“At the end of the day, supply chain decisions are being made more holistically. Let’s think about the entire ecosystem, not just the real estate, and it’s so powerful.”
– Melinda McLaughlin, Vice President and Global Head of Research, Prologis
Like talent and commodities such as steel and lumber, there is a shortage of industrial commercial real estate right now. Not only is this making it hard for carriers of all types to access the square footage they need to grow, but it is also driving up costs.
This first episode of the Supply Chain Real Estate series features three individuals who are well versed in the operational challenges that sometimes accompany real estate decisions. Ward Richmond is an Executive Vice President and shareholder at Colliers International, Melinda McLaughlin is the Vice President and Global Head of Research for Prologis, and Megan Creecy-Herman is a Senior Vice President and Head of Regional Operations-West Region of Prologis.
In this episode – the first of the Supply Chain Real Estate Series – Ward, Melinda, and Megan join Host Scott Luton to discuss:
· The current shortage of logistics space and some of the factors – both public and private sector that are driving that trend
· The implications of the eCommerce boom, including some ‘late adopter’ verticals that are just now starting to embrace it
· Whether the shortages of construction materials and commercial real estate could prevent the post-COVID economic recovery from being as large and fast as it could be
Welcome to Supply Chain Now, the voice of global supply chain. Supply Chain Now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on Supply Chain Now.
Scott Luton (00:11):
Hey. Hey. Good afternoon. Scott Luton and Ward Richmond here with you on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s livestream. Ward, how are you doing?
Ward Richmond (00:20):
Hey, Scott. What’s up, man? Good to see you.
Scott Luton (00:22):
You as well. And it’s so great to have you back with us as we reinvigorate, re-launch, optimize, improve, you name it, the Supply Chain Real Estate series right here on Supply Chain Now, so Ward is back, folks.
Ward Richmond (00:38):
I’m back. I’m super excited to be back, man. And even more excited that this time around in 2021, we’ve got Prologis onboard as our partner in the series, and really looking forward to having them be a part of the conversation. Man, it seems like yesterday, and it also seems like a decade ago, when we did our first podcast, which was really just, I think, in the summer of 2019. But things have changed. Now, you’ve got the livestream. You’re up and running. Hopefully, the worst of COVID is behind us and moving into the future. So, good to realign and be back in action with you, brother.
Scott Luton (01:19):
Amen. I’m with you. And like you said, to do so, if you’re going to do a real estate series, especially on the industrial real estate, to do it with Prologis and Ward Richmond, you can’t go bigger than that. So, I want to connect a couple dots here. So, Ward, of course, he’s a member of the Colliers International team. But be sure, folks, to check out his supplychainrealestate.com site. Tons of resources there. He’s got his finger on the pulse of industrial real estate like few others.
Scott Luton (01:51):
All right. We’ve talked about the Prologis. We’ve got two outstanding experts joining us here in the stream just momentarily. We’re going to say hello to a few folks. Yes, Bob Bova, the lights are back on. And welcome, great to have you here today. He’s referring to our livestream yesterday where the weather knocked us off, Ward. But, Ward, really quick before I share some programming notes and we say hello to a few folks, why is this series important not to miss?
Ward Richmond (02:17):
Well, I’d say, this is a very important series because it’s the first of our new found series with Prologis. It’s going to be a quarterly series that takes place over the course of the year. And this is the first quarter, so we’re going to catch you up to speed on what just happened in Q1 2021 in the world of supply chain real estate. I would say, right now is just an incredible time to be a part of the business of supply chain real estate. And it’s just absolutely been exploding over the course of the last decade, really. And then, they just put the pedal to the metal once COVID happened last year, because, really, the surge in e-commerce is what’s driving so much of the growth. So, as we all click a button and get packages delivered to our house in time, the way that’s supported is by a massive amount of infrastructure that’s being put in place throughout the world, especially throughout the United States. And so, we’ll be discussing what just happened in Q1. And it’s just been a tremendous amount of activity as things continued to evolve at a rapid clip.
Scott Luton (03:28):
Outstanding. It is going to be very holistic as you’re kind of speaking to real estate touches everything, even in the information age. So, I expect a ton of market Intel insights and best practices and analysis. And I’ll share more on why here momentarily. But in the meantime, a couple of programming notes I want to add. So, first off, of course, our friends in India. Our hearts, best wishes, prayers, and actions go out to all of y’all. We had a livestream that focused on really better understanding what’s taking place as well as shedding some light and spotlight in some of the great heroes and leaders that are helping to get supplies where they need to go. So, if you want to jump in the effort – whatever you can do, give small, give big, all points in between, but most importantly get involved – you can shoot a note to a project that we’re supporting at email@example.com or go directly to one of the nonprofits that’s managing dozens of projects on the ground in India at vibha.org. Check that out there.
Scott Luton (04:36):
Also, one other quick programming note tomorrow, we’ve got our friends from IBM joining us for a Think 21 preview session kicking off at 1:30, so don’t miss that. We look forward to that conversation on all things cloud and beyond. Ward, cloud and beyond. Okay. So, let’s say hello to a few folks before we bring in our featured guests here today. Ward, are you ready to go?
Ward Richmond (04:58):
Yeah. Let’s do it.
Scott Luton (05:00):
Awesome. Of course, Peter Bolle is with us from Canada. It’s great to reconnect with Peter last week. He says, “Sweet. More Supply Chain Now goodness on a Tuesday.” Great to see you there, Peter. Latia Thomas. I’ll tell you, talk about a leadership dynamo. Latia, I hope this finds you well. We’ve got to have you back on. She recently – I say recently, I guess it was December, maybe December 2020 – graduated from Morgan State University and is doing big things already in the industry. So, Latia, hope this finds you well. Great to have you here today. Fahd is tuned in again via LinkedIn. Great to see you, Fahd. Big show, Bob Bova. As I mentioned, yes, the lights are back on. We had some fierce storms come through yesterday and knocked us off. Ward, have you ever been to Dublin?
Ward Richmond (05:47):
Scott Luton (05:50):
Ward Richmond (05:50):
Yeah, I have. I actually played rugby there when I was in college. We did a one week tour of Ireland and that’s the only time I’ve been. It was an incredible experience.
Scott Luton (05:59):
I just cannot one up the one and only Ward Richmond. Yes. So, Mervyn hails from Dublin. And it’s great to have you back with us here, Mervyn.
Ward Richmond (06:09):
Scott Luton (06:10):
Pratik. Hey, Pratik. I appreciate that feedback you sent me via LinkedIn the other day. I hope this finds you well. And great to have you here once again. Susan is also tuned in via LinkedIn. Great to see you here, Susan. Let’s see here. So, Purvesh. Purvesh is looking, looks like, for some input around advancing with your supply chain profession. Hey, we’re going to circle back. Today’s livestream won’t be tackling professional development and advancement, but shoot our team a note, firstname.lastname@example.org. Shoot us a note and we’ll see if we can connect you with some great insights that will help you out in your journey there. And then, finally, Nahid is with us once again. He was with us yesterday. Great to have you back with his own LinkedIn. Okay.
