“Over the last 15 years or so, we’ve seen a big push where products are not only valued on the components they’re made out of but also who made them, where they were made, what materials are inside, so now those are being tracked and monitored.”
– Tolga Yaprak, Senior Consultant at iPoint Inc.
Because today’s supply chains extend through many companies, countries, and continents, they begin very far away from where they end up. This means that the chain extends through parts of the world and industries that are plagued by working conditions that do not meet the labor standards set by countries in the industrialized world.
This creates significant challenges for companies who want to benefit from global partnerships while remaining compliant with standards and regulations governing forced labor, modern slavery, human trafficking, and conflict minerals. Conditions are always changing, requiring ongoing monitoring, and it is essential that companies not just be compliant – they have to be able to prove they are compliant.
These are not easy, comfortable topics to discuss, but corporate leadership teams have to address them head on if their CSR policies are to be fully operationalized.
In this conversation, Tolga tells Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton about:
Amanda Luton (00:05):
It’s time for supply chain. Now broadcasting live from the supply chain capital of the country, Atlanta, Georgia, heard around the world. Supply chain now spotlights the best in all things, supply chain, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.
Scott Luton (00:28):
Hey, good afternoon, Scott Luton here with you on supply chain. Now welcome back to the show. Today’s episode, we’re speaking with a leading provider of software and consulting for environmental and social product compliance and sustainability. This interview is part of our continuing collaboration with the automotive industry action group, also known as AIG. So stay tuned as we look to increase your supply chain. Accu quick programming note before we get started here. If you enjoy today’s conversation, be sure to find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. When a welcome in my fearless and esteem cohost on today’s show, Greg white, serial supply chain, tech entrepreneur and trusted advisor. Greg. Good afternoon.
Tolga Yaprak (01:14):
Hey Scott, how are you? Doing? Great. Uh, back here again with the, uh, quite a stable of AIAG thought leaders, folks that you know, support the organization that speak at the organization and it’s really been a, um, such an informative series of interviews thus far.
Scott Luton (01:32):
Yeah, I mean, we’ve really enjoyed meeting with being in your org and I can’t wait to hear from Toga. So perfect. Pretty solid team we’ve got here and of course love the initiative that AIG has, um, with this summit. So let’s get into it, man. Absolutely. So perfect foreshadowing. So in a welcome in our featured guests on today’s episode, Toga, Toga, [inaudible], senior consultant compliance and social responsibility with [inaudible] Toga. How are you? I’m fine, thanks. How are you guys doing? We’re doing great. Thanks for joining them. Absolutely. I know it’s a challenging time for many and uh, but still a busy and a very eventful time, so I appreciate you carving some time out so we can share your perspective and, and thought leadership with, uh, with our audience. So for starters, Toby, before we dive into our point, all the good things you and the team are doing there. We want to know about you. So tell us more about Togo, where you’re from, and give us an anecdote or two about your, either your upbringing in and, and, or your professional journey.
Tolga Yaprak (02:41):
Sure thing. Thank you. Um, thanks for having me guys. And, uh, I’m from Ann Arbor, Michigan. I went to Michigan state university, which a lot of people kind of turn around and they go, what, you know, pardons that’s right. Go green. Um, so I went to Michigan state, got a degree in international studies and political science. Uh, but then I ended up becoming a teacher and I went to, I went to Guyana to serve in the United States peace Corps. So I did that for a while. Uh, I taught and then I also moved to Turkey to stumble. Beautiful city. Um, in fact, I think maybe one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. Uh, met my wife there and you know, she’s, she was a teacher also. And then, so we decided to move back home for me, back to Michigan and, uh, got married, uh, kids. Uh, and then I got my MBA at Eastern Michigan university where I sometimes, uh, teach a couple of their courses there as well. Oh, wow. Hey, tell me about, um, so
Scott Luton (03:45):
the weather in Turkey as it compares the Michigan does, it’s your wife enjoy that?
