What are the core qualities of a truly effective leader? As the new, youngest, and first African American President of the Southeastern Region of AME, Chrystal York knows a good bit about leadership and joins Scott to talk all about it. Listen as Chrystal shares her upbringing and early exposure to servant leadership, what she learned about leadership from her early career managers, her advice for young people, and so much more. Also listen as Chrystal shares her vision for the Southeastern region of AME, how a focus on diversity can improve business and industry, and how driving impact and creating opportunities for all is not just an AME goal, but can be an industry-wide objective.
Note: AME’s Southeastern Region includes the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and the territory of Puerto Rico.
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Scott Luton (00:31):
Hey, good morning everybody. Scott Luton with you here on Supply Chain. Now welcome to today’s show. Hey, today we’re talking with a repeat guest, one of our faves, and we’re focused on leadership, especially leaders that are out there, trailblazing new paths. So stay tuned for a wonderful conversation that I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I do. So, no further ado, I’ll welcome in our guest today, Chrystal York, a business leader that also serves as a volunteer leader with the Nonprofit Association for Manufacturing Excellence. Chrystal, how are you doing?
Chrystal York (01:01):
I am doing well today, Scott. How are you?
Scott Luton (01:04):
I’m wonderful. I tell you, it’s been too long. Uh, I wanna say you’ve made three or four or five appearances with us, and while we’re not in person this time, we’ll make that happen next time. But it’s always, uh, uh, invigorating to sit down and chat with you.
Chrystal York (01:17):
Same here. I am. So thank you for the opportunity and always fun to be here.
Scott Luton (01:22):
It is. We have a lot, lot of fun, uh, together, going back all the way to your first appearance at, at an AME event. Who knows? Let me touch on that later. But for starters though, Crystal, mm-hmm. <affirmative>, cause it’s been a little while since we caught up last. Some of our listeners undoubtedly remember, uh, some of your, uh, previous interviews, but for a couple out there that may not, let’s get to know you a little better. Where did you grow up? Crystal York?
Chrystal York (01:43):
Um, so I had the privilege of growing up in the beautiful town of Thomaston, Georgia, uh, about 60 miles south of Atlanta, Georgia. Um, 10,000 residents, So small country town, uh, proud, uh, UPS and Lee, uh, night graduate. Okay. Um, actually, UPS and Lee School system is where, where I really found my love for math, science, and innovation. So they gave me a really great foundation.
Scott Luton (02:10):
Okay. All right. Uh, you know, I was not good at math, uh, Crystal. So, uh, who knows. You have to share some of that, uh, inte like with me later on. But let’s, um, so in Georgia, um, I, I, I’m pretty sure I’ve been through there. What is, uh, you know, we love talking about food here at So Blache. Now, what is one food dish or restaurant, uh, that growing up you look back and, and it was inseparable from your childhood?
Chrystal York (02:37):
Honestly, I would say inseparable. Inseparable from my childhood and my adulthood would be Big Chick. Big Chick, um, is one of my favorite restaurants. It has been in existence since before I was born. Okay. Um, they have their standard work down Pat Scott. I consistently get the best fried chicken in the world. I double down on bets when I bring people to my hometown. It’s the best fried chicken.
Scott Luton (03:03):
I love it. Big chick. All right, so next time we get together, we’ll do the interview in person, and then we’re eating that for lunch afterwards. Is that a deal?
Chrystal York (03:09):
Scott Luton (03:10):
Deal. And I love how you, you know, you’re, you’re a, um, you, you love manufacturing and leadership cuz you, you snuck in their standard work. Uh, so, so <laugh>, so apropo for the rest of the stuff we’re gonna be talking about here today. Um, so speaking of manufacturing, so tell us level set. You know, many plenty of folks will know, uh, what AME is. In fact, one of our hosts here, Billy Ray Taylor, the dynamo that leads, uh, the winning link. Uh, he’s on the board with AME as you know, your colleagues. Um, but for the handful of folks that may not know about nonprofit Association for Manufacturing Excellence, what is it all about?
Chrystal York (03:46):
So AME is a organization, um, since 1985. So they have been around for a very long time. Um, of vibrant community of over 4,000 professionals, uh, seniors, mid-level managers, individuals just getting started, maybe on, possibly on their lean journey. But very, they focus on people-centric leadership, um, all things continuous improvement and all things enterprise excellence. So a E’S mission is to share, learn and grow best practices to really bridge those gaps that most industries are seeing.
Scott Luton (04:26):
Love that. Uh, and it’s such a big need, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, to do just that. And am I correct in stating that the core of the organization is a manufacturing industry, but there’s folks from all sorts of industries that are involved in, Is that right?
