Veteran Voices
Episode 69

The goal in transition is to get it more right than wrong. There'll be things that a transitioning service member will go through that I just can't tell them.

- Rob Campbell, U.S. Army Veteran

Episode Summary

For Army Veteran Rob Campbell, 27 years of active-duty service went by in the blink of an eye. From Ranger school to Airborne school, Louisiana to Hawaii, and Germany to the Army War College in Pennsylvania, he moved around the world and had amazing experiences.

When he transitioned, he knew that his core purpose would be to make a difference in the lives of others through optimistic leadership. He didn’t know exactly how or where he would apply that, but it was his answer to the question, “Why was I placed on this earth?”

In this interview, Rob speaks with host Mary Kate Soliva about:

• What it was like bringing women into his brigade and leading a brigade of 5,000 women, some of whom he took forward into Afghanistan

• Why he believes it is so important for Veterans to remain connected to other Veterans

• How he is applying the lessons he learned in the military to entrepreneurship and leadership coaching

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:02):

Welcome to Veteran Voices. A podcast is dedicated to giving a voice to those that have served in the United States Armed Forces on this series, jointly presented by Supply Chain now and Vets to Industry. We sit down with a wide variety of veterans and veteran advocates to gain their insights, perspective, and stories from serving. We talk with many individuals about their challenging transition from active duty to the private sector, and we discuss some of the most vital issues facing veterans today. Join us for this episode of Veteran Voices.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:41):

Hello everyone. This is Mary Kate Soliva with you here on Veteran Voices. Thank you for joining us today for what’s teed up for. Gonna be a great episode and conversation with a veteran and an advocate who’s doing, who wears many hats and doing a lot of great things for the military veteran community. So stay tuned there. Just a quick programming note before we get started. This program is part of the supply chain now family, and today we are in partnership with Vets to Industry, an organization that’s near and dear to my hearts and help me during my transition from active duty. We learn more about this powerful nonprofit@vetstoindustry.org, and that’s vets with the number two industry and initiative that’s near and dear to my heart is the Guam Human Rights Initiative. You can learn more about the great work that they’re doing to stand up for human rights issues, guam hri.org and initiatives that they’re working on. And without further ado, I’m happy to introduce today in Army Veteran. So our guest today, he’s got numerous accolades about him, and like I said before, he wears many, many hats. So I’m excited to introduce, He’s a colonel turned leadership author turned coach, and I’m sure that’s just a short list of a long list of things that he’s done. So Rob, Rob Campbell, thank you so much for joining us today.

Rob Campbell (01:59):

Thanks, Mary. Kate, Great to be with you. Let’s have a chat.

Mary Kate Soliva (02:03):

I know, I’m super excited about this and I mean, the weather outside, I like to say it’s perfect from my part of the world, but, uh, it’s a little bit raining Drew today, but I really wanted to pump us up. I know just from a rank standpoint, I’m sure at some point that you’ve yelled at a soldier or two to help get the motivated and pumped up for the day with some motivation. So I was wonder you could start up our episode today with, uh, favorite motivational quote of yours, or maybe a lyric <laugh> sing if you want.

Rob Campbell (02:30):

Yeah, well, I, I’ve got a lot, but you know, I, it just seem to be, they seem timely for me when I might need the most. And I, I think the one that has helped really in transition is look back, but don’t stare. That means that, you know, I mean, I did 27 years, a lot of, you know, three combat tours. I think a lot of us that finish our military service look back with a lot of judgment, regret, maybe over decisions we made. And we get, I think, drawn into these memories and these moments that aren’t so pleasant. Uh, it’s okay to look back, you ought to do that, to learn and reflect, but don’t stare, look forward, look through the windshield. And that kind of reminds me to, to do that. So that’s, that motivates me anyway.

Mary Kate Soliva (03:12):

No, I, I actually, I really love that. And I’d say you’re probably the first one that I’ve ever heard that quote from. So I can think of many of times in my life where I probably stopped and stared for too long and, uh, couldn’t see over that next horizon. So I really love that and definitely think that pumps me up. I do wanna take our listeners a little bit back, I won’t say way back, but wanted to talk about your upbringing and, and where you grew up. Uh, cause I, I think it, for all, all of us, it really shapes who we are today. And so if you could tune just a little bit about where you grew up.

