I think again, people with their lack of knowledge of history will say something, oh hey, you’re this or that, or you know, like, you never wrote that book. You don’t understand what you’re gonna be saying. But I, I’m trying, Nathaniel Hawthorne, my son is named after that author. And so I, I sort of, you know, have seven Gables love the Charlotte letter. And so I try and kind of balance it out. I spend so much of my time looking at computers and reading technical issues or working with Chris and his engineering corps. I’m not an engineer, I’m a logistician. So I don’t really, you know, understand the mechanics of everything. But I, I’ve learned over time. So I, I’ve sort of made a study of that as well. This could be a whole other podcast talking about books and, but yeah, that’s part what I’m reading right now.

Kristi Porter (00:36:11):

I I love that. No, that’s terrific. I mean those or or revisit some of those as well. And speaking of just sort of the innovation, what you’ve learned, and one of the things I really said really interested that you said, obviously the RC is research center. So you talked about we don’t just make a box, we create solutions and systems and all of that. So you also included in that big topic for today’s world technology. So talk about some of the technology that comes along with these services and how you’re solving problems there.

Sam Berman (00:36:42):

Yeah, so a lot of our technology has been mechanical engineering space and the sort of innovation of fixturing systems that we use. We’re not just pushing things in a crate and shutting it and putting a bunch of foam around it that we don’t have a single solution that uses foam. Cause you can’t say, Hey, we’re a green company and this slap a wad on foam top of it and say, Hey, yeah, it’s true. But a lot of innovation comes around just the engineering of the crates itself. Our crates built up like a Lego system and it was really difficult to get a system that was modular that would be stronger than a wood crate, but it is double Wall Hollow never had a penetration to one of our crates, the way they interlock. We have a number of patents on our products, but you really aren’t around fiction systems and what we call a box and a box solution where it comes around and really hugs the cargo cuz it’s reusable.

Sam Berman (00:37:29):

We can spend a little more time, money, resources on making it really robust. And so we close down around that XY axis and really secure it because what most people don’t know about chipping is most damaged not done when a box jumps or balls, it’s done when it moves like this, especially the XY plane, especially when it, when there’s electronics of all things tend to break or delaminate. So we really spend a lot of time doing that. Um, have to secure scient optics or a million dollar surgical robot. We really have to make sure that is really snug in there. And so a lot of our technology comes around controls for vibration and shock dampening. We have our pallet has a kind of a state-of-the-art dampening system on it’s got 18 shock and vibration damers on it. And we can tune those to different frequencies.

Sam Berman (00:38:14):

But most of what we do from a technology perspective comes from just how we engineer solutions for maintaining and and managing the car in the interior. We also are partnered with the company tie out of Boston for our tracking. They make great tech. I’ve been a great company to work with. So we don’t make our own tracking tech because that is an area that’s, it’s a whole other beast. We looked at doing it, but we just said we’re gonna, the idea at the end of the day, I don’t wanna have a burger joint that makes a burger the best burger in the world. I don’t wanna be all things to all people, right? I just want everyone I wanna line at my door because I’m in and out burger, right? Because everyone knows that burger’s gonna be good every single time. And so that’s what we’re really trying to do at Lark.

Sam Berman (00:38:53):

And so we bring in partners who have state-of-the-art technology and we don’t really spend our wheels or wasting our time going down that path. So yeah. But the, the other cool thing about that is, you know, one of the things we don’t do well in, in the world today, especially in business, is we don’t really collaborate very well where we say, wow, those guys have a really cool tech and those guys have a really cool tech. What happens if we just marry all this stuff up and make a super tech? And that’s kind of what we do. So it allows us to be small really fast. And to give you a, we tell we’re super fast. So the core of LAR is, is myself and Chris Taylor, okay? And we have people around us, but at the end of the decisions are made within seconds.

Sam Berman (00:39:33):

It might not be the right decision, but it’s gonna be made and we’re gonna correct it if it’s wrong. And then we can en design engineer and prototype something within like weeks or 10, 8, 10 days sometimes. And it just flows our competition out the water. We’re gonna go through a whole process and layers of management. Okay, have fun with that. We’ve got a product here, it’s already done and we’re going. So yeah, it’s, it’s about speed, it’s about vision. It’s about being willing to fail fast and fix and stop finding those right partners out there. Whether they be customers, whether they be logistics partners. One one of customers we work with at where we can talk about, we work with Schneider Electric and how they were stacking trucks only 35 inches high and then our system allowed to put four of these units in each crate in stack those crates three high in our 53 foot trailer.

Sam Berman (00:40:23):

You could put 66 of our crates into it. And so they were able to get rid of a number of, not just trucks, but processing time because we worked with their people in the, in factory in the field say, how do you do this? How can we engineer a better solution? So I think they cut their processing time by 40 or 50%. I think they’re cut out one or two trucks a week. And so our crate really is just the, the sort of the focal point of starting a discussion for how we can make it make the system better around the crate. And it’s interesting because it’s a reverse. So most people see shipping and packaging as the end of the line thing. If you are really good at logistics and you say, I’m gonna see everything from A to Z and you say, I’m gonna take this package, I’m gonna move it to the front and I’m gonna make my whole processing through the system based on this platform, things speed up dramatically, right?

Sam Berman (00:41:19):

Like, here’s a good example. When you move server racks, they, the cabinets come empty from a manufacturer. They usually come on a kind of a wood pallet. The integrator who puts racks in there or blades in there usually takes it off of that pallet, re puts it on another pallet to move it through a system. What happens now if I move my pallet all the way to the manufacturer of the cabinet, it just moves through system or away how much time, money, resources, energy you save in doing that. And so logistics in general, most people don’t really understand it. I used to be, it used to drive me out of my mind. They thought, oh you’re the shipping guy. Yeah, I’m the shipping guy <laugh>, I just, I take this box, I put this label on it and like magic unicorn tea, right? All on it. And it just appears 8,000 miles away, right?

