This Week in Business History
Episode 25

Episode Summary

“But what we all can take the opportunity to do is to learn from & celebrate the legacy that Tony Shay has left behind. An enormous legacy that will impact the global business community for decades to come. An even bigger personality that never put himself on a pedestal, always brightened every room & consistently made people feel good about their contributions & taught them to value their point of view.”

-Scott Luton, Host, This Week in Business History

 

In this special episode of This Week in Business History, host Scott W. Luton dives into the back story of Tony Hsieh, the late founder & transformational CEO of Zappos. Gone way too soon at age 46, Hsieh leaves behind an enormous legacy, in a number of respects.

“Your personal core values define who you are, and a company’s core values ultimately define the company’s character and brand. For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny.”

-Tony Hsieh

Episode Transcript

Scott Luton (00:12):

Good morning, Scott Luton here with you on this edition of this week in business history. Welcome to today’s show on this program, which is part of the supply chain. Now family of programming. We take a look back at the upcoming week, and then we share some of the most relevant events and milestones from years past, of course, mostly business focused with a little dab of global supply chain. And occasionally we might just throw in a good story outside of our primary realm. So I invite you to join me on this. Look back in history to identify some of the most significant leaders, companies, innovations, and perhaps lessons learned in our collective business journey. Now let’s dive in to this week in business history.

Scott Luton (01:11):

Hello, and thanks for joining us. I’m your host Scott Luton. And today on this edition of this week in business history, we are focused on the week of November 30th. Thanks so much for listening to the show before we get started. I wanted to share an experience from earlier this week. A dear friend of mine of the show is Jenny Froom based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Jenny serves as COO of st. Picks a professional association that is striving to build a vital community of educated supply chain professionals across Africa. And they’re doing big things and building a global community while doing so last week, Greg white and I spoke at a virtual sapiens conference where we shared some of the key takeaways that we’ve had from this historically challenging year in prepping for my comments. I came across an excellent point made by my friend [inaudible] Abdul Kadir, the CEO of health supplies management agency, based in Kaduna, Nigeria on a live stream with us a few months back, Ramaz two stated quote.

Scott Luton (02:16):

We have the power to reinvent ourselves in our business, which is critical for the times that we find ourselves in, in quote, how very true before our very eyes this year, we’ve seen global supply chains, retailers, schools, you name it all reinvent their operations. We’ve heard this buzzword agility for so many years, but a business that possessed agility in 2020 was certainly in much better position to adapt and even thrive in this environment. And just what is the alternative for many, it’s not very appealing. Let’s just ask companies like pure one earth fare, sweet tomatoes and thousands of other companies that have gone out business due to their inability to improvise, execute, and overcome a very well-stated Remati, I’ll be sure to include a link for our audience to connect with her in the comments of today’s episode, back to today’s show this week in business history today we’re breaking the rules just a bit. Over the weekend, we lost a global business leader that was a trailblazer and he and his company had a big impact on my point of view, early in my career. Yes, Tony Shay, who was a co-founder at Zappos and served as its transformational CEO. He passed away unexpectedly

Speaker 3 (03:39):

On Friday, November 27th, 2020.

Scott Luton (03:42):

We’ll be diving into his story and just what was so special about his organization at the end of the podcast, we’ll also offer our listeners an opportunity to earn a free copy of Tony Shea’s popular book, delivering happiness, stay tuned and thanks again for joining us here on this week in business history, powered by our team here at supply chain. Now Tony Shay was born to Taiwanese immigrants, Richard and Judy Shay in Illinois on December 12th, 1973, just five years later, the Shea family would move to the Lucas Valley area of California, just Northwest of San Francisco Bay. Richard Shea was a chemical engineer and worked for Chevron. And Judy Shay was a social worker a few years later when Tony was nine years old, he hatched what was perhaps his first entrepreneurial idea. He convinced his parents to pay $33 for a box of earthworms. Maybe his first successful pitch.

