Supply Chain Now
Episode 398

Episode Summary

“Environment, history, culture, and language are always connected to the relationship between our countries. There are millions of families in the United States and in Mexico that have mixed citizenship from our countries. There are Americans who live in Mexican households in Mexico and the other way around also too. So, we share people, we share history and we share of course, millions and billions of dollars in trade and economic relationships.”

– Javier Díaz de León, the Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta


Although it did not receive much attention, the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) officially went into force on July 1, 2020. USMCA replaces NAFTA, which went into effect in 1994. A lot has changed since then, and the USMCA reflects new developments such as the role of intellectual property and digital trade.

Javier Díaz de León has been the Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta since May of 2016. He has a degree in International Relations and a master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis. In 2019, Mexico bought $11B worth of products from Georgia, making the USMCA a critical concern to the state of Georgia and its manufacturers and producers.

In this conversation, Javier returns to Supply Chain Now to tell Co-Hosts Scott Luton and Greg White about:

– Why the border between the U.S. and Mexico represents an opportunity for both countries, and for the communities and businesses located on both sides of it

– The certainty that is delivered by the USMCA trade agreement in an era of extreme uncertainty – certainty about market access and investment

– The industries that are most likely to be impacted by USMCA policy, including automotive, agriculture, and energy.

Episode Transcript

Intro – 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 and Greg white with you here on supply chain. Now welcome back to today’s show Greg. We’re really excited to have a repeat guest, but a very distinguished repeat guests on today’s show a leader in global trade and diplomacy. Are you as excited as I am? I am. I feel like it’s old friends week. Um, and I feel like this is going to be a better baseball day than the last time we talked. So I agreed and no baseball today is better than, than the baseball take place on that day. But so we’re going to be talking about a lot of topics here today, but namely the U S MCA that’s right. The new United States, Mexico Canada agreement is referred to as a C U S M a. If you’re listening to us in Canada, or if you’re listening to us and Mexico TMX, um, so stay tuned for what will be a very informative show that it’s going to help raise your supply chain at Q quick, programming it before we get started.

Scott Luton (01:26):

If you enjoyed today’s podcast at checkout, our podcast, wherever you get your program from, we publish Monday through Friday, as we aim to cover and provide insights and perspective on global supply chain, very busy world. All right. So no further ado, Greg, we must introduce our featured yesterday. Ambassador Javier Diaz, daily own consul general of Mexico in Atlanta council Diaz. How are you, sir? I’m very good. Thank you, Scott. Great to see you, Greg, no baseball today, but it’s definitely better than the last time. So it should shed a little light for some of our listeners. So the last time Greg actually interviewed console Diaz was that the 2019 Georgia manufacturing summit put on our, by our friends over at GMA. And it was the day of game five in the series and the playoff series between the st Louis Cardinals and our beloved Atlanta Braves.

Scott Luton (02:22):

And unfortunately on that day, it was over after the first sentence. And I cannot recall there was double digits scored, but the Cardinals scored in that first setting. I’ve kind of tried to forget the rest of the game Braves went on to lose a series, but nevertheless, Hey, the good news is baseball is back. Evidently in a 60 game series has been announced. So we’ll have to talk baseball hopefully in the weeks to come. All right. So constantly is, uh, you know, last time we kind of had a, uh, a quick hitter interview and we want to dive deeper and your background as we start this one, tell us about yourself, tell us where you’re from and if you could, yeah. Share a story or two about upbringing.

Ambassador Diaz (03:00):

I was, uh, I was born in Mexico city, a small town in my country of you. Might’ve heard about it. And, uh, I was born and raised there. And, um, since I was young, of course, I went to school over there, but since I was very young, my parents had a lot of, uh, interests. My mom, I always had a lot of interested in getting me to get very fluent in English. She was very big thing back then. Now it’s a lot more common, but back then, not everybody in Mexico is fluent in English, especially middle class families. So she was very adamant about getting somewhere to get me not only at school, but get me, you know, practical experience to learn English and get involved in that sort of thing. And she managed to through some friends to get a connection with a family here in United States, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Ambassador Diaz (03:46):

And we were connected with them through friends, through friends. And I started coming to the United States to spend, to spend summer at the home of this great family. I love them to death, and I know them for all my life. First time I came to their house in Charlotte, I was about, I was probably about 10 or 11 years old, but I did it almost every summer throughout most of my teenage years. So you can probably imagine a lot of, a lot of times, you know, my, my American young friends, there was a couple of guys there, my age in that household, they would come over to Mexico sometimes quite a few times, too, you know, as a reciprocity kind of thing, my bond was created there. And, uh, uh, and I, and so I always, I was very familiar with the South. So all of my time and experience here in Charlotte, but of course, every time I would fly from Mexico city to Charlotte as a young, you know, young boy back then there was no direct flight from Mexico city to Charlotte.

Ambassador Diaz (04:48):

So I would always fly through Atlanta. So I had a, you know, personal experience going through the airport in the city from a very young experience. I noticed this, I would never, you know, back then, you know, stop over in Atlanta because I was flying to Charlotte. But, uh, I learned a lot about a lot of what I, that point of time in my life. I didn’t distinguish a lot about the Southern culture with, you know, BCV the rest of the United States. You don’t really see things that way you just go. I was in the U S but of course, as time went by, I want to do interesting things. I mean, very interesting things for me. Of course, then I, then I became a used letter. I became a Mexican diplomat and I worked in several offices and diplomatic offices in, in the United States. I started out way back when I started as a diplomat. I work in at the Mexican embassy in Australia, but after that is, this has been all us. So, uh, after Australia, I started in, you know, San Diego, New York, Washington, D C at the embassy. And then I got appointed in the United States in my first role as a council general. And when that happened, that happened in North Carolina. So it kind of came full

Scott Luton (05:58):

Circle for you.