Rob Campbell (03:45):

Yeah, no doubt. Um, born and raised in Massachusetts. Lived there all my life. Uh, never really got out much, you know, Traveled, never went internationally anywhere. Family never moved around, lived in the same house. Um, and uh, I went to college there and, uh, when I went to school, it was a basketball fanatic growing up. Uh, good upbringing, three sisters and me, and pretty spoiled, you know, had just about everything I needed and wanted as a kid. And, you know, pretty standard upbringing in the, you know, late seventies and eighties. Uh, and when I went to college, I was a basketball fanatic and, but I didn’t make the team. And so there goes that passion to a screeching halt, right? And that’s how I found the army, because I was looking for something different and never thought of making it a career. I would’ve laughed at you in high school and if you asked me, I, you know, if you told me I was gonna be a career officer, I, I so would’ve said absolutely no way. But I joined, I just, you know, kind of joined for the money, you know, it’s weekend, you know, it’s national guard and it’s like, alright, this might be kind of cool, but really fell in love with it and it was, you know, loved the challenge and the chance to travel and all that went with it. And so joined, uh, the active duty in 1990 and off I went.

Mary Kate Soliva (04:54):

Oh, wow. I love it. Was that something that, did you have support from your, your family at that time? Like you said, as far as your upbringing goes, Like did you have any sort of mentors that really directed you into that direction to the military at that time?

Rob Campbell (05:08):

Well, my dad, my dad was certainly one, He was in the reserves, uh, so all very supportive of my decision. He wanted to make sure I was making the right decision. I think some of the older people I was speaking with at the time said, Look, this is not about money,

Mary Kate Soliva (05:21):

Right? Oh, yeah.

Rob Campbell (05:22):

Because at the time for me, you know, it was free tuition and monthly pay that, you know, I had nothing as a college to, but it wasn’t about money, it was about something bigger than myself. So my dad was really, I think, a big motivator for me to, to wanna serve and be like him.

Mary Kate Soliva (05:35):

Oh, I, I love that. I mean, because I’ve spoken to folks who didn’t have any military affiliation at all, and some who were like, No way, don’t join, or if you do join, join the Air Force <laugh>. So yeah, I mean, the fact that there was support in your family to join the Army. And I just, with as far as, so, so your dad was Army as well or did you end up picking opposite branch?

Rob Campbell (05:56):

Uh, no, he was Army as well. He’d just done some time in the reserves. He’d never been on active duty or anything, but he did several years on the reserves and, um, I always, you know, kind of washed it from a distance. Uh, never really, again, it was never anything that I had aspired to do, but as it turns out, it was a great fit for me. So, but yeah, he was, he was the one

Mary Kate Soliva (06:16):

That’s fantastic. I, um, as far as like with, with basketball, I mean that’s, that’s quite a change, but I, I think I’ve heard from many before about that parallel between athletics and sort of that leadership lessons that you learned from being involved in sports and then that with the military as well. Did you sort of draw parallels to that as a, as a pivot point for you from basketball to the Army?

Rob Campbell (06:40):

You know, I probably did Mary Kay. I, I guess, you know, really, I never thought of that. I do talk about that a lot in leadership where I compare what it is we’re trying to do in companies to sports teams, right? Because they’re going trying to go out and win a championship. And all that comes with that is the teamwork and the selflessness and dedicating yourself to something bigger than oneself. So maybe that was the parallel there that I didn’t realize was that the army was, you know, a cause bigger than me and it was a chance to be on another team, right. I didn’t make this team, so I joined that one.

Mary Kate Soliva (07:13):

I’ll tell you though, but you exchanged a squeaky sneakers for a pair of combat boots. Tell you one thing about me that steered me away from basketball was hearing the squeaky sneakers on the court going back and forth. <laugh>.

Rob Campbell (07:27):

Yeah.

Mary Kate Soliva (07:27):

Oh no. But, um, well, I wanted to talk about your, your time in, in uniform. I mean, obviously you wasn’t anything new as far as seeing the uniform since your dad has served. Um, I’ll beat the reserves, but to wear that uniform on, on the day to day, so, so we know the branch, um, but what did you do in the military and, and how did you sort of pick that path to go as far as that career choice, that job?

Rob Campbell (07:53):

Yeah, I don’t, uh, there was really no magic behind it or any kind of grand plan. I think, you know, it was just, uh, similars. I mean, I just went, joined the National Guard, they made me an 11 Bravo, which was infantry and okay cool <laugh>, right? So I’ll go do that. And uh, and then off I went and then, you know, went into rotc. Uh, and then when came time to pick a branch, I had looked at a few others. I looked at Armor. I thought that was pretty cool. Aviation was kind of neat. Uh, but I just, I guess really never did much with it and just kinda wind up in the infantry. Um, glad I did because it was, you know, a remarkable experience for me. But yeah, it wasn’t much to it back then just to kind of navigate and along. And even in the early days, it really no aspirations to have a long career make, you know, make a career out of it. And again, we weren’t at war, it was just a different time back then, you

Mary Kate Soliva (08:44):