Tolga Yaprak (03:54):
Oh, I don’t think there’s a way that I could, you know, say it without it being a complete understatement when every day is perfect weather when they’re there. Winter is, you know, rain. Um, and then, you know, Michigan is in, uh, almost perpetual winter from September to may and then it’s like a hundred degrees with humidity. Whether it’s not the best,
Scott Luton (04:21):
sure doesn’t always work out well. Hey, y’all are in love. And she could, you know, as we all look past other elements, including weather, uh, that’s a wonderful story. Hey, let me ask you too about, okay, before we kind of move on in your professional journey, you’re the peace Corps commitment. That’s a big commitment. I’m not sure how much travel you had under your belt when you, uh, when you committed to helping others through that, that to your
Tolga Yaprak (04:48):
Scott Luton (04:50):
why did you do that? Why did you make that big commitment to help others?
Tolga Yaprak (04:54):
Well, honestly, part of it was, now you’re at that age 23, something like that and you know, trying to find something to do and as long as you can work a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and answer, you know, 50% of your emails, you can do about 30% of any job. So for me it was a matter of all right, you know, there’s, there’s multiple different avenues I could choose, but, uh, I wanted it to mean something. And so joined the peace Corps ended up going to Guyana, which is, uh, borders, Venezuela, Brazil, and Suriname. And honestly, you know, it was the most eyeopening experience I’ve frankly ever had. And you know, doing that, even though I continue to teach for a couple more years, when I did end up making the transition to business and getting my MBA, it started with peace Corps. Gotcha.
Scott Luton (05:54):
Okay. All right. So I love that. I’d love to just pick your brain more on those experiences because so many folks don’t get the opportunity in those early formative years to, to have those global experiences. But nevertheless, we’re going to keep driving, uh, from a professional journey standpoint. So you got back, uh, sounds like you earned your MBA, you’re doing some part time instruction. What else that led up to your, your current role with point?
Tolga Yaprak (06:21):
So I started to work in a company that deals with international trade and customs. And as a result, um, through that customs and customs compliance work, I kind of, you know, jump down the rabbit hole towards the corporate social responsibility compliance and they have all these different products coming in. We were already looking at, uh, you know, different trade value and tariffs and whatnot. And you know, over the last 15 years or so, we’ve really seen a big push where products now are not only valued on simply the components that it’s made out of. Um, but also who made it, where was it made, you know, what, what are the materials that are inside and now those are being tracked and monitored. So that’s, that’s really how I started my career in this field. And then, um, when I made the move to I point, uh, within about a year or so, I attended a just a grassroots event at a local university in Michigan, Wayne state. And there was a, I was going there actually too. I wanted to hear a speaker from the UN who was going to be there that was really interested in, but there was a survivor, a victim of human trafficking. And she came up and she, she told her story. And, uh, my life hasn’t frankly been the same since then. Um, it was heartbreaking. Yet at the same time, you know, she was from Michigan, lived in Lavonia, you can go to Detroit free press.com and check it out. Um, and I realized how prevalent
Tolga Yaprak (08:14):
forced labor, modern slavery, human trafficking is everywhere, even though we don’t necessarily see it. Um, it is, it’s a massive, massive industry. So that’s, you know, that was a very big turning point for me and how I started to then build my career, uh, at I point,
Speaker 4 (08:36):
wow, that is a, that’s an impactful moment. I, I have friends who are very active in combating human trafficking and things like that, and it, it, you know, I’ve only heard, um, a few of those tails. And it is, it’s a travesty and frankly, it’s hard to believe in a lot of ways that goes on and in today’s society. But of course, we all know that it does. Yeah. So how did that, I mean, how, how did that impact you in terms of what you do today with, with I point, well, maybe you ought to share with us a little bit, if there’s anybody that doesn’t know yet what I point does and then tell us how you kind of turn that arc into what you do today.
