John Shegerian doesn’t believe in a “new normal.” He’d much rather build a “new better,” one electronic device at a time. And as co-founder and CEO of the largest fully integrated IT and electronics asset disposition provider and cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction company in the United States, he knows a thing or two about the future of the circular economy, not to mention how to make a real impact in business. Don’t miss this chance to hear from a true leader and visionary as he sits down with Scott to share his founder’s journey through multiple successful ventures, why circular economy has a role to play in cybersecurity, advice for future leaders and much more.
As a thank-you gift for listening to this episode, we are happy to offer you a FREE copy of John Shegerian’s book, The Insecurity of Everything: How Hardware Data Security is Becoming the Most Important Topic in the World. Please follow this link and fill out the details of where you would like the book sent: https://eridirect.com/insecurity-of-everything-book/
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Scott Luton (00:30):
Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton with you here on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s show. Today we’re continuing our Reverse Logistics series here which we conduct in partnership with our friends at the Reverse Logistics Association. And we’ve got a big show teed up with a big guest who leads, get this, the largest cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction and electronic waste recycling company in the entire United States. So, stay tuned for what promises to be an outstanding conversation. Now with that said, let’s welcome in today’s guest. He’s a co-founder, chairman, and CEO of ERI. Let’s welcome in John Shegerian. John, how you doing?
John Shegerian (01:07):
Hey, great to be here today with you, Scott, and thanks for taking the time to do this interview.
Scott Luton (01:13):
You bet. Well, hey, I’ll take every opportunity, rub elbow with the movers and the shakers across the business world. And I tell you as a serial entrepreneur, I’m looking forward to learning what about your journey there, more about ERI, which is a company on the move. And, of course, we’re going to touch on our dear friends, Tony and the team, over at RLA later in today’s episode.
Scott Luton (01:34):
So, all of that, John, all of that, to start with one of our favorite things, my favorite questions I ask our guests, and I bet you’ve got plenty of stories here. Let’s get to know John Shegerian a little bit better. So, John, where did you grow up and give us some anecdotes around your upbringing?
John Shegerian (01:49):
I grew up in Queens, New York and it was a great place to grow up. One thing that people don’t understand about Queens and specifically in little Neck, Queens, it’s actually part of Long Island. It’s part of the Five Boroughs and it’s part of what’s called New York City Proper. So, I really got to say, I grew up in New York city even though it was Queens and even though it was still Long Island. It was a great place to grow up, easy access to the city. And, I went to high school and college in Manhattan and I couldn’t have had a better opportunity to grow up and get educated both formally and informally as well.
Scott Luton (02:25):
So, do you still have a bunch of family back in the New York area?
John Shegerian (02:29):
I sure do. My mom still lives in the house that I was raised in. She’s 82 years old. She still goes to work every day. She’s a social worker. My dad passed about 15 or 16 years ago and he was a serial and very successful entrepreneur. So between the both of them, that’s how I sort of fell into becoming a social entrepreneur. People will always wonder like how did I become what I became. It’s not that hard when you really track it back.
Scott Luton (02:56):
It doesn’t sound like it. And, I love the fact that at 82, your mom still gets up every day making it happen. Sounds like she’s doing some really good work for other folks.
Scott Luton (03:05):
Let’s shift gears for just a second. I’m going to talk about sports with you in a minute. I think you’ve got some great Cowboy stories, but let’s talk about food. We love talking about food here. And if you think of one dish that was just an important part of your childhood that you would partake if you could, every week, what’s one food dish that was inseparable from your childhood?
John Shegerian (03:24):
Well, growing up in New York, what’s inseparable was pizza. New York style pizza is really the comfort food of a native New Yorker.
Scott Luton (03:35):
I’m with you. And, you know what? A native Georgian I would add in that, a native – doesn’t matter. I’ll eat all kinds of pizza and I love New York pizza. Is there one favorite restaurant you had that when you go back, you got to have it at this one place?
John Shegerian (03:48):
Yeah. In New York City, it’s John’s New York Pizza. It was originally on Bleecker Street. It still is. They’ve opened up a couple other locations around Manhattan and then out in LA where we live for many years and we’ve raised our children when they were young. It was Mulberry Street Pizza, which also was a very traditional New York pizza as well. So, those are my two favorite go-to places when I’m in LA or New York City.
Scott Luton (04:13):
Love it. You got coast to coast. You got it all covered. I love that. All right. So, let’s shift gears ‘cause I can talk about pizza all day long. I love it that much. Let’s talk about out some of your favorite sports teams. One in particular, you’ve kind of shared with me pre-show, you’re a big Dallas Cowboys fan. So, why is that and give us your favorite Dallas Cowboys moment.