Know, And I like how you mentioned about it being a different time because I just know from, for me, being a woman, veteran service member, going from Active and Reserve, there weren’t infantry women up until recently. And so I think during that, that time too, it’s like you just knew you were gonna end up working with men and sort of that brotherhood that developed from there. So it definitely was a different, different time. And I still, there’s a lot of credit to be dealt with infantry, actually wondering how the recruiters get folks to, to join the infantry and uh, but yeah, I think it’s definitely we need them. We need the infantry and just the skillset, the combat skills that you learn from that time with what you’re doing. Now, I’d love to know about where you went, cause I know you’ve probably traveled all over the world, uh, the infantry Yeah. And affords you that opportunity too. But could you tell us about like where you went, sort of maybe a favorite place that you did get to go if there is one that the Army sent you

Rob Campbell (09:40):

<laugh>. Oh, sure. Well, that’s a tough question cuz we were in some amazing places and, but to your last point about women in the infantry, I fully support, I think that was a smart decision. And I was in command of a brigade, the hundred first Airborne Division that was bringing women into the infantry at that time. So it was kind of new to the Army, right? But I applauded it and I saw the benefits of doing that. So yeah, total fan. Look the infantry’s a tough sell for anybody cuz it is just hard living, you know, male or female. Yeah. So it’s a, it’s a tough sell for a lot of folks, but there’s a lot of nostalgia there, there’s a lot of history there, a lot of camaraderie there. Uh, which I would, I benefited from. So when I went off into the active duty in 1990, uh, went off and did all the things that infantry officers do, went to ranger school, got qualified, went Airborn school, got qualified and I went off to my first unit at Fort Lewis Washington where I would had a platoon.

Rob Campbell (10:36):

So it’s kind of my baptism into leadership at that level. Moved down to Fort Polk, Louisiana for a year, you know, stayed there. Then I did a logger tour out of Hawaii where I committed two companies out there. Had a chance to serve back at Fort Lewis as a General’s aid, really eye opening experience to be next to a person that, that was at the highest levels of the army, right. To kinda watch that up close and personal. And it was fascinating. And then really beneficial assignment. And then off to command general Staff college at, uh, fort level North Kansas for a year. That was a wonderful place to be. And, um, 82nd Airborne division for five years and uh, to in Iraq. And then, uh, went off to command of Batty up in Alaska for two years. That was one of our favorite assignments. Incredible life up there. And, and um, of course I, we joke, I only was up there like nine months <laugh> and I was gone to combat my, my family was up there for two years. But yeah, we really embraced it. It was really fantastic assignment. Then they sent us to Germany from Alaska, how we got back.

Mary Kate Soliva (11:38):

Oh, what a hard sell there

Rob Campbell (11:40):

<laugh>. Yeah, no kidding.

Mary Kate Soliva (11:42):

I just came back from there, so I’m glad you brought that up. I just, my first time ever in Germany, I just got back so incredible. Yeah. Yeah.

Rob Campbell (11:50):

It was, yeah, we really enjoyed that assignment for so many, many reasons. I think that was probably up there near the top just because it had so much to offer for us. We had, I had just finished a combat tour in Afghanistan, so it was kind of a nice break, you know, to slow down a little bit, reconnect with the family, my son’s flourished there. We had a really nice little community. And of course the culture and the travel and all that wrapped into one. It was just really fantastic. And then I went off to the Army War College in Pennsylvania. It was a great assignment for us for a year. And then two years of Fort Campbell Kentucky with the hundred firstborn division. That’s a hallmark assignment for me. I mean, I had the rank of colonel and command of a brigade of nearly 5,000 women.

Mary Kate Soliva (12:30):

Wow.

Rob Campbell (12:30):

Really remarkable experience. And took a portion of the brigade forward to Afghanistan. Uh, and then once brigade command was done, it was the first time in my professional career that my path on the Army’s path started to diverge. My wife and I wanted to go off in a different direction. Our youngest had graduated high school, so really schools and location wasn’t an issue anymore. And we just kind of wanted to dive into the private sector and try something new. So we decided to retire and off we went. And, uh, there it is a ramp on 27 years of military sort,

Mary Kate Soliva (13:01):

Just in a blink of an eye as

Rob Campbell (13:04):

They say. Yeah, kidding.

Mary Kate Soliva (13:06):

Well, I I love that you brought up your family too, cuz you know, we have some service members that they, they don’t have their families moving around and, and some of us that do and, and some end up stuck at one duty station like Fort Bragg for most of their career. And others like yourself moved around, like, so would you, would you mind speaking a little bit to that about the family experience and moving around to different locations?

Rob Campbell (13:29):

I’m glad that my kids were raised in the army. I’m glad that we moved from place to place to place. Cause it really gave them exposure that a lot of other children would not have gotten.

Mary Kate Soliva (13:40):

Yeah.