Ambassador Diaz (05:59):

We’ll put a circle. Exactly. It wasn’t a Charlotte because our counselor is in Raleigh, not in Charlotte, but again, anyway, I mean, it was kind of a very, you know, big, full circle for me, going back to North Carolina as a diplomat,

Scott Luton (06:12):

We’re going to dive a little deeper into your professional journey in a minute, but let me ask you as your mother was, uh, had the good side of, of developing you from a bilingual standpoint, I’m very jealous. I wish I had spent more time learning other languages earlier. How helpful was the immersion of the, you know, that time you spent in Charlotte each year with the American family? How helpful was that to fine tune your ability to speak English?

Ambassador Diaz (06:37):

No, I think it was definitely, I mean, it’s a game changer, totally. Because if there’s one thing about learning and language in the classroom, but of course I was thrust upon this American family in a place like Charlotte. And let me tell you this, this is about 40 years ago and I mean, Charlotte 40 years ago was a very different place. Yes. I would probably say the same thing about Atlanta, uh, in many ways, but amongst them back then, there were no Mexicans in. Right? Right. No, hardly anybody I met there had no knew any people from Mexico. And of course there was no Spanish anywhere. Nobody spoke Spanish anywhere in a city, in an American city like Charlotte. So I had no choice. I had to survive and I had to speak English.

Scott Luton (07:30):

I’ve got to ask you, and we’re going to talk more about this in a second. But you know, your diplomatic journey, all these years of service, you’ve had the ability to meet new people and navigate policy. You negotiate, you know, get stuff done. How much of that? I mean, it sounds like to me, you had a great leg up of that as you were, as you spent time in Charlotte, where you were having to meet new people and building those bridges, how, how instrumental was that experience to what you spent your career doing?

Ambassador Diaz (07:58):

It’s definitely a great experience when you leave abroad. And when you have experience in larger space of living outside of your country, because you learn to understand that there are different people’s viewpoints, and you need to understand that, you know, people from other countries are human. People from other countries might see things differently from people in your country, but it’s usually a cultural thing and cultural gaps can always be, you know, closed. And of course I never knew I had no idea back then that I would be working in the United States as a Mexican government representative. But of course, you know, such a very wide experience, long experience of knowing, having so many American friends before and knowing about American culture in ways that a lot of people outside the United States sometimes don’t know, they don’t go through the more people than, you know, the stereotypes. Right. That is, I mean, that is a tremendous, tremendous tool implement.

Scott Luton (08:54):

Agreed. One last question, your American friends that would come, would go to Mexico and stay with your family. What was one thing that you think they had to really get over? Just like you had to get over when you were in Charlotte? Well, give us, give us a good deal on that.

Ambassador Diaz (09:08):

First of all, they would have to get over their fear of spicy food. I would say that no, either first thing, I mean, he goes with Gus, of course, yes. That is not a stereotype. We like spicy. That’s the way it should be done in our, in our, and that’s something that would really need to get through it. The language barrier, because one of the things that we usually find is that, and that was back then. It’s still, still there. Again, it’s a lot easier to find someone in Mexico city who speaks English and there’s less that is changing for, but it’s less the case of American people who would of Mexico who speak Spanish. And a lot of times they expect Mexicans to speak English to them. And that will, that happens a lot more often. Now that was the case, you know, 35, 40 years.

Scott Luton (09:59):

Yeah, that was it. That was really interesting question, Scott, because what I was thinking was, and I wondered, and we got the answer, did your American friends learn to speak Spanish and come to Mexico to do so. And I suspected that they didn’t,

Ambassador Diaz (10:14):

They learned a few words, but they never went, you know, fully, fully, fully, you know,

Scott Luton (10:20):

So they must not have stayed for very long. I mean, when they came to visit, I’m guessing because I would get difficult after a while, even in Mexico city, I would think. But typical Europeans love to joke about Americans, someone who doesn’t have a passport and only speaks one language that’s us. Anyway, thank you for that. And I really, I think, man, it’s amazing because we didn’t talk about that before. And I, I totally get that whole full circle thing. And I thought I detected a bit of a Southern accent. I don’t know, just real quick. I studied North Carolina and I was a political science major and in the eighties, which might have been when you were there, I studied North Carolina and at the time North Carolina was the most populous state in the nation that didn’t have a single city over 300,000 people. And that includes Charlotte to give you some idea of what, what North Carolina and what Charlotte was like in those times.

Scott Luton (11:16):

It has a lot, I mean, Charlotte is much, much bigger now, even Raleigh and technology triangle, there is much, much, much bigger now. So we see how you kind of shaped yourself to become a diplomat or how you and your mother, it sounds like kind of work together to do that. So tell us a little bit more about DISA. I’d love to know how you decided to be a diplomat and then maybe a little bit about, more about your role now that you’re, you’re here in the Southeast, because you are the consul general to Atlanta, but you cover a number of Southeastern States. Correct. Okay. I’ve been a diplomat

Ambassador Diaz (11:54):

For around 26 years. I don’t really, I’m not really counting, but something like that. And, and it’s kind of those things that happen. I mean, yeah, I mean, there was an influence. I was always interested maybe because of this personal experiences, you know, traveling and mean outgoing to foreign countries to the United States a lot. And my mom’s brother was a diplomat when I was very young. I didn’t have a lot of contact with my uncle because he was, you know, he always lived in this far away, exotic places. And I saw him very little during my childhood and he passed away now. So, but there was a little bit of an influence there because he would come home every now and then and visit my grandparents and I would see him and he would talk about his life in these places of the world. And I would probably make a little bit of an impression I’m sure.

Ambassador Diaz (12:44):

And so depression was there. I basically know, I, I did study international political science and international politics, and I was doing a masters in England after that, when I got contacted by one of my teachers from college, who was a great mentor. And, uh, and he, he was working at the ministry Mexican ministry of foreign affairs. And he, you know, he contacted me saying, you know, there is an opening because there’s, there is a contest public contest to join the diplomatic Corps. That’s how it happens in the U S also too, it’s competitive. So he called me and tell me, you know, there’s this going on? You should join, you should put your name up and do the exams and try to get in. I was in England at the time. And so I send the paperwork, he helped me get the paperwork done and all that.

