Supply Chain Now Radio Episode 236

Episode Summary

Scott Luton and Greg White welcome Ashok Vantipalli to SCNR at eft’s Logistics CIO Forum.

Episode Transcript

[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, welcome, everyone. Back to Supply Chain Now Radio. This is Scott Luton. Welcome back to the show. On today’s show, we aren’t broadcasting from Atlanta, Georgia, but rather we’re broadcasting live from Austin, Texas, home of e.t.’s Logistics S.O form a Reuters event where we’re gonna be interviewing some of the most innovative thought leaders. They’re all doing big things across CNN. Supply chain industry are Supply Chain Now Radio team is proud to continue to partner with Nick Stylianou and OSRF, not be in really the whole CFT and Reuters event team. All that said, let’s welcome in my fearless co-host here today. Greg White serial supply chain tech entrepreneur, kronic disruptor and trusted advisor.

 

[00:01:12] Hey, Don. Greg, I’m doing great. I love that chronic disruptor thing. Keep saying that. Well, and I know you’re passionate about what truly is this Rob Cook. And we’ll save that for you. That’s all. That’s a whole show.

 

[00:01:24] But we’re excited. We’ve got a wonderful interview here today without lightless. Let’s not waste any more time. Yeah, that’s welcome. In our feature guest for this segment. I should want to Polli CIO at thaat Hub. Sure. How you doing?

 

[00:01:37] Good morning. First fall, Greg and Scott, appreciate you guys inviting me for this podcast, if you will. I’m really looking forward to next two days of hefty CIO Logistics Forum here to learn a lot as well and learn from my peers and hopefully share some some of my thoughts and trends that the industry is going to see.

 

[00:02:00] Yeah. Eric, cool. I’m glad the three of us could come from Atlanta to get together. Yeah, I know. Since, you know, we were fortunate to have one.

 

[00:02:09] Your colleagues, Peter Gibbons from Tower Hub, join us in an on on the show last June. And we’ve gotten a ton of feedback about that story and really about the Tower Hub story. Yeah. And so excited to have you back. So for our listeners are made had didn’t catch that episode. Tell us more about tarab.

 

[00:02:25] Sure. Before that, I think you mentioned Peter Gibbons, our CEO. I’m really, really proud to be part of the leadership team and couldn’t have asked for a better leader to lead us our company. So a bit about the you know, before I go in to the company itself, I want to talk a little bit about what’s happening in the industry itself. Right. Specifically the tire distribution industry. The biggest challenge, you know, I think when we look at the industry, what we see is a tremendous amount of SKU proliferation and also a tremendous amount, a lot of brands across the globe right now. Why would a consumer such as you and I care about that. Right. And while we should. I’ll give you a simple example to hote kind of hit this home is let’s assume you’re driving a Chevy Trailblazer, 20 foot 14 or 15. And you go to your favorite auto auto parts store, Napa, Atlanta, and you go look for the brake pads. What are the odds of showing that brake pad showing up on that?

 

[00:03:33] My wife is laughing Annison Atlanta, because she knows I have no idea how to work any of these parts. We’re talking about, oh, you’re not alone.

 

[00:03:40] There are many people that’s called outsourced. That’s right. Let’s call it that. Yeah. So I went to the Napa store.

 

[00:03:48] Yeah. And you look for that auto part and it’s obviously not there because it’s for a retailer to stock something like that, which is not a fast moving SKU, if you will.

 

[00:04:00] It becomes a tremendous challenge for space constraints and etc.. Right now we’re talking a little brake pad there, not think about the tires, how big they are. Right. Right. No more. Nobody has warehouse space, et cetera. Now, that’s one part of the challenge. The second part of the challenge really is as a consumer, when the car comes out of the dealer’s lot, the first one. But it’s a BMW, Lexus, whatever you like to drive the original tires that are on that car and you’re 30, 40 thousand miles and you want a new tire. The odds of actually getting the same tire on the car are less than 50 percent. You know that. And hopefully this kind of gives you why the reasons are. And what really happens is you’re at the mercy of the guy who’s behind the counter and saying, I need these tires and you look okay. This is all I got in stock. And you. There’s always an immediacy attached to it. And people say, OK. Get me on whatever you can. Yeah, well, you got right. So now if you take a step back, our shareholders. So Tara Hub is a joint venture between Goodyear and Bridgestone.

