This episode was recorded at the 18th annual Reverse Logistics Association Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, the center returns management, reverse logistics, and more.
Host Scott Luton was joined by Claudia Freed, President & CEO of EALgreen, where she helps students get an education beyond high school. By helping logistics companies offload unneeded equipment, she helps technical schools train new drivers – starting them down the path of productive a lifelong career.
In this conversation, Claudia shares her point of view on:
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Scott Luton (00:32):
Hey everybody, Scott Luton with supply chain now welcome to today’s show. Got a great, uh, guest lined up here as we’re wrapping up our coverage, uh, as part of the 18th annual reverse logistics association conference and expos, it’s been the center of the universe for all things, reverse logistics and returns management right here in Vegas. And we’re joined by one of our favorites, a repeat guest friend of the show. Today’s featured guest Claudia fried present CEO of E a L green Claudia. How are you doing?
Claudia Freed (01:02):
I’m great. And it’s great to see you, Scott. It’s wonderful to be back on your show.
Scott Luton (01:06):
Well, it’s been too long. You’re one of our, our whole team’s favorites. When we met a couple years ago now, knocked it outta the park. We’ve done a couple of podcasts and live streams. I think you were on, uh, logistics with purpose. I was with our dear friend Enrique Avarez and with I’m excited about perhaps most beyond all of that is you and your team have continued to grow and do more for others, which we’re gonna touch on here as part of our conversation. Right.
Claudia Freed (01:33):
Excellent. And I remember when we did the, uh, logistics with purpose that we did it also in Spanish. Yes. So you have been a great supporter of the message in other languages as well.
Scott Luton (01:43):
Well, I appreciate that Claudia. I need to practice what I preach and get, become more bilingual, right myself. Absolutely. I’m gonna challenge myself. Maybe, maybe this year, it’d be one of those things I add to my priority list, but let’s rekindle our listeners understanding of who Claudia free is before we get into the heavy lifting. So talk to us a bit about where you grew grew up.
Claudia Freed (02:04):
I was born and raised in Argentina and I made the United States my home when I was 18 years old, that I came to the us as an exchange student pursuing a dream to someday go to college. I wanted to be a doctor, but I, uh, did not become a doctor. I studied economics instead
Scott Luton (02:23):
That it, you could be a, uh, a danger professional knowing the economics, right? Yes, I was. That was not my gift in talent. I, I struggled through any accounting macroeconomics. The professor was, uh, I was lucky not to get kicked outta class, but economics. It was for your path. Why economics? Why?
Claudia Freed (02:42):
Very interesting question. And you mentioned a, sometimes mentors play a significant role in our lives. I went to a small college in Chicago and my professor, Dr. Lisa home had an impact on my understanding of how one can bring a business understanding to doing well in the world. And he ignited that curiosity about economics and I followed my dream
Scott Luton (03:08):
Love. That sounds like you had a Eureka moment there in college, and it’s, it’s really made an impact on your journey. Let’s switch gears for a second favorite sports team of all time. Oh,
Claudia Freed (03:19):
The bulls 19 91, 19 92, the
Scott Luton (03:22):
Claudia Freed (03:23):
Absolutely basketball. Yes. Chicago
Scott Luton (03:26):
Bulls. If I’m not mistaken, that 91 team is when Michael Jordan got finally got and had that breakthrough moment got his first trophy. Right?
Claudia Freed (03:34):
You are absolutely right. And I remember that because I was pregnant with my twins. So that is what I was remembering to do a lot of watching TV waiting for that moment to come.
Scott Luton (03:44):
And he had that really cool locker room moment with his dad. And, and he was very, it was very emotional and, and just had a heck of a heck of a team. And of course, who would’ve th in 91 that they would’ve gone on and dominate and won six or seven, however many more, they won
Claudia Freed (03:58):
Six or seven. I think it couple more. And they would’ve run out of fingers in their hands for their, uh, the rings
Scott Luton (04:04):
Love that rings. Okay. So final question. As we get to know Claudia fried on the front end, give us one of your favorite movies or books
Claudia Freed (04:13):
I love to read, and I love to watch movies both on the planes when I ride along the world, when I am able to do that. Uh, but most recently for the personal connection, I have to say that a movie that really moved me is a movie that is really affiliated with children’s really Coco,
Scott Luton (04:31):
Claudia Freed (04:32):
Yes. And because I’m from Argentina and I’m very sympathetic to the, um, entire idea of family and what happens to families and also to explain, uh, the things that happen in life to children. Um, I find that to be a very moving movie.
