“To me, the most important thing that often gets lost to the public or lost in the narrative, I suppose, is the fact that in any successful negotiation, nobody gets exactly what they want, and that is okay.”
Nadia Theodore, Consul General of Canada in Atlanta
Media coverage of international trade details is typically reduced to oversimplified news headlines to the point that the actual meaning is lost to the average person. Ensuring that the intended outcomes are represented by and captured in the supporting legal documents is a highly complex and nuanced effort that must be actively managed by lead negotiators from all sides.
When those negotiators sit down at the deal-making table, they have multiple responsibilities to tend to in parallel. They have to represent the big picture objectives and intentions of their country, and they have to understand the relevant context behind any agreements that are currently in place.
As she prepares to leave the public sector for a role in private industry, the Consul General shares her perspective with Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton about:
· The fact that businesses need to operate in an environment that emphasizes stability and predictability – now more than ever – despite how difficult that is to achieve
· Why the biggest topic that no one is currently talking about is origin certification, and why it is more important than ‘sexier’ topics like labor, intellectual property, technology, and eCommerce
· How the recent tariffs placed on Canadian aluminum by the Trump Administration affect relations and business between the two nations
· Realistic ways companies can de-risk their extended, global supply chains
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 to today’s show. On this episode, we had the distinguished honor of interviewing the consul general of Canada in Atlanta, Nadia, Theodore, Greg, great show lined up. Huh? Yeah, I’m pretty excited about this. So, you know, we’ve gotten to talk to the consul general of Mexico and we’re talking about that thing that nobody is, but everybody should be talking about U S MCA. So yeah, let’s do this. Absolutely talking to USC. I’m a U S MCA trade economy so much more. So stay tuned more to come on that and as special guests in just one moment, but Hey Greg, quick programming, before we get started for this special episode, big guest, if our listeners enjoy today’s conversation, they can find us wherever they get their podcasts from you are a family of supply chain programming continues to grow.
Scott Luton (01:24):
We’ve got something just about for everybody. A tequila sunrise supply chain is boring this week in business history. For any history geeks out there much, much more. You can find us wherever your podcast from and subscribe. So you don’t miss a single thing. Okay, Greg, are you ready? I’m ready. I mean, they can even listen to this in Canada, right? So as long as you have an Apple phone, you can listen to anything anywhere. Absolutely. The beauty of technology. All right. We speak English in 77 in 77 countries. That is correct. All right. So with no further ado, let’s bring in our featured guests here. Once again, the console general of Canada in Atlanta, Nadia, Theodore CG. How are you doing this afternoon?
Nadia Theodore CG (02:07):
How are you doing gentlemen? It’s a pleasure to be here. Pleasure to chat with you.
Scott Luton (02:11):
Yeah, likewise. Good to have you. We have really enjoyed our warmup conversation and certainly have enjoyed our, our prep conversations with Shantay on your team and really looking forward to sharing your insights and expertise with our audience. So, uh, before we, we jump into business, let’s get to know you a little bit better. Uh, Nadia. So tell us about yourself. Where’d you grow up and give us an anecdote or two about your upbringing?
Nadia Theodore CG (02:38):
Yes. Well, you know, I’ll have to say that. I’m glad that you gave me a heads up on this question because I’m really not that interesting. So I always have to think really hard about a fun anecdote. So I was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, which is the capital of Canada. And I was raised by two parents, a mother and a father. Both of them were federal public servants, uh, which I grew up to be as well. And I’ve got a brother and a sister, um, and really led a very kind of middle class, normal ish life. Um, which to me is a good thing, you know? Um, and I got interested really in all things trade and all things international trade in particular and global trade, uh, because both of my parents were immigrants to Canada. They were born in a small Island called st.
Nadia Theodore CG (03:40):
Lucia. And my dad is an economist and growing up, he used to, whenever we would go to the grocery store, he would always point out items in the grocery store and say, you know, Hey, do you know where this comes from, Nadia? Hey, do you know, you know, where this, where this originates from, where this fruit originates from, you know, what’s in this item that we’re buying this packaged item that we’re buying and where that comes from. He was kind of obsessed a little bit with, with food and agriculture and economics. And, and, and, and so I kind of begun to have a joy, uh, around everything that had to do with global commerce and, you know, fast forward for me, what really has helped me to maintain and sustain my love of, of global trade and in particular, making sure that everyday people understand what the benefits of trade are, um, and how we can make trade really impactful and meaningful for everyday people is when I had the opportunity to work in not a technical role back home, but more of a strategic role.