Rob Campbell (13:41):

So they, they benefited great greatly from that. Look, combat tours were difficult. And yes, we did strip them away from their support network and their friends time and time again. But it didn’t phase them. They came through fine. You know, there were some tough spots in combat, but, uh, they came through just fine. And, and really they were raised in a values based society, which I think I cherish the most. So like, I would come home and talk about selfless service and duty and loyalty and things like that. And I got into their DNA and uh, that’s important. And they got to see the world and I’d make friends all over the place. So they’re very worldly in that respect.

Mary Kate Soliva (14:16):

Love that.

Rob Campbell (14:16):

We kept the family together. A lot of people elect not to do that for a variety of reasons. Right. Uh, but we, even, even pulling our kids outta school and keeping ’em together was very important to us.

Mary Kate Soliva (14:25):

And I, I assume that too. One of the beautiful things about with the military child is like, they really do have friends in different times then. So it’s a matter of just calling a buddy. They always have a couch to sleep on. <laugh>, you just, and, and that vast experience, I think it really opens your eyes to the rest of humanity and just makes you think about things in a different way. Yeah. And that can be really beautiful. So I love that your family like sucks together. I mean, it’s just one of those, again, I could say a success story that some veterans don’t have. So I think that’s, that was beautiful to bring up. And just as far as where you went, I’d love to hear a little bit more about your experience commanding, like, would you say 5,000, over 5,000? I’d love to touch on that bit. Cause I don’t get this opportunity every day where I got to speak to a veteran who’s led that many people. So if you could speak to that and, and some of the lessons learned there, that’d be great.

Rob Campbell (15:18):

Sure. So it was a brigade nearly, it was like a little under 5,000. I, I had, gosh, I think seven battalions and each of those battalion just somewhere between 400, 400, 700 men and women. So it, it’s a large enterprise and it was leadership at a whole new level. And you know, an army brigade is really designed to be able to pick up and move and go somewhere or fight almost on its own. It does, it needs a support network to it. But I had a a, a deep reservoir of leaders there that could do a lot of things for me. I had senior staff members that had been in over 10 years that knew the army of a more seasoned, So my role was a bit easier, a bit more strategic in terms of steering the organization. I had this team that could help me do that.

Rob Campbell (16:01):

So just an amazing experience. My role became more of guidance in steering and, and dip, sticking where I needed to, to make sure the brigade was on the right track and doing those things and to make sure that my intent got all the way down to the bottom, uh, which was a tremendous challenge. So I would spend a lot of time thinking about my words and my guidance because as a brigade commander, when you say something, it sticks and people latch onto that and they’ll drive that home all the way. So you had to be very careful and very deliberate about what you said and did. Yes. And, you know, so that experience there was, was very new. Challenging in the respect that, you know, I, I was counseling and mentoring much more senior officers. I mean, these were very talented men and women that were handpicked by the army to be where they were.

Rob Campbell (16:48):

So it was difficult for me to kind of sit in front of them and say, Okay, here’s what I see in your performance and here’s what I’d like you to improve. And then get them to open up a bit about themselves. Uh, though very enlightening, very, um, you know, incredible in terms of the experience that it gave me. Just a tremendous, you know, teaching of leadership on how to lead and how to do things and, and the effect that one can have at that level really, really important. The thing that’s different about, you know, brigade command is that you’re less, you know, kind of dirty in the trenches day in and day out. You’ve got people below you that can do that. Your role is to a little bit more of the up and out to understand what’s happening above you to ensure you understand what’s happening at the highest levels of the army.

Rob Campbell (17:31):

And certainly with your division commander what needs to occur. And then bringing that back down into your organization was really the role that I fulfilled and seeing things laterally outside of my organization that this is why we have company grade officers and then field grade officers in the army company grades, see what’s right in front of them. They’re able to, to touch it, direct it, move it quickly, field grade officers see the field, which is a much wider view, a much longer view in terms of where the organization needs to go. And you don’t turn a brigade on a dime. It shifts an alters slowly. And so this is just a different application of leadership on how to, to lead at that level. Incredible experience, uh, what I learned and just a, a an amazing opportunity to grow and create an next set of leaders for the Army. It was just such a privilege that I, I cherish it to the day.

Mary Kate Soliva (18:25):

And I, I really appreciate you sharing that because I think you were experience, I mean, each one of us has, has unique stories, but not every HSE as smaller as you go up that tier and up the ranks. And so someone at your level, like I said, does, it’s not every day that I get to talk to a colonel who, and not every colonel has led even the size that you were forwarded the opportunity and trusted to lead as well. So I appreciate that. And I, I’m really curious just from like a non-commissioned officer standpoint as to did you have, what sort of lessons learned did you have from those that were subordinate to you? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> as you know, sometimes, like I know for me at my level I learned so much from, from my junior soldiers and just any sort of stories there that you may have. Mm-hmm.

