Supply Chain Now
Episode 1237

Turnover is a real thing. Especially in the U.S., unemployment is at a very low level and we're fighting and competing for talent in the marketplace. So we have extraordinarily capable folks on the team, but how do we retain them? How do we make sure that we're making their life a little bit easier?

-Patrick Leblond

Episode Summary

Joining Scott Luton and special guest host Will Chu in today’s episode of Supply Chain Now are two supply chain supremos in the form of Patrick Leblond, Director of Supply Chain Systems and Process Optimization at GAF, and his colleague Derek Heer, Supply Chain Systems & Process Optimization Manager.

GAF is North America’s largest roofing and waterproofing manufacturer, with over 4,000 employees and 35 manufacturing operations spread across 27 locations in the US.

Due to this formidable footprint, its supply chain is extremely multifaceted and nuanced, and it is Patrick and Derek’s job to ensure operations run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. This involves careful management and curation of a technology stack made up of different systems and software that sings in harmony. For example, a major priority for them right now is warehouse optimization, a multi-year project which involves the modernization of a legacy WMS platform.

Patrick and Derek also spend a lot of time collaborating with and providing their own frontline insight to Will, who is the CEO and Co-founder of Vector, a yard management platform designed to increase visibility for supply chain personnel and their partners. Throughout the discussion, the trio touch on their working relationship and how the two companies are providing value for each other, including how Vector is helping GAF to gain greater visibility inside its operations.

Several other big talking points are addressed during the rest of the podcast, including:

· The battle to attract and retain talent.

· Empowering the supply chain workforce to reach their full potential.

· The traceability challenge in the building materials sector.

· Tackling theft to optimize loss prevention.

Interested to get Will, Patrick and Derek’s take? Tune in to the podcast to learn more.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:03):

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 (00:32):

Hey, hey, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you may be. Scott Luton and special guest host, Will Chu, here with you on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s live stream. Will, how you doing?

Will Chu (00:43):

I’m doing great. How are you?

Scott Luton (00:45):

I am doing wonderful, wonderful. Looking forward to the big game on Sunday. We had a lot of fun talking about that in a pre-show. But, Will, speaking of the big game, is there a bigger game than global supply chain?

Will Chu (00:56):

No. This is the biggest game. This is the biggest team sport in the world. We’re talking about multi-billion dollar companies working with truck drivers to move freight in real time. So, I think this is as exciting as it can be in terms of team sports.

Scott Luton (01:10):

Well said. I’m going to steal that from you, Will, the biggest team sport in the world. What a great way of thinking about global supply chain. And speaking of great, great show here today as Will and I’m going to be focusing on an organization and its leadership that’s doing some really cool things and making real gains, driving big outcomes when it comes to supply chain visibility, workforce and talent, and loss prevention. And, Will, a lot of folks may know you as the CEO and co-founder with Vector, who’s doing some big things in y’all’s own right out there in industry. But here today, not only do we get your perspective, but we’ve got quite a panel joining us here as well. Should be a great show, huh?

Will Chu (01:46):

Yeah. Yes, sir. I’m so excited. Almost as excited as watching the Niners beat the Chiefs on Sunday.

Scott Luton (01:54):

All right, folks, Will is throwing a gauntlet down and we did a quick poll pre-show. The entire panel believes Niners are going to beat the Chiefs. We’ll see what y’all think though. All right. So, two quick things before we get started and bringing our panelists. First off, let us know what you think. Appreciate all the folks that are here with us live. Share your comments throughout this live discussion. We want to hear from you. And secondly, if you enjoyed today’s show, be sure to share it with a friend or your network. They’ll be grateful you did. Okay. Will, let’s bring in our two esteemed panelists here today. Looking forward to talking with Patrick Leblond, director of Supply Chain Systems and Process Optimization with GAF, and his colleague, Derek Heer, Supply Chain Systems and Process Optimization manager. Here we go. Hey, hey Patrick, how you doing?

Patrick Leblond (02:40):

I’m excellent. Thanks for having us.

Scott Luton (02:41):

Great to have you here today. And, Derek, how you doing, my friend?

Derek Heer (02:45):

Doing good. Thanks for having —

Scott Luton (02:46):

Will, we had one of the more fun pre-show sessions just moments ago, talking not only about the big game coming up but all their favorite dishes. And by the way, folks, let me give you a quick rundown there, guacamole, boneless wings, Thai food, crab, peppers, and, of course, cheese dip. But beyond all of that, here’s the question I want to pose each of y’all, a little fun question here today. So today, believe it or not, there’s parades everywhere for laugh and get rich day. It’s a thing. Laugh and get rich day. So as I shared with y’all pre-show, one of my favorite questions that I posed to my dear friend, Greg, ages ago, was what’d he do if we hit the billion-dollar lottery? What’s the first thing he’d spend it on? And that’s what I want to pose to each of y’all. The key assumption though, Patrick, Derrick, and Will, is we hit the billion-dollar lottery, we pay tons and tons of charity doing the right thing. And so, after we do all that, what’s the one thing that you’re going to splurge on immediately? And, Patrick, I want to start with you.

Patrick Leblond (03:46):

So, it’s ski season, so the priority would be a private jet, fly around the world and go do unbelievable powder skiing somewhere. A buddy of mine’s texted me videos of him in Japan, waist steep in powder, and I’m a little jealous at the moment. So that would be a good use of billion dollars.

Scott Luton (04:02):

Well, I know GAF’s got some roots in Savannah. I’m assuming that would be a Gulf Stream that you would splurge on. Is that right, Patrick?

Patrick Leblond (04:08):

That would work. We do have a plant in Savannah, right on the harbor.

Scott Luton (04:12):

I love that. Love that. All right. So, Derek, it’s going to be tough to top. What’s the one thing you’d splurge on?

Derek Heer (04:18):

I’m taking a full man cave. I’m getting a nice man cave in a basement, games, pool tables, sports bar. I got it all down there, so it’s going to be a man cave like nobody’s seen and I could one up Patrick on that. I’ll do it on a yacht. Man cave on a yacht I think would be ideal if I got the money for it. I’m doing it.

Scott Luton (04:35):

Oh, I love it, I love it. And, Will, thanks for sharing pre-show. Little thing we learned about Derek is he played quarterback back in the day and he rubbed elbows with some famous athletes. So, folks, you’ll have to ask Derek about that after the show. All right. So, Will, it was also rumored — well, I’m not going to share those rumors that we learned appreciate, but what’s just the level set? We had some fun talking about how Will and Taylor Swift was going to have a suite at the big game. That’s not true, right, Will?