 

[00:05:12] And somebody may ask how come. Arch competitors come together to form a joint venture? Right. Well, they saw the need in the industry that they wanted to make sure the consumers were on the tires they love. And if we’re finding it tough that that there was tremendous amount of friction to get that through. So they said rather than depending on somebody third party, why don’t we come together as a company and form a distribution Logistics software services company to enable that so that the consumer such as you and I are on the right tires that we love. Right. And that that’s, in a sense, what it is. Furthermore, that the company was started last July and we have about 70 distribution centers across the country and our customers are generally a large box retailers such as Costco discounts to independent tar dealers across the country since stand up. Really proud to say that again, goes to say the culture of the company is building and rallying round. We’ve acquired about 70000 customers since stand up. Wow. It’s quite an achievement. We continue to grow at a very aggressive pace. And obviously, technology plays a huge role in that.

 

[00:06:29] Absolutely. Well, now that you joined the company that a year and a half ago, roughly, is that right? Yeah. And your role. Tell us more about what you do with tarab.

 

[00:06:41] Yeah. So my role as CIO, but in many ways probably I could call myself CTO because we are a product driven company and I’ll talk a little bit about that. So like I said, you know, at the end of the day, to solve the end consumer need, which is what we’re talking about last five minutes or so, you know, it takes tremendous amount of integrations, connectivity, being there at the right place at the right time to happen. And technology plays a role, a key role in that. Let me we always talk about within our company, right. We’re no different than, you know, let’s talk about a parallel Amazon. We all know about Amazon. Right. No need to rehash that.

 

[00:07:29] Amazon has created an exchange for you. You only see it from the consumer side of the house. But when you look at the from a business to business, they created an exchange where a lot of these retailers can participate in that exchange so that the end consumer is able to get the product that they want. Right. Right. And in a very fast fashion. Now, Amazon Prime has gone down from two days to one day. Great achievement. Right. We are absolutely no different, but we have a very stringent requirement beyond that, which is I always talk to my team about we are there to connect the demand to supply in real time, make sure that supply is there at the right place, at the right time and right again, the size of the tire, right then et cetera, et cetera. And then the other big requirement, which is far more stringent than Amazon, like I said, is to be able to deliver that product within the same day or within four hours. Now, just imagine what what it takes to make that all whole ecosystem happen if you. Right. Right. So that’s that’s, in a sense, what we are here for. Right. And my view is, you know, maybe probably in many ways against the grain. But I’m going to make a statement. I believe. I strongly believe. And here’s why. Reason for me to come is unless we solve the end consumer problem, we’re really not solving the problem with this.

 

[00:08:58] The issue that we have in a man. Yeah, I think I think it’s too often that we forget that the consumer is the beginning and the end of the supply chain. Absolutely. Think of supply chain as all of this infrastructure. Yeah. Right. But really, the only reason the supply chain exists is because the consumer desires goods.

 

[00:09:15] Absolutely right. On Greg White.

 

[00:09:18] So you really answered. That’s the why. That’s the why distribution Logistics industry for you and that’s the why for car hub.

 

[00:09:25] So there that right. Was there something about the existing distribution infrastructure, which is vast, as we all know? Right. I mean that that underserved your particular purposes there. There must have been something missing, I guess is where it where I’m coming from in in the marketplace that that caused Goodyear and Bridgestone to come together.

 

[00:09:46] Yeah. So there are a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I think whether call it SKU proliferation or if you look at brand delusion, what both both of our shareholders thought that.

 

[00:09:59] They were, you know, if they did not own their supply chain, they were reliant on some third party to really, you know, push their mission forward and which was really not happening. Right. So they said, why not? We take ownership of that. Yeah. Right. And then actually they did a very, very smart move, which I’d say they could have easily said, OK. Let’s take our distribution and combine and keep it under the umbrella.

 

[00:10:25] They said, no, no, no, we are a manufacturer of tire and we need a company that is awesome at distribution customer service and hence created this entity called Tire. Right. And give gave it the independence to do what it’s it’s good for. And they they do what they do well on it.

 

[00:10:44] So you mentioned shareholders. Let’s talk about any additional information you can share about the mandate from tarab shareholders and how technology is playing a huge factor in executing on that.

 

[00:10:59] Yeah, I think ah, at the end of the day, you know, we’ve taken the mandate from our shareholders, Bridgestone Goodyear Football. We simplified it into a simple mission statement, call it.

 

[00:11:10] We said, want to make sure our customers customers are on the tires that they love. Let me defined those two terms.