Scott Luton (04:45):

Tony his plan was to create a worm farm in the backyard and then sell worms to the public. Despite his best efforts at constructing ineffective worm pin, all of his inventory got away after a few weeks. So his first startup was a failure, but Tony Shay would more than make up for it. For sure. Richard and Judy Shay took a disciplined approach to raising Tony. He was allowed one hour of TV a week. They expected straight A’s. Tony was required to take music lessons. He chose the piano and violin, and they started to prep him for the sat in sixth grade. As a young teenager, Tony Shay would have a big Eureka moment. He’d come across a magazine ad for a kit that made photo buttons. If you remember the ones that in the 1980s, everyone would pin to their denim Jean jackets, right? But Tony would have to pitch his parents to spring for the $50 for the photo button kit they did.

Scott Luton (05:48):

And this time the business was a resounding success. Tony would advertise his photo button production service. And in due time he was making $200 a month. More importantly, Tony Shay would say that it was this small venture that taught him a key lesson that he could run a successful enterprise without face-to-face interaction. That lesson learned just might come in handy in a few years for Tony Shea in high school, Tony lived in the computer lab. He had taken a strong liking to computer programming ever. The enterprising young man he’d begin programming for outside companies while still in school for $15 an hour. Now keep in mind that the minimum wage in 1988 was $3 and 35 cents. Tony saw a problem that he had to go to class. Imagine that which cut in to his programming work capacity. No worries. He worked out a few side deals with his teachers.

Scott Luton (06:52):

If Tony could keep his grades up as to no tests, assignments, et cetera, he could miss classes and stay in the computer lab, making that $15 an hour. And he would keep up his end of the bargain because Tony’s grades were good enough for him to gain entry into Harvard university. After graduating from Harvard, he worked briefly at Oracle corporation, but Oracle couldn’t overcome the founder blood that was piping through Tony Shay’s veins. Of course not hardly a company on the planet can overcome that huge obstacle. Tony would leave Oracle and five months to start a company that eventually became link exchange. The company would eventually focus on internet advertising a year after its founding link exchange would receive a $3 million investment from Sequoia capital. About 30 months after its founding Tony Shay and his partners would sell link exchange for $265 million to Microsoft. Not too shabby.

Scott Luton (07:56):

Right? Well, Tony Shay was only just getting started after forming a company named venture frogs with his business partner. Alfred Lin, Tony would be on the lookout for investments in other startups, as fate would have it. The venture frogs team would meet Nick Swinburne in 1999. After Nick couldn’t find the right size and style shoes at his local mall, he decided to start a company called shoe site.com. And Nick was looking for investment at first, Tony Shay called shoe site.com the poster child of bad internet ideas in quote, but after giving it some thought and realizing as Nick shared with him that the U S shoe industry was a $40 billion market. And already 5% of it was being sold through paper catalogs. Tony in venture frogs was in with an initial investment of $500,000, which eventually would grow to $2 million shoe site.com would quickly be renamed Zappos, a play on the Spanish word for shoes.

Scott Luton (09:08):

Zapata’s 2000 of course the was the.com stock crash. Gaining additional investment was really tough and the business model was still being proven at the time. Zappos would take the order online and then would rely on manufacturers to ship direct to the customer. Tony would continue to become more infatuated in the business and was spending more and more time advising the Zappos team. He would become co CEO with Nick Swinburne in 2001. And in 2003, Tony Shea would become CEO outright said, Nick, at the time quote, we’ve gotten to a point now where the CEO’s responsibilities are mostly going to be financial and I don’t need the title for my ego in quote, Nick’s very practical, humility would pay off. Well, do you think he realized at the time, just how big of a move he had made about 2001 Zappos had $8.6 million in gross sales, but big changes were ahead.

Scott Luton (10:14):

A massive shift was made in that Zappos would begin to hold its own inventory, which would give customers a bigger selection and better and more reliable service. Now, while this had a huge impact on sales, as they took off like the proverbial hockey stick, the big adjustment also had a tremendous impact on operations, especially in scope capacity and complexity. At first, the Zappos team chose to outsource the warehousing and fulfillment operations that did not go well. In fact, it was an unmitigated disaster. Tony Shay brought it back in-house and determined that if a company was going to be an e-commerce leading retailer, the organization would have to own the warehousing and fulfillment operations. Zappos would build a partnership with ups in 2002, and would position an 825,000 square foot warehouse near the ups. Worldport airfreight up in Louisville. This partnership would help ensure Zappos orders would ship in an expedited manner.