Will Chu (05:03):

That’s not true. Maybe. I mean, crazier things have happened, but —

Scott Luton (05:06):

Crazier things have happened. Indeed. What’s the one thing you would splurge on after you win the billion-dollar lottery, Will?

Will Chu (05:14):

There’s this furniture maker that makes these incredible tables and these tables are cool because, one, they’re long so you can see a bunch of friends around them and they have this trough in the middle where you can put ice and drinks in it. So, it would be this beautiful table where I could host friends and have a ton of fun dinners and a great gathering place to get memories going and good conversations going. So that’d be my thing.

Scott Luton (05:43):

Well said. Will, I like that. Well said. It reminds me of how much we enjoyed your perspective the last time you joined us, and we got a whole bunch more good stuff to get in here today. And I would just add if I hit the lottery is travel with the kids. I don’t care where we go, get them out there, seeing new things. I think that’s so important for young minds. But, Patrick and Derek and Will, thanks for playing along. By the way, we’ve got a lot of folks with us here. Hey, Amanda and Catherine behind the scenes, helping to make things happen. As Amanda says hey, let us know where you’re watching from. We’d love to connect the dots around the world. And Ramiro, speaking of, Ramiro says, “Hello GAF team. This is Ramiro from the ATL.” Great to see you, Ramiro. Welcome aboard. Okay, folks, we’ve got a lot to get into here today and I want to start with this, Patrick, Derek and Will, let’s offer up some context. We’re going to be talking about some really big topics and let’s start with helping folks kind of see things through an accurate lens. Right? So, Patrick, let’s start with you. Tell us briefly about what GAF does and your role there.

Patrick Leblond (06:42):

So, GAF is North America’s largest manufacturer of roofing products, so residential commercial roofing with over 30 plants here in the U.S. but we’re also part of the biggest roofing business in the world. So, we have a couple of sister companies; BMI’s our counterpart or the equivalent of GAF over in Europe. We also have really a lot of excitement around another relatively newer part of the company, with GAF Energy just got done building the largest solar roofing plant in the world, right outside of Austin, so one business to be a part of. I’ve been part of it for about 13 years, mostly over here in North America, but I did spend five years over in Europe. And so, my team’s responsible for really working with our supply chain teams and the plants and making sure we have the tools we need to serve customers and grow the business that it’s using new technology in the case of Vector and other tools or existing technologies, continue to stay in line with AI and all the other things that are happening, continue to evolve as supply chain evolves.

Scott Luton (07:39):

Love that, love that. Enabling people to be more successful and have easier days to get that success is some of what I heard there, Patrick. Welcome. Welcome. Derek, same question. Tell us about your role at GAF.

Derek Heer (07:52):

Yeah, so I’ve been here about a year and a half now, trying to catch up to Patrick, making my way there. So, I’m primarily focusing on the really getting the most value out of our systems that we have in place. So, our WMS and other systems that we use, how they talk to each other and go site to site, sharing best practices from what they’re doing out there and really how we can make our sites more efficient. We get trucks in and out quicker and process them and make that whole process seamless.

Scott Luton (08:19):

Love that, Derek. I love the word seamless, too. I also love the word frictionless. We got too much friction and what we’ll call the biggest team sport in the world. I’m going to steal that from you, Will, I told you. But, Will, remind folks, plenty of folks know out there what you and the Vector team have been doing, but they had a blast last time as I mentioned. But in a nutshell, what do y’all do at Vector, Will?

Will Chu (08:38):

Yeah, we are a collaborative YMS platform, a yard management system that delivers a TSA-like experience for truck drivers at warehouses and distribution centers.

Scott Luton (08:51):

Well said, Will. And we got to take care of these truck drivers, right? Too many people give them a hard time, make what they do, keep them waiting and all that stuff. I love how we can give them a better experience is one of the things you mentioned there, kind of going back with the common theme of what Derek and Patrick said. So, well said. All right. So, Will, Patrick, and Derek, we’ve kind of set the table a little bit. Let’s say hello. We’ve got a bunch of folks here. We got Ray tuned in from Alpharetta, Georgia; Joseph, up there in the northeast. Great to see you, Joseph. Ben Santiago from the DFW Metroplex; Jeff Jackson, Jeffrey Jackson’s with us here today. Great to see you. Tom Anderson. All around the world. Great to have y’all. And remember as we get into these topics, give us your take on what brilliance that Patrick and Derek are dropping. Okay. We’re going to start with visibility. We’re going to be getting into visibility, workforce, theft, all those challenges and then some, but I want to start with supply chain visibility. That’s been like the fountain of youth that many, and it’s not make believe, but it’s been what a lot of leadership has been going after for years. So, Patrick, I’m start with you, what’s a few of the initiatives that GAF is using to drive and deliver more supply chain visibility?

Patrick Leblond (10:04):

So, a couple things. So, we’re on a multi-year project called the Warehouse Optimization Project so we try to stay away from talking about technology per se. This is really about business process enabled by technology, but it’s certainly a big focus on WMS. We have a legacy WMS platform we’re modernizing, and then we’re in the midst of implementing and scaling up our YMS so through Vector and really getting to better visibility inside our operations. We’ve had tools in this space over the years, but it’s a little bit archaic candidly in terms of the capabilities we’ve had historically. So, the theme is end-to-end supply chain visibility. We’ve done a decent job over the years around that final mile, getting visibility to trucks out the door and where’s the truck at, all those kinds of things that a lot of businesses been tackling. But we’re trying to [inaudible] backwards all the way through the production line, being able to create that digital thread from we made one of our shingles or commercial products all the way through it went away in the warehouse, got it on a truck and it went to this customer and then eventually made it all the way out to the roof, trying to make sure we have that traceability all the way through the extended supply chain.

Scott Luton (11:13):

I love that, Patrick, and I like on the front end of your answer, use one of my favorite words, archaic. Now, folks, y’all know I love global supply chain but there’s still a lot of archaic components and I love what Patrick and the team are doing to modernize and embrace innovation and implement that so you can get that digital thread as he called it and real — that type of visibility, which you can make better decisions faster. All right. So, Derek, what else would you add there? I mean, when you think about all the things that Patrick just talked about when it comes to obtaining real supply chain visibility, what else would you bring?