Scott Luton (06:58):
So, Ward, we’ve got to get to these two incredible guest stars we’ve got today. You ready to go?
Ward Richmond (07:05):
Let’s do it.
Scott Luton (07:06):
All right. So, let’s welcome in our two panelists, Megan Creecy-Herman, Senior Vice-President of Operations for the West Region with Prologis, and her colleague, Melinda McLaughlin, Global Head of Research.
Scott Luton (07:23):
Hey. Hey. Melinda and Megan, good afternoon. How are you doing?
Megan Creecy-Herman (07:29):
Hi, Scott. How are you?
Melinda McLaughlin (07:29):
Scott Luton (07:30):
I’m doing great. I really enjoyed our prep calls and conversations with you and your team. I love just the expertise you’re bringing into today’s conversation. I’ve got my notepad ready to go, because I think we’re all going to gain a real estate certification as we leave today’s livestream. So, thanks so much for making time.
Scott Luton (07:51):
All right. So, Melinda, Megan, and Ward, we like to start up with – this is going to be kind of a lightning round light on the front end of today’s livestream. So, today, yes, it is May the 4th be with you. It is Star Wars day. But I would argue more importantly, it is National Teacher’s Day, at least here in the States. And, you know, I took a minute this morning to think about just all the names of our teachers that came to mind as I think of all those classes I failed and struggled with throughout elementary and high school and college. And there are so many names of folks that you want to thank. But I want to flip the table here. And, Melinda, I want to start with you. You know, give us the name of one teacher in particular who had a big impact and why on your journey?
Melinda McLaughlin (08:37):
Well, it’s going to sound so nerdy, but Mr. Fisher was my accounting teacher and he got me into business, really sparked that. And just the way he presented, what I think most people consider pretty dry material, but connected it with a way everybody lives their lives, really struck a know, and he supported me all the way up to college and beyond. You know, he wrote me that recommendation letter. Just a great person and a real inspiration. Although, I had many – and I would say today more than ever – have vast appreciation for teachers, so thank you all.
Scott Luton (09:12):
Amen. Speaking of the pandemic era, to deal with all of these challenges above and beyond, unique challenges that many of us haven’t ever tackled before, and still get the job done, and take care of our students and our children and beyond. So, you said Mr. Bishop, is that right?
Melinda McLaughlin (09:29):
Scott Luton (09:29):
Fisher. Sorry. Mr. Fisher. Okay. So, Mr. Fisher. Okay. Megan, how about you?
Megan Creecy-Herman (09:35):
For me, it’d be Mr. Handley, who was one of my first music teachers as a kid. So, Melinda, I might be able to one up you there with the nerd alert. But I played music throughout my childhood. I was in multiple bands. And he was one of my first teachers that turned me on to my love of jazz music, which I still have today. I listen to a ton of Coltrane and Duke Ellington. And I think music is such a great outlet for kids growing up, I know it was for me. So, I really appreciate Mr. Handley as well as all the music teachers out there.
Scott Luton (10:08):
I love that. We’ll have to have you back on a music focused episode talking about things you lean on to get through the pandemic. So, I love that. Mr. Hanley. Okay. Ward Richmond, how about you?
Ward Richmond (10:20):
Okay. So, I’m going to keep going on the music as well. And, Scott, you and I talk about this a lot on some past episodes that I’ve joined you for, but I played music for a living in my 20s. And I started playing my junior year of high school. So, we had an AP English teacher, senior year, Mr. Mitchell. And I formed my band that I went on to tour with when I was 19 years old. And we hired Mr. Mitchell to be our drummer. So, I was one year out of graduating from high school, and then he joined our rockabilly band, and we were playing honky-tonks throughout the week with him. He didn’t go on to go on tour with us but, I mean, the dynamic changed so fast and he’s still a very close friend of mine. And, now, I just call him Dave. But he was originally Mr. Mitchell. So, that was pretty cool.
Scott Luton (11:15):
Man. Y’all great, great stories there. Okay. So, I want to say hello to a few more folks. And then, Ward, I’m going to turn it over to you. We’re going to get started into our conversation. Alaa is back with us from Sudan, and it’s rainy there. Hey, it’s rainy here as well, Alaa. Keep the perspective coming. I really enjoyed what you’ve contributed via our livestreams. And Nahid is taking a page on my book, welcoming both of our panelists. Looking forward to hearing from Melinda and Megan here today. Okay. So, with that said, I have one more here. Robert is tuned in from Rwanda. Great to have you here via LinkedIn, Robert. I look forward to your perspectives. Okay.
Scott Luton (11:51):
So, Ward, where are we starting here as we talk all things supply chain real estate on Supply Chain Now?
Ward Richmond (11:58):
Well, let’s start, Melinda, you’re the Head of Global Research for Prologis, I mean, wow. When it comes to the world of supply chain real estate, you are at the forefront. I feel like you guys have to be interfacing with more occupiers of supply chain real estate than any other company that I’m aware of in considering them your customers. So, we’d love to just hear what’s going on, what are you seeing out in the marketplace, and what’s happening out there.
Melinda McLaughlin (12:30):
Thanks, Ward. Yeah, we have over 5,500 different customers, obviously spanning from global, multinationals, to small mom and pop shops. So, it’s really a great position to sit in, especially as a researcher where you get to, not only see this all come through the data, but leverage those kind of one-to-one customer relationships. And I know Megan will have some good insights there as well.
Melinda McLaughlin (12:52):
But what I would say is the big news is on the demand front. You know, how quickly supply chains have needed to pivot and get back into growth mode after what was, you know, clearly the deepest global recession we’ve ever had. So, what we see today, more customers on their front feet and a much broader diversity of customers. So, last year there were some clear leading industries, you know, the big global e-commerce names we all know, food and beverage, a few select segments.
Melinda McLaughlin (13:21):
Now, as we start to, in many places, contend with the specter of things going back to normal, there are many more customers who realize that the supply chains they need for tomorrow are different from the ones they might have or the ones that they planned a year or two ago. There’s been so much change. So, what we see is a lot of confidence, a lot of leasing activity, a lot of planning for the future, not just economic growth, but a lot of structural change behind the scenes. Now, all of this is an environment where there isn’t enough logistics real estate to go around in many places. So, you have this synchronized growth at the same time that you have scarcity in a lot of places. So, this really ups the urgency level. And, you know, Megan can definitely, I think, comment on what it’s like on the ground. So, Megan, what do you feel day-to-day dealing with these customers in terms of urgency?
Megan Creecy-Herman (14:19):
Thanks, Melinda. Yeah, I think you articulated it well, which is, there is a sense of urgency almost universally as we take a step back and consider the market dynamics on the West Coast. I would say that the momentum we saw pickup, call it end of Q3 or Q4 last year, as things really fired back up, even in the midst of COVID, that has continued all the way through Q1 and, I think, even picked up steam. So, what you’re seeing on the customer demand side, as everyone’s trying to meet this new kind of pull for consumption throughout the United States, it’s translating into that customer demand for industrial space on the West Coast.
