Dial P for Procurement
Episode 47

This is about economic inclusion of African American-owned businesses in the US economy. McDonald's takes billions from African American consumers and gives almost nothing back.

-Byron Allen, Allen Media Group Press Release

Episode Summary

There’s a reason that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and there are many examples of this principle playing out in business today. Many of them boil down to two specific scenarios:

– An idea is conceived of by one person, but handed over to another for execution

– An idea that works when led as a one-off, but which does not scale well at all

One of those could easily be at play in a case of supplier diversity efforts gone wrong… in this case, at McDonald’s. They segment a portion of their $1.6 Billion annual advertising budget for black-owned firms, but Byron Allen, owner of Allen Media Group, doesn’t want an opportunity in this segment – he wants McDonald’s commercials to run on his stations nationwide.

In this week’s Dial P audio podcast, Kelly Barner looks into the complex dynamics at play between McDonald’s and Allen Media Group:

• The federal court case pending against McDonalds, brought by Allen Media Group, which owns the Weather Channel as well as 36 ABC, CBS, and Fox television stations

• The good intentions at the heart of the McDonald’s supplier diversity program which may be causing some problems for them now

• What companies and supplier diversity program leaders can learn from this story

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:01):

Welcome to Dial P for procurement, A show focused on today’s biggest spin supplier and contract management related business opportunities. Dial P investigates the nuanced and constantly evolving boundary of the procurement supply chain divide with a broadcast of engaged executives, providers, and thought leaders. Give us an hour and we’ll provide you with a new perspective on supply chain value. And now it’s time to dial P for procurement.

Kelly Barner (00:31):

Have you ever heard the expression, the road to hell is paved with good intentions? People mean well and they think they’re doing the right thing, but it doesn’t always work out that way. In reality, now, versions of that expression actually date back to 1670, which suggests to me that this is a part of the human condition and it’s not just human. We can see a lot of examples of this playing out in business. From my perspective, the road to hell being paved with good intentions comes down to two common challenges. One is where you have a good idea that’s conceived of by one person, but handed over to someone else for execution and something gets lost in that handoff. Another example is where you have an idea that works well as an individual effort, but when you try to scale it, everything falls apart and those good intentions get lost.

Kelly Barner (01:31):

Either one of those examples could easily be at play in a case of supplier diversity efforts gone wrong. In this case at McDonald’s. In this episode of Dial Pay, I’m going to review a federal court case, which is currently pending against McDonald’s, brought by Alan Media Group, which owns the Weather Channel, as well as 36 abc, cbs, and Fox Television Stations. We’re gonna look at those good intentions that McDonald’s supplier diversity program had at the outset and look at how they’re playing out in reality. And then finally, this is one of those where there is so much to learn, and so we’re gonna think about what some of the key takeaways are for companies, for procurement teams, and for supplier diversity professionals. But before I go any further, let me pause and introduce myself. I’m Kelly Barner. I’m the co-founder and managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point.

Kelly Barner (02:29):

I’m a partner at Art of Procurement and I’m your host for Dial P here on Supply Chain. Now, I’m constantly scanning the news for articles and stories to discuss things that are thought provoking, but which could easily escape people’s attention. In fact, I did not notice today’s story. It was shared with me by Nita Piano, the CEO of Bold Growth Agency, a professional matchmaking firm for corporations that wanna connect business opportunities with women of color who can fulfill them. Now, full disclosure, I’m on Nita’s Advisory board, but since this story doesn’t involve Nita or her agency or any of her customers in any way, we all just get to learn from it together. Dial P releases a new podcast episode or interview every Thursday, so be on the lookout for future episodes and don’t forget to check out past episodes as well. Before we get back to today’s topic, I have a quick favor to ask.

Kelly Barner (03:31):

A lot of work goes into making sure you find value in the time that we spend together. What I ask in return is that you find a way to engage. I know Dial P has listeners on all kinds of platforms and channels, so wherever you are, find a way to let us know that you’re listening. Let us know what you think about what you hear. You can give us a review on iTunes. You can give us a star rating on some of the other podcast platforms. You can share this post if you find it on LinkedIn or Twitter, or send the link directly to a colleague. I’m incredibly grateful for your interest and your attention for what we’re building here at Dial P. Now, to give you today’s story, first I’m gonna start by telling you a little bit about Byron Allen. He is the CEO and owner of Allen Media Group and one of their divisions, which is Entertainment Studios Networks.