Derek Heer (11:47):

Yeah, Patrick did a good job, a lot of the stuff like past the yard. Where’s my truck? Where’s my product? A lot of the stuff we’re focusing on too is the stuff in the yard. So, when the truck does show up to your site, who’s showing up to pick up the product, when they’re showing up, what product they’re getting, what stage they’re at throughout that whole process, and really being more transparent with the drivers through that process and making it a better experience for them and really just sharing transparency with the drivers and say, “Hey, look, we’re not busy during these certain times. Come show up at these times and we can get you in and out quicker.” So, using the technology to our advantage there.

Scott Luton (12:21):

Love that, Derek, and I love how you’re using all those, who, what, when, where, why, having answers to all that stuff rather than wondering what they are. I love that. All right. So, Will, we heard a lot from what Patrick and Derek and the GAF team are doing at their organization to really truly deliver with supply chain visibility. What else kind of maybe beyond their perspective? What else are you seeing out there with companies and leadership getting that critical visibility and using it to drive performance?

Will Chu (12:50):

Yeah, that’s a great question. Well, one, I would say that Derek and Patrick, both have helped us personally innovate and develop a lot of the visibility solutions that we’re implementing and developing. A big thing for companies is expanding beyond just track and trace and being able to collaborate with the driver in real time, so getting ETAs, being able to communicate. Drivers really appreciate the fact that hey, they can send a message to the facility and say, “Hey, we’re going to be here a little bit earlier. We’ll love to come in. Can you slot me in?” Having that sort of communication, that tether, really improves the efficiency for the driver and the warehouse. So, it is beyond just getting a dot on the map, it is really being able to have that connection to the driver that’s really making a difference inside facilities.

Scott Luton (13:44):

Will, excellent point. We’ve talked about this here tirelessly. Visibility isn’t enough. It’s what solutions, how are you executing and leveraging that visibility? That’s like the billion-dollar challenge that leadership is tasked with solving, right, and leveraging. I also like what you mentioned there. I heard communication. I heard courtesy and I heard options and what organization, what enterprise, what operation wouldn’t like more of that really across the team and all the different folks that make up the ecosystem. So, well said there, Will, Patrick, and Derek. Hey, Michael Morgan tuned in from Raleigh, North Carolina. Michael, let us know your favorite barbecue shop there in Raleigh. Had some great barbecue in North Carolina. And one other highlight here, Zach from Nigeria, great to see you, via LinkedIn. Great to be here. Looking forward to your perspective throughout. Okay, Patrick, Derek, and Will, a lot of organizations, in fact, one of the things that’s top of mind for most CEOs out there is workforce and talent. It’s a very challenging out here. So, Patrick, let’s talk about how supply chain leaders can best use the talented people that is already on the team that we deeply value and we want to empower. What are some of the things you’re doing there, Patrick?

Patrick Leblond (15:04):

So I think the theme — I’ll talk about a couple of things, but the theme is how do we make work a little bit easier and better for folks. Turnover is a real thing. Especially in the U.S., unemployment is a very low level and we’re fighting and competing for talent in the marketplace. So we have extraordinarily capable folks on the team, but how do we retain them? How do we make sure that we’re making their life a little bit easier? We’ve done a lot over the last couple of years around physical infrastructure, investing in our plans and our warehouses to make the setup a little bit better. But now we’re really focusing on the digital side of that to go deeper into some of the specifics. But one of the interesting things for us is it’s a great business. People stick around for a long, long time, which is — one of the folks actually on my team is retiring after 49 years with the company, which is an extraordinary number, but that’s not uncommon. We have a lot of 20, 30, 40-year employees.

Patrick Leblond (15:54):

One of our big challenges as a business is how do we, yes, retain folks but also prepare for the next three, five, 10 years. We’re going to have this massive change certainly for us. And it’s a broader challenge for a lot of companies around that generational shift. And it’s different. Everybody likes picking on the next generation. I’m no different. The Gen Zs are a little different with the Rizz and the mid and the no cap and all that other fun stuff. But that extends to how they learn. And so, one of the things as an example we’re doing is they learn differently. They’re not going to go read that 20, 30-page SOP if you put on paper out of the 30, 40-year employee who just knows because he or she’s been there for a lot of years.

Patrick Leblond (16:33):

So, things like the YouTube version of the SOP, digitizing the knowledge because they’re watching too many YouTube clip and we’re building new plants, we’re onboarding new folks. How do we transfer that knowledge and retain that knowledge in an effective way? So that’s been a big theme for us as a company that we’re working on. Other part is how do we tap into the knowledge that’s out there. I think one of the most rewarding parts of, certainly, to work with Vector and warehouse optimization more generally is getting deeper into the organization in terms of, these are the people using the tool. They’re communicating with drivers all day long. They’re working and loading trucks all day long. How do we tap into that knowledge base to help us make [inaudible]? We’re addressing the pain points and really supporting folks, but also helping facilitate things like go see a sister plant. We have over 30 plants here in the U.S. Many people have never seen a sister plant and yet we’re doing very similar things. How do we — and some of the projects have been great around let’s get folks and get them to sister plants to go learn from each other and take some of those best practices and bring them home, which have been great certainly from a business progress perspective but also engagement. Folks are thrilled. “Now, I get to go see this plant in Tampa, Florida.” That’s not bad this time of year.

Scott Luton (17:47):

Agree, Patrick. I think we just gained a certification from Patrick here. A lot what I heard there, leaning into learning and training differently, tapping into that tribal knowledge, which is leaving out our doors every day, right? And that’s a missed opportunity. In many cases, you’ll never get it back. Going deeper into the organization and the processes and what the team needs and plant tours. Folks, if you don’t take plant tours, whether within the organization or without, you’re really missing. That information exchange that Patrick was alluding to is immensely valuable. Good stuff there. Hey, Patrick, one more question before I move to Derek and Will. The person that is celebrating 49 years, what’s their first name? Can you share that?

Patrick Leblond (18:24):

Daryl. So, it’s Daryl. We’re going to do a nice little retirement luncheon for him in a couple of weeks, an exceptional member of the team, and thrilled for him on this next chapter of his life.