Megan Creecy-Herman (14:57):
And then, that’s combined with the lack of supply because people did pull back speculative construction starts kind of Q2, Q3 last year. So, those things are coming to a head. And what we’re seeing is competition for space almost on a regular basis amongst customers. And you look at almost record low vacancies in so many key markets. For instance, the Inland Empire right now, they’re at 1.5 percent vacancy rate in a 600 million foot market. I mean, we’ve never seen these dynamics before. So, for us, it’s trying to meet that sense of urgency as best we can and it’s tight up there right now.
Scott Luton (15:34):
What a great way to kind of set the table. Ward, why don’t you chime in? What are some of the things you’re seeing based on what Melinda and Megan have already shared?
Ward Richmond (15:44):
You know, our mantra is speed and flexibility, and we stole that from all of our customers. Because that’s what they all want. They need the speed to the market. They need to set up fast. They recognize they’re not necessarily sure what they’re going to need a year from now. So, we’re trying to plan out as far into the future as possible, but also try to allow room for flexibility while dealing with this very tight marketplace. I mean, if we’re doing a survey for a client and we’re working in every city you can name in North America, so we’ve got pretty good polls on the macro of North America.
Ward Richmond (16:27):
But Dallas, for instance, we’re building 30 million square feet a year, plus or minus. I mean, that’s a lot of space being built and our vacancy rate is higher than most markets. But, still, if we have a client that needs, let’s say, 200,000 or 300,000 square feet, we might have 30 options if you would go run a report. But once you really dig into it from a transportation analysis aspect, and a loading aspect, and the trailer parking aspect, there’s going to be maybe one or two options that fit the real need. And that’s Dallas.
Ward Richmond (17:02):
So, when you’re talking Dallas versus LA, it’s like night and day difference. You’re lucky if you have the one. And markets like Toronto, where it’s very difficult to build and it takes a long time, we’re having to track space and figure out who’s moving out years in advance if we want to go get into an existing building. And then, the speculative buildings, leases are getting signed like a year in advance or more just so people can lock down space. So, it’s pretty crazy out there.
Scott Luton (17:32):
It sounds like 4D or 5D chess, especially for those of us that are not real estate experts. So, I appreciate what y’all are sharing. I want to switch gears a bit. So, clearly what we’re hearing, what we’re all seeing, the shortage of logistic space is certainly one of the challenges. But, Megan, beyond that, that basic core challenge, what else are you seeing your customers deal with?
Megan Creecy-Herman (17:56):
That’s a great question. You know, we’re touched on speed and I think right now there’s this sense of urgency for customers to get that space. And we’re trying to meet that considering the dynamics of the market. But I think a further issue that is something that was exacerbated in COVID was, you know, municipality challenges that we’re seeing across the board in so many states, specifically here on the West Coast, in California. So, you’re seeing delayed permitting times as people are trying to get approvals to either break ground on shell buildings or build out TIs. We’re seeing in certain cities moratoriums being enacted on industrial development. As these municipalities grapple with, you know, this new increased demand for e-commerce and the fact that they want the manufacturing jobs, oftentimes. So, they’re trying to balance those wants and needs for their constituents but, unfortunately, it’s really hampering that ability for us to grow the way we need to.
Megan Creecy-Herman (18:53):
I think the other thing we’re touched on that I think is spot on is flexibility that customers want. Because of our scale, that’s something we can provide. But it is very tough for customers today to try to make decisions to take down space 12 to 24 months out like they know they need to. That’s a really long lead time, and many of them don’t know what their true demand is going to be. So, with us and our scale, we’re able to offer that flexibility because customers know they can expand with us if that comes up. But I think those are two major issues I’d hit on that seem to be pretty consistent today.
Scott Luton (19:28):
Excellent point. Okay. Before we move right along, I want to bring in a couple of comments here. So, Hiran is tuned in via LinkedIn. Great to have you here. He says, he’s an undergraduate in Sri Lanka. “Your discussion is very useful.” Hey, I’m with you, Hiran. I’m filling in my big blind spot when it comes to real estate. It’s useful on my end, too, so I agree with you. Thanks for tuning in. Nahid talks about how we’ve got to upgrade and change, basically, our supply chain management methods, which has already been happening and will continue to happen based on all the new constraints and challenges we’re seeing. Some of which both Megan and Melinda both have spoken to. And then, one final thing before we move along, hello, Aulabi. Great to have you here with us today. Mervyn, side note, I hope this finds you and your family back in India well. Mervyn asks about any contingency funds. So, when we think about these curveballs kind of around the corner, all the surprises that have played themselves out in the last 18, 24 months – open question for the panel – have you all seen any new contingency scenario planning, whether it’s putting money aside and funds aside or a new scenario planning take place with your customers? Anyone want to tackle that?
Melinda McLaughlin (20:45):
Well, I think generally we’re having a lot more discussions about inventory levels, right? I think, you know, we probably all read about it in the paper every day, the new shortage, whether it’s semiconductor chips, there is catsup, it really spans the gamut. But it’s all a factor of this multi-decade trend we’re just-in-time supply chains. And when they’re increasingly global, increasingly reliant on single sources of origin, and single maybe gateway bottlenecks such as the ports, you can see in a pandemic or any kind of disruption how that breaks down quite quickly. So, I do think there’s a lot more customers today thinking about holding extra inventory within a country’s borders to prepare for these eventualities, these higher risks.
Melinda McLaughlin (21:35):
One, you know, interesting anecdote we’ve noticed from the past is, the year after Brexit was the strongest year for UK demand of the cycle. So, a lot of customers, again, building in those buffer stocks to make sure that they’re prepared for any complications that might come up, whether it’s getting your goods through the port and through customs or simply cost increases, which we saw also in the U. S. with the U.S.-China tensions. And then, the pandemic was basically, take a local disruption and make it completely global, completely bigger than anything supply chains have ever experienced. And so, customers are still processing that today. Inventories are too low. We continue to wait. We continue to hear about these shortages that are holding back business.
Melinda McLaughlin (22:22):
So, I think that in contingency planning, I think, there’s probably a lot of other ways you can tackle it, but that’s one of the most accessible, and I feel like the most broadly discussed today. Again, customers, I find based on boards and Megan’s comments, I would echo that they’re really still focused on the near term and maintaining that flexibility writing their supply chains for today. But when you think about planning for the long term, it’s part of the discussion in a way it wasn’t before the pandemic.
Scott Luton (22:51):
Well said. And, you know, previous guests and maybe even hosts have said that supply chain management is risk management. And I like that thought. When we see it from a formal and a discipline standpoint – and this really predated the pandemic – we’ve seen more organizations create those chief risk officers and, really, very intentionally build up their approach on steroids to strategic risk management and all the things that it encompasses. So, excellent points there, Melinda. And great question there, Mervyn.