Scott Luton (04:48):
Agreed. I think it was one of our kids’ favorites, uh, cocoa. Yes. Um, all right. So now that we’ve kind of gotten a better feel, uh, for who Claudia free is. Let’s talk about the year that keeps on teaching, right? 20, 21. Yeah. It’s brought truckloads of Eureka moments, learned a ton about who we are as a, as humans, uh, who we are as professionals and supply chain reverse returns, you name it retail. What was a key Eureka moment that 2021 taught you
Claudia Freed (05:17):
In 2021? We really embraced an idea that to be successful once has to commit, to continue growing, to keep giving. So in our Eureka moment at E Yale green was when we realized that to have a mantra that empowers both the growth of the business and the impact on the mission and that the Eureka more for us really was that profitability and sustainability do not have to compete with each other. So for us, it was really finding that we could meet our mission and that we can continue to grow, which is what we did in 2021. I
Scott Luton (05:57):
Love that. So let’s, let’s move right into Yale green for the handful of folks that may not know what the organization does. Tell us about what the organization does and the growth and where you love spending your time.
Claudia Freed (06:09):
I love to spend time at Yale and talking about E and our mission. And that’s very clear. And throughout the 40 years, because on this 2nd of February, we celebrated our 40th anniversary. Wow. Throughout the four years, I would say that we have learned to tell the Yale story a little bit differently. And if you had asked me that question five years ago, I may have emphasized other values, but the bottom line of what we do is that we help come companies with excess and surplus inventory, get rid of that problem. Yep. And we redistribute the products to colleges and universities in exchange for a scholarship. Yep. So this idea that there is no waste, but that you have to find a new way and a new purpose for the product is at the heart of why we are at the RLA con. Yes. And that is very much what happened in 21, keep growing to keep giving.
Scott Luton (07:03):
I love that. And, uh, you were talking, you were referencing growth a moment ago. Amanda and I had a good fortune of, uh, meeting you in the halls kind of, as we were passing by each other at this conference, and gosh, y’all really have been on the growth. So you can do you more, can you speak to a little more to
Claudia Freed (07:19):
That? Yes, absolutely. In 2021 E had the second most successful year in our history measured by the support that we receive from our donors. Yep. That success gets translated into the ability of the nonprofit to be able to fund scholarships in specific terms in 2021, we funded 1,123 scholarships. Wow. So these are 1,123 students who with the help of donors and colleges that they are attending are able to then either complete or stay in college, uh, to then enter the workforce. And one day be the future that we really very much need.
Scott Luton (08:01):
I love that helping them fulfill their dream, uh, achieving educational goals, because if they don’t get the resources and aid, right, what happens,
Claudia Freed (08:10):
What is happening? And we’ve seen this happen, uh, over time, if you are a student with financial need, the only way that you are going to be able to complete a degree and improve your life, you may have to take two or three jobs which happen, which means that your journey from when you start a college degree to when you can even achieve a certificate is so much longer. And the longer you stay out of the market, that means you are borrowing money. So you do graduate. You end up with a lot of debt, right? And our goal is to provide these scholarships. So the students graduate with less debt,
Scott Luton (08:48):
1000, 123 scholarships, the second most successful year in a 40 year track record of helping others and empowering their dreams. So they can go on and do big things and change the world, frankly,
Claudia Freed (09:01):
And take on the jobs that we need. We, we focus a lot in 2021 as well on a particular sector of higher education, which is, uh, technical education. Okay. So how do we apply a, our model of creating scholarships for the particular skill set that we so badly need in this country? Welding engineering, financial and accounting. All the industries that we are hearing from in this conference are talking about a war for talent, right? They’re all about tracking costs. Yep. And they’re all talking about technology. You can actually sit in any of the conference rooms and those three themes are going to be very prevalent. Yes. And therefore we have the opportunity to support students and the colleges, as they try to read into the future, what do companies need? What type of skillset did I need?
Scott Luton (09:58):
I love how your mission is serving so many needs on so many different levels, right? Because there are big needs in this war for talent, for more technically trained professionals. So what a beautiful matrix is the word that comes to mind, right? Matrix of servant.
Claudia Freed (10:16):
I love the, the analogy, uh, because in the conference, uh, next door, they’re talking about dynamic supply chains. And what, what they’re really talking about is any business in order to stay in business must adapt. Yeah. And in 40 years we have had to adapt. And that is in large part what we did 20, 21. We said, we need to invest in technology. So we invested in an E R P uh, we need to invest in understanding what are the, um, professions that are in most demand. And when you can bring it all together, it’s really a win, win, win, right?
Scott Luton (10:54):
Yes. Students industry and your, uh, health up in these universities, clear out equipment and, and recycling and, and reusing a lot of that. So everyone wins,
Claudia Freed (11:03):
Right? So it’s actually the corporations clearing out the equipment, the colleges and universities become their customers. Ah, so we match the surplus on the business side and we meet the needs of the, and universities using logistics to actually map how do we take something that is a Sur for one consumer into the hands of colleges and universities,
Scott Luton (11:27):
Logistics with purpose, right. Logistics.
