Digital Transformers
Episode 72

With SES, our role is to create that wide area network connection that has the right reach and the right performance to allow cloud-based applications to function and function well, no matter where they are.

-Karl Horne

Episode Summary

In this episode of “Digital Transformers,” host Kevin L. Jackson engages in a fascinating conversation with Karl Horne, VP of Cloud Portfolio and Strategy at SES Satellites. Karl sheds light on the pivotal role of satellite technology in digital transformation, emphasizing SES’s impact on diverse industries.

The discussion explores SES’s innovative solutions, from providing connectivity to remote locations like islands and cruise ships to supporting disaster recovery efforts with their O3b mPOWER service. Karl underscores the crucial link between a robust satellite network and the success of cloud computing and digital transformation initiatives.

Discover how SES’s next-gen satellite system is revolutionizing connectivity, enabling seamless integration of technologies like IoT, 5G, and AI. Tune in to gain insights into the dynamic intersection of space technology, cloud computing, and digital evolution.

For more in-depth information, visit SES’s website at ses.com/o3bmPOWER

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:01):

Welcome to Digital Transformers, the show that connects you with what you need to build, manage, and operate your digital supply chain. Join your host in a timely discussion on new and future business models with industry leading executives. The show will reveal global customer expectations, real world deployment challenges, and the value of advanced business technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, and robotic process engineering. And now, we bring you Digital Transformers.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:33):

Hello, everyone. This is Kevin L. Jackson and welcome to Digital Transformers on Supply Chain Now. On today’s interview, I have the rare opportunity to talk about two of my favorite things, space and cloud computing, where we’re going to find out why these things go together through an exciting conversation with Mr. Karl Horne, Vice President Cloud Portfolio and Strategy at SES Satellites. Welcome to Digital Transformers, Karl.

Karl Horne (01:10):

Oh, thank you, Kevin. It’s a pleasure to be here and it’s a pleasure to speak with you and by extension, your listeners and your viewers.

Kevin L. Jackson (01:15):

Oh, no, thank you very much. SES Satellites, it may not be a household word to us here in the United States, but it has over 70 satellites in two different orbits. It was founded in 1985 and is Europe’s first private satellite operator. Their goal is to combine satellite connectivity and ground infrastructure to deliver fast, reliable connectivity nearly anywhere in the world. I actually saw a video about some service you’re providing to the Galapagos Island. The woman there that ran the hotel was saying she wouldn’t have a business without SES. So, Karl is right here in the Washington DC area, not far from me. In fact, they have a facility about 20 minutes from my home here in Manassas, Virginia. So, Karl, how did you wind up working with SES?

Karl Horne (02:21):

Well, I have a long history of working in the telecoms industry, not long enough that I would go back to 1985 when SES was founded, but I do have some years under my belt. Many of those years in the telecom space was working for the vendor community, so that’s companies that sell equipment and solutions to service providers that then actually deliver the connectivity value to consumers and businesses. And really just as part of my professional evolution, I wanted to spend time in that service provider environment a little bit closer to the end users of the technology as it were. And so when the opportunity came along to work for SES, I jumped in with both feet. It’s space after all.

Kevin L. Jackson (03:04):

Yes. And out of Luxembourg, right, but your bio here shows that you have spent some time with Ciena, in the Asian-Pacific region. I used to live in the Philippines when I was in the Navy. That company, Ciena is a telecommunications leader. I guess it helped you with your work here at SES.

Karl Horne (03:32):

Yeah, I think so. I mean, we’re all in a very real sense where the sum of our past experiences, right? So working with Ciena, which is a telecommunications equipment vendor company, I mean, it helped me in a couple of different ways, but I think probably the most significant is that it gave me a chance to work with network operators really all around the world, not just in North America or Asia Pacific, and really gain a better understanding of their business models and how they choose to leverage technology to implement their go forward network architectures in support of those business models. And obviously if you know Ciena, their focus is on fiber networking solutions, terrestrial networking, but now with SES, I’m able to bring perspective to our customers as to how next generation satellite technologies can work alongside or can augment terrestrial networks to form more of a hybrid network, but really maximizes reach and availability of the services. So, I think these go-forward network architectures are pretty important to get right as next generation applications take hold with cloud computing, IoT, 5G and all of the digital applications that ride on top of that. So, a lot of what I did with Ciena is examine those dynamics in a fiber networking context. And now, I’m pretty much doing the same in a satellite communications context.

