Digital Transformers
Episode 26

Now we're really moving into a project-based economy. So the operations of institutions are increasingly based on projects, which have much more agility in terms of how they're managed and how they're implemented. And that requires, you know, fast injections of expertise and knowledge that are centered around those projects.

-Marcin Buzanski

Episode Summary

You could argue that Marcin Buzanski got to the Future of Work before the rest of us. How? By building a platform of on-demand expertise through his company, EonD, so companies could easily tap into the gig economy and leverage expertise from around the world. Now, he’s helping Ukrainian refugees leverage the platform to find work while ushering in the next phase of remote consulting. Join host Kevin L. Jackson as he sits down with Marcin to discuss his efforts in Ukraine, the importance of building digital trust in an external workforce, what’s next for the Future of Work and more.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:01):

Welcome to Digital Transformers, the show that connects you with what you need to build, manage, and operate your digital supply chain. Join your host in a timely discussion on new and future business models with industry leading executives. The show will reveal global customer expectations, real world employment challenges, and the value of advanced business technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, and robotic process engineering. And, now, we bring you Digital Transformers.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:39):

Hello everyone. This is Kevin L. Jackson, and welcome to Digital Transformers on Supply Chain Now. So, I ask you, what is the future of work? Things have really changed so much over the past two years that work no longer fits any of its traditional definitions. I really didn’t appreciate how fast things were changing until February 10, 2018. That’s when sort of my work life changed – this was way, way before the pandemic – when Mr. Marcin Buzanski reached out to me on LinkedIn, you know, out of the blue with a simple question. He said, “Are you open for a short midterm assignment in the coming months?”

 

Kevin L. Jackson (01:33):

That was pretty surprising to me, actually. But it led me to a gig helping the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia develop the Kingdom’s cybersecurity and cloud computing policies. It was an honor to actually do that. But little did I know that the future of work had reached out from the future and touched my life. So, with that, I would like to introduce the man that transported me to my future, Mr. Marcin Buzanski, Co-Founder and President of Expertise on Demand out of Warsaw, Poland. Welcome to the show, Marcin.

Marcin Buzanski (02:17):

Welcome. Welcome, Kevin. And welcome everybody who is watching and listening to us. And it is a great pleasure to be on the show and to talk with you again and to hear, again, about how we got connected. I also very fondly remember this as it was also around quite early stages of Experts on Demand. And we have developed quite a lot since then. Quite a story here to share with you and the listeners. So, I’m extremely happy to be here and talk with you.

Kevin L. Jackson (02:55):

Well, thank you very much. I tell you, you guys have really grown over the past few years, and we’re going to talk about that. But I’m telling you, I’m so happy to see you. So, you just returned from a pretty interesting trip, can you tell us where have you been?

Marcin Buzanski (03:16):

That’s true. That’s true. And we’ll share it with our other guests here. I just came back from Ukraine, which we all know right now is fighting a war and is a neighbor to Poland, where EonD headquarters are. And, you know, it plays a special place, of course, not only in our hearts as Poland, but with EonD, we have a number of employees who are from Ukraine. And while our experts, a lot of them, have also come from Ukraine itself, we’ve also had a strong background in terms of expertise available for government assistance and government reform, which we wanted to see how can be best, of course, used to aid Ukraine.

Marcin Buzanski (04:12):

One of the things, actually, we’ve done as EonD, we started this quick program when expert fees from quick consultations can be also donated to support the humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, which EonD matches as a donation to the cause. Of course, we’ve been doing that. But, also, a little bit from my personal expertise as an expert in government capacity building, I went to see how we can help the central and regional administrations respond to this terrible situation, of course, that the country is in.

 

Marcin Buzanski (04:53):

And I want to share with you and our listeners, it’s always a humbling experience to see what people are capable of in times of dire straits and time of extreme situation. It takes out the best of them. And I think, you know, it’s something to share with you and our listeners that, Ukrainians are really showing that they’re very, very brave. That they’re very, very committed. And they are playing an extremely important role for the whole of Europe and the Western alliances here. So, I came back from this trip wanting to support even more and, of course, seeing the bravery and the extreme efforts that the Ukrainian population is doing currently.