John Shegerian (04:32):
My dad was a Dallas Cowboys fan. So, in 1969, when I was about six-and-a-half or seven, I became a Cowboys fan because I followed my father’s rooting, likes and dislikes. And so, I became a huge Cowboys fan back then. And, I just love the star on the helmet and things of that such. Now, a couple things, we didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up. So, I went to go work at 10 years old sweeping floors in a dry cleaner in Queens, in what was really called Great Neck, New York, which was Queens adjacent. And, I worked for a great guy named Saul Jacobson. And so, I’d come in on Monday’s afternoons to sweep up and he made a job there for me really. He didn’t need me to come and sweep up and I’d walk in after school and it would be about 4 o’clock. Now, realize on Sundays, it was a big deal to at my grandparents’ house with my father watching football games. And, I’d walk in every Monday afternoon during the NFL season to sweep the floors. And, there would be all the New York Jets’ jerseys hanging in the back of the dry cleaning ‘cause he had the New York Jets contract. And, I would literally walk towards slowly Joe Namath’s jersey because there was sort of this glow and halo around it. And, I would ask Saul, “Can I touch it?” Because I remember watching it the day before on television wherever they were playing. And he would always say, “Go ahead, Johnny, if your hands are clean, go touch it.” And, I remember touching that jersey saying, “I can’t believe I’m touching the same jersey that Broadway Joe Namath just wore on television the day before.” And, I’ll tell you what, it’s as close to greatness as a 10-year-old could ever become by touching Joe Namath’s jersey while you swept the floors that a dry cleaner to make a couple extra bucks.
Scott Luton (06:20):
Oh, I love that. I love that. And, was that your first job at 10? Your first time [inaudible].
John Shegerian (06:24):
Yeah. That was my first job to make cash money and then that led into numerous other things. And then, at about 11 years old, I decided, I told my dad that I would want to become a jockey because he would take me to ride ponies on the weekends, just, you know, quiet pony rides and stuff. And he explained to me that I was already sort of a little bit overweight, I was sort of a chubby kid and he said, “I don’t think that’s a good dream, son.” So, then I decided I switched my dreams and I said, “Okay. Then if I can’t ride on top of the horse, I’ll ride in back of the horse,” and that’s called harness racing. And I started grooming horses at 11 and a half years old. And by the time I was 17 years old, I was 16 years old, I was the youngest harness driver in the United States [inaudible] a barn of about 40 horses. And then, when I was 17, I was the youngest driver in harness racing history to ever set a world record at Liberty Bell Racetrack in Philadelphia.
John Shegerian (07:20):
So, that was the beginnings of how to become an entrepreneur, taking care of animals that wouldn’t take care of themselves if you didn’t show up every morning, so created a lot of discipline, but also managing and putting together syndicates to buy horses at 13 and 14 years old started – you know, it started laying the seeds for what would become a lifetime of serial entrepreneurship.
Scott Luton (07:47):
So, if I can just ask you a quick follow-up question here, when you say creating syndicates, what I do know about horses and a little bit, my uncle had horses and I grew up in Aiken, South Carolina, which once was the polo capital of the world.
John Shegerian (08:00):
Yeah. That’s right.
Scott Luton (08:03):
So, horses are not cheap. So, my take from hearing you say that is you kind had to create alliances to purchase and build a stable of 40 horses of what I heard you say at 13 or 14. John, how in the world could you do that?
John Shegerian (08:18):
It just – you know, I just, I asked my father how he started his business and he basically said, “If you want something, son, you just got – you gotta just go knock on doors.” And, basically – so if I want to buy a horse for 10 or 20 or $30,000, I go to the guy who owns the barber shop, the pizzeria, the funeral home, and I’d say, “You wanna put 5000 in or 10,000?” Now, remember, back, you know, 40, 45 years ago, that’s a lot of dough for –
Scott Luton (08:44):
Yes, it is. It still is.
John Shegerian (08:46):
And so, what happened was, as you start gaining a little success and a couple of your horses start winning, you catch some people’s eyes, then people want to bring you money and things become a little bit easier. Winning begets winning like in any sport. And, it made it easier to recruit investors and also the better horses and it became real fun. And once I set the world record, then I realized you could really accomplish any dream you set your mind to, just put your head down and you go to work.
Scott Luton (09:16):
John, gosh, we’re going to have to have you back. We’re going to have to stick right here for a couple hours because – just one thing you said there, winning begets winning. That is so true. And [inaudible] areas to that is, you know, the best time to sell is when you just close something. Right? And then, the other [inaudible] area is always selling like you’ve got a million dollars in your pocket. Right? Like, you’ve got a million dollar just sitting there in your pocket.
Scott Luton (09:45):
So, we’re going to have to keep diving into your past, maybe in the future episode. But for now, I want to move forward a little bit, a little forward a little bit beyond your record, clearly your record setting horse industry moments or aspects of your career. Move forward a little bit. And before we talk about what you’re doing now with ERI, as you look back at your serial entrepreneur journey, what’s a couple of roles you had that really shaped your worldview, John?
John Shegerian (10:11):
Well, a couple of roles. One, I was a real estate developer in Los Angeles working for a great man named Ira Yellin, and I was his number two guy when what then was called, not called anymore, it’s now called the LA riots what then was called the Rodney King riots hit. And they affected our real estate tremendously because we were in downtown LA. We had the largest redevelopment in downtown LA with the Grand Central Market, the Bradbury Building, the Million Dollar Theater. And, one of the guys who ran the tortilla stand in one of our open markets. It’s called Grand Central Market. It’s the original open market in Los Angeles. It’s like Pike’s Place up in Seattle, in South Street Seaport now, in Downtown New York, in Faneuil Hall in Boston. He left and he handed me the keys and said, “I’m outta here. I don’t wanna be in the city anymore. My wife and I are moving to Mexico.”