Tolga Yaprak (09:29):
Sure, absolutely. So I point, uh, we are traditionally a software company. We build software that helps companies, uh, you know, whether it is an automotive OEM or a small electronics supplier, medical device, whatever it may be. Uh, in my opinion, um, really manage their data or compliance and reporting. A lot of that is customer reporting, which anyone who is involved in that area knows it can be really difficult. You know, they want it in X, Y, Z format, ABC, et cetera. So it can be, it can be hard. And you know, so the supply chain fashionable, who is working with procurement and engineering, just trying to go through all the legacy data, all, I mean it is just, it’s a massive headache. And so what we do is we built software that lets different systems connect and speak to each other, essentially a report out for, you know, whether it’s materials compliance, like reach or Rojas, um, or providing information in automotive industry for the international material data sheet.
Tolga Yaprak (10:44):
IMDs and then, so that’s kind of our main bread and butter, what 90% of the people at the company do. But what I do is, uh, I could do consulting for conflict minerals compliance, which is I would say, kind of the middle ground between materials and social responsibility and, uh, anti human trafficking or forced labor compliance. So I’ll do a lot of the, you know, I’ll go to company and I will meet with their different relevant personnel. And um, by the way, I just signed on a side note for anyone that works in either legal and or investor relations or anyone that works in procurement, supply chain, et cetera. When you get those two different groups of people in the room, that can be the hardest conversation. Lot of times they’ve never met. Each other. Legal will come in and say, alright, you know, we need to do the following.
Tolga Yaprak (11:46):
If a supplier doesn’t give us data, we’re going to take them out of the supply chain. And of course procurement and the supply personnel is like what, you know, we can’t just get rid of people that easy. So what I do is I find middle grounds, build a due diligence program for them and then actually operationalize it, put it into effect, review it annually, do the reporting to the sec and you know, repeat essentially. Yeah. Wow. So it’s interesting because, um, in one of our other interviews we took, we talked with, and I think we might’ve mentioned this pre show Aston Carter, who is the CEO of the dragon fly initiative or TDI strategies. And they do a similar thing. Do you ever cross paths with them? Absolutely. Um, my, the team that I work on and I point, uh, we see, see the dragon fly initiative.
Tolga Yaprak (12:49):
Uh, well recently we haven’t seen anyone physically for a while. Now, none of us have exactly, but our paths cross quite a bit. It’s difficult to be in the anti human trafficking world and you know, not be a hands breath away from Anne’s breath away from a dragon fly. So are you, are you all doing complimentary Coopa or, um, how would you say that cooperatively competitive or um, straight competitive type things or competition. There you go. That’s good. I like that. Uh, uh, so definitely no competition. Mmm. The truth is, is the, an anti human trafficking field for a long time has really been focused on the abolitionist movement. And you know, especially when it comes to PR, the big thing is like sex trafficking, right? That’s the one that everyone’s talking about. It’s always in the news and it, it’s certainly, uh, it’s easily be highest revenue generating sector of forced labor, but when it comes to volume, you know, you’re talking about maybe 20% of all forced labor or human trafficking victims are in that particular sector.
Tolga Yaprak (14:20):
Almost everyone else is in some sort of labor, whether it’s domestically or manufacturing agriculture. So, well, we’re trying to do, you know, my, my personal, a goal I suppose, you know, for lack of a better phrase is the supply chain is where everybody needs. That’s the most, you know, global polyglot, uh, institution that’s not an institution. You know, it’s a true market where everyone has connections to each other. Um, you know, you could, you may not, you know, there are a lot of our customers who don’t even know food, 20% of their suppliers are because they outsource it, you know, in fact, it’s probably much higher than that. Our supplier, it doesn’t work like that. Oh yeah. Yeah. Like conflict minerals. It goes all the way to where the metal was dug up out of the earth. Right. So when you get all those, those aspects, you know, there’s, we’ve got some people who are on the law enforcement side who want to take, you know, human trafficking rings to court, which is great. Um, but for me, yeah, we as a, as not only as a society, but specifically as a business society has a business culture, we can make the most impact the most effectively and efficiently. If we all just essentially learn about our supply chain, find out who’s doing what. Once we do that, nip the problem in the bud.