Kevin L. Jackson (05:49):

Yeah. We really thank you for your humanitarian efforts. And, you know, I know the news really shows us some horrible scenes, but we can’t forget the best of people really come out in the worst of times. But from your point of view, how has this war really affected the nature of regular work across your region?

Marcin Buzanski (06:17):

Well, I think the closest part is, clearly, an effect on our employees and on their families is something that we needed to take into consideration. In the greater schemes, I think it also adds a bit of a new dimension into a certain reality where we were already starting to find ourselves. Meaning that there are remote people who are moving and they can engage in work quickly in different locations to provide their services. This has happened with a lot of Ukrainians coming through the border to Poland, but also traveling to other places, which have certain skillsets and have been looking to work, not really receive charity.

 

Marcin Buzanski (07:04):

And with EonD functioning in the global gig economy, we can observe that these type of different jobs are being seek from different skilled workers coming from Ukraine. So, I think the conflict where you have such a mass movement of population is showing us that people can quickly find different type of short and midterm term jobs via online platforms. And this was something that, I think, fits in also in this greater change that we are seeing globally in the work market.

Kevin L. Jackson (07:45):

So, that’s something that I actually didn’t think about. It wasn’t really top of mind. But there’s literally millions of people coming across the border into Poland and they want to work, they still have a life. But this is a completely different dimension for, you know, human resources, your HR team. I mean, companies, don’t typically design their HR department to handle a flood of refugees, especially trying to do remote work. EonD, I mean, you had to do HR, too, how did that happen?

Marcin Buzanski (08:31):

Well, I think, for us, this part is a little bit easier in the sense that we have our experienced recruiters, who are dealing with this type of short term recruitments. But I think if you look more broadly at the whole market and HR market across the whole centuries to European region, not just Poland, it is trying to respond to allow a lot of the refugees to find jobs and be able to provide support. And in some areas, for instance, like IT, this is an extremely important factor because there was a scarcity of, actually, talent and people who could be ready to work in this area. So, I think that certainly adds to the dimension.

 

Marcin Buzanski (09:27):

But, again, we have to, of course, see because we’re only a-month-and-a-half and we hope this conflict ends as soon as it can, but then also people will want to return home. So, for us, actually the thing we’d want most is for the people to return, but still relationships to be built so that people can find jobs.

Kevin L. Jackson (09:53):

Right. Right. Absolutely. So, in fact, I guess we probably should slow up a little bit and discuss how you actually got to where you are today. I mean, can you share a bit of your background in Poland, your training, what did you do before EonD?

Marcin Buzanski (10:16):

My background and training is, actually, I’m a political scientist in training and education. And I have degrees from Warsaw University in European Affairs and in International Affairs. But my work early on was primarily with the United Nations in government advisory. And it actually led me also to the States where I did my Master’s Degree at Columbia University in Economic and Political Development, which took me to work with the UN and other international organizations in government advisory and building government capacity across the world.

 

Marcin Buzanski (11:11):

And I’ve been able to travel and work in many, many countries, in Africa, in Southeast Asia, in the Middle East. And only as it happens by accident, you could say, I’ve moved on a little bit from being – as they called – international civil servant into an advisor doing consulting work and being the subject matter experts or the expert. And this is sort of what I learned or saw about how experts are sought after globally. But, also, what kind of companies try to work with them and, actually, try to find them. And while this is sort of where the first thoughts about some kind of consulting type of group or network has started to emerge.

Kevin L. Jackson (12:15):

So, you’re the co-founder of Experts on Demand, how did that happen? Did you guys bump into each other at the coffee stop or getting some [inaudible]?

Marcin Buzanski (12:24):

This is what could be called the startup moment in the story. But doing all this work as an expert or as an advisor, I’ve connected with my colleague, Bartek, who is now the CEO at EonD. And while we knew each other from years back in Poland, you know, drinking beer at university in pubs –

Kevin L. Jackson (12:54):

That’s always good.