John Shegerian (11:00):
So, we left me with this open tortilleria and I didn’t know really what to do with it. And, when you’re missing a piece of your real estate puzzle, it really makes things difficult. So, I called this guy up that I had seen on 60 minutes three or four months before, a guy named Father Greg Boyle. And, I invited him over to the Grand Central Market. And, he had started something called Proyecto Pastoral. It was called Jobs for a Future. And his mantra in the poorest parish in East LA was that nothing stops a bullet faster than a job. So, if you got these gang-related children, young kids, young teens, gang-impacted youth, and you got them jobs, instead of letting them migrate towards gangs, they would go on to a much better life.
John Shegerian (11:44):
And basically, we put these kids working in our Grand Central Market in the Tortilleria, started Homeboy Tortillas, which then evolved into Homeboy Industries. The rest is history. Thirty years later now almost it’s one of the most successful gang intervention programs in the world. It’s been mimicked many times. Father Greg Boyle is still there running it. And, that just taught me very early, very early on that you can do a lot of things to make money, but you got to choose something that you can make money and make a difference at the same time. And, that’s what my wife and I decided to do after that. Never just do something just for money. You want to make money. Of course, you want to make money. We all got bills to pay and overhead to take care. But any business that we would endeavor in after Homeboy, it also had to make a difference and an impact in either the community or in the world at large.
Scott Luton (12:42):
Man, I love that, John. I am such kindred spirits with you, right? We’re not here in this lifetime long enough. We got to make as much of an impact and help others as much as we can. I love how you baked that into all of these entrepreneurial ventures, a lot of the big-time successful ventures, as just part of your MO. I love that. What else – so, clearly – and then, also, I love the fact that you saw someone on 60 minutes and you said, “You know what? I’m gonna call this guy up. We’re gonna make something happen.” I love that, John.
John Shegerian (13:12):
Call, call them.
Scott Luton (13:13):
Yeah. The that’s – you got to create your own luck in this day in this age or any day and age. What else when you look back? And again, we’re going to talk about ERI in just a second. When you look back at all the other stuff you’ve been up to, what’s one other leadership experience or role that really shaped how you look at the world?
John Shegerian (13:32):
I want to fast forward. Before ERI, I started financialaid.com the year Google was founded. Everyone said, you’re not a dotcommer, you’re not a tech guy. This was 1998. No one was a dotcommer or a tech guy when Google was being founded. And, again, I proved the naysayers to be wrong. I became the most successful – I became the most successful – we democratized student lending when no one said we could do it. And, again, every VC threw me out of their office, me and my partner, Michael Bryant. And, we just put our head down and we learned on the job how to become tech entrepreneurs. And, it became a very, very big venture. We sold that in ‘04 and started ERI. Now during the journey of ERI, about four-and-a-half years ago, I have an annual board meeting where I honor a board member and I give them what is called a Fight On Award. Fight On was named after the mantra from USC, my wife’s USC grad, and the gentleman who was our senior member of our board in one of our real, I want to say, the heart and soul of our company, a guy named Dann Angeloff was a huge – was an SC grad and a huge SC supporter.
John Shegerian (14:50):
So, we named it that Dann Angeloff Fight On Award. So, I needed someone to speak at this awards dinner, someone special, who really best epitomized the spirit of Fight On. And, I saw a young man on television during a football game, an SC football game. His name was Jake Olson, but Jake was a little bit different than any other football player I had ever seen play on NCAA level or a pro level. Jake was blind and he trotted onto the field and the crowd erupted. And he became the first NCAA Division I football player for SC to play blind. He’s a long snapper and snapper for the kicker. And so, I called up Dann Angeloff, and I said, “Dann, I’d like to meet this young man.” So, Dann put me, got me the right connection, which happened to be his agent, which happened to be his roommate, Daniel Hennes.
John Shegerian (15:51):
And so, Daniel invited me to come down to USC to their mess hall over there and I met, after a practice one day I met Daniel and Jake. I was sitting there. I was looking at all the other kids in the lunchroom. And first of all, I felt like thinking to myself, these kids don’t know how lucky they are. Their parents got them here, one of the greatest schools in new United States, in Southern California. They got 10 fingers, two able legs, ears, and also, they could see. And, I’m sitting across from a young man who has one of the greatest attitudes and spirits towards life, but he’s blind. And I thought to myself, first of all, I was embarrassed as I was thinking about myself. I didn’t have any handicapped friends. How can I be 50 somewhat years old and go through life and not have any handicapped friends that were in my friendship circle? That was in itself somewhat shameful.