Scott Luton (23:24):
Okay. So, before we take a deep dive into the verticals that we should point out, Rick Kingery says, “Agree. Just in case inventory and dual sourcing is here to stay.” Dr. Rhonda Bompensa-Zimmerman is with us once again. Rhonda, I hope this finds you well. Great to have you back. I look forward to reconnecting. I look forward to hearing your take on some of what’s discussed here today.
Ward Richmond (23:48):
I just got have to say, what’s up to Rick Kingery. He’s one of my colleagues, so Rick and I do a lot of business together. So, good to see you, buddy.
Scott Luton (23:56):
Rick, welcome. A friend of Ward is a friend of ours. All right. So, let’s talk about specific customer verticals that we should definitely speak to. And I want to start, Melinda, we’ll stick with you. What else are you seeing when it comes to these verticals?
Melinda McLaughlin (24:11):
Well, I think it wouldn’t be a logistics real estate panel without talking about e-commerce. Ward brought it up at the beginning. But as far as the customer vertical where we’ve seen a tremendous amount of change in demand, I think e-commerce is it. And it spans beyond your pure-play. There’s a lot of customers and, what I would call, under-penetrated verticals, like construction home improvement. Not a lot of online prior to the pandemic are making huge investments today because they saw such tremendous growth over the past year or so. Food and beverage, of course, is another great example of that.
Melinda McLaughlin (24:44):
And to tie it to our expertise, logistics real estate, which doesn’t move around, it’s really about the location, right? For e-commerce getting close to those end consumers is really key. So, when we think about tying all these things together, it’s really about, you know, controlling more of your supply chain as close as possible to the end consumer. And in that way, you can control the customer experience. I think this evolution is still ongoing. We’re in the early innings. But I’d love to hear Megan’s take.
Megan Creecy-Herman (25:18):
No. Well said, Melinda. I agree with everything you said. And to pick up on your last point about this being in early innings, you know, anecdotally, I’ve been observing my son and his behavior during COVID. So, my son is five years old now. He was three-and-a-half pre-COVID. And when he was three-and-a-half, one day he ran into our kitchen and he said, “Alexa, get me a police man’s costume.” And then, he looks at me and he goes, “Mom, where is it?” And we had a conversation where I explained how this worked. I said, “Hey, we’ll put the order in and it’ll be here in five days.” And he said okay and he walked off.
Megan Creecy-Herman (25:52):
Now, fast forward to today and what we’ve just been through over the last 14 months, he’s five years old now. He says, “Mom, I want Legos. I want one of these two, which one should I get? When does this one come in? When does this one come?” I said, “This one will be here tomorrow.” “Mom, I want that one.” And then, the next morning it starts like a drum beat, “Mom, what time are my Legos coming? Can you check the app? How many more stops?”
Megan Creecy-Herman (26:13):
So, you take a step back and you think about the fact that there are 50 million kids in this country under the age of 11, who we have just conditioned to expect what they want with almost immediacy. And to your point, Melinda, I don’t even think we’ve begun to scratch the surface of what’s going to be required to meet those demands 5, 10, 15 years out as these consumers want that instant gratification of their product on their doorstep when they want it. So, I agree completely.
Scott Luton (26:44):
I love that for so many different reasons. It’s intriguing because it is how e-commerce and the current state has trained us at all ages, evidently. But I love that even more because it’s the people – and, of course, the company has the technologies, but the people that make up global supply chain that’s enabled that to happen. And especially during this pandemic, when you have so many folks that couldn’t in good conscious and couldn’t out of outright fear get out and get even the basic necessities. And leaned heavily on the e-commerce supply chain, they get stuff to their door. And so, you know, there’s some good news even in the darkest of days if you go finding it. And I love how the global supply chain workforce has really delivered.
Scott Luton (27:34):
All right. So, Ward, beyond what Melinda and Megan have shared, what else would you add in terms of any specific verticals?
Ward Richmond (27:42):
So, our team, we specialize in representing third-party logistics companies and transportation companies. So, both the businesses are absolutely booming as they support all of this e-commerce growth. And I actually wanted to ask you a question, Megan. I mean, so much has changed over the last five years or so, but I remember five years ago, there were always these calls for our 3PL clients, their shipper customers are asking them to get short term overflows base for peak season.
Ward Richmond (28:15):
And Prologis, you’re actually in one of my case studies. Because we had a logistics customer and their client, I believe, was Samsung. And that’s when the Samsung phones had their issues, if you recall. And so, there was a phone recall and we put them in 50,000 feet, then moved them to 80,000 feet, then moved into 200,000 square feet all within a matter of months. And it took place so that it gave Prologis occupancy at the end of the fourth quarter. And then, they agreed to help us out as we continued this need just through the first quarter so that then they had occupancy through the first quarter. I mean, it was just like the Wild West of doing real estate deals there.
Ward Richmond (28:58):
However, I feel like a lot of shippers are now in 3PLs, on behalf of their shippers, are planning for this peak season. That was not really a peak season surge. This happened during peak season. But Prologis, for awhile, you’re setting aside some of these warehouses for the short term overflow needs. Is that even possible right now with the vacancy rates?
Megan Creecy-Herman (29:20):
Yeah. That’s a great question, Ward. I mean, it is challenging in today’s environment. I can tell you that, you know, taking a step back thinking about what we just saw with congestion at the ports of LA Long Beach, you can imagine the spike we saw in requests for short term requirements. And that is really tough to balance when vacancy rates are this low. I can tell you that we’re absolutely giving preference to current customers in the portfolio and being as strategic as we can. And really keeping the lines of communication going. So, we know if we have something going up, this could fit for a 3PL over here who thinks they’re going to get a new contract. So, short answer to your question is, it’s challenging but we’re absolutely still trying to do it.
Megan Creecy-Herman (30:00):
A question for you, kind of back at you on the 3PLs, something we’re seeing as a trend is, historically, when 3PLs went out and looked for space, it was let’s collect proposals so we get our numbers together so they can bid on the contracts. But they wouldn’t necessarily take it as far as negotiating a lease. But we just saw something on a deal in Seattle, where a 3PL customer said, “Not only am I willing to step up from 175,000 feet to 280,000 feet, I’m willing to do it 14 months out. And I’m willing to do it even though I don’t have a contract in place for the entire space. I think it’s going to come. And I know I got to reach for the space because it may not be there.” I mean, are you seeing that kind of behavior right now on a regular basis from your 3PL clients would be my question?
Ward Richmond (30:47):
I’m not seeing it on a regular basis. But I think every business development executive at the 3PL wants to be doing that. And every CFO is telling them, “Hey, hey, hey. Slow down.” Because the capital expenditure is so huge in committing to that expenditure so far in advance without having a customer in place to pay for it. I mean, I think it’s a delicate balance right now that all the 3PLs are paying attention to. The aggressive ones are doing what you say they’re doing. And I think they’re going to have to and I think a lot of them are looking to fill the suits right now. But potentially even trying to own [inaudible] facilities. And we have a couple of clients that are looking into doing that. But getting in front of their needs for additional capacity, I think, is just going to be critical.