Nadia Theodore CG (04:59):
I was the chief of staff to the deputy minister of international trade, which is, um, the, the head of the department. So the head of our international trade department, the, the, the equivalent of USTA are here. And, you know, in that role, really seeing, getting away from the nitty gritty negotiations, which is what I was used to doing, and really kind of seeing how trade policy and some of the things that we’re going to talk about today translates into domestic policy and translates into the way that businesses actually operate and interact and move in the world globally really helped shape. What has now really just become a love for me of talking to everyday people about trade and about global commerce and about and about the, of it. So
Scott Luton (05:58):
Wonderful. Wonderful. I’ve got to go back. You painted such a wonderful picture, drew out some of your remarks here, but especially of you and your father in the grocery store, I love that exercise. Um, it sounds like maybe you didn’t know it, maybe he didn’t know, but it sounds like your father is a supply chain guy too, you know, and, you know, Greg, it also reminds me, um, one of the great silver linings about this age we’re in now, where consumers are starting to connect the dots globally about where stuff comes from and, and how it gets here. And it’s such a beautiful thing. And have you and your father have a leg up on that whole, um, learning process is wonderful. Um, and so, so your folks also st. Lucia, um, uh, any, any family still there, do you,
Nadia Theodore CG (06:48):
So, you know, we, we came from, you know, modest means. So I, I visited as a kid, maybe two, two or three times as a kid. Um, we got to go for a holiday and st. Lucia and I got to meet a few of my cousins, but you know, now my dad has long since retired. And so he has the luxury of spending Ottawa winters, um, in st. Lucia. And so, yeah, so I hope to join him one day.
Scott Luton (07:17):
Outstanding. What we’re gonna have to go ahead, Greg. I was going to mention that he, he does realize that he immigrated the wrong direction from South to North.
Nadia Theodore CG (07:28):
Scott Luton (07:30):
I’m sure he did it. I’m sure he did it for opportunity and probably for the family, but I bet it’s great to get back down there in the winter.
Nadia Theodore CG (07:38):
I bet it is. I, you know, he seems, he seems quite happy.
Scott Luton (07:43):
Oh yeah. I’m sure everyone is well. Okay. So you shared a couple of, um, or at least one role that chief of staff with the international trade department, um, here a moment ago, let’s talk a little bit more about your professional journey, um, and especially, uh, Nadia, if you could talk about any of the roles that you held that really impacted your worldview.
Nadia Theodore CG (08:09):
Absolutely. So, you know, going back to, um, to my background, which is in trade policy and in trade negotiations, I started in the federal public service, um, quite early on and, and worked for our revenue agency and then worked for our solicitor General’s office, and then went into what is now known as global affairs, Canada, which houses the equivalent of your U S tr um, uh, here, here in the States. And you know, much of my career was surrounded trade policy, negotiating trade agreements. Um, on behalf of Canada, I was the deputy chief negotiator for what is now known as the CPTP, um, which back then was the TPP, the transpacific partnership agreement,
Nadia Theodore CG (09:05):
And, you know, really was dead
Nadia Theodore CG (09:10):
Indicated to the details around trade agreements and negotiating the ins and outs of, of a trade agreement.
Nadia Theodore CG (09:18):
And, you know, then moved on, um,
Nadia Theodore CG (09:23):
A little bit abroad, even in my role as a trade negotiator. I represented Canada at the world trade organization and at the United nations, both in Geneva, Switzerland, and was responsible in fact, for technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary measures, which many of your listeners might be familiar with really the nitty gritty of, of, of trade policy, uh, and international global business. Um,
Nadia Theodore CG (09:53):
And then, you know, coming back after
Nadia Theodore CG (09:57):
Being in Geneva, working on TPP, and then moving into the role of a chief of staff where you’re looking much more globally and much more strategically about trade policy and trade agreements and global commerce, and really trying to join up policy with business and how business actually operates. Um, and then going one step further for me in terms of bigger picture being appointed as our, um, had diplomat in the Southeast us, uh, in 2017 was kind of another layer of strategic horizontal view. And I have to say that
Nadia Theodore CG (10:50):
This role has really helped to shape my world view in the sense that I have a group
Nadia Theodore CG (10:57):
Greater appreciation for the importance of relationships, the importance of taking those technical details of a trade agreement, those technical policy pieces, and really translating that into an everyday business scenario, an everyday consumer scenario, and really being able to communicate with different levels of people in business and just in everyday life about what it means for them creating those relationships, um, has been what I’ve been doing for the past three years.
Nadia Theodore CG (11:35):
And it really has helped shape my view in the sense that now more,
Nadia Theodore CG (11:41):
More than ever, I appreciate, um, the importance of building those relationships beyond just legal text on a page or, or technical aspects of, of supply chains, end global commerce.
Scott Luton (11:54):
Wow, love that. Um, you know, we came across your interview with Debbie, a B E and NPR station earlier and loved that caught our attention right away. Um, you know, relationships, certainly they power the global economy and they certainly power the global supply chain, uh, world, and really appreciate your view there. So I’ve got to ask one question, uh, I love your passion for not just trade also negotiation. And, uh, I’m not sure if, you know, you’re, you’re talking with the world’s worst negotiator, uh, CG. That’s my cell. So what is, um, you know, when you think of trade policy and you think negotiate trade negotiations, and you think of, of, um, you know, those, those diplomatic teams that go hammer out these, these massive and really important agreements, what’s one thing that most, um, civilians or most folks maybe that never touched that world might not know that goes on and successful negotiations, any one thing come to mind?
Nadia Theodore CG (13:06):
Ooh. So to me, the most important thing that often gets lost to the public or lost in the narrative, I suppose, is the fact that in any successful negotiation, nobody gets exactly what they want. Um, and that is okay. Um, and in fact, nobody expects to get exactly what they want. Um, and I think that, that oftentimes get lot gets lost, right? Especially, you know, in today’s world of 24 hour or not even 24 hour news cycles and, you know, constant information being bombarded at us and kind of a gotchu attitude to, to news. Um, people seem to forget that, especially when we’re talking about trade, but across all difficult negotiations between countries in particular, that the complexity is beyond anything anybody could ever imagine. And so really, and truly, while you might be negotiating a trade agreement, for example, the U S MCA, you know, at the end of the day, the outcome that you were seeking vis-a-vis these two countries is much bigger and much more important than, again, the words on the page of a legal text of a legal document.
