“I grew up seeing my parents always being quite heavily involved in the community. They said, son, it’s not about the money. It’s about the impact of your job. Is it positively impacting others around you – even those you cannot see or that you don’t meet?”
How do you transport products efficiently into a country that’s at war? What’s the best coffee the globe has to offer? There’s one man who can give us both answers, and that’s our latest guest Diego Flores. In this episode, he joins us virtually from Uganda and takes us behind the scenes of supply chain logistics for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), where he serves as Country Director and General Manager of the Regional Support Office. Tune in to find out his advice for young supply chain professionals, why truck assembly is like an orchestra – and how Doctors Without Borders continues to deliver critical supplies around the world during a global crisis.
Enrique Alvarez (00:00:19):
Welcome to another episode of logistics with purpose. I’m your host Enrique Alvarez. And today we have an amazing guest. Uh, it’s going to be one of those conversations that I’ll basically use shut up and let my guests talk. And this person not only has an incredible trajectory when it comes to logistics, he is an expert in logistics, but he also has purpose us is one of his core values and probably the, the main driving force behind everything that he’s been doing. And so for me, it’s going to be a very exciting, very interesting conversation. And before I just introduce you to our guests today, just wanted to remind you that if you enjoy conversations like this one on the ones that we’ve had in the past, don’t forget to sign up. Uh, we’re part of Supply Chain Now this is another episode of logistics with purpose, and you can listen to our episodes in any, um, any plays that you get your podcasts from.
Enrique Alvarez (00:01:16):
We also have a YouTube channel, LinkedIn website and everything else. So once again, welcome to logistics with purpose and without further ado, let me introduce you to someone that not only is industrial engineer from Mexico. He studied a masters in Barcelona, logistics, masters in Barcelona, and then he also went to a Geneva to the center of humanitarian studies. He has a certain certifications as well from Georgia tech, and he’s a member of the special coffee association and he is currently now the country director and general manager for doctors without borders or met son’s son from Pierre. Now probably butchered my French they’re in Kampala, Uganda with us today, Diego Flores, and with us today, again, super excited and happy to introduce you to Diego Florez. Diego, how are you doing today? Good. Uh, good, uh, afternoon here in Atlanta. What, uh, what’s the time in Kampala today right now? Hi Enrique.
Diego Flores (00:02:20):
Uh, it’s 7:00 PM here. It’s almost 7:00 PM.
Enrique Alvarez (00:02:23):
Well, good afternoon to you. Good evening to you. And again, thank you so much for being here with us today. I, uh, excuse going to be a very exciting episode I’m sure. And thank you before we kind of deep dive into your professional career and trajectory and what the, uh, Oregon state your organization is doing and how much it’s helping others. I just want to say thank you on behalf of myself, the team at vector, everyone that actually listens to supply chain now, I mean, it’s just incredible to have people like yourself, caring and being very selfless about helping others and really your life to really changing or improving other people’s lives. So thank you very much and welcome.
Diego Flores (00:03:06):
Thank you. And Vic is really nice. Uh, uh, it’s in fact, it’s my first ever podcast. So quite excited to be here, to share with all of you about MSF and what we are doing around the world. Not only with COVID, but also some, a lot of folder things. Yeah.
Enrique Alvarez (00:03:22):
I kind of tried to introduce the organization’s name in French by myself, and I’m pretty sure that I did a terrible job. So before I start asking you about you and how do you pronounce it? I said medicine sounds from,
Diego Flores (00:03:34):
Well, uh, my, um, my French is not that it’s not, it’s also not the best, but, uh, it’s, [inaudible] kind of, but if we, if we have a Francophone listening, I’m sure he will make sure she will, he will make fun of my accent as well. And my pronunciation
Enrique Alvarez (00:03:51):
They’ll have all your contact information, uh, so they can reach to you afterwards and kind of comment on your French too. But no, I just want to say
Diego Flores (00:04:00):
Semi said that it’s also well in Lynn, in America and then in north America, Canada is doctors without borders. It’s also another name that,
Enrique Alvarez (00:04:09):
Yep. [inaudible] so, but before we even go into any of that, cause, uh, before you even started working with them, um, tell us a little bit more about you. Tell us a little bit about your upbringing. You’re originally from Mexico. Tell us a little bit more about you and all these different steps that YouTube that led you to where you are now, which is very exciting.
Diego Flores (00:04:32):
Okay. Thanks. Uh, so, well, um, I’m originally from the north part of Mexico from the state, which is Colquitt, what we, uh, and, uh, I grew up in a, in a CD, which is basically everything is, uh, revolving around. They, they, the industry of the steel, the steel production. Um, but then, uh, when I just finished high school, I moved to the neighbor state, which is, uh, like a lot of people in my city, uh, did back then and even nowadays, uh, and, uh, well I stood at, uh, I’m an industrial and industrial engineer. And there basically since my internship internship times, uh, I was kind of already into supply chain, into logistics, into materials handling and all that stuff, you know? Uh, so my first ever job, uh, uh, wireless, still studying, uh, in the university, uh, I was a planner buyer. So I was in charge of planning, you know, uh, all the orders for the steel, uh, coil set from different thickness and, uh, you know, all the characteristics of the steel that you need for the automotive industry, uh, in this specifically in this, uh, company, uh, steel nowadays, well, it’s called Matassa.
Diego Flores (00:05:51):
They, they produce mainly, uh, automotive, uh, frames, uh, for the France, for the back then. It was a Ram charger, mainly for Chrysler. So we were stomping all the components there, so assembling and all that, but long story short, I was in charge of the planning and buying, uh, the steel for, for the stamping area, for the production of the components of those frames. So it was my very first in measure in machining, EMR materials, requirement planning, and just in time deliveries, uh, stuff like that, you know, more putting on practice, uh, what I learned in the university
Enrique Alvarez (00:06:33):
While you were still studying, uh, uh, at the university. Right? Yeah. Then so, and before, before you jump ahead, cause I, I still want to extract a little more of your upbringing and some of the experiences that you had, because it sounds to me just by the conversation we had before the show, but then also just by looking into your LinkedIn profile and all that, that you you’ve always been very involved in giving back. I mean, for you, it sounds like it has been important for you your entire life. Could you tell us a little more, I mean, where, where do you get this promise that your, so your parents is a year someone a mentor, like, well, why do you care about what happens to other people?