Sam Berman (00:42:11):

The supply chain logistics is the most complex thing. I used to teach people. I used to, here, here’s something funny. I, so I didn’t finish college, but I’ve lectured a number of colleges which I find humorous. He used to give a lecture called the Roman Road. And I would ask these students in business by chain, I would ask in the simple question I say, was Rome great because they had roads or did they have roads because they were great? Like which one came first? And the answer is, they were great because they had roads like Rome built the greatest empire in history up until that time because they couldn’t move things quickly, their army could move, their supplies could move. It was genius, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and back we’re at today. I tell people you can invent a pill that makes you more handsome and attractive to win.

Sam Berman (00:42:57):

It doesn’t mean anything if you can’t make it and ship it to where it needs to be. And I always tell people, you want a great bar bet, you go to the bar and say, I’ll bet you a hundred bucks. You can’t find a single thing in this room that hasn’t been shipped, including you cuz your part of the supply chain, right? Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so it’s a very complex system. And if the good logisticians out there, the ones who really understand it, understand that this is a to Z process, that you have to really look at all the hops, every part of it. How can I shorten that? How can I build efficiencies in it? And one of the problems that we really have today, especially the way our education systems are done, is people are myopic. Why do this part of it? That’s great, that’s wonderful.

Sam Berman (00:43:47):

What about the other umpteen parks? Well that’s truly managed by the VP has no idea about this and this good logistics folk, good logisticians, good supply chain folks will take everything into account and they’ll say, why can’t I? The Japanese are really good at this in their CanBan type systems, they’re automotive system. They analyze things and they realize we’re overanalyzing things. We’re not looking at the whole chain. And so they just say, we’re asked three questions, five questions. If I don’t get an answer into that period of time, it someone’s done something wrong, right? So you have to make this a simple process, but you have to understand the complexity of it, simplify it as much as you can, but have the vision to understand, I know the boxes are purchased here at the very end of the chain, but what happens if I move this here?

Sam Berman (00:44:32):

And I’m gonna give you a great example of this. There are empires out there, we call them FedEx and up S. UPS is one of our partners up PS found I think 1907. Do you know why these are 110, 120 billion a year companies? Cuz they did something so simple and so genius years ago that built their empire. You know, simply this. They gave you a box, as simple as that sounds. So I’m in my office thinking, oh, I’m running late. And the personal front says, why don’t you just throw it in this box, fill out this form, and for two or three extra hours more than the postal quiz, there’ll be a guy in a brown here him. And then two days later it’ll be there. And I say, really? Now I’m old enough to remember, by the way, I know I look young and spry, but I am old enough to remember when FedEx was first doing this, where we would fill out these waybills by hand.

Sam Berman (00:45:26):

And I’m older to remember when this was a shock to me that they did this. When Fred Smith said, Hey, let’s give him a box. It was revolutionary. As stupid as it sounds, you know what Lark is, we’re just gonna get him a box. It’s just a little bigger. The cargo’s just a little more valuable, right? But that’s that, those are the little things that take the entire supply chain into account. But it’s a little change that changes everything. And so I always tell guys at ups, you guys, you don’t know it, but your geniuses, you, you really are. There’s not many things in the world that a minor change like that can affect. But it is those minor changes, lots of them that will change the world and make it a better place. So mm-hmm <affirmative>. But they, by the, I say they’ve ruin the world because everyone thinks I want that tomorrow. Yeah. Before, oh yeah, it’ll be there in a week or you know, no, I want it now. And it really did excel in the world.

Maureen Woolshlager (00:46:17):

Well, you talked a little bit about tech and innovation and just kind of a far little bit of background. I think the way that you came on our radar and Christie and I saw you was because of this post on LinkedIn and it had a picture, right? Because you and I talked about this, it had this picture of all of this wood pallets, I believe in Mexico, and it was talking about how your product was kind of changing the industry and but also look at the environmental friendly aspect to it as well. Can you talk a little bit about that, but also sort of how you see, let’s say your product or other things that are going on in the industry, pushing those more environmentally sound practices into the future?

Sam Berman (00:47:01):

Yeah, that picture came from someone who’s on my advisory board, Brian Pennel. He was down in Mexico’s family. He said, oh my gosh, we’re down here and we saw the burn pits, and they’re burning all these pallets, and there’s a bunch of ’em down here. And I, but funny, I wrote back to Brian, I said, when I take my family on vacation, I go to the beach. You took them to the burn pits. Yeah. Um, I said, that’s, that’s cool. Um, he goes, well, yeah, you know, it’s the best you could do at the time, apparently. But so I thought, you know, I need to post this because they’re these burn pits and these types of areas, not just burn pits, but dumps, you know, all, they’re all over India and Asia and Mexico. It’s funny, as Americans, we think, oh, we’re doing this great job, right?

Sam Berman (00:47:41):

People don’t know’s a lot of stuff that’s stepped onto container ships, and they get taken to places where they don’t have the same environmental standard, and this ends up in a barn pit, or it ends up in some horrid location next to a village, which is piling up, creating all kinds of other problems, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so what we really need to do is go back to the basics. You know, the environmental sort of movement has gotten kind of wild and wacky at this point. You know, we’re not doing just the basics. And I, given my belief system, you know, I, I like to be a good steward of the environment, right? I, I think we need to be very sort of diligent in, in the way we do things. I don’t, I don’t think running off, you know what I’m saying? Everything’s gonna be solar.

Sam Berman (00:48:22):

Everything’s gonna be wind right now, because I think you have to transition things over time. Or suddenly you’re like, there’s no power refrigerators out. Well, the wind’s not blowing here. There, there are great, we’re, we are a great society. We will invent new systems. We will make new technology. The markets will drive that. We will continue to invent and be great at what we do, but we have to do it in a very measured way. And one, you know, one of those ways is look at a scenario and say, okay, there’s a burn pit in Mexico and it’s burning 24 7, 365, and college from all over the world. Which by the way, there’s about 4 billion in, you know, moving any time in the world. 4 billion wood pallets. And they’re just, they’re creating environmental disasters and not just environmental s they’re making people’s lives miserable. And who live near here.