Ward Richmond (31:40):
And the fact is – back to Dallas – we have land as far as the eye can see, right? But at the same time, every land site that’s within any type of appropriate driving distance to the city center is controlled by developers now. We’re building 30 million square feet per year. The industrial real estate space is not going to be there. And I’ve been saying a long time joking around with office brokers saying that, “In the future, industrial space is going to be more expensive than office space because of this rising demand in e-commerce and having to get this product as close to the people as possible. And we’re going to be out of land.” And Dallas has a ton of land. But a place like LA or Toronto, like I mentioned, and New Jersey is just getting so difficult.
Ward Richmond (32:33):
So, I think if I’m a 3PL and I’m the CEO, my strategy would be go get control as much square footage as possible because I think the need is just going to keep going. And e-commerce is still in its infancy reel. You know, it’s got such a long way to go. And as that continues, the demand for space is going to grow exponentially.
Scott Luton (32:54):
Excellent point. We all have probably seen The Noid is back from the ’80s. We’re talking ’80s, ’90s to the show. And, you know, Domino’s has rolled out a commercial with The Noid as they kind of announced to the market their drone delivery bots that will be delivering pizzas. Man, I feel like Buck Rogers sometimes. It’s amazing.
Scott Luton (33:17):
But, Ward, I agree. We’re just scratching the surface in these consumer demands and expectations, that Megan spoke to earlier, is going to fuel all sorts of innovation. However, you’re all talking about space and we’ve seen in parts of California some of the pushback from communities that are struggling to kind of, “Okay. Where does this fit? And how much is too much.” It’s going to be fascinating to see how those conversations play out as well. But speaking California, Ward, we’ve got a question, I think, for our panel, right?
Ward Richmond (33:50):
Yeah. Well, I was looking at Clay’s comment. He asked, “Who is Buck Rogers?” And I’m thinking the same thing. So, Scott, who is Buck Rogers? [Inaudible].
Scott Luton (34:04):
Gosh. You know, I get this problem, too, when I talk about Reader’s Digest, which I still get. I’m telling myself there. But, folks, that might be an old anachronism. But Buck Rogers was this T.V. show in the ’70s and it was about space. And I can’t remember who played Buck Rogers. But kind of like Star Trek, very forward-looking. So, Clay, thanks for that question there. Okay. So, where were we? Where were we?
Ward Richmond (34:38):
I think, was Buck Rogers shot in the state of California, possibly.
Scott Luton (34:42):
Ward Richmond (34:42):
We’re talking about California. Megan and Melinda are both in California. Megan’s overseeing or based in the greater Los Angeles area. So, tell us what you’re seeing in California, the dynamic of everything that’s going on there. I know there’s been a lot of talk. I would love to hear a little bit about what’s been going on in terms of the quarantine and all of that. I went to LA three times this year so far, actually. So, I went January 3rd and it was a ghost town. And then, I went back in March and then again April. So, it seems to be opening back up. Nevertheless, I also see people on my Instagram. Like my buddy, Conrad Mattson, he’s a fellow commercial real estate broker, and he likes to put, “Don’t California my Texas.” We see lots of Californians coming out to Texas. So, we’d love to hear your thoughts on all of that.
Megan Creecy-Herman (35:36):
Yeah. Absolutely. Great question. So, just taking a step back in how we look at California, I would tell you that, yes, fewer people moved into California in 2020 than exited the state. But I don’t think overall we see, you know, a structural shift in the fact that it’s the most populous state in the country and it’s one of the world’s largest economies. And we don’t see that changing anytime soon. I think what we did see as we’re starting to dig into some of the, you know, population migration that took place in COVID is that, people did relocate to many of the locations they were already moving to pre-COVID. So, let’s say, in Austin, Texas, Phoenix, Las Vegas, those cities are absolutely still picking up their share of net in migration.
Megan Creecy-Herman (36:24):
Yeah. I mean, it’s true. It really is. You know, I think in the Bay Area, obviously there was quite a bit of movement, but they think that 80 percent or so of the people that exited the Bay Areas still stayed in California. So, those shifts are happening. It may have accelerated, but I don’t know that it materially changed any patterns that weren’t already underway pre-COVID. And for us at Prologis, what we feel really good about within the region is, yes, we have scale in California. But we also have sizable positions in a market like Phoenix and a market like Las Vegas. So, we’re well positioned to capitalize and have space there for our customers to help them grow in those markets as well.
Ward Richmond (37:03):
Are you seeing Reno, too, on that list of places? I’m here in Reno all the time now. It’s another shift over to Nevada to still service Northern California, really, right?
Megan Creecy-Herman (37:14):
Yeah. Reno’s been a beneficiary as well. They’d be on that list. I put Phoenix and Vegas at the top and the region of Reno as well.
Melinda McLaughlin (37:24):
And when you think about it, everybody here, the benefits of living in a downtown core vanished during COVID, no restaurants, no museums, no big community gathering. So, what I think we’ll start to see this year is a lot of the people who might’ve stayed at home or stayed in a rural area with their parents, you know, the people who normally would move to the city, there was no benefit to that. I think we’re starting to see that shift. And if you follow the apartment REITs – which I do – those that have big coastal exposures, New York, Seattle, LA, and certainly the Bay Area are starting to see rents tick back up and occupancies rise. Because, again, I think, naturally, if you were going to move to a more rural location, let’s say a bigger house just generally, whether it’s in the burbs or it’s in Austin or wherever, huge incentives to do so in 2020. And not many to move to the city. So, I think we’ll see that kind of shift and revert to its normal pattern.
Melinda McLaughlin (38:29):
But for our business, California, not only huge population, but the biggest port in the U. S. It’s a great place for our customers to be. They need a presence here. So, while you can definitely augment, and I think everybody should look at the resiliency of their supply chain and think about that, California is not going away.
Megan Creecy-Herman (38:49):
Yeah. And to underscore that point, Melinda, look at the broader Southern California area, we’ve got a population of over 26 million people. So, you’re talking about one of the largest consumer markets out there with that port adjacency. So, that’s not changing. And I think what’s going to be interesting – and, Ward, I’d love to hear your perspective on this from what you’re hearing from your customers – as companies are going back to work in, maybe, what we’re calling, a hybrid environment going forward – as Melinda mentioned, people have moved away to these rural communities – are they going to come back? Are the companies going to require them to come back in person? How’s that going to play out? Are you hearing any of that from your customers on what they’re going to do yet?