Nadia Theodore CG (14:31):
It often signifies a nod towards greater cooperation between two countries beyond trade and into security and economic prosperity. It often signals a understanding and a commitment to between those countries to be global leaders, um, in whatever area that they’re being that they’re negotiating. And, you know, in my case, it’s often trade, um, to be global leaders and trade to set the rules of trade globally together. Um, and so it’s much bigger than just the, the, the particular outcomes that you get on one issue area. Um, and so people often forget that, right? And, and sometimes focus on, on, on particular, um, nitty gritty outcomes, which are important, don’t get me wrong. And they have real business consequences for, for companies, which trick it trickles down to, to real consequences for consumers. Absolutely. But there is oftentimes most times 99.9% of times a much bigger picture that I think also needs to be taken into account.
Greg White (15:39):
I think that’s a really good, really good point is, you know, sometimes even in international trade, but certainly in, in international, uh, country negotiations, there’s so much that is unspoken or so much, that is, uh, that, that forms the backdrop of a negotiation, right. You screwed us back in 17, 17, and we want our, we want our little slice of that back or whatever. I mean, there is so many dynamics plus the country. I mean, you know, you have to represent the best interest of your country and, and you have to do that to the greatest extent you possibly can. And I think people, I think you’re right. I think people don’t always recognize that.
Nadia Theodore CG (16:31):
Absolutely. And, you know, and understanding that as a negotiator and remembering to ask the questions, you know, it might surprise you, but I was not around in 1879. And so, you know, I might not understand the context of something that happened 20 years ago or 25 years ago or whatever. Right. And so as a negotiator, even recognizing and understanding that there is context behind that and digging and asking questions, trying to get to the very root of why your partner might be suggesting something or not being able to agree to something, um, is very, very important and can help you get to the outcome that will work for, for all parties.
Greg White (17:23):
Yeah, I agree. And, and you know, another thing that somebody said about trade in general about supply chains as Scott was talking about is in the middle of a crisis, is not the time to try to make friends. You have to build those relationships over time, because it’s exceedingly difficult to do that. If you don’t have a good relationship, it’s exceedingly difficult to get good outcomes. As you said from somebody you don’t have a great relationship with. And it’s a little bit late to repair that. So people have to think about that as well. All right. So let’s talk about something that was negotiated probably before any of us were really old enough to pay much attention to it. And that’s the transition from NAFTA, the former North American free trade agreement to us MCA. And, and give us a little bit of background and maybe tell us a little bit about how, how you saw that come about and, and what you see as the significance of it.
Nadia Theodore CG (18:23):
Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, I am very proud of the, let me, let me start by saying, I am very proud of the, the modernization of the North American free trade agreement that is now the U S MCA. Um, because I really do, you know, I am a self proclaimed tree, so, you know, um, there, there was that, so I would be thrilled with it. Okay. Um, but I really think that, especially in a time of COVID-19 in a time of rising protectionism around the world, um, and in a time where companies and businesses now more than ever really need to operate in an environment that is personified by stability and predictability, um, because of all of the externalities that are exactly the opposite for them. Um, I think that the U S MCA really is about facilitating trade for businesses. Um, it really is about creating predictable, transparent rules. We were able to maintain that predictability and that transparency. Um, and I think that, you know, there are in particular, a couple of areas that really do, um, represent significant changes from what we knew, what we had in Nazca to what we have now in order for businesses to really thrive, um, and, and expand abroad. Um, and I, and I’m happy to go into a couple of them if, if, um, if you’d like me to,
Greg White (20:12):
Well, yeah, yeah. I mean, I think that really goes into the next question. I think the first thing that you said was modernization of NAFTA, because that is the core essence of what this does. And it also reduces friction, even though there wasn’t a tremendous amount of friction between us, Mexico and Canada. Um, but it reduces the friction for border crossings and things like that. But yeah, please tell us what you think business people or supply chain professionals generally ought to know about what USM brings us and what it brings us to a better is it from, from NAFTA, for sure.
Nadia Theodore CG (20:53):
Yeah. And, you know, I liked the way that you put that it reduces friction. Um, absolutely. And I think as well, you know, I, I want to underscore that the quantifier that you just use, you know, what do business leaders and supply chain professionals need to know? Um, and I think that that’s important because, you know, especially somebody like me, I can get a little bit wonky, um, when I started talking about training policy, but, but, you know, there are things in the agreement that are actually very, um, useful and important for actual supply chain leaders and business leaders to know about. And so the first thing that I would say, um, is around this whole idea of procedures for origins certification. Um, and I’d like to talk about origin certification because we hardly ever talk about it. Um, it’s not as sexy as, you know, labor and intellectual property and technology and eCommerce, you know, all of those things are great, but you know, origin certification, which as your supply chain leaders listening will know is the procedure that needs to be used to certify that this thing that they’re importing the good that they’re importing qualifies for the 0% tariff treatment that they’re going to take advantage of.