Sam Berman (00:49:09):

That’s your job is to stand near the barn pit and get black wg. My mom’s from West Virginia, so my family has full mining history. So I understand, you know, people are down in the pitch and things aren’t safe. Those things exist all over the world to this day. And we need to do something about the human factors there too. So, the way we did, as we moved back to the way it used to be, and the original thing was reduce, reuse, recycle. I mean, those are very simple concepts. So stop using so much. You know, my grandfather had the same par for 30 years. He just fixed it, right? We don’t make things to last anymore, you know? Oh, that toaster’s done. Throw it out and get a new one. The blender’s broken. Um, people used to fix things and we used to make things fix.

Sam Berman (00:49:50):

We had that skillset. So we need to reduce the, the, and we need to reuse, and we also need to recycle things better, right? So I look at those wood pallets and I say, man, why can’t someone get all those, grind those into wood pallets and make energy out, right? That’s a much better solution. I know if a guy who invented this truck that actually grinds up tires and burns in, in this really high heat plasma layer, that creates more power than it uses. The solutions are out there. It’s reusable containers, reusable cranes is a huge one, right? Do you how much hardboard and landfill material and, and metal is used in these things? I have a picture of one of the big data center companies that would send up truckloads every day from California to Oregon every day, and they would buy a crate for each one, 12, $1,400 and they’d have foam and metal, and then they would scrap it off every single day.

Sam Berman (00:50:41):

A truckload of this stuff. Wow. There’s a better way to do it. So we need to approach things on a, on a per issue basis. And we say, I don’t think I want to be bu burning pallets anymore, right? Is there a better way? I don’t think I wanna cut down two timber trees to build a crate that I’m gonna use one time, and it is two timber trees, right? And that takes a lot of processing, and I don’t wanna take away jobs. People, we gotta find people other ways to do these things, but it really is arcane, it’s really archaic, and we need to move these things, you know, on a case by case basis. So what can I do with those pallets? What can I do with that rubber? What can I, they grind rubber and they put on the, the sports fields.

Sam Berman (00:51:18):

Now it’s a great idea, right? Yeah. But what we do at LA is we say, Hey, you’re gonna move 8,700 of those things. That’s 8,700 cranes multiplied by two trees, right? You’re talking about 17,000 trees cut down to support your business. And the people will all say, well, well, I reuse my crates, I move them back. So you put the same freight back on a truck and move it back. Wouldn’t it be better if it folded down and we could stack, you know, X number? Yeah. Okay, well, let’s do that. Right? Let’s move that forward. So, you know, the environment obviously is critical. I think we need to come up with solutions that are, are rational solutions. I think we need to go back to the basics of what can I make that’s reusable? Know people always say, you know, uh, what’s a good example?

Sam Berman (00:52:07):

O of what I’m telling you. They ask me, I say, there’s some guys that are public car guns who are very popular, well, and very knowledgeable about cars. And if someone asks on a phone one years later, I said, well, if you could only have one car, what would you have? The guy says, oh, it’s easy. I have a 65 Chevy note said, why? He said, because I could repair it with bubble gum and bailing wall. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. And it’s just reliable, right? We used to build cars. I used to repair my own car. I looked at my car engine the other day and I went, got nothing for you. I can’t fix it. It’s,

Maureen Woolshlager (00:52:37):

It’s all box with electronics. Anyway, so it’s, it’s, yeah. Things get a normal Yeah. It’s not this dream.

Sam Berman (00:52:43):

Yeah. Things get too, we make things too complex. We try and solve complex problems with complex solutions, and they’re not complex solutions, right? Most solutions are simple. And I mean, well, what if we just didn’t use as much? What if we recycled that? What if, why can’t we reuse or repurpose something that we’ve already had? And so by building a platform, and platforms are the key, I always tell people this, this is a great invention, not because it’s a phone. We follow this a phone. Hey, have you seen my phone? How much do you use this as a phone? Right? Very. It’s, well, it’s actually a platform, and it’s a platform that you put a lot of applications on. So the trick is, make a platform that’s very simple and build applications on top of that platform and utilize that a million times. Make things repairable, right?

Sam Berman (00:53:27):

Stop being a throwaway society. Stop being a society that says, oh, we have to solve this problem with insane levels of technology. Let’s get AI to solve the problem. And next thing the Terminator, right? They’re killing us all right? But versus, Hey, how about we just educate ourselves better? Or we learn to fix a car, or we go back to the basics of things. We grow some over our own foods, for example. Or we, we do co-ops of, you know, food sharing, or we share a ride. Hey, my business partner, I need to go to the same place. I’ll come pick you up. Those are the solutions that are simple that make a dramatic difference, right? So innovation is not some ethereal thing. The solving the environmental problems are, are not a big ethereal thing. It’s, it’s really simple. Turn off the light when you leave the room. Okay? These are the things we used to have. And now, now, you know, we’re saying we gotta spend 80 true end dollars to fix this problem. No, we really don’t. We just need to use some common sense and let the market forces kind of do their work.

Kristi Porter (00:54:23):

Yeah. Yeah. Well, also, I’m curious too, building on the sustainability factor, innovation, which you’re clearly passionate about, clearly have an interest for, and what you’re focused on. One of the other things you’re trying to do is just find ways to do it with purpose, with meaning. So tell us also a little bit about what Movement for Good is and how that ties to Lark.

Sam Berman (00:54:45):

Yeah. So one of the things that really, one of our investors and I, we went to visit him, it’s funny, I have a, a picture of George Washington’s Prayer Valley Forge in the office. It’s actually right above my computer here. And we went to visit him and he had the same picture. I’m like, oh, that’s interesting, right? There’s kind of booga booga stuff. But he, he had, we were having a conversation and he asked me what was on my heart besides business. And one of the things that’s really was really on my heart was the, the greatest evil that I think exists out there in sex trafficking and slavery, and something most people don’t know, is that we have more slaves in the world today than we’ve ever had, and we’ve had more sex trafficking in the world than we’ve ever had. And I can’t be, I have a son, I have a daughter.