Ambassador Diaz (13:31):

He was really, it was, it worked perfect. I, I didn’t plan it that way, but by the time I finished my masters in England, I had a job. I had a job coming back to Mexico into the ministry of partner first. And it’s basically, you know, certain things that happen at a certain time. Then the rest just goes from there. And I, I guess naturally, even though I started out in Australia that embassy in Australia, which was a great experience, he was kind of inevitable that most of my work would end up being in the United States, because that was a natural thing for me, I guess, because of my life and many others. So, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past almost more than 20 years. And it’s been very interesting because I’ve had the chance have experienced very different perspectives of the relationship between our two countries.

Ambassador Diaz (14:22):

I started out at UC San Diego. So the border migration and the border issues, not only related to immigration, but also trade and all those things are very important there. And that was a big, big, big way of proceeding the relationship, how it applies, how it happens at the border. And then of course, New York, very different perspectives, totally district different perspectives. And then I had the chance to work at the embassy of Mexico in the United States, in Washington. And then again, you know, that is, you know, that’s where it’s happening. So that that’s sort of prepared me very well to then, you know, go to the local job of being the head of the council at like a place first in Raleigh and now here in Atlanta. So it’s kind of a long journey around 20 years of journey, getting different perspectives, not only in terms of perspectives of the relationship between two countries, how it affects how it works in different places, but also of course, experiencing different cultures in the United States. I always say that I was transferred from San Diego to New York. And it was like moving to a different country in many ways. Not only because of the distance, but culturally wise, people are completely, completely different.

Scott Luton (15:32):

Yeah. I think, you know, that’s a really unique part of the States that I think is difficult to recognize because it is a vast physical space like Mexico and Canada, all the countries in North America are, are huge. There are vast cultural differences in the different regions. And I always chuckle a little bit when I’m in Europe, at least they have clear boundaries, right. And they say you Americans, and then they, whatever they say, and I’m like, okay, now, which Americans are you talking about? I mean, it’s almost like there are multiple Americas and it’s likewise in Canada and, and in Mexico,

Ambassador Diaz (16:08):

I think it’s, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s part of human nature. I mean, people like to classify things classic because it makes it easier to think about things, but of course, in my experience, and I’m sure it’s your story. Almost always, things are a lot more complicated, a lot more complex. And of course the United States is a very complex country with enormous specific cities in different regions and different people and different cultures within the country. It’s obvious, it’s obvious, but sometimes for people, couple in Mexico is not so obvious because they tend to pigeon box things and people, and, and, and again, same thing applies to Mexico. I mean, we are a country of tremendous, tremendous cultural differences between the North and the South and the golf and the Pacific and Mexico city. And [inaudible], we’re all Mexican, but we’re very different. We speak the same language technically,

Scott Luton (17:02):

Right? Yeah. Anyway, you see a lot of those, a lot of those sort of groupings, right. Whatever they are. And I think it’s good that you got to see that probably natural, that you were able to discern that having started in the South then going West and then to the Northeast, it’s really a benefit to be able to do that, frankly. And I hope that more people get to do that to experience outside their own country. And I mean, really experience it like you have. Well, okay. So I imagine other than your uncle, which it sounds like we may have just discovered on this show had maybe more influence on you than maybe even you realized until now, but other than that, who else, or, or what events kind of helped shape your worldview or your perspective on things, or, you know, what passionate about

Ambassador Diaz (17:50):

The way my career developed? It’s not something that is kind of planned, but you’re under sustained to pigeon pigeon how people and what I mean by that is at some point in my career, I’ve been pigeonholed in terms of this guy works in the United States. This guy does consulates the United States. That’s what, that’s his thing. You have other people who do, you know, a multilateral organizations that Geneva our new, I think United nations in New York or people who are specialized in Asia or things like that. And that’s how, you know, there’s groups that are me. I’m, I’m this guy who is good at the U S and now through my perspective, I think I started out in the border, but I started on also that created a very specific discovery for me, because even, you know, we, people in Mexico city sometimes don’t perceive the border correctly.

Ambassador Diaz (18:43):

And I think that applies in the United States to people who are never been in the border, who are sometimes seem to deteriorate places like Atlanta or Chicago or New York or DC. And they’ve never been in the border. And again, Mexico too, we think we know what’s going on there, but you don’t, you’re not there. I’ve never been there. The probably don’t really understand the nature of the dynamics of our board. That to me, was an eye opener because how, how thick and how complex are our relationships in the border? How, how much people on both sides of the border need each other and work with each other every day. And sometimes they get together people from Tijuana and San Diego or people from, uh, I don’t know, [inaudible], I don’t know you name it Mexicali and Calexico, why they sounded Paso, whatever, you know, they have a lot more in common with each other in their daily lives than they have with Mexico city or Washington DC.

Ambassador Diaz (19:42):

And in many ways, Mexico city and Washington, D C is a problem for them because they don’t let them live and do the things that they would like to do. I think everything that involves the very complex relationship of our countries, because we usually pigeonhole our relationship. Again, I like the word I run a couple of issues, migration and trade. Our relationship is very, very complex. It goes through almost any issue that you can think of environment, history, culture, language, it always connected to the relationship between our countries. There are millions of families in the United States and in Mexico that had mixed citizenship of our countries. There are Americans who live in Mexican households in Mexico, people who were born in America or American citizens were living people in Mexico with Mexican families and the other way around also too. So we share people, we shared history and we share of course, millions and billions of dollars in trade and economic relationship.

Ambassador Diaz (20:40):

You are again, you know, very well, but it’s a lot more than that. And all of that happens in the border. All of that happens. You can see it a little bit in the morning. So to me, my experience in the border, which was my first experience in United States was so intense. I was there five years. I need open really my eyes about how complex things are with, you know, two countries that complex, I don’t mean bad. I just mean complex. So I worked for an auto parts chain based in Phoenix, and we had stores on both sides of the border in San Diego and Calexico. And what is sin and all kind of all over there. And I have to tell you, it was amazing, the similarities of culture to those cities that are on both sides of the border, regardless of whether it was Americans on the American side or Americans on the Mexican side or vice versa, it is very similar.

