Veteran Voices
Episode 91

We want to support 365 days a year. We don't want to support them just in the month of November, but for 365 days a year. Just do little things a thank you and a small gesture goes a long way.

-Kurt Robinson

Episode Summary

In this episode of Veteran Voices, host Mary Kate Saliva welcomes Kurt Robinson, an Air Force veteran and long-time employee at Delta Air Lines, to the show. Listen in as Robinson shares his journey from the military to the corporate world, and his 30+ year career with Delta.

Join us as Kurt shares the importance of having a plan and seeking help when transitioning from service, and his involvement with various veteran support organizations, including Best Defense Warrior Alliance, Four Block, and Vetlanta. Learn how organizations can make a more supportive culture for veterans, and the impact that can have on the veteran community itself.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:02):

Welcome to Veteran Voices where we amplify the stories of those who’ve served in the US Armed Forces. Presented by supply chain now and the Guam Human Rights Initiative, we dive deep into the journeys of veterans and their advocates, exploring their insights, challenges, impact, and the vital issues facing veterans and their families. Here’s your host, US Army veteran, Mary Kate Saliva.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:34):

Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us on Veteran Voices. I’m your host, Mary Kate Soliva. Veteran Voices is a podcast part of the supply chain now family, wherever you can get your podcast from. We are a podcast that loves to interview veterans who are serving beyond the uniform, and I’m so excited about our special guest who’s going to be mentioning some great things about Best Defense Warrior Alliance four Block and Vet Atlanta. As we say, it takes some time, the whole village to take care of us complex creatures, but Veteran Voices is also part only the supply chain now family, but in proud partnership with the Guam Human Rights Initiative and organization. Near and dear to my heart, that is helping to advance research in Guam and Micronesia. You can check them out@guamhri.org. And without further ado, we’d like to welcome our guest, Kurt Robinson Air Force veteran, and also a long time, a proud employee at Delta. So thank you so much for joining me today, Kurt

Kurt Robinson  (01:35):

Ane thank you for having me.

Mary Kate Soliva (01:37):

I’m super excited to have you on because I know we had a chance to speak and I know you have stories for days that we could talk about today, and I know we only have a limited time, but I want to dive right in and would love if you would share your favorite motivational quote with all of us to pump us up and get started.

Kurt Robinson  (01:54):

Oh, absolutely. I would say it’s from Winston Churchill attitude is the little thing that makes a big difference.

Mary Kate Soliva (02:19):

No, I love that. You

Kurt Robinson  (02:20):

Believe that attitude no matter what happens, shows where you can go, changes you can make, and how you can survive.

Mary Kate Soliva (02:28):

I think that’s so important too, the attitude that we go into it. I think oftentimes when we’re serving, we say it’s about going through the suck together because we’re all wet, we’re all tired, we’re all hungry, but it’s about the attitude and you could probably think of that one individual, that one airman. And I know for me that soldier that was the comedian or the one that was really amped up and motivated to get us through that, but I think that helps that it aligns really well in the outside world as well.

Kurt Robinson  (03:02):

Thank you for sharing. It does, and if someone’s having a hard day, you can tell their attitude changes. Things tend to get better

Mary Kate Soliva (03:09):

And having the right attitude. So thank you for sharing that. That’s a great way to kick off the episode and I would love to dive in about where you grew up. I think this is one of the parts of the show that I love that I think makes it unique from other shows. I think it tells a lot about who we are, where we came from. So I’d love to if you could share a bit about where you grew up.

Kurt Robinson  (03:31):

Absolutely. So I grew up actually in Austin, New York. It’s about 45 minutes north of the city on the Hudson River, and that was kind of where I stayed all the way in until I went into the Air Force. So I was in New York all the time and then the Air Force actually put me back in New York, upstate New York, in Rome, New York. So I guess I kind get that New York piece. I just can’t kick out.

Mary Kate Soliva (03:53):

Yeah. Do you still say when people ask where you’re from that you’re from New York or has Georgia taken you by the rains?

Kurt Robinson  (04:02):

I think there’s certain words that they know I’m from New York, I guess it’s that Especi. She like water when you say water, a little different in different areas. So when I do say it, he’s definitely from New York but from New York. They come from Georgia now. So I kind of lost a little bit of the deep language with them.

Mary Kate Soliva (04:22):

Oh gosh, you’re the chameleon, so you kind of get blend in either way. No, I love that. And did you grow up in a big family? Did you have that military influence at all growing up from anybody in your own family or friends, teachers?

Kurt Robinson  (04:39):

I did grow up in big family. We had five of us from a military perspective, I had four uncles that in World War II and a grandfather in World War, but it was a little bit different growing up. My dad left us at a young age and left my mom with five kids. So you grow up quick that way. And at that point, no, there wasn’t a military person I would say until my stepfather came into the picture years later and he was actually an Air Force veteran. He worked on B third and avionics mechanic.

Mary Kate Soliva (05:13):

Oh wow. I was wondering too, we’re in the line of the five, are you?

Kurt Robinson  (05:18):

So I’m in the middle, kind of the one that your two brothers did what they did and you were in the middle, got to do whatever you wanted to do and then the youngest, but when my dad left us Mom, amazing lady and she is my hero, she was left with five kids at a very young age to make it work. So she laid out the rules, we followed them. It’s kind of like being in the military structure. I get back enjoyed it.