Scott Luton (11:23):

In 2003, the company implemented a 365 day, no hassle return policy after experimenting with a 60 day return policy, as long as the shoes were in like new condition and in the original box, customers could return them. In 2004, Tony Shay would consult with his appose team and decide to move the company to Nevada, where they could be in a better position to hire talent, especially customer service talent, and they need it as Zappos instituted a 24 seven customer service approach. The company would hire five to 10 new customer service agents. Every two weeks all told these four moves one building out its own inventory to insourcing, warehousing, and fulfillment, and building a shipping relationship with ups three instituting the most aggressive returns policy in retail and for building a talented army of customer service agents. Well, these big decisions would ultimately allow Zappos to start to build its key differentiator world-class customer service, and the numbers would show it by 2004, the company had reached $184 million in gross sales.

Scott Luton (12:42):

I mentioned hiring a ton of talent earlier. Let’s talk for a moment about Tony Shay’s unique approach to hiring and managing talent. But first this quote from Ali Partovi, a former Tony Shay business partner Partovi said this about Tony quote. Tony often propose the opposite of the conventional approach and astoundingly. He was often right, Tony, his creativity was unrivaled and uncontainable ideas came to him effortlessly and continuously from quirky asides to brilliant strokes of genius. In quote. Now about talent. First, Tony Shay would implement a two interview approach to all potential hires that candidate would have a business interview focusing on talent and skillsets. And then the candidate would have a culture interview determining fitness for the company culture. Secondly, starting in 2005, all employees would first go through customer service bootcamp, which culminated in every employee, regardless of their role or function to pick pack and ship orders, learn by doing and learn to respect those that do the hard work.

Scott Luton (13:57):

And thirdly, Tony Shay had a two word employment policy is Zappos, and it was critical to the company’s success. Tony and the Zappos team did not want to employ team members that didn’t want to be there. The policy was called the offer and it was simple after a week or so of being on the job. Zappos employees were told that they had a choice to make, they could continue working in their roles if they were happy or they could quit and better yet Zappos would pay them a thousand dollars, which is reportedly now up to a month salary, as it has turned out on average, less than 1% of employees have taken the paid separation option. And better yet is built an army of team members that wanted to be at Zappos by 2006, Nick Swinburne chose to leave company as he’d later say, quote, the company is running itself.

Scott Luton (14:55):

I don’t need to be here in quote. Also in 2006, Zappos would consult with all of its employees referred to as [inaudible] to implement its official core values. The number one core value would be instilled and remains to this day deliver wow. Through service about 2007, Zappos would not only hit $840 million in gross sales, $840 million in gross sales. But the company also had branched out to a wide variety of products. Other than shoes. Also in 2007, Zappos would offer free overnight shipping. Another advantage of having their warehouse adjacent to ups. Worldport one other big development for Zappos in 2007. After over 2000 emails, 1900 phone calls, scores of meetings, tons of blood, sweat, and tears to land the biggest name and shoes on March 21st, 2007. Nike finally came on board. So you could say 2007 was a transformational year. Tony Shay would say, quote, we focus on making sure we have a great service focused culture.

Scott Luton (16:13):

If you get the culture right, then a lot of the really amazing things happen on their own, but then came 2009 on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009, Tony Shay would send an email to all employees, its opening lines included the following quote. Over the next few days, you will probably read headlines that say Amazon acquires Zappos or Zappos sells to Amazon while those headlines are technically correct. They don’t really properly convey the spirit of the transaction. I personally would prefer the headline Zappos and Amazon sitting in a tree in quote, after Jeff Bezos had personally addressed a key concern for Tony Shea and indicated that Zappos would be allowed to operate as an independent entity. A deal had been struck. Amazon acquired Zappos outright in a $1.2 billion deal. Despite all of Zappos success up to 2009, there was a key factor that weighed into the tough decision to sell Tony Shay would say quote at the time, Zappos for LOD on a revolving line of credit of a hundred million dollars to buy inventory.

