“Ultimately our goal is to make sure that our goods can move around as efficiently and transparently as possible, but also at the lowest cost and the least risk exposure.”
– Steve Britt, Senior Manager for Customs at Fiat Chrysler automobiles
In a digitally connected world, international trade seems no more complicated or intimidating than any other part of business. At the same time, formal education in the area is lacking, which opens the door for career professionals like Steve Britt, FCA Customs Leader, to share his expertise in practice and in a formal educational setting.
In this conversation, Steve tells Supply Chain Now Host Scott Luton:
· The challenges, opportunities, nuances, and details that have to be worked through to operationalize legislation like the USMCA trade agreement
· Working as part of a team to handle imports and exports, and learning to ‘respect the border’
· The current gap in business and even supply chain higher education around customs
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 supply chain. Now welcome to today’s show today’s show. It continues our collaboration in partnership with AIG the automotive industry action group, especially with programming related to the 2020 AIAG supply chain summit. So stay tuned as we work really hard to increase your supply chain Accu. And this shows the show right here is going to continue those efforts. So quick programming for bringing our special guests here today. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. All right. So with no further ado, let’s bring in our featured guests. We’re going to be talking with Stephen Brit, senior manager for customs at Fiat Chrysler automobiles, Steve. Good afternoon. Hey, doing great, Scott. Thank you. Well, welcome. I’m looking forward to learning a lot more about what you do and, and, uh, kind of from the FCA perspective, but let’s start a little bit with tell us where you’re from and maybe touch on your, your, uh, fandom for all things Detroit.
Steve Britt (01:30):
And let’s talk about a Eureka moment from your upbringing. So first off, where are you from Steve? Yeah, sure. Thank you. So I’m from a small town called Lapeer, Michigan little over an hour, hour and a half North of Detroit. So grew up there, um, local to this area, went to school, you know, Oakland university here and now work in Auburn Hills. So a lot of my life’s been in this radius of say 60 miles or so love it growing up, you know, a lot of different things, a lot of sports, a lot of activities, a lot of academics and, and to the point of Eureka moments kind of hard to narrow it down. But, but I think in a really early age, I kind of figured out that no one’s going to give me anything I don’t ask for. And when I come forward with, with a solution or a proposal, whether it’s getting my parents to raise my allowance or, or getting the place changed around in, in football or getting my job changed even today, right. I find when, when I really put some thought into it and come with solutions, then we can have a conversation instead of questions instead of complaining. So that’s really my, my moment I learned. And, and then I still use all the time, love that, you know, as my partner in crime likes to say, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you ask for. And those can be words to live by, for sure. Well, before we dive into what you do in industry and whatnot, let’s, let’s, I want to go back minute. You’re
Scott Luton (03:00):
Talking about lots of sports. Did you play a lot of sports?
Steve Britt (03:04):
Yeah, I mean, as a kid, I played all the, all the sports I could. Right. So, and then like in high school and stuff, I played football and basketball and track and uh, so, you know, trying to stay busy once upon a time.
Scott Luton (03:18):
Okay. Well, quite an athlete. And then academically, you’re talking about, um, you mentioned that a couple of times, what was your favorite subject in school?
Steve Britt (03:26):
I think it was probably social studies, right? Learning about people and cultures and, and, you know, social studies slash history, both the current and past perspectives of all the different areas around the world.
Scott Luton (03:40):
Love that. I, George social studies too. And one final note, uh, Oakland university, your, your Alma mater. I believe we’ve seen them in the, in the incident, belays basketball tourney a couple of times,
Steve Britt (03:51):
Years, right? Yeah, that’s correct. They’ve been there a few times. So they’re scrappy team
Scott Luton (03:57):
Love it. We all need a lot of scrappiness here these days. Um, alright, so let’s get to work. Let’s talk about what FCA Fiat Chrysler automobiles, you know, what the company does, everybody’s heard of those major brands. Right. But talk a little about the company and let’s talk more about your role.