Mary Kate Soliva (05:46):

I love that. And is it all boys, because I know you mentioned two

Kurt Robinson  (05:50):

Brothers. No, it’s actually one girl and four boys.

Mary Kate Soliva (05:53):

Oh my goodness. She’s the youngest.

Kurt Robinson  (05:57):

No, she’s right under me. A younger brother I had under that. Oh goodness. So we call her the queen because she was the only girl in the group.

Mary Kate Soliva (06:07):

Oh my goodness. I was like, imagine having all those older brothers. Are all the brothers in school? No. So I love what you mentioned about your stepdad being the Air Force as well because I always think it’s interesting about why people ended up choosing the branch that they did because you have other options, but sometimes it is influencing the family and sometimes it’s just a fancy catch saying on a billboard in the town, but would love to hear about why the Air force for you.

Kurt Robinson  (06:39):

Well, that is an interesting story. I actually initially took the test to go into the Navy. So what I did was I was in college finishing my two year degree, had that in the aerospace side of the house and for some reason when I got out I was going to college for trying to finish up and school’s not for everybody at that point in your life. So I made a turn and decided to go into the military. At that point I actually went to the Navy recruiter and with the education, he goes, Hey, you can come in at this level of rank and air traffic control was what they targeted. And I said, okay. So as I walked out the door, I wasn’t too sure I wanted air traffic control, the air. And he goes, well, we have air traffic controllers, we got all sorts of stuff. And he transferred my test stuff over to them. And then from that point it was heavy maintenance on aircraft, which is really what I love doing. So I just stayed with the Air Force at that point and continued down the journey

Mary Kate Soliva (07:50):

And didn’t look back,

Kurt Robinson  (07:52):

Never looked back. I

Mary Kate Soliva (07:53):

Have to say, Kurt, I feel like you’re the first one that Air Force wasn’t the first pick and usually it’s that the Air Force was on a long lunch break and they tried to go and nobody was in the office and so they had to go down the hall and the Army’s like come to us where the Marines,

Kurt Robinson  (08:09):

We’ll, he might’ve just been coming back from lunch.

Mary Kate Soliva (08:13):

That sounds like the Air Force is they already got the line down the hallway so they don’t even have to worry about trying to pull people in the Marines are like, you come do a pull up challenge with us. No, I think that, yeah, just love that little tidbit.

Kurt Robinson  (08:31):

And they did get nervous because when we were leaving New York supposed to get on their fight and it was canceled and they didn’t want us to leave. So what they did was there’s an old army barracks right before you go over Staten Island Bridge. They opened that up and cleared the dust out to keep us there for the night. So then we’re a late day late getting down to Texas. But it was kind of interesting like we can’t let you go at this point. You got to stay with us.

Mary Kate Soliva (09:03):

Yeah, it’s like you’re stuck now.

(09:08):

And that’s how it happens sometimes It’s like we think we are going in and that might be the one and only choice that we end up making is by which branch we want. And then after that it’s sort of not really your choice to be like, give us your top five and you’ll get the one we want. I love that piece of it too. Like I said, I think everybody else is trying to go Air Force and they were on a long lunch. So I’d love to go straight into your time in the Air Force and I know you said you ended up loving what you do, which is awesome. I know it’s not the same for everybody, but were there sort of any mentors that took you under your wing at that time? No pun intended at that time that

Kurt Robinson  (09:56):

Shout out to, there was Master Sergeant Robert Walker still talked to him today. Great. So when I got in and went through all training, I was up at Cash Store in the upper peninsula for a little bit and then I was over at Rome, New York base closed now, but at that time we had KC one 30 fives and B 50 twos, so I was preaching and then we cross trained over to the B 50 twos, whatever they needed. We could work either aircraft at the end of the day, but Mass Sergeant Walker took me under his wing and he goes, his theory was to give you more than he ever had as an opportunity. So a year to two into the Air Force working for him, I realized he goes, Hey, what do you want to do next? And I never had anyone ask me that question.

(10:46):

And he goes, I’m here to help, whatever you need. So at that time, Anne Marie Riddle was on campus at the base. So he goes, you need to go back and finish up your education. I said, okay, I’m going. And I said, but I’m working afternoon shifts because you work what you had to. He goes, that’s fine, go to class and then just stay late. We had that opportunity. I know a lot of folks did not in the military, but he did everything and he was kind of the boss you’d do anything for. So it wasn’t about the rank, it was about the person that’s sitting there. And then after that I was getting towards the end of it and he goes, go back. And now I went back and got, because I didn’t know if I was going to stay in or not, but he made sure I was set up to make that decision whether I would stay or whether I would leave the military after my first. So I always look back at him, I always thank him every year because time I talk about a leader, he’s the number one even after all these years that I give him credit for what he did and he did it for of us.

Mary Kate Soliva (11:55):

And I love the piece that you said about him just asking, he asked your thoughts and sometimes even at such a young age that we don’t think about that and planning for the future, we’re just looking at what’s in front of us and how can we make it through today without getting yelled at or falling short of what needs to happen for the mission or even the annual evaluations. We’re just looking for that maybe a year ahead or to the next PCS, but we’re not looking at the future future. So I love that he encouraged your higher education and just seeking out that next step, but really taking it into what do you want to do and fostering that instead of forcing a different agenda on you I think is fantastic and unfortunately sometimes rare and few and far between. So thank you for sharing that about him.