Kevin L. Jackson (04:58):

Well, the world is rolling out, all the telecommunications companies in the world are rolling out 5G, and this hybrid telecommunications environment that connects everything to the internet is really critical to any future, the future of any business. But you have been associated with cloud computing for quite a while and cloud computing is kind of foundational, wouldn’t you say? How did you get into cloud computing? Because it’s just now that many of these communications providers are developing and deploying cloud native solutions.

Karl Horne (05:47):

So it came to me in a dream.

Kevin L. Jackson (05:49):

I love that.

Karl Horne (05:53):

Well, actually, I sort of already touched on how did I get into cloud computing. And you’re absolutely right, you’re going to get technologies like 5G that are establishing themselves, et cetera. And in many cases, it’s about how do I get ubiquitous connectivity to the internet. But sort of another element to consider is it’s also ubiquitous connectivity into the cloud. So cloud adoption isn’t a new trend. It continues to grow for sure. First, we have end users that are using more cloud applications and cloud services. And I think we all see this in our professional and our personal lives. But also, from the perspective of a network operator, and SES is one of those, for the past decade or so, we’ve been building networks differently. We’ve been using the cloud as an architectural template to build functionality that previously might’ve been dedicated boxes and devices. But now to simplify, they’re essentially software images that are hosted in data centers. They’re basically a cloud application or cloud implementation.

Karl Horne (06:54):

So in both cases, whether it’s for end user services or for cloudified network architectures, the network needs to adapt to account for new scale, new traffic patterns. And I sort of say there’s two things, right? One is connecting users into the cloud and also interconnecting the cloud points on scale. And so to learn how to do that better, I had to spend several years understanding what cloud architectures look like, how the ecosystem of cloud providers work, and ultimately the best way to construct a network that underpins the cloud. And if I can paraphrase Bob Marley, “No network, no cloud.”

Kevin L. Jackson (07:34):

That’s for sure. But SES has been providing, like you said, satellite communication services for quite a while. And 85 is like three centuries ago in satellite years. But today you partner with seven out of the top 10 global telecom companies and you support 58 government organizations. And this is what gets me. You provide connectivity, internet connectivity to four of the world’s six major cruise lines and broadcasters; you broadcast today to over a billion TV viewers worldwide. I mean your footprint in the middle of the ocean, that’s great. That’s a very impressive reach. So how is SES expanding this entrenched position in the satellite market to address the cloud computing opportunity?

Karl Horne (08:42):

Well, I mean, obviously our customers that we serve today and have served for a while, those customers, those end user communities, they’re obviously adopting cloud and adopting digital projects that depend on the cloud. So one sort of vector of growth for us obviously is we are underpinning more and more cloud applications even within our same market segments that we had served for some time now. So previously when a satellite connection might’ve just been a broadband connection or maybe a path to the internet, now that that connection is in many cases now a wide area connection from edge cloud applications into regional or core cloud applications. So, our connections are being used in increasingly more of a cloud context as part of expanding our entrenched position beyond building on the existing customer bases and supporting digital transformations there. We’re seeing more ecosystem plays. I mean, we’re participating in more ecosystem plays.

Karl Horne (09:52):

So, we’ve formed some strategic partnerships with major cloud service providers and we’ve publicly announced Microsoft’s AWS, but there are some other ones that you would recognize where we’ve got some partnerships on how to more elegantly connect into their environments and domains and bring customer-cloud traffic directly into those domains for the best user experience. And in other cases, it’s working with some more vertically integrated solutions integrators, so people that can assemble network infrastructure plus cloud infrastructure plus digital infrastructure and applications for more of a turnkey solution for powering digital transformation projects. And so, we’ve announced a couple of partnerships with some of those actors as well. So I would say, really, the answer is in summary twofold. The first one is our customers are doing cloud motions. SES itself as a company is doing cloud motions and our customers are as well. So we’re adapting our portfolio and our service offerings to account for that dynamic. And the second one is we’re integrating ourselves more into the ecosystem of actors that ultimately provide these digital solutions, these cloud-hosted solutions. All of that I think is opening up great opportunity for SES.