Scott Luton (18:35):

Daryl, on behalf of everyone here, congratulations, 49 years of service and driving results and making it happen. Man, congrats to you and to your next chapter of your journey. Okay. Derek, I want to switch gears a little bit there. I want to talk about automation, right? Automation. We’ve already touched on a few things, or at least maybe alluded to a few things, but what else when it comes to implementing automation to improve performance and also make it easier on the team to get more done with less? Your thoughts, Derek.

Derek Heer (19:07):

Yeah, I think improving our employee experience is a real thing and it’s a major focus for us as of late especially. I’ve traveled around to a lot of the sites and spent a lot of time in our guardhouses and as a company, we ship over 300,000 trucks a year. So our coordinators there see truck drivers on a daily basis and it can be very chaotic at times. All these drivers showing up at one time and you’re trying to get them processed and the phones ringing constantly and they’re trying to get those drivers organized. So we’ve been able to partner with Vector in this space and really organize that whole process of the check-in process and automate the driver checking in portion of it. Our staff feels a lot more comfortable. It’s simpler for them. We can route the drivers throughout the yard. So it’s been very rewarding on the front when I first see the challenges firsthand in those sites.

Derek Heer (20:01):

And I think everybody that experiences the new technology will not go back to the way it was in the past. So we’ve done great things there. It also helps us in the driver experience, too. We have a sister trucking company that we work with and so we’re really sensitive to the driver experience overall. So we value their feedback with the technology and the stuff that we’re pushing to them and really just making their experience on our sites smooth and quick and making them want to come back. It helps us compete in the marketplace for trucks. One of the simple things that we’ve been able to use with Vector and the systems we’re putting in place is just communicating with the drivers. So now, we can break that language barrier where you don’t speak the same language as them. Now, we can send them instructions and anything we want them to do, messages that are already translated that the driver can understand. So it makes our yard safer and a lot easier to work with.

Scott Luton (20:57):

Derek, man, I love it. I wish more organizations will — I wish more organizations didn’t just care about not just employee experience but the driver experience. I wish more organizations acted and invested in that area to give them some easier days. Before I go to Will, like Geoffrey says here, “Having a driver know that there’s a 40-minute wait, it’s great when he’s hungry,” he or she’s hungry, “and debating whether there’s time to grab a quick bite to eat.” It’s a small stuff that’s so important and maybe they want to hit — Lawrence — Lawence barbecue up in the Raleigh, as Michael points out. Sounds good to me. All right. So, Will, when you hear Patrick and Derek talk about some of the ways that they’re really engaging workforce regardless where they are and helping give them better, more successful days, what comes to your mind and what else are you seeing other business leaders do out there, along the same lines.

Will Chu (21:51):

Yeah, both Derek and Patrick struck a common chord I think amongst other business leaders what they’re talking about. And I think that the theme is empowering the current workforce to operate at the top of their potential. When you think about career growth and career development, it’s important that people continue to really push the boundaries in their comfort zones of what they want to achieve and where they want to grow. And when you look at what plants and distribution centers are doing today, they’re having very skilled people do very much clerical data entry work. And when you look at the application of automation, something that we’re talking about, being able to automate that work so that those people at the warehouse are focused on higher level objectives, things that they are very skilled at, they’re not wasting their time with a rote manual data entry, I think that’s something that we’ve seen and they’ve been able to reallocate and replace those functions with automation. And I know we’ll get to this later, but being able to get the actual identity of drivers eliminates fraudulent or synthetic fraud where people are making fake identities, fake load numbers. And so, there’s wide ranging impacts of automation beyond just workforce empowerment.

Scott Luton (23:15):

So true. What great stuff there, Will. And I want to go back to kind of halfway through your response. I think it’s really important to all leaders out there, all organizational members, we always revisit what is value, right? You’re talking about wasting time doing things because maybe we’ve been always, that’s just how we’ve always done things. Well, part of what changes that is we dive deep as Patrick was saying earlier, and really understand what’s creating real value for the customers and what isn’t. And worse, what’s creating pains, needless pains, for our team members. Good stuff, Will, Patrick, and Derek.

Scott Luton (23:50):

All right. A couple of quick comments. Hey, Scott, appreciate your questions. Maybe you compose those after today’s session with the members of the GAF team. Thanks for being here. Peter Bolle, all night and all day, great to see you. “Plant tours are essential to all processes and decision making.” Well said, Peter. Great to see you here today. And, Tom, hello, great to see you as well. “Technology helps you become the shipper of choice.” I want to say Patrick or Derek might have mentioned that as well. Great point there, Tom. And old Bill Stanklewich, down in Savannah. He’s watching today’s show with a classroom full of students, what we call the now generation around here. They’re already making an impact. It’s great to see you my friend, Bill Stanklewich.

Scott Luton (23:15):

Okay. Will, you gave me a great segue as a great co-host does to move into the third topic we’re talking about here today, [inaudible] freight theft, try to say that five times fast, is on the rise across the globe and a lot of folks aren’t even thinking about it. It’s in their blind spot. So, Patrick, Derek and Will, I think I shared this with you in a pre-show. I was reading just this week in the New York Times about train robberies. Train robberies, which made me think of a couple of Breaking Bad episodes. If y’all are a big fan of that series like I am, remember they stole the, whatever the chemical was, the whole train car. Oh, man, that’s going on. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates that cargo theft causes somewhere between 15 and 35 billion in annual losses. Man, it’s painful and that’s probably conservative. So preventing cargo theft of course is just one component of a successful loss prevention strategy but an important one. Patrick, tell us about some of the things that GAF has implemented to address theft.

Patrick Leblond (25:25):

It’s interesting. So, we do rail products and we have a hundred percent run into issues where folks will break into a rail car and steal steel shingles out of them. I’ll be honest, other than the fact that they’re crooks, a bundle of shingles is over 70 pounds and so you’re doing that by hand that’s a whole lot of work, but call me lazy. But before I go there, I think industry context is useful. Maybe a little bit of a side story, a long time ago I was at, I think it was a Llamasoft Conference in Cardinal Health, a large distributor of pharmaceutical products was presenting. They’re talking about inventory optimization and all that, but in that context, they talked about how to get full truckloads of pharmaceutical products to their DC in South Carolina, if I remember correctly, $100 million truckload. And so, they were talking about paying 10 grands for the truck and the armored guards, escort cards on both sides.