Diego Flores (00:07:11):
It’s kind of, yeah, that’s a really good question. [inaudible] okay. So I grew up seeing my parents, you know, uh, always being quite heavily involved in, you know, community helping and stuff like that. Uh, what we call the well, the lion’s club, uh, the club, the loan is in Spanish, you know, uh, which is everywhere. I mean, since I have memory until basically I graduated from, from, from university, my, my mother and father, they were heavily involved in, in this, uh, you know, in this, uh, altruistic activities and as well Caritas and stuff like that, you know? So in some way I was kind of dragged to these because I was helping my parents in, in the activities that were organized, the weekends and stuff like that, to be honest, I never, I didn’t, it was not. So obviously I, I was not really expecting to, to switch my career to become fully for the NGO, but since basically earliest, since I have memory again, uh, I was almost every weekend, uh, or quite often, you know, involved in activities like this in my city, uh, with my parents, you know, uh, then
Enrique Alvarez (00:08:33):
Do you remember anything that maybe your mom or your father or someone around those times told you that you’re like, Hey, listen, that’s just something you always have to do or any kind of a, I
Diego Flores (00:08:43):
Think, yeah, well, this is my big quite cliche because probably all the parents tell this to their children, but really stay on my, on my head. Uh, especially my mother, you know, she told me, do do your best, become a manager. You become a ski or become a director or whatever. Uh, and you know, in an industry, if you want to be an engineer and stuff like that, but it’s not about the money. My son it’s about the impact of your job, you know, on a whole is positively impacting, uh, the orders around you. And even those that you cannot see and you don’t meet. So keep in mind, whichever decision you take, whichever thing you do try to think about the impact in orders, you know, uh, and then, and then, and also do it without not trying to get recognition, just do it because we need to, we need to be like this human beings, you know, all those, the old days we did, you know, them, Mexican mother protective that they know exactly what you’re talking about and stuff like that. So, yeah,
Enrique Alvarez (00:09:50):
No, and I, I wish more, uh, more, more parents and mothers and fathers, and everyone would kind of teach that to their children because you’re right. And maybe they do. And then at some point we’re just going to grow up and forget about those things, but, but that is really powerful and impactful. And it has been a guiding principle in your life. It sounds like, and it’s just, just kind of quoting your mom. It’s not about the money, but the impact of your job. That’s, I mean, that’s very, that’s that tells a lot about kind of, uh, someone. So this is, this is great. And you, you mentioned your brother at some point as well. He was, you have a couple, you have two brothers. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I do
Diego Flores (00:10:26):
Have three brothers say we are out of the four, we are three engineers and the younger one, the youngest one’s already uh, it’s uh, it’s uh, an accountant. So we always make fun of him because of that. I respect a lot the council, by the way, uh, my older brother and they want this next to me, um, uh, some mechanical engineer and the basically also him, uh, I was following his career, you know, like since he graduated as well, he was seem to logistics and supply chain. And, uh, I was in some way, when he started to study his master degree, I was kind of asking him a lot of questions about his test, his, he was doing something related to materials, requirement, planning, MRP, and stuff like that, which back then it was the thing, you know, MRPs MRIs MRPs and stuff like, um, and I kind of human help him, you know, to, to, to research some materials, uh, to get some materials from the library, because back then, yeah, we had the internet not so much like nowadays.
Diego Flores (00:11:32):
So I was going into the library or from my campus to get some materials about the MRP and stuff like that, and just help him with his master test, his sub subject. So seeing him a, he was kind of my mentor. And even now they say, share a lot with him, you know, I, we share each, uh, experiences and problems, uh, that we are facing in, or, you know, daily, daily, daily basis. And, uh, we advise each other with totally different perspectives because now I’m on the NGO and he’s on the, still on the automotive sector.
Enrique Alvarez (00:12:10):
Right? Yeah. That’s, I mean, that sounds, uh, sounds like a great compliment to have, right. And a, and a trusted advisor as well. And it sounds like you guys are good friends too, so it’s always, always great. And I, sorry, I interrupted you, but so you were saying you had this first experience with [inaudible] and you were just hooked with supply chain. It seems like. What did you, what happened afterwards?
Diego Flores (00:12:33):
Well, well, yeah, so I spent some time working there in Tulsa first as a planner buyer, as I say it. And then, then, then I move a little bit to the projects implementation department. So I was kind of involved in the design of the materials handling equipment to calculating the transport cost, which we know in, you know, uh, how many, uh, frames we can fit into a railroad, uh, you know, car or in a flatbed and stuff like that, you know, but then after that, uh, I moved, uh, into a OEM and an original equipment manufacturer to Navistar international products. Uh, and then a specific value there. I was working in the hay in one, uh, uh, it’s the U S business unit, which is called, uh, the TSC, which is this truck specialty center. So some, some of the listeners might know that in the north of Mexico, there is this assembly plan to two assembly lines.
Diego Flores (00:13:42):
One of them is producing a significant number of, well, I don’t know nowadays, but it was producing a significant number of Prostar Navistar, uh, Prostar international model trucks. So the trucks were coming out fresh from the production line, and we were kind of even, uh, customizing those trucks according to more specific needs of the customers, mainly in the United States and also in Canada. So we were kind of, um, it’s for examples, for some trucks in the very north, we were installing the, uh, chains for the, on the tire, sort of the snow and stuff like that, but all type of customization, as far as it was making sense from business point of view, uh, and then shipping those trucks, uh, to the firm points in the continent. I spent some time working for them and international. I learned,
Enrique Alvarez (00:14:37):
Yeah, it was good. Just going to ask you that. So if, uh, the differences between one and the other, I mean, you continue to learn different things in the supply chain, not as supply chain, what are the three things that you think kind of, uh, made, uh, Navi star, such an amazing company, uh, cause they have an impressive supply chain and they have incredible processes. So w w what were the kind of three things that you thought, well, wow, this is, this is world-class.