Kelly Barner (04:27):

It’s good that he’s the ceo, but for our sake, the fact that he’s the owner is more important. Alan owns the company, which means that no matter how big they are, AMG is eligible to be certified as a minority-owned business. The company owns a number of channels, and so one of their primary sources of revenue is marketing. Moody’s estimates that about half of AMGs business revenue comes from advertising, and the company has a long history of cording Madison Avenue firms for commercials placed in TV shows on his channels. McDonald’s has a $1.6 billion annual advertising budget, and like most big consumer facing companies, they are actively interested in investing in diverse suppliers, and they’ve made several public commitments to that fact. CNN has reported that McDonald’s plans to increase their advertising with black owned companies from 2% to 5% by 2024. Another article, this one from USA Today, cite a similar commitment to increase investment in diverse owned partners, including black, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific American women, and LGBTQ own companies, and taking them from 4% to 10% of national advertising spend between 2021 and 2024.

Kelly Barner (05:52):

Now, the question is how that money gets managed and allocated. So supplier diversity is very important, but it’s extra important for McDonald’s because it’s also a good business move. Black Americans represent approximately 40% of McDonald’s US sales, which are about a hundred billion dollars. So quick math, on a typical year, we’re talking about $40 billion from black consumers of its 1.6 billion an advertising budget. McDonald’s currently spends less than 5 million each year on black owned media, which works out to be one third of a percent and less than half of what the CEO makes in his salary. McDonald’s breaks their advertising budget into a couple of different tiers. Their primary advertising tier is what they refer to as the general market. It constitutes the vast majority of their money in the typical year, and it basically means money that they’re trying to reach everyone with. Now, in order to hit some of their supplier diversity targets, they’ve created a separate African American tier, which has a small budget.

Kelly Barner (07:06):

Depending on who you ask, it may also have less favorable pricing and contract terms, but McDonald’s, as you might expect, doesn’t manage all of these smaller firms individually. They contract with a separate ad agency Borough Communications to manage their African American tier. Borough Communications was founded by Tom Burl, one of the first African Americans to work in the field of advertising. He’s retired out of the picture, but the business is now black woman owned with a majority ownership being held by McGee Williams osa, who is the current co ceo. Now, if you’ve done any work in supplier diversity, one thing that’s interesting about this is that because Bur communications is black owned and the firms that they’re directing this African American tier of funds to are black owned, you get a double tiered effect. So there’s tier one diversity spend with Borough Communications and Tier two diversity spend that Borough spends on their behalf with the actual black owned media companies.

Kelly Barner (08:12):

When AMG reached out to McDonald’s about becoming a marketing partner, they were assigned to the African American tier, even though they want to appeal and believe that they can appeal through the stations that they own to that general market. McDonald’s hasn’t advertised on the Weather Channel since Alan acquired the network in 2018, and although he is a black owned business, they have nationwide reach with general stations like the Weather Channel. Now, here’s where we get into the accusations represented by the lawsuit. What AMG alleges is that McDonald’s has created separate but unequal tracks for black owned media companies to earn, earn re advertising revenue with the company. In some ways, it might be an example of stereotyping. They’re assuming that because AMG is black owned, therefore this is the tier of spend where they can best serve McDonald’s and their customers. What Byron Allen is saying is, yes, we do happen to be a black owned business, but that doesn’t mean we wanna compete in that channel.

Kelly Barner (09:19):

We wanna compete for a piece of the general market pie. So he’s saying that they’re being deprived of advertising revenue that otherwise would’ve been paid to amg if McDonald’s treated the companies the same if AMG was white owned and they had an opportunity to bid for that general market, he’s making the case that that’s only not happening because it’s a black owned company. And so you get Entertainment Studios networks incorporated at all versus McDonald’s. McDonald’s refusal to contract with amg, which is the parent company of Entertainment Studios Networks, is being alleged as the result of racial stereotyping. They are suing McDonald’s for 10 billion for discrimination on the basis of race. In December of 2021, the case was dismissed. It was amended and then resubmitted. But there was a recent development on Friday, September 16th, 2022, McDonald’s was denied a motion to dismiss by Judge Fernando Alwin of the Al United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Kelly Barner (10:35):

Now, we know that the case will proceed to trial by jury in May of 2023. If nothing else changes, mental note, save that date. So let me pause here. There are so many facts in this case. So I wanna take you back through a really quick Reader’s Digest version before we start thinking about what all of this means. For the sake of simplicity, let’s just say the Weather Channel is owned by a black owned business. They want to be an ad partner for McDonald’s. Now, I’m now Don Draper, but that seems to make sense to me. So McDonald’s says, Okay, this is great. We know exactly how to handle this. You’re a media company that’s black owned, and they say you go into the black owned ad partner workflow. But Byron Allen is saying, No thanks. We don’t want that. Just let us compete with all of the other national media companies, and for whatever reason, McDonald’s is not going down that path.

Kelly Barner (11:36):

Now, according to an article on black enterprise.com, part of the suit includes evidence that racist comments have been made by senior executives in the past, even if they were not directed at Byron Allen. This seems to be an important piece that’s part of that initial dismissal, the updating, and then the decision to allow the case to go forward. That detail, even though it doesn’t specifically apply to the Weather Channel, to AMG to Enterprise Studios, was added to the case because it serves as evidence to support a racial discrimination claim. Under Section 1981 of the Federal Code, the lawsuit alleges that senior McDonald’s executives, including its current ceo, have made racially derogatory comments, and that serves as evidence that there’s a culture of racial hostility within the company. Now, we’re gonna let the courts work that out because federal legal matters are definitely above my pay grade, but there’s still an interesting twist here.

Kelly Barner (12:43):

Who’s defending McDonald’s? McDonald’s is being legally represented in court by Loretta Lynch, former US Attorney General during the Obama Administration, a black woman herself. As I was reading the stories, I recognized her name, but I was surprised, so I double checked. Yep, that’s her. So the statements that she has made so far are that McDonald’s views the lawsuit as being about revenue, not truly about race. She believes that the relevant evidence will show that there was no discrimination. And here’s a quote from her. Plaintiff’s Groundless allegations ignore both McDonald’s legitimate business reasons for not investing more on their channels and the company’s longstanding business relationships with many other diverse owned partners. This is not the first race based lawsuit brought by AMG and Entertainment Studios. They brought a similar federal lawsuit against Charter Communications, which went all the way to the Supreme Court Charter, ended up settling for 40 billion, and Byron Allen withdrew his case.

Kelly Barner (13:56):

Alan and other black media owners have joined forces to reach out to other large companies. They put pressure on automaker GM by taking out a full page newspaper ad, and it pointed out the lack of spending with black owned media. They used their traction with GM to then go after other automakers for portions of their ad budgets. So here’s what I think is tough about this, and in this case, I speak as a procurement professional. Sometimes your company does not want to work with a supplier or a provider, and there are all kinds of reasons for this. Sometimes it’s as simple as money. The budget is not there. The ROI is not there on whatever kind of detailed metric you’re using. Sometimes you already have a duplicate offering or duplicate access available to you through an existing partner, and other times it is cultural fit.

Kelly Barner (14:54):

Now, by that, I’m not referencing race. I’m simply talking about who’s the team at AMG in Entertainment studios that would be interfacing with the team at McDonald’s. Sometimes teams just don’t mesh. You know, I go out of my way to choose stories that don’t have easy answers that I cover at Dial P. And so there are some uncomfortable facts, and I’m sure there’s more that we’re going to learn as this case goes forward, but there are also some questions that we need to be able to discuss. So when we think back about that road to hell and all of the good intentions on it, McDonald’s two-tier approach to supplier diversity, at least in the marketing category, might be scalable, but it doesn’t seem to be working quite right if you can’t pass on being a part of that tier, especially if you’re a company as large as amg, something’s a little bit off.

Kelly Barner (15:52):

Now, here’s the really hard question, and I’m not pretending to have an answer to this. Can a company like McDonald’s say no to a black owned business without the cause being racism or discrimination? Loretta Lynch seems to think, so that’s her point, that this is about revenue and not race. I’m glad I’m not going to be on the jury that has to make that decision. I don’t live anywhere near California, so I know there’s absolutely no chance I’m gonna be called up for that. I think what I mostly hope is that the case actually goes to trial as opposed to being settled out of court for money. This is such a valuable learning opportunity, and I think for anyone in a business setting, whether you are a representative at a supplier, whether you work in procurement, whether you’re an executive or you’re a budget owner or a buyer and you’re making decisions, sometimes you have to be able to say, This is just not the right company for us to work with, and it’s nothing more than a business decision.

Kelly Barner (16:56):

But we do also know that sometimes business decisions are made for not just wrong reasons, but complicated reasons. So I think this is a story that deserves a lot more thought. Hopefully it continues to receive media coverage so that we get some insight into the perspectives being offered up by both sides in the case. What I can promise you is that this is yet another long term story that I will follow, and in the short term, based on the information we have, I would love to know what you think. What do you think about this? As a consumer, what do you think about this? As a procurement professional, what do you think about this? If you’re someone who has experience in advertising or marketing or media, all of these different points of view should be brought to bear. I will tell you the one thing I know for sure is that if we can’t talk about these tough issues, we definitely can’t solve them. Thank you so much for listening in. Until next time, I’m Kelly Barner, your host on behalf of Dial P and Supply Chain. Now. Have a great rest of your day.

Intro/Outro (18:04):

Thank you for joining us for this episode of Dial P for procurement, and for being an active part of the supply chain now community. Please check out all of our shows and events@supplychainnow.com. Make sure you follow Dial P four procurement on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to catch all the latest programming details. We’ll see you soon for the next episode of Dial P for procurement.


Kelly Barner

Host, Dial P for Procurement

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

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

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

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

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

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

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.

She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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

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

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

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.

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Constantine Limberakis


Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research.Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.

When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.

Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.

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Greg White

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

When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.

Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

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