Kurt Robinson  (12:48):

And also in the military, you have below the zone and he came to me one day, he said, come on, we have to go talk to the commander. So I was a sergeant at the time and he goes, you just got it and here’s your staff Sergeant Stripes if you’d like him. But the base commander goes, there’s a hitch on this one, which I wasn’t expecting, but he said, you need to reenlist to get the stretch right. I said, ah. So we were walking out and I remember the conversation with Sergeant Walker about making choices, what you want to do. And he knew I was leading more towards an officer role if I stayed. So the next weekend the base commander gave me three days to make the decision, walked in his office and I said, I think I’m going to go. And then he handed me a recommendation letter for OTS. He said, all right. He said, I heard you, Michael left or right, so whichever direction you want, best of luck, here you go. So it made it tough to leave at the time, but he was backing me a hundred percent through those decisions.

Mary Kate Soliva (13:53):

And I love that you had somebody there to make that decision with. Sometimes it’s quick, fast, and in a hurry. And I had love to hear a bit more about what made you some of the things that you were thinking about at that time for transition and what made you decide this was it, especially with something like a promotion. Because when I was transitioning during the pandemic, I had some buddies that were going to transition with me and then they dangled a bonus in front of them. It’s like if you reenlist when you get all this money and they’re like, oh, that kind of looks kind of good, Mary Kay, no guarantee about what our employment is, but we can guarantee we’re going to get the carrot. So some of them stayed and I just, I’d love to hear your story about that. What made you choose to get out?

Kurt Robinson  (14:42):

Well, when I was looking at it always like everyone in aviation I think always wanted to fly. So when I was working on my, I was going to go work on the outside, the Arrow Club on the base really couldn’t pay us, so we swapped flight hours for working on the planes and you don’t have a lot of money back then. So at that point we’d work on the planes and then get free flight hours. So I started flying and I always wanted to do that. And then what happened was once I got the degree in the military, what you needed to start, I took the test and there was no pilot slots available at the time. So I was back and forth. My chief wanted me to stay. He was funny. He goes, last day when I was getting ready to go, he took me out in his two 40 Z. He did some donuts in the parking lot and he goes, Hey, if you stay with us, you can do this when you’re a chief. So I was kind of laughing, but I said at that point,

Mary Kate Soliva (15:34):

Make a decision on a donut.

Kurt Robinson  (15:36):

Yeah, it was funny. He was having a blast, but he is like as a chief, I could do what I want on the base. So he was enjoying it, trying to say this is where you could be down the road. But since I set up to go try something, I told them I’m going to go out and if it doesn’t work, I’m going to come back. But I felt like at that time it was the right time to make the move and I felt like I was prepared to do it.

Mary Kate Soliva (16:02):

And I think that that piece that you just said about you felt you were prepared for it, I think there’s a lot of come from peace in knowing that you made the decision for you and not for anybody else. And that’s important. And I think sometimes with the transition, people aren’t ready for the transition, whether it was like a medical discharge, they just weren’t ready for it. So you had a vision in mind about getting into aviation. And how many years did you end up serving total?

Kurt Robinson  (16:36):

So I served four years and I did my one E Liston. A lot of folks were getting out early at that point, but I stayed the whole time. I wasn’t in the bucket and I was good with that. I had plans going if things would’ve changed if they asked me a year earlier, but timing for me was working out again.

Mary Kate Soliva (16:55):

That’s great. And the transition piece for you, what was available at that time, if anything? What was it like you said a piece of paper and have good luck to you.

Kurt Robinson  (17:07):

That’s about what it was back then. I mean there was not a lot of help on anything. So if you didn’t have a plan on where you wanted to go and what you needed to get there and you were just walking out the door, you were kind of out there. I remember Pratting when you came into our hangers one day towards, it was probably about halfway into it and there was a lot of folks that had it in our phase doc area we were in that were just about to get out and they had no plans. And Pratt came in and offered ’em all a job immediately because of their experience. So they walked out with a job, but at that point I’m like, if you’re not ready, you’re going to walk out into the unknown and there was no one to help you. You had to chart your course and make a thing. There wasn’t great organizations like Four Block Today we see and a bunch of the other ones that, and I do coach at four Block to help them and also connect them with Delta. And we do a lot with them too to help the veterans transition to get their resumes correct, to get their LinkedIn profiles correct. We didn’t have all of that. I mean I’ll date myself. I got out back in 89. So back then we did not have a lot to help. So you kind of charted your own course?

Mary Kate Soliva (18:21):

No, and I think that there’s so much to say about that because I don’t know, some people, the Gen Z might think eighties was a long time ago, but I still feel like it wasn’t that long ago, the eighties. I’m like, that’s still within my lifetime. I’m an eighties baby. But to think that it wasn’t that long ago that there was nothing, I was so many my guests that served during that eighties, early nineties, they were like there was nothing. And to think now how far we have come as a veteran community and the veterans that were on the other side already that are reaching back to help out. So I’d love if you could share, because some of our listeners are transitioning service members maybe going through that period or maybe they may be on the fence right now. What advice would you give to them regarding their transition?