Ambassador Diaz (21:30):

And you know, that is sort of a connector if you will, whether we mean for it to be or not. It is a connector between our two countries. And I do that to them. The most of those communities in the border, the border is an opportunity. The border represents an opportunity. It gives them in many ways, in terms of their economic activity, it gives them a niche. It gives them something. They have that probably some other parts of the Mexico United States don’t have. When you move from there to other parts of the United States, I was suddenly, you know, surprised about sometimes the perspective that is sometimes portrayed in the interior of the United States about the border. There’s not a lot of knowledge about what really the border is like, and this perception that it is like this wild area where there’s no authorities, there are no infrastructure.

Ambassador Diaz (22:17):

Anybody can come and go anywhere whenever they want, because there’s nothing there, which is not true. And there’s this productive, secondly, basically on the border as a source of threat, the danger area, everything that the border means is a threat. I’m not, and I’m not saying that the border does not equal, particularly the issues. Of course they do. And that’s those things that we, of course we need to, and we do work together on, on a daily basis, but there’s really record a lot of recognition about how important that border working, the way shoot is so important for lives of people who are in both of our countries. So let’s talk about that opportunity thing. You were just talking about U S MCA goes into effect July 1st and it, with everything going on in the world. It’s almost as if people have forgotten about that to pigeonhole people and give a gross generalization.

Ambassador Diaz (23:07):

But let’s talk about that. Somebody talked about pre show, all the conversations we have with business leaders, supply chain leaders, leaders that undoubtedly, whether this the U S MCA in impacts all of the enterprise or the portion that’s here in North America, and it’s not been forefront. In fact, we’re so fortunate to have constant Diaz on the show and have an expert kind of within access to come back on because to your point, [inaudible] July 1st, it’s going into effect and this pandemic, no pandemic, it doesn’t matter. It is here and it’s going to be impacting operations. So consul Dez with that, I not a,

Scott Luton (23:46):

I’m not speak for Greg. I am not a trade policy, wonk or analyst or historian. However, as we’ve done our homework for this show, I understand that U S MCA replaces the 26 year old NAFTA, which I find interesting NAFTA was being implemented about the time that you were entering your years of, of serving as a trade ambassador. We loved about your last appearance. Greg. One heck of an interview with constantly has last time, Greg people should, we should put that in the show notes. One of the great things that constantly has shared last November, as you seem to say, was being negotiated and whatnot, was that when that was implemented, there was no such thing as digital trade. So naturally NAFTA, wasn’t going to take into account things like that, which of course

Ambassador Diaz (24:29):

It’s everywhere.

Scott Luton (24:30):

And then some these days, so shed a little background, light forward, dive into your CMCA and what business leaders need to know shedload background on why the need for the new replacement for NAFTA.

Ambassador Diaz (24:42):

And I think you just mentioned, it’s got, I mean, it’s not, at that point was a very, a groundbreaking trade agreement. We grew accustomed to it and we knew it was there, but maybe, you know, 26 years, later years later, it’s not as easy to remember, but the world was very different. Back then in 26, I can tell Mexico was very different. Sure. Mexico was definitely very different country. Mexico was an emerging steel of course economy. That was a very close to economy for a long time. One of the most protection is the economist in the world. And it was based on an import substitution model that involved basically no stopping goods coming into the country and we’re going to build our own and all that sort of thing. And during the mid eighties, Mexico started changing. We got into the gap and we started embracing free-trade.

Ambassador Diaz (25:33):

And then out of a total dollars people surprising my country. The government said, we’re going to do this with the United States. Mexico had never done a free trade agreement before with anybody before doing it. So this was our first free trade agreement, you know? So that is something, if we remember right, I mean, the United States had already done its free trade deal with Canada. So that was already done. So we started, you know, we hopped into the agreement that Canada and the us had done, and it became a trilateral that is important. But the other thing very important thing about NAFTA is that it was at that point, the first ever free trade agreement between between developed economies and developing economies. Mexico was the first developing economy in the world to enter into free trade with a dependent economy in the world. That was the first time a developing economy had a free trade agreement with a developed economy

Scott Luton (26:26):

Console. We were all so young. Then we probably didn’t realize the significance of that. But that is, that is huge because that is so natural today for that to happen,

Ambassador Diaz (26:36):

It’s become, you know, because the liberalization of trade and the globalization of world economy has become, of course, given to many of us, I was not the case in the early nineties. And up the end, I ended up et cetera. The world was moving in and in, in Mexico’s perspective was not only, you know, for the first time ever opening its economy, he was opening its economy to the biggest economy in the world. So from the perspective of a lot of people in Mexico, there was a deal, there was a trade deal that was going to transform us. And it did. I mean, some people were, you know, afraid, very afraid of it because they would say, Oh, we’re going to lose our identities. We’re going to lose tacos. Or we gone out, all of us are going to start eating hamburgers and hotdogs, and there’ll be no tacos left in Mexico because we’ve got to become American.

Scott Luton (27:22):

That’d be a travesty. I’m sort of realizing. Yeah. I mean, I could see that Pete and I think we had a prominent politician, right? Ross Perot is famous term. The giant sucking sound. Right? Cause the fear there was fear everywhere, right? The fear was that all the jobs would go to Mexico

Ambassador Diaz (27:40):

And that’s on the other side, the other side of United States, of course, uncertainty, nobody has done a free trade with a country like Mexico, which has of course wages, which are very different than our economies, very different United States. How does that work? How does that translate? So we went through that and Mexico was transformed. Economically. Mexico has become one of the most open economies in the world. We have free trade with over 40 countries. Now in the world, of course, Mexico has become a manufacturing hub, which was not the case of us. We used to be an oil based economy, uh, pre pretty much like what Venezuela is now that that is not Mexico anymore. Mexico is, I mean, it has oil. Of course we do have oil, but Mexico is a manufacturing economy.