Nadia Theodore CG (22:16):
Right. So, you know, it is actually very important for everyday business and under the U S MCA, again, going to your idea of reducing friction, we incorporated much more flexibility around the form that this certification can take while, you know, of course maintaining all of the requirements around substance. So, so now assert a certificate of origin, um, can be provided on any type of documents or you can use an invoice or any other documents that comes from any one of the three NAFTA parties, USMS parties. Sorry. Um, so there’s no kind of special form anymore. Like it was under the NAFTA, as long as it contains it, it looks long as it contains the information information, right. And also the other two most important things for me. And, and, um, and most interesting things is that now it’s not just the Xsporter that can complete a certificate of origin.
Nadia Theodore CG (23:18):
The importer can also complete the certificate of origin. So again, reducing that with that, that, that friction making it easier for, for business leaders, business people, and especially small businesses, right. To navigate that system. And then, and then the third thing, and the last thing that I’ll mention on this one is this, the fact that, um, a certificate of origin can actually now be completed and electronically. So we have finally entered the 21st century, you know, no longer, yeah, exactly. Here we are. But you know, you no longer have to have the special form that you got to download from the special website and print out and have it all find and then find a stamp, you know? I mean, yeah, exactly. So, and especially for small businesses, right. Especially for people who, you know, I’d like to say you can’t afford all the fancy lawyers, um, this is, this is important, significant, um, and, and will significantly reduce that, um, that regulatory, um, barrier to getting preferential treatment.
Nadia Theodore CG (24:33):
Yeah. And then of course, you know, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about, um, the, the automotive rules of origin. Cause everybody’s talking about that, right. The changes, uh, under, under the U S MCA. Um, and you know, just to talk about that a little bit, it is, it is a little bit complicated, but to give your listeners a little bit of an overview. So the overall regional value content for, for cars, vehicle, passenger vehicles and light trucks under NAFTA, it was 62.5%. We’ve increased it under the U S MCA to 75% with the phase in period. Nice. And that companies will need some time to, to get themselves, um, uh, up to speed. Right. Um, and we created three new new categories for auto parts. So now you have core parts, principle, parts, complimentary parts, all of which have a different RVC, a again with phase and periods.
Nadia Theodore CG (25:34):
Um, and then of course, would everybody talking about with regards to the auto rules of origin, is this labor value content, which is brand new, never been done before in a trade agreement. And, you know, with that labor value content, everybody is talking about one of the sub sectors that was negotiated and that’s around, um, the, the, the $16 wage, um, requirement. So one of the subsections under this labor value content is for high wage material and manufacturing. Um, and that is calculated by taking basically your entire purchase value over a year of all of the parts and materials that were produced by workers that make at least $16 per hour. And so that’s where you, you know, many of your listeners will have heard of this labor requirement under the U S MCA for, for workers to be paid $16 an hour. Um, and it’s a little bit more complicated than that. It is really one subsection of a labor value content under the auto of origin, um, that everybody, everybody is talking about. And then also, and, you know, and I have to say, now, anytime I say the word aluminum, I get a little bit annoyed, but we also negotiated under the auto rules of origin are requirements that OEMs, um, have to source 70% of their aluminum and steel from, from North America. And I say, aluminum with I’m scowling, you can’t see me, but,
Greg White (27:11):
Well that’s okay. At least you say it properly. I’m not Al Al you, many of them are British. I know, I know it does sound nifty when they say it that way. Every time they say it, I’m not kidding every time they say it, Nadia, I go and double check just to make sure there is no I in there. Um, cause every time it gets said, it’s been a while since I’ve seen the word, it seems like, well, let’s, so let’s look, we talked about how we have, uh, sort of expedited and reduced friction and that sort of thing, and updated this, as you said, to consider digital and an eCommerce considerations and, and, uh, you know, sometimes, uh, consumer shipments as well as business to business shipments across borders. I think, look, I can tell you that Scott and I are big fans of this agreement, um, because it, it does right.
Greg White (28:15):
What was lacking in NAFTA. Um, and it brings it, as you said into the 21st century brings the agreement into the 21st century. And I think what people need to recognize is how fortunate we are to have a continental agreement among just three countries. I mean, this is exceedingly more difficult to accomplish in other continent, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, because there are so many countries. And as you alluded to even earlier, so many of those diverse interests that make, would make something like this exceedingly difficult. And particularly in these times where we’re talking about near shoring or reassuring or China plus one or whatever, it’s good to know that you have people on, on your shores that are friendly enough friendly. Cause we’re going to get to that whole aluminum thing, right. Friendly enough that, you know, at least they don’t have adverse adverse interests to your nation’s principles. Um, and I think, I think people need to recognize and embrace that. And frankly, I think that’s probably one of the best things about this is that people recognize that the simplicity, frankly, that we have in being able to create a continental agreement like this.
Nadia Theodore CG (29:35):
Absolutely. And you know, you said it quite rightly perfectly that the, the simplicity
Nadia Theodore CG (29:42):
And the benefit that we have in North America to have neighbors that we can trust to have not just their own interests in mind and at hurt, but the collective interest in mind and at heart is something that, you know, we have taken advantage of. Right. Um, but it, it, it shouldn’t be now more than ever. Um, we really need to understand how lucky we are and not sit on our laurels, um, and, and, and, and work to maintain that, that strong, positive relationship, um,
Greg White (30:27):
Keeping that relationship in the face of, of this irritant to you. So tell, tell us, so clue are our listeners in, in case they don’t know what’s going on with this aluminum situation. What’s your take there?
Nadia Theodore CG (30:43):
Yeah. So listen, we won’t spend too much time on it because this is a happy conversation, but I have to say that as of Sunday, uh, the United States has, um, put in place a 10% tariff on Canadian aluminum that came into effect on Sunday. Um, that of course, you know, no surprise to you. Uh, my, uh, my I and my country believe, uh, to be completely unnecessary and an unwarranted, um, you know, the rationale going back to what we were just talking about, the rationale is twofold, um, that there has an all address both of them quickly, that there has been a surge in aluminum exports from Canada into the United States and that this poses a national security threat to the United States. So let me take the first one, um, this idea of a search. So, you know, the fact of the matter is, is that trade in aluminum between Canada and the United States has really, um, been consistent with historic levels.
Nadia Theodore CG (32:07):
What is true is that because of the global downturn that we have seen over the last few months, um, there has been obviously a decline in manufacturing, which has resulted in more of a demand for a certain type of aluminum, non alloyed aluminum. Um, and those exports have gone up while other types of aluminum exports have gone down, which, you know, results in an overall trend that is consistent with historical trade in, in aluminum, and even more so that non alloyed aluminum that we saw a surge in over the past several months is actually now already begun to decline significantly as things get back up and moving in the economy. Right. And, and especially in terms of, in terms of manufacturing. So that addresses the first point, you know, and then to add insult to injury, in my opinion, um, you know, the idea that Canada is a national security threat to the United States is just a bit, you know, I mean,
Greg White (33:27):
We know that you have troops perched on the border Nadia.
Nadia Theodore CG (33:31):
We do, and we have, we have troops perched in each other’s, you know, um, in each other’s armies, you know, like we are, you know, so anyway, it is, it’s, it’s a bit ridiculous, but also a little bit sad and insulting. I have to say for me in particular, um, and you know, I would also tell people, and I say this, um, very seriously, because I think it’s important that people, you know, I am Canadian, I represent Canada. So many of your listeners, you know, might say, well, of course, she’s not gonna come on here and say, you know, absolutely Canada’s a problem. You know, I, you know, of course that’s not what they pay me for. Um, but you don’t have to listen to just me. Cause because in fact, the us chamber of commerce, the American aluminum association, you know, in fact, every American aluminum stakeholder, except for two loan companies, um, which I won’t talk about, but you can do your own research as to where those companies come from and where their interests are.
Nadia Theodore CG (34:38):
Um, all aluminum companies and together with the chamber, the us chamber and the American aluminum association have come out against the tariffs being imposed. And, you know, for me, we should be right now celebrating U S MCA. We should be, um, maintaining what we talked about before this transparency and predictability and dependability for our companies. We should not be Canada and the United States in a, in a trade, uh, dispute. Um, and that’s, what’s going, that’s what’s happening, right? Because I mean, Canada obviously needs to now put in place dollar for dollar countermeasures, which we are going to do on, on September 16th. Um, if, if the tariffs are not removed by then, um, which is unfortunate because what we really should be doing is helping our businesses recover, uh, celebrating the U S MCA
Nadia Theodore CG (35:38):
And maintaining the stability and predictability that, that this modernization of the, of the agreement has provided us to date.
Greg White (35:46):
I think we have to acknowledge some of those underlying conditions that we were, we were talking about earlier, Nadia, that one, the big underlying condition is it’s an election year and two, the biggest States for aluminum production are swing States. And in, you know, in key States and in this election. So for people who aren’t from the U S the whole country doesn’t vote for the president, um, the whole country or each state votes, and then is assigned whoever won that state. So it kind of comes down to that, but you’re right. It is, it is to say the least counterproductive. And particularly in the first year of this agreement. And also, I think the best point you made is one. We should be talking about U S MCA, which we are hardly doing. And I think that’s because it’s over shattered, but overshadowed by the seismic societal disruption it’s caused by COVID. But, um, we should be talking about it more and we should be celebrating all of that frictionless ness, if that’s a word and all of the things that we’re trying to accomplish with it. And, um, I Nadia in my naive fashion have faith. I can’t believe I’m going to say this have faith that we will get past this post election. And, um, in that way, I’m recognizing also gang that I did just say that I have faith in politicians, which is laughable.
Nadia Theodore CG (37:24):
I’ll have faith as well. I have faith as well as I have nothing to say about politicians or elections, because I have a visitor in your country.
Greg White (37:32):
Well, so we are, we are joined in our naivete, ms. Nadia. So I think that, I think that’s what most of us can hope for. Um, all right, well, uh, I’m glad you hit that. And by the way, for a diplomat, you did that, uh, diplomatically boldly. So I really appreciate that you could have really minced words there, but I really appreciate that you confronted that head on. We’ve got a new phrase now, Greg diplomatically boldness, uh, yeah.
Nadia Theodore CG (38:04):
Automatically bold. I love it. I love it. That’s going to be my signature.
Greg White (38:10):
There you go. All right. So let’s, let’s rush to another topic and, uh, and let’s talk about, um, let’s, let’s do a little bit of, as CRA, as Scott loves to say, let’s break out your crystal ball, or let’s just talk about what you see, um, what has mind share for you into the future or, or right. Um,
Scott Luton (38:36):
You know, what is, what are you spending cycles thinking, being concerned, joyful, challenged by,
Nadia Theodore CG (38:45):
Yeah, that’s a good question. So, you know, maybe I’ll take it. I can spend a lot of time talking about what I’m joyful about, but much of it doesn’t have to do with anything to do with supply chains, frankly, because, you know, two of the things that I spend a lot of time thinking, reading, listening to radio shows and podcasts about is, you know, the, the kind of shift that we are seeing or not seeing with regards to global supply chains and the decisions that companies are taking, um, in the face of two things in the face of rising protectionism, um, and in the face of what I kind of think of in my head as changes in the way that we define risk or, or how we prioritize de-risking and factors leading to de-risking our businesses, um, in the face of COVID-19. Um, and, you know, I’m thinking about that more often now, because, you know, we have really spent the last 25 years or so creating these global frictionless synchronize supply chains that are really geared towards delivering lower cost.
Nadia Theodore CG (40:23):
Good. Um, and we have really excelled in that model right. Of, of cutting costs and, and, and moving towards this frictionless and synchronized supply chains. Um, and, and if we think about now, given COVID, um, in particular, there’s this whole conversation going on about whether, um, companies are going to move towards reassuring supply chains, moving closer to home, um, whether we’re going to see a mass Exodus of companies, American and Canadian companies that are located in China, um, moving back to North America, you know, what I’m spending a lot of time thinking about that and, and, and, and thinking, and listening and reading about what others are saying about it. And, you know, what I find really interesting is, well, first, what I think we need to realize is that, and I’m preaching to the choir here. I’m stating the obvious supply chains are complicated. They’re not homogeneous. Um, they differ amongst and between sectors and even within the sectors. And so, you know, it’s hard to talk about supply chains and
Nadia Theodore CG (41:42):
One kind of world view as to where supply chains are going, because it’s very complex and very differentiated depending on what sector you’re in.
Nadia Theodore CG (41:50):
But I think that what the data is showing, interestingly, at least now,
Nadia Theodore CG (41:56):
And in fact it was the us chamber of commerce, I believe, but don’t quote me, who did a study, a survey of, of companies asking them whether they were going to be leaving, um, China in the near future and reassuring back home.
Nadia Theodore CG (42:13):
And many of them answered no, because many of them
Nadia Theodore CG (42:18):
Nadia Theodore CG (42:20):
Because not because they, um,
Nadia Theodore CG (42:24):
Assemble in China and then shipped back home to North America,
Nadia Theodore CG (42:28):
But because they serve that region via, um,
Nadia Theodore CG (42:34):
Via China. Right. And so while many of them said that they are, they might be thinking of moving to Vietnam or Indonesia.
Nadia Theodore CG (42:41):
Um, not many of them said that they were moving
Nadia Theodore CG (42:44):
Back to North America. And I think that that’s quite interesting.
Nadia Theodore CG (42:50):
Um, but again, you know what I do find to be
Nadia Theodore CG (42:56):
What I’m thinking about, especially in the context of, of, of Canada and North America and how we kind of attract investment long term into our countries is I do think
Nadia Theodore CG (43:09):
That when you talk about price,
Nadia Theodore CG (43:11):
Seeing risks, um, into supply chains, I think that companies are going to approach that very differently.
Nadia Theodore CG (43:19):
And I think that creating redundant
Nadia Theodore CG (43:21):
And, and sees incensing will become more popular as a way to de risk your business. Um, so which could mean not necessarily moving everything from China to the United States, but finding different sources for some of your, your, those supply chains, um, diversifying some of those supply chains, having different hubs, one in, in Asia and one in North America. Um, I think that that is something that we might see more of in the future.
Nadia Theodore CG (43:53):
Um, and then, and then secondly, you know, this whole idea of
Nadia Theodore CG (43:59):
Idea, reality, frankly, of rising protectionism and the resulting volatility volativity, um, um, that this causes companies is something that I’m also kind of thinking about because you know what I have learnt, what we all have learned to be true is that companies really thrive on certainty. They need to know that they can source the materials that they need for their value chains, that they can access top talent. Um, whether that talent is already in location, where are, or whether they need to, to, to bring them in, um, and that they all have preferential access to a wide variety and diversity of markets. Um, and what we’re seeing now is that those three factors sourcing the materials that they need access to top talent and preferential access to markets. You know, not all countries can provide that, um, optionality and predictability and stability. Um, and you know, what I, uh, selfishly, um, know is that Canada we can, right. Um, and so, you know, we have trade agreements with 51 countries. We have very predictable and business friendly immigration policies. We have all of these incentives for capital cost allowances. Um, and so I’m kind of thinking about how Canada positions itself within a broader North American context to really attract and maintain investment, recognizing that those top three things, um, sourcing materials, talent, and preferential access to international markets is really what’s going to be on the minds of businesses, um, in the future,
Greg White (45:47):
You have a lot on your mind, but I think, I think the thing that really stands out to me is that one of the first statements you made about supply chains being predominantly, at least of late in focused on cost reduction. And the truth is, and this is my personal philosophy. I think some people share it with me. I think Scott does and others, but supply chain is foundationally about risk management and risk includes paying too much for the product, but risk also includes paying very little for the product, but having no plan B. And, and I have seen companies who, who have mitigated that problem for decades, and frankly, Nadia, I’m a bit surprised that some of the largest companies in the world did not have a plan B right. Did not have a, you know, now we’re talking about China plus one or China plus two, but it seems like it would have been prudent to always have that.
Greg White (46:50):
And I know many, many companies who did, and they were still rocked by this, you know, this pandemic, but at least they weren’t 100% or 99% in, in a particular domicile and completely hamstrung. So I completely agree with that. And then when you consider things, like, I mean, as long as we’re talking about protection as policies, right? I mean, you think, you think we got it bad with aluminum between us and Canada. Um, you know, think about what we’ve got with China and China with so many other, um, right. And, and they are so far away, right. At least we can go knock on your door and say, please, I knew, likewise,
Nadia Theodore CG (47:40):
You know, I can, you can bring me an Apple pie. I can bring you in the Nymo bar and we can work it out.
Greg White (47:50):
Yeah, exactly. But no, but all of those things, all of those things are really important. And I think, you know, to me, I don’t know that the, the difficulty that we’ve got is we can’t with the accumulation of production capacity in the rest of the world, duplicate the production capacity in China, as you said, in some cases, it’s not prudent to move out of China if you were servicing China. Um, and, and the other aspect of that is whether, whether we have, whether we can do it cost effectively or how we do it cost effectively, if we can somehow duplicate production capacity maybe with robotics or automation or, or, you know, or user assist or whatever. So there are all of those complexities, which you to bring us back full circle, which you talked about at the very beginning, right? There are a lot of complexities in international discussions and trade negotiations. And of course there are a lot of those similar complexities in a supply chain. So your mind is perfectly set for the transition between diplomacy and supply chain. Because if, if they’re not, if they’re not completely aligned, they are very, very closely aligned. So,
Nadia Theodore CG (49:09):
So from your lips to God’s ears,
Greg White (49:12):
Because we’re about to find out why that statement matters. That is right. Perfect segue as always Greg. So, you know, uh, the diplomatic industry, if that is the right way to put it, um, it’s loss is going to be the food industry’s gain. And we’re going to find out more about that, uh, CG, tell us about your exciting new news and the transition that you’re about to embark on.
Nadia Theodore CG (49:35):
Yeah. So I, in the next few weeks we’ll be leaving Atlanta, um, and leaving the diplomatic Corps and leaving the federal public service and going to work for the private sector. I will be going to work indeed for maple leaf foods, which is, uh, many, many of your listeners might know it, it is an iconic Canadian company. Um, and, uh, yeah, I will be, uh, working as their senior vice president for global government and industry affairs. So I will be into the world of, of, of food and supply chains indeed. And, and, and, and a chronic Canadian brand, which for me, most importantly, is, is going to be something quite special and trading
Nadia Theodore CG (50:28):
In one maple leaf for Netherlands, my friends aren’t.
Scott Luton (50:32):
Yeah, very well said. I love that. Well, you know, um, I think a lot of folks, a lot of our listeners might, would recognize maple maple leaf foods, you know, Swift, uh, the Swift brand Schneider’s prom, Greenfield, natural meat company. These are, these are brands. A lot of folks, uh, are familiar with. And man, what a great get for the organization to have a leader, join them with your depth of experience, um, especially, uh, your expertise in international trade and negotiation. I feel sorry. I feel sorry for some of the folks that they’ll be negotiating with given your skill there. Uh, but what a great, how did it, you may not can address all of it, but, um, how did the opportunity come about, uh, clearly it seems, it seems like your father and those grocery store visits, um, may have, uh, you know, planted a seed, no pun intended. Uh, how did, how did this appeal to you and why did this appeal to you?
Nadia Theodore CG (51:37):
Yeah. You know, that’s a good question. You know, like I said, this role being here in Atlanta, um, the role is being, you know, a top diplomat for my country really provided me with a, kind of an overview of what I found to be most enjoyable in terms of work. Um, and it really came down to three things for me, what was important to me was the ability to really, um, build and maintain and sustain relationships and be part of an organization that understands the importance of that and be able to contribute to that. Because I think that that is, you know, a little bit of my superpower. Um, and then too, I have really enjoyed, again, the synergy between the policy and actual companies, actual businesses, um, and, and, and, and having the opportunity to not just work inside any old business, any old company, but, you know, uh, uh, Canadian, um, brand name, iconic company, um, was something that I really, um, was really, um, special for me. Right. And then, and then thirdly, you know, I am somebody who really believes in the possibility of good in business. Um, I really do believe that corporations and businesses can contribute to a equitable
Nadia Theodore CG (53:26):
And sustainable, um, planet and world. Um, so, you know, maple Leafs tagline to be the most sustainable protein company on earth and to raise the good in food, um, really appealed to me. Uh, it appealed to me that, you know, we all kind of this idea of private public partnerships. It’s not all about the public sector and it’s not all about the private sector. We need to kind of work together to, to ensure that every day people see the benefits of all of these trade agreements that we’re negotiating, right? All of these supply chains, these global supply chains that we’re working so hard to maintain, um, to, to, to, to grow our economy everyday, people need to see the benefits of that. And, and they believe foods is a company that also believes in that. So, so I’m, I’m excited, I’m excited,
Scott Luton (54:18):
Outstanding, outstanding. Well, uh, we’re excited for you and we look forward to having you back on, um, and, and bringing your insights on, uh, what you experienced in the food industry, especially as a U w how’d you put it, you raise the good and food, raise the good in food, love the hats. Okay. Um, all right. So let’s make sure that folks know how to connect with you, and certainly how to connect with the Canadian consulate in Atlanta. Um, I bet you got a, um, an ongoing request, uh, calendar for interviews and whatnot, given what you share with us here today, how can folks connect with you and, and the team
Nadia Theodore CG (55:00):
After busy? So you can follow us on Twitter. That would be wonderful. We are, um, the, the office is the symbol and then C a N C G Atlanta. So follow us on Twitter. Um, and then you can, you know, if you want to follow me personally, I don’t tweet all the time about work stuff, actually, almost never, but, you know, you can follow me as well. You can follow me as well if you’d like, I’m Nadia underscore Theodore, but, but for everything work-related, you can follow the consulate and then you can, you can always, um, email us, you know, you can, if you just go into the Google search and type in Canadian consulate in Atlanta, our email will pop right up. Um, we are, we are kind of an open book and you can drop us a line we’d love to hear from people. Um, and, and, and we’d love to engage with all of your followers further on, on social media and otherwise,
Scott Luton (55:57):
Well, I love on your Twitter profile, you’ve got recovering trade policy wonk. I love it. I’ll tell ya. Um, maple leaf foods, is it, I mean, what just a great, uh, great win for them. Great. Coup and we look forward to, to bring you back on and kind of seeing how this, this next chapter in your, um, really interesting journey goes. So thank you so much console general of Canada in Atlanta, Nadia, Theodore.
Nadia Theodore CG (56:26):
Thank you so much, Scott. Thank you so much, Greg.
Scott Luton (56:30):
Thank you. Now, now you can give those lessons back to your father. You can see
Nadia Theodore CG (56:36):
No, no, where this come from now. I can’t wait full circle.
Scott Luton (56:44):
Wonderful. What a great, great thought Greg. Well, Greg, what a fascinating conversation, you know, there, there were, there were so many different angles of, of not just a U S MCA, but of that world. That’s so important being the diplomatic Corps as, as the CG put it. Yeah, I think, look, I, I actually am really encouraged by, and I hope we, um, continue to have the kind of openness that Nadia shared here. Um, you know, the three we’ve got to think of, of, and I think she said this, we’ve got to think of us and Canada and Mexico as a family, right? And sometimes you get pissed at your family members and you fight and, um, but ultimately, you know, you have to live together, right. And hopefully you care enough for one another to make that, make that, um, good for, for everyone in the family.
Scott Luton (57:40):
So I think that that spirit it’s okay to argue, right. But in the end where we’re all together. Um, and particularly because we are doing things in the greater scheme of things that are making our trade relations, our, our diplomatic relations even better. And I, I would have, I would argue that they’re very, very good by any standard. I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time in Europe and I know Nadia has to a lot of time in South America. And that is the kind of relationship that we have with our neighbors on our continent is exceptional compared to that. Yeah, we’ll put, uh, you know, regardless of what comes our way, we’re much, much better together. And if we can continue to make trade successful, there are so many wonderful spillover effects that will strengthen the relationship and the, the, the, the family, as, as you put it in, as Nadia put it between Mexico, Canada and the United States.
Scott Luton (58:43):
So we’ll, we will keep our finger on the tabs as U S MCA continues to take root and provide a lot of great things for all three countries, business community, and really for that matter, the international economy, um, own that note, Greg, uh, hopefully our listeners, hopefully listeners enjoy this conversation as much as we both did. I know I was on mute a lot, but I was laughing. Naughty has got a wonderful sense of humor, but a lot of business lessons learned that are, that are APPL applicable beyond the diplomatic Corps. No doubt. We look forward to watching this next phase. So Hey to our, uh, check us out. If you enjoy today’s episode, you can check out a wide variety of other interviews at supply chain. Now, radio.com, fondness and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from on behalf of our entire team here, Greg white and Scott Luton, and the whole team here at supply chain. Now, Hey, do good. Give forward, be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see you next time.
Nadia Theodore was appointed as Consul General of Canada in Atlanta in September 2017, with accreditation for Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. As Consul General, Ms. Theodore is the Government of Canada’s senior diplomat in the Southeast USA. Prior to her appointment as Consul General, Ms. Theodore served as Chief of Staff and Executive Director to Canada’s Deputy Minister of International Trade. Ms. Theodore has also served at Canada’s Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organization and at Canada’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations (both in Geneva, Switzerland). With over 20 years experience in the Canadian federal public service, Consul General Theodore has built a reputation for forging strong partnerships with government and business leaders and building strong multi-disciplinary teams. Ms. Theodore has made advancing inclusion in the workplace a core pillar of her mandate as a senior executive in the Canadian public service and as Consul General in Atlanta. She is committed to making sure that the public service is included in the global conversation on diversity and inclusion within organizations and the deliberate work to build inclusive teams, including and especially at senior levels.
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.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, 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.
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.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
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.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
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!
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.
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.
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.