Chrystal York (04:40):
That is right. A AME has evolved, evolved outside of just manufacturing into healthcare, um, into social impact. So supporting other nonprofits, utilizing those continuous improvement, enterprise excellence tools, um, and just overall industry.
Scott Luton (04:57):
Love it. Okay. Talking my language, continuous improvement. The journey is no finish line to the journey. No finish line. I know we’re kindred spirits in that regard. So is if, if that’s not good enough. And if have Chris having Crystal York back with us isn’t good enough. You, you bring some really big news in this latest visit. So, can I share it,
Chrystal York (05:16):
Scott Luton (05:18):
Okay. <laugh>. So you, Crystal York are the youngest and the first African American leader to serve as Southeast Regional President for ame. Congratulations.
Chrystal York (05:29):
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Scott Luton (05:32):
Wow. All right. So, um, I’m gonna ask you in a second what that means to you, but the, the role itself, the Southeast regional president, which I think officially takes route, uh, October 1st, uh, what does this, uh, what does this leader do?
Chrystal York (05:45):
So this leader has the opportunity to, um, cast the vision for our entire southeast region. Um, we have our board comprises of 25, uh, board members, um, ranging from, uh, about, what, seven different states.
Scott Luton (06:04):
Chrystal York (06:05):
Um, multiple industries. And like I said, it is vision casting. It is facilitating all of our board meetings and it’s driving impact and awareness to ame.
Scott Luton (06:16):
I love it. And making, and, and really serving them. I’m, I’m sure that seven state region, right. Uh, helping industry across helping connections, helping networking, the driving impact. I love that Crystal. Um, so let’s, let’s talk about this. Um, and I know you don’t like talking about yourself, but hey, with news like this, we gotta, we gotta put the focus on Crystal York. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what is this, you know, ]this, um, you know, breaking these firsts, right? Trailblazing being the pioneer that you are. What does this mean to you?
Chrystal York (06:48):
Um, honestly, I am humble that my peer, uh, board members in the strongest, largest region, uh, the southeast region, um, elected me, um, to serve. But quite honestly, I’ll say that it means responsibility. Mm. So when I go back to the mission of AME to share, learn, and grow, um, the enterprise excellence, the continuance improvement tools, um, these are thought leaders in the industry. So how do I cast the vision for, for us to have bigger impact? How can everyone, every industry in the southeast region know who AME is? That’s one thing. And then the second would be the responsibility to bridge gaps. How can I create the opportunity to drive more diversity within ame?
Scott Luton (07:43):
Yep. Um, so along those lines, you’re kind of sharing, that really speaks to my next question. You know, some of the impact and some of the ways you wanna put your stamp on the organization and industry. Anything else really stick out in terms of, you know, when you, and I’m not sure how long is the term, how, how long will you be serving?
Chrystal York (08:01):
Scott Luton (08:02):
Okay. So whether it’s one term or whether it’s 10 terms mm-hmm. <affirmative> at the end of your time serving as southeast regional President. And when you look back mm-hmm. <affirmative>, describe the, you know, any, anything else related to the impact that you want to have made?
Chrystal York (08:16):
Ooh, that’s a good question. Um, I would definitely say my goal would be, um, at the end of my term, of those 4,000, um, plus members that we have, I want our board leadership to, to reflect that level of diversity, um, where individuals feel comfortable joining AME being their authentic self. And we’re truly embracing, um, the level of, I guess, different ideas, which drives higher collaboration, which drives better problem solving. So we’re, again, we’re supporting the industries in the Southeast. Um, but I guess most of all, di identifying that diverse talent, most of all young minds. Yeah. Um, yeah, AME has a great amount of very senior leaders. Um, but if we can engage the younger mind population, for me, I was able, um, starting in sixth grade, I did a STEM program every summer from sixth grade to 12th grade. Okay. That allowed me to learn more about stem, um, learn about leadership, and really get, um, exposure to the different possibilities of how you can use the foundation of STEM to do, to solve real world problems. Right. And we wanna do the same thing in AME to our young minds and young leaders.
