In this interview from the SCAC AIAG Supply Chain & Quality Conference in Charleston, South Carolina, Scott, Greg, and Beau Groover of The Effective Syndicate welcomed Bob Walker and Cathy Almquist from Trident Technical College, to Supply Chain Now Radio.
[00:00:05] It’s time for Supply Chain Now Radio. Broadcasting live from the Supply chain capital of the country, Atlanta, Georgia. Supply Chain Now Radio spotlights the best in all things supply chain the people, the technology’s the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.
[00:00:29] Hey, everybody, good afternoon. This is Greg White here with you live on Supply chain Now radio. Welcome to our show. Hey, we’re coming to you live today from the AIAG, S.C. AC. I’ve said that a few times. Supply chain and Quality Conference in Charleston, South Carolina. That is the Automotive Industry Action Group and the South Carolina Automotive Council. The conference is dedicated to automotive and we’re going to be talking with a lot of the industry leaders that are participating. And let me start with some big thanks to our friend Beau Groover and the effect of Cygnet synthy for making this coverage possible. Effective signal syndicate helps company win by optimizing process and developing winning cultures. Learn more at the effective syndicate dot com. All right. On a quick programming note, like all of our series on Supply Chain Now Radio, you can find us on Apple podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, my favorite YouTube and wherever use else you get your podcasts. As always, we’d love to have you subscribe, as Scott says, so you don’t miss a thing. Let me welcome my co-host today. I’m I am the master host for the first three minutes of Scott Luton, our founder and CEO.
[00:01:54] So welcome aboard. Hey, thanks. Thanks for joining me. You bet. We’ve had a string of of really compelling conversations that today that have really tackled a wide variety of subject matter from trade to talent to technology to automotive growth. So I think we’re going continue that streak here today with our our special guests.
[00:02:14] Yeah. Thank you for chiming in there. And Bo Gruver, as I said earlier, founder and president of the Effective syndicate co-host and our beloved sponsor.
[00:02:24] Hello, everybody. Good afternoon. Glad to be here. How are you doing? Thanks for having me. If I was any better, I’d be twins. OK, so moving back up again. He’s right. I’m having they’re flowing throughout the day. Well, my other answer is just right. So, I mean, those are two pretty good, aren’t. Yes. Yeah, that’s good. All right, Scott.
[00:02:41] You want to welcome. Yes. Really sad about our two featured guests here today as we’re close to concluding day one of what’s been a great conference here. So first off, Mr. Bob Walker, vice president, continuing education and Economic Development. Bob. Good afternoon. How are you doing? Good afternoon. Fine, thank you. And looking forward to you all y’all’s panel session later today and Cathy Almquist, vice president of academic affairs here at Trident Technical College. How you doing, Kathy? I’m doing fantastic. Good to be with you. Absolutely. So, you know, as we talked about on the warm up show, we want to dive in first before we talk more about the institution here is learning more about about each of you and kind of your journeys to get here in your current role. So, Kathy, I want to start with you. Tell us a bit more about yourself.
[00:03:27] Well, I have worked here at Trident Technical College for 28 years, but to be honest with you, I have always been on a community college campus. My parents were both community college professors, grew up on campus where I will Western Community College, the Clarinda campus. OK. Not the main cannon and expansion and actually have my associate degree from a community college. So other than my stint at the College of Charleston and Iowa State, I have always been on a community college campus. I’m a believer in the system. Wow.
[00:04:03] Loved to hear that. And that comes through loud and clear when you guys are doing great things here. Well, thank you. Yeah. Bob, how about yourself?
[00:04:10] Well, actually, I went into the Air Force right on high school as a jet engine mechanic. And after active duty for six years, I actually came to Charleston to go to Trident Tech in the aircraft maintenance program. So I’m a graduate of this college. And after that, I went on and got my electrical engineering degree. Both a bachelor’s and master’s at the Citadel in the university, South Carolina. And I’ve been here 21 years. Came back in 1998, starting in the engineering technology department as an instructor. And then I moved in to administration about 10 years ago. OK. Did you ever spending time at your job? Yes, I did. I’d go to shore to the altitude chamber. OK. I was a flight engineer and in the reserves on the C-141, which is a predecessor to the C-17. But I’d go to Shaw for the altitude chamber once a year. And then my. Wife is from Sumpter. OK.