Speaker 4 (16:02):
Yeah. I mean it, you know, w uh, we talk about so many things that we want to do better in supply chain sustainability, obviously ethicality like this. Um, and it all comes down to economics. And if we hit the bad actors in, in the wallet, then we’re going to get the kind of change that we want out of them.
Tolga Yaprak (16:25):
Exactly. And, and you know, the funny thing is, is the, uh, maybe not funny, I suppose ironic might be a better phrase, but the more and more you, you look into it, do you realize a lot of it is, is extremely straightforward and a lot of the forced labor that happens, uh, especially in like component manufacturing or agriculture
Speaker 4 (16:48):
Tolga Yaprak (16:50):
it’s simply a matter of just people not knowing what it is. You know, all the red flags are there, but they don’t know what they’re looking at. And, uh,
Speaker 4 (17:00):
traditional business plan, people don’t even suspect it, so they wouldn’t know what to look for, right? If you come at it through the lens of their doing business, like any other business, you’re almost blind to what those red flags are.
Tolga Yaprak (17:17):
You know, I’ll tell you, uh, just a quick anecdote, um, few years ago I was a, with the client and the CFO came in and the CFO was there and the general counsel assisting counsel, et cetera. And I had been working with the supply chain people and we were talking about, you know, taking there anti human trafficking program to the next step. Right? So more than just having a blanket statement of, you know, we don’t have slaves. Um, because obviously no one can prove that. So, you know, we were talking about, well, how are we going to, to measure this? How are we going to eat? You know, are we going to ask suppliers questions? What questions are we going to ask them? Are they going to be responsible for filling it out? So they come in and, and uh, telling the CFO of, you know, a company that’s one of the largest and it’s tire industry that Hey, you know, no matter what you think, I can guarantee you, but there’s forced labor in your supply chain. That can be a really awkward conversation. They just immediately know, I don’t know. And then, you know, you talk it out and starts to make a lot more sense, but it’s not, it’s not an easy topic to broach.
Speaker 4 (18:30):
Yeah, yeah. I could see why you would be unaware of it. I mean, someone who’s not engrossed in it every day would be unaware of it. And then just in complete disbelief that it could be existence even. And then in greater disbelief that they are in some way, perhaps inadvertently contributing to it.
Tolga Yaprak (18:53):
Exactly. And honestly, that’s the first step. There’s simply the, you know, uh, like the denial or getting past the denial, acknowledging that it exists. And then you can actually go further and say, all right, well what products are at risk? Are there particular markets that are at risk? Then what am I going to do about it? And so that’s where we, you know, that’s where I, myself as well as I point, it’s focused, we’re trying to get, you know, we’re trying to operationalize anti human trafficking, conflict minerals, compliance, things that we can do to essentially make the world a better place.
Speaker 4 (19:37):
So, and, and as you said, I mean, the problems you’re helping your clients solve is first to recognize it, which as you said, is harsh and stark realization, right? Facing the brutal facts in the most brutal way and second then what to do about it. So what, what at the highest level, I mean, I know there are probably thousands of things you could do told them, but at the highest level, what do you do about it?
Tolga Yaprak (20:05):
So there’s essentially three, uh, you know, high level three things that you do. Number one, Mmm. You educate your team internally, right? So whether that is, you know, whoever is taking ownership of this, usually it’s legal, um, or combination, you know, dotted line to supply chain, or it’s in supply chain, dotted line to legal, right? First, you just kind of educate that team. That team’s got to know, you know, what kind of risk actually exists because it can make an impact on the materials that you’re importing. Um, but you know, we can save that one for later. Number two, you just have to simply educate your supply chain. You know, on a very, very basic, like five bullet points. It happens. It exists. Keep your eyes open any time, you know, someone is keeping a passport. That’s number one. That’s the first red flag if you have to pay to get a job.