Diego Flores (00:15:05):
Yeah, well, I mean, it’s I before, meaning not as sorry. I had the experience of being on assembly lines of, uh, light, fake calls, or even, uh, big cops and SUV’s and stuff like that. But some people might think that a truck has a assembly lines for big trucks might be boring because the speed is slower, but not in one way. I mean, those trucks at the end of the day are the ones moving everything around around the United States, Mexico, the old enough to regional everywhere, you know, so, but I mean, what was so amazing for me is like, uh, I dunno if what’s quite special for me, so I dunno, some people might wonder why, but then at the end of the month, you know, all the pressure, trying to make sure that, that we were fulfilling the orders on the trucks being dispatch on time to the different, uh, distributors literally, which were hundreds, um, yeah, hundreds around a United States say around Mexico and Canada, so stain all this coordination or this oldest organization for the trucks to be dispatched in so many different directions, you know, and be there on time. That’s for the [inaudible] products, you know, but also the arrival, uh, back then, it is still nowadays, I don’t know if pants case the one Penske logistics is the one, uh, working with them, but it’s still, still no, this, uh, well back then, sorry. Uh, seeing all the components arriving, you know, into the plant and, and being put just in place in the assembly line, just in time to be one, when the sequence of the truck it’s reaching a cell in the production line and those components to be assembly on the trucks, uh,
Enrique Alvarez (00:17:02):
It feels like, yeah, it’s like that
Diego Flores (00:17:04):
It’s like an orchestra, you know, like everything’s synchronized. Yes. Once in a while they were some, uh, you know, stockouts and they had to stop the line or change their production plan, whatever, but everyone, back then, I’m sure even now this is facing those challenges, especially nobody’s probably, so
Enrique Alvarez (00:17:23):
I’d say it’s exciting. Right. And it sounds like you were challenged by that and you wanted to learn more and the more you kind of like got into supply chain and the deadlines on the pressure and all that, the happier definitely the more engaged you were as well. And so, no, I totally get it. And please go ahead after Navi star, what ha having still looking for that. And I think everyone that’s listening to this incredible interview, still looking about how did he actually go from Mattel side too, but, but we’re going to bridge that gap slowly because I think that’s where the that’s where the, uh, interesting part of this interviews comes in. So a super good guy. Yeah. So
Diego Flores (00:18:04):
I have, so back then, uh, I was still 25, 20, 26 years old. And, uh, even in fact, then I was feeling that I knew everything about supply chain. If I look backwards nowadays, it’s still, it’s still learning a lot down there. And, um, so while I decided that the, well, okay, I need to, you know, upskill myself and, uh, yeah, well the usual step that everyone at that age takes is like, oh, okay, I’m going for a master degree. So, yeah, well I was checking options in my country, in my city somewhere everywhere, but as well, I was checking off it. And then I found something appealing for me in that moment in Barcelona and in Spain. So I left, uh, Navistar international and then, uh, in October, 2010, I left, uh, I one just started my master’s degree in, uh, in, in the university of Barcelona and in logistics.
Diego Flores (00:19:10):
So yeah, it was quite interesting with a classmates from all around the world, eh, Hey, we’re really good. Uh, uh, really good professors and visitor Mr. Professors there. Eh, so yeah, it was interesting, eh, then to, well, to be honest, I just arrived to, to, to Barcelona. So I come here study to be, to learn, you know, to upskill myself, but also enjoying living in Barcelona. And then definitely I will come back to, to Mexico, to my country to continue growing in the automotive sector. It’s possible, you know, I was still so obsessed with, you know, these, uh, everything which is so appealing and, uh, stressful at the same time from the automotive sector, you know, but then in the middle of my master, some guys call MSF just suddenly publish something, uh, about any wanting the master interested on, on doing their, um, master internship, but as well as specifically helping with, uh, with the project, you know, like to conduct a research and analysis, uh, for them, uh, and then Alex is a, was kind of help us do, do, do, do, do, do, do an assessment of our current it’s African supply chain, uh, network.
Diego Flores (00:20:38):
And if possible, uh, kind of, uh, suggest a low hanging fruits, you know, like w w which improvements are already there, low fruits that we can go for to improve for efficiency, uh, for the east African circulation, uh, network of, uh, MSF back then it was the operational, uh, we were going to that, but they must have been divided into operational secretary sections and all that. So it was a Spanish Spanish section. So yeah, well definitely. Oh my God, this is something interesting. Oh, it’s different,
Enrique Alvarez (00:21:15):
Very, very different from the automotive sector. Right. And you told me that you had other potential internships as well with a German company, and then you had the, uh, uh, the Spanish company, textile and automotive. And, but this,
Diego Flores (00:21:30):
Yeah, it got tension and tension because I have to be honest before, you know, seeing that, uh, Tasman did that, the opportunity that the male, I didn’t know about them. I didn’t, it was not so clear for me. What was an NGO, you know, uh, uh, even less a humanitarian logistics, humanitarian supply chain terms back then were still new. But even for me, when those were things that I don’t remember if I even read about the tools in, in, in college or something like that, you know, so, well, anyway, I did apply for, because they did the idea of working with data and their projects from Africa, middle east in some way, but mainly Africa, east Africa was quite, um, yeah, it was quite the, uh, interesting, so, well, I got the opportunity to, uh, to start to work with them. So for six months, uh, I was, you know, having interviews with the different staff in headquarters, people, uh, in the programs in the missions, we call them in the, in the field in east Africa, people in democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, et cetera, combining that a, that as an, as an engineer that I, um, I wasn’t splitting all together, that data plane of this optimization, um, and stuff like that, but I was still having an [inaudible] sector.
Diego Flores (00:23:05):
I mean, I was not thinking to the, into the, these humanitarian medical operations and those peculiarities, those constraints, which might not be so obvious until you really experience them, you know? So yeah, it was a nice experience.
Enrique Alvarez (00:23:25):
And when you say so, cause I I’m following exactly what you’re saying and I’m an engineer as well. And then think a lot of people that are listening to us are as well. I can picture you kind of compiling this huge Excel spreadsheets with all the information when you say, so what component, I mean, and now that you’ve been with them for so long and we’ll, we’ll get into the organization and the NGO in a second, but what was kind of those things that, I mean, you now know that probably could have helped you back then during that summer internship that you’re like, oh, I never considered this or that. Or
Diego Flores (00:23:59):
Initially I was totalling assuming that the quality of the data was optimum. It was decent. You know, I was as well with the assumption that those tools being used at the last mile, you know, where those trucks, those things, those medical items were given to the patients. I was assuming that all that data was, uh, you know, being recorded online perfectly, you know, just like in the moment, like you barcodes and stuff like that. I’m not trying to say that it was not that the data was not decent enough, but there were gaps. You know, they were challenges that they were definitely discrepancies there in name, which is one of the big challenges in the humanitarian world, let’s say. Uh, but my assumption was that the data is perfect. You know, there is not bias that they come from an industry that has
Enrique Alvarez (00:24:54):
To be perfectly.
Diego Flores (00:24:56):
And then, then of course that’s for the data part. But as well, when I was starting to draft proposals or models, or, you know, coming to present to some people with already years of experience in the field, uh, solutions, they knew I was there learning, but they were kind of, you know, well, it makes sense what you’re saying, but it’s not like that on the field, like some, uh, invisible barriers when it comes to transportation. So I was, yeah. So you were saying, this is your lead time, but then I see the, on the real performance is far away wars and these why these, why you are not penalizing the, you know, the transporter with stuff like, it’s not like this, you know, like, uh, it’s different that, you know, and, uh, and I was kind of getting a little bit frustrated, but at the same time, really curious why everyone tells me, well, you, but it’s not like these unique to see it on the field.