Ward Richmond (39:31):
I’ve heard lots of different things. And so many of my customers were not dealing with so much of their corporate office type infrastructure. But I’m friends with plenty of people that have a lot of office space. And I have one friend and they’ve just basically eliminated all of their office base moving forward. I think when COVID hit, they realized that one expense that they couldn’t cut was their real estate costs. And so, they’ve just gone purely remote. Meanwhile, I think a lot of others have been doubling down and taking advantage of a little bit of a dip in the office market in going back to that. But I think it was a time to go prove that for different companies, with different cultures, it works or it doesn’t work. But I don’t think there’s a one size fits all. So, that’s kind of my takeaway.
Ward Richmond (40:28):
And I think, you know, entrepreneurial business, like commercial real estate, our team, we kind of like working remote. But there are other colleagues of mine that are within our Collier’s office in Dallas, they love to go to the office and they’re going to the office every day. And so, I think it’s just going to depend on the culture of the company and what you’re doing. So, it’ll be interesting to see. And it’s also, I think still early to know.
Scott Luton (40:56):
Wonderful. I tell you, we’ve got, like, an autonomous panel here. I love how you are having a conversation and trading off. That’s exactly what we need here. So, we’re seeing a forward looking technology play out in front of our eyes. I want to share a couple of comments, and before I do though, so folks, as we start to wrap, we’re going to be talking about what keeps our panel up at night. And I want to pose that same question to all of the folks that are in, what we very lovingly call, the cheap seats, folks in the comments, folks in the community. Hey, tell us what’s keeping you up at night. I want to share some of those things.
Scott Luton (41:29):
All right. So, before we pose that question to our audience, Garry Skinner is a Johnny-on-the-spot. “Gil Gerard is who played Buck Rogers.” How about that, Garry? Hope this finds you and your podcast well. Garry puts on a great podcast. Rhonda is in the Phoenix area and she has testimony, Booming here for sure.” Charles Walker is with us. Folks, if you’re not connected to Charles Walker, what a great follow. Former Army Ranger, fellow veteran, and a supply chain pro guru, for sure. Peter. And, Peter, forgive me, I can’t remember exactly what part of Canada you’re in. But the housing market is booming there. In fact, I think y’all spoke earlier to the construction, the metrics we’re seeing there. Rick Kingery, “U.S. Coastal rents growing so fast, they have to be tracked weekly and monthly versus quarterly because quarterly is too late.” He says, “How or when causes a slowing of that path?” Does any of our panel want to approach Rick’s question?
Melinda McLaughlin (42:33):
Well, I mean, I can definitely approach. They corrected early too. So, you’re going to see a lot of changes. You kind of unwind those discounts and probably get back to where you are. But at the end of the day, with any rents, we need to see wages match that pace. Here in the Bay Area, I think we have a lot of high-income employment, you know, tech companies definitely on their front feet and hiring, so less worried. And, in fact, on the demand side, let’s expand that out of just apartment housing. Housing is booming. When you talk about right-sizing your office footprint, where is that office space going? It’s going behind these doors, right? I need to have an office here. It’s not like it vanishes into thin air. It’s being relocated.
Melinda McLaughlin (43:16):
So, something that, I think, for the entirety of the last cycle, we were kind of waiting. You know, housing improved, but it wasn’t exactly booming after the last cycle and the GFC. It’s finally happening. There was a ton of pent up demand, real demographic tailwinds. So, I think as long as we have that positive economic growth that we need for people to afford, whether it’s a bigger house or an apartment in the city, I would expect some pretty substantial tailwinds. And to bring it all back to what we do, housing and construction companies use a ton of logistics real estate. So, when we start to stack up all the different players that are on their front feet, this is another segment where we’re seeing a lot of growth.
Scott Luton (44:02):
Excellent. Thank you. Go ahead, Ward.
Ward Richmond (44:04):
Hey, Melinda. I think Rick just chimed back in. Like, he’s really tracking these industrial rents, too, on the coast. And just like the coastal industrial rents going so high. And, I mean, Megan, what are you thinking on pricing? I mean, it’s hard to find pricing on a lot of things right now when you’re looking in LA. People are not wanting the full prices because it’s just like going up at such a fast clip. So, what do you see on the forefront? Is it going to taper down a little bit or what happens?
Melinda McLaughlin (44:39):
I don’t think we see it changing anytime soon when you consider all the factors we’ve already discussed. So, when you’re talking about the increased demand that we’ve seen, and you take a step back and you look at the pipeline that’s coming on new deliveries, we’re seeing higher pre-leasing percentages than we’ve seen in quite some time. So, space is being pre-leased. There’s not going to be that much [inaudible] that’s going to be available. And as we’ve talked about, as occupiers try to get closer to the consumer, you can’t make any more of this in field real estate. So, to that question, I don’t think we see rent growth subsiding anytime soon. Melinda, you can chime in on that one as well.
Melinda McLaughlin (45:20):
Well, you know, fundamentally, I don’t think we can. The cost to build a building is higher now than it’s ever been. So, yes, rents are going up, but land prices have doubled in some markets over the past two years. Ward previewed, you know, steel costs have seen some very explosive growth. A lot of other materials, we’re hearing about shortages in concrete, shortages for precast walls, lumber prices are absolutely bonkers. So, all of these add up to, it’s just much more expensive to build a building online. And so, you have to charge a higher rent just to make it pencil. There’s not enough space. Customers do need more supply. But there’s a cost that comes with that.
Melinda McLaughlin (46:03):
And, you know, when I think about the ultimate piece that probably all of us are dealing with in our businesses is labor. So, construction labor, labor for our customers and their operations, there’s not enough. And you would think after such a large disruption that we would see more labor availability, but that’s absolutely not what we’re hearing from our construction development teams. And it’s not what we’re hearing from our customers. So, a supply chain bottleneck can be fixed. The steel thing can be fixed over time. But labor prices are sticky. And these land costs, too, with so much economic activity concentrated in these areas, where, to your point, the demand, the need to get close to consumers, the fact that all that land is tied up. These buildings are going to be expensive for some time.
Ward Richmond (46:54):
I was just going to say that something I read on the steel and lumber, specifically the steel, for a lot of the buyers, the price is secondary to the availability. And I think that’s going to go for everything right now, and real estate included, because as a general rule of thumb, historically, who knows what the future holds. But when you look at overall supply chain costs, 50 percent of that is transportation, 4 percent of that is rent. So, the main thing is not going to be the rent. It’s going to be, can you be where you need to be to get it there? And the rent is just going to be a function of cost. And as costs continues to rise and land continues to go away, then that’s going to go up. But that 50 percent transportation cost is going to be the big driver. And it’s just, you know, not ideal for people focused on low rent. But if you focus on going and getting your footprint and getting capacity and locations that will benefit your customers, that’s going to be more important than trying to worry about a quarter of rent.
Scott Luton (48:05):
Excellent point. All right.
Melinda McLaughlin (48:06):
Can I say one thing – sorry – before we move on?
Scott Luton (48:09):
Melinda McLaughlin (48:09):
I’m glad you brought that up because I think this is a really important point and something we looked into earlier this year. Which is, putting that extra facility, the urban fulfillment facility, at the end of your supply chain close to consumers. MIT did a study, you know, we commissioned it, but they were completely independent on emissions. You know, I think ESG is more focused now than ever. But we asked them essentially to model the two supply chains, one without that last step and then one with. And what they found was the transportation-related emissions. If you add that extra step, on average, go down by about 50 percent. Which also means that the costs go down by about 50 percent.