Steve Britt (04:13):
Yeah. I mean, we’re, we’re an automotive OEM, right? So what we do is we build cars and trucks and, uh, reach out to customers to try and try and have real engagement in, in connection, you know, through our brands, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep of course, Ram truck, uh, and mole power. So huge support, huge following. And then of course our other brands to fee on alpha Romeo, et cetera. Um, so really cool place. We we’re, we’re a big organization, but, but kinda like Oakland, right? Where a scrappy group who, you know, that, that really goes to work and really focused on craftsmanship and quality and, and building vehicles.
Scott Luton (04:56):
So obviously your base, as you’ve talked about in the Detroit area, what, what part of the operations of the enterprise space they’re in that area?
Steve Britt (05:03):
Yeah, so our, our North American headquarters as an Auburn Hills, just North of Detroit and we’re in a facility that can do everything from a concept drawn on a napkin all the way through producing an actual vehicle. Um, so a little bit of everything’s there and then my role as part of supply chain management, we’re based out of that facility as well.
Scott Luton (05:25):
Let’s talk more about your role. We certainly love we’re big supply chain nerds here at supply chain. Now, as you might guess, Steve, uh, let’s talk about your role. So as senior manager for customs at FCA, what, what do you do, where do you spend your time each day?
Steve Britt (05:38):
So, I mean, you talk about supply chain nerds. Now you’re really talking about customs people as we’re we’re supply chain people, but highly technical. So I mean, what I’m responsible for is the management of importing and exporting compliance operations. You know, ultimately our goal is to make sure that our goods can move around as efficiently and transparently as possible, but also at the lowest cost at the least risk, risk exposure. Right? So we’re working towards compliance. There’s a whole strategic aspect of what we do to kind of minimize our duty exposure, mitigate our risks, make sure we’re doing things right. That’s the number one thing. And then on the back end, maximize our opportunities through all the various programs that exist in trade to help us generate refunds or savings or things like that.
Scott Luton (06:28):
Well, you know, I think a big part of the discussion at the supply chain summit that AIG is hosting will be the U S MCA and perhaps how that makes the transit of goods and services, at least in North America across these three wonderful trading partners, a lot easier. Right?
Steve Britt (06:45):
Yeah. It’s, uh, it’s interesting in, in USM CA as a program supports cross border trade in North America, it’s, it’s huge. And in that consistency and stability, it brings even in replacing NAFTA where the industry operated for 25 years is, is important. Um, but it is a vastly complex program. And depending on your industry, uh, really depends on, on what the magnitude of your impact is. So we’re talking, AIAG, we’re talking automotive industry where we’re highly impacted by USM CA with the new rules, with the new qualification standard. So a lot of education, a lot of outreach, a lot of learning curve for the entire industry. So we, as an OEM are working and learning internally and adjusting. We’re also working with the supply base and pointing them to people like AIG, who can provide real resources and training to help learn about the complexities of the program.
Scott Luton (07:41):
I really wish good, good legislation could come very succinctly, but it’s all in the details, right. Massively. Um, but it’s interesting. We, you know, we’ve had, um, both Mexican and Canadian diplomats on, on previous shows with us to talk about some of those details and, and some of the impact UCMC U S MCA is going to have. And one of them made a good point and NAFTA was built well before, you know, things like digital freight existed, you know, and didn’t really govern elements like that. So real, really looking forward to seeing kind of how us MCA unfolds and how companies and, and professionals and leaders like yourself, kind of figure out all the details and, and uncover hopefully all the goodness that, uh, the trade deal brings to all three countries, because it’s, uh, it’s kind of a unique market. You know, they have three countries and the relationships they have and, and the span, the sheer expanse of, of the market here. And we’ve gotta leverage that for everybody’s benefit. Right,
Steve Britt (08:40):
Right. Exactly. A that’s the goal, right. To, to really drive even more of these things. Um, so it’s a big challenge operationally to, to work through all the nuance and details, but it is a big opportunity, not just for our organization, but the region continuing to build lean on a lot of things.