Diego Flores (00:25:53):
You, you need to be on the field to understand it so well while in this internship, um, eh, yeah, I had to pportunity to visit, uh, Cameroon and then Kenya have to visit the pores of Delilah. And I always saw my strategic, uh, uh, Hey locations are, but still, what’s not enough a couple of weeks here and a couple of weeks in the other site. So when I finished, uh, these, uh, internship and the one, I just deliver something, uh, to my mind, I, here I say, well, I just graduated from, uh, to finish my master degree if possible. I would like to join the pool of, uh, supply chain, uh, professionals of, uh, myself and go to one of your missions. And it’s what I did, uh, straight from Barcelona. My back then, my parents were not kind of happy after my little bit more than one year waiting for me back in Mexico. I told them, I’m applying back to Mexico, I’m going to South Sudan. And that’s also done back then. So someone was just recently declare a new conference. So it was the youngest country in the world. Yeah. Anyway, so that was my question of my mother for my first two missions.
Enrique Alvarez (00:27:07):
That must’ve been a very interesting conversation with your mom and it’s, it’s an amazing thing, right? The way that your life kind of like slowly kind of, uh, move towards that. And, uh, and, and we have a lot of listeners that are younger and they’re graduating. I mean, if they, if they would like to learn a little bit more, how to quickly understand what they want to do or want to be in life. And I know that this changes every day, it still happens to me. And what would be those kinds of, I guess, suggestions that you would have for, for people that are listening to us, that, that don’t necessarily know what they want to do. They might have an idea. Maybe they want to be in the automotive sector, like you mentioned, and then you completely one and two completely different. What, what has someone that’s still figuring out things, uh, need to need to do to, to just make it easier or, or more meaningful
Diego Flores (00:27:57):
Or well, supply chain is quite a wide, no one then obviously nowadays in this, this, this future, current supply chain professionals experience, not experience even about to be to graduate. Yeah. Well, we want to grow where you knowing an organization, but don’t measure your growth only by the title of the world, your paycheck every month, you know? Yes. And again, this is a quite T-shaped piece of advice. Yeah. It’s not only about the money. Yes. We still need to pay our bills. Of course, we, we kind of need to be, to keep an eye on that. You know what, at the end of the day, if, if, why Lewin something, which is giving you a huge bite pay check, but you are not feeling that here, you know, that satisfaction, uh, in your chest at the end of the day, that what you are doing again is having a positive impact in what, in a direct way or not.
Diego Flores (00:28:54):
So direct way the communities, you know, in your community, in your, in your state, in your country, in your continent, wherever in that small group of people. Well, personally for me, I think this, this, all these, what we are leaving this [inaudible], uh, reality where living nowadays is teaching us that, yeah, we need to keep, continue running the supply, the global supply chains to feeding the business and all that. But you have seen in coal and all the different platforms who were talking about more, uh, uh, circle our economy, sustainability. Well, there, there is a big as well opportunity in the humanitarian logistics. So anyway, we’ll, I advise to the young is like, yeah, definitely have an ambition of growing an organization, but, but in the equation of what will be that your ideal career path, you know, like, like not, don’t only take into account your paycheck and your you’re stuck to this, you know, uh, and the bonuses that you will get, but also that satisfaction you will feel, and that positive impact you will do in, you know, in this world, eh, we really need that. And then I think we, you and me, we, we will try to do our best, but it’s for the new generations, uh, to continue, you know, to, to restoring the, you know, to, to doing something better for, for, for, for this planet that unfortunately we didn’t do our best doughy was not so bad, but anyway, I don’t know. No, I,
Enrique Alvarez (00:30:37):
I, this is very, I mean, very wise advice, right. And then just not, not just measure your growth by the size of the paycheck, just there has to be something more. And I think that the new generations to your point, I think actually understand it more. And I think they’re going to start calling like really demanding that companies and organizations out there really have something else in that equation. Right. And I think it’s coming in a thing you ride. And I think, uh, it’s a great piece of advice. Not only for people that are just graduating, but for anyone that’s out there, uh, working out there. And even if it’s not in supply chain, I feel like this, this, cause this is applicable to anyone everywhere in the world, regardless of age or profession, if at the end of the day, you just don’t have that satisfaction, then just think about it. Right. And, and that, that’s something that led you from, uh, uh, I guess [inaudible] to Barcelona, to that conversation with your mom and going to South Sudan, which I’m pretty sure it was the, the last part of the world that she imagined you were going to.
Diego Flores (00:31:44):
Well, that, that, that the first, yeah, that was the first, last part of the, once you will get much
Enrique Alvarez (00:31:51):
Another piece of advice, it sounds like she was very, uh, supportive though. I mean, the little things that you have said about your mom, I’m guessing that conversation was a surprise because of course, like any other mom or, or, or parents, they want to have us close, but, but, but I’m guessing she was
Diego Flores (00:32:12):
Right. Yeah. I think for me, it was kind of on deliver until the very last day. She was really supportive and proud of what I was, uh, what I’m doing. And, um, uh, she was the last couple of years of her life. She was remarking, uh, HOAs. She realized, say, you know, at the beginning she didn’t understand why I was not following the same career path. Then my brothers, which I admire the career of my matric rollers, they have amazing, uh, you know, they are amazing and they are amazing what they do, but she never understood why me was doing this totally different thing, you know, and, uh, uh, why I was not saving for a big house, nice car every couple of years, you know, to change it or every year even. And, uh, but then when I was coming back from every mission and catching up with her, or by coming calls with her, and I was sharing with her, just spending out, you know, if I have a stressful day or something, then she started to understand why I was on this. Even if it sometimes was draining a lot of my energy or, you know, so yeah, that that’s, that was really nice. Those are nice in
Enrique Alvarez (00:33:37):
The mornings. No. And, um, for, for whatever it’s worth, I’m pretty sure that your mom is incredibly proud of you and your parents and your brothers. And, and again, I, as I mentioned before the interview, I just, it’s, uh, it’s very inspiring to talk to people like, like you, and thank you once again for everything you’re doing. And then also thank you for sharing it so openly with, with everyone here at logistics, with a purpose after South Sudan. And well, actually tell us a little bit about South Sudan. I’ve never been to South Sudan, but then you also started moving rapidly throughout not only the continent, but the, but the organization.