 

[00:11:17] Customers, like I said earlier, our customers are all the way from big box retailers to a little mom and pop show shops and independent dealers or and then their customers are customers, such as consumers, such as you and I. Right. Right. And when we look at this, you know, it’s that mission statement is kind of easy to say, but actually really hard to make it happen. Right.

 

[00:11:45] And and always. Always. Right.

 

[00:11:48] And and and part of the reason why I took this opportunity, honestly, is it being in it for coming from softer industry. You have a defined problem. You go defined solve it. This industry is more than hundred years old. There are some ways and means people are accustomed to. Right. And there’s tremendous enough friction to change that behavior. Right. But at the same time, whether it’s your end customer, consumer or our customer, they were at the end of the day. We’ve all experience using whether Uber or Amazon. But when when it comes to their own business, there’s no technology automation or for that for them to actually reap the benefit and really serve the customer better. Right. So from a technology standpoint, like I talked about connecting the demand to supply. So what we call in that space, we have two products, what we call TAA Hub now and Taha Pass to our hub now is a B2B Web site for our independent dealers. Taha Pass is we have variety of flavor of micro services and APIs to enable connected wheat with large customers such as Costco discounts, et cetera. Right. And then on the second part that I talked about, ensuring that we have the right supply at the right time, at the right place.

 

[00:13:19] Right. And you folks, you know, know very well that it’s it’s it’s it’s an age old problem everybody is trying to solve. Some have been successful. But in our case, the concept of seasonality plays a huge role. Winter tires versus summer tires. And then the consumer trends that are changing lately. Right. If you think about Ford, stop making cars. Right. Or GM is stopping SUV. So the demand for different tires are increasing right now. How do you place that particular tire, the right location? So that’s always.

 

[00:13:54] So we have we’re in the process of deploying of a major demand and supply planning tool with some deep machine learning as we move forward. Look at the historical data and and give us some pattern behaviors. So we are far more predictable. Our role, you know, connecting the demand to suppliers. First, do you need to make sure the supply is her when the actual connective connection happens? Right. That’s not a part of it. And then and then the third part, third leg of that is, OK, found the supply connected order. Now the trick is how to deliver optimally deliver. Right. And there you’ve all seen now Amazon’s printer trucks going around. We have our own fleet and our own teams across the country, the 70 distribution centers. Big advantage. Yeah, we deliver four times a day. Right. And we find optimal way to deliver that. And we’re deploying a Rod Logistics Soffer as we speak. We’ve done quite a bit of pilots. Now a full deployment and said to me, you need to be able to do all three of them, not just in the penalty but together to make it, you know, it’s like a song, you know, it’s tune to tune. Tune to a song.

 

[00:15:11] Yes. It’s like a symphony. Exactly. Technical that a word? The technology that you’re deploying is. Are you building it or are you buying it or partnering? How are you pushing that? It’s it’s good for your history. We tell me. You have the hills to build it.

 

[00:15:28] Yes, absolutely. I have to tell you a little story before I actually answer that question. So before coming to tarab, I think it was late, 2000 thousand seven. Between that time, 12:00. I used to work for a lot of private equity firms and and as an interim CIO, CTO roles and coming from a software industry, you know, for Hammer, where’s a nail? Type of situation. Right. And I always used to think that way. And I remember in a board conversation for a healthcare company, I was just getting so excited about this technology that technology and the private equity partners like stop, tell me how it improves the top line revenue growth or even the margin improvements. And I’m like, what?

 

[00:16:18] So neat need. So I don’t know. Yeah.

 

[00:16:22] And and I say that because that was a great jolt that I got as an individual. For me to really take a step back and say, what does it mean for our business? Right. So from that perspective, you know, when the news came out from Bridgestone Goodyear about Tar Hub. Right. In many ways, time was against us because, you know, how do you go from zero to 70000 customers being able to deliver that would speed, Brian, a one of our occurrences we called Speedy. Right. So you couldn’t do this by building your own things. So the way we’ve looked at is obviously we have certain core partners without going into details, whether our ERP portal, etc. But then anything that gives us the flexibility. So to grow and scale, which is kind of close to our heart, we’ve developed internally. So all of our micro services API is middleware. While we have leverage all the technology, but we’ve kind of kept it close to our heart. And the reason for that is what we’ve found is and it obviously kind of makes a point from going from 0 to 7000 once we build those micro services and API is without going into detail for customer before doing this.

 

[00:17:43] We were doing 50 percent of our revenue through our portal, 50 through our phone channel. And overnight, when we connected to their P.O.S. system point of sale system, our volume went fourfold because this is where we took that friction out of that trying. Right. And when the agent is right behind the counter and the customer standing in front of them, they are able to serve them right then and there. So so to me, anything that is fairly strategic and the industry hasn’t solved for it. We are developing anything where we can partner with our our software providers and we are, for that matter. You know, here in Austin, without going again, giving out the name, working with our one of our partner. We met that product team yesterday to talk about, hey, here’s the problems we’re trying to solve. Can we partner with you guys to innovate your roadmap and yet deliver capabilities for our customers so they are happy about it. So it’s a kind of a two pronged strategy.

 

[00:18:48] That’s a great that’s a great approach because you with the API and your connectors, you’re less limited by the limitations of your technology partners. Yeah, right. You take all of the goodness that they provide you as an output. You take their hammer. Yeah, right. And you and you find them. I find the nail actually. Exoneree. Yeah. That’s a great that’s a great approach.

 

[00:19:09] So clearly technology is is part of the fabric that terrorism is in the DNA at our hub. How else are you. And you’ve kind of walk through the different ways you’re leveraging technology. Anything else as it relates to implementing that growth strategy and serving the customers and 70000 customers in no time? Anything else in any other ways that you’re leveraging technology to to to grow and scale as fast as you are?

 

[00:19:33] Absolutely. So I think we often ask ourselves a question, what does our product. Right. And and early on, the question answer used to retire. But actually, if you take a step back, our manufacturers or shareholders, actually, their product is thaat. Our product is really the people in the technology that deliver great customer experiences. Right. So. It’s almost like the that while, you know, I can sit here, brag all about the great technology stuff that we do, the other half the yin and yang is the cut. Our people kind of make that happen. Right. One, obviously, you know, as as part of our culture, we’ve always talked about being approachable to our customers. Right. When what it’s a driver who’s delivering that tire to our distribution Logistics Center’s leader, to somebody who’s on the technology team, we all have to have that attribute. We take a painstaking process to make sure people have those attributes before they come in. And and I think you can’t do that. Just, you know, putting on a piece of paper, you actually have to really build out inside out, if you will, and to deliver that. So to me, while technology is absolutely helping the growth and making those connections, but at the end of the day, it’s a human interaction that again starts with the end consumer and ends with that. That piece still absolutely is executed by our what we call our colleagues. Hubers. Right. Right. And those guys those folks out in the field, day in, day out, deliver that to our customers like that outburst thing. That’s cool. Yellow. Although my daughter always makes fun of that.

 

[00:21:25] How old is she? She’s 10. Oh, I would have guessed 14. She’s making five. She’s ahead of the day. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I said Internet travel. Absolutely.

 

[00:21:36] So let’s talk about let’s let’s let’s get a good break out your crystal balls. Let’s look at the next few years and what you can predict and where you’re headed. What I like of what we’ve heard Shook is you’ve really laid out the current state very impressively. Right? Clearly, Tara Hubbs, a very innovative organization. We gathered that from our first interview with Peter Gibbons. And, of course, all this being from Atlanta. We hear a good bit about Tara. Right. We love it. And frankly, I love the collaboration between two big brands, because I think that really illustrates the level of progressive collaboration that we’re really seeing across the Supply chain space. But break out your crystal ball. Tell us where we’re headed in the next couple of years. What else is behind the green curtain, so to speak?

 

[00:22:22] There are two unique trends that I think whether it’s a tar hub or any other distributor for that matter, need to really focus on is the industries left behind looking at historical data and analytics around. You know, again, we all hear buzzwords around artificial intelligence, machine learning. To me, we’ve got to crawl, walk, run. And especially specifically in this industry where I think there are certain other demand signals that have not been tapped in the past. Right. And those as you start to take those demand signals, I think the better we will have better predictability of where the demand is would solve. The first problem is talk about connecting the demand to supply. Right. So that’s absolutely critical, because if you don’t get that right, forget you couldn’t have a Mercedes driving tires. You’re not going to get there even in the dark yet. You don’t get it right. So. So to me, that is the most important trend. The other piece of thing. And partly why I’ve I’m attending this forum is to learn from peers and colleagues, you know, is what else is happening in the distribution and Logistics space, which is what the product coming in and out the warehouse. Right. What other technologies? I remember a long time ago I worked for a private equity firm. We were working on a problem that they were salt solving. They were a beer keg manufacturer, something that interests all of us. Yes, of course. Right. Yeah. And this was. This is two thousand seven or eight. And they had an interesting problem. They had 30000 kegs across the country that they would give it to local bars and stuff. Right. And their loss rates loss rate was 30 percent. Obviously, after a cargo beer, you don’t know where you left that one. So they they approached us to solve this problem, you know, through RFID chips and stuff like that. We came up with approach and implemented that. But now a fast track, you know, IAPT devices and all lots and no.