Tolga Yaprak (21:08):
That’s another, some of those really, really simple. Uh, red flags. And then, uh, lastly, yes, just like any other initiative, Scott, to collect data, survey your supply chain. You know, it doesn’t have to be, Mmm. Anything that is super complex, just ask them. And I always recommend that no customers give their suppliers the option to say, I don’t know, because frankly that’s the real truth. Anyone that says that they know for a fact that it’s not happening and whatnot is that doesn’t really understand. But nonetheless, it’s really that simple. Just, you know, learn about it, figure out how it can affect your business and then ask your suppliers.
Tolga Yaprak (21:58):
Love it. So let’s move from this point of the conversation around your role with our point and company and some of the methodology, some of the, the basic elements of, of your approach as Greg suggested, we know that that wow, we are solving some very complex problems and it’s tough to kind of dissect that in less than an hour. But let’s shift gears and go broader with the conversation now. So Toga, um, as we all know, dealing with a complex, challenging situation, certainly for global supply chains, but really for everybody. Um, you know, as you survey the landscape, what’s, what’s one thing or, or, or maybe even a couple things in particular that, whether they’re developments or innovations or, or news stories or, or, um, challenges even what’s on your radar more than others right now?
Tolga Yaprak (22:51):
That’s a great question. Um, I think there’s a few, uh, you know, several topics that we could talk about, but really, okay. I think it’s just one major market trend and it’s difficult to measure, you know, on a day by day basis. It’s more of a, you know, very big picture kind of thing. But there was a, uh, British economist, okay, 18th or 19th century last name, Schumpeter, I can’t remember his first name, but he had this theory, or at least it was the first one to call it theory of disruptive innovation. Um, so, you know, as soon as one new innovation happens, it disrupts the entire supply chain, disrupts the market, nothing’s the same afterwards, internet a rail, um, telephone, right. That kind of stuff. I think what we’re seeing now is consumer empowerment and the availability of information. So we are at a point where so many different products are commoditized.
Tolga Yaprak (23:58):
I mean, you can go to the store, take a look at four different phones and you know, if you look at the specs, they’re essentially the same. Right? You know, what you do is you buy it based on my kids have three iPads, so I might as well get a phone, an iPhone, you know, so we can share the same, right? Like the, the purchasing decision that you’re making is, is based on much more than the actual product itself. Right. And the companies are finding more, to your point, finding more and more ways of enhancing that stickiness. Right, exactly. And so a lot of the companies that are, you know, really, uh, not just surviving, but thriving are the ones that are taking hold of that. You know, they’re the ones that are at the forefront of, you know, whether it’s ID or, uh, poverty or greenhouse gas emissions, Paris climate agreement, you know, they’re not waiting for the government because to them that doesn’t matter.
Tolga Yaprak (24:58):
The people who are paying the money for their products. And one of the groups that it doesn’t get mentioned nearly as much as it should is the investors. Um, and investor groups, art transferring just thinkable amounts of assets. Two SRIs are socially responsible investments. So it’s one thing to have like a consumer electronics company who is, you know, all right, well if I can’t say that my phone is conflict free, people are going to buy the one next to it for 20 bucks more. Mmm. But when you talk about like medical devices, right? Cause you don’t go into the ER and be like, hold on, is this x-ray conflict free? Is this scalpel made with, you know, totally. You know, that’s not the first thing on your mind. But it’s the investors that are pushing it because they’re the ones that control the direction of the company.