Scott Luton (17:29):

But our lending agreements required us to hit projected revenue and profitability targets each month. If we missed our numbers, even by a small amount, the banks had the right to walk away from the loans, creating a possible cashflow crisis that might theoretically bankrupt us in early 2009. There weren’t a lot of banks eager to give out a hundred million dollars to a business in our situation in quote in 2010, Tony Shay would write a popular and successful book entitled delivering happiness. It was this book as well as a few word of mouth conversations at the time when Zappos first hit my radar as a business to study in 2013, Zappos would move to downtown Las Vegas where they would be the new owners and occupants of the old city hall building. This move would begin Tony Shay’s deep involvement with planning, leading and investing in the downtown project, which was a major redevelopment and revitalization project for downtown Las Vegas.

Scott Luton (18:36):

The area traditionally ran as second fiddle to the bigger flash year and well-known Las Vegas strip in 2017. Zappos for good was created to amplify and significantly ramp up the company’s efforts at donating to the local community as of 2019, over 1 million items, shoes and more have been donated to various causes. Of course, all along the way as with any business, there have been missteps for example, about 18% of all his opponens left the company. In 2014, after Tony Shea implemented a form of de-centralized management called Holacracy, it was meant to more evenly distribute decision-making and create really more of a level playing field for all team members. But the move has largely been viewed as a failure. And it seems that Zappos has discreetly dropped the initiative in recent years. However, all told Tony Shay and the Zappos team made a lot more of the right moves and became a pioneering company with an incomparable dedication, to both a customer experience and company culture, but dedication, as we all know, isn’t good enough.

Scott Luton (19:52):

Zappos has proven to possess the keen ability to GSD get stuff done that is to impressively execute, to obtain meaningful, if not app hopping bottom line results. August 24th, 2020, Tony Shay officially retired as CEO of Zappos and then a cruel twist of fate. Just three months later, he passed away at the young age of 46. All we know as of the time of this podcast recording is that Tony Shay was injured in a house fire in new London, Connecticut on November 18th, while rescued by emergency personnel. He succumbed to his injuries. Nine days later today, I was stunned when I saw the news, many were waiting to see what big splash, what tremendous project or initiative that Tony Shay would leap into next. Unfortunately, he won’t have that opportunity, but what we all can take the opportunity to do is to learn from and celebrate the legacy that Tony Shay has left behind an enormous legacy that will impact the global business community for decades to come and even bigger personality that never put himself on a pedestal, always brightened every room and consistently made people feel good about their contributions and taught them to value their point of view.

Scott Luton (21:19):

In the words of his former business partner, Ali Partovi quote, Tony taught me that business. Isn’t about making money. It’s about helping others. He put other people’s interests ahead of his own, and that was the secret to his success in quote, rest in peace, Tony Shea, your bright light and extraordinary impact will surely be missed by all. Well that just about wraps up this edition of this week in business history. Those were some of the stories that stood out to us, but what do you think find us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and share your comments there. We’re here to listen. Hey, good news though. Here’s a special offer to our listeners of this podcast. If you join our LinkedIn group and comment on our November 29th post about the legacy of Tony Shay, tell us what one aspect of his career that you found to be the most impactful.

Scott Luton (22:18):

We’ll send a copy of Tony’s book, delivering happiness to the first five commenters, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we have on that note. Thanks so much for listening to our podcast. Be sure to check out a wide variety of industry thought leadership@supplychainnow.com for the reminder, you can now find this week in business history, wherever you get your podcasts from and be sure to tell us what you think we’d love to earn your review on behalf of the entire team here at this week in business history and supply chain. Now this is Scott Luton wishing all of our listeners, nothing but the best. Hey, do good gift forward and be the change that’s needed. Be like Tony Shea. And on that note, we’ll see. Next time here on this week in business history,

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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Donna Krache

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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 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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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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Host, Logistics with Purpose

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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Principal, Supply Chain Now
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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 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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Host of TEKTOK

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With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.

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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 transitioning from active duty in the US Army. 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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Jeff Miller

Host

Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business.  Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM.  When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.

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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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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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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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

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

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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Ben Harris

Host

Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.

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