[00:05:02] C-141 star lifter. Yes, right. I was part of the 22nd l_s_f_s 20 something years ago at Shaw. It’s been a year. Shaw and who knows? We want to pass each other in the dining hall there. Could have in a jet engine mechanic. Right. You know, those are as we talked about earlier, one early episode called Talent. Right. That’s exactly where my head went. Yeah. Yeah. In-demand. And whether it’s jet engines or whether it’s diesel engines. Now we hear a lot about the truck. This is this is Truck Driver Appreciation Week. So we’ve spent a lot of time giving love to our truck drivers that make it happen and make supply chain economy happen. But you know, what also is not really as much talked about is the need for mechanical skill sets to make supply chain happen across across industry. Right. Right.
[00:05:51] And what’s interesting is, is is across all industries right now, we’re seeing a shortage across industries. It doesn’t matter. It’s mechanics. Logistics, you name it. Engineering is just the way it is.
[00:06:03] And the good news is, is here at Trident Technical College, you’re arguing that the move the needle to address those gaps. Right. Let’s talk more about the mission here. Bob Kathee, who’d like to start?
[00:06:13] Well, I’ll just tell you, the mission of this institution is twofold. But really one fold. We are workforce development are our task. Our mission is to make sure that the three county area that we serve, which is Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties here in South Carolina, that they have an adequate and highly trained and effective workforce so that we can keep the economic engine around here running at all times. And that’s our job. Workforce development. We also have an access piece. We will provide access to higher education. We are an open door institution. So it doesn’t matter how bad you screwed up in high school, you can still go to college because we are open door. But even that access piece is designed around workforce development and even if a student comes here for the first two years to transfer somewhere else. Ultimately we want them to go to work. Yeah.
[00:07:07] Great point. I could have used. You could use your help. So when you said and I love that we are workforce development, I’m thinking of the Penn State chant. We are Penn State. We are. And we didn’t apply that here. Right. And then a different way. That’s a great working. Still, that that T-shirt slogan. We are we’re forced to.
[00:07:27] Yes. It doesn’t really roll off the tongue quite that way. That guy.
[00:07:31] All right. So what else would you add, Bob, to the mission of Trident Tech?
[00:07:35] Well, we also offer a continuing education courses, Kathie’s programs, or on the academic side of the college. And she has over 160 programs. And most all of those lead to some kind of job, as she mentioned. But my side of the college is continuing education. So it’s non-credit training. And this is for folks who may want to get some really quick entry level training to get to work. We also do training for industry where we may go out to their facility and train their in their employees or their employees may come to us and we train in our labs. We also have a lot of open enrollment type of programs in our division, a health care computer, I.T., things like that. And we also do a lot of personal interest things. We have a summer camp for children every year. I think we’ve had like 20 years just this past year and is for children between 7 and 17. And they come either in the morning for a camp or in the afternoon for camp in last five days and is all over. The map is a lot of things like culinary computer programming, music, theater, all kinds of things. So we try to get them early, get ’em interested, and hopefully they’ll come back and be one of our students later.
[00:08:47] Yeah. You know, one thing we found out here in talking with a wide radio folks that are here that Trident Technical College is the third largest institution in the state. That’s why I had no idea, although what a gorgeous in large campus I have just here.
[00:09:02] Right, right. Yeah. And we all you know, this is one of four campuses that we have. It is the largest. But we also have campuses in downtown Charleston. We’ve got one in Mount Pleasant and we’ve got one out in rural Berkeley County. Really?
[00:09:17] So let’s talk more about your specific roles. Real quick. So, Bob, tell us more about what you do here at school.
[00:09:23] Well, as a vice president for continuing education and economic development, what I do is run that division when it’s not running me, but basically offering that opportunity for short term training for workforce, as well as a lot of different things, as I mentioned earlier. But we also try to integrate with the community. The whole lot were out there with the chambers, with the S.R. d._a conferences like this, trying to be out in the community, letting people know what we do and the resources we have that may be able to help them when it comes to their employees and how to enhance their. Employees capability and productivity. Things like that. So a lot of times it’s a lot of being out there, being the face of Trident Technical College and just making people aware of what we have, a lot of people just do not realize the capabilities we have at the college.