John Shegerian (16:51):
Secondarily, I asked him, what are you going to do when you get out of here? Because as we know the cheers and the crowds died down after you make your mark in life usually. And I wanted to know what was his plan. And he said he had a plan to make a speaker’s bureau online. So, I asked him to pitch me right there and then, and him and his roommate were both dreaming this up, and they pitched me and I told him, “You know, it sounds interesting but I think there’s a couple flaws in it, but I think we can make it better. And, I was in the internet world before. Let me talk to my partner and if he’s interested as well, why don’t we partner up here and work together?” And, I called my partner when I was driving back from USC. And I said, “You gotta meet these guys.” So, he did on the phone. I said, “If you love them as much as I do, let’s do something with them.” And –
Scott Luton (17:47):
John Shegerian (17:49):
And my dream was this, 63 million people who are handicapped in the United States, how come when you and I turn on CNBC and Bloomberg, we don’t see the CEO of any tech firm or any unicorn let’s just say that are blind or missing a limb or deaf. We sort of push all of those folks and marginalize them. And whether it’s on purpose or it’s out of benign neglect, it’s just not right. So, when we say we have to be a more inclusive and diverse world, that also includes those 63 million people that’s sometimes aren’t given a fair shot so we figured let’s give Jake a fair shot and let’s make him a CEO of potentially a unicorn and if not a unicorn, a sunicorn, a tech company that’s rising fast enough, that could become a unicorn. So, we partnered with Jake and his partner Daniel. And I’ll tell you, it’s been the most magical journey of my life to see how Jake and Daniel got out of school, graduated with honors, and now have taken this venture that they call, we call Engage, and people can look it up at letsengage.com and have now created one of the most powerful all speakers bureaus online, fully automated in the world, and massively successful. They’re far ahead of anybody’s dreams, anyone’s vision. And, I’ll tell you what, Jake and Daniel have just killed it. And, it’s been just really one of the best experiences in my whole entire life, professional life and personal life.
Scott Luton (19:32):
I love it, letsengage.com. So, y’all check that out. Jake and Daniel, congrats on all the journey this far. We look forward to seeing what’s next. And going back to Jake’s story, man, you’ve got to – your Fight On award that you mentioned, you’ve got to be fighting on every day to break into the Division I ranks as any, you know, even if you’re in perfect condition and you’ve got all of your faculties and you don’t have any, you know, disabilities, what have you. Gosh, to become a long snapper, he really has overcome. So, congrats, Jake. And I love that award, the Fight On Award. We all need to have a Fight On Award within our organizations, John.
John Shegerian (20:12):
A hundred percent and Jake best epitomizes it. He comes to every Christmas party, annual, holiday event that we have when we give it out. Everyone loves him. And, he’s become a big part of ERI as we’ve become a big part of Engage as well. And, I’ll tell you what, Jake’s unique. You know, Scott, I left out this important part. Jake wasn’t born blind. He was born with a rare type of eye cancer. He lost his first eye at about two, two-and-a-half-years old. And then, he lost whole vision at 12. So, just think about that. And a little-known fact, like I said, you fall in love with the teams your dad loves. Jake got into two colleges. He got into USC, but he also got into Harvard and he went to USC because that’s all his memories were where his dad took him to games growing up that he was able to watch. And that’s why he loved the Trojans from day one. And his dream was to become a player on the Trojan football team.
Scott Luton (21:10):
Love that, let’sengage.com. Okay. So, you shared – as you shared that aspect of your journey, you shared a variety of Eureka moments. But I’m going to ask you to pick just one, especially one, you know, as times have changed dramatically over the last couple years, as we’ve all battled the pandemic. And thankfully we’re getting some good news, where hopefully the whole globe is soon is going to be beyond this terrible time.
John Shegerian (21:35):
Scott Luton (21:37):
What’s one Eureka moment that really sticks out in your mind?
John Shegerian (21:42):
At ERI, I take it, you mean, Scott? Yeah.
Scott Luton (21:45):
ERI or in general. We’re going to talk about ERI in a minute and your folks know exactly what y’all do, but in general.
John Shegerian (21:50):
Yeah. Yeah. In general, I don’t like when people say that we’re – pandemic is winding down and we’re going to go back to a new normal. That’s almost like saying we give up and from the beginning of the pandemic, about a month or two months into it, well, I started hearing this new normal. When are we going to get over this? When are we going to go to a new normal? I started the messaging at our company and beyond any company I’m involved with and friends and family, we’re not going to a new normal; focus on going to a new better. Whatever that means, we’re going to go to a new better. Our company’s going to be better. We’re going to be better as people. We’re going to be stronger, more resilient. Focus on being a new better when we get to the other side. Don’t just give up and focus on being a new normal.
Scott Luton (22:44):
I love that, man. That is one of my favorite teacherisms I’ve heard here lately, a new better. Okay. So, now we’ve mentioned that you’re, numerous times, again, the largest cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction and electronic waste recycling company in the US. How did it all start, John?
John Shegerian (23:03):
Started with my partner, Aaron Blum, in 2002. He started it while Kevin, my other partner, and I were running Financial Aid down in San Diego. Aaron started this down in Vista, California under a different name. We became all friends because Kevin and Aaron grew up. So, we started going to a lot of sporting events together, mostly back then the San Diego Chargers were down there. So, we’d go to San Diego Chargers game. We’d hang out together. And, he would tell us how his business was going. He was doing very well in terms of volume, but he was losing money. He didn’t have the right partners. He didn’t have the right investors. And, he was also poorly situated when it comes from a logistics standpoint, which we’re going to get into. So, Kevin and I, when we sold FinancialAid.com, Aaron came to us and said, “Hey, listen, why don’t you guys join me? We partner up and take this thing to a new level?”