Kevin L. Jackson (11:14):

Oh, wow. It is really surprising that your business has really focused on areas where you wouldn’t think there’s a lot of service like island nations and cruise liners in the middle of the ocean. These seem to me to be very unique use cases that you are able to support with your cloud, satellite-based cloud solutions. So how do you work with your customers in Micronesia or on the Galapagos Islands, or if I’m in one of the princess cruise liners? How does that work?

Karl Horne (12:07):

So first, it’s probably helpful to draw a distinction between a couple of services that SES offers, I mean, because of who we are, what we do, and we can pretty much see the whole planet with our networking infrastructure. And there is a significant amount of what we do, which is effectively closing digital divides. This is bringing connectivity where connectivity just didn’t really exist, maybe more on a consumer basis, helping telcos and MNOs extend their networks into underserved areas, helping light up areas like the Galapagos and give them broadband connections to really change somebody’s experience when they’re even in utmost remote of areas, digital inclusion and social inclusion projects. That’s a big part of what SES does. And my personal comment on that is, this is one of those things that feels really good for me working for SES is the ability to help close that digital divide.

Karl Horne (13:04):

In the context of today though, there’s another set or another class of connectivity services we deliver, which are really much more towards industrial operations. So these are industrial operations that are doing pretty intensive digital projects, but they may be in difficult to reach places, oil and gas rigs that might be on the high seas, commercial shipping fleets that might be navigating across the globe, airplanes. And basically, anything that flies or floats, there’s really kind of no other way to talk to other than the satellite connection. So there’s another class of services that we deliver which are much more industrial or enterprise-focused. So let me highlight a little bit of the use cases there with our cloud solutions because that’s really where they apply most. So, I’ll give some examples of projects that we’ve been involved in. I’ll start with maybe a commercial shipping example.

Karl Horne (14:08):

So, moving forward through the course of the next decade, the International Maritime Organization is going to start mandating some energy efficiency targets for vessels over a certain tonnage, meet those efficiency targets are basically good find. So fleets are thinking, how do I use technology? How do I use IoT and maybe cloud-hosted analytics to gain better understanding on the operations of a ship and how I can optimize my processes, to optimize my fuel consumption? And this includes things like linking into global data sets, like weather patterns that they can help also plan optimal routing, which certainly can impact a more efficient fuel consumption. So that’s an example of a use case where cloudification is being applied in a commercial environment, one that we serve in order to gain some business goals and effectively help meet those emergency — emerging energy efficiency targets. I mentioned oil and gas rigs as another example.

Kevin L. Jackson (15:17):

Oh, they’re in the middle of the ocean too.

Karl Horne (15:18):

Very highly instrumented rigs and platforms. You’re talking about tens of thousands, a hundred thousand plus sensors and devices, and they can collect an awful lot of raw data, oceanic data, seismic data, environmental data, which by itself is just not that useful. So typically, what energy companies want to do is they want to take that data volume and upload it into big data handling engines, which are hosted in the cloud, then create metadata sets and geospatial metadata sets that then can be fed back into the sites, and that can really aid in terms of much more targeted exploration and much more targeted extraction. Ultimately what that drives are better yields for the resources that are being extracted and much, much greener operations, which is top of mind for just about everybody.

Kevin L. Jackson (16:15):

Wow. It’s amazing.

Karl Horne (16:16):

If you’ll permit me, there’s maybe one more example I’ll share with you. This one is less about a commercial sector and maybe more in public sector. And this is something that we’ve done with some of our ecosystem partners is some disaster response applications because with satellite, we can apply connectivity in what’s known as an on-the-pause model. So there literally would be a truck, a mobile truck configured that has satellite uplinks, but also the truck would carry on board edge compute resources and private 5G capability. And that can lead then to the responders that might go to a disaster site, having comms connections right there locally for any devices they may be carry, but also any wearables they may have for IoT sensors or video cameras. And with that connectivity bubble, then that really promotes man-to-man onsite communications for more efficient responses, but also site to headquarters for better command and control of the response activity. And further, when you use the communications or, sorry, when you use the cloud as a communications platform, something like Microsoft Teams, then this also promotes the right resiliency and availability of site-to-cloud communications. All of that coming together really is a very powerful tool to throw at a disaster response scenario. With SES, our role obviously is to create that wide area network connection that has the right reach, the right performance to allow all of these cloud-based applications to function and function well no matter where they are.