Sam Berman (00:55:27):

I can’t imagine the level of evil that, that that sort of represents. So Lark was partnered with a few, to a few organizations, international Justice Mission and some others. And we give from our crates, we give something back to them. And the idea was create you for moving cargo, not people, right? And you hear these horror stories about cargo containers filled with human beings. I can’t even imagine the nightmare that would be, or the, you hear about the Super Bowl in the United States, it’s the number one weekend of sex trafficking. We think, we think this stuff doesn’t happen, but it’s incredibly hundred thousand kids go missing every year, and they’re ending up in bro holes and all this other stuff. And so we really want to tie what we do to something that has a much greater meaning. And business is one thing, but if you’re a, if you’re a 12 year old girl being brought across the border for that, I can’t even imagine the level of evil and that, and darkness.

Sam Berman (00:56:22):

It’s in someone’s heart to do something like that. So we, as far as doing that, actually something that is really on our hearts and something that we really want to push out there. And then we’ve asked our partners other logisticians, to kind of make that commitment to that you’re gonna give some percentage, whether it be half percent or 1% of what you do with us into some charity, whether it be Operation Underground Railroad, or International Justice Machine, or something else that’s on their hearts. We believe people are driven by things for pur purpose, that it’ll land or it needs to land. But if you have business without a purpose like that, then what’s the point? Right? What mm-hmm. <affirmative>, these giant families say, we’re worth a trillion dollars. Okay, what are you doing with it? Right? Right. And they are charitable. I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna take away from that, but there could be so much more being done. So that’s really what for Good is. Yeah.

Maureen Woolshlager (00:57:09):

Thank you for that commitment. Yeah. Well, so you’re with Lark and you’re also kind of part of Movement for Good. So what sort of like similarities or overlap do you see by working on, let’s say the corporate side of Lark and the nonprofit side for Movement for Good in terms of bringing in revenue, you know, spreading the word, sharing resources?

Sam Berman (00:57:32):

For us, it’s really, it’s more of a, we’re a little more passive and we do spread the word about it. And we’re out there and we’re giving back from what we’re doing, but we also realize we’re not the experts in it. There’s people who are experts in this. And so the best thing we can do is talk to our partners out there, get people to know about it, and then pass it on to the people who are out in the field doing that level of work. And that’s really the role we play. I think the role that business can play is to resource these folks out there who have this level of expertise, this level of passion to be out there doing it. One of the great one, his Operation Underground Railroad, Tim Ballard, those guys are out there literally physically rescuing children. And, you know, I said, I’m a guy of action.

Sam Berman (00:58:13):

I don’t, you know, I don’t want to hear about, well, we’re bringing awareness and all this kind. That’s our job as a business, because we’re not the extra but charities that you’re giving to the organization, they need to be boots on the ground. And I, I mean, from the moment you rescue these kids, or these women to the moment they’re on their own, you know, you have to support them through the whole system saying, okay, now you’re gonna, it’s either crisis pregnancy Center, it’s one thing, okay, you’ve had the baby move on. Well, no, you, you now you need to help through the process. Same thing with sex structuring. These people have gone through incredible levels of problems. You need to bring in expert to help them to get them, you know, some of them have had no formal education, right? Some of them have been trapped free, they don’t know how the world works. So you’ve gotta give them a grounding. So really our role at Lark is to bring some awareness and to help resource that and get it to, to the expert hands of the people who are on the ground, rescuing kids, rescuing these young ladies who have just known nothing but despair and darkness. Well, no, I wish I could, if my wife would let me, I would probably gear up and go get these guys. But at the end of the day, there are experts out there. The trick is picking the right ones to work with. I

Kristi Porter (00:59:23):

Hear.

Sam Berman (00:59:24):

So,

Kristi Porter (00:59:25):

Yeah, certainly a lot of learnings both on both sides of the fence with both movement for good and la what are a couple in the, especially in the last few years, we have been through a pandemic. We’ve been challenged in whole new ways, which we didn’t expect. What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned, either, either one of those areas? How have, what have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Sam Berman (00:59:49):

Yeah, it was tough for us because our product is one where you have to get in front of people. I’m not gonna sell you a car over the internet. I’m not gonna sell you a physical product. So we definitely are challenges. I had did more than one or two outside a parking lot, a hundred degree weather with a mask on my face, which was never my thing. We just had to overcome. We just, the thing with being a small company and entrepreneurs, you just find the way, right? So you say, Hey, can we meet you in the parking lot? Can we bring it down in an open truck? Can we do whatever we had to do to get in front of people? But things certainly slowed down, right? And so we just had to sort of weather the storm. Right Now, it’s interesting because we’ve seen a real shift.

Sam Berman (01:00:25):

The environmental push was really big circularity, and we’re working with a number of our customers on that. Some companies do it really, really well. Some companies are just getting into it and starting to really learn circularity. And circularity, by the way, is a thing that’s not just about the environment, it’s about doing things more efficiently. But we’ve had to work with them very, very closely. The, uh, the thing about getting in front of people though was, was really tough. And so we had to really dig in and find ways to be creative and so forth. But the thing that shifted now is you had an environmental thing. The circularity had to dig in. And as we dug in, what happened is, since the pandemic things go like this, since the pandemic up and down, they, the, there’s gonna change into security because the, the economy is not great.

Sam Berman (01:01:13):

Supply chain has gotten rough. More people are desperate. And so we’re hearing a lot more suddenly about, ooh, six months ago, we’re having things stolen, right? We’re, we need more security. So things are up and down all the time. So what looks like a, a bad solution, depending on your products, and we adjust it, which will be the security crates. We made it. Even in those times, you adjust and now you have another product, people say, oh, that actually will fulfill my need, that $10 million I got stolen. Maybe I’ll get a million dollars short. Maybe I’ll get nothing stolen if I switch to this system. So you have to be reactive. If be product, it’ll be, I pretty reactive. And that’s how you do it. You look for the opportunity in the crisis. You, you don’t use it as a, Hey, I’m gonna, I’m not gonna like war profiteer, but you look for the need, you look for the opportunity and you build to that need. But it certainly was a difficult time for us and everybody. I mean, a lot of small companies just didn’t make, and we did, we’re still here and we’re starting to grow. So, yeah, it’s

Kristi Porter (01:02:14):

Okay. And I’m curious too, the, you have the purpose factor. You have the sustainability factor, both growing for the business sector tremendously, but you also just at the baseline, you have a solution to a problem. So I’m curious, in your conversations with people, are they mostly just focused on that we need this solution and the other things are nice add-ons? Are you having people explore the wanting to work with you because of the sustainability factor and the purpose factor? How are kind of those conversations happening and is it people just like, these are nice to haves, or now we’re really looking for not only a solution, but one that we feel is a betterment to the society in some way too?