Scott Luton (08:59):
Great point. All right. So one final question about your role before we kind of go global a bit is what’s, what’s the one favorite aspect of your role that you love the most?
Steve Britt (09:09):
One’s tough. I I’m, I’ll narrow it down to two. Okay. One is, it’s a different job every day, right? We don’t know what’s gonna come out or what’s new or what we need to look at or what today’s challenges are. So that’s exciting. And, and the reason it’s exciting is really my favorite things. My team, I’m surrounded by a high density of talent. I’ve got really good folks who I can rely on that lets me sleep at night with all the craziness we’re facing in international trade. Um, but that’s my favorite thing is, is working with those folks, whether in-person or remote, like we have been a really good team, really good environment to work in it and at a good organization that supports us
Scott Luton (09:50):
Love it. And I love that how you put it too high density of talent, where you happen to be an engineer from Oakland, you know, well-spoken alright. So let’s talk about, let’s go global here. So, you know, in, in a historically challenging year, like 20, 20, there’s been no shortage of challenges and, and developments across industry to, to pay attention and study and learn from, and make decisions with. But you know, what’s one thing in particular here, at least lately that you’ve been tracking from a global supply chain standpoint.
Steve Britt (10:23):
Yeah. I think the trade agreements we talked about are a big part of it, but I think they fit and it’s not just trade agreements, right? It’s protectionism, it’s trade Wars, it’s Brexit, it’s all these things we’re seeing across the globe. But to me that all builds into supply chain resiliency, right. And the design and network, and that’s been exacerbated more than anything this year with COVID and the impact and regions to regions and the shutdown. So as we all analyze our supply chains and where our risk is and, and our weaknesses, and now customs, my group comes in to crossing freight in and out, how do we get things escorted? How do we get them imported? Um, it really all ties together, but I think that’s the area everybody’s looking at from a cost, from a risk, from a timing perspective right now,
Scott Luton (11:12):
Let me ask it. And I’ll, hopefully this isn’t a curve ball, but there are so many folks out there that even in supply chain. Now I spend a little time for a small family owned manufacturer near the beginning of my career, where we brought things in from Canada. And it always made my job a bit harder and, and, and, you know, open up my eyes because that was a blind spot for me. Um, and, and to, to a large degree, it still is. And even in this interconnected world, what’s, you know, for, for someone that may not be, uh, in tune or not having much experience in importing and exporting or the whole customs world, what’s one thing that might surprise some of our listeners.
Steve Britt (11:49):
You know, I think it’s the, the overwhelming volume. So most people are aware of customs because something got stuck in customs or they’re crossing a border and they’re nervous and they’re showing their passport and whatever. Right. But, but the vast majority of customs, the partnership between industry and us customs and border protection itself to really facilitate trade, legitimate trade, right. All the programs you can be part of to make sure that things run smoothly. And, you know, I’m lucky, like I said, my team, we do a good job of that, and it’s kind of a gift and a curse because it makes it so easy to move things internationally. That on the flip side, you, you have to educate people to really respect the border. And yeah, we can ship to Canada and we can ship to Mexico and we can do these things very effectively, but we still have to follow a process. We still have to have documents. We still have to do the right things. And we do a good job, uh, 99% of the stuff. And it’s always the, the management by exception, right? So that’s the biggest thing is, is the volume, the overwhelming majority of it. If, if you reach out in your organization and find your experts, you’ll find they know a lot, and there’s a lot of strategic things they can do to make, make all of that work a lot smoother.
Scott Luton (13:07):
Mm well put, well, share this little anecdote with you that you might get a kick out of. Uh, we’ve got a serious here at supply chain now called logistics with purpose. And it’s all about really highlighting the logistics and supply chain behind a lot of nonprofits or companies that are doing really good job giving back and giving forward as we call it. And we were featuring a coffee entrepreneur, uh, based in South Georgia here near our neck of the woods. And he was recalling some of his earliest days. And there was one at a certain point in this company’s history, there was a point where he was making his biggest coffee purchase from South America, ever coffee beans. Right. And he had a little bit of a blind spot when it comes to logistics and customs and whatnot. So he placed it. It was, it was, uh, bring being brought in through Miami.