Kevin L. Jackson (17:58):

Wow. I want to pull some more on that string with respect to disaster recovery efforts. I understand your O3b mPOWER service is key to that. In fact, I had the opportunity to watch your launch on Sunday just a few days ago. So how does this capability really address disaster recovery efforts? Because if a lot of your customers are actually islands, the threat caused by global warming is really top of mind for them. And I actually run an operation for the National Digital Foundry and we have a work group built around improving climate change-related disaster response by using things like blockchain and digital assets, which of course layer on top of cloud computing. This makes it a very particular interest to me. Could you share any additional specific examples about how O3b mPOWER is useful in disaster response scenarios?

Karl Horne (19:20):

Sure. I mean, I’ll preface it all with — O3b mPOWER is our next generation of medium Earth orbit satellites, and it really delivers, I think, a huge step function in the capacity and the performance and capability of the bandwidth that can be delivered over satellite. It can now deliver capacities that essentially approximate fiber in the sky. So it really is a very capable wide area network connection, which is one of the things that helps some of these use cases really do a cloud and digital adoption because you have the quality of connection that can do that now. So, I’ve already touched a little bit on a first responder scenario for satellite connections, extending private 5G connections. And actually, that was for an island nation; it was for the response agencies in Taiwan, which is very much subject to typhoon, climate issues, as well as seismic events. So there’s a number of different scenarios where a first responder agency really needs the best tools at their disposal.

Karl Horne (20:30):

Another example that we’re working on now involves wildfire responses. In this case, it’s not so much connected, people may be part of the response, but maybe connected drones. So connected via a 5G bubble that pulls in the sensory information and video information that might be coming from the drones that are flying around a wildfire event, taking that information and back hauling it over a high performance satellite link like what mPOWER would offer, and then feed that environmental data into a high performance computing grid that can do rapid simulations of the course or the trajectory of a fire and guide, not only the response teams, but also guide evacuation responses, and think fairly recently how that sort of a solution might’ve impacted the recent wildfire response that happened in Hawaii. There would’ve been more lives saved, there would’ve been more property saved. So we’re working with some ecosystem partners on setting that up and hopefully that becomes a productized capability that can be made available to responding agencies.

Kevin L. Jackson (21:41):

Wow, there are some — yeah, yeah.

Karl Horne (21:44):

One more example, if I could. I guess, here in the United States, we worked with one of the major cloud service providers that their job wasn’t really to be first responders to the event itself, to the climate event, but how to restore capability locally and in this case, enterprise services and cloud capability locally. So again, using medium Earth orbit connectivity, like what mPOWER would deliver, this cloud service provider was able to stand up edge compute and modular edge compute capabilities within the affected area, link those back to their core cloud over the high-performance satellite link, and really get some of their enterprise grade cloud services back and running so that businesses could start operating again in the affected area. So that was a little bit different, but still another example of space-enabled digital deployments that can improve disaster response. And, of course, those digital deployments can certainly include functions like blockchain and feature other digital assets like what you were mentioning you focused on.

Kevin L. Jackson (22:53):

This really changes how you think about a telecommunications infrastructure because, especially in disaster recovery, a lot of times everyone’s talking about we lost this cell tower, or how do we bring a cell on wheels. But here you are with O3b mPOWER with the ultimate cell tower sitting up in mid-Earth orbit. This is awesome. And this really helps in digital transformations. I mean globally those opportunities that you said for different companies to really change, especially the ocean liners, those are really impressive. Are the companies thinking more about the high bandwidth space connectivity as opposed to the earth-based terrestrial towers?

Karl Horne (24:03):

Yes, they are. But the caveat there I don’t think is as opposed to.

Kevin L. Jackson (24:08):

Okay, so blend.

Karl Horne (24:09):

I think what we tend to see is digital transformation projects can now be executed where it really wasn’t possible before because of limitations of the network. And digital transformations really are powered by the cloud, and if there’s no network, no cloud. That means if you didn’t have a good network, you really didn’t stand a chance to really execute on digital transformation projects kind of in some of these remote or on the move sites. When I think about what mPOWER does in terms of helping our customers execute on their transformations, it’s always helpful for me to say that there’s a layered hierarchy of capability here. The digital transformations, the way I think about them is that they’re a way to leverage a basket of technology is ultimately that when you assemble them, they drive business outcomes as ways people can save money or make money. And that basket of technologies these days includes things like virtualization, includes 5G, IoT. It includes new visualization techniques that we see, augmented and virtual reality.