Patrick Leblond (26:13):

Theft is interesting. That’s one extreme probably or the other extreme. Building materials generally is relatively low-cost products. You go into Home Depot, pick up a 2 x 4, it doesn’t cost that much. It’s certainly costing more. But one of the challenges, unlike pharmaceutical, unlike other industries, we don’t have great traceability historically in the building material space and of managing large complex supply chains at scale, right? A lot of volume. One of our big shingle plants will ship 150 truckloads in a day and not even think about it. Our peak shipping records 300 truckloads a day out of one plant with 12 guys. So, how do we do theft and theft prevention at scale with these relatively low value products is one of our challenges. So, there’s a lot there, visibility and transparency.

Patrick Leblond (27:03):

I remember conversations with the cops when I was down in Texas for a couple of years. They caught somebody who clearly had stolen material. “Hey, this bundle of shingle, can you tell me something about it?” Back then, we couldn’t prove and build that case because we didn’t have the traceability. Imagine the 2 x 4. Nobody has any clue exactly what happened with the 2 x 4. Now, we can do things like that. Going back to that digital trend. So, it’s those kinds of things around visibility so we can trace our products and make sure we have control so we’re not getting into a situation where folks are installing material that’s defective or something. But also, it’s simple things like making sure we have good gates around our yards and good security in place, making sure we have good communication. One of the big deals, it feels like the mafia or something, there’s organized crimes in certain parts of the country.

Scott Luton (27:50):

Don’t get us in trouble, Patrick. Don’t get us in trouble. I’m just kidding.

Patrick Leblond (27:52):

I’m sorry. No, no, no. But a shingle theft is a real thing. And so, how do we prevent that? And they’re very well organized. So some of it is taking control over our own destiny. We have one of our sister companies has over 400 drivers, so we take control of our supply chain that way, but also tips and tricks for our third-party transportation providers. Don’t leave the truck parked fully loaded over the weekend or a long weekend. It’s going to disappear. And we’ve had a lot of that kind of issue. So we do a lot that way. But it’s an arms race and we are trying to create traceability. We’re trying to manage and do the basics well at scale, which is a challenge.

Scott Luton (28:31):

That’s right. Patrick, thank you for sharing and that traceability, achieving that gives you so many more options to do either the basics or do some really cool things that are brand new and innovative. But I think — going to you next, Derek. But I find it amazing. Maybe y’all don’t find it amazing, I don’t know. But in this era of bad folks, bad actors doing really bad things, cybercrime, the traditional crime is still around whether you’re still in trailers of pharmaceuticals as Patrick mentioned, or trailers of shingles or trailers of cigarettes like from Goodfellas. Right? But, Derek, what else would you add to what you are doing to combat theft and to optimize loss prevention?

Derek Heer (29:11):

It’s hard to follow up Patrick in his rant there. But some of the things we’re doing now, we’re capturing more data and information digitally now than we’ve ever captured before. So, on the front end, when drivers do show up to our yard, who are they driving for, what they’re picking up. We know what product we’re putting on the trucks. We know where they’re going. We know all that information now that we didn’t have as much access to before. Now, we can go in there and see exactly what happened, who was there, all the information associated that we need to verify these loads when they do go out the door on the front end. So we feel confident that they’re going to get to their destination.

Scott Luton (29:45):

I love it. And, of course, the general theme, one of the general themes from both you and Patrick, man, leveraging technology in a very powerful and practical way to address this component of your overall risk strategy. Will, when you think of theft and you think of what the risk is out there and what Patrick and Derek was speaking to, what else comes to mind? What else are you seeing out there to combat theft out in the marketplace?

Will Chu (30:08):

Yeah, beyond brute force, like the physical robbing of a train car, we’re seeing more and more theft happen through social engineering. When you think about a driver coming in and taking a load out the check-in process, the guard is really taking the driver for his or her word that they are who they are and they’re there to pick up the right load. And drivers and thieves are taking advantage of the kind of verbal, manual communication because the guards can’t verify in real time if they are who they are, if that load was essentially brokered out the facility. The shipper really loses visibility of who the right person should be for taking that load out. There’s this really fascinating article, the New York Times did an exposé about two months ago about Kit Kats being stolen. These are exotic Kit Kats that you buy like in Japan and there was a load of Kit Kats that were stolen and the street value of these Kit Kats were $250,000. They’re a quarter million dollars. So big deal. And it was done through social engineering. The thieves being able to intercept communications, being able to present a fraudulent load number, creating a synthetic identity for the driver. And so, being able to make sure that the driver is who they are through digital means because it’s in a database somewhere. Somebody knows who the driver should be. Being able to communicate that information electronically is helpful. They can detect that kind of fraud in real time.

Scott Luton (31:43):

Yes. And that lot where you ended in real time. The timeliness of that information to put it in the team member’s hands that need it, it’s so critical. If I’m being honest and no offense, Patrick and Derek, but if I’m a bad actor and got a chance to steal a trailer full of shingles or a trailer full of Kit Kats, I’m probably going to do the latter. Okay. All right. So rather than analyzing my criminal preferences, let’s talk about something else. I want to make sure we say hello to Chevon from Trinidad, great to see you via LinkedIn. Let us know what you’re seeing out there when it comes to workforce management or how we’re combating theft or how we’re really getting supply chain visibility.

Scott Luton (32:21):

Okay. So, Will and Patrick and Derek, as we start to wrap here, I really appreciate y’all’s perspective on these big issues really of our day. Let’s think about what lies ahead, right? I should have brought some shades because the future is really bright, right, as the old ’80s tune goes. Really cool to hear what y’all are doing at GAF. As I mentioned maybe several calls ago, Patrick and Derek, I’ve rubbed elbows with GAF team members down in the Savannah area years ago and thought really highly the organization and the culture. So, Patrick, to your point, there’s no wonder why you got folks there 20 and 30 and 49 years because of what y’all have intentionally built. So, congrats on all success and innovation and whatnot. When you think ahead, what’s one thing, Patrick, that you folks got to know about GAF?

Patrick Leblond (33:08):

Yeah, it is a wonderful company. This is certainly not a recruiting speech for, come work for us, but it’s a great industry, it’s a great company. We continue to grow and evolve, and it’s interesting. We’ve been around 135 years and yet we’re still investing in growth. We have two brand new plants starting up here in the next couple of months in our commercial business, which has grown dramatically in the last couple of years. And so, it’s a great to be a part of it and certainly in Derek and I’s role with technology at the center of what we do, it really is interesting to operate in this nice environment both from a company perspective and industry perspective with some of the big, big stuff that’s out there. The demographic transition is a mega challenge for a lot of folks who we’re no different with that generational shift of knowledge and the change that will come in the next three to five years.