John Shegerian (23:54):
So, we bought out as partners. We shut down the San Diego facility. My wife, who became our fourth partner, she had the vision, “Hey, open this thing up in Fresno for logistics.” Because Fresno’s the ag center of the United States, if not the world. So, you have all these trucks going out with garlic and raisins and tomatoes and cotton, but the trucks are coming back empty. Let him come back with electronics. And so, logistically she knew what she was doing, but she came out of the food industry and she understood how things flowed much better than I did. I was an internet guy. So, we all, four of us opened this thing in Fresno, reopened it under the new brand name ERI in April ‘05. And we started just one foot in front of the other with a small building that we had recycled the building that had been left sitting there after 30 years empty, and we put one foot in front of the other and said let’s just build a great brand and give people great service.
Scott Luton (24:50):
I love that. I love that. Okay. Sounds like an eclectic mix of people, a bunch of good people and, you know, as one, as Ray Tia, a guy I used to work for, also a serial entrepreneur, once said, and you may or may not agree. You can’t have a bad deal with good people and you can’t have a good deal with bad people, as what Ray once said. Sounds like you had a bunch of good people that made up the beginning of ERI.
John Shegerian (25:18):
That goes to my own saying exactly what I always tell everyone. Picking your partners is more important than picking what you really do.
Scott Luton (25:27):
That’s an excellent point. Okay. So, let’s get to the heart of ERI I and what the company does. So, you already kind of shared a little bit about the founding and I love that as all the produce trucks left, rather than coming back empty, they came back full. So, we don’t know, not as many empty miles, which we love that. But what else? Tell us about the company today. What does the ERI do today?
John Shegerian (25:51):
Originally when we went into business, it was all about keeping our old electronics, which back then, Scott, were the fastest growing solid waste stream in the world. That was the backside, the dark side of the technological revolution. So, our goal was let’s keep this stuff out of landfills and recycle them responsibly, and also let’s keep them from being put in containers, which was a very common practice back then. It still goes on a little bit, but not as much as it did 20 years ago, and keep them from being put in containers and being dumped into either Hong Kong, other parts of China, India, or Africa. Let’s keep them above ground and recycle them responsibly. And that was our mission when we first started the journey.
Scott Luton (26:34):
Well, what – so, that clearly has evolved quite a bit as you’ve grown and now you’ve got coast-to-coast operations and I mean, you’re moving mountains. So, today –
John Shegerian (26:47):
Let’s bookend that. Let’s bookend that. So, our first month of business, April ‘05, we recycled, give or take, 10,000 pounds of electronic waste. Last month, January of 2022, in our 10 locations, and we cover every zip code in the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, we’re the largest, and Puerto Rico, we recycled approximately 20 million pounds in a month.
Scott Luton (27:11):
John Shegerian (27:13):
So, that’s the bookend journey. But let me explain to you, it’s really important that you and your listeners and viewers understand what responsible electronic waste recycling really is. Two things. One thing is there’s a lot of products that come in and buy contract. They can be resold again. So, we bring them in, we test them, we fix them. We retest them. We repackage them. We resell them. Very legitimate, incredible responsible form of recycling, reuse. There’s another part of our business. That’s a very large part as well that comes in under the must destroy label, must destroy because the products are supposed to go away. They’re at their end of life. They really can’t be reused or these data contained therein that could be dangerous if they got into the wrong people’s hands.
John Shegerian (27:58):
So, we take that in and we proprietarily created the world’s largest shredding machines. So, when we bring in the electronic waste, we take out the, either the flat screen panel or the glass monitor, that goes into our glass recycling part of our venture, which cuts and cleans our glass. So, what you get out of the shredder and our glass cleaning in order of volume is cut and clean glass, shredded steel, shredded plastic, shredded aluminum, copper, gold, silver, lead, and palladium, and also, the batteries go to our partner, Red Wind Materials. And then, we’re able to extract, they’re able to extract the cobalt, the lithium and the nickel and the copper out of the batteries. So, everything that I just mentioned goes to beneficial reuse. We are zero waste, zero landfill, zero emissions.
Scott Luton (28:50):
Love it. Man, 10,000 pounds to 20 million pounds per month. That is unbelievable. And folks, I imagine, so I’ve got my Handy Dandy Phone right here like we all do. I imagine some mix, electronic devices, smart phones, computers, laptops, all of it. I imagine it’s a whole mix of devices. Right?
John Shegerian (29:14):
Data centers, hard drives from cars. Tesla’s a client now, and many other large car companies are clients. It’s an absolute mix. And, just think about it, when we started our business, Scott, there was no iPhone. There was no iPad. Drones weren’t part of our vernacular. There was no nest or ring on our homes. So, the internet of things has exploded electronics. So, here’s the other bookend that I got to say to you. We were the fastest growing solid waste stream electronics back in 2002, ‘03 and ‘04. They’re now the fastest growing solid waste stream by an order of magnitude of three to five times over the second fastest growing solid waste stream, which is plastic. So, it’s a huge problem and it’s still growing.