Scott Luton (09:44):
I love that. And, and what I’m hearing you say, Crystal is not only driving impact and creating opportunities for all within the AME ecosystem, I’ll call it, but by extension, you, you’re really doing the same thing across industry, right? AME becomes a vehicle to creating opportunities for all, uh, and, and affording opportunities for all in, in leadership positions in industry and professional development, uh, positions, you know, helping, uh, as you said earlier, helping nonprofits and some of those other really important initiatives have become more effective and, and serve more. I mean, really it’s, it’s such a, a big ripple effect. So mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, I’m excited. I can tell you’re excited. Uh, you gotta, But here’s the deal, Crystal, we gotta make this deal here. You gotta give us the first post presidency interview after your term’s up. Okay. <laugh>
Chrystal York (10:36):
That, that’s a bit
Scott Luton (10:38):
<laugh>. We’ll have to go through your agent, probably know that down by then. But, um, alright. So you just just mentioned young people there. You know, there’s so much work we’ve gotta do to make sure they, um, see the art of the possible for themselves and, uh, find how they wanna make their impact and drive the change in their journeys. So young people are gonna see you creating this first or first plural, and you undoubtedly were gonna be inspiring them to do big things. Kinda like that, that mantra we’ve heard and have seen time and time again, you know, see it to be it. Right. Right. So for any of our younger listeners or folks maybe earlier in their journey that are listening to this, what message would you like to share with them?
Chrystal York (11:20):
Oh, wow. I would definitely say to our young listeners, um, I dare you to dream big. Don’t limit yourself. Um, part of being a first is knowing that, um, it’s gonna require you to be uncomfortable. Um, it may look different than what your friends are doing. Um, as I shared before, I had a love for math and science and growing up, hey, not all of my friends had a love for math and science, but taking that path got me closer to what my purpose is. So taking the path will get you closer to your purpose, even though it may look a little different, even though you may be the only person that may look like you in the room. Mm. But having the courage to stay on it gets you closer to your purpose.
Scott Luton (12:08):
I love that. I love where you started with that. I dare you. I dare you. I challenge you. That’s so that, you know, once you’re, you get outta that comfort zone because you accept the challenge. You know, that’s where you, you grow so much and you find so many opportunities. Um, so along these lines, Yeah. I want, I wanna pose a a a really important question. You know, if you were, uh, consulting all of industry beyond even the seven states and the Southeast regional, but if you really, you know, if you had the captive attention of, of industry, you know, sea level leaders, how can organizations enable more firsts like yours to happen more often?
Chrystal York (12:48):
Ooh. I would say that you have to make a commitment to recognize first and to seek to develop individuals that are diverse. Um, and, and it’s a commitment, cuz it’s easily said than done. But with intentionality, again, we’re bridging gaps. Um, because with diversity, there are so many studies that have been done that says diversity drives higher, collaboration encourages better problem solving, and you’re getting results. Yep. So with that being said, it’s, it’s with an organization making a commitment to really develop and to recognize those individuals
Scott Luton (13:36):
Deeds, not words. It’s one phrase that comes to my mind, one of our favorite phrases around here, but also you’re talking about all the different studies have been done about the, the power and advantages of, of a more diverse workforce and leadership structure. Profitability Yes. Uh, has been shown to be impacted very positively. Um, so even if you don’t wanna do it for all the right reasons that you laid out there, hey, do it to drive profit, you know, but just do it. Right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I dare you just do
Chrystal York (14:02):
It. I dare you.
Scott Luton (14:04):
<laugh>. Um, alright. So I wanna, um, a lot of times our interviews, we’ll start front of our interview and take a look back here. We kind of shared some of the current state news, exciting news mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And now I wanna look back. So you were talking earlier about growing up in Thomason, Georgia, uh, home in a legendary big chick where we’re gonna have to eat sometime. Um, talk about on your own, you know, in those formative years or maybe recently and what mentors or role models really inspires you to big, you know, who, who dared you Right. And to do big things and be a better leader.
Chrystal York (14:40):
Um, for me, I would say leadership started at home. Um, I’m blessed to have parents that, hey, they dared me. They seen a light inside of me, um, with their love, with their support. It pretty much, I grew up to be a fearless woman and I’m grateful for them showing me what leadership looks like. So outside of taking the best care of me, um, and, and, and getting me to and throw, they were leaders in their jobs. Um, my mom went on to not only, uh, be a full-time mom, have a full-time job, she started a business leading a team. Okay. Um, my dad served 22 years, um, in the military leading his team. So I was blessed to be able to see what does leadership look like, And not just leadership, but servant leadership.
Scott Luton (15:34):
Mm. And what are their names? Your parents names?
Chrystal York (15:37):
Oh, my mother, Rita Car Smith and my dad John Thomas York Jr.
Scott Luton (15:43):
Mm. I bet they are extremely proud and and I trust you’ve already shared the news with them and you’ve had a chance to celebrate with your parents, right?
Chrystal York (15:50):
Scott Luton (15:52):
<laugh>. All right. Uh, so a quick follow up question. When you think about, uh, industry, right, maybe some of those non-family mentors or friends or folks that push you on those toughest of days, any names come to mind?