[00:10:14] Absolutely. And the scope of what you are touching an impact you’re having. Carthew about you. Tell us more about your role.
[00:10:22] Well, as Bob mentioned earlier, we have 160 credit courses, art, not credit courses, but credit academic programs. Those are associate degrees, diplomas, certificates. All but two of those all but two are designed to put people to work immediately. The two that are are not our transfer programs. They’re designed to let students have the first two years of a four year college degree and then transfer on to the College of Charleston, the Citadel, the University, South Carolina, Clemson, where those are both very large programs. But the other hundred and fifty some-odd plus are all designed to put people to give people work force skills. Some of them designed around a very particular career. We have, for example, a physical therapy assistant program. You get that degree, you go to work as a physical therapist assistant. Others are designed to help someone who already has a skill set to add on to that. We’ve got a host of I.T. certificates that are short term that maybe somebody who’s already working in the I.T. field just wants to come get a very specific skill set around, possibly cybersecurity, possibly a certain type of programming language that can come in and get that certificate relatively short term.
[00:11:38] So how do a job keep your finger on the pulse? There’s a lot of employers here today. I’m sure you all have nonstop conversations about the skill sets are looking for and manufacturing supply chain, you know, elsewhere. How how does creating a new course come about? How do you all help you? You’ll know when to add something new.
[00:12:00] Well, for all of our academic programs that are designed to put people to work. We have an advisory board that is made of employers in that discipline. So each of our academic associate degrees has an advisory board. They meet at least twice a year. And it’s a meeting of folks from the industry and faculty members. We listen very carefully to what they’re telling us about trends in the industry. What they see coming down the pipe. What kind of people they’re looking for. What skill sets they’re finding absent in their in their new hires. What they’re looking for. And then we try to be as reactive as possible and and turn around and make adjustments to our curriculum. And and we do that. We get things rolling pretty quickly.
[00:12:45] You know, Kathy, a lot of what I heard it in your answer is being proactive about seeing around the corner of what employers are seeing flat line and getting out ahead as some of the gaps that that that we know exist and some of the gaps that we find to help exist. Exactly. Really neat to hear that. All right. So obviously, the event here, the AIG mess, SCAC, Supply chain and quality conferences here at Trident Technical College, you are participating. You got a keynote coming up here later today. What the all look most forward to about these events like this, what a all look to get out of events like this.
[00:13:21] Well, is againas networking. A lot of it is networking, getting out and meeting people. There are a lot of folks that we know already, but there are new people that we we meet. And, you know, sometimes you don’t necessarily do anything with them for a while, but then, you know, six months or a year down the road, you know, they are aware of where where you are and how to get in touch with you. And then maybe we can make something happen for them.
[00:13:45] Mm hmm. Catholic harmony is a really specific example here. And that is we’ve got good contacts with the industries that we serve now. But new industry has a tendency to pop up pretty quickly these days. True. And so knowing what’s coming is as important to us as knowing what’s here. And you mentioned it earlier today, diesel mechanics, CDL training.
[00:14:10] We are we’ve heard rumblings about now say we are a workforce development ready for use. We are workforce development. And we’ve heard rumblings about both of those. Yeah.
[00:14:20] And we have plans in place right now to get those programs up and running at our rural Berkeley campus, which we say rural. But compared to compared to some rural, it’s not that it’s just outside amongst Korner, but we are hoping to have CDL training available in January. And while there are other places that you can go to get training to be to get that CDL license, sometimes it’s not accessible.
[00:14:47] It’s not accessible to some of those people for whom getting that license would be a life altering, a family changing event. Right. And you sometimes you got to have the money. To pay for that training before you can get that training, part of our mission is access or make that training accessible people.
[00:15:06] That’s outstanding. Why do I sense that Mike Rowe is probably big fans of you all, you know?
[00:15:13] You know, I see his stuff every once in a while, and I’m always tempted to just reach out and say, I think you should use Zooey’s to get on this campus. I think he has work.