Scott Luton (29:58):
Yes. And, you know, you’re absolutely right. And, I also love this re-economy that we’re seeing, the re – I think it’s up to $40 billion and supposed to grow to a lot more than that over the next few years. You’re giving things extra lives and there’s still a lot more use. Whatever you’re not reusing, as you talked about all those and components that go into new stuff, you’re reselling things and getting a lot of traction on a second, third and fourth live. So, I love that. As you know, I got a – over the holidays, I got my kids a, what is it? Nintendo’s, not a switch. It is the Nintendo Wii. They stopped making that, I don’t know, probably 10 years of go. [Inaudible] good used one and the kids are loving it, John. They’re loving it. Wii bowling. Wii baseball. Wii, you name it.
John Shegerian (30:51):
It just shows you time and time again, you know, you could reuse these materials and that’s what the – that’s really what’s driving the shift, Scott. We’re you generationally going from the linear economy where we would just use and throw things out in a landfill to the circular economy. And that shift is underway and it’s begun. And, it’s very exciting to be part of that generational shift.
Scott Luton (31:19):
It’s very exciting. You know, my granddad didn’t like to waste anything. Right? I wish everybody had his mentality. And in order to make that shift, we’ve got to have great companies like ERI that can act on it and help make it happen. So, let’s talk about now that we’ve understood what ERI is doing and all the massive growth, what’s next? You know, John, as well as I do the market appreciates for just a little bit what we’ve done and that market’s always asking, what’s next? What have you done for me lately? So, where’s ERI going next?
John Shegerian (31:53):
Yeah. Couple places. One, as Fortune Magazine, the lead writer on cybersecurity, a really good young guy named Robert Hackett. He wrote an article on us about four or five years ago. And, it was called Dead but Not Forgotten. And in the last sentence of this article said this, “It turns out that electronic waste is not only an environmental hazard, but a cybersecurity one as well.” And that’s really where the pucks going now, because, yes, everyone loves that we’re zero waste, zero landfill. We can help them as an organization or a company get to their net zero goals. And they love it, that we do everything the right way, responsible way, environmentally speaking. But the bigger liability runs with the data that’s contained in all of our electronics, whether you’re a homeowner and a family leader like you and me, Scott, in our own homes, or people who run big and small organizations, nonprofits, entrepreneurial ventures, publicly traded companies. All their electronics are now full of the data, not only of their personal lives, but also of their professional lives and the goodwill of their organization. That hardware has to be responsibly destroyed when it comes to its end of life. Because if it’s not, you could get all the best software on the planet to protect your organization or your home and all the electronics you use, but you’re leaving the back door open for the bad guys to bad things to you if you let them get your hardware and all the data that’s contained therein.
Scott Luton (33:25):
Agreed. And, unfortunately the bad actors keep going and they keep doing damage. Let’s go ahead and bring up – I want to bring up the book, The Insecurity of Everything. That’s an Amazon bestseller that you and the team put together there. Tell us about it.
John Shegerian (33:39):
Yeah. We wrote this has an educational tool and piece, Scott, and we’re going to offer it to all of your listeners for free. Anyone who writes to you and wants a free copy, you send us their information. We will ship this book to you because it basically covers the whole gamut of things for either your fax machine or your copy machine, things that you benignly don’t even think about that gather all the facts and all the memories that you’re doing in your home and your business life. And, it explains why they need to be destroyed when it comes to its end of life. And it explains some great scenarios of what has happened to people, organizations that haven’t taken care of their old electronics, and it gives good solutions. We’re not the only responsible recycler out there. There’s many others, not only here in the United States, but around the world. And it gives solutions. And that’s why we wrote the book.
Scott Luton (34:29):
Love it. We’re going to make sure we include a direct link in the show notes that folks can click on that, submit their information, and we’ll get that great read out to you, The Insecurity of Everything, an Amazon bestseller.
Scott Luton (34:39):
Okay. I want to shift gears here. We’re going to talk more entrepreneurial stuff with John Shegerian in a second. But, hey, Tony Sciarrotta, our dear friend, Tony Sciarrotta and the world class team over at the Reverse Logistics Association, RLA. I know that you are big contributors and members of that ecosystem. Why is that, John?
John Shegerian (35:00):
Listen. As I’ve learned both through my wife originally, through her eyes, and then through Tony’s eyes and his great RLA organization, the Reversal Logistics Association, nothing happens. There’s no circular economy unless you cover logistics. And when I say that, it’s not only that you manage your own logistics systems well but you also have to place your facilities logistically in the right area. So, what I mean by that, when we were trying to figure out, after we built our first two facilities in Fresno and in Boston, came down to building a third facility, and my wife says we’re going to build that facility in Plainfield, Indiana. I thought she was a Martian. I said what are you, why go to Plainfield, Indiana? And she had come out of 10 years of working in a food business, running a family business called National Raisin Company.