 

[00:24:30] And and Keg’s will walk back to the sky. Exactly. Which I wish are the cars will roll with them. Yeah.

 

[00:24:39] I think what. What I see is the there’s tremendous opportunity of intersection between that technology and a problem that is still kind of not solved adequately, at least I believe in our industry. And and my view is, if you want to be a. To deliver the product in time, as you promised to your customers, the warehouse need to be fairly efficient, and I think we’re in the almost like a, you know, starting point of that journey. And warehouse optimization. Exactly right. And you know, better terminology than I.

 

[00:25:17] Yeah. And when you when you talk, I think I made it up. That’s about 9 percent. That said, you’re thinking process.

 

[00:25:25] You’re taking people that they can. Technology. Yeah. Of the whole whole enchilada.

 

[00:25:29] Yeah, absolutely. I think again, they all have to come hand-in-hand in many ways. I think most recently we’ve been, you know, since stand up, we’ve gotten our ERP slash WME system working well. Now we’re looking to say, OK, let’s look at how many times the product is coming in from our shareholders. Right. In terms of supply and what is the optimal way to actually stack them right in the racks so that the auto picking is much easier. Right. And I think that process, it’s all starts with process first and then technology sales. And where are the inefficiencies and how I can address them? So we’re in early phase of that. But really looking forward to the later part of this year in 2020 to optimize that piece.

 

[00:26:20] Now, I absolutely want to have you back on so you can share some of your lessons learned. Absolutely during that process. But there’s always opportunity. You’re right. There’s always opportunity. And it’s always neat to rub elbows with leaders that that despite what’s gone. Well. All right. Yeah, they’re still humble enough to look for those opportunities and act on them. All right. OK. So how can folks learn? I know you’re doing it. You’re providing a keynote later today right here at the De Logistics CEO forum. I’m looking forward to that. But how can folks learn more about Tara?

 

[00:26:55] Yeah, sure. I think first and foremost, I would say having worked many years in New York, private equity, financial services, consulting environments and different placements. Yeah. Hence the lack of hair. I find one of the things that, you know, we’re not big by any stretch of imagination when you look at other distributors. But there’s something unique about, I think the team that Peter has pulled together and the team that we’ve formed, there’s inherent, you know, zeal to make this a success. You know, in many ways, all of our what we call harbors feel like they’re shareholder of the company and they want to see success. You know, how do you go from zero to 70000 customers? It’s just not a joke, right? Look, it can only happen when we are all aligned to the same goal. And we’re all we don’t look at this as a job or the teams don’t look at this as a job. They look at this as a mission and really engage and marching forward with that. Have you seen setbacks? Absolutely. We have had several setbacks early on. It was a bumpy ride for our customers and we were absolutely transparent. I remember earlier this year a go to a conference. We just said, look, we just start the company we recognize here are the issues. If you have issues with technology, here’s a check.

 

[00:28:28] If you have issues with our back office billing here, Scott King, our CFO, yada, yada, yada, and we had just active participation, took the issues and worked through them. And I’m really proud of it. Now, most recently, we as an executive team keep calling one customer all week thanking for their business and also looking at what can we do better. And I think the consistent theme is great job, guys, keep it on. And and during the process, we also get a thing or two about how about this and that. Right. So that’s that start. So to me, it if you want to be part of a great culture, great commodity, you want to definitely come to thaat. There’s no ifs and buts about that. And the second piece I would say is to learn more about two. To answer your original question, learn more about obviously we are fairly active on LinkedIn and several openings. You know, we’re growing as we speak. Outstanding. Yeah. And also Twitter. So that’s one way to engage. Or, you know, I’m always available on linked into to ping me. I love to answer any questions if you are they’re interested in. We’re growing our technology group as well.

 

[00:29:43] And that doesn’t surprise me at all. You’re doing some really neat things from a technology that clearly gets its core company with you. And also to our listeners, Taha bbc.com. So if you’re interested in the great careered or their high Oregon for a great company, it’s a passion.

 

[00:29:59] So it had the a tire store. Right. Right.