Rob Campbell (19:09):

<affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, Well, they taught me a lot of things. They taught me that everyone just wants to be treated the same. Like I mentioned earlier, I had a lot of new females coming into the brigade and so I was very focused on making sure that I was leading properly and setting the right environment for them to come in. So I would have these sensing sessions with them to them just individually as, as a group and talk to them about, you know, how they would do or to just hear from them. Uh, and frankly they just wanted to be treated like everybody else. They didn’t want anything, anything special. That’s one of the things I learned. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, one of the things, you know, I, the experience that a non-commissioned officer brings into a conversation is priceless because they have done, uh, what I’m about to do over and over and over again.

Rob Campbell (19:51):

Like my command sergeant major, you know, this was my first time commanding a brigade. Many of the things that we did, you get one and only shot at it. And many of the things that we did, uh, were the first time for me doing them. Now I had deep experience myself to bring into these places. And I had been in, uh, operations like we had been in many times before, but never as a, as the leader of a brigade. Well, what these NCOs could bring to me was experience of having done that multiple times. They could see things that I could not, they could see, Hey boss, I’m picking up some signals that this is gonna happen, you know, next week or 10 days from now or by, you know, close the business today cuz I’ve seen it before. And that was invaluable advice to me to listen to that and take that in. And so they taught me to listen intently and they also taught me to, you know, kind of judge things a little differently and see things a little differently. They kind of opened my aperture greatly in that respect. So tremendous learning experience from

Mary Kate Soliva (20:52):

Them. I love that. And it just goes to show, I mean, taking the opportunity to step back and actually listen, like you said, having those sensing sessions, uh, really creating that transparency and that environment to where soldiers want to open up, uh, is really valuable. And there’s definitely a lot of parallels which sort of segues into the work that I know you’re doing a lot in leadership now and drawing a lot of parallels. Uh, so I’d love to to hear sort of that, um, this sort of lessons learned. Like if you were speaking to a room of those transitioning now, what sort of advice would you give them looking back now? Yeah, yeah.

Rob Campbell (21:32):

That’s a great question. Uh, here is the central piece of advice. I give all of them. It’s this stay flexible because transition is difficult. I’m not sure when you put an ED on transition, I’m six years deep and still transitioning in many ways, still trying to fit back into this society that I left 27 years ago. Uh, still trying to understand private business and how things function on the outside world because I knew the army and how it, how it ran, uh, very deeply. So the goal in transition is to get it more right than wrong. Cause there’ll be things that a transitioning service member will go through that I just can’t tell them. You know, sitting there together in a room while, especially while they’re still wearing the uniform, yes. But I know they’re gonna go through changes. And so that means that they might pick the wrong job, they might pick the wrong geography, they might choose something, uh, that’s not really nested with who they truly are.

Rob Campbell (22:29):

And wouldn’t it be nice Mary Kate if they could course correct easier, Right? Instead of, okay, I bought a house, the boat, the car, I’m all anchored down here. I’m stuck, I can’t move. Versus no, you don’t want, I’ve learned that this isn’t it and we’re gonna pull up stakes and move somewhere else. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could course correct. So stay flexible as number one. The other one is the question you have to ask, which does not get asked in transition. This is the question that gets asked in transition. Mary Kay, thanks for your service. What do you want to do next?

Mary Kate Soliva (23:03):

Yes. Very loaded question. The real

Rob Campbell (23:04):

Question. Yeah. The real question is, who are you?

Rob Campbell (23:08):

And that’s, that’s key. So I would ask this group, who are you? You’ve got to answer that question because the military told us who we were. Yes. They made us into soldiers, sailors, airmen, marine coast, Guardsmen and women. And stripped of us, stripped of us, stripped us of our individuality and made us into these service members. And we were given our occupational skill and our career path and told to move out. Well now on the outside in transition, one has a blank sheet of paper. Yes. And that’s daunting. And that’s why we need to return to who we truly are as individuals and think deep. And here’s a quick way to do that. If money wasn’t an issue, what would you do tomorrow? Right. House is paid for, car, food, everything. What would you do? Think deeply about that. And the other question is, think about it. Go back in your life five times when you were in it, you felt positive, confident. I mean you were just getting it done. Go all the way back to your childhood one of those five times. Find those first and then, then look at them and see what kind of parallels there are, what kind of, what’s the same about all of them. And pull those things out. And it speaks to what one’s passion might be.

Mary Kate Soliva (24:16):

I have never heard the last one, but I think that’s so important. And I love what you said about, is there really an ED at transitioning? Cause that always sort of gives me hope. I just, I just reflected on my one year point. I, I got off of active duty last year, August timeframe and I was starting to, to sort of have those feelings too. So I think your advice just now really speaks to me and sort of where I’m at right now in, in my transition. Cuz I’ll still say that I’m, I still feel like I’m going through it. I definitely thought that there were things that I had to accomplish within that first year, but I come to speaking to other veterans, they’re like, you know, five, six years out and they’re like, we’re still figuring it out. So I, it definitely puts my mind at ease to think, okay, it’s not like something, there’s not a race that I have to have all these things done.