Patrick Leblond (33:56):

Technology is accelerating. We’re on this curve of unbelievable growth in technology. AI is the latest buzzword and it’s real, it’s coming, and how do we make sure we stay ahead of it in a competitive industry and how do we take advantage of some of that modern technology to help us continue to evolve and serve our customers and grow our business and deliver efficiencies into our supply chain. So it’s been really interesting to be at the center of a lot of that. Both those big things that are happening in the world and the foundation we’re operating on here a little bit closer to home.

Scott Luton (34:32):

Well said, Patrick. Two quick observations, Derek, before I come to you. And, Derek, I love — since Patrick’s been there about 13 years, Derek, you mentioned, I think you were around a year. In a minute, I’d love to get your take on one of your favorite things as you have launched your journey with GAF. But before I leave Patrick, two quick things. You love what you do. It’s evident, not just here but in our earlier calls. And then secondly, to your point there, it’s not enough to invest in new technology, but more importantly, it’s what you do with it. What outcomes are you driving? How are you helping your folks out? How are you better serving your customers? And that’s one of my favorite parts of this conversation here today. Derek, all right, so what is one thing that you think more folks got to know about GAF?

Derek Heer (35:19):

I think Patrick touched on it before, but when I came here about a year and a half ago, I could not believe the number of people that have been here, 10, 20, 30, 40, almost 50 years. It’s a testament really to how GAF does business and how we treat our employees and those employees and everybody is getting engaged and embracing the new technology and the journeys that we’re going on. And it’s great to see. I’ve traveled around to a bunch of our sites and I get to see firsthand how people are using it and really not just putting the system in place and I’m walking away from it and saying, “All right, now you guys deal with it,” but really the amount of feedback we’ve received and, “Hey, we have this technology in place now. It would be great if it could do this.” It just takes it one step further every single time, so never getting satisfied with the current system we have in place and always moving forward and everybody’s embraced that. So, it’s great to see.

Scott Luton (36:10):

I love that, Derek. And before I come to you, Will, there certainly are finish lines. When we accomplish big things and projects as I’ve learned from some of my mentors, it’s important to stop and celebrate. But one of the things I love that you’re alluding to, both Derek and Patrick and Will, is that continuous cycle of improvement. Just because you fix it today doesn’t mean it’s going to not require a new solution or a new approach or new technology six months from now, certainly six years from now. So, I love that spirit of continuous improvement that you both are speaking to here today. And, of course, Will, big part of that is partnerships and new technologies like clearly you are speaking to here between GAF and Vector. So, I want to ask you, Will, as a fellow entrepreneur, I’ve been tracking you all. Congrats on all the ways y’all been moving mountains at Vector. What’s next for your team, Will? Describe the future for us. What’s one thing you’re most excited about?

Will Chu (37:12):

Well, I mean, using your analogy, it’s finding that next race, right? And it’s the reason why our relationship with Derek, Patrick, and the greater GAF team is so important and valuable to us. Their feedback, their willingness to partner and continue to push the envelope help us develop — that feedback is gold. And I think we’re redefining the experience for truck drivers and facilities and how they move freight. For us, we see the plant, the warehouse, the DC as the watering hole where everyone comes together to move freight. It’s where the most sensitive part of supply chain happens, that magical moment where you transfer the custody of millions of dollars of freight happen every day, many times a day. It’s where that team sport is played. That’s the stage. And we’re using that to really redefine how things happen inside the warehouse, how planning happens, how scheduling happens. Those are the frontiers that we’re really excited about. Those are our next races.

Scott Luton (38:16):

Oh, Will, you had me several times through your response. Patrick and Derek, doesn’t Will make you kind of want to run through the wall back behind us here? I love the watering hole analogy. And one of — throughout the conversation, Will, one of the vibes I’m picking up from you is that team sport by bringing everybody together. When we can bring everybody together and enable everyone’s success, man, that’s where we can really take the ecosystem’s performance to the next level and not leave anyone behind. So, a lot of good stuff there, Will and Patrick and Derek. I like what Geoffrey says here, “Business transformation enabled by digital capability, not the other way around.” Well said there, Geoffrey. Hope you’re back with us soon. Enjoyed your perspectives here today.

Scott Luton (39:03):

Okay. Patrick and Derek and Will, let’s make sure folks know how to connect with you. I had to go through all of y’alls agents to get you booked. I think normally the Rolling Stone’s open for each of y’all as you get out there on the speaking circuit. But, Patrick, if folks want to bring you in, if they want to compare notes, if they want to talk shop, learn more about GAF and what you do, how can folks connect with you, Patrick?

Patrick Leblond (39:24):

Just LinkedIn is easiest. Send me a message, certainly happy to connect with folks if anything was interesting and want to want to talk more about it.

Scott Luton (39:31):

Love it. I really enjoyed your perspective and your passion for what you do here today. Derek, same thing. Man, y’all two were quite a one-two punch there at GAF and we didn’t even talk about your Chicago Bears. We’ll do that on the next show. Derek, I’m wishing you a big season next season, but how can folks connect with you?

Derek Heer (39:49):

I’ve been hearing the big season is the next season for the last 15 or 20 years now and they keep getting disappointed, but hopefully next year is the big year. But you guys can always find me on LinkedIn and send me a message or let me know how the Bears should proceed with Caleb Williams or Justin Fields. Give me your take. I’m happy to help.

Scott Luton (40:09):

Awesome, Derek. I appreciate it and hope folks will take advantage of that. And I also meant to add earlier when you shared about going out and spending time in the guardhouse, that’s part of going to the Gemba, right, where the values created and really understanding what’s working, what isn’t working. More leaders should do exactly that whether it’s guardhouse or the production line or you name it, right? It’s so critical for moving us all forward. All right. So, Will, two-part question for you. How can I get one of those trucks that you got behind you? That reminds me of a Walmart truck I had as a kid. I’m very jealous. How can I get my hands on one of those? Do I have to go to the watering hole or something? What can I do?