Chrystal York (16:06):
Scott Luton (16:07):
It’s tough to pick one, but if you had to pick one, it’s tough.
Chrystal York (16:10):
Um, I’m gonna go back to my first job out of college. Um, I was working for, um, Acuity Brands lighting, and, um, I was assembly supervisor. Uh, they were just starting their lean journey and my manager, uh, Mr. Danny Rael, hi Danny. Um, Danny pushed me again. I was, what, 22 years old? I was leading almost, what, 50 to 75 people.
Scott Luton (16:41):
Wow. You wanna
Chrystal York (16:43):
At, at, and there were many of days, if I’m being totally of just not understanding that respect for people, again, yields results. Yeah. I was terrified to communicate old to my parents, but pulled me in. And what he shared was, when you take care and listened to the people who are doing the work, that’s when things get done. Mm
Scott Luton (17:13):
Mm I love that. What great advice we’re gonna have to interview Danny at some point. So Danny, if you’re listening, <laugh> big high five and thank you for playing a critical role. I mean, heck, look at what folks like Danny that invested in you, Crystal, You know, they’re celebrating, I’m sure right here with you as you going and do big things and move mountains. Um, so along these lines, you know, you basically kind of were sharing some leadership lessons there, really. So if you had to think of two or three traits that truly extraordinary, uh, successful results getting leaders have mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what would be a couple of those, those must have traits you think, in your opinion?
Chrystal York (17:53):
Um, I mentioned earlier, um, servant leadership. So it’s something about when you flip your theoretical top down approach and your, you’re focusing on people first. Um, and my day to day job, uh, at Ecolab, I have the opportunity of, I tell ’em, you have to walk it like you talk <laugh> of really listening, um, going to the gemba, listening, taking action, following up and showing respect. And, and again, it comes down to the power of collaboration. It ends in great results.
Scott Luton (18:29):
Chrystal York (18:30):
Um, passion, I know it sounds super, super cliche, but as a leader you have to have passion. Uh, for me, I have passion for AME because it has, I, I joined AME in 2 20 18. Um, the power of development and relationships that I built it, I mean, their core value, One of the core values is just welcoming and engaging. And there was no one that really even looked like me during my first interaction with ame. And everyone was so welcoming, engaging in the sharing of best practices, it fueled me. It grew me personally and professionally. Um, and then last but not least, I would say you have to be a problem solver. It’s all about where do you wanna go Casting that vision and as a leader, um, really showing your team that I’m gonna remove those barriers or get you the support and resources needed to achieve that mission.
Scott Luton (19:30):
Love that. Uh, really love that. Go. I’m going back to pick up on something you said, cuz some of our listeners may have heard going to the gemba before and they may not have really understood what that means. Now, from where I sit, uh, you know, going to the gemba can also mean, you know, going to the plant for going to the production line, meeting with the people that are creating the value. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, would you agree with that definition or, or how would you make it your own?
Chrystal York (19:55):
Um, I do agree with your definition, but if I had to add the crystal remix to it, I would say going to where the work is done and listening with respect, ah,
Scott Luton (20:07):
That’s better. That’s much better. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Cause it production’s taking place throughout a proverbial plant or enterprise or you name it. Um, a lot of times I think of, uh, that value on the production floor, but to your point, offices, uh, all, all sorts of sites, uh, values being created. And, and I love your second part in the Crystal York remix of going to the gemba is listening with respect. We don’t do that enough, do we?
Chrystal York (20:34):
No, No. And, and hey, the individuals who’s adding value, whether it’s healthcare, um, whether it’s supporting a nu another nonprofit in their mission, they’re the subject matter experts. And as leaders is saying, How can I provide support? How can I help you win?
Scott Luton (20:52):
Mm, absolutely. Right. I love that. And again, I love the expanding mission of AME manufacturing, healthcare, and nonprofits. Really greater industry. Uh, so exciting, exciting times coming up these next two years as you serve in your role as Southeast Regional President. We’re gonna have to get some updates. And, um, yes, we look forward to kind of watching the impact unfold in front of our eyes. So, back to Amy. Speaking of Amy, the annual conference coming up. I think we were talking pre-show about one of our, or maybe on the beginning of this podcast. They’re all, they’re all mixed a little bit. Crystal Billy Ray Taylor, right? Yes. The author of, I think I’ve got his book right here, Author of the winning link.