Scott Luton (28:22):

It’d be really interesting in the months to come to see what new industry opportunities come to me, come to all of North America based on some, some of these resources, decisions, procurement decisions that are bound to, to a fault. I have to have some fallout. All right. Clearly you set, I love how you frame up kind of a NAFTA history impact, clearly the huge impact. And now the need update, replace it with USM. So now let’s talk about what that means for business leaders in Mexico and the us and Canada or, or, or international organizations that have parts of the enterprise here in North America. What are some of the big impacts here as it goes into effect? Well, by the time this publishes, it’ll already have it implement it, implement it.

Ambassador Diaz (29:04):

First of all, I mean, one very important thing is that, of course, any sort is not a minor thing. Now in the global economy, the U S S MCA brings to the table now is first of all, it’s certainty certainty in a global trade environment that as you know, is far from certain in many ways. So there’s a lot, there’s a lot of concern everywhere about what’s going to happen in terms of potential trade Wars with only Regency the world, cetera and North America. It’s a very, it’s an a bit it’s positioned thirdly, starting next week, when dress MCA comes into force in a very distinct competitive advantage because we have certainty and we have certainty related aspects, particularly around what you do, supply chains. That is not the case for most of the other, the rest of the world. They are living in a, in a, in a context of uncertainty because they don’t know where the next trade war is going to happen.

Ambassador Diaz (29:58):

They don’t know where the next tariff is going to be put up. And they don’t know about the access of markets and investment and manufacturing among other regions. And we certainly know what’s going to happen in our region because we weren’t careful to do to do that. Then you USM MCA has very specific permissions in terms of how, for example, the car manufacturing industry in North America is going to look like in North America for the next few years. First of all, there was a threshold included in the U S MCA to increase the level of regional content of what we do in new, in North America and other what we do when we make cars, that’s a thing of country, country of origin rules

Scott Luton (30:41):

Back on that automotive point, that if I understand you correctly, that’s going to make the clustering that’s across all three countries, really that regional automotive industry, more competitive against the rest of the world is that

Ambassador Diaz (30:55):

I think that’s what the leaders of our three countries decided and saw. They wanted to move towards. I think before, I mean the NAFTA requirement for, for a car to be considering NAFTA car, whatever you want to call that enough, the car, it would mean that 62.5% of the content that card was regional was Canadian American, Mexican 62.5. These negotiation opt the level for that now is going to be 75%. So at least 75% of the car needs to be parts and manufacturing and content that was done here in this region. So that is closing a significant part from other regions in the world who have been, you know, sending arts and manage machinery and pieces from other parts of the world. And we are creating a March, March, regionally stronger supply chain, because of course, here in North America, that is a big difference. And that’s going to create a lot of opportunities for companies in the U S Canada and Mexico.

Scott Luton (31:56):

Yeah. And I think it’s important to note that it doesn’t just impact American or Mexican or Canadian brands because Volkswagen and BMW and other brands manufacture cars in the Americas and for it to be considered manufactured in America, it means that more of the products have to be sourced here

Ambassador Diaz (32:16):

Correctly. And that means that a lot of those car car companies, manufacturers like the ones you mentioned, which are Japanese or European cars, which have of course very big potent manufacturing basis here in the South, of course, we’ll have to do a lot of the production here, sometimes part of the production that they were doing in other regions in the world. So for example, there are plants here in Georgia from up here in Georgia. [inaudible] economic actor has a strong role here in Georgia and they are, they have a connection with a Kia plant in Monterrey, Mexico. And so a lot of the supply chain that goes between these plants in North America will be stronger, will have to be stronger with less content from plants or from products or other, other, other parts of the world. Conflict is one of the things I understand, and to be fair, it’s been probably 10 or 11 years, 12, 13 years since I’ve managed shipments for manufacturers coming across borders.

Ambassador Diaz (33:16):

But I understand that documentation, the compliance documentation, it’s going to streamline that including electronic, electronic documentation, and rather than relying on just one form that was accepted, it’s going to allow for a variety of different formats for this documentation, which can be a headache for supply chain practitioners, they’ll get stuff in and out of different countries. And none of the elements also that we also discussed with do streamline procedures, yes. To have a common guidelines and common documentation among the three countries to make a streamlined. Because again, I mean our competitive edge as a region is not all in terms of, you know, how competitive we are in terms of pricing for manufacturing, but also, you know, transportation act and just send access to clothes, suppliers of parts, and that needs to work easily. And that’s connected to what I was talking about before. For example, in the border, we need a border that is, that is efficient.

Ambassador Diaz (34:09):

You know, goods come and go easy, fast and efficiently in our border because we have, you know, a trade relationship between us and Mexico, this over $500 billion. And most of that trade goes through the border. So things like that, you know, which are regulations, relations, streamlining is, is critical. It’s tough to make $500 billion worth of anything. So why not make it easier, make it a lot easier and make it poised for growth and more reasonably competitive. And of course, you know, we need to think about it always with a perspective of doing, making sure that the border works efficiently without taking our mind off the security elements. Of course. So we need to make sure that those things we want to cross you see lead through the border do so. And those things that we do not want things to cross the border easily, do not.

Ambassador Diaz (34:59):

Have we defined that in USM fairly well? Would you say, I mean, of course they do SMTA is mostly about traits, but if it is, it does consider, I need, I talks about how we can, we need to set up a specific procedures and protocols in our order to streamline those things that are, are created on three trade fluxes that are based on Bree agreed protocols from our countries that will streamline the process of crossing the border for goods. And we have done a lot of that throughout the years. We have the bolt on that a lot. There’s a lot of custom rechecking, U S customs pre checking happened in Mexico before. So things cross past the border. So we have developed that. I know that happens in Canada too. So we have a lot of big, good experience now that we did not have.