Will Chu (40:45):

Shoot me an email at will@withvector.com, and happy to send one over to you. Yeah, those trucks — that truck is rarely ever on that shelf because my kids usually take it and put it somewhere else inside the house so I got to go find it.

Scott Luton (41:00):

I love it. Trucks are cool and it’s good that they do appeal to kids, and I’ll tell you, I’m going to do just that so expect an email. And also picking up on the second part there, withvector.com. Y’all check that out. Connect with Will and the team. Learn more about what they’re doing. I mean, I really enjoyed the conversation here and the real practical components of how y’all working together at watering holes globally. So y’all do that. You’ll enjoy your conversation, I promise you, with Will Chu. All right, folks, really have enjoyed our conversation in here today. Thank you, Patrick Leblond with GAF. Thanks for being here.

Patrick Leblond (41:37):

Thank you. It was a lot of fun.

Scott Luton (41:38):

You bet. Derek Heer, also with GAF, thanks for being here. I appreciate your perspective.

Derek Heer (41:44):

Of course. Thanks for having me.

Scott Luton (41:468):

And, Will Chu, really have enjoyed your perspective here today. But before we go, Will, I warned you in the pre-show I might do this. We heard a lot of good stuff, brilliance from all of y’all, but Patrick and Derek certainly, Will, what was one of your favorite aspects of what they shared here today, Will?

Will Chu (42:04):

Well, I think the partnership is key. One thing that we’ve always benefited and enjoyed Patrick and Derek and the GAF team is the openness, transparency. It’s allowed us to really work on some hard problems together and there’s still a lot more to work on. But because of that partnership in relationship, we’ve not only developed a solution for them but also incorporate into our broader platform for other customers and our other facility partners. So, that’s one thing I’ve always enjoyed with our relationship with GAF.

Scott Luton (42:38):

It seems like a great two-way partnership, and I loved your comment earlier, feedback is gold. And, folks, whether it’s with your technology partners or business partners, any partners out there, offer good frank feedback. That’s how not only we fix problems, that’s how we improve relationships, improve solutions, get bigger results. So, I really enjoyed you spiking the football on that. Speaking of football folks, again, Will and Patrick and Derek, they all say the Niners are going to win. Good luck to everyone out there, Chiefs fans, Niners fans, Bears fans, Falcons fans. Derek, we can — Atlanta Falcons, we’ve struggled a bit for years.

Scott Luton (42:13):

But whatever you do, here’s a challenge, folks, beyond having a great time at a big game coming up and enjoying good food and family and friends at your own personal watering holes, take one thing you heard here today and put it into action. That’s the name of the game. Deeds not words. Don’t talk about it, do it. That’s what you’re hearing from Will, Patrick and Derek Heer. Your teams, your people will be appreciative. One last shout out, Daryl, congratulations. Patrick and Derek, y’all got to send pictures of the big party as you celebrate Daryl’s over 49 years of service.

Scott Luton (43:44):

But lastly, folks, connect with our guests. But most importantly, on behalf of our entire team here at Supply Chain Now, hey, Scott Luton challenging you to do good, to give forward, and to be the change that’s needed. And we’ll see you next time right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks, everybody.

Intro/Outro (44:00):

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.

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Featured Guests

Will Chu is the CEO and co-founder of Vector, a yard management platform, that ensures supply chain partners get the right load to the right place at the right time. Prior to Vector, Will was the VP of Engineering at Addepar, a wealth management platform, which manages more than $2 trillion in client assets. Will is a problem solver at heart who enjoys leveraging technology to tackle major industry challenges. In his free time, Will enjoys camping with his family, cold IPAs and swimming in the San Francisco Bay. Connect with Will on LinkedIn.

Derek Heer is an experienced Supply Chain Manager with a demonstrated history of managing big data analytics projects to streamline processes which have saved millions in logistics costs for hospitality, medical device, and building products industries. Connect with Derek on LinkedIn.

Patrick Leblond is an influential leader shaping the future landscape of supply chain management in the roofing industry. Patrick is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of supply chain excellence. His vision for the future involves continued innovation, the integration of sustainable practices, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement within GAF’s supply chain operations. Connect with Patrick on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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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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From humble beginnings working the import docks, representing Fortune 500 giants, Ford, Michelin Tire, and Black & Decker; to Amazon technology patent holder and Nordstrom Change Leader, Kimberly Reuter has designed, implemented, and optimized best-in-class, highly scalable global logistics and retail operations all over the world. Kimberly’s ability to set strategic vision supported by bomb-proof processes, built on decades of hands-on experience, has elevated her to legendary status. Sought after by her peers and executives for her intellectual capital and keen insights, Kimberly is a thought leader in the retail logistics industry.

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Kristi Porter

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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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Sofia Rivas Herrera

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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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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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Adrian Purtill

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Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.

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Kevin Brown

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

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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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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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Tandreia Bellamy

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Tandreia Bellamy retired as the Vice President of Industrial Engineering for UPS Supply Chain Solutions which included the Global Logistics, Global Freight Forwarding and UPS Freight business units. She was responsible for operations strategy and planning, asset management, forecasting, and technology tool development to optimize sustainable efficiency while driving world class service.

Tandreia held similar positions at the business unit level for Global Logistics and Global Freight forwarding. As the leader of the Global Logistics engineering function, she directed all industrial engineering activies related to distribution, service parts logistics (post-sales support), and mail innovations (low cost, light weight shipping partnership with the USPS). Between these roles Tandreia helped to establish the Advanced Technology Group which was formed to research and develop cutting edge solutions focused on reducing reliance on manual labor.

Tandreia began her career in 1986 as a part-time hourly manual package handling employee. She spent the great majority of her career in the small package business unit which is responsible for the pick-up, sort, transport and delivery of packages domestically. She held various positions in Industrial Engineering, Marketing, Inside and On-road operations in Central Florida before transferring to Atlanta for a position in Corporate Product Development and Corporate Industrial Engineering. Tandreia later held IE leadership roles in Nebraska, Minnesota and Chicago. In her final role in small package she was an IE VP responsible for all aspects of IE, technology support and quality for the 25 states on the western half of the country.
Tandreia is currently a Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF) Foundation Board and also serves on their Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Previously Tandreia served on the Executive Advisory Board for Virginia Tech’s IE Department and the Association for Supply Chain Management. She served on the Board of Trustees for ChildServ (a Chicago child and family services non-profit) and also served on the Texas A&M and Tuskegee Engineering Advisory Boards. In 2006 she was named Business Advisor of the Year by INROADS, in 2009 she was recognized as a Technology All-Star at the Women of Color in STEM conference and in 2019 she honored as a UCF Distinguished Aluma by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems.