Diego Flores (00:34:14):
So I spent a little bit, a little bit of time there in South Sudan. It was quite challenging. Maybe it was a new country, uh, you know, the projects running there and even now today. So Sudan is one of the most challenging, uh, programs where we have operations. Uh, I move around. So in 2000 late, 2013, early 2013, sorry. Uh, I’m, I’m when to, uh, Syria, when the conflict was just starting and, uh, we were struggling to, to open, uh, you know, these emergency programs, eh, through the whole country and even more struggling to, to get the, all those goods we needed to run these medical programs. So I was in charge of, you know, uh, the reception of it was a little, it was crazy at the beginning because we were receiving tons and tons of, eh, medical. I tend to say in the south part of third key. And then from there, uh, eh, crossing the border into Syria and distributing all around the different warehouses we had in a country, which was in the peak of war. Uh, then that was a really tough mission. I have a mission for me, and it was my first full war conflict, uh, mission, uh, FINI after finishing there, uh, I took up, right.
Enrique Alvarez (00:35:45):
I will not be doing my, my job if I didn’t ask you. So how, how do you do that? How do you, how do you transport products efficiently into a country that’s at war? I mean, what, it’s
Diego Flores (00:35:57):
All about networking and it’s about the, you know, identifying the key stakeholders, which not only will, uh, you know, uh, for example, the customs, uh, in, in, in all that, but as well, even the, the different sites, uh, on the conflict that, eh, trying to advocate with them that you cargoes, uh, are to help people, regardless, we, we MSF, we are neutral. So regardless of size, regardless, uh, you know, the flag they are waving. Uh, so I, in telling them that these foods are for humanitarian relief. So of course back then I was not, it was not directly me doing this. It was people expert on these negotiations and security management, stuff like that, but I was working quite close along them. And then morning state days or nights to make sure that these cargoes that we were receiving from Monday to Sunday were literally as soon as possible, landed in the airport, transported and distributed around in the, in the programs. And in Syria, in the, in, inside the, in Syria,
Enrique Alvarez (00:37:06):
I’m guessing this is done only negotiating with both sides of the conflict, but then you also have all these different stakeholders and, uh, as does the UN can be involved and do they provide some kind of support
Enrique Alvarez (00:37:20):
Or protection or,
Diego Flores (00:37:22):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, more than protection, if there you try to coordinate, you know, we try to be as transparent as possible. Always say to avoid misunderstandings, as well as you identify stakeholders and stakeholders are not the only people in the conflict, but as you say, older actors, like UN bodies, ICRC and stuff like that. Sorry, in organizations like that. Um, a so, yeah, so it’s a constant negotiation and that solution that you might find today, my state for a couple of days, for weeks, but then it’s constantly, you know, uh, monitoring if those deals, those agreements still in place, you know, because it’s a, it’s a war, it’s an, it’s, the conflict is evolving, you know, more so, uh, so yeah, that was intense, um, in terms as well. I mean, I remember quite, uh, quite, I’m quite proud of my, all my medical colleagues, uh, Syrian, medical colleagues, uh, all the directional colleagues and nurses, surgeons, uh, doctors, which were there literally treating the people, you know, uh, uh, saving the lives of people. So it was quite an emotional mission. Um, the, uh,
Enrique Alvarez (00:38:38):
Admiration that you have, I think it kind of goes after w w what we’re leaving with the pandemic and all that. I mean, the big, big thanks, and, uh, applause go Stu the medical community, nurses, doctors, people that are risking their lives to help others. I mean, that’s
Diego Flores (00:38:56):
Frontline, man. That’s,
Enrique Alvarez (00:38:58):
That is a frontline and definitely a worth recognizing them. And, yeah, so that must have been an incredible experience that then led you to the last couple of steps. Then just start talking in full about the, your organization and what you guys are doing and what the future will look like. Um, you briefly went back to Mexico. I see. Uh, and you were working, uh, tell us a little bit.
Enrique Alvarez (00:39:23):
Diego Flores (00:39:26):
You know, as I said, this is WhatsApp, quite intense experience for me. I say, you know, that, that, I am going back to a normal life. So I found that job. Uh, so I went back to Mexico and saying, I’m going to start to search for it for a job, a normal job, but, you know, it’s supply chain. And, uh, well, th th there was this job in Guadalajara, Mexico in Dr. Port Dr. Peppers, basically
Enrique Alvarez (00:39:52):
Snapple. And, uh,
Diego Flores (00:39:55):
It was only for six months. And, uh, it was my first time working for, you know, for a beverage company, you know, like, I mean, quite interesting that the, the big volume that I was in the transport transportation part and, uh, uh, uh, negotiate negotiating with the negotiation of all the, you know, the, the transport fees for all the distribution in date and Mexico and the numbers, I mean, mostly the same, the number of trucks. And then, then, you know, they’ve been the number of different truck, uh, companies that I had to do to deal with the negotiate and negotiate with, uh, and, you know, uh, yeah, I mean, it was, it was okay. Dough, you mentioned so
Enrique Alvarez (00:40:42):
That the listeners kind of have a little bit more context around the numbers that you’re talking about. Cause you mentioned that as well as like a budget of around 21 million euros and 42,500 frames per year. I mean, it does on mind-boggling and it must have been a completely different set of challenges, right. Compared to all your previous, um,
Diego Flores (00:41:06):
It was completely different than the UN it was a different planet. Not better, not worse. It was a different experience. That’s great. But I have to admit that after a few months, I was, again, you know, I want to, I want to go back to the self. I want to go back to the field and, you know, so I say, thank you to Snapple due to Dr. Peppers. It was nice. I learned a lot of things here, but I don’t fit here anymore and don’t take it wrong. It’s just, it’s not me. It’s you, it’s not, you it’s me, you know? No. Well, I mean, in
Enrique Alvarez (00:41:44):
Your case, it kind of like seems logical, right? I mean, after you, at what you have lived for the last couple of years and how intensely you have actually seen conflict and helping people, and yeah, it sounds like just kind of boring at the end, right? Yeah.