Ambassador Diaz (35:44):

When we first started with the NAFTA. When we reached out to your office council Diaz, we also reached out to the Canadian consulate general in Atlanta, and we hope to have her own soon. I understand y’all collaborate quite a bit and you’re on panels a lot and you speak together. I love that. She’s amazing. She, she, she she’s, she’s actually an expert, not me. She is an expert. She knows what she’s talking about. So hope I’m sure she will reach out to you soon. She loves to talk about this. I know because that’s her really both ballpark. And she’s really great about this sort of matters. And that’s consult theater where I was, I had a little lap for real quick. You mentioned automotive industry clearly is USM poised to have a great impact there any other industries that really come to mind that sure.

Ambassador Diaz (36:29):

If they are, and I’m sure they’re already tracking this already, but for our audience, uh, may not be in positions, navigate through the U S MCA policy. First of all, of course, the agricultural part of free access between our countries remained exactly the same. So, I mean, there’s basically no tarrifs for a country train into not countries. There are, of course, in some products, some tiny sanitary issues that all of our countries have in place in terms of tariffs, free trade. Is there, there were some discussions about changing that, but that was avoided. So that’s very good news. Intellectual property is also one of the key elements that are hiring the new in the new agreement that were not present before. So very strong agreements and very strong locks into the system are there to protect intellectual property. Uh, of course we already talking about digital trade.

Ambassador Diaz (37:18):

There is a full chapter on digital trade in the agreement that of course was there, but then I should add also the, of course, the end and some sectors, some very interesting, important sectors, like energy are very important now in this U S MCA because when NAFTA was agreed upon the Mexican energy sector was very different for what it is now. So that is something that to keep in mind also, Holy cow, we’re gonna have to get a copy of the entire policy, Greg, and we’re gonna have to go through it page by page. Sounds like it chock full of good stuff. That’s good for good for industry, but also good for the special relationship. The way we see it. Then I say we, because I, uh, I think it’s all countries, all three countries is that, uh, this is a 21st century trade agreement.

Ambassador Diaz (37:59):

In many ways. BC is something that we many countries in the world we had done before, especially when we negotiated the TPP transpacific partnership, which was done a couple of years ago, three or four years ago. And it included all of these, you know, global, new, global economy elements into that. But of course the United States decided not to partake in that. So it was the United States. It’s not in there. We needed to have a 21st degree, 21st century. We think United States, because of course it’s not our number one trade partner in the world, right. And you gave us some numbers, Mexico,

Scott Luton (38:36):

And the Southeast of the U S the area that you cover in terms of the trade there, can you share with our listeners

Ambassador Diaz (38:43):

In the case of, uh, Georgia and, uh, Mexico, for example, our total trade, the last number we have, of course, it’s 2019. And in 2019, our total trade was over $11 billion, which is, you know, I mean, tremendous, uh, Mexico is the second buyer in the world of Georgia. And guess who is the number one?

Scott Luton (39:05):

Probably Canada. Of course. Yeah. That was a trick question. They love peaches.

Ambassador Diaz (39:10):

So, I mean, it’s actually a trick question because most of them, when I do this thing and asked that the most common answer, I get a lot of times people say China, there’s this perception, no, it’s this Canada. And then it’s, then it’s Mexico in terms of countries in the world who buy Georgia goods. So, I mean, that is there. And so the, the, the size of the relationship has evolved. And the other very important thing is that the numbers keep growing every year. Last year, experts from Georgia to Mexico were over $41 billion.

Scott Luton (39:41):

How do you reconcile those two numbers, the 11 and the 41 billion. So tell me the difference between those numbers,

Ambassador Diaz (39:48):

The difference with those, those numbers.

Scott Luton (39:49):

So 11 billion is, is Mexican goods consumed in Georgia

Ambassador Diaz (39:54):

11 point $3 billion was a total trade, both ways between the Mexico and Georgia, the Mexican Georgia. And I think I just made a mistake because I told them the total exports of Georgia to the world in 2018 were 41 billion.

Scott Luton (40:10):

Oh, got it. Okay. Okay.

Ambassador Diaz (40:11):

I’m sorry. That was my mistake. But that basically means that around 25% of the total trade of Georgia and the world was with Mexico, one fourth of the total exports of Georgia to the world we’re sent to Mexico. So that puts things in a certain perspective, make that easier. Let’s streamline that

Scott Luton (40:29):

Let’s grow it. And that’s a good question, or a good jumping off point here on USF. Reducing friction is essentially the goal of S MCA, right? It’s to make trade more accountable, but also a little bit easier than for some of the aspects. One that NAFTA didn’t cover, like digital trade, like we talked about and other areas where it did not effectively reduce friction.

Ambassador Diaz (40:53):

And a lot of it goes to the supply chains and manufacturing and all that. It’s a recognition that the relationship and our chronic relationship has evolved to more of a manufacturing hub. Because, you know, when you think basically of a trade free agreement have people, a lot of times think about basically trading finished goods, we sell you the Keela and avocados, and you say, we buy your beaches, you know, and that’s fine, then it’s true that that happens. It’s not, that’s not really what we’re about if, and if you see that the, the nature of, uh, of the products that Georgia buys from, and that’s the United States in general, of course, Georgia buys from Mexico or, or the other way around. Yes. He’s not, it’s not really about tequila and peaches. It’s about, you know, machinery, it’s about tables. It’s about vehicle parts and that’s, that’s real. So, so that’s what USA NCAA is about. It’s about how are we going to be competitive at an asset manufacturing power in the global economy.

Scott Luton (41:53):

So on that note, you finished with the global economy, Greg, we like the kind of see what’s on his mind. Right. I recall when we talked before you mentioned those numbers, 25% of all trade from Georgia with Georgia is with Mexico. I recall you saying that now, but it’s still, it’s really a shocking number, but I guess we should expect that it’s a huge economy. It’s relatively proximate. I mean, Mexico is, is close. It seems natural when you think of it that way,

Ambassador Diaz (42:22):

Mexico is the 13th largest economy in the world.