Kurt Robinson  (19:15):

If you’re getting ready to transition? A few things is you have to have your plan on where you think you want to go and then whatever industry that is. And it’s hard a lot have a hard time taking their military career. And what does that mean? In the civilian world, mine was a little easier because I look at it from the perspective. I went from aircraft maintenance to a lucky to get into a major airline and aircraft maintenance. So different aircraft, but we’re doing a lot of the same stuff, easier transition. But if I didn’t go get my license, I never would’ve got hired by Delta back then because your license allows you to do it in the civilian world. So whatever it is, you’ve got to figure out that connection and you’ve got to look for company culture today that is military friendly. And I say that because I’ve had the pleasure of being here for over 34 years at Delta Arms.

(20:09):

And a lot of folks I work with we’re in the high thirties. We came out of the military and we’ve been here for over 30 years of the culture. Every company has their ups and downs and airline industry. We have a lot of ups and downs. What kept us at the airline is the culture of the people. So the day one, I walked into the hangers, boom, I knew all the military guys that were there, all came over, all our toolboxes had this branch of service you were in because we’d always kind of get after each other on that. And so we just started building that family piece. So looking back, target those companies and then don’t afraid to get in somewhere and work your way through. I tell everybody when I do the four block stuff and all the transition pieces is some people get so focused on a title and a position that you really lose focus. That’s just money at the end of the day. But if you get the right company and you stay there, you’ll build to those levels. I’ve had multiple jobs at the company over these years, never got bored. And at the end of the day, you can progress to wherever you want. Don’t get focused on my title. I have to be at this level. And I think a lot of folks struggle with that.

Mary Kate Soliva (21:21):

I think you’re right. And sometimes the current situation that we’re having in the military we’re so quick to want to go, especially if we get out before. That’s why I wanted to hear your story so much because there are service members who are getting out now before the 20 year retirement that was typical back then. And now they more often than not, they’re transitioning earlier. So they’re walking out the door without a retirement or maybe without that college degree. And so I think that key piece that you mentioned about that license that you got, and now there’s available resources for certifications for service members serving now to get after that. So you know what employers are looking for. But that company culture piece is huge. Still that statistic, I don’t know where that number is at now, but the transitioning service members even post active duty, active service end up in two or three jobs in their first few years. So the fact that you have stayed with Delta over 30 years I think is incredible and just a huge shout out to Delta for taking care of their people and especially their veterans. And you said there’s some others like you. So there’s other veterans that have been there over 30 years.

Kurt Robinson  (22:35):

Oh, there’s a lot of us. There’s that. When I get hired into Delta, I would say 80% of our maintenance was pretty much military. It’s changed over the years of course, and our group is probably 90 plus percent. So because of what we’ve done in the military and all branches of the search, our jobs kind of transitioned very easy into the airline industry. And I say that from the perspective of you’ve got a mission, you’ve got a goal, you’ve got safety, the plane’s got to go. So 3000 plus flights a day are leaving today. So what better organization than a military background fits with that right goal or initiative? We know what we got to do, we move on to the next job. So I think it naturally bring folks to the area, but oh, there’s tons of, over the last eight years and I just stopped in February, my terms finally ran out.

(23:26):

I’ve had the honor of leading our veterans BRG. So three years as the vp, five years as the president turned it over, just voted in. Was Theresa Livingston, an amazing person and she’s actually also just retired from military lieutenant colonel. So she’s got a huge military background and done some amazing things. So she’s now our new president of the veterans BRG. And in that organization we have over 11,000, we have 11,000 at the company Belt Airlines and we have about 1500 members in there actively helping in their community. So it was you connect that way, which are other veterans and move through. So it’s kind of one of those pieces and a lot of that keeps you at the company. We joke around and we got some great guys doing volunteer work care packages, Mark Morris from the hangar, and then the company steps in a lot and we do for our Veterans Day event, we do a huge Veterans Day event. Mark actually started it years ago with a shadow box today. It’s a corporate event we all kick in and support and we have over 40 military aircraft days and the company stops and allows us to do this and recognizes it, right? That’s what keeps you out of company, right? It’s not just the billboard out there, it’s actually what happens when you’re internal.

Mary Kate Soliva (24:46):

No, gosh, the company culture, it definitely sounds like a second family to stay somewhere for that long. And as I mentioned, even for military 20 years, it’s like that’s the retirement. But to stay in over 30 and continue to love what you do and continue to do the work that you’re doing is amazing and the skills that you’re able to bring to the table. But the fact that you have a veteran community within Delta, and I love that you all have, do they refer to them their Is IT resource group?

Kurt Robinson  (25:21):

Yeah, we used to be an employee network group and now it’s a business resource group, which is actually

Mary Kate Soliva (25:26):

Business resource group.

Kurt Robinson  (25:28):

When we changed, originally I was in the employee who was called Employee Network. When you go to business resource group, but most corporations now you have a lot more support.

Mary Kate Soliva (25:38):

That’s great.

Kurt Robinson  (25:40):

And we’re involved in decision. They’ll ask us some military stuff. A good example is years ago we sat with our town acquisition team and said, Hey, we sat down with ’em and asked them, Hey, why don’t we have a military hiring program? These are the benefits, these are the people you get. They’re flexible, they’re highly skilled, they can work through problems and initiatives. Everything we do in the military because plans don’t. Every morning we launch 3000 plus flights. Sometimes you’re going to have a hiccup. You need people that can make those adjustments and fix it and go. So today we actually from that conversation over probably six years ago now, we have a military recruiting team that goes to basis. So as we push this more through the company and now we’re actively recruiting, which is getting visibility through the whole company. Great thing to do.