Chrystal York (21:34):
The winning link. Yes, that’s
Scott Luton (21:36):
Right. Uh, did you know that they’ve already moved into, uh, a second printing this book has been flying off the shelves. I was looking to get a few copies. Um, he’s on the board of ame, along with you and many, uh, Mark Preston, one of my dear friends. Mm. Um, uh, active in AME and, uh, rungs of leadership there. So this annual conference that’s coming up, I think you’re speaking at it, Billy speaking at it, a lot of great keynotes. What, why should folks check out the annual conference and, and when is it and how can folks learn more?
Chrystal York (22:07):
So the, our International Conference will be held October 17th through the 20th in Dallas, Texas. Um, please check out ame.org for more information now. Why you should come. I, um, fell in love literally with, uh, I, well, my first interaction with with AME was through an international conference. Ok. It is the largest lean conference in the world. So all things continuous improvement, the largest, but more importantly than that, you’re able to get a firsthand experience of the best, of the best of operational excellence. So you’ll have your eco labs there, you’ll have ge, you’ll have organizations that have truly invested in their people and the time of sharing their journey. Um, and then you get to actually do tours. It’s not every day someone lets you into their world. <laugh>.
Scott Luton (23:07):
True. Very true.
Chrystal York (23:08):
And I learned, I actually learned the most from the tours and the networking is phenomenal. Like I said, AME is a network of share learning and growing. So you’re gonna walk away from with a, from a personal development and professional development with things you can actually take back.
Scott Luton (23:24):
Love that. How about the food crystal? Is it food pretty good?
Chrystal York (23:27):
The food is always good. <laugh>, the food is always
Scott Luton (23:30):
Good. All right. So learning, networking, uh, plant tours, good food. I mean, why not attend? And, and, and this year it is again in, is it in Dallas? It’s
Chrystal York (23:43):
In Dallas, Texas.
Scott Luton (23:44):
Dallas, Texas. Okay. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Uh, and those dates one more time for folks.
Chrystal York (23:49):
October 17th through the 20th.
Scott Luton (23:51):
Okay. 17th through the 20th. Great. And we will include a link to that for more information. I think the overall link is what ame.org is that right?
Chrystal York (24:00):
Scott Luton (24:01):
Okay. So check that out folks. We’ll also, uh, put a link to the conference in the, uh, show notes. So you one click away from checking out and hopefully signing up for what, uh, sounds like an outstanding conference. Um, okay, Crystal, we’ve run the gamut here today. Uh, I can’t tell you on behalf of our entire supply chain now, team, congratulations, Uh, well deserved. We’re looking forward to seeing what you do in this new role and, and making your impact and really serving so many others and helping them in their journeys, including organizations that are trying to find, uh, how to solve problems old and new. So this is really exciting. Crystal,
Chrystal York (24:37):
Thank you so much for the opportunity, Scott. Always a pleasure. And I’m gonna hold you to eating at Big Chick
Scott Luton (24:45):
Out. We’re gonna do it. No doubt. Hey, but I, One last question. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if folks wanna connect with you, if they wanna compare notes, if they wanna get involved as a volunteer for AME or, or you name it, maybe they wanna interview you. Um, how can folks connect with you? Crystal,
Chrystal York (24:59):
You can always find me on LinkedIn. I am pretty active. Um, and otherwise, if you go to ame.org, you can also reach me there.
Scott Luton (25:08):
It’s just that easy. So you’ll all make sure you connect with Crystal York and soon enough you’ll have an agent I’m sure that you can go through to get her booked, uh, for keynotes. Uh, but Crystal, this is exciting. Again, congratulations. Uh, I look forward to, to having you back, uh, down once, uh, once again kind maybe putting our finger back on the pulse of all the change you’re driving, uh, for the great, uh, organization at ame. So thank you Crystal York.
Chrystal York (25:32):
Thank you. Thank you, Scott.
Scott Luton (25:34):
You bet. And to our listeners, I told y’all it was gonna be great. I tell you, if Crystal York doesn’t get your blood going and, and especially her perspective and, and the change that she wants or the impacts she wants to, uh, create on, on greater industry, I tell you, gotta check your pulse. Um, so, but on behalf of our entire team here, Scott Luton wishing all of our listeners nothing but the best challenging you. Hey, remember deed’s, not words. It’s challenging you to do good, to give forward and to be the change that’s needed. Hey, be like Crystal, you work. And with that said, was he next time? Right back here. That Pacha now. Thanks everybody.
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Chrystal York is the President of AME’s Southeastern Region and a results-oriented leader with industry experience in business wide program implementation, cross-functional team leadership and delivering strategic initiatives with sustainable gains. She is a certified Project Manager (PMP), Six Sigma Black Belt and Lean Professional adept at building leaders, managing programs and transforming culture that enhance business practices, reduce operational costs and drive profitable growth. Connect with Crystal 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.