Tolga Yaprak (25:57):
So they have a lot of power to say, Hey look, Mmm the U S government may have pulled out of the Paris climate agreement. Well you’re not going to otherwise we’re going to take our investment somewhere else. And I think that with the consumer and the investment side where you have people who are making the choice to spend their money where it is as well of course, is the fact that now there are so many more different types of people around the world that have money to spend. Right? So that’s the biggest trend that I’m seeing. And they’re, uh, that is providing more backstops to fuel, uh, CSR initiatives, right? Cause if, if the consumers care about it, and Greg, it feels a little bit like Groundhog day because this just happened to be one of the themes
Scott Luton (26:44):
and a lot of these conversations we’re having right now, consumers care about it. They’re voting with their wallets and purses. They care about what these companies are doing, what these brands are doing. And of course, uh, by virtue of that, you’re going to have investors that care about it as well. Um, because they get that companies that, um, figure out a successful CSR approach and especially a company that’s savvy enough to communicate, uh, the impact they’re making. There is a lot of, a lot of growth to be had, right?
Tolga Yaprak (27:17):
I mean from 2017 to 2018 we went from 8 trillion to $12 trillion transfer to socially responsible investments. That is an unfathomable amount of money. Sure. That much capital being transferred specifically because a company can say, Hey, you know what,
Scott Luton (27:40):
I’m doing the right thing. Here’s my proof. And that, totally, I’m so glad you brought it back to that because you know, I think there’s a lot of kindred spirits on this conversation. Clearly with your commitment early on, even if you, you know, at 20 or 21 years old, you wanted to see the world. And eight, I don’t blame you at all, but still I can, I can tell and hearing you tell that story and what you’ve done later in your career and now you’re, what you’re doing now, there is a give back as part of your DNA. And so, um, and I think three of us shared that. So I love on its face, I love, uh, social responsibility programs and initiatives and, and, and companies that get it and companies that invest in it and they do it because of course there’s a financial return, but they do it because it’s the right thing to do. Like you said, Toga. Um, all right, so in any, before we shift over for the sake of time, and Greg’s going to ask you a question too about AIG and y’alls involvement there, any final words in terms of Toga walk companies while we’re seeing, uh, or how we’re seeing that, that massive, uh, shift in the landscape that you just just mentioned too. How, how many, how many trans dollars did you say?
Tolga Yaprak (28:54):
From eight to $12 trillion? Just from 2017 to 2018. Wow. Okay. Yeah.
Scott Luton (29:04):
Well then, um, so Greg, let’s, let’s talk about AIG. Well, can I take you back? I’m sorry. This is, I mean, this is the first time we have really discussed forced labor and human trafficking this head on, right, Scott? So, um, I’ve got a few questions, right? Sure. You know, and one is I know that they’re large, large groups, over 20 million people. Um, and, and maybe those that’s even outdated data. Um, uh,
Speaker 4 (29:42):
you know, you’d mentioned sex trafficking, but aside from that, what are the biggest offenders in terms of industries?
Tolga Yaprak (29:49):
Great question. Um, so first of all, 20 million is actually really, really close, so, uh, you’ve been keeping up very well. Um, I think the latest estimate was 26 million in a particular year. Uh, so that’s more of like a income statement as opposed to a balance sheet kind of view. And when you take everything together, I think it’s a little over 40. Um, nonetheless, uh, when it comes to industries, of course there’s always the monkey on the shoulder is that it’s really hard to measure because people don’t necessarily publicly exactly right. They, they, they don’t always, you know, uh, post their, their stats. Um, but with that being said, there actually are a lot of really easy ways to monitor it. Um, in fact, uh, just as a, uh, quick anecdote, one of the coolest ways that I’ve seen technology work in this area is a, I don’t know if I can name them by name, so I won’t, but there was a financial services company two years ago and they facilitate the exchange of money between people across borders. They were able to just take, you know, terabytes of data. Yeah. [inaudible] identify human trafficking hotspots because of money that was being sent from at-risk areas to a couple of villages in Bulgaria.