Diego Flores (00:41:59):
Kind of faith. I didn’t want it didn’t want to say that, but yeah. But, uh, so back then, uh, when contacting back in the safe, uh, they were looking for a team to help them to roll out a new ERP system, uh, while around the missions in the world. And, uh, eh, well, I did, yeah, I got that opportunity. So we were kind of fee plus a new year fee, which now this, we are now using everywhere. It’s, it’s a homemade ERP is an open source ERP, um, school uni fields. And, uh, so I was part of this team, uh, first piloting, uh, this ERP system. So in my case, we were piloting in different places around the world. And in my case, I was piloting the CRP system together with the operations team in Lebanon. So I spent some time in, in, in Beirut, uh, deploying, uh, this ERP system, uh, there, which was also quite interesting experience, you know, uh, bringing in a new system to an organization, used to work in an emergency mindset for decades already. So it was also a challenge, even if I knew already quite well, the organization. So just to move from deserved. So rolling this RPA had the opportunity to be in Lebanon, uh, target Stan, which is in central Asia, uh, Buganda where I am right now, uh, as a country director, I came here back then for a couple of, uh, you know, weeks, uh, and Kenya, you
Enrique Alvarez (00:43:29):
Have visited multiple, multiple countries. Uh, the last part you kind of spend time in Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, um, and just tell us a little bit about the organization itself before you kind of continue your trajectory. What is it then for all those people are there, I’m sure that a lot already have, are familiar with MSF, but, uh, doctors without medicine, but for some of those that might not w what is this non NGO. Okay.
Diego Flores (00:43:59):
Yeah. So we’ll MSF. In fact, then now in 2021, uh, starting 50, 50 years ago, it was founded 50 years ago in France. Uh, so it’s basically an international nongovernmental organization, uh, with the main objective purpose mission of, uh, relief suffering of those people, or for anyone in the middle of, uh, uh, human-made or nature, uh, emergency and not totally emergency. Uh, now, now the operations, uh, we have presence in more than 75, uh, countries around the war, in all the continents and these, uh, presence, operational presence, eh, all, all in medical is medical nature. So we go from, uh, in some countries, we have, uh, clinics where we treat, uh, tuberculosis or HIV, or we also work with neglected what we call neglected diseases, which means not a lot of people, you know, it’s paying attention to those, like the, uh, slipping, slipping sickness or stuff like that. You know, uh, we, we have big hospitals running in, in Nigeria or in Afghanistan, for example, uh, where we have all the different departments, like the Marines, your room maternity by the Atrix new Nate, uh, uh, IPV, your PD and all those, you know, uh, so we have Breslin’s worldwide. And, uh, I have to admit that right now for this podcast, I don’t have the latest number of, of people working in the field for us. Well, I
Enrique Alvarez (00:45:54):
Don’t worry about it. We cannot all those details afterwards. So let
Enrique Alvarez (00:45:57):
People know exactly what you guys,
Diego Flores (00:45:59):
They say as the name is saying doctors without borders. We are not only about doctors, I’m not a doctor. So doctors, uh, they need all these different support, uh, departments to make the pressures to run, run smarter, smoothly. Uh, we have, uh, finance professionals, experts. We have human resources. We have art architects. We have lawyers, we have, uh, the mechanic, uh, uh, and of course, supply chain professionals. We have five operational centers, uh, when it comes to operations, uh, there currently, uh, five of them based in Europe, but in order to operate, a, some operational centers are popping up in Latin America and the west Africa and Maura coming, uh, right now, for example, with the biggest, eh, emergency affecting all of us Kobe, we have, we are in the frontline in India, in Brazil, eh, in, in Southeast Asia, uh, we were even active in, in United States.
Diego Flores (00:47:06):
Uh, we are quite active in Mexico with all the migrants, uh, coming from central south and central America. Uh, we even have a board so operating in the Mediterranean sea and search and rescue operations of all those people trying to reach, uh, Europe. So, which is a quite dangerous, uh, trip, uh, rescue in them and bringing them to safe grounds and getting the medical treatment. They, the surf I have right too. So, uh, yeah, the nature of operation for operation is always, we are an emergency organization though. We work in what we call as well in protracted emergencies, which are long term emergencies. You know, like it’s not only about right now in the peak of the emergency, but what is coming after is that a
Enrique Alvarez (00:47:57):
COVID could be kind of considered one of those. Well, I’m
Diego Flores (00:48:01):
Not the person, I’m not the adopter and epidemiologist about it. Definitely the impact might have on the health systems worldwide. And that you got to know what will come after like, uh, the mental health issues, because we also have mental health programs or malnutrition in some countries will, which will come for the lack of labor in the fields to produce enough food for, you know, the population definitely will have an impact the whole global, uh, community. So definitely we will be there for
Enrique Alvarez (00:48:32):
That and now diving into the operation supply chain aspects of it. And if you can just give us a little more information about that. So what kind of, I mean, how does a day look like in your life, right? I mean, what, what kind of shipping logistical challenges you’re coordinating and, and then, and then we’ll just go in Uganda, as
Diego Flores (00:48:52):
You can, as you can imagine. Um, when we have a big portfolio of different medical, especially for example, when you have a hospital with a TV war and then [inaudible] and maternity and all that, each of those departments have a medical standard list and assortment of drugs that you must always have there for whenever those drugs and materials, medical materials are needed. So in most of the countries that we operate, we cannot find all those drugs that according to who standards are needed to treat properly patient, you know, so we have to bring those goods from different countries, from different places abroad, but we have a specifically for us nowadays, we have three, uh, supply centers. We call them European. So we call them European supply centers because the three of them are in Europe, in Amsterdam, Brussels, assembles loin in, in, in, in France. And, uh, there, we consolidate big part of most of the orders that we dispatch later to the field, eh, by the different transport, um, uh, waste even by sea or air or even someplace that we can reach like road. Like you can go by road, for example, from, uh, Europe all the way to [inaudible].
Diego Flores (00:50:17):
So, uh, and depends
Enrique Alvarez (00:50:19):
On the day and you also need to receive them and unpack them. I mean, you take care of everything until the last mile until you put those.
Diego Flores (00:50:30):
We do all this too. I mean, with supply chain people, supply chain is not only about people with supply on title, but, uh, all together with the, or medical or pharmaceutical and medical colleagues, uh, which are in charge. You know, they are the quality assurance people. They are the ones that know about trucks, but they are part of the supply chain. So yes, the reception quality assurance let’s keep on mind. Sometimes we transport most of the times, we transport as well, cold chain items, which require call chain. So while in Europe and in north America, while cold chain is not an issue, while in the global south, it can be a challenge, you know, like, uh, uh, bringing the goods all the way, eh, not to the port of entry only, or the airport where we will receive this, this goods, but then keeping those items in there when, you know, with a good temperature to don’t spoil them and to be ready for the patients.