Mary Kate Soliva (25:05):

And I was so adamant about not being a statistic, as they say, so many veterans get so many three or four jobs within their first year coming off of active duty. And it is something that I really took to heart to make sure that I found the right culture fit. Which again, that phrase like culture fit, I didn’t know what that was on active duty. We didn’t talk about like the right culture bit and like finding and all these different buzzwords. Like even networking. Networking wasn’t a word that I really thought much about while I was on active duty. I mean, the army sort of puts people in front of me to connect me with. I don’t have to go out and find people to connect with. So lots of lessons learned a lot of value in what you’re saying.

Rob Campbell (25:46):

Yeah. Yeah. It’s tough. It’s just very difficult.

Mary Kate Soliva (25:50):

But even like the, but I, I I would say that you have done very well for yourself. I mean, like I, I was, we just uh, talked about before the episode came on that I got to meet you at a volunteer event, uh, with uh, the Suit of Warriors event and getting life not only my free suit, but I got an opportunity to meet you there and, uh, you were talking about your book and so just really wanna take this opportunity to sort of talk about the things that you are passionate about and the things that you’re doing right now. Cuz I’m sure there’s others out here, listeners wanting to write a book and don’t even know where to start. You did it so. Sure. Yeah.

Rob Campbell (26:25):

Yeah. Look, if I could do any of this stuff, anybody can, um, no, no. I’m not the sharpest knife in a drawer. Well, when I transitioned I knew one thing and I knew that my core purpose was to make the difference in the lives of others through optimistic leadership. I went through a course that helped me kind of tease out that core purpose. I didn’t know where exactly I would apply that and how I would apply that. But I knew I had to fulfill that core purpose, right? And that’s what everybody needs to know as they transition out is why am I placed on this earth? What is it I bring? I talk to a lot of service members that are transitioning. Many of them, if not all want to serve. They want to continue to serve in some way. And I’m no different. I was looking for something like that.

Rob Campbell (27:05):

I took some time off after I, I transitioned, now I’ve got, you know, a pension, colonel’s pension. So it’s a differentiator for me for sure. And I realized that, but it wasn’t paying all the bills. I had to find something. But I stumbled into book writing. I’d always enjoyed writing. I never had a brand plan to write books, but kinda stumbled into what I had met a guy that had done it and I just talked to him a little bit about it and ended up writing my book in spring of 17 about leadership. It was really a great journey. I had some coaches or handrails as I called them that were not military, they were nonmilitary, they knew about book writing. That helped me in the process.

Mary Kate Soliva (27:37):

That’s an important note I think to make. What, could you add a little bit about that to touch on why you chose people that hadn’t served to be those handrails?

Rob Campbell (27:47):

Because, because I was in their neighborhood now and not back in my own. And I think more veterans need to do this now. Look, we have to stay connected to other veterans. You know, we have that bond that we can’t explain to anybody else. But the fact is, you and I are on the other side now, that iron gate of that military base that has closed shut and we’re now in this space where most other people occupy and we’re outnumbered. And I don’t mean to say that, that to be defensive and, and to isolate ourselves quite the opposite. I needed that hand. Those people I could meet, I could learn from. Most of the people I’ve learned from on the outside and my encore life have been people that never served a day in their life because I’m in private business, many of them a decade plus younger than me.

Rob Campbell (28:31):

And that’s okay cuz I’m open to learning and growing and they’ve taught me a lot. And so the book writing was just one example of many as I’ve traveled this journey. Yes. And got that done. So I got the book published and at the same time I thought, okay, I could, I could sell this. I could, you know, coach, teach and speak off it. So I started that business. Uh, and it was hard, very difficult driving. It took about nine months to get my first client just cuz nobody knew who I was. I didn’t have a brand. I kind of had to go out there and market myself. So I did. And I got that rolling. It was good. It was some ups and downs. I almost stepped away from it a few times. Wasn’t all a bed of roses. It’s hard work. And I learned a lot along the journey.

Rob Campbell (29:08):

And one thing I learned was about entrepreneurship. That there’s more than one path. The startup, there’s buy existing and there’s franchise. And I realized that I didn’t look at all of those three. So I really got interested in entrepreneurship, wanting to buy another, an existing business. I saw as the path that I could take to get a team back around me, give back to the community, continue to serve and continue to do my leadership stuff. Well, about that time I was writing the second book on transition. I published that right before the pandemic hit. And my wife and I moved from the coast up to the mountains of the southern Appalachians of, uh, Johnson City. And I started networking down here and I found a business, uh, a blinds company. There’s, uh, wind, uh, shutters, blinds and shades. And I bought it. I bought the property and I bought another business, which is a frame shop that my wife runs. So it’s been really great adventure for us that allows me to give back to the community here. So it’s just been a journey of learning and trying things out and it continues on. I I don’t know exactly where the path leads. I’m trying to kinda live in the moment and enjoy what I’ve got here and now. And so, yeah, so I’m a busy guy.