Scott Luton (13:54):
And he had planned on just jumping in his truck and driving down to Miami and picking it up himself and free and easy, simple rocking. He learned the most expensive customs and supply chain lesson as he put it from those days. And from those those learnings. And, uh, he looks back and said, that must have been the biggest, but the most expensive coffee being purchased in his company history. But that’s in that really illustrates. And I appreciate you answering my earlier question in so many of us have a blind spot when it comes to truly international trade and all that goes in to, to him being able to handle that sheer amount of volume that you just spoke to.
Steve Britt (14:30):
Yeah. It’s uh, in company to company where it fits where an organization like mine fits is different, uh, you know, spiritually, we’re close to tech. So in some organizations you’re, you’re with tax. And, and that makes a lot of sense on the compliance side operationally though, you know, some of the tactical there’s actually shipments moving, leads us closer to supply chain. And then in some organizations, that’s part of finance, et cetera. So that’s one reason. Um, I think even the education program in the world, right? There’s not a lot of, of courses. And I can tell you, I teach a course at a university. We started a few years ago in global supply chain in the first day. I always ask my students which are graduate. And upper-level undergrads. Have you guys learned about customs in your other global supply chain classes? And it’s generally a resounding no, there’s a lot of opportunity there to, I think, to expose it. Uh, the current trade environment we’ve existed in with a lot of these things being in the news. It’s the first time in my whole career. When I tell someone, Hey, I do customs, I manage customs, whatever. Then they actually ask questions. They don’t just like slowly back away at the party and go find someone else. So it’s quite the opportunity.
Scott Luton (15:47):
Um, it seems like it, um, it reminds me of George Stan’s in Seinfeld where he always went, he always took every opportunity to call himself an importer exporter in [inaudible] industry. Yes. Yes. I’m very glad.
Steve Britt (16:00):
That’s the other thing people always say like, Oh, see, you’re an importer and then export. Yeah,
Scott Luton (16:07):
Love it. Um, all right. So before we start to wrap up with some of your thoughts on AIG, so you teach, which I love that there’s so much give back and give forward in that profession. What’s give us some good news. You know, I’ll tell you from my involvement, we’ve got, um, interns, I hate that word, but so we call them the associates and we’ve learned so much from their talent, uh, and just their point of view, but give us some good news as you interact with, with current next generation, you know, w what are some of the observations that you, you, you take
Steve Britt (16:43):
From your teaching? I think the world is a lot smaller to know future generations. And when I talk to students or our interns or our co-ops, or, you know, they, they’ve grown up in a digitally connected world and, and everyone understands that realistically, you can start an international corporation from your basement. You can be on Etsy, selling stuff all over the world, or, or a million other ways. Right? So, so this concept of international trade and customs, as I speak to them, isn’t that foreign they’re, they’re excited by it. And they have questions about it, and then the shift to digital content. And what does that mean right? With, with intellectual property and everything else that exists, right. Content creation and, and all these things that you know, you and I talked about briefly earlier, right? So, um, there’s a lot of talent, you know, there’s a lot of great ideas. Um, people really are willing to work and learn and, and have excitement. So every chance I get, I, I love to teach and, and work with the students and things, but, but selfishly, I like it because I learn a lot from them. It’s, it’s a great activity.