[00:15:21] Absolutely. I mean, look, you know, one of his big statements is, is so many people are spending money on college education and coming out of school with lower income opportunity or no opportunity. Ryder limited opportunity than people who are in the trades and for so long. I don’t know about everyone else around this table, but it was just assumed when I was a kid that we were going to college. Right? Right. I have a 17 year old daughter. I’m trying. I’m actually trying to encourage her to be a plumber.
[00:15:53] So. Well, I think she could make a buck double. Oh, she could. Well, let me tell you a little bit about what we’ve done with regard to younger people and the trades. We have a youth apprenticeship program here that is being rolled out as a model across the country. It was developed in partnership with our local chamber. They were a huge supporter for us. We could not have gotten it off the ground without the local chamber area. Employers are K 12 partners and also Apprenticeship Carolina, which is a statewide initiative to get apprenticeships up and running for Gupton. And he talked with her a just fabulous. This is part two. So what we do with that apprenticeship is we take rising juniors and we have them interview with employers. The employers choose the student that they want to hire. That that young man or woman then spends the next two years in an apprenticeship where they take high school classes. They take college classes with us here at Trident Technical College, and they go to work. And in the summers, they work full time at the end of two years. That kid and they are still kids will have a high school diploma, a college credential from Trident Technical College, a U.S. Department of Labor journeyman credential and two years of paid work experience. Wow. One of our very first youth apprentices bought her own home at the age of 19.
[00:17:17] Nice that. Now see, that is life altering. It really is. And there are that there are many more success stories like. Wow, that’s inspiring. Dozens, I’m sure. So. What are the trends that you guys are looking out at? So, you know, one or two things that you got your eye on.
[00:17:34] There’s a lot of change. You know, new industries pop up, as you mentioned. So what are the things that you’re looking at or watching for?
[00:17:41] Well, we’re about to open on an 80 million dollar South Carolina aeronautical training center probably in the next couple of months. So grand opening is in early November. And Kathy and I’ve been working on that. There’s going to be academic programs as well as continue as vacation programs in the building. Ready, S.C. We’ll have a presence there as well. But one of the things that we’re seeing is it’s always a challenge for a two year Technical college in a state system to be able to afford the technology.
[00:18:07] And the technology’s moving so quickly now that we’re working very hard together to leverage everything. We have all the resources, we have all the equipment, we have the spaces we have to train. But I think we’re going to see more and more partnerships with industry so that we have one foot in their door. They have one foot in our door when it comes to developing curricula and being able to do that. We’re seeing more technicians taking on more and more technical responsibility in the industry, in the manufacturing industry. They’re having to do higher grades and higher levels of were than in years past. I remember when I was a technician in the Air Force, we had a specialty for everything. We had jet engines, we had hydraulics, we had electrical. But you’ve probably heard of mechatronics. And that’s the blending of so many things, the mechanical, the electrical, the computers. And so what industry really needs is somebody who’s able to adapt to more and more responsibility and higher level responsibility. So I think that’s what we’re going to see. And we really have to work closely with industry on this.
[00:19:15] And I just want to second what Bob said about more of a blending, more of an industry presence in what we do, more of our presence and what they do. The same is true with those hard borders that we’ve always seen between K-12 and college, between between the community college and a senior institution. We’ve spent decades putting ourselves into silos. And what we’re realizing now is that’s not going to get us through. We have got to bust through the walls of these silos and figure out how to get all of these different groups to work together to develop the next generation of workers.
[00:19:50] You know, the borders just don’t work. I mean, they never did, but they they certainly don’t work now. And I think, you know, we’ve got a vocal enough student pop. Flation to actually say something about it and be meaningful. Absolutely right. I mean, how many people left high school and had no idea how to get a job and no experience? Likewise with a with a JUCO degree or even with a with a college degree got out of school. And the first requirement with any job that you go to is do you have any experience in the first question you want to ask yourself when you get out of colleges? Why did I go to college?
[00:20:25] And that’s the beauty of that apprenticeship type of program. Exactly where, when, when. The first question is, what’s your experience? That 18 year old can say, I have two years of experience, run this CNPC machine over here or whatever it is they’ve been apprentice that day.