Melinda McLaughlin (48:50):
So, yes, there’s obviously this trade-off. But you can spend, I feel like, a bit more on rent if you’re getting such tremendous transportation cost benefits. And I hate to keep going on, but in the last holiday season, we saw the parcel delivery companies limit their capacity and certainly raise costs. So, if you were relying on them for a big chunk of that last mile, you know, you saw a huge impact to your bottom line. Tying it back to my original thing about controlling your supply chain, if you rely on them less, you’re closer to end consumers, you’re less at risk for some of those changes. And so, I think at the end of the day, the supply chain decisions are just being made more holistically. Let’s think about the entire ecosystem, not just the real estate. And it’s so powerful.
Scott Luton (49:41):
Great point. And, you know, beyond the cost, you’re investing in your supply chain agility and ability – is that a word? But, you know, being able to pivot and deal with whatever curve balls that come your way. So, excellent conversation here today. All right. So, our second to the last question we’re going to ask our panel here is, what’s keeping you up at night? Beyond everything else we’ve talked about, what’s keeping you up at night? So, while you all think about your answer to that, I want to share a couple that we’ve already gotten.
Scott Luton (50:10):
Don says, “Rent renewal costs keeps me up, especially where we don’t have an option.” TSquared says, “What’s keeping me up as a student of supply chain management is the growing skills gap.” Excellent point there. And then, Peter is referring to the 300 percent increase in the two by four. In fact, along those lines, a friend of mine, Alison, put something on Facebook. She caught a snapshot of a lumber truck running down 85 South here in Atlanta. And her comment was, “Shouldn’t there be a military escort with this trailer full of lumber these days?” It’s like, “Oh, kid. Those are the times we lived in.” Okay. And Peter also points out a very important key term and approach here in supply chain, “Total Cost of Ownership,” Right? Total, we got to look at the big picture. I think, Melinda said holistically, right? The big picture systems level thinking. So, I want to start with Megan. Megan, when you get that proverbial question, what keeps you up at night? What is that beyond what you shared?
Megan Creecy-Herman (51:12):
Yeah. I think for me, it’s really the inflationary pressure we’re anticipating on durable goods as well as the construction costs that we just touched on. So, not only the supply shortages with steel, where we’re talking it’s 20 plus weeks to procure, but it’s the cost increases on those materials. So, if we already saw construction costs increase, call it, 8 to 10 percent in 2020 and we’re anticipating those costs increase, call it, in the high teens for 21, that is going to have a material impact on our business. And then, to your viewer’s point who just brought up lumber, in the West Coast, we use wood in our roof systems. So, those costs are going to add another buck or two we’re anticipating with that shortage. So, I think you wrap it all together and it’s the inflationary pressure we’re anticipating of what that’s going to do to the economy. That’s got me most concerned as we look ahead.
Ward Richmond (52:04):
Excellent point, Megan. I appreciate that. Melinda, same question to you.
Melinda McLaughlin (52:08):
Well, you know, I definitely think, globally, we’re not out of the woods with COVID, so I’ll just put that there, certainly thinking of our friends in India. But let’s say we get to the other side, I think to Megan’s point, the supply chain bottlenecks mean an very uneven playing field for our customers who want to capture this period of growth, this rebound. We need this revitalization get back on the right track and with so many shortages of materials. And then, some regulatory pressure. I don’t think we’ve even really touched on that, which is more and more municipalities are less friendly to logistics uses for this land and this real estate. Will we ultimately be able to satisfy the demand out there for logistics real estate and allow the supply chain expansions and all of the economic growth that entails is something I think a lot about.
Scott Luton (53:02):
Excellent point, Melinda. A lot to think about. A lot to keep you up at night. And I got to keep the milk warm on the stove to get through all these concerns. And I bet Clay’s not getting that reference either. And I’ll hear about it in the comments. Ward, tell us, what’s keeping you up at night?
Ward Richmond (53:19):
Well, at the end of the day, I want our clients to be able to secure the space they need to continue growing their business and being a dominant force in their industry. And as the scarcity of space continues, that keeps me up at night. And so, I think about having a really fast lawyer on the team to get through lease contracts. I think about having a team of executives that’s able to make fast decisions. And, you know, I think that it’s becoming so critical to get in there and move fast to go secure space and get what you need to get, or else you’re going to get left in the dust. And certain times, you’re just not going to have a place. I mean, my job is to make sure that we get our clients in there and lock it down, and maximize value for them in terms of everything. We just talked about the TCO, and that’s what I’m thinking about.
Scott Luton (54:27):
Excellent point. And it’s really why, folks, you got to partner with the specialists. Folks that have been there and done that. These three people right here are excellent examples of that to get through these challenging time, where no one has, seems like, the answers you’re looking for should make investments in real estate and beyond. Okay. So, to that end, I want to make sure folks know how to connect with all three of you all. And let’s start with Melinda, what’s the easiest way for folks to compare notes with you?
Melinda McLaughlin (54:54):
If they want to get in touch with me, you can find me on LinkedIn. I believe the links were sent out already. And we publish a lot of research on the Prologis website, www.prologis.com, Global Insights and Research. So, there’s a lot more detail there about any of this if you’re interested.
Scott Luton (55:13):
I love that. I love organizations that, you know, contribute and basically take an open source approach to publishing information that can help business leaders. That’s an admirable trait. So, I really appreciate that, Melinda, and thanks for joining us. But don’t go away just yet, because, Megan, how can folks connect with you?
Megan Creecy-Herman (55:30):
Similar to Melinda, I’m on LinkedIn. And to Wards point about needing solutions for customers who need to move quickly, it’s really easy. Ward, just bring them to Prologis and we can go as fast as they need us to go. So, go to Prologis.
Ward Richmond (55:43):
Megan Creecy-Herman (55:44):
Yeah. We’re the easy button. Go to proligis.com. They can search for any of our available properties, virtual tours, everything’s there. So, I look forward to connecting with more of our listeners.
Ward Richmond (55:56):
That’s why we’re talking right now, by the way.
Megan Creecy-Herman (55:59):
Uh-huh. Yes, we are.
Scott Luton (56:01):
Well, I really appreciate, Melinda and Megan, both of y’all coming on and sharing. As busy as all three of you are, but sharing these practical insights, these market observations, some Intel, and some best practices you’re seeing leaders take to navigate through. Really appreciate that. Before you leave, Ward, how can folks connect you with you?
Ward Richmond (56:23):
I’m on LinkedIn as well. And I also have a blog called supplychainrealestate.com. So, if you go there, I have lots of posts of quarterly update there, and lots of different articles, and case studies. And all my contact info is there as well. So, I look forward to connecting with you [inaudible].