Scott Luton (17:55):
Love that, love that when one of our, um, employees that that’s earlier in his journey, um, when he, when he first in his first few months with us, I was overexplaining, uh, in my, in my mind, at least a bit of a complex technology platform in my mind. And I’ll never forget. He turns to me after I’ve been overexplaining for probably 10 minutes and he looks and says, Scott, I’m a digital native, I’ll figure this out really quick. So I’m good. And it was just such a great lesson learn, but I agree with you, we learned so much from, from this, uh, this next, the current generations, the next generation and whatnot. Um, all right. So let’s talk about AIG. Clearly, we’re big fans of the automotive industry action group. And we liked around here, some words that we live by is deeds, not words, right. And you got action in the name and that’s, that’s really epitomizes what AIG does, but in your view, on, in your involvement, your participation, what, what do you really value about the AIAG community?
Steve Britt (18:54):
Yeah, I think there’s two big things. One is the networking, right? There’s a lot of like-minded, but different individuals involved in, and you can learn from partners of all different sizes and shapes and, um, you know, backgrounds to come together and work through common industry issues. The, the other thing is kind of the, the, the drive towards standardization, be that in training opportunities, be it in how we create labels on parts, et cetera. So that’s a huge benefit because I know as an OEM, when I’m working with a supplier, they’re also working with two or three or five other OEMs too, and where we can consolidate and have similar standards, it allows them to be that much more efficient, which means they get me my answer quicker, just like they get everybody else, their answer, which is ultimately what we want. So I think AAG is a great conduit to those types of things. The, the trainings, the events, the education, the supply chain summit, the customs town hall, which is the day before it, um, those are great industry events with a pretty low barrier to entry, right, for the value perspective. So big fan of it, uh, we’re really involved me and my organization, and one AA AIG does so big fan love to champion their costs.
Scott Luton (20:14):
Love it, and appreciate your support. You know, AIG is a nonprofit I believe, and correct corrections on organizations to help support its operations and all the good work it does across not just automotive, but many factoring supply chain, all these kind of cross sectional, uh, sectors and parts of industry. Um, alright, so toughest question of the day. I’m sure folks are gonna want to connect and learn from you a bit. So how can folks connect with you and Fiat Chrysler automobiles?
Steve Britt (20:42):
Yeah, I mean, the, the easiest way for me personally, is I’m on LinkedIn, right? As Steve, easy to find, um, for the organization, you can go test, drive our cars at any of your local dealers. Um, obviously we have all our websites, all our major brands. We have FCA group.com for the overall organization, but, uh, really easy to find our products and, and check out what we’re doing.
Scott Luton (21:08):
Love it, love it. Uh, Steve, a pleasure to connect with you and Dodge is one of your brands, right? Correct. You mentioned that, uh, I recall one of my favorite vehicles I’ve ever owned was a Dodge Avenger probably about 20 years ago. Uh, loved that car. And, uh, but so many people can connect with the brands you mentioned. So really appreciate what you do. Thanks for taking time with us to share some of your perspective.
Steve Britt (21:31):
All right. Great, Scott, thank you. Thank you to supply chain now for what you do and helping educate everyone out, out on the industry and what’s going on.
Scott Luton (21:40):
Thanks so much, Steve. So to our audience, we’ve been chatting with Steven Britt, senior manager for customs at Fiat Chrysler automobiles, and clearly an engaged AIAG member. Thanks so much, Steve, uh, to our audience. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this conversation as much as I have real down to earth. I mean, customer, I love how customs experts can bring it down to earth like that supply chain nerds came really, you know, give it to you for the people, so to speak. But, uh, if you enjoyed this episode, check us out wherever you get your podcasts from, we challenge you, just like we challenge our team. Hey, do good give forward and be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see, next time here on Supply Chain Now.
Steve Britt has worked in numerous roles within Supply Chain and Manufacturing functions in the Automotive and Alternative Energy industries. His specialty is in International Trade and Logistics, driving the strategic use of trade programs to drive value to the supply chain by reducing costs, mitigating risks, and maximizing refund opportunities. He is a Licensed US Customs Broker who holds an MBA, as well as a B.S. in Economics and B.A. in Communications from Oakland University. In addition, Steve currently teaches a course on Customs Compliance & Risk Management at Wayne State University.
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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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.