Mary Kate Soliva (30:12):

<laugh>, I appreciate your vulnerability and that it wasn’t all about of roses because I think with some, when they look at it, they, they may lean your success to the fact that you are an officer or that you have an education. I can’t tell you how many enlisted service members I speak to that don’t even wanna give it a chance because they already self-select out. You know, I don’t have a college degree, so I don’t think I’ll be successful in that. And, and I always try to tell, you know, self-selecting out, like do not do that. It’s so much easier to do that. But to take the chance that even no matter what rank we came out as, it’s still a lot of work. A lot of work. Yep.

Rob Campbell (30:53):

Look, the next chapter has to be better than the last mm-hmm.

Mary Kate Soliva (30:56):

<affirmative>. And just building off of, like you said, it was something. And I, and I really love that you brought up your wife as well, because I think just the support system that’s around us, I don’t think that chain, that part changes from the time that we’re in the military. Having that support system and that network, having our family to lean on and then again, reaching out, surrounding ourselves with that team, that tribe, that family around you to lean on and valid points all around on reaching out. I think it took me a little bit longer to realize, to connect with folks that hadn’t served. I was so pigeonholed in connecting, but as one mentor told me, Why are you gonna ask for advice from those who are still serving? They haven’t transitioned yet. That’s what I was doing in the beginning. I was talking to those who, my supervisor and those outranked me. Like, what should I do when they don’t even know they’re just as lost as I am. <laugh>. So true. Um, wanted to to definitely talk about sort of, um, if you could touch a little bit on some of the things that you have written about with regards to leadership and some of the parallels that you were mentioning before. Um, even if you wanna touch on the sports one, I would love to hear about that.

Rob Campbell (32:06):

Yeah, sure. Well, the, uh, an organization at the end of the day is a collection of people, whether it’s a private company or it’s a military formation and you’re trying to influence those people to get something done and grow and become better people. And so I took all those things that I learned in the military, all my mistakes and all the lessons that I learned that are brought them in the private sector because as I say, any of these businesses, I promise you’ll not come across any leadership challenge I haven’t already faced and probably screwed up a hundred times and learned from it. And I’m now ready to, to help you help you know, know so you can prevent not making the same mistake. So there’s a lot of lot of parallels there in terms of motivating people to do what they gotta do and, you know, bringing in a a, a noble cause to get behind giving back to the community or just doing something for the environment or society or something like that.

Rob Campbell (32:55):

That’s a noble cause inside of a company that they can do set up values. A vision, your real vision in terms of where the organization needs to go. A good culture connecting with people on a very human level because we did that a military, we knew each other on a much deeper level and our families because lives were at stake and it mattered. And I wanted to know everything I could about those around me. Same thing applies in a business, right? The team parallels, you know, one of the things I advocate for a lot is the huddle, the morning huddle every morning you huddle. Why, why the teams huddle before they take the field. Well it’s because their survival depends upon it. If they lose the game, the route, the season’s over. So they huddle, they get synchronized, they share things, they see a teammate who’s down to lift that person up. So it’s that same parallel with a teammate. You know, we do that on in sports, but yet we don’t do it in a business. But in a business we’re trying to accomplish the same thing. And it’s a championship, it gets defined a little different, but it’s a championship, you know, otherwise you’re out. So that’s why you kind of huddle as a team. That’s why you, you know, you use teamwork. Teamwork is one of the values we have here and all about blinds because I know we can’t survive about it.

Mary Kate Soliva (34:05):

Yeah. It’s like, I love that point about the, the team huddle and I don’t know, it just made me think of the penguin huddle because I just remember being at one of the, the army’s beloved training schools without, uh, food or, and just freezing <laugh> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And we were just like huddled in, in a circle. But it was a chance for us to also uplift one another and to say, you know, for those who are wanting to quit to say don’t quit, you’re not doing this by yourself. And just that, um, reassurance that, and, and it’s so even when you see like that six foot three soldier that’s like well over 200 pounds and you see that he’s even wanting to break and, and I mean it just really goes to show like with the army, I mean just the service in general, but I’m also army so to speak to that, that the challenges that we face and the roadblocks that we face, that that comradery is something that team huddle. It’s like second to none. You know, that, that feeling that you get to be able to uplift no matter like your size, your educational background, uh, at that point we are stripped, we are all the same level <laugh> Yep. Of survival. So, uh, really wanted to just, if you take this time, if you wanted to give any shoutouts to any, any mentors that have taken you under their wing or really helped you along the way, love for you to, to give them a shoutout and just share about what they did for you.