Marcin Buzanski (12:55):

– which is always good – we’ve connected on a project and haven’t seen each other for a very, very, very long time, where he was working with one of the large international consulting companies and needed experts like myself. So, we had connected, he brought me in on a project. Well, we came to an observation and conclusion that, particularly in the field of government advisory and public sector advisory, there’s a major scarcity of experts and a very big demand for them. And this is sort of where the idea of Experts on Demand has started, where it came. Well, from there, as they say, the rest is history.

Marcin Buzanski (13:50):

It was one of those napkin discussions where we wrote the model for the company. And I must say, quite quickly it turned into us realizing that, not only those networks of experts are very much needed and there’s scarcity in several subject matter areas, not just government, and we’ve kept expanding, but we also saw the future as really merging the gig economy model with the model of high skilled expertise.

 

Marcin Buzanski (14:37):

And this is really where we came to the place we are today of establishing a platform of a broad group, not just the top level experts, but also the mid-level experts, the group of experts we call experts, consultants, and professionals, which is a whole new grouping for the gig economy that fits in into the globally changing demand. And this is how we’ve seen the future, and I think it’s happening before our eyes right now. And I must also say that these changes that EonD has fitted in has been really accelerated by the COVID pandemic.

Kevin L. Jackson (15:28):

Right. So, when people think about gig, the first thing that sort of jumps in into your mind are people driving Uber or whatever. But tell us more about the company. I mean, where do you operate? How do you actually source these experts? I mean, people don’t generally think they’re going to get a call out of the blue to do the work for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for instance, as I did.

Marcin Buzanski (16:04):

For sure. For sure. Look, I think it’s about two sides. Think about the demand and the supply. So, on the demand side, we have organizations around the world which are rapidly changing into an external workforce model. So, we see more and more organizations which look for short term, midterm freelance type of employees. And what we have been seeing is they look for even more high skilled employees than before to get those positions. On the other side, we have more and more experts which are ready to engage with short term and medium term type of projects.

 

Marcin Buzanski (16:56):

So, how does EonD operate? We come in the middle of that. We make that match. In terms of how do we source the experts, there are a number of ways. Of course, we use open source. Like you mentioned, we connected via LinkedIn, and different other platforms. We have our recruiters, which look for the good matches for the different demands that are coming our way. But very importantly, we have been automating the process of referrals. So, we base also the growth of our network on the referrals from top experts in their field. And this has allowed a rapid expansion of our base of experts with the quality type of professionals that our clients would be looking for. So, this model allows, really, to grow organically because next experts provide referrals for next experts. And along with the open source, it allows our base to grow very strongly.

Marcin Buzanski (18:21):

Now, the next sourcing happens really automatically. Meaning, we’ve reached a level where experts or professionals sign up to our platform, because they start to know that this is the place that can get you good and interesting assignments because of our client base and because of our reputation. So, in this way, if you combine all of those elements, we have got the view of the organically growing network and sourcing our professionals that join us.

 

Marcin Buzanski (19:00):

Now, we operate globally, although our biggest markets right now are the Middle East and Europe. But we’ve been, at this point, supporting clients – and I want to give you the exact number – but it was 37 or 38 countries. So, already quite a few. And I think importantly, we are also at the process where our platform will grow quite a lot because of this demand for the high skilled experts to join the gig economy.

 

Marcin Buzanski (19:44):

So, I’m coming back to you mentioning how does a company like ours fit into the gig economy model? Well, think of it a little bit as like an Uber for the high skilled expert. And there are some large platforms where you can find freelancers, but they’re usually for, maybe, graphic design or some smaller IT jobs or some programmers. But for the high level professional, the consultant, the expert, the advisor for this level of professionals, there wasn’t really an online space for them, which is more curated and dedicated, but still can connect with this demand for the external workforce growth. And this is where we come in as EonD.

Kevin L. Jackson (20:44):

So, the thing that kind of struck me is that the information worker can be identified and picked up for these gig jobs. But, traditionally, large organizations and governments, especially, there’s a lot of trust required, a lot of knowledge of the organization or government processes. And there’s a lot of betting that’s normally done with these experts. So, you are saying now, are they loosening that up? Are they so desperate, they have to go out and find anybody on the street? I mean, this is really a big difference.