Scott Luton (42:27):

Speaking of that global business economy, and speaking of things beyond us MCA, and we’re going to have to have you come back on with this counsel Diaz and, uh, once everything gets implemented, maybe we can, uh, you know, talk through the first couple months of, of how things yeah. Play out as you, as CMCA gets implemented, maybe we’ll get consultated order to join. You. Let’s talk about Everything else in global business. As you survey this, this challenging year, that is 2020 pandemic environment, What else is on, you know, front and center for you? What other trends or topics or issue, what are you talking about with your fellow trade ministers and other business

Ambassador Diaz (43:06):

People around the world? Right now, it’s a big trend around how the global economy is moving towards a more local locally inward instead of globally. There’s of course, a lot of concern about possible trade Wars and in all regions of the world, of course, everybody thinks about the United States and China, but it’s happening many other regions in the world. So that brings uncertainty, you know, about tariffs and, uh, and a lot of, you know, uh, putting our con our jobs on our manufacturing first, before buying the goods from other countries in the world. So it’s, it’s a certain in terms of the future for the global economy, the way we saw it a few years ago. And a lot of things that we’ve seen is that a lot of companies are looking into a strategies to work around avoiding getting caught by tarrifs. And some of the emerging targets that are, that are happening here in the United States, seeing in Asia, in Europe or in other regions of the world.

Ambassador Diaz (44:01):

And, uh, we have seen increased imports in Mexico of North American companies that are tweaking their supply chains to reroute around China, because they don’t want to get caught in these target floors that are not good for anybody. So of course, you know, smart business goes where they see a safe Haven from uncertainty, and we are seeing a large number of that happening. I personally have been involved recently with a lot of inputs and context from companies in the it sector that are interested in learning, you know, the opportunities for their companies in Mexico, as a, as a production hub, as a place where they can replace a, such a team that they are finding in other parts of the world in order to take advantage of something like U S MCA. Uh, the second also thing is that it’s also connected to this previous idea.

Ambassador Diaz (44:48):

That’s the second trend will talk about, and we sort of mentioned it a little bit, is that a localization is supply chains and communications with this uncertainty in the global economy. Uh, we are seeing a lot of, okay, supply chains and they, big manufacturing hubs are looking for more local supply chains. People who will be their suppliers that are locally and closer to their production place, instead of bringing in some parts or machinery from the other side of the world, not only because of costs, but also because of uncertainty, this would be, you know, star Wars and all that. And that is exactly what you know, North America is about. And that’s why we are placed in a very, very advantageous position that no other region in the world has. In this context, there is a very different perspective of the way you see political economy and the political viewpoint between the leaders of North America, how we see each other as partners. And we don’t see each other as threats in terms of our manufacturing activity. And that is not exactly necessarily how we are acting towards the rest of the day. So there is this trend of, you know, regional agreements, regional powerhouses, and we are already in place in North America.

Scott Luton (46:04):

And we have 26 plus years of experience in working together, right for manufactured goods. You know, Scott and I talk about this a lot, ever since COVID has come up, there’s a lot of talk about reassuring or near shoring or shoe or shoring or whatever shoring we’re talking about. And of course, Mexico and Canada come up in those discussions, Mexico more so because the workforce is so much larger and economically it fits as well.

Ambassador Diaz (46:32):

That’s always a thing of access to the, you know, the, the necessary elements in the production chain that you need, and you need workers, you need highly trained workers, you need communication channels, you need to get streamlined processes. We have all of that and we have all that. And we are, I think we’ve become pretty good at it in our region and our competitors in other regions in the world. I don’t think they can say the same. I mean, Europe has big problems in terms of who they are. Do they actually want to be together for the rest of the years? You know, you know what happened with Brexit? And of course, uh, the Asian area is a lot more in Florence also. So we, North America, I think we need to think of ourselves more as North Americans and less as just Canadians, Mexicans and Americans.

Scott Luton (47:16):

We have a lot fewer real borders or perceived borders, and frankly, a lot fewer cultural differences than even what we tend to call Europe. You know, we think of Europe as a place, some even think of Africa

Scott Luton (47:30):

As a country, right? But those are vastly different cultures and they are, they are dozens of them within relatively small proximity. We cover an enormous portion of the world’s population and physical space with just three countries.

Ambassador Diaz (47:46):

We will, you’ll be the victims of our success in the sense that, in the sense that we’re not, that we’re not America gets kind of taken for granted. It’s very common when we attend, you know, panels or conferences when you’re talking about global trade, et cetera. And then definitely, always a lot of talk about, you know, finding this new market in Asia or this great opportunity in a certain marketing in Africa or in South America, which is fine. We already got it. So a lot of people talk about what we are already doing in North America. Maybe we can always be a lot stronger and 45 while we already do that, put in so much of attention to, you know, new, exciting markets.

Scott Luton (48:27):

All right. So I hate this, start to wrap up the conversation, but you know, when we started and he started talking about spicy food, you started making me really hungry, counseled Diaz. So I’ve gotta go. I catch a late lunch or maybe a second last, I don’t know. So let’s make sure folks, I can connect with you. I mean, I, I really, you know, through a couple of conversations now, Greg, your worldview, consul Diaz, own economies, own industrial on the, on the background, the history, as well as those points that connect us all, especially here in North America, that’s some really good stuff. And it’s clear that you study your craft and that, and that might sound naive or obvious, but to know your history and they’d be able to kind of deconstruct things as you do, it really makes for a layman like us, Greg, certainly not us MCA experts. Yeah. It really makes it easier to understand. And really frankly, exciting about this next chapter that hopefully will spur a lot of growth amongst three countries. So how can folks connect with you constantly as you and the Mexican consulate right here in Atlanta?