Sam Berman (01:02:58):

Yeah. It depends. The answer depends almost solely on the size of the company we’re working with. So if we’re working with smaller companies, they’re looking for a solution to their problem right now because they’re trying to grow up. Sure. They’re in the phase. If you’re working with an enterprise level company, all of the above matters and they’re checking the boxes, right? And rightfully so, right? They’re gonna have a lot more impact than Joe’s Auto Shop who’s just starting for some trillion dollar company. So they really do, it really does matter in the science company, but they definitely take it to heart. It’s most companies. So a lot of companies work greenwashing and so forth, but they’re not so much anymore. So they’re, those things do really come into play. They score scorecard you, right? They say, how’s the product? Does it serve the basic need?

Sam Berman (01:03:37):

Is there an environmental solution? Are these guys, are they doing something from a social perspective that we agree with? So all of that stuff matched. It really does. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think I, it’s interesting. I think when the economy slows those sort of issues, slow down a little bit, they’re there. As much as you hate to say that is true, but people say, listen, they’re thriving and they’re surviving. So we meet all of those needs. We check all of those boxes, and almost accidentally, we didn’t set out to do that. We still have to make a great product as everyone should. But like I said about the hamburger earlier, you might make the greatest hamburger world, people realize, wait a second, there’s something in this hamburger that makes me feel great about life good. Where they’re giving all the better. But at the end of the day, you just, you’re there for the hamburger baseline is make a great product, make a great product.

Sam Berman (01:04:25):

Um, the world’s not gonna be the path of your door. But once you have that great product add on everything else that has that meaning and purpose and fulfillment, and people will do that. But I will tell you that the enterprise level companies, if you don’t meet those criteria, they won’t work with you. So we were fortunate that we do the movement for good. For example, we didn’t do that for first Corn horns. We did that from almost day one. It’s just something that we do, something that the belief system and our culture at Mark. But it is something that people do care about and they should care about it, and we should care about it. Right? But we shouldn’t do it to, to just check that box. We should do it cause it’s the right thing to do.

Maureen Woolshlager (01:05:01):

Right. Well, a lot of entrepreneurs in our listener group, and you have quite a bit of entrepreneurial experience. Is there anything that you’ve maybe talked about in any of your lectures or tidbits of wisdom for those entrepreneurs really trying to get into the market space? Not just in logistics, but just in general, you know, for those looking to get into that.

Sam Berman (01:05:21):

Yeah. None at all. No, I’m just kidding. No,

Maureen Woolshlager (01:05:24):

You’re keeping all your secrets to yourself. No, <laugh>, you’ll be public.

Sam Berman (01:05:28):

Do you have Andy, how much those secrets are worth? I’m, I’m gonna do the cliche one because it’s the absolute truth and that’s what I about earlier. It’s just grind. You’ve gotta, it is absolutely a blood sport. People will do all kinds of crazy things. You’ll, there will be days where your head is in your hands going, why am I doing this? You just, if you want to be an entrepreneur, and I, I kind of teach the real side of this thing. I’m never gonna sh coat this. It is, it is grind every day. It is disappointment every day. The winds are sometimes few far between. But the grind, if you have it and you keep pushing that rock up the hill, no matter what, uh, you’ll win. But even this has been a six, seven year endeavor, and we’re not, we’re, when I get granted, we had covid and we had all this sudden craziness and this happen, but you just have to continue to grind.

Sam Berman (01:06:19):

There is no magic to it. You make a good product that the world needs and you grind and you grind and you grind knowing that the, it’ll be 90% door slammed in your face and 10% success. And then someday that will reverse itself. But if your person says, I’m gonna stop at the first one first, you know, problem for hundred problems. This is not a lifestyle for you. Go get a job and just be content with that. But if you’re someone who is an absolute savage, who’s willing to be a type A personality, who’s willing to do the things that most people are embarrassed to do, is willing to send a, an email to the CEO o of a Fortune 500 company and wake up next day, surprise that they responded. That’s a job for you. People do think it’s all uniforms and fairy dust and all. You’re your own boss. You work for yourself. They don’t know about sort of the gut wrenching, horrible days where things have just gone wrong. But just know that persistence is key. And there’s no, my, my, my book on entrepreneurship would be at one page long, it really would just

Maureen Woolshlager (01:07:17):

Do it. I can see the title. It’d be Tinker Grind, destroy <laugh>,

Sam Berman (01:07:23):

If I put that out,

Maureen Woolshlager (01:07:25):

Grind Strong, where I would say Disrupt Baby. But those are three things that you continually talked about that I think you could, that should be like the large T-shirt. Just send me one that’s a T-shirt. I just make it.

Sam Berman (01:07:37):

Yeah. Now I gotta pay you commission. I don’t wanna sell them. Um,

Maureen Woolshlager (01:07:40):

Probably, I would tell you,

Sam Berman (01:07:42):

You use, use the word disrupt. I hate the word.

Maureen Woolshlager (01:07:44):

You know what? I feel like they read a book that talked about disruptors and I read it, we were talking about books earlier and I read a ton of books, but I read them on my Kindle. So I never remember the titles, cuz I’m like the visual person. I would remember what the cover looks like. And I always end up skipping past that to start the book. Yeah. When I had more books in the books I remember, you know, I

Sam Berman (01:08:06):

Give people this example. I mean, disrupt is not strong enough for the world day. It’s not Oh, they disrupted. They cha I always give this example, if little Johnny in the Schoolhouse is causing a problem, chewing gum, not paying attention and off, he’s disruptive. Right. The little Johnny who burns the school to the ground, that’s an entrepreneur. Right,

Maureen Woolshlager (01:08:26):

Right. I’m just trying to help you get buyers for your book. Just,

Sam Berman (01:08:31):

We’re almost there. We’re gonna write that together, Maureen,

Kristi Porter (01:08:33):

And you can illustrate it. Yeah, yeah,

Sam Berman (01:08:35):

Yeah.

Maureen Woolshlager (01:08:36):

I can’t illustrate or do PowerPoint, but I can do all that other stuff. <laugh>

Sam Berman (01:08:40):

Ex. Exactly. We’ll

Maureen Woolshlager (01:08:41):

Talk it later. <laugh>.

Sam Berman (01:08:42):

Yeah, we should. No, no, but I, I’m very serious. You know, this concept of disruption only disrupted a market. It’s just not big enough for big vision. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Like if you think about, someone asked me someone at, was it Google or something? One day. And someone said to me, what if you could do anything with this crate that you wanted to do? What would you I would destroy the wood crate market. Okay. And she looked at me and she said, it’s kind of mean. I said, ly. I said, but it’s true. I said, because that’s what real entrepreneurship is. I said, we’re not bon tar horse and cart Right. Anymore. That, that industry was destroyed. My mother was in typography. I said earlier that industry was destroyed. It was sad, but we moved on to something different. So I didn’t, I, I didn’t, you know, apple didn’t come out in the world to disrupt the computer machine. Right. They can’t destroy what was and they did. Right. And their concept was think different. It’s great. The two greatest words ever put together and advertisers think different. Right. And so you, you have to be willing to do that. And so this idea of it, I don’t want teach our kids to be disruptors. You just, you just disrupt, my kids are disruptive. I that there. Right. If my son invents the next, you need

Maureen Woolshlager (01:09:55):

To destroy it or don’t No

Sam Berman (01:09:57):

<laugh>. Yeah. Listen, if you’re gonna, I told my son, if you’re gonna fight me, you better kill me because you know, I want you to be that kind guy. Right. But at the end of the day, I don’t want to invent a new way of doing something. I want to invent a new paradigm. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, I wanna invent a different way of doing it all together. And that’s really what we’re after. And I know people think, wow, this guy is aggressive, but that is really, at the end of the day, what moves us forward in the world. And they’re a million examples of it. The Wright brothers flew a plane that flew for 12 seconds today. I can get on a plane and flight to Copenhagen and eat a donor that and drink a to. And somehow we did that in most than a hundred years.

Sam Berman (01:10:36):

Right. Or a hundred years. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so that’s destructive. We’re no longer taking steamships, thank God, across the ocean. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Right. Right. So it’s disrupted. And having said though, I do find something, I do find it an interesting shift happening. We are going backwards to move forward right now. And what I mean by that is, one of the, one of the technology I think is super cool is hyper loop this train and a tube they can go setting a hundred miles per hour. And all these companies are working on sort than a frenzy, I think. Wow. We are going back to the industrial age of trains. It’s just that they’re noting trains. They’re super fast, hypersonic trains, vacuum tubes, and even the vacuum tube old buildings from the 18 hundreds had the vacuum tubes to move things around. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, this is not, but like I said, if you understand history, you say, how can I make that, how can I take that and make it this <laugh> that is destructive to what exists now? So suddenly have a training that goes faster and a plane that’s really cool. Right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So

Maureen Woolshlager (01:11:34):

A little bit scary, I’ll be honest, but yes. Cool. No,

Sam Berman (01:11:37):

The only, the really scary thing is ai, I’ll be honest. That’s Yeah. That is scary technology. And I don’t, yeah. I’m not afraid of most tech, but that one’s scary. Sure.

Kristi Porter (01:11:44):

Yeah. Well this is, we’re still trying to out Yeah. Thanking us so much for your time. This has been trip of course, we appreciate your insight and your stories. But of course, name of the podcast, logistics With Purpose. You clearly embody our same shared ideals and values. So what does that phrase mean to you? What does logistics with purpose, how would you sum that up? What does it mean to you?

Sam Berman (01:12:06):

Oh, it, it simply means utilizing the standard of the world and how we move things to change things, right? Not just in the process itself, but in, in how we utilize the resources we get, the blessings we get from doing them, right. We all have to be giving back. But if you can change the market space and you can utilize those resources at the same time, you’ve really succeeded. I’ve never started a company of any kind that didn’t you give something back, even when I’ve been in those little take monsters, you could adopt them for kids in the hospital. You would take ’em to kids in the hospital. Wow. You know, it’s, you have to utilize what you know, the resources and the blessings you have to pass those down to other people while changing markets. And the more destructive you are to those markets, the more resources you have to continue to do that. We, it, it’s like anything you, it’s called logistics of purpose, but shouldn’t everything just be business of purpose, right? Every business should be there with purpose and it’s too narrow of a concept to just be logistics. And I think that what you’re doing here is amazing. I think just taking, taking the idea of what is really the least sexy industry in the world. I

Kristi Porter (01:13:12):

Really is true. Really? Yeah.

Sam Berman (01:13:14):

Hey, did you get that paperwork there? Yeah. It’s, but taking that and realizing how important it is to not just the existence of our world today, but what we can do with it to make it even better, to make things faster, to make things more efficient, manufacture things in a better way to make products as the world really needs. I think you’re really onto something here. I’m so glad that you do this podcast and that you, you push this out the world, get people thinking in a very different way.

Maureen Woolshlager (01:13:42):

Yeah. Thank you Sam. We’re really happy to come on today. This has been wonderful, but we don’t wanna close out without giving the audience an opportunity. How can we learn more about you and Lark and connect with you and all the things, you know, technology moving forward in 2023? How do we make recommendation so our listeners know how to follow up with you?

Sam Berman (01:14:04):

Yeah, so you can learn more about Lark on our website. It’s real simple. lark.co not com. We didn’t want, we didn’t wanna, we didn’t wanna pay for the m so it’s l a rrc com and you know, when you’re starting a company you gotta be kind of brutal. So we just did

Maureen Woolshlager (01:14:18):

LA charge you less cuz you’re only using two of the lenders instead of three. You’re like, we’re a small company, just use, not co

Sam Berman (01:14:24):

Exactly. The friends and the family discount, I guess. So it’s l a rrc.co. And I, I’m gonna give out my email address. People can email me directly. I’m just sam lark.co. L a r c.co. Please feel free to contact me. I would love to, to talk to everyone out. We’re always advancing new technologies and always looking for new projects to do. And would love to talk to some of your listeners out there. And it’s really, really appreciative that they’re out there listening this and appreciate what you all are doing too. I should say. Listen, I live in Tennessee, what y’all are doing. Yes, yes.

Kristi Porter (01:14:57):

<laugh>. Yeah. Thank you so much. This was so much fun. Appreciate your wisdom, your insight, and just talking about innovation and I feel like we covered a lot of good things that are gonna be relevant to people in a variety of ways. So thank you so much for what you’re doing to, to further business with purpose. We hope that continues to catch fire around the world because that way more people are destroying and building good things.

Sam Berman (01:15:21):

Awesome. Thanks.

Kristi Porter (01:15:22):

Thank you. Thank you. Welcome you next time. Bye-bye. Bye.

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Sam Berman is a seasoned business leader and entrepreneur, known for his expertise in supply chain/logistics, marketing, and product development. As the CEO and Co-Founder of the Logistics Advanced Research Center (LARC), based in Nashville, TN, Sam has successfully established himself as a prominent figure in the logistics technology industry. With over 30 years of experience working in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, and as a serial entrepreneur, Sam honed his skills in various roles, including supply chain management, marketing, and consulting in product development. His deep understanding of these domains, coupled with his innovative thinking and ability to recognize market-based needs, allowed him to navigate the ever-changing landscape of technology-driven businesses. Driven by a passion for solving complex business challenges, Sam and co-Founder Chris Taylor established LARC with the vision of transforming the logistics industry. With his strategic acumen and deep industry knowledge, he has led LARC to become a leading provider of innovative logistics and reusable packaging solutions, catering to a wide range of customers and partners from early-stage start-ups to enterprise-scale companies. Beyond his role at LARC, Sam is also actively involved in mentoring and supporting budding entrepreneurs. He understands the challenges faced by early-stage startups and is committed to fostering an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship. Connect with Sam  on LinkedIn.

Maureen Woolshlager started her career at McMaster-Carr’s Management Development Program working in sales, marketing, distribution operations, finance and accounting. After McMaster-Carr, she spent a year managing operations in one of Target Corporation’s warehouses before finding a role within a small management consulting company in Denver, Colorado. She worked on large projects for international food and restaurant companies and advised on account management, business development, operations management, warehouse operations, continuous improvement and distribution center operations, and procurement/supplier/inventory optimization. She has spent the last 9 years living in Belgium & Germany where her husband has been stationed as a US Army officer. Maureen has her B.A. from Emory University. She earned a certificate in Management & Marketing from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania & her M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix. Learn more about Vector Global Logistics here: https://vectorgl.com/

Hosts

Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.

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Katherine Hintz

Creative Director, Producer, Host

Katherine Hintz, MBA is a marketing professional who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.

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Kim Reuter

Host

From humble beginnings working the import docks, representing Fortune 500 giants, Ford, Michelin Tire, and Black & Decker; to Amazon technology patent holder and Nordstrom Change Leader, Kimberly Reuter has designed, implemented, and optimized best-in-class, highly scalable global logistics and retail operations all over the world. Kimberly’s ability to set strategic vision supported by bomb-proof processes, built on decades of hands-on experience, has elevated her to legendary status. Sought after by her peers and executives for her intellectual capital and keen insights, Kimberly is a thought leader in the retail logistics industry.

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.

He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.

A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics.  He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.

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Vicki White

Controller

Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.

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Allison Giddens

Host

Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.

She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.

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Billy Taylor

Host

Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.

An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.

A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.

A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning.  He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.

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Tandreia Bellamy

Host

Tandreia Bellamy retired as the Vice President of Industrial Engineering for UPS Supply Chain Solutions which included the Global Logistics, Global Freight Forwarding and UPS Freight business units. She was responsible for operations strategy and planning, asset management, forecasting, and technology tool development to optimize sustainable efficiency while driving world class service.

Tandreia held similar positions at the business unit level for Global Logistics and Global Freight forwarding. As the leader of the Global Logistics engineering function, she directed all industrial engineering activies related to distribution, service parts logistics (post-sales support), and mail innovations (low cost, light weight shipping partnership with the USPS). Between these roles Tandreia helped to establish the Advanced Technology Group which was formed to research and develop cutting edge solutions focused on reducing reliance on manual labor.

Tandreia began her career in 1986 as a part-time hourly manual package handling employee. She spent the great majority of her career in the small package business unit which is responsible for the pick-up, sort, transport and delivery of packages domestically. She held various positions in Industrial Engineering, Marketing, Inside and On-road operations in Central Florida before transferring to Atlanta for a position in Corporate Product Development and Corporate Industrial Engineering. Tandreia later held IE leadership roles in Nebraska, Minnesota and Chicago. In her final role in small package she was an IE VP responsible for all aspects of IE, technology support and quality for the 25 states on the western half of the country.
Tandreia is currently a Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF) Foundation Board and also serves on their Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Previously Tandreia served on the Executive Advisory Board for Virginia Tech’s IE Department and the Association for Supply Chain Management. She served on the Board of Trustees for ChildServ (a Chicago child and family services non-profit) and also served on the Texas A&M and Tuskegee Engineering Advisory Boards. In 2006 she was named Business Advisor of the Year by INROADS, in 2009 she was recognized as a Technology All-Star at the Women of Color in STEM conference and in 2019 she honored as a UCF Distinguished Aluma by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems.

Tandreia holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Systems from UCF. Her greatest accomplishment, however, is being the proud mother of two college students, Ruby (24) and Anthony (22).