Speaker 4 (31:27):
Tolga Yaprak (31:28):
Yeah. So, yeah, even though they couldn’t necessarily get the industry down, they were able to track the money and that was a huge success. So, um, it’s certainly possible, but industry-wise, number one, anything that’s manual agriculture, and that includes manufacturing too. Uh, I mean, we outsource a lot of our manufacturing work all around the world and, uh, it’s really easy to say, you know, I mean, obviously there was the, uh, shoes issue many years ago with the sweat shops. Several years ago there was the issue with component manufacturing in Southeast Asia, and those are only the ones that we see. Um, a lot of it goes underground, so yeah. Uh, shrimp, farming, any of the food, textiles, cotton, anything that requires manual labor.
Speaker 4 (32:27):
Tolga Yaprak (32:28):
Yeah. Construction. Yep. All of it.
Speaker 4 (32:33):
Interesting. Well, and I, and Asia, I mean that area of the world is the
Tolga Yaprak (32:40):
biggest concentration. I think many people have been. Um, you know, they’ve been introduced to a fairly large ethnic group in China. We are basically the one of the, I mean, a large portion of that ethnicity is forced into slave labor, essentially. Yup. Right. You know, uh, North Korea actually, I think they’re the only country, but actually exports people their own people as a good, um, North Korea, everyone or I shouldn’t say everyone. People that, that work in this field are aware that North Korea will send large groups of workers to go work at a factory somewhere else. So instead of, you know, outsource or instead of exporting like timber or iron or, or, you know, semi processed metals or whatever, they’ll actually export their labor. Wow. Yeah. Mexico, they’ve been found in a shipping yard and Poland, so it can be anywhere. So clearly, AIG has
Speaker 5 (33:59):
very strong, um, corporate responsibility initiative. And that’s what this whole summit is about. And this is a really very serious issue. And, and you know, one of the things we’ve been asking a lot of the participants that we’ve interviewed is, is what, you know, what sort of value has this brought to you personally or your company or your initiative? Um, you know, how, how do you benefit or how do you see, um, members benefiting from AIG and their membership and these sorts of summits and
Tolga Yaprak (34:37):
sure thing. So I’ve, uh, I’ve worked with AIG for many years, uh, including before I was at high point, I was with my previous employer, I worked with them and took part in different committees and whatnot. And so there’s two main, uh, there I should say two primary value adds through AIG. First and foremost, they move the needle. They really do. You know, not every company can be a Google, not every company can be Microsoft. And so, you know, there are some companies that have a chance or an opportunity to do good work and communicate that. Right. And of course the market reacts. Um, but you know, not everyone has that kind of budget, but if you can, if you can mobilize, not just, you know, a couple of silos when you can mobilize the network. Yeah. Then you’re talking about real change. And that’s what AIG has been.
Tolga Yaprak (35:45):
In fact, they’re their acronym, the expanded version of their names, not automotive industry action group that is one on hundred percent accurate. They are the embodiment of action. And that kind of goes to the second point, which is, you know, there are some across industry groups and, and uh, or industry specific groups where a lot of executives, um, and it’s kind of a, you know, it’s a nice fun kind of thing, but that’s just kind of, you know, that’s it really. They don’t really do much. Um, you know, you can put the label on your website, Hey, I’m a member of this, but at AIG, the people that are there, the volunteers from the member companies, um, but they’re there because their care that they care, you know, they’re not there for, uh, the publicity or anything. Um, and same with AIG employees. So they have this just amazing work ethic and they, you know, honestly, I’m shocked that every single business school in the country isn’t doing, you know, case studies on their success every year because they’ve been able to mobilize an entire industry, the entire supply chain for that industry, many different tiers all the way down to raw materials and they make a difference.