 

[00:30:03] But you know, that transparency you spoke of that that such is in demand more than ever before. And clearly, I can appreciate some that questions you are answering from folks as you’ll continue to get better and better. And and, you know, going back to again, not resting on laurels. I mean, you’ve grown you’re serving 70000 customers and you are thinking about what’s next and how can we practically and successfully apply technology, not just applying technology for the sake of Craig’s new projects and get some of the shiniest new bells and whistles, right?

 

[00:30:34] Yeah. Yeah, I I’ve I’ve you know, one one would say call let’s call that continuous improvement and, you know, let’s improve it. But again, this is where I really love, ah, Tara UPS culture. We try to put ourselves in our customers shoes and try to look at from their lens.

 

[00:30:55] And you know, if, for example, our customers rely on our service because they have set up an appointment with their customers. And if we haven’t delivered on that promise, it’s a promise that is not delivered. So we look at it from that angle. I think if you always keep it from that perspective, continuous improvement is a side effect.

 

[00:31:15] And then if you will love that. OK. Well, really enjoyed our time. And they got a thousand conversations. They have the day. I’m looking forward to your keynote and we want to check back in with you. A few months down the road as you continue to optimize everything.

 

[00:31:29] Let’s do it nicely into next time, would you say, guys? Absolutely. All right. Your house. Yeah. On a golf course. Yeah, that’s right.

 

[00:31:38] So we have been speaking with the shoot, Vontae Polli, CIO at Tower Hub. And again, our listeners can learn more about the Tower Hub, storied organization and career. You name it at TYA Hub dot com. Thanks again for your time. Thank you. Thank you. Gregg and Scott, to our listeners, be sure to check out other upcoming events, replays of our interviews, other resources at Supply Chain Now Radio dot com. Stay tuned as we continue to cover the Logistics CIO forum here down in beautiful Austin, Texas. Of course, you can also find a Snapple podcast, SoundCloud, YouTube, all leading sites where podcasts can be found. Be sure to subscribe. Still messy thing on behalf the entire team here. Scott Luton wishing that a wonderful week ahead. And we will see you next time on Supply Chain Now Radio. Thanks for buying.

Would you rather watch the show in action?

Watch Scott and Greg as they interview Ashok Vantipalli for SCNR Episode 236.

Featured Guests

Ashok Vantipalli is Chief Information Officer at TireHub. Ashok joined the company as Vice President of Information Technology in 2018. Vantipalli joins Tirehub from Sage Software, where he served as the Global Vice President of Application Delivery. In this role, he was accountable for Digital Transformation of the business from an on-prem to a SaaS company. He was also responsible for transforming 10 regional technology teams into one global function and shared services. Prior to joining Sage in 2016, Vantipalli was the Turnaround Architect of American Cancer Society, transforming the nonprofit into a “Digital/Mobile First” organization through innovative mobile fundraising and new digital platforms that resulted in net new revenue streams for the organization. Vantipalli has more than 15 years experience in technology and management consulting, serving financial services, media and healthcare clients. He began his technology career in Merck’s Clinical Trials and Research Labs Division. He later spent more than five years at KPMG Consulting, where he served as engagement manager and technology architect for large-scale system integration projects. Ashok received a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and statistics, with a concentration in computer science, from State University of New York at Stony Brook. He later earned a master’s degree in computer science from New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is an active member of Atlanta technology community and also a board member at TechBridge – a non-profit that supports smaller non-profits with technology needs to increase their mission outreach. Learn more about TireHub here: https://www.tirehub.com/

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Patch Reilly

Data Analytics and Metrics Intern

Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.

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Vicki White

Controller

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

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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

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Greg White

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

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

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

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

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

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

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.

With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Jamin Alvidrez

Founder & CEO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now, Veteran Voices, This Week in Business History

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

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

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Jeff Miller

Host

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

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Allie Krasinski

Marketing Coordinator

Allie is currently completing a degree in marketing with a certificate in entrepreneurship at the University of Georgia. She got her social media start through an internship with Shred, a personal training app, and she’s been hooked ever since. She works to optimize our following base while assisting the team with content creation, influencer outreach and other marketing endeavors. Allie can’t wait to keep growing alongside Supply Chain Now.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Natalie Dutton

Marketing Coordinator

Natalie is currently pursuing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing and a certificate in new media at the University of Georgia. If there’s one thing she’s learned at the Terry College of Business, it’s that the supply chain is a dynamic, unifying force that’s essential to any business. Natalie helps to amplify the voices of the supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting with media management, content creation and communications.

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Ben Harris

Host

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

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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Page Siplon

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

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

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