Karl Horne (25:21):

Digital twinning is a pretty hot topic these days we encounter a lot. But also, some of these technologies are about data handling and data handling on scale, big data engines, analytic engines, machine learning, and of course the big buzzword these days is AI. And again, these technologies are largely implemented and deployed from the cloud. And the cloud depends on a network. And the network really has to do two things I think and do them very well. First, it needs to be able to connect anywhere to the cloud so that no matter where you are, you are one hop away from the cloud, but it also needs to be able to extend the cloud to anywhere. And so, this aligns a lot with distributed cloud architectures and the trend towards more and more edge computing and edge cloud instances, even right out to the most remote sites like the ones that are served by SES’ connections.

Karl Horne (26:16):

So if the network needs to then serve that cloud very well, then it has to do things like scale up. It has to do things like provide ubiquitous reach, ubiquitous access. It has to be able to network east to west, as they say in cloud world, so being able to network in a symmetrical fashion from the edge all the way up to the core, or push information from the core all the way up to the edge. It has to really drive and deliver on enterprise or carrier grade cloud connections. These cannot be best effort connections and it has to have a level of dynamic behavior to effectively do what I call follow the workload. Everything happens in the cloud based on workloads, and workloads can be instantiated and released dynamically. They can be replicated for load balancing and resiliency reasons.

Karl Horne (27:16):

They’re highly dynamic and the network has to match the dynamics of workload, instantiation and placement. So we need a network that kind of lives and breathes to be able to follow the workload. All of that is just the base requirements of a network. And in satellite world, in previous years, that was a little difficult to hit those targets, those requirements. But here I think is where mPOWER is a game changer for the industry and for SES because the agility, the scale, the programmability of this satellite fleet really can deliver on those key requirements and be an enabler then for the digital transformation projects that our customers are interested in taking them.

Kevin L. Jackson (27:58):

Wow. No network, no cloud. I mean, you’ve changed my life. Bob Marley and SES are going to be forever linked in my mind. It was so great to learn more about SES and the [inaudible] based services. So we’re coming to the end of our time here, but how could the audience find out more about this sort of revolutionary leap in satellite-based connectivity?

Karl Horne (28:30):

Well, the obvious place, of course, is to start, it’d be to visit our website, ses.com, and then there’s a slash o3bmpower, and you can learn more about the technology. You can see how our customers are leveraging it. We’ve got a really cool little visualization app that shows you how it works and gives you a much more visual experience on how mPOWER’s revolutionizing connectivity really across the various industry segments we serve. So absolutely start there.

Kevin L. Jackson (29:01):

Geez, this was an amazing interview. So thank you very much, Karl, for spending the time to open our minds. No network, no cloud. So in closing, I would like to really invite everyone to check out the wide variety of industry thought leadership like this that we present here at supplychainnow.com. And you can find Digital Transformers and Supply Chain Now wherever you get your podcasts. So be sure to subscribe. So on behalf of the entire team here at Supply Chain Now, this is Kevin L. Jackson wishing all of our listeners a bright and transformational future. We’ll see you next time on Digital Transformers. Thanks, Karl.

Intro/Outro (29:56):

Thank you for supporting Digital Transformers and for being a part of our global Supply Chain Now Community. Please check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com. Make sure you subscribe to Digital Transformers anywhere you listen to or view the show, and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Digital Transformers.

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Karl Horne is the VP of Cloud Portfolio and Strategy with SES Satellites. He established the “Cloud Practice” within SES to define and execute on product and GTM strategies for Cloud and Digital extensions to the core connectivity service portfolio for all SES markets: Maritime, Aero, Telco/MNO, Enterprise, and Government/Public Sector markets.He added new Private 5G, Managed Edge Compute, and Cloud Peering (e.g., MSFT ExpressRoute) extensions to SES portfolio to better map to Cloud adoption and Digital Transformation projects. He also established a network of Cloud Service Provider and Global System Integrator partners to assemble the most effective solutions and expand channels to market for Cloud and Digital Solutions. Karl is responsible for executing on future portfolio expansions and ecosystem partnerships. Connect with Karl on LinkedIn.

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host, Digital Transformers

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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Greg White

Principal & CMO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise

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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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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