(26:31):

And then one of the other things I do have to brag about, two things on the group is last year the veterans group for us won the Warrior Alliance Award for the Veterans Impact Award. Amazing opportunity to be recognized by your community. So you think you’re doing good inside and you hope you’re helping people because that’s what it’s about. And in an outside agency that does amazing things to support veterans, if you’re struggling at all, that’s a group you want to reach out to from housing to benefits, they’ll help you get connected. And then they recognized us for being one of the best in Atlanta area for helping areas. Right? Amazing group. And then three years ago we connected with the Best Defense Foundation on Delta, and this is the third year we’re going to take World War II folks back to Normandy. And it started as a grassroots virginity who’s in global sales, called me one day and she said, Hey, I’ve got Early War Freedom.

(27:25):

She knew that she met the director and it’s France, thank it’s a documentary of thanking our World War II veterans. So we turned around and looked at that. She sent it to me, we worked together, we got it on our flight, on our I system for people to see. And then that led to hooking up with the Best Defense Foundation. Another amazing organization, Donnie Edwards runs it. He’s actually Kansas City chief, NFL player retired. And his buddy seen him on the video and connected with him and said, Hey, how’d you get on the Delta flight? And then that talking and next thing you know, we went and we’re putting together, can we put a charter back to Normandy with these editor, right? Amazing folks. Donnie, Donnie, Catherine run that foundation, just amazing people. And then finally we got to that point, I sent an email to Ed and asked him our CEO because he’s a huge veteran supporter, which over the last eight years, I can’t thank him enough for all his support.

(28:23):

He shout it back to me and said, then we had the team on there that we worked up to that point, I just happened to be the one request at the end of the day. And he shouted back, get a plane, go to Normandy. So that turned into a three year, going on a third year venture and talking to these World War II guys is just amazing. This year I have the honor now that I’m not in the president spot, but I’m going to go back as one of their caregivers and I’ll be with one of the World War II guys the whole time. Tom Tom is busy guy attached to, he was in the Battle of the Bulge. I talked to him yesterday. The stories he’ll tell you are just amazing. And then the initial part, I hooked up with Neil and another World War II veteran. He was in the Pacific and all this great guy. We talk a lot, but just amazing stories and just stopped. And to them is just great.

Mary Kate Soliva (29:15):

Gosh, I already just congratulations on all fronts with that. And it takes individuals like yourself, veterans like yourself to really push and identify those gaps and speak up about them. And gosh, what a great thing that you’re doing for the World War II veterans. My family loves going to the World War II Air Show in Redding, Pennsylvania. And we love sitting down and you see the kids with their little autograph books because they really are that great generation. And to talk to them, and gosh, I wish it was with you having that chance to just one-on-one and speak for a long time to hear their stories. What a blessing that is to be able to do that. So thank you for doing that, Delta for doing that. It’s so needed. And gosh, I’m like, I don’t want to dive into that one, but I know the limited time of the episode, I was like, gosh, I want to hear more about what’s going on over there, what you do with them in Normandy, but we’ll have to stay tuned. Could you shout out the, you said there was a film out there?

Kurt Robinson  (30:20):

Yeah, the Girl Who Wore Freedom.

Mary Kate Soliva (30:22):

Okay.

Kurt Robinson  (30:23):

It’s a great documentary. And the trips we’ve been over is just amazing. The way the people of France and Normandy treat our World War II veterans, they’re like heroes and the parades, I mean they’re trying to get their signatures, they’re giving them signatures and it’s just amazing of that, how they appreciate them for the freedom they have today all the way to the students in the classrooms. So it’s just amazing when you go there and see all that, recommend everybody. It’s got to be on your bucket list. If you serve to get over to Normandy just to see it, even if it’s not during the big events, go over there and see, because it’s amazing place where they do recognize what our World War II heroes did for them. And then on the other side with that is just as you know, over the last 20 plus years, we’ve had a lot of our veterans in conflicts throughout that.

(31:12):

So in addition to that, we try to do a great job to recognize everyone that served. That is the greatest generation, but we have a lot of folks coming back that need some help and are struggling and we need to reach out there and make sure we’re helping them because they’ve done for the last 20 plus year, the average American, I would say is probably forgotten about that. They don’t realize what’s really going on and a lot of stuff. And these folks have been in harm’s way for over 20 plus years coming out. So they need our help too. So we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can in your local communities to help every veteran that’s coming out right now and their families.

Mary Kate Soliva (31:51):

That’s such a great point because I did learn that sort of the hard way. I was referring different organizations to veterans that I know, but they would come back to me and say, Mary Kate, they don’t help Cold War era or it’s only post nine 11 veteran. And just what you said, to be able to service all veterans or even to have that resource instead of just turning that veteran away to say like, oh, we don’t do that, but check out this other organization who does do that. And I think that that’s so powerful and what you said about making everybody should have that on their bucket list. I’m like, it should be on the bucket list right now. I noticed for me, but while we still have World War II veterans still with us such an honor, it’s going to come to a point where we are just going to the beach and we don’t have them here with us anymore.

(32:39):

And to be able to do it now, like you said, as a caregiver, thank you for stepping up to do that. I think that’s absolutely incredible. And I know you’re going to have the time of your life again this year. So I’d love to talk now is to segue into those organizations since we were just talking about them. I had mentioned earlier in the episode Best Defense Warrior Alliance four block in Vet Atlanta. There’s four incredible organizations that you have ties to would love for you to at least touch on four block for sure because I’m also a graduate of the four block program and you have to coach. But wherever you’d like to start, I’d love to hear about your service with these organizations.