Tolga Yaprak (37:15):
And so that is something that, you know, no one could ever take away. Yeah. I have so much respect for them and having worked with them for so long, honestly, they’re just really down to earth. Really nice people and Tanya and the team, and I’d have to agree a hundred percent with you there, that’s for sure. But they are about action deeds, not words. And that has stood out from our earliest conversations. So when I echo that sentiment, that’s so important in this day and age of a, unfortunately, lip service leadership is not going away. It’s part of certain organizations, uh, DNA and culture. Uh, and so when you, when you partner with a group that is about action, it’s always refreshing. I think so. On that note, um, let’s make sure, I bet. Guy, I’m just going to go out on a limb here and I bet you have got some of our listeners really thinking about some of your observations and your expertise and perspective. Um, so let’s make sure our listeners know how to, how to reach out and connect with you and our points to tell us more. Sure thing. So I would recommend a LinkedIn. It’s always great message directly through. Um, I think that would be the best way. Um, just connect to me directly. And then for the company, uh, we’re www.ipointhyphensystems.com.
Scott Luton (38:49):
You’ll be able to see all of our
Tolga Yaprak (38:51):
webinars with Homeland security, um, all the different, uh, groups that we work with for regulations and, uh, all of our free, you know, resources and whatnot and all that information is there.
Scott Luton (39:05):
Love it. And you know, Greg, one of the things I really like about our point is, um, is their support of AIG, right? This is, this is tough times for anyone trying to hold an event to help people get better at what they do in operations to get better at what they do and, and clearly, uh, points, uh, support, uh, is helping this event take place in the first place. So, uh, on that note, Toga, really appreciative of you and your team and your industry leadership and, uh, your support of making things like this summit upcoming summit, uh, take place. Well, thanks guys. I really appreciate your time. It’s been my pleasure. Alright. Uh, Greg, we’ve been talking with Toga yacht, senior consultant compliance and social responsibility with our point and wow. I think I wish we had about three more hours to dive into some of the things, some of the Mandering ways that these conversations always take place.
Speaker 5 (40:07):
Yeah, I think, you know, this is a particularly poignant topic because we’re talking about human beings, right? And, uh, you know, we’re not talking about somebody ripping you off for 20 bucks by charging you a higher price. We’re talking about somebody controlling your life and um, you know, it’s, it’s a very important topic and interesting that, and I think, uh, particularly important that, um, I point and TDI and AIG are continuing to focus on this in this, these economic and, um, health times when they could be focusing inward and it would be very easy to think about or forget about the, these kinds of issues in the world. And I think it’s, um, you know, it’s commendable that they, they continue to focus on,
Scott Luton (41:01):
you know, helping people get their lives back. Absolutely. That’s a great perspective to wrap up the conversation on. So Toga all the best to you, your team, your family. It looked forward to reconnecting with the appoint team at the summit, uh, to our audience. Again, you can check, you can connect with Toga on LinkedIn or learn more about the organization that are point hyphen systems.com. Lots of expertise there. So good stuff. All right, Greg, we’ve gotta wrap up the conversation here. We want to point our audience to supply chain now, radio.com for a variety of, of industry thought leadership, much like we heard from Toba here today. Um, and we want to ask if you enjoy the conversation, Hey, find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from on behalf of the entire team, Scott Luton, Greg white, wishing you a successful week ahead. Stay safe, don’t panic. But please do follow the expert advice and precautions that have been distributed by your local healthcare authorities. And if you know anything, hold the faith brighter days. Lie ahead and we’re gonna see you next time on Supply Chain Now.
Tolga Yaprak is a Senior Consultant at iPoint Inc. for corporate social responsibility (“CSR”), specializing in conflict minerals and anti-human trafficking compliance and reporting. He custom-designs compliance programs for corporations and drafts their legal and SEC disclosures, such as the Form SD and CMR, and the UK-Modern Slavery Act statement(s). Tolga served in the United States Peace Corps, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Eastern Michigan University. He is also an Instructor at Eastern Michigan University’s Graduate School, College of Business where he teaches advanced methodologies in market research.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is 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.