Diego Flores (00:51:25):
So it’s dealing with all these attributes of all the more than, uh, 10,000 different items in the catalog of medical items that we are using the different programs in the field. Some of them come with a short shelf life. So we bring, we need to bring enough quantity, you know, for the order cycle. But at the same time, we cannot bring a good switch, which will expire before we consume them, because then we need to deal with expired drugs and property, you know, like dispose the properly. It’s not that just report the law. Then, you know, we will report this in our, in our system, but there is a whole process for that. Then of course, we don’t want to waste those resources.
Enrique Alvarez (00:52:13):
It sounds like an incredibly complex, uh, operation. And it must be amazing what you guys are doing and, uh, jumping a little bit ahead because you’ve been, you’ve been everywhere. Basically. It seems like you’ve actually learned a lot of different things. You were also an advisor in answer them, and then you, uh, went on to become an officer in Brussels. Uh, and then you had some other roles and finally you reached to where you are now. And so tell us, tell us where you are now. Why did you do and what your title is? And then, uh, just the more specific situation that you’re dealing with in Kampala Uganda.
Diego Flores (00:52:54):
So a now here in hearing the country director and the general manager of the support unit Kampala, so I’m wearing 2, 2, 2, 2 cap speakers. One is when it’s about all, you know, like, uh, uh, approaching the authorities diplomacy and stuff like that, the contract director, but day-to-day the general manager of the support unit Kampala. So we are regional hub and here we are, or main goal is to support emergency. So whenever, for example, we have a small area, we have Ebola, a old breaks. We have a, uh, response, uh, kids here in our warehouse that we dispatch in less than 48 hours, whatever in the east African region, they need it regardless if it’s in most of the times in the last year. So that’s been always in DRC, in democratic Republic of Congo. So we are dispatching all those kits, uh, which are basically providing the medical teams on the ground and north materials and infrastructure to open a cooler, a treatment, sorry, our Nebula treatment center. We also have kits for Kohler. So whenever there’s a Kohler outbreak, we dispatch these kids in less than 48 hours, uh, eh, for their medical teams to have all these that they need to set proper treatment centers and to star their emergency intervention. So our main scope here, uh, is emergency response, eh, and you cover,
Enrique Alvarez (00:54:36):
You said DRC, but is it also South Sudan, Kenya? I mean, how broad is the, we, we,
Diego Flores (00:54:43):
Sometimes we even go as far as west Africa, but mainly the conference that we mainly support from here, ourselves done and DRC. Uh, but that also lately we have been supporting, uh, Tanzania, Tanzania mission, uh, because as well, we have a, what we call a regional, uh, worship. And so we’re, you know, you will see in the videos of MSF, we have these all-terrain vehicles, the land cruisers Toyota land cruisers that after being a significant time on the roads in the roads here, uh, they, you know, they need, besides their service, a service fee, they need their specialized service. So we have a big fleet of vehicles that they come from, the neighboring countries for their specialized services. So like that we extend the life of the vehicles to be in optimal conditions. Uh, uh, in the missions, you were part
Enrique Alvarez (00:55:39):
Of the operations, not only for the medical sides of things, but I’m guessing all the spare parts and keeping the tr that’s all still on there, your responsibility and the operations
Diego Flores (00:55:48):
Group. That’s correct. So we have to do so we’re talking
Enrique Alvarez (00:55:51):
About, I didn’t even think about any of that, but it goes, yeah, so
Diego Flores (00:55:55):
We have super specialized mechanics, uh, here in gearboxes and stuff like that. But of course the supply chain component of it is that we, we need to get, of course, uh, let legit your expert brokers, for example, uh, to, to be installing to these vehicles that later will be continued to be used in the, in the field. You know, so these guys in the worship we have here are quite busy every day, you know, they know what they’re doing.
Enrique Alvarez (00:56:25):
I know, I, I imagine, so tell us a little more about Uganda then. How long have you been in Uganda? What’s a couple of things that you can tell us about the, the country and the city of Kampala for people that are, I mean, I haven’t been to Uganda yet, but for people that are listening to us,
Diego Flores (00:56:42):
Quite the, um, nice countries in the quarter, if you take a look right now in Google maps, uh, you know, uh, uh, before being hit by COVID, uh, you know, uh, tourism, uh, was one of the biggest sources of income, you know, like, uh, you have the queen, Elizabeth, national art, more and falls and disorders. You have all the big five animals and that you can go and take a look on them that the lions and elephants and all that, it’s super green, it’s green, everywhere. And, you know, like it’s so crazy, like all year round, it’s green fruits everywhere, like crazy. I mean, if there’s a thing in Uganda, it’s like, people love, you know, taking care of the soil and then, you know, uh, harvesting in, you know, producing their own food. Uh it’s, it’s located, it’s in the middle, you know, so it’s a landlocked country, obviously next to Kenya and next to between Kenya, DRC, uh, Tanzania, Rwanda, and, uh, well,
Enrique Alvarez (00:57:51):
Just Google it. And it looks beautiful because you have also the mountains in the north and you have lake Victoria in the south. Yeah. You don’t
Diego Flores (00:57:58):
Have that local lake Victoria. You have the Mt. Elgon you have, uh, restoring Montana’s, uh, if you’re a coffee lover like me, I mean, you have really good coffee here. Uh, so yeah, it’s going to, I think thirsting I’m here with, with my family, with my wife and my toddlers on the three year old son, and they are having a good time. Uh, we are Muslim was here. So I’m assuming is basically a foreigner. So, so we’re enjoying normal senior life, uh, here, uh, in, in, in
Enrique Alvarez (00:58:33):
No that’s and thanks for sharing all this. And, um, I, you mentioned coffee and I was going to ask you actually about you’re part of a you’re member of, um, what’s similar these coffee association. I used
Diego Flores (00:58:44):
Not to member, uh, uh, it’s a specialty coffee association, which they have quite interesting podcasts. I mean, if we have any specialty coffee lover listening to right now, I mean, they’re, they know what we’re talking about and that I had the opportunity to be a volunteer in this event, the wall of coffee they’re organized in 2019 and Berlin, Berlin. Uh, I was a volunteer there helping the virus, testing their comments to prepare their gear for their competition. Uh, you know, serving a lot of nice coffee from there. So getting caffeinated, eh, I was supposed to be voluntary again in the next year in which was supposed to be in Warsaw in Poland, but then, but yeah, coffee is my thing. Uh, like we’ve been from Mexico having amazing coffee as well. Uh, sure. Listeners listeners in the United States, they, everyone knows what is specialty coffee about. And, uh, so if there is a heavy component of supply chain there even more to do to compliment this hobby, let’s say so.