[00:20:41] And what’s really cool is we’ve had a number of these students who have actually gone to work with an employer and that employer has turned around and said, we’ll fund you going to get your bachelor’s degree in engineering or whatever it sounds, you know.
[00:20:55] And so now they’ve they’ve already got a foot in the door with an employer. And that employer is going to help them continue on with their education and take higher and higher levels of responsibility in the company.
[00:21:05] But we have to find more. We have to. We’re punching holes in the walls of the silos right now. We got to find ways to completely tear those walls down completely with you.
[00:21:15] So before Greg’s always curious about folks looking around the corner.
[00:21:19] Especially as you all have a great view around the corner. But go ahead.
[00:21:25] Any other any other industry trends or challenges that that you all have been talk about a team we’re talking with your advisory board about before we kind of get your fearless prognostications for 2020?
[00:21:36] I’ll just say it’s it’s it’s really, really hard to stay on top of workforce development when an entire new industry can come to town and change your entire culture overnight. One of the things that we have learned across this last decade, and it’s only been a decade since Boeing announced that they were going to establish a plant here. We have completely shifted the economy of this area. And I think that we’ve done a reasonable job of trying to keep up with that. But if I were to say anything to any other community college, it’s stretch all the time because we like to think that we’re flexible. But then when the challenge comes to really try that flexibility and really see just how flexible you are, you may find that you’ve gotten a little stiff in your joints. So keep flexing all the time. Keep changing, keep reacting. It’s almost impossible to keep up because we don’t know what the next industry is going to be. But as long as you keep that keep that wheels rolling and keep moving in a positive direction, you can get them an example of that.
[00:22:45] As with the Aeronautical Training Center, we actually started that project back in around 2013. And really then the focus was Boeing and that was a real important focus. But then in 2015, Volvo announced and then Mercedes Benz announced. And so now our direction broadened into more advanced manufacturing. So that’s kind of an example of us trying to be very nimble when it comes to what we’re doing as far as programming for the area.
[00:23:16] So the chambers of commerce and in governors and other politicians, they’re working to get those companies here. Is there any way for you to have greater insight through those? I’m sure you’re trying to do that. And I’m sure they try to give you some insight as well. But they do.
[00:23:33] They they they’re pretty good about trying to give us as many hints as they possibly can. But, of course, you know, with with so many of these things, you don’t get to know about the industry arriving until they until suddenly there’s a group of people breaking ground somewhere. So a good a good example for us is W International, which there was a group that knew that they were coming. They referred to them as Operation Whiskey. But for a long time, we didn’t even know what that industry was going to be about. And then they let us know that they needed welders and then they let us know that they needed 30 welders a month for the next three years. Holy cow. And I’m thinking, well, we produce 30 welders a year ago. So we had to ramp up and ramp up fairly quickly to try to help address that big workforce need. But sometimes you don’t have much time to do that. Sometimes you really got to turn on a dime.
[00:24:25] That’s a really good practical example of keeping your flexibility. That’s right. I mean, because that that is a dramatic change.
[00:24:34] So we’ve got to understand, y’all got a keynote just around the corner here. So why Greg has work with some of us have. Let’s talk to you, too.
[00:24:44] Bob, I could stay and talk all day. All right. Just we had an open seat. Well, it’ll be a mini series, so. So I have to ask this.
[00:24:51] So imagine you have a crystal ball. Right. Imagine it’s not something surprising coming from the government. With only hints or not even hints, any bold predictions for the next year. Look at her, look at you. She can make you go first.
[00:25:08] I don’t know if I can make any bold predictions, any boring thing or, you know, again, I think it’s gonna. This is for us in Trident Technical College, one of 16 technical colleges in the state and the third largest higher education institution in the state.
[00:25:25] I think we’re going to be working very hard when we opened this aeronautical training center because it is just a completely different ballgame for us. And so we’re gonna have our hands full for the next year.
[00:25:38] And to be honest with you. When we were working through this, I contact some folks out at Wichita State and I said, I’m hoping we can get our legs under us in three years. And and the person said, I think it took us five, but we really have so much opportunity on the horizon with this center. And so I think this is going to consume us for the next. Good, good, good. A little bit of time. Absolutely.