Marcin Buzanski (21:34):

Well, you’re touching on a very important point. And I believe this is something that has been part of our success, that we actually were able to provide this vetting in a semi-automated way at this point. Because when we’ve developed our base and serviced so many clients and projects, we have a good idea who is needed for what type of assignment and can match those needs to the profiles quite well. And this includes both our automatic system of connecting the request for different tags with our database, but also includes the aid of our Network Navigators Group, which are experts in thematic fields that can also look through the more complex requests.

Marcin Buzanski (22:36):

So, if you put those things together, well, they create a quite efficient vetting system that EonD operates. And that allows us to really give the good quality of the expert, of the professional that our clients need. Which, of course, it will depend on the level and length of the assignment. And every case has its specificity. But, still, we are able to make those connections quite well. And you’ve rightly pointed out, it’s a question of trust. And I think, you know, the trust in EonD by our clients is something that allows them to cut on the length of the process of identifying the person for the job.

Marcin Buzanski (23:39):

So, in a way, it’s the duty of trust that is brought onto us. And it’s part of the service that we deliver to our clients when we connect with the right people. And, of course, there is this element of speed here and how quickly it can be done. Because in today’s world, a lot of time, it’s part of the advantage that you can get the knowledge or the expertise quickly, and another part of why I think we’ve been successful in identifying the right people within the right timeframes.

Kevin L. Jackson (24:23):

Well, you know, one of the aspects of my time working through EonD for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is that I didn’t mention that I never actually set foot in the Kingdom. I’m in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington D.C., and I supported the Kingdom from here. I was in Texas for a while. I was in California for a while. But at the very beginning, I mean, we all thought that I would be making several physical trips. I mean, I had my passport. I had visas. But in the end, I did the eight month gig completely remote. And, in fact, this was 2018. I mean, we’ve all heard about work from home now and hybrid work arrangements as the future of work. But this was 2018, nobody really did that, especially in an international gig. So, was that normal then? How has things changed from then to now? I mean, was that unusual?

Marcin Buzanski (25:39):

You know, at that time, I think it was only starting. But, of course, the whole pandemic and work from home, this was solidified in this model and everybody is used to this model at this point. And it’s much easier to engage experts. But think about this from the other side, you were ready to jump on the plane and fly at that time. But in many, many cases, good professionals and experts who can be available for an assignment, but only remote because for various reasons they can’t relocate, they cannot travel, they might not have the full time to go for a full length of a couple of months assignment, but are willing to take this type of work remotely. And this is the part of this future of work that we’re observing, which makes a a lot of experts available for clients, they wouldn’t have otherwise. And this is also the group that EonD is working with.

 

Marcin Buzanski (26:56):

Another thing, you know, it’s a possibility perhaps to travel, but just for a very short time and do much more work, other work, remotely. And this type of hybrid arrangement is something that we’ve seen greatly increase in numbers. And a lot of our assignments are done this way at the moment. So, probably, a big majority is either remote or in hybrid arrangements. The in-person assignments, because of our global operation, are becoming a smaller percentage or smaller fraction of it, which shows you also where the future of work is heading, particularly for this high skilled expert. And it is a new element for high skilled experts to work this way because, as you pointed out, it’s this question of trust. If you want to employ a high level professional, you want to be able to interact with this person, usually you want to make sure that it’s a right fit for your purposes as a client, as a company, or, especially, as a government or a public sector or organization that you talked about. Which, also is starting to acknowledge and allow this type of remote work model or hybrid work model. And I think the pandemic has really accelerated this change quite a lot.

Kevin L. Jackson (28:32):

So, we’ve gone from demanding consultants to be on site all the time to sort of shifting overnight to everyone working from home. And, now, we cautiously say the post-pandemic world is coming to us, and the hybrid arrangements are starting to be popular normal. They’re no longer unusual. So, as an information worker, what’s next? Will I now be in the metaverse? I have to have multiple avatars working remotely for different companies through EonD? I mean, what is your version of the metaverse [inaudible]? What’s the next step for the future of work?