Enrique Alvarez (00:59:52):
No. So again, um, the AOA it’s been a, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you very much for sharing all this. Uh, how do you see the, the future? Not only of the organization, but, uh, Uganda, the pandemic. I mean, there’s so many variables. Um, you mentioned that Latin America might be interesting and that you guys are going to grow and do those regions. Where, where do you see the future from your perspective? Uh, speaking, I guess more specifically about the supply chain and, and the impact that own the pandemic, but your experience has, I think that in the leg,
Diego Flores (01:00:25):
Like everywhere in MSF in the organization, COVID to help in some way to bring fully to the table, that strategic role of supply chain, uh, everyone knew that supply chain was important, but not everyone knew, uh, whole strategical, one semi whole food animal, or the global supply chains that we were part of were on to something like this. And especially for us, you know, a pandemic like this, we, we are supposed to responsibly, which we did, but we were struggling, you know, like, like to form, to find the material, that personal protection, equipment materials, stuff like that. We were working like crazy. We were still working like crazy, not to assure that this Smoot supply for, or operational stand for, or doctors to have everything. So anyway, the fact that COVID is now on the table, a pro for executives, uh, you know, or directors, uh, more and more, uh, we’re talking about, you know, upgrading or, or current model, you know, investing in new technology and bringing more skills in tour, uh, you know, uh, programs, projects, and, uh, headquarters, uh, w w we need to, to, to, to, to be stronger, to respond even faster to the emergencies coming.
Diego Flores (01:01:48):
Uh, so we are now, you know, also not only that, that we want to be more continue being a child, but as well, we are starting to be more conscious about our carbon footprint. Yes, we are not, we are big. Maybe we are not the worst, but we still moving a lot of, uh, metric tones around and loaf, you know, and that is coming with a carbon footprint, you know? So we, we are really reflecting about what can we do to still respond in the fastest in the shortest time to emergencies, but at the same time being conscious about our carbon footprint also sustainable or programs are, uh, the social impact. So we are reflecting more and more about that. That’s
Enrique Alvarez (01:02:31):
Incredible. And, uh, yeah, I saw like a video, uh, I think that you posted on your LinkedIn profile about this, uh, carbon footprint and the sustainability, and that’s basic. That is a big, uh, a big, um, project that, uh, doctors without borders is having, which is refreshing because you’re not only helping people while you’re wanting to do it in a very sustainable way, which that’s just amazing. Right? I had a lot of co a lot of companies out there, a lot of organizations out there, um, should be paying attention to what you guys are doing. And, and you also mentioned that you need more people you need. And so if you could now kind of give, give, give it a, give it a pitch, do everyone that’s listening to this that wants to do something different. That, that, that have been as inspired as I have with your, with your life story. And they want to join. They want to join not only in helping you with your projects and donations and support, but they actually literally want to join doctors without borders. They don’t need to be a doctor, which is something that I many people me included probably thought was somewhat needed. But, um, go ahead. If you had to,
Diego Flores (01:03:41):
Well, did you say it, we, we, we need to, we need more supply chain professionals. I mean, uh, we’re handling here quite complex supply chains in all aspects from the analytics side to the, you know, international transport, uh, part, we need to all type of professionals in this place, Sharon, from procurement experts to, uh, again, the, the, the distribution arts. So recently I have seen more and more interest from, from the supply chain community people really, really, you know, asking questions and even kalemia, for example, getting paying more attention to the Humanitas blockchain stuff, three nights still not enough. So I promise everyone who liked tools try this. And, uh, it’s a life experience that probably, maybe you won’t do it your whole life, or maybe yes, I say myself, I will try it. Only. I told to myself, 10 years ago, I will do it maybe for three years.
Diego Flores (01:04:42):
It’s already 10 years and I still here, uh, who knows, but you can try and it’s going to be a life experience and while doing so be sure that you will be helping a lot of people, a such experience with such experience. So, so again, I invite everyone to take a look in our websites and there is always there, uh, you know, all their requirements. They, I mean, to, to apply for a pool of supply chain experts, and then being there as waiting to be called for that first mission, uh, which can be nowadays everywhere. And, uh, so yeah, please sit there. You there, you
Enrique Alvarez (01:05:23):
Have it. It’s, um, it’s a very compelling pitch. I think that, uh, the story that you have told us and shared with us today actually makes it even more compelling. And I’m pretty sure that a lot of our listeners will, uh, not only go into the website, but hopefully apply. And go ahead. It sounds to me like not only an incredible, challenging, interesting opportunity, but it gives you the opportunity to help others. It gives you the opportunity to grow. It gives you the opportunity to learn and, uh, and it gives you opportunity to get to know other cultures and countries and regions of this world. And, uh, I think it’s, I, it sounds exciting. Um, so thank you so much Diego, for, for, uh, for sharing that with us, where can people get connect to you if there’s any questions and, and we’re going to try to do some another one, right? Cause I had so many different things that I still wanted to ask you, but, uh, we’ll have to do at least a couple of others and follow you in the next couple of months and follow, um, doctors without borders, for sure. But where can people reach out to you? What’s the best way of getting in touch with you
Diego Flores (01:06:28):
Lincolnton? Uh, so basically in these look for me, they go Flores MSF. I w I think I’m the only one. [inaudible] the only Diego flirts in MSF. So you will find me immediately and I’m quite active there. Uh, you can send me a message, a friend request, and a contact request. And, uh, yeah, I can answer all your questions. Your, if you’re curious about that holds the life in the field, I mean, a whole difficult will be, or any, any practical question you might have for any advice I’m happy to share with any of you?
Enrique Alvarez (01:07:03):
Well, once again, Diego, Florida’s MSF doctors without borders. Thank you so much. I know it’s late in Uganda. Thank you so much for taking this, uh, video call and thank you so much for everything that you and your team are doing and the entire medical community, the entire first respondents. Thank you, everyone. Have a great, great day and rest of your weeks. And of course, if you enjoy this conversation, please, don’t, don’t, uh, don’t miss following in logistics with purpose, uh, supply chain. Now, thank you so much and drink Alvarez, and I’ll see you guys next time with another interest.
Diego Flores is an Industrial Engineer from Mexico with more than sixteen years of experience in Supply Chain Management. Ten years ago, he changed from the Automotive sector to Humanitarian operations, which initially was not on his plans. He has worked in Afghanistan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, and Ukraine and as well at Belgium, Netherlands, and Spain Head Quarters for Doctors without Borders. As well, he worked as a consultant for the UNICEF Regional Office of South Asia. Currently, he is the Head of Mission for MSF Switzerland in the Support Regional Unit in Kampala, Uganda, which plays an important role in emergency response in the East African region. Connect with Diego 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 a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
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.