[00:26:05] Advanced manufacturing. Advanced manufacturing and. And keeping our transportation and Logistics ahead of what is being manufactured. You know, it doesn’t matter how many things you can produce. If you don’t have any way to get them off of the shop floor. So those are the those are the two areas that I see really exploding and changing across the next several years. And I’d echo what Bob said about better partnerships with business and industry so that we develop the right curriculum for them. Right?
[00:26:38] Well, I think there’s a lot of bacon to the sounds like the DNA of the leadership team here that you’re you’re you’re are addressing the need now while progressively and actively and and not you couldn’t put your finger on the pulse. It’s like our passion for health. Look around the corner of what’s going be needed next. And I think that for me is as a breath of fresh air. I mean, we think we’ve seen similarly, I’ve sat down with a variety of educational leaders toward Dr. Sean Montgomery at UIGEA is all about getting students out and connecting with the real world in a way that is that I didn’t experience when I was in school. So great. I love to hear the leadership level here, the passion that comes from from both of you all. And we’re going to come back and check in on this big aeronautical project. Which one is that glove?
[00:27:29] Well, we’re having a grand opening on November 8th. Ironic one. We’re already offering classes. I mean, we’re moving in and starting we started classes on the 26 of August and we had to move everything that was up at the Berkeley campus and most corner down all the aviation programs that Kathy has, all the airplanes, all the airplane planes.
[00:27:49] Real quick, how can folks you have so much going on, but how can our listeners reach out and learn more?
[00:27:56] Well, our Web site is w w w dot Trident Tech. Dot e._d._u. And if you search through that, you should be able to find our contact information Web sites a good place to start.
[00:28:07] And if you’re really interested in getting started with some classes, you can also call our information line 8 4 3 5 7 4 6 1 1 1. And whoever answers that phone will get you where you need to be.
[00:28:18] Love it. Okay. Well, we’ve been talking with Bob Walker Vice President Continue Education and economic development with Trident Technical College and his colleague Cathy Almquist Vice President, Academic Affairs at the same. Pleasure to speak with you both. Thanks for carbon time out. Thanks for having us. You bet. All right. So we’re going to wrap up in an expedited fashion on some upcoming events. And we’ve talked about Bo, the Effective syndicate, the vano 920. We’ve got the Georgia Manufacturing Summit on October 9th. You can learn more at our events tab at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. On behalf of Bob and Kathy and Greg and Bo to our audience, be sure to check out other upcoming events, replays for interviews, other resources at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. You can find us an Apple podcast, SoundCloud, YouTube, Greg White and all the leading sites my podcast can be found. Be sure to subscribe Schoolman see thing on behalf the whole team. Hope for you. Enjoyed this this episode. Supply Chain Now Radio. Have a wonderful week and we will see you next time on Supply Chain Now Radio radio. Thanks for writing.
Bob Walker is the Vice President for Continuing Education & Workforce Development. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from The Citadel and his Master of Engineering from the University of South Carolina. Bob also earned his A.I.T. in Aircraft Maintenance Technology from Trident Technical College. Learn more about Trident Tech here: https://www.tridenttech.edu/
Cathy Almquist is the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Trident Technical College. She has been with the college since 1990 when she joined the faculty as a chemistry instructor. She holds an Associate in Arts from Iowa Western Community College, a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the College of Charleston, a Master of Science in Immunobiology from Iowa State University, and a Doctor of Management in Community College Policy and Administration. Learn more about Trident Tech here: https://www.tridenttech.edu/
Beau Groover is Founder and President of The Effective Syndicate. He has been working with manufacturing and operations-focused organizations for over 20 years, primarily focused on developing bullet-proof processes and teams that are built to win. Beau has helped organizations save millions of dollars while also improving those companies’ customer experiences and building high-performing teams that continue to drive the business forward. He has developed his approach and strategy over years of working with some of the biggest companies in multiple levels within the organizations, including The Coca-Cola Company, Nordson Corporation, and Westrock (formerly RockTenn). Just prior to launching The Effective Syndicate in 2015, Beau served as the Director of Lean Supply Chain at Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC. Connect with Beau Groover on LinkedIn and learn more about The Effective Syndicate here: https://www.theeffectivesyndicate.com/
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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.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.