Scott Luton (56:43):
It’s just that easy. Awesome. Ward, thank you very much. Appreciate that. Well, huge thanks to Melinda and Megan, both with our partners on this series, Prologis. We really appreciate y’all helping us to make this happen. We’ve been featuring Megan Creecy-Herman, Senior Vice-President of Operations for the West Region with Prologis, and her colleague, the newly deemed Global Head of Research and that is Melinda McLauchlan also with Prologis. Congratulations on that, by the way. And Megan and Melinda, we look forward to seeing you both again very soon.
Melinda McLaughlin (57:17):
Megan Creecy-Herman (57:18):
Scott Luton (57:18):
Thank you very much.
Ward Richmond (57:19):
Thanks so much.
Ward Richmond (57:24):
Scott Luton (00:57:24):
All right. It’s the simple things in life, right? It’s the simple things in life. Gosh, talk about some heavy hitting expertise both from Melinda and Megan. And I know we’re just scratching the surface and this is basically show one of the second season. The new and better second season of the Supply Chain Real Estate series. But, again, to do with WarD Richmond and to do it with the experts over at Prologis, that’s the only way to do it. Is that right?
Ward Richmond (57:54):
I agree 100 percent. I appreciate you saying that, Scott. [Inaudible].
Scott Luton (57:58):
You bet. Well, you know, you and I go back. We’re basically second cousins at this point, I believe. We’ve known each other for quite some time. So, before we leave, I want to remind folks about the nonprofit support, our efforts in India. But, Ward, on a lighter note, based on what you’ve heard here today that Megan and Melinda shared, if folks forget everything else, but they remember one thing, what would that be?
Ward Richmond (58:27):
Just remember that Prologis is the easy button. And I really mean it. We’ve talked a lot about this, Scott. We’re so excited to have them onboard as part of the series. And they’re just an incredible group to work with. And they make my life easier and they make life easier for a lot of our customers. And having their insight here over the course of this year for our series, I’m just super pumped up about it. And on top of that, I mean, speed and flexibility. But, really, I think speed is going to be the number one priority if you’re looking to lock down supply chain real estate anytime soon. So, that’s all I got, man.
Scott Luton (59:09):
Well said. So, Peter Bolle, he says here, “Everything we do in life starts and ends with supply chain.” Peter, I agree with you as well.
Ward Richmond (59:20):
Scott Luton (59:20):
And Mervyn says, “Ironically, it’s only now that people are aware of this.” Another great point there. Okay. So, great conversation to kick things off. I look forward to our next installment in this series. It’s probably going to be mid-July, right? We’re going to give folks a break. It’s kind of in the weeks to follow quarter in per lodges. And, Ward, we’re bringing some of the key things that you need to know related to the real estate industry.
Scott Luton (59:50):
On that note, I’ll make sure folks, regardless if you can give a little or give a lot or any or any point in between, be sure to check out vibha.org. We just dropped that in the comments, I believe. And if you lead a supply chain and maybe it’s not monetary resource that you can contribute, maybe it’s wherewithal and infrastructure and helping with transportation, you name it, you can also shoot a note to that email address right there, email@example.com to jump into the fight to help our friends over in India.
Scott Luton (01:00:27):
Okay. So, Ward, on that note, a pleasure to knock out this first episode with you. Big thanks to Ward Richmond with Colliers International and supplychainrealestate.com. Of course, big, thanks to Megan, Melinda, really the whole team over at Prologis. So, stay tuned for a lot more to come. And most importantly – Peter’s beaten me to the punch – whatever you do, do good, give forward, be the change that’s needed. On that note, we’ll see you next time right here on Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.
Ward Richmond (01:00:56):
Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.
Ward Richmond is an Executive Vice President and shareholder at Colliers International (NASDAQ: CIGI). His team within Colliers specializes in working with C-level executives and operational specialists to develop and execute corporate real estate strategies on a local and global basis in an effort to maximize operational efficiencies and value. Ward’s primary focus is representing dominant logistics companies in the acquisition and disposition of “supply chain real estate”: distribution centers, truck terminals, last mile hubs, manufacturing facilities and industrial land. With over 12 years of experience, Ward has developed an unparalleled understanding of Supply Chain Real Estate strategy via negotiating 500+ transactions, globally, in 50+ cities while generating millions in value for his customers. Ward enjoys reading, writing and speaking about eCommerce and the logistics industry. He’s been featured on podcasts like the GaryVee Audio Experience and interviewed by multiple publications including The Wall Street Journal. Ward has also been a featured speaker at multiple real estate and logistics conferences around the globe. Ward currently serves on the steering committee for the Colliers International Logistics & Transportation Solutions Group and is an active member of IWLA, IAMC, and the semi-legendary, Texas Warehouse Association. Be sure to check out Ward’s blog at: www.SupplyChainRealEstate.com and learn more about Colliers International here: https://www2.colliers.com/en
Melinda McLaughlin is Vice President, Global Head of Research, for Prologis. In addition to leading the global research team, she focuses on tracking, analyzing and forecasting logistics real estate fundamentals and structural industry trends, and translating insights into strategic decision-making for the company. Her other areas of specialization include supply chain reconfiguration, location differentiation and econometric modeling. Prior to joining Prologis in March 2015, Ms. McLaughlin was a vice president at Rosen Consulting Group, a boutique firm that provides economic, housing and commercial real estate strategic consulting services to a diverse roster of clients. Ms. McLaughlin holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in real estate. She is a member of the Urban Land Institute. Connect with Melinda on LinkedIn.
Megan Creecy-Herman serves as Senior Vice President, Head of Regional Operations-West Region of Prologis and is responsible for all business performance and operating metrics within the West Region. Prologis’ 200 MSF West Region includes the key markets of San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas, Reno, and Central Valley. Prior to becoming Senior Vice President Ms. Creecy-Herman was Vice President, Investment Officer for Prologis in the Phoenix and Denver markets. Prologis is the global leader in logistics real estate with 965 million square feet in 19 countries. Ms. Creecy-Herman has more than 18 years of commercial real estate experience focused on the acquisition, disposition, development and leasing of industrial and office assets in the Southwestern US, completing transactions in excess of $1 Billion to-date. Prior to joining Prologis in 2018 she spent six years at Liberty Property Trust (NYSE:LPT) and ten years with EJM Development Co. She is a graduate of Arizona State University with a B.S. and an M.B.A. from the University of Arizona. In 2014 Ms. Creecy-Herman served as the first female Chairman of the NAIOP Arizona Board of Directors, also becoming the youngest Chairman in the nation to lead a large Chapter. For her work as Chairman in 2014 she received the prestigious NAIOP National Chairman of the Year award. In 2015 she joined the NAIOP National Executive Committee and National Board of Directors. Ms. Creecy-Herman is an active member of NAIOP, the Urban Land Institute, Valley Partnership, AZCREW, REIAC, the Arizona State University Real Estate Alumni Club and the Junior League of Phoenix. Connect with Megan on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.