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Marty Parker

Host

Marty Parker serves as both the CEO & Founder of Adæpt Advising and an award-winning Senior Lecturer (Teaching Professor) in Supply Chain and Operations Management at the University of Georgia. He has 30 years of experience as a COO, CMO, CSO (Chief Strategy Officer), VP of Operations, VP of Marketing and Process Engineer. He founded and leads UGA’s Supply Chain Advisory Board, serves as the Academic Director of UGA’s Leaders Academy, and serves on multiple company advisory boards including the Trucking Profitability Strategies Conference, Zion Solutions Group and Carlton Creative Company.

Marty enjoys helping people and companies be successful. Through UGA, Marty is passionate about his students, helping them network and find internships and jobs. He does this through several hundred one-on-one zoom meetings each year with his students and former students. Through Adæpt Advising, Marty has organized an excellent team of affiliates that he works with to help companies grow and succeed. He does this by helping c-suite executives improve their skills, develop better leaders, engage their workforce, improve processes, and develop strategic plans with detailed action steps and financial targets. Marty believes that excellence in supply chain management comes from the understanding the intersection of leadership, culture, and technology, working across all parts of the organization to meet customer needs, maximize profit and minimize costs.

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Laura Lopez

Marketing Coordinator

Laura Lopez serves as our Supply Chain Now Marketing Coordinator. She graduated from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente in Mexico with a degree in marketing. Laura loves everything digital because she sees the potential it holds for companies in the marketing industry. Her passion for creativity and thinking outside the box led her to pursue a career in marketing. With experience in fields like accounting, digital marketing, and restaurants, she clearly enjoys taking on challenges. Laura lives the best of both worlds - you'll either catch her hanging out with her friends soaking up the sun in Mexico or flying out to visit her family in California!

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Jake Barr

Host

An acknowledged industry leader, Jake Barr now serves as CEO for BlueWorld Supply Chain Consulting, providing support to a cross section of Fortune 500 companies such as Cargill, Caterpillar, Colgate, Dow/Dupont, Firmenich, 3M, Merck, Bayer/Monsanto, Newell Brands, Kimberly Clark, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Sanofi, Estee Lauder and Coty among others. He's also devoted time to engagements in public health sector work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At P&G, he managed the breakthrough delivery of an E2E (End to End) Planning Transformation effort, creating control towers which now manage the daily business globally. He is recognized as the architect for P&G’s demand driven supply chain strategy – referenced as a “Consumer Driven Supply Chain” transformation. Jake began his career with P&G in Finance in Risk Analysis and then moved into Operations. He has experience in building supply network capability globally through leadership assignments in Asia, Latin America, North America and the Middle East. He currently serves as a Research Associate for MIT; a member of Supply Chain Industry Advisory Council; Member of Gartner’s Supply Chain Think Tank; Consumer Goods “League of Leaders“; and a recipient of the 2015 - 2021 Supply Chain “Pro’s to Know” Award. He has been recognized as a University of Kentucky Fellow.

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Marcia Williams

Host

Marcia Williams, Managing Partner of USM Supply Chain, has 18 years of experience in Supply Chain, with expertise in optimizing Supply Chain-Finance Planning (S&OP/ IBP) at Large Fast-Growing CPGs for greater profitability and improved cash flows. Marcia has helped mid-sized and large companies including Lindt Chocolates, Hershey, and Coty. She holds an MBA from Michigan State University and a degree in Accounting from Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay (South America). Marcia is also a Forbes Council Contributor based out of New York, and author of the book series Supply Chains with Maria in storytelling style. A recent speaker’s engagement is Marcia TEDx Talk: TEDxMSU - How Supply Chain Impacts You: A Transformational Journey.

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Luisa Garcia

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Luisa Garcia is a passionate Marketer from Lagos de Moreno based in Aguascalientes. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes, Mexico. She specializes in brand development at any stage, believing that a brand is more than just a name or image—it’s an unforgettable experience. Her expertise helps brands achieve their dreams and aspirations, making a lasting impact. Currently working at Vector Global Logistics in the Marketing team and as podcast coordinator of Logistics With Purpose®. Luisa believes that purpose-driven decisions will impact results that make a difference in the world.

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Astrid Aubert

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Astrid Aubert was born in Guadalajara, she is 39 years old and has had the opportunity to live in many places. She studied communication and her professional career has been in Trade Marketing for global companies such as Pepsico and Mars. She currently works as Marketing Director Mexico for Vector Global Logistics. She is responsible for internal communications and marketing strategy development for the logistics industry. She is a mother of two girls, married and lives in Monterrey. She defines herself as a creative and innovative person, and enjoys traveling and cooking a lot.

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Constantine Limberakis

Host

Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research.Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

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Greg White

Principal & Host

When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.

Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.

Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.

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Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.

When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog.  He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community.  Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include CiscoMicrosoft, Citrix and IBM.  Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.

He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.

Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.

Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.

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Katherine Hintz

Director, Customer Experience

Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.

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Mary Kate Love

Chief of Staff & Host

Mary Kate Love is currently the VP of marketing at Supply Chain Now focused on brand strategy and audience + revenue growth. Mary Kate’s career is a testament to her versatility and innovative spirit: she has experience in start-ups, venture capital, and building innovation initiatives from the ground up: she previously helped lead the build-out of the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific and before that, MxD (Manufacturing times Digital): the Department of Defense’s digital manufacturing innovation center. Mary Kate has a passion for taking complicated ideas and turning them into reality: she was one of the first team members at MxD and the first team member at the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific.

Mary Kate dedicates her extra time to education and mentorship: she was one of the founding Board Members for Women Influence Chicago and led an initiative for a city-wide job shadow day for young women across Chicago tech companies and was previously on the Board of Directors at St. Laurence High School in Chicago, Young Irish Fellowship Board and the UN Committee for Women. Mary Kate is the founder of National Supply Chain Day and enjoys co-hosting podcasts at Supply Chain Now. Mary Kate is from the south side of Chicago, a mom of two baby boys, and an avid 16-inch softball player. She holds a BS in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more.  In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys.  She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.

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