Marcin Buzanski (29:33):

I would be lying if I said we’re not looking at this as well. And our different other models of representation, if you will, of experts globally.

Kevin L. Jackson (29:49):

I saw online the other day, in October, I guess, they hollow transported a group of nine people to the International Space Station. So, now, I’m going to have to think about how I’m going to be hollow transported when I do my next gig.

Marcin Buzanski (30:12):

Right. Exactly. So, yes, I think we can already envisage what the future here might hold for us. But I think the most immediate changes we’ll be seeing in the next couple of years is, really, the shift in terms of how people want to work in terms of where they are located versus where their work actually is. And I think this model is going to, you know, really solidify.

 

Marcin Buzanski (30:44):

The other thing, it’s something we’ve also seen globally now. We’re really moving into a project based economy. So, the operations of institutions are increasingly based on projects, which have much more agility in terms of how they’re managed and how they’re implemented. And that requires, you know, fast injections of expertise and knowledge that are centered around those projects. And if you’ve got a majority of global organizations, which are increasing to operate this way, they require a very large increase in the external workforce.

 

Marcin Buzanski (31:22):

So, already, organizations like Facebook, like Google, they’re moving into a 50 percent – that’s five-zero -of employees being brought as external workforce. This is your high skilled freelancer de facto. And they’re at the forefront of the change. Now, if you think about the whole global economy chasing them, plus organizations outside of the private sector joining these models, you are seeing a major global shift into an external workforce. And with that happening, the high skill, the expertise, the professionals, the advisors, and consultants, they’ll all be looking for the type of assignments and the type of work that can fit their, first of all, time availability, location availability, and specific knowledge. So, that type of agility and flexibility in the work assignments and the jobs taken, this will be increasingly the reality.

Marcin Buzanski (32:40):

In our estimation in the next couple of years, another hundred million people moving into this sort of work model. And the amount of organizations changing into this model going into hundreds of thousands globally. There’s been also research to back up this change done by Harvard Business School, done by a number of other think tanks and organizations, the World Economic Forum, so we’re seeing these changes that have been starting to happen before COVID, accelerate post-COVID. And I think, you know, now we’ll have this moment of solidifying this new reality and more and more tools, potentially including the metaverse, potentially including holograms, potentially using blockchain for easier transactions operations. And for instance, getting confirmation of somebody’s expertise verification. we’ve talked about those vetting mechanisms. All of these things will be increasingly happening.

 

Marcin Buzanski (34:05):

And I think one of the things EonD is striving to is to be at the forefront of the change with that element of trust. So, providing the trust through this verification of the top level expert, of the top level professional, that can be available to those different projects. Because digital trust will be a very, very important component here.

Kevin L. Jackson (34:34):

Oh, no. That’s a good term. [Inaudible] digital trust, how you can establish digital trust with respect to the competence of your external workforce. I mean, this is going to be a big requirement, a big discussion in the C-suite. So, sort of going back to the conflict briefly, one thing that we’ve seen in this war is the direct linkage to the economics and to business. I mean, the West immediately slapped a lot of restrictions on the Russian Government. And that led a lot of multinationals to have them make a decision with respect to their employees that were either in the countries or working for those countries. And there are multi-billion dollar businesses sort of shut down in the country overnight. And this will, of course, affect the staffing. So, has the recent conflict changed your views on remote work and the future of work when it comes to the gig economy for information workers?

Marcin Buzanski (36:07):

Well, you know, I think, of course, now with Russia, it’s a quite specific case. And even one could imagine that trying to take care of some of the employees who’ve been doing a good job and might have not much to do with the war in a bit of a different circumstance, maybe, could be somehow figured out for online assignments from those companies. Although, in the current sanction regime, that would be very, very difficult. But I think it shows us something else which could be a bit more difficult or even worrying from the global economy. And that’s not just the decoupling with Russia, but the potential decoupling with China, if this collision course continues because this would really, really affect the whole globalization process. But that’s on one hand.