Rob Campbell (35:26):

Yeah, there’s a few of them. John Pay Cho was, uh, he’s a veteran business and founder, co-founder of Vet CEO that taught me a lot about business and coached me into this, this new business venture. I just bought Sean Olson in Wilmington, North Carolina, the uh, CEO of cloud wise tech company. It was one of my real, my first big client and just allowed me to come in there and help him make a difference with his team and get a vision created and, you know, plant some leadership seeds there. So really appreciate him. This community here, God, the list goes on. Bob Kaler from the Chamber of Commerce here in Johnson City, who opened his door to me, met me and introduced me to some folks and has been very, very supportive. You know, and it’s, the community is really that matter a lot, uh, that I give a shout out here and this, this community here at Johnson City King Sport and Bristol, Tennessee, the tri-cities that had just been so warm and welcoming, uh, so much so that I decided to plant some roots and stick around for a while.

Mary Kate Soliva (36:25):

Oh, I love that. And isn’t it an incredible feeling to set down roots? I mean, it was like, I think until when I was leaving Fort Bragg and I had already bought a, a home, um, a few years ago, but when I got stationed at brag, I kept the house up here and uh, I remember coming over the mountain and just seeing the city and I was like, it just, it was like that first time that I really felt like I was, was coming home. Um, and then that sense of being able to like, this is where I’ve laid roots. I love this community. It’s a great feeling to come back to the town that has really opened their arms to you. And so, and I definitely hope our listeners have found that. And if our listeners, you’ve dropped so many golden nuggets today, just want an opportunity if you could share about there’s anything that we didn’t touch on you wanna bring up or just how our listeners can get in touch with you, uh, to pick your brain some more.

Rob Campbell (37:15):

No, we’ve got a great conversation here. You’ve asked some really good questions and we’ve covered a lot of grounds for sure. I am serious about connecting and helping. Just helped, you know, it’s just a way for me to continue to serve. Best place to find me at my website, rob campbell leadership.com. Rob campbell leadership.com or on LinkedIn, Rob Campbell leadership, um, Bra Act. And there I got 20,000 followers and

Mary Kate Soliva (37:37):

Great.

Rob Campbell (37:38):

So it’s a lot of fun interacting there. It’s a very professional space and yeah, love to connect with folks on in those spaces there if I can help them out in any way if it’s military transition or leadership.

Mary Kate Soliva (37:49):

Well, thank you Rob, again, for your candidness, your vulnerability, just sharing some of your life lessons learned. And there’s a lot, and I, again, really, I really love with this episode are those parallels that you, you shared with regards to leadership service and what we’re doing now on the other side of the gate. Uh, so thank you again so much for your, your time. And big thank you again, shout out to your, your family who may tune in this episode later, but, um, I mean just, you know, behind way to say every great leader, a great support, great family, so just love that support network that you have as well. Uh, so on behalf of the entire team here at Veteran Voices, I wanna sincerely thank you for your time. Uh, we invite all of of our listeners today to subscribe wherever you get your podcast from and tune in and see what rob’s up to. And, uh, will there be any books coming out? Rob, should we stay tuned? Do you have anything else in the works right now?

Rob Campbell (38:44):

Okay, here it is. I’ll let All

Mary Kate Soliva (38:46):

It is. I was like, I almost closed this out and I was like, wait, I forgot.

Rob Campbell (38:50):

I, I am working on book number three about crisis leadership and management and I’m excited to get that on the road. Let’s take a little bit of time, but stick with me on LinkedIn, stay in touch there and I’ll definitely blast it out once I get close.

Mary Kate Soliva (39:03):

Okay. Yes. See, I, it was like something I was forgetting there, but, um, that’s incredible. Again, book three for someone. Here we go. 11 Bravo turned Officer Turn, Colonel <laugh>. So again, many hats. So, uh, leadership, author. So just really, again, that goes to what we always say here on Veteran Voices to stay motivated, do good, give forward, and be the change that’s needed. So on that note, we will see you next time here on Veteran Voices. Take care of everybody.

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Featured Guests

Rob Campbell is a U.S. Army Colonel turned leadership author, coach, and speaker. Rob led organizations ranging in size from 24 to 5,000 people in an Army career spanning 27 years including three combat tours. Rob Published two books since his retirement from the Army in 2016 – one on leadership and the other on veteran transition. Today Rob shares his leadership lessons from the battlefield with organizations of all kinds. He is a staunch veteran and military spouse advocate. Rob is decorated with three Bronze Star Medals for his service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Connect with Rob on LinkedIn.

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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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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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

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

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Vicki White

Controller

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

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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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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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Greg White

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.

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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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Karin Bursa

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.

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Jeff Miller

Host

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

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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

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

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

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

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

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Ben Harris

Host

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

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

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

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