John Shegerian (35:53):
And she said,” John, all the biggest retailers, everything goes through Plainfield.” I said, “I’ve never heard of it.” She goes, “It doesn’t matter. Logistically, it’s the perfect place for us.” So, we planted a flag back there in 2007. Well, Scott, fast forward, 15 years later, we just opened up, we’ve moved four times there. We’ve now got about 400,000 square feet and two buildings underneath roof there. But here’s the funny thing. Amazon is right down the street. It’s their biggest fulfillment center in the United States. My wife was not only a little bit right, like usual she was 500% right. And, again, I learned the hard way, but at least I listened to her not only on the Fresno choice of where to open our business. She was right on that. She was right on Plainfield. And when we’ve chosen all our 10 buildings across America, she leads the charge on that. And we’ve placed them really well when it comes to how everything can flow in the United States and covering still Hawaii and Alaska. And it’s all about logistics. If you can’t bring this stuff in the right way and get it out the right way, you might as well not open your doors at all.
Scott Luton (37:04):
I agree. Supply chain logistics certainly makes it happen. Your wife’s name is?
John Shegerian (37:09):
Tammy and she’s right over my shoulder here. Whoop, the other way. I don’t know how to point here, but she’s right over there. This is hard. She’s the pretty woman over my shoulder, which keeps me in. It’s good that this whole thing. She’s been on my wall for 16 years, but now she’s on all my Zoom calls, making sure I say and do the right thing.
Scott Luton (37:29):
Love it. Maybe, hopefully Tammy’s open to consult some consulting work ‘cause it sounds like she has got some great home run business savviness and advice. So, good stuff there, Tammy.
John Shegerian (37:40):
Scott Luton (37:40):
All right. So, now we’ve tackled, and I appreciate you sharing those thoughts around your logistics, geographic footprint and your thoughts on RLA. Let’s talk about – let’s get back to entrepreneurship. John, you’ve got so much, so much to give in terms of all of your experience and throughout this journey. I love your give what we call here that give forward mindset. It sounds like you do. It’s not a good day unless you’ve been able to give forward to someone. As you speak to – you know, we’ve got lots of potential entrepreneurs listening to this show here at Supply Chain Now. What’s a piece or two of advice that you’d share directly with them?
John Shegerian (38:24):
A couple things. And thanks for that question. First of all, this is not my words. This is the famous, great, Army Veteran Jocko Willicks’ words, discipline equals freedom. You really want to start something, you really want to change the world, you put your head down, talk less and do more. Just get it done. And have discipline everything you do, how you treat yourself in terms of how you take care of yourself and your body and your health and wellness, how, you know, be the first person at work in the morning, be the last person to leave, lead by example. And also, there’s a lot, lot of distractions in this world, drugs, alcohol, sex, everything in moderation. Discipline equals freedom. You want to have freedom to make your own choices in life and actually be an entrepreneur and not only an entrepreneur, a successful one? It starts with discipline.
Scott Luton (39:19):
Love that. So much truth in that nugget. Okay. I don’t know where you find all the time to do everything that you’re involved with, John. But one of the cool things I’ve come across here lately and seeing how popular it has been is your podcast, Impact with John Shegerian. So, tell us why did you decide to launch a podcast and typically, what are those conversations about?
John Shegerian (39:45):
I’ll tell you why. I started it, I was in the gym working out one night and there was a local gentleman who ran the Clear Channel radio station. Great, great friend. And, he walked up. He says, “What’s next after ERI?” “Well, I don’t know what’s next, but I know I want to have a radio show.” Back then there was no podcast. It’s 2007. He says, “Well, why don’t we do this? Why don’t you come in tomorrow and talk to me?” I went over. He says, “Listen, you fill the content for half an hour.” And he goes, “I’ll sell the ads. I’ll give you a platform and we’ll get rolling.” And we did. And I had to beg people to come on the show then because it was a radio show in Fresno. I mean, we had about, you know, five listeners, three with my wife and two children, and two were probably grapevines. I mean, there wasn’t much – you know, this is Fresno, California. And, about three months into it, he called me up. He said, “Hey, can you come visit with me tomorrow?” I’m like, “Oh, boy, this is the pink slip on this deal.” “Well, we tried it,” I thought to myself. So, of course I said, “I’ll come over.” So, I went over to his office and he says, “Hey, we got a little problem.” I said, “What?” He goes, “We sold out all the advertising. We need you to do an hour a week now and not a half hour.” I’m like, “Oh, okay, great.” And then things started rolling. Clear Channel got purchased by Sirius. And then Sirius said let’s do a national syndicated deal. And then the whole, then iTunes contacted us and said, “We’d like you to put – we’d like to put you on our platform.”
John Shegerian (41:12):
When we started this thing, there was no such thing as podcasts. It’s ‘07. And then, it just grew from there and we’ve had the coolest people and most wonderful experiences. And, it just kept – it’s made me a better human being and it’s made me a better business person because everyone I have on, if they’ve written a book, I have to read the book. I don’t have anyone one and not read their book. And if they’ve done other work, I immerse myself in the other work they’ve done. So, it’s literally – had me connect with some of the neatest coolest, most impactful people you could ever imagine. And it’s a labor of love. We don’t take any advertising dollars. It’s just a mission. And, it’s nice because we get to curate it and we get to cover people that the mass media typically doesn’t cover or won’t cover because it’s not a hot thing yet.
John Shegerian (42:05):
And, it’s fun to cover them. And then, all of a sudden them to blow up. I’ll give you an example. Seth Goldman, who started Honest Tea, came on my show early a couple times. And he was a lovely, lovely guest. And finally, about 2011, ‘12, he comes back to me. He says, “Hey, listen, John, there’s a guy that I invested in. Can’t even get on – can’t get any interviews or anything. And I know you’re vegan, and I know you watch your health and your nutrition. Can you have ’em on?” I’m sure. And so, he introduced me to Ethan Brown. And Ethan came on and he did a great job. And Ethan came on a couple more times and Ethan started a little company that he was just slogging away at and grinding away called Beyond Meat. And now, Ethan’s a CEO of a 5, 6, $7-billion [inaudible]. Big time. He’s big time. So, it’s just fun to have early have these folks that the media’s ignoring ‘cause they don’t really get it yet and give them some air time, so they can just get some traction and get on to becoming the unicorns that they’re going to become eventually.
Scott Luton (43:12):
I love that example. And for our listeners that may not connect those dots, Beyond Meat and Beyond Foods are the ones behind the vegan hamburgers, I’m using air quotes, that are extremely popular at a variety of franchises. I just saw them in a documentary. I think John Chang is the chef’s name. I may have that wrong, but he was at their labs as they’re trying to make some of the poultry farming more sustainable. And so, they’re growing – and the chefs like, this is delicious stuff. They’re growing it from some cells and it’s amazing what they’re up against and I love – or it’s amazing what they’re doing. And I love the fact that part of your angle there, John, is you give the stories like that, innovators like that, thought truly folks that are fighting on and thinking outside so different than the rest of us. You’re giving them a platform to share. So, I love – I’m going to subscribe to Impact with John Shegerian today. And folks can get that. I bet they at it wherever they get a podcast from. Is that right, John?
John Shegerian (44:19):
Yeah, wherever. We’re on every platform out there and, you know, apple and Stitcher and everywhere. We’re everywhere and it’s great –
Scott Luton (44:28):
John Shegerian (44:29):
Yeah. And it’s awesome, and it’s just awesome. It’s just a blessing to have that platform. And, it’s just an honor to have all these great guests. They’re the ones who make up the show and, you know, I just couldn’t – it couldn’t be more of a joy.
Scott Luton (44:42):
Agreed. Great guests, great content, great show, great ideas. So, John, I’ll tell you, if we should hook up power grids to you, I’m convinced you would provide plenty of power for cities across the country. You’ve got that energy about you. And I love that. I bet it spills right over into all these ventures and all the good stuff you’re doing. How can folks, beyond the podcast, beyond the book, beyond the business ERI and others, how can folks connect with you? How can you be that person on 60 minutes? Now that this is 60 minutes. But how can folks reach out if they’ve got a business idea or want to compare notes with you?
John Shegerian (45:23):
I’ll make it really simple, a, I’m on LinkedIn. But even more simple, my website is www.eridirect.com, eidirect.com. And if you want my direct emails, jss – like John Sam, Sam – @eridirect.com, email@example.com.
Scott Luton (45:44):
It’s just that easy. John, you’re an inspiration, and your charisma and your energy. I want to run through that wall that’s right behind me. Man, really, I admire your approach and your MO and most importantly, the impact you’re having. Right? So, I hope that we are able to reconnect again with you very soon. We’re talking with John Shegerian with ERI. Thanks so much, John.
John Shegerian (46:07):
Thank you so much, Scott. It’s been an honor and a blessing to be on your show. Thank you.
Scott Luton (46:12):
You bet. Okay. Folks, hopefully enjoyed this conversation as much as I have. I’ve got about 18 pages of notes that we’re going to be putting to work soon. I love leaders like John. It’s about deeds, not words. But be sure to check out his book, The Insecurity of Everything, an Amazon bestseller. Be sure to check out the podcast, Impact with John Shegerian, and be sure to check up, look out, check out if I got that right, John, ERI doing big things, 10-million pounds to 20 million pounds per month, doing good things across industry, powering that re-economy.
Scott Luton (46:46):
Folks, be on the lookout for all our upcoming episodes focused on the returns management and reverse logistics industry. A lot of good stuff on the way. On behalf of our entire team here at Supply Chain Now, Scott Luton here challenging you to do good, give forward. Hey, be like John. Be the change that’s needed. On that note, we’ll see next time right back here on Supply Chain Now. Thanks, everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now Community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now anywhere you listen to podcasts and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.
John Shegerian, the serial entrepreneur responsible for co-founding Homeboy Industries, FinancialAid.com, Engage (www.letsengage.com) and many other impactful organizations — currently serves as co-founder, Chairman and CEO of ERI, the largest cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction and electronic waste recycling company in the United States. ERI is certified at the highest level by all leading environmental and data security oversight organizations to de-manufacture, recycle, and refurbish every type of electronic device in an environmentally responsible manner. ERI has the capacity to process more than a billion pounds of electronic waste annually at its eight certified locations, serving every zip code in the United States. ERI’s mission is to protect people, the planet and privacy. Connect with John on LinkedIn.
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.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
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.
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.
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.
Principal, 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.
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.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
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.
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 Cisco, Microsoft, 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 University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier 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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.