 

Marcin Buzanski (37:18):

Honestly, I think it will not change that much in the sense that the demand for the professionals, the experts, to deliver their work will be there. It might just be in different formats and it might be sought after for different levels of competition. But, if anything, it will increase the need for expertise to be provided in various locations. And one can imagine, I mean, that’s not going to happen, of course, with Russia. Most likely Russia will become just very strongly isolated, I mean, closer to a North Korea model. But if there’s a block built by China, you can imagine competition for workers to be engaged in projects [inaudible] or the other.

 

Marcin Buzanski (38:19):

But in terms of high level expertise, look, whatever is going to happen, the real professionals will be always in demand. Now, whether that’s going to be more in the crisis mode or more in the growth mode, I think that that’s something we can be certain of. And I think that, also, the whole aspect of digitalization of the economy, that’s also not going to stop. I think, you know, we’ve forgotten a little bit just having all of our attention focused on the global geopolitical events and on the war that the technological race is still there.

Kevin L. Jackson (39:08):

Yes. Yes. Absolutely.

Marcin Buzanski (39:10):

Developments are being accelerated. And, also, if one thing history teaches us is that, competition and arms races and different even wars a lot of times accelerates the development of technology rather than stop it. So, whichever dimension the geopolitical landscape looks like, we will still see a great acceleration in using remote and online expertise. And I think that those trends that we’ve been seeing for the future of work, they’re only going to accelerate in the years to come.

Kevin L. Jackson (40:00):

Well, I tell you, Marcin, when you were back in college getting your degrees in geopolitics, you probably never thought how important it would be to know that topic in the gig economy for information workers that are leveraging this advanced technology. I mean, you are finding yourself sort of at the leading edge of globalization and digitalization. So, I really thank you for your time and perspective today, Marcin. Unfortunately, though, our time has actually come to an end. But how can the audience learn more about Experts on Demand and your approach to delivering industry and government expertise globally?

Marcin Buzanski (40:59):

Well, thanks. Thanks very much for this, Kevin [inaudible]. I mean, if you asked me back then what would be the the future here, it would be very, very hard to imagine. But there we are, and that tells you all only that one of the good deeds of any expertise that they can adjust quickly and work in this new reality. And having said that, I’d really encourage all of our audience to go to our website, to go to our LinkedIn, and signup to EonD and see what kind of great opportunities you can find with us if you are open and interested in some very fascinating projects globally. And we like to take pride in taking good care of our experts so, hopefully, I’d say, you can find all of that out by signing up and checking out EonD. And, of course, you can do that on our website, on our LinkedIn pages, and be then part of our adventure here on growing as well and venturing into this future of work models. I think that there’s quite a story ahead.

Kevin L. Jackson (42:32):

Well, no, I absolutely can vouch for that. I mean, it’s four years, Marcin, that we’ve known each other. And I’m waiting to get measured for my hollow transportation suit for the next step in my future of work. So, thank you. Thank you very much.

 

Kevin L. Jackson (42:54):

And in closing, I would like to invite everyone to check out the wide variety of industry thought leadership that we bring here, like Marcin, on the future of work at Digital Transformers and supplychainnow.com. And you can find Digital Transformers and Supply Chain Now wherever you get your podcast, so be sure to subscribe. And so, on behalf of the entire team here at Supply Chain Now, this is Kevin Jackson wishing all of our listeners a bright and transformational future and future of work. We’ll see you next time on Digital Transformers.

Intro/Outro (43:41):

Thank you for supporting Digital Transformers and for being a part of our global Supply Chain Now community. Please check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com. Make sure you subscribe to Digital Transformers anywhere you listen to or view the show. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Digital Transformers.

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Marcin Buzanski is the President and Chief Network Officer of EonD – a platform for building an external workforce. Previously he has been advising governments, international organizations and think tanks on issues of foreign and security policy and international conflicts and crises and institutional development. He graduated from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in New York as well as from the Institute for International Affairs and the European Centre – both Departments of the University of Warsaw. Connect with Marcin on LinkedIn.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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

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Greg White

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

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

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

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

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

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

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

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

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

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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

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Jeff Miller

Host

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

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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

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

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

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

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

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Ben Harris

Host

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

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

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

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