Ambassador Diaz (49:24):

We have a, of course our, all our social media, which are our pitching Facebook, of course, our Twitter is, uh, ad council, max ATL, ad console, max ATL. So you can contact us through Twitter. My Twitter account is at CG, J D L C G J D L. And that’s the easy way when anybody can contact us. Anytime,

Scott Luton (49:46):

Of course we’ll include those links so that folks can reach out what a great conversation. I really appreciate you spending some time with this, walk through this next chapter and, and, you know, share some of the things that folks, especially business leaders really need to understand. How about the U S MCA, which all the time, again, this is released, it will have been implemented and companies, Greg we’ll be navigating through the change, right? I already like USM CA better because I feel like we’re approaching it with hope and not fear. And I can say this cause I’m not a diplomat or even diplomatic, but I feel a lot better having tight trade ties with our neighbors, then someone to whom we are just that vast nation across the ocean. We have a lot of combined interests. We can work together to benefit one, another physical proximity, cultural proximity, and all of that works to help us become better partners and to help each other thrive.

Scott Luton (50:42):

I know two countries in the world who have more invested interest in America’s prosperity than Canada and Mexico. It’s likewise. And that’s the beautiful thing of it. We only have a few borders, right? We don’t have dozens or hundreds of borders like, like you do in other parts of the world. And it just makes it that much easier. We’re only talking about three entities here to cover the entirety of North America. So that’s, that’s the way we see. I think we’re also excited. We’re looking forward to what the U S MCA takes. But, uh, again, I mean, we know what happened the past 26 years, we are in a better position now. So let’s look forward to this. Thanks so much. We’ve been chatting with ambassador Javier Diaz, daily own council, general of Mexico in Atlanta. Thanks so much, sir, for your time here today, we look forward to having you back on, okay.

Scott Luton (51:29):

Maybe in a couple of months, as, as everything plays out, don’t go anywhere just yet. Greg and I are going to wrap up this episode of supply chain. Now, Greg, I love this stuff. No, it’s in demand. We’ve been asked about it numerous times. We’re so fortunate to have experts right here in our backyard that know how to deconstruct things and make it easy for non policy walks. Huh? That’s the really natural thing. I’m going to speak about you. Like you’re not here constantly S but anyone can understand this discussion, whether you know, a whole lot about USM or even international trade, or even the state of Georgia or America or Canada or Mexico, you can understand this. And it, it takes an exceptional gift to be able to speak about such world shaping things, activities so that the rest of us can understand it.

Scott Luton (52:16):

And I really appreciate that. And do we do appreciate your time and do thank Marcel for helping us schedule this. She’s been really helpful being bilingual and being able to decide for what’s taking place and share it. That’s a language in and of itself. So really appreciate that to our audience. If you enjoyed this discussion, there are certain elements of it that will play out in our July 15th event, where we will talk more about the state of race in industry. And we’re going to have a very Frank conversation along different lines, the conversations that need to be had so that we can [inaudible] for a better environment, a better industry and more opportunities for all. Let’s check out that event, July 15th and I’ll rest of the resources, podcasts live streams that we have at supply chain, net Greg, I’m going to wrap it up here as much as we’ve enjoyed this conversation, we invite our audience to check out the very next episode. Hey, along those lines, we encourage it to do good. Give forward. It’d be the change that is needed today. And on that note, we will see you next time here on supply chain.

Would you rather watch the show in action?

Watch as Scott and Greg welcome Ambassador Diaz to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.

Featured Guests

Javier Díaz de León serves as the Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta. He has a degree in International Relations, having graduated from the Universidad Iberoamericana. He has a Master in International Conflict Analysis from the University of Kent in England. Since 1991, Javier has served as a member of the Mexican Foreign Service and received promotion to the rank of Ambassador on April 28, 2017. He has held various positions throughout his professional career, including: Alternate Consul in San Diego; Alternate Consul in New York, Chief of the Section of Migration and Hispanic Affairs at the Mexican Embassy in the United States of America and Executive Director of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad of the Mexican Foreign Ministry. From June 2013 to May 2016 he served as Consul General of Mexico in Raleigh, North Carolina. In May 2016, he was named the Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta. Learn more:


Greg White

Principal & Host

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

You May Also Like

Click to view other episodes in this program

Additional Links & Resources

Subscribe to Supply Chain Now

Connect with Scott on LinkedIn

Connect with Greg on LinkedIn

Supply Chain Now Ranked #1 Supply Chain Podcast via FeedSpot

Supply Chain Now Ranked #3 Supply Chain YouTube Channel via Feedspot

Supply Chain Now on YouTube

Register for the Virtual Supply Chain Summit with Alcott Global

Stand Up & Sound Off A Conversation About Race in Industry Webinar

Check Out Our Sponsors

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.

Connect on :

Mary Kate Love

VP, Marketing

Mary Kate Love is currently the VP of marketing at Supply Chain Now focused on brand strategy and audience + revenue growth. Mary Kate’s career is a testament to her versatility and innovative spirit: she has experience in start-ups, venture capital, and building innovation initiatives from the ground up: she previously helped lead the build-out of the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific and before that, MxD (Manufacturing times Digital): the Department of Defense’s digital manufacturing innovation center. Mary Kate has a passion for taking complicated ideas and turning them into reality: she was one of the first team members at MxD and the first team member at the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific.

Mary Kate dedicates her extra time to education and mentorship: she was one of the founding Board Members for Women Influence Chicago and led an initiative for a city-wide job shadow day for young women across Chicago tech companies and was previously on the Board of Directors at St. Laurence High School in Chicago, Young Irish Fellowship Board and the UN Committee for Women. Mary Kate is the founder of National Supply Chain Day and enjoys co-hosting podcasts at Supply Chain Now. Mary Kate is from the south side of Chicago, a mom of two baby boys, and an avid 16-inch softball player. She holds a BS in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Connect on :

Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

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

Connect on :

Vicki White


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.

Connect on :

Ben Harris


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.

Connect on :

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).

Connect on :

Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

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

Connect on :

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., 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).

Connect on :

Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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

Connect on :

Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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

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

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

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

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

Connect on :

Constantine Limberakis


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

Connect on :

Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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

Connect on :

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’.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

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

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

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

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

Greg White

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

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

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

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :