Supply Chain Now
Episode 473

Episode Summary

“Emerging technologies such as AI and robotics and the Internet of Things have created ways of doing things in supply chain that we couldn’t even imagine 10 years ago. This is a very exciting time.”

Ashfaque Chowdhury, PhD, President – Supply Chain, Americas and Asia Pacific at XPO Logistics, Inc.

 

XPO Logistics is one of the largest transportation and logistics companies in the world. Today they do business in 43 countries and have over a hundred thousand employees. They invest over half a billion dollars in technology annually, a commitment that has allowed them to build high performing, sophisticated supply chains.

Like many other executives, Ashfaque Chowdhury, PhD, was faced with significant operational and safety challenges in early 2020. He worked closely with his company’s business continuity team to figure out what needed to be done. It was an expensive decision, costing $49 Million in the second quarter alone, but in his leadership team’s opinion, it was worth it.

In this conversation, Ashfaque tells Supply Chain Now Host Scott Luton why there is a lot of room for both creativity and analytics in the field of supply chain:

· Responding to changes in consumer behavior by making fundamental changes to how the supply chain works

· The critical measures they have had to implement across facilities in order to create and maintain safe working environments

· The three things XPO Logistics figured out in February that have allowed them to preserve business continuity despite the challenges of 2020.

Episode Transcript

Intro (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 morning, Scott Luton here with you on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show. On this episode, we’re talking with a senior leader from one of the largest global providers of transportation and logistics services in the world. We’re certainly gonna be working hard to raise your supply chain leadership IQ today. More to come on that in just a moment, but Hey, quick programming note, before we get started, if you enjoyed today’s conversation, be sure to find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. Cause you’re not gonna wanna miss conversations just like this here today, all with snow, with no further ado, let’s bring in our featured guest. Asfoc chattery, P H D president for supply chain, Americas and Asia Pacific with XPO. Good morning. [inaudible] good morning, Scott. Great to be here. Great to be with you. Now we’ve been tracking XPO and, and all the great industry leadership that y’all have been providing through some really tough month then a month out and pleased to have you here and, and, uh, uh, gain some of your thoughts, insights, and sharing that with our audience.

Scott Luton (01:32):

So, um, but you know, I thought we’d like to start always with getting a sense of who you are more as a person before we get to the business. So, you know, tell us a little bit where, where, where, where are you from? Where did you grow up and give us some anecdotes about your upbringing? Well, uh, I was born in Bangladesh growing up, uh, you know, uh, I was fortunate enough to be a, uh, you know, get a lot of opportunities academically. I went to a college in India and it Bombay, which is one of the premier, uh, colleges in, in, in subcontent. And, uh, I got a scholarship to do my masters and PhD at Lehigh university in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. So, uh, after that, uh, you know, say I was an engineering, uh, after that I had an opportunity to come into the supply chain industry.

Ashfaque Chowdhury (02:26):

And, uh, I’ve been here since for 25 years becomes addictive, doesn’t it? Yes. It’s been a amazing journey. Uh, you know, uh, when I started the business, uh, you know, this was before, uh, you know, we barely had cell phones. I mean, hardcore people think that today, but then now we are dealing with robots. Yes. It’s funny as humans back then, we had a hard time communicating just a couple miles apart. Now we’ve got robots talking to each other around the world, you know? Uh, it’s really funny. All right. So one more before we talk XPO, uh, you’ve been in supply chain for quite some time. You were alluding to some of the changes in industry. Do you think it’s becoming more appealing for, you know, as we know, as an industry we’re competing for top talent and as you spoke about, once it got its claws in you, it kept you right here. Do you think it is become more appealing for the top talent around the world to get into splotching? Okay.

Ashfaque Chowdhury (03:21):

Well, Scott, I think one of the things that I enjoyed about supply chain from the very beginning, it’s that, uh, this is an industry where, uh, there’s a lot of room for creativity, as well as analytics. So if you have a mind that is engaging and you’re trying to help people accomplish something, right, whether a consumer gets their package or a manufacturer gets their production done better. Uh, so, uh, it has always been fascinating to me. Uh, I do think that in the recent times with the advance of technology and us, uh, the importance of supply chain and everybody’s lives that become much more apparent. It is definitely a lot more appealing at XPO. We have a program called XPO graduate, where we attract, uh, uh, uh, college students to, uh, come and join XPO. And, uh, we certainly have noticed in the last four or five years, a significant amount of, uh, you know, people, uh, wanting to join our industry and very, very talented individuals coming into our industry.

Scott Luton (04:31):

I love that. That’s what we’ve heard from so many other business leaders, and it’s so good for the industry. And one step further, you know, the tough time for so many, as we all know in 2020 and, and really the latter half of 2019, however, one of the silver linings from my perspective is consumers are really understanding now what the word supply chain mean, and what’s behind it. And that’s great for industry as we, as we move forward for attracting top talent and beyond. So that’s great to hear as fuck. Um, so let’s talk a little bit more about XPO logistics and, and, you know, for the two people out there that may be don’t know what, what the company does. Just share a little more about what you do and then your role with the company.

Ashfaque Chowdhury (05:12):

So XPO is one of the largest transportation and logistics companies in the world. It’s a fortune 200 company listed in New York stock exchange. Um, what, uh, we do, uh, varies in the different markets and the different lines of business. We do everything from, uh, our, uh, you know, less than truckload care were second or third, largest, less than truckload carrier. We’re the largest heavy goods last mile delivery company. So if you were to buy something that’s a hundred pound and above, uh, most likely we are the ones who will deliver it to your home. Uh, we are the second largest contract logistics company in the world. So, um, you know, uh, we have business in intermodal. We are one of the largest truck brokerage companies, uh, in the world. And, uh, we’re a global company. We do business in 43 countries today, over a hundred thousand employees. And, uh, we have a large amount of our business and it’s in the U S and the Western Europe

Scott Luton (06:13):

Eat my Wheaties this morning, hearing all of that has made me tired. Um, it’s really remarkable what goes on, uh, you know, uh, to keep business and supply chains moving forward. And it’s so neat to as more and more folks are connecting the dots there. And then your role, what, where do your, where do you spend your time?

Ashfaque Chowdhury (06:34):

Well, expose organized in, uh, two segments, transportation and logistics. I run the logistics business for the Americas and Asia Pacific region.

Scott Luton (06:46):

This next question, I’ve already, I’ve got a couple assumptions based on what you’ve shared. I I’m seeing some of your passion come out and these early questions, but, uh, in, in your role and beyond what, what are some of the more exciting things that are taking place in global supply chain in your view?

Ashfaque Chowdhury (07:03):

I would have to say the changes in consumer behavior, uh, means that, uh, the supply chain that, uh, you know, the way it has been structured in the past is no longer adequate, uh, all, all of us buy more things online, our expectation of how fast we receive that product, uh, uh, you know, a lot faster. Uh, we, when we go to work, we don’t, uh, change our expectations. So even within business, people have the same level of expectation in visibility, in ability to order things, the ability to receive things, uh, the level of performance that we expect. Well, all of that translates into a much higher performing, much more sophisticated supply chains. That’s enabled by technology. Now at XPO, we’ve been investing over half a billion dollars in technology every year. And, uh, that has given us a lot of, uh, insights and a lot of capability to me, these kinds of demanding, uh, you know, uh, changes that we see happening. So it’s a very exciting time. Uh, and then finally, I have to say that the emerging technologies such as AI and robotics and, you know, uh, internet of things, um, all of these things have, uh, you know, created a brand new ways of doing things in supply chain that we couldn’t even imagine 10 years ago. So it’s a very exciting time.

Scott Luton (08:40):

I completely agree a lot of kindred spirits there. Um, and I liked that phrase no longer adequate, right? We, we, we’ve got to reinvent what, uh, our approach to global supply chain. We were talking with a firm earlier this week. And as of the conversation, we talked about how, you know, a couple of years ago we were playing chutes and ladders, and now we’re playing, we’re playing with monopoly rules, trying to play an old game, and the whole game has changed. And that, that created an interesting visual, at least in my mind, let’s talk about the people of supply chain and the essential workers in supply chain is, as we both know the emphasis, which has been so welcome to really double down and invest in and protect our workforce across industry, of course, you know, frontline and healthcare. Uh, but, but also equally as important is all the people that, that allow folks to get things, you know, during quarantine the lockdown and whether they’re drivers or fulfillment workers or warehouse workers, or in our manufacturing plants protecting these wonderful people, supply chain, uh, XPO released a white paper, entitled essential support for essential workers, which I thought was a very welcome piece of thought leadership for industry to our listeners.

Scott Luton (09:57):

You should check that out. So what were some of the, or what were the most critical measures rather that you’ve implemented to protect your workforce?

Ashfaque Chowdhury (10:06):

So, Scott, let me first start by thanking all the workers from every company across our entire industry. It has become clear through COVID-19 the pandemic who is really essential for us to conduct our lives every day. Uh, the folks who drive our trucks, uh, people who are riding forklifts in our houses, the people who are picking the supervisors, the quality checkers, the Packers, all of those people, my hats off to them. They have done a tremendous job that allows everybody else in the, uh, in, in our communities to function because we have food, we have clothes, we have all the things that we need. So Mike Banks to them, uh, we wrote the paper essential support for essential workers, because we were in a unique situation. We had tens of thousands of employees that needed to be kept safe. And, uh, at that scale, we have to figure out things as to how to do that very early on.

Ashfaque Chowdhury (11:18):

So, uh, back in February, we started this project, uh, with our, uh, business continuity team. And, uh, we figured out a lot of things that work for us. And we wanted to share that with everybody, uh, in answer to your question with regard to what are the key things that we implemented, I would boil that down to three things. Number one, you need to do, uh, change how we work and how people are in every facility through looking at how work gets done. So every job needs to be reevaluated for safety, and you have to have adequate supply of PPE and you have to make changes. So the work can be done safely for everybody. Secondly, workers need a emotional support as well as, you know, financial support. So, uh, providing support for, uh, employees during pandemic. So if they’re have to go into quarantine or they’re sick, the level of, uh, benefits and, uh, you know, and protections that have is a very important ingredient because it basically make sure that employees do the right thing.

Ashfaque Chowdhury (12:42):

So they feel safe. They stay home, they still get paid. And the third element is to have a dedicated team that is helping everybody make the right decisions all the time, uh, problems happen when, uh, some leader or some employee, somewhere in the supply chain faced with the situation makes the wrong choice that, uh, then creates a domino effect of infecting other people. If that person’s aware that there is a support that they can call or information that they’ve been trained with, they will make the right decision. And that difference is a huge difference in terms of the eventual impact of the supply chain. So, uh, those to me are the three big things that, uh, everybody should consider.

Scott Luton (13:32):

It strikes me if I may add what seems like also has been really important to XPO. His approach is you’ve got to have a leadership team that’s very deliberate and, you know, it’s all about deeds, not words. And that seems like you’ve got that in spades, which is very, it’s so great to hear. And so refreshing to hear, because, you know, for so long, the workforce can be overlooked, whether it’s by us, the consumers, or, you know, different leadership and different places. And it’s great to hear

Ashfaque Chowdhury (13:58):

If I’m in one other thing. Sure. At XPO, our entire leadership team, starting with our CEO, Brad Jacobs was unequivocally clear. Our total priority was safety safety of our employees, safety of the communities, safety for our customers. And, uh, you know, in our second quarter, uh, announcement, our results are unless, uh, calls. We announced that we spent $49 million in just the second quarter in, uh, in, in this. So it was a financially a expensive decision, but we think that it is the right decision, uh, for the long run. So we have a functioning, uh, workforce and our people are as safe as we could have made them.

Scott Luton (14:47):

I love it. I really, really do so, um, you know, deeds, not words, we can’t say that enough and I really appreciate y’alls approach there. So more broadly speaking, do you believe that the heightened emphasis on our global supply chain workforce, you know, which again is, has been one of the handful of silver linings from this whole pandemic era? Is it here to stay?

Ashfaque Chowdhury (15:11):

I think it will be here to stay for, uh, you know, many years to come, uh, because, uh, from all I read, we are not at the end of this process, we are maybe somewhere in the middle of the process and, uh, we have to adapt to what, uh, the world is going to look like the world’s going to change, not just because of the pandemic, but, uh, the changes for behavior on how we go about doing everything. One of the things that we buy, how do we buy how we live our lives, right? That has changed people drive less. They go to restaurants, less, they buy more things online. I don’t know that those things are gonna change. I mean, I love my curbside pickup. I don’t know that pandemic or not. I’m going back and I love that. So, uh, so then that store now has a problem or an opportunity how you look at that now their logistics has to change. So, uh, what I want at, at, within that 20 minute window, they have to deliver, uh, and have ready to pick up well, uh, these things I think are going to change, you know, um, and, uh, all of us will thrive when we, uh, you know, embrace that change and figure out how we’re going to work in the future. And, uh, certainly the consumer awareness that, uh, this, uh, service supply chain work is a critical, vital function I think, is going to remain.

Scott Luton (16:47):

So let’s shift gears a bit and let’s talk about one of the most unique peak seasons. Um, so many would argue we’ve been in peak for already, and we’re entering a second peak season. Um, but it it’s come early, certainly in arguably and here to stay. So how did XPO deliver for its customers during COVID, you’ve alluded to some of it, and how are you preparing for the extended holiday peak, you know, given the surge in e-commerce,

Ashfaque Chowdhury (17:14):

As you mentioned, know, there’s a huge surge in eCommerce. And what I would say is the e-commerce of 2025, you know, basically appeared in 2020. We are as an industry, adapting to this, uh, massive, uh, amount of volume to fulfill a unit through a store channel versus an eCommerce channel. The eCommerce channel requires three times as many people and three times as many space in the warehouse. So this means that we have a massive amount of in our warehouse in order to, uh, you know, keep up with this demand. And finally, the shape of the peak this year, we expect to be much more extended, uh, because, uh, as this much demand comes up, there is not really that capacity in any part of the supply chain to handle this amount of peak. So, uh, every aspect of this, uh, is going to require more time and, you know, Thanksgiving and Christmas are not moving.

Ashfaque Chowdhury (18:22):

So you have to start early if you want to get done. So we see promotions, you know, uh, that’s going to happen earlier. Uh, uh, we see, uh, the ordering and the peak. I think it’s going to be incentive to start much earlier than normal. Uh, as far as XPO, uh, we expect to hire about 8,000 seasonal workers, uh, for this year, which is, uh, you know, significantly up from previous years. Uh, we have our, uh, bringing online, uh, 3 million square feet of fulfillment, uh, space for many customers, uh, and, uh, you know, our XPO direct, uh, our shared warehousing, uh, uh, you know, uh, network, uh, that is also, uh, very full. And we are a, you know, have many, uh, many, uh, quest to, uh, have, uh, more space and more capacity. And we are working very closely with our customers to, uh, provide as much capacity as we can provide

Scott Luton (19:20):

So much, so much going on. And so much seems like your team’s involved in meeting and surpassing and being able to serve the demand that’s out there now, despite how unique it can be. So what else, how else do you see XPO flexing with that demand? I understand that there’s been some, uh, some, a lot of console, uh, consumer survey data that y’all have been analyzing as well.

Ashfaque Chowdhury (19:42):

Yes. Yeah. So, uh, we are always interested in understanding the trends. And so we have done a number of surveys. The, the, the big takeaway on the surveys is that, uh, I think consumers are not only, uh, buying online, but the types of things that are buying a lines changing as well. We see people very interested in buying things that maybe they wouldn’t have considered before, uh, such as in a large format items, uh, you know, furniture, appliances, exercise, equipment, there are, you know, cars, right? All of these things are, are, uh, now being bought online and consumers feel very comfortable buying it. Uh, so our supply chains and delivery networks have to adapt to make sure that we can meet that demand and deliver that. So that’s an interesting dynamic. The other thing we also see is that, uh, there is differences in different segments of demand.

Ashfaque Chowdhury (20:42):

Uh, so, uh, people who are in the DIY sector, uh, you know, are certainly, uh, seeing a surge, uh, we see that with our customers that are in that area as well. So we see them because I think when people are spending more time at their homes and they’re doing more, you know, sort of upgrades or other kinds of things. So, uh, everything that is involved, uh, with, uh, home, uh, sort of modeling or upgrades is, uh, certainly very, very hot. Um, and, uh, one other important thing to note is not only are we preparing for the peak, uh, demand that we’re going to see in terms of OD bond, but also reverse logistics. XPO is one of the largest, uh, reverse logistics providers, uh, in the country as well. So we are also looking at that. And, uh, as you know, that between the fish seven and every 10 items that are bought online are return. So, uh, soon after this, uh, peak of purchasing, we expect they equally big, uh, peak of return.

Scott Luton (21:51):

I think that’s an area where consumers are also connecting the dots between supply chain and reverse logistics and e-commerce, and that’s been neat to see, uh, in recent months. So, um, no shortage of, uh, I love, I love how you described just, you’re not putting one thing on the pulse. It’s like, you’ve got the whole hand on the pulse of what the market wants and where they’re going, and some of the changes and the segmentation of demand. I love that. Okay. So let’s talk a little more specifically here in the last segment of the interview technology and its role in the warehouse. So speak to that a little bit, and then also speak to how XPO, some of the innovation that you’re leading your organizations leading when it comes to warehousing

Ashfaque Chowdhury (22:34):

Technology. And the warehouse is changing rapidly. A lot of the investments that expose making is with regard to, uh, innovating and, and, you know, essentially creating the warehouse of the future. Uh, we have a number of facilities today that, uh, are, uh, operating in these technologies, you know, uh, so a lot of these things are no longer, uh, sort of a pilot or a kind of concept. They are actual in use technologies. Uh, they involve everything from robotics, which is a big area. There are thousands of robots that are coming online in many of our facilities to AI, uh, to cobots, which is another type of robots that help that work with, uh, uh, workers to make their job easier, um, to a lot of, uh, technology with regard to predictive analytics. So we can forecast much more accurately. Uh, we have, and we can anticipate demand, uh, better, which is a very important aspect in order to be able to meet a very quick fulfill timelines and so

Scott Luton (23:46):

On within the warehouse, uh, what I would say is that these technologies are changing how the warehouses look and changing the jobs that people do, uh, and, uh, with, uh, the concern that we have today with the pandemic, you know, uh, I think thankfully some of these technologies are helping us to, uh, provide that separation, uh, provide, uh, more social distancing within those job designs to enable us to not only, uh, you know, meet the surging demand, but also, uh, provide, uh, more safe workplaces for everybody. And that’s a win, win, win all the way around, um, not only providing more efficiencies for the business in a challenging environment, but most importantly, you know, protecting the workforce, which you got an army of a hundred thousand plus strong and XPO. Um, okay, well, that’s going to wrap up our interview here today without [inaudible] chattery PhD, president supply chain for the Americas and Asia Pacific with XPO logistics.

Scott Luton (24:49):

Thanks so much as fuck a pleasure to have you here and really, really enjoyed your insights on not only what your organization is doing, but the market and the ever evolving market. My pleasure, Scott, we’ll be checking back in with you, maybe, maybe at the end of the year or first part next year. And we’ll see what else has changed in this, in this unique time we’re living in. So on that note, hopefully listeners, you enjoyed this conversation as much as I have. If you like conversations like this, you can check out a wide variety of industry thought leadership@supplychainoutradio.com, fondness and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from on behalf of the entire team here at supply chain. Now this is Scott Luton wishing our listeners, nothing but the best do good, give forward, be the changes needed. And on that note, we’ll see, next time.

Would you rather watch the show in action?

Watch as Scott welcomes Ashfaque Chowdhury to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.

Featured Guests

Ashfaque Chowdhury, Ph.D., leads XPO’s supply chain business unit in the Americas and Asia Pacific, with responsibility for contract logistics, reverse logistics, advanced solutions and the XPO Direct™ distribution network. He joined XPO upon the company’s acquisition of New Breed Logistics, and initially served as XPO’s chief information officer for the supply chain unit. Over the course of two decades, Dr. Chowdhury has led the implementation of complex logistics operations for some of the world’s most prestigious companies. He holds a master’s degree in science and a doctorate in engineering from Lehigh University, and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, India.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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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.

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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.

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Vicki White

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

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

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

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

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Jeff Miller

Host

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

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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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.

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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.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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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.

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Ben Harris

Host

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

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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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.

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

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

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