Kurt Robinson  (33:24):

Well, absolutely. So one thing you’ll realize when you’re supporting veterans and they all do a very special piece or some do all of it, you just don’t know. So I’ll start at the top where I had the worry alliance. We talked about, they recognized this when I first met the organization, Scott introduced me and called me up and said, Kirk, this is what we do. What we loved about it was we already supported the organizations they were sending veterans in to get help. And they just come up top and send you there and they track you, make sure you’re doing okay and anything from housing to legal to whatever you need. If we can help one veteran get better, that’s going to help him, their families come back to society and be okay. And then by that, that’s that piece. And we looked at that.

(34:14):

We’re still looking at everything they do and they’re connected to Atlanta Braves, right? Little more visibility, but they can get the veterans struggling and help ’em to be in a positive way, which is what we’re all here for. When you look at some organizations like the Best Defense Foundation, they do amazing job bringing the veterans back. That’s what they’re there. But they also have the section that they’re starting up to help the transitioning veteran, the one that’s going through some battle fatigue type stuff. So they’re just starting that. Another one branching out with great organizations, small organizations that we’re trying to just move through the piece. When you look at four block, I’ll use them as an example, back in Covid before the covid days, Roger called me up and he goes, Hey Kurt, we started talking about the different four blocks and what we could do. So I said, doc, let me go see. So I started coaching and the impact you can make talking to somebody and every company’s different. So you’ll hear my culture just because what I’ve done and another company’s totally different doesn’t mean it’s wrong for anybody. Your culture might align more the other way. So then we started coaching and now Delta lines, those sponsor their host nights and everything.

Mary Kate Soliva (35:27):

Oh really? That’s great.

Kurt Robinson  (35:29):

Yeah, we do. We’ve done a bunch in the Atlanta area and some online stuff, different areas for the online, the West coast and East coast and just trying to help get ’em introduced and seeing what we can do to help. And I think it’s such an amazing, it’s the only organization we’ve found that actually has a solid structure to help somebody. And if you follow their program, it’s going to help you be successful on the other side and it’s going to give you the tools you need and you might not get it on the first job, but at the end it’ll give so a hundred percent supporter. I haven’t coached the last couple of semesters because my Delta, my workloads have been on the road too much. So I haven’t been able to do that back to in person, but I’ll be starting that back again now that some of my traveling has slowed down.

Mary Kate Soliva (36:15):

I love you mentioned Roger. I love how you mentioned Roger too. I remember my phone call with him. I actually remember where I was when I talked to him on the phone, but I ended up going through four block through their virtual cohort. So since I was at Fort Liberty at the time, and so I loved the experience that I had through there and the support that I had. But I do remember that call with Roger and I think it’s so important to have that touchpoint with folks who’ve already been there who are on the other side because it is scary it. And for some guys, they’d rather jump out of an airplane again and multiple times than to go through the transition piece. But to know that we’re going through transitions continuously in life. But that one coming off of active service, especially if you’ve made a career out of it, is really challenging. And sometimes the ones who need it the most are the ones that have stayed in for the long haul.

Kurt Robinson  (37:13):

And I agree with that. We see that a lot. Sometimes they’re the ones that they’ve done so much for their country and they’re used to the positions they’re in. And that transition’s kind of hard because they’re going to lose a lot of that in the commercial field that you do not gain rank by long-term, right? It’s all about what you did today, what you’re doing tomorrow, what you’re getting better, a little different twist than I’ve been in so long. So there’s opportunities that come commercial world, some of that opportunities don’t, do not come based on your seniority of the company. So you’ve got to actually be maneuvering. And if you’ve done it in the military, you have the skillset to do it in the commercial film.

Mary Kate Soliva (37:53):

Oh, that’s a great point.

Kurt Robinson  (37:55):

Some folks just don’t know it.

Mary Kate Soliva (37:57):

Right. That’s a great, and I was saying with that film White Christmas, because that song that Bing Crosby sings, what do you do with the General when he Stops Being a general, I’ve watched that movie my whole life with my family and that song never made more sense to me than I was sitting there the year that I was transitioning off active duty. And I watched that movie with my dad and I was like, oh my gosh, this song’s about transition. It’s like, this is speaking to me right now. It’s like, what do you do? What do do with a general when he stops being a general, correct. Yeah. And I just thought that’s so powerful what you said and it’s so important. And I know you have another organization that you wanted to shout.

Kurt Robinson  (38:37):

I got one.

Mary Kate Soliva (38:38):

Yeah, one more.

Kurt Robinson  (38:39):

Atlanta, then Atlanta, we’ve been in and out with that Atlanta a little bit over the years. And Lloyd, I’ve known him for a long time. So he is like, well, Kurt, now that you’re not the president of the VBRG anymore, come join us and help us. So I’m a board member on their group to help. But what I love about Vet Atlanta, Lloyd and John, what they do is they connect companies and people together. They’re making Atlanta the best place for a veteran to live, but what they do is they connect the companies. And a veteran, it’s all about connection. So all their summits, if you haven’t gone to their summits, really you need to go, everyone needs to go check it out. Vet Atlanta. And that’s what they’re there for. They’re there just to support, but to connect people, so very different. So all three four of these organizations, we talked about very different goals, but they’re all excelling and helping veterans, which is what it’s all about actually.

(39:34):

So theres, I’d love to do the VE Atlanta piece and help them out all the time. Now we’re going to try to pull some, Gabe is on their board and he’s working on their veterans, be our gp, some supporting him to help them, whatever he needs to kind of educate, because I still think when you look at what corporate does, if you’re looking at A BRG and a veteran’s BRG, if you don’t have ’em at your company, reach out. We want you to have one, right? Help your veterans. And it’s not just a veteran supporting a veteran. I mean, just imagine who’s been made the transition successful, helps one more veteran make a successful transition. How good would that be?

Mary Kate Soliva (40:17):

Right? That’s what I said about this show. If we had everybody that did like what you did, I mean, I’m happy if they help one organization, but you’re helping out like a dozen. So I know even though I named only four, but you’ve done so much work and I was like, imagine Kurt, if other veterans did what you have been doing for years, but even if it’s just for one community event, the life-changing impact that we can have.

Kurt Robinson  (40:43):

Absolutely. And that’s why I tell everybody, if you look at veterans, we want to support 365 days a year. We don’t want to support ’em just over the month of November and now the free haircuts on veterans, they’re nice, but some of us don’t need ’em anymore. Those are all nice. But for 365 days a year, if we could help a veteran and their family and just go through and thank them, I always say is it’s even to thank you. So if you’re going, I don’t know if I got time, everyone’s got a little bit of time volunteer for that one organization that’s in your heart. Or hey, next time you go to the gas station and the guy in front of you is in a car with a veteran tag on and a Vietnam hat on, buy his gas, do a little thing. That’s all you have to do. That goes a long way. So take those little pieces, buy ’em gas, buy ’em, grocery at the store, we see it. A lot of ’em are going to be shocked you did it. But at the end of the day, they’re going to thank you and tell you probably a few stores and then just stop and listen. Give them an answer and

Mary Kate Soliva (41:50):

They won’t forget it. And it sticks with you. And I know some of us, our memories aren’t as they used to be. I feel like mine’s really good, but I was like, I still a little fuzzy, but you don’t forget that that feeling that somebody had for you. I remember one time, even when I was out for lunch with my buddies, we were in uniform and I was the only female soldier sitting at the table. The waitress came over and was like, your meal was paid. And the guys were like, oh, who? And she’s pointing at these older ladies and she’s like, oh no, they only paid for her meal. And the guys were like, wait, what? We’re all in uniform. But it was so funny, the ladies came over and they were saying how one of them, her granddaughter had just joined the service and she just thought that was so great. And I just thought it was the funniest thing. I mean, I’ll never forget it. It totally made my day because I always felt like I was kind of in their shadow. I love brothers, but it was so nice to just speak

(42:51):

And have a little elbow jab at them. But you’re absolutely right. Something simple as paying for gas, you’re already there and it’s not taking up too much time out of your way. And then sharing these resources, I’m a lot about, especially the power of social media. We have the world at our fingertips. I continuously learn about new organizations that are out there. And then the piece that I wanted to highlight is about how you went to Delta. Because even though Delta had veterans since obviously hiring you day one over 30 years ago, there was still much that Delta could learn as an employer about hiring veterans and establishing an actual pipeline, streamlining that pipeline for veterans and going out to the bases. So I think that that’s a great point to make too, to employers out there as well about continuously looking at what they’re doing to be able to engage those communities and the spouses as well and caregivers.

Kurt Robinson  (43:48):

Correct. And we don’t want to forget about the families and a lot of us are just starting to branch off to the family side. And Four Block also has an amazing group that they do the veteran and they do the veterans family, the spouse. So there’s organizations like that that you can reach out and really get some help. And I always like to say too, and don’t, I don’t know if it’s something we get drawn into us when we serve, but it’s hard to reach out for help. But if you’re struggling, reach out for help. There’s enough veterans out there that are willing to help. There’s enough organizations, but sometimes you have to ask and get it started, have coffee with another veteran and just talk to them and then see if that leads to something where you can get more help. But don’t be afraid because it’s our honor to help. We just sometimes need to know.

Mary Kate Soliva (44:47):

No, it is an honor to help. And I know for me, one of the things that I love about serving now is to see the call ’em the pioneers. We’re at a time where we still have the World War II and all the veterans that have come through in the different wars of conflicts when our country was going through so much change. And I’m a big, I love history and I love the stories. And I think just even keeping, I had a Vietnam veteran that asked if I would just sit with him. He is a recent widow and he just wanted someone to sit there and keep him company. He didn’t want anything. He just wanted someone to sit there and just be present with him. And just to be able to give that to him at that time is amazing. And there’s so many veterans I’ve met since then. But thank you for shouting those out. Kurt, I would love to ask if you had any sort of tidbits. I know you have continuous advice, but I know that our listeners will likely want to reach out to you and was wondering if you could share a bit about how they can get in touch with you.

Kurt Robinson  (45:48):

Sure, absolutely. So just reach out to me on LinkedIn, Kurt, KRT Robinson, you’ll see me out there. Just reach out, send me a note. Anything I can do to help or help you get in the right direction, please send it to us. We’ve got a good network and a lot of times I can’t do something I could get you hopefully to a person that can help. So just reach out. There’s a lot of us out there. And then on that note, if you see any companies on veterans, Adam ’em, reach out and talk to them too if you make that initial connection. And I always tell everybody on the LinkedIn side, I learned some support block because it was very interesting too as coaching is just don’t send me a LinkedIn request, add something to it. So kind of know what you’re looking for, what you want to do, and let’s meet versus just a LinkedIn generic request. So just a little intro and details. This way we kind of know who, when a LinkedIn request comes in, I’ll know who you’re talking to and why.

Mary Kate Soliva (46:48):

No, that’s so important. Sometimes it makes a person’s day. I love when I get notes from veterans to just say, I came across one of your episodes, or I heard that you’re the one to connect with regarding X, Y, Z. And so it means a lot just to adding that little one sentence or two to connect and put a real person behind the name. So thank you so much, Kurt, for joining today. I wanted to, do you have any last closing remarks before we close up and finish off our episode, even though I know we could go all day,

Kurt Robinson  (47:24):

Just want to thank everybody that served in your family and then please, if we can help, let us help. General Hooper in Middle state, Tennessee runs a veteran center. And one of the things he told me one day when we were talking that really resonates is not every veteran is doing so bad, but if you do one little piece that prevents them from ever going down, that’s what we’re here for. So reach out, talk to us. And if you’re a veteran out there, ask yourself, I hung up my uniform. Am I doing anything for my brothers and sisters? And if you’re not looking at local community and find something for anything from putting Reese on Graves every year when everybody does it right. So just find something to help the other veterans and their families. Thank you.

Mary Kate Soliva (48:16):

Thank you, Kurt. And thank you all for joining us on Veteran Voices. Whether this is your first time or you’re returning, we hope to see you back again next time, right here. Veteran Voices, you can get wherever you get your podcast from. Again, we are part of the Supply Chain Now, family of podcasts, and we are a proud partnership with the Guam Human Rights Initiative. And you can check out more about them@guamhi.org. Thank you, Kurt, for the special shout out of Best Defense Warrior Alliance four Block and Vet Atlanta. Go check out those incredible organizations, and as Kurt said, send him a note, check him out on LinkedIn and connect. There is a wealth of knowledge. Take advantage of that. And as we love to say here on Veteran Voices, do good, pay it forward and be the change that’s needed. We’ll see you all next time. Take care.

 

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Kurt Robinson is a Manager Quality Control – Line/Receiving Inspection, FAA/ODA airworthiness administrator at Delta Air Lines. He received his B.S from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Professional Aeronautics. With over 34 years at Delta Air Lines, he has held the following positions Aircraft Mechanic, Pre-Flight Inspector, Inspection Foreman and held Manager positions as MGR of QC Aircraft Inspection, Line Inspection, Receiving Inspection, MRO Oversight, Non-Destructive Testing Inspection and Engine/Landing Gear/APU/Shop Inspection. Kurt was the Vice President and President for the Delta Veterans Business Resource Group for 8 years. Before joining Delta Air Lines Kurt was a Crew Chief in the United States Air Force working on KC-135 and B-52 aircraft at the rank of Sgt. He currently resides in Atlanta with his wife Liz and has 3 kids (Kaitlyn, Bryan and Alex). Connect with Kurt on LinkedIn.

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Mary Kate Soliva

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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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Kim Reuter

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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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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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Allison Giddens

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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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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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Tandreia Bellamy

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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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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host

Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey University, class 2019. Upon graduation she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management (GCLOG) 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. Former Data Analyst within the airport industry in Latin America at Pacific Airport Group, performing benchmarking reports and predictive analysis of future market behavior.

Currently working as Sr. Staffing Analyst within the S&OP team in Mexico at the biggest ecommerce company in Latin America: Mercado Libre. Responsible for workforce forecasting and planning through the analysis of demand, productivity, capacity, cost & time constraints. Sofia self identifies as Supply Chain Ambassador, sharing her passion for the field in her daily life. She has been recognized as upcoming thought leader in the field and invited to participate in several podcasts (Freight Path Podcast, Supply Chain Revolution Podcast, Let’s Talk Supply Chain, Industrificados) to discuss topics such as digital transformation, automation and future skillsets for supply chain professionals.

She is a frequent featured guest at Supply Chain Now and appointed co-host for their new series Supply Chain Now en Español. Global Ambassador for ISCEAs Sustainable Supply Chain Professional Certification (CSSCP) and keynote speaker at World Supply Chain Forum 2021 by ISCEA Indonesia.

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Karin Bursa

Host

Karin Bursa is the 2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year and the Host of the TEKTOK Digital Supply Chain Podcast powered by Supply Chain Now. With more than 25 years of supply chain and technology expertise (and the scars to prove it), Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and share their success stories. Today, she helps B2B technology companies introduce new products, capture customer success and grow global revenue, market share and profitability. In addition to her recognition as the 2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year, Karin has also been recognized as a 2019 and 2018 Supply Chain Pro to Know, 2009 Technology Marketing Executive of the Year and a 2008 Women in Technology Finalist. 

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Vin Vashishta

Host

Vin Vashishta is the author of ‘From Data To Profit’ (Wiley 2023). It’s the playbook for monetizing data and AI. Vin is the Founder of V-Squared and built the business from client 1 to one of the world’s oldest data and AI consulting firms. His background combines nearly 30 years in strategy, leadership, software engineering, and applied machine learning.

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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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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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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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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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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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