Tandreia holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Systems from UCF. Her greatest accomplishment, however, is being the proud mother of two college students, Ruby (24) and Anthony (22).

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Marty Parker

Host

Marty Parker serves as both the CEO & Founder of Adæpt Advising and an award-winning Senior Lecturer (Teaching Professor) in Supply Chain and Operations Management at the University of Georgia. He has 30 years of experience as a COO, CMO, CSO (Chief Strategy Officer), VP of Operations, VP of Marketing and Process Engineer. He founded and leads UGA’s Supply Chain Advisory Board, serves as the Academic Director of UGA’s Leaders Academy, and serves on multiple company advisory boards including the Trucking Profitability Strategies Conference, Zion Solutions Group and Carlton Creative Company.

Marty enjoys helping people and companies be successful. Through UGA, Marty is passionate about his students, helping them network and find internships and jobs. He does this through several hundred one-on-one zoom meetings each year with his students and former students. Through Adæpt Advising, Marty has organized an excellent team of affiliates that he works with to help companies grow and succeed. He does this by helping c-suite executives improve their skills, develop better leaders, engage their workforce, improve processes, and develop strategic plans with detailed action steps and financial targets. Marty believes that excellence in supply chain management comes from the understanding the intersection of leadership, culture, and technology, working across all parts of the organization to meet customer needs, maximize profit and minimize costs.

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Laura Lopez

Marketing Coordinator

Laura Lopez serves as our Supply Chain Now Marketing Coordinator. She graduated from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente in Mexico with a degree in marketing. Laura loves everything digital because she sees the potential it holds for companies in the marketing industry. Her passion for creativity and thinking outside the box led her to pursue a career in marketing. With experience in fields like accounting, digital marketing, and restaurants, she clearly enjoys taking on challenges. Laura lives the best of both worlds - you'll either catch her hanging out with her friends soaking up the sun in Mexico or flying out to visit her family in California!

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Jake Barr

Host

An acknowledged industry leader, Jake Barr now serves as CEO for BlueWorld Supply Chain Consulting, providing support to a cross section of Fortune 500 companies such as Cargill, Caterpillar, Colgate, Dow/Dupont, Firmenich, 3M, Merck, Bayer/Monsanto, Newell Brands, Kimberly Clark, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Sanofi, Estee Lauder and Coty among others. He's also devoted time to engagements in public health sector work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At P&G, he managed the breakthrough delivery of an E2E (End to End) Planning Transformation effort, creating control towers which now manage the daily business globally. He is recognized as the architect for P&G’s demand driven supply chain strategy – referenced as a “Consumer Driven Supply Chain” transformation. Jake began his career with P&G in Finance in Risk Analysis and then moved into Operations. He has experience in building supply network capability globally through leadership assignments in Asia, Latin America, North America and the Middle East. He currently serves as a Research Associate for MIT; a member of Supply Chain Industry Advisory Council; Member of Gartner’s Supply Chain Think Tank; Consumer Goods “League of Leaders“; and a recipient of the 2015 - 2021 Supply Chain “Pro’s to Know” Award. He has been recognized as a University of Kentucky Fellow.

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Marcia Williams

Host

Marcia Williams, Managing Partner of USM Supply Chain, has 18 years of experience in Supply Chain, with expertise in optimizing Supply Chain-Finance Planning (S&OP/ IBP) at Large Fast-Growing CPGs for greater profitability and improved cash flows. Marcia has helped mid-sized and large companies including Lindt Chocolates, Hershey, and Coty. She holds an MBA from Michigan State University and a degree in Accounting from Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay (South America). Marcia is also a Forbes Council Contributor based out of New York, and author of the book series Supply Chains with Maria in storytelling style. A recent speaker’s engagement is Marcia TEDx Talk: TEDxMSU - How Supply Chain Impacts You: A Transformational Journey.

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Luisa Garcia

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Luisa Garcia is a passionate Marketer from Lagos de Moreno based in Aguascalientes. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes, Mexico. She specializes in brand development at any stage, believing that a brand is more than just a name or image—it’s an unforgettable experience. Her expertise helps brands achieve their dreams and aspirations, making a lasting impact. Currently working at Vector Global Logistics in the Marketing team and as podcast coordinator of Logistics With Purpose®. Luisa believes that purpose-driven decisions will impact results that make a difference in the world.

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Astrid Aubert

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Astrid Aubert was born in Guadalajara, she is 39 years old and has had the opportunity to live in many places. She studied communication and her professional career has been in Trade Marketing for global companies such as Pepsico and Mars. She currently works as Marketing Director Mexico for Vector Global Logistics. She is responsible for internal communications and marketing strategy development for the logistics industry. She is a mother of two girls, married and lives in Monterrey. She defines herself as a creative and innovative person, and enjoys traveling and cooking a lot.

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Constantine Limberakis

Host

Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research.Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

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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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Greg White

Principal & Host

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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Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.

When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!

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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 a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.

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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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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

Director, Customer Experience

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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Mary Kate Love

Chief of Staff & Host

Mary Kate Love is currently the VP of marketing at Supply Chain Now focused on brand strategy and audience + revenue growth. Mary Kate’s career is a testament to her versatility and innovative spirit: she has experience in start-ups, venture capital, and building innovation initiatives from the ground up: she previously helped lead the build-out of the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific and before that, MxD (Manufacturing times Digital): the Department of Defense’s digital manufacturing innovation center. Mary Kate has a passion for taking complicated ideas and turning them into reality: she was one of the first team members at MxD and the first team member at the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific.

Mary Kate dedicates her extra time to education and mentorship: she was one of the founding Board Members for Women Influence Chicago and led an initiative for a city-wide job shadow day for young women across Chicago tech companies and was previously on the Board of Directors at St. Laurence High School in Chicago, Young Irish Fellowship Board and the UN Committee for Women. Mary Kate is the founder of National Supply Chain Day and enjoys co-hosting podcasts at Supply Chain Now. Mary Kate is from the south side of Chicago, a mom of two baby boys, and an avid 16-inch softball player. She holds a BS in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more.  In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys.  She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.

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