Claudia Freed (11:29):
Scott Luton (11:30):
I love that. Uh, and I think I see Antonio right off to our side here. Good to see you. Yeah. I really enjoyed Antonio and you parti and some, some of our shows and live streams. Let’s talk about your, why let’s talk about what is your, why for all the give forward that, that the organization does. And of course your role
Claudia Freed (11:50):
After a lot of time thinking about that question, I believe that in my experience, my, why is I love to solve problems. I love to solve problems. And I have realized that when I am happy in solving problems is because what I solving is worth my time. And when I am solving a problem at AEL, that means more students can receive help at a broader, more personal, uh, experience. I come from a family of educators. Okay. I just learned this past week that my Italian grandfather who knew he would not live because he was ill made my grandmother CLA promise that my grandmother will give her their four daughters. My mother is number two daughter, the gift of an education. Wow. So I come from a family that values that, and my greatest gift is to use the ability that I have my training in economics, a great team to solve problems so that more people can enjoy what I have had the opportunity to enjoy.
Scott Luton (13:02):
I love that, that that’s such a force multiplier, right? As folks learn, they get educated and have those experiences. And then they apply all of those two industry into solving problems to changing how industry works for the better. It is a wonderful, wonderful contribution to an ecosystem with so many stakeholders and shareholders. Let’s talk about here at the RLA conference. Again, it’s all about returns management, reverse logistics, really important, uh, aspect of global business these days. So when you think about those segments of global business, what’s a couple things you’re really focused on more than others. Right now.
Claudia Freed (13:41):
It’s been very, very encouraging to see that not one single panel in the last two days. And, uh, when they remain in tomorrow, not a single panel has ignored or excluded the environmental act of all their activities. So this concept of ESGs, which stands for environment, society, and governance. Yep. That’s one of the frameworks for looking at sustainability, not a single presenter is leaving that topic out the
Scott Luton (14:14):
Topic as opposed like 10 years ago where I’ve been
Claudia Freed (14:16):
Even even three years ago, three years ago. I think that the, the, what we’ve seen is a rapid growth in both interest. And more importantly, I think one of the takeaways is that it’s very, very clear that consumers are playing a significant role in that voice because typically why do we generate new in doing things differently? Either you are being regulated or you are being penalized, or you see a business opportunity, right. And in this particular conference on the 18th annual conference, what I’ve seen is that all the presenters, whether you are a retailer in, uh, electronics, or you are doing pharmaceuticals, it’s the consumer that is demanding that environmental accountability and the industry is responding, right.
Claudia Freed (15:05):
It is, it’s very clear. That’s one of the takeaways. And then the other thing, which is very close to my heart, because I am a mother of twin daughters who are young women into this phenomenal world of business. Yes. The number of women that are involved in supply chain. In fact, I think it was the largest V I P luncheon for women in logistics and in supply chain that we had, and in reverse logistics and the of backgrounds, uh, not only for what has been a traditional spot for women in HR, all the way to engineering. And it is absolutely energizing for me as an older female now looking at what is the next generation, how do we, um, you know, continue to open doors for them?
Scott Luton (15:53):
Yes. I’m with you. So your daughters, I know one of them, maybe both of them, I know one of them is a very talented musical artist. And what did we, we were on the live stream. We talked about this. She play, what instrument is that?
Claudia Freed (16:08):
Scott Luton (16:09):
Claudia Freed (16:09):
She’s an accordionist. Yes.
Scott Luton (16:11):
Which is gotta be a challenging skill to,
Claudia Freed (16:14):
I tell you what is challenging. And I agree completely. I look at what Erica does with her instrument, and it’s not only aesthetically beautiful to look at, but it sounds in our fantastic, but I do think that another human development aspect, right, as a business that I had to learn in 2021, and as a result of the word that no one wants to mention COVID, um, as a result of that is, and as a parent of twins is that there is a desire for individuation when you have twins, whether they’re fraternal or identical, one of the ideas behind raising them as individuals is how do you give them each the chance to be who they want to be. Right. And I recently read the book on actually listening on audio about one and the same, which is about the story of racing twins and how do we, as leaders afford everyone in your team, the opportunity to be the individual that they need to be
Scott Luton (17:18):
Really important and critical. And, you know, we were talking Krisha earlier today about these team dynamics. Correct. Right. And, and how well, I’m not gonna try to put it in your words. Tell, tell us about what you’ve some things you’ve learned the last recent years.
Claudia Freed (17:31):
So, um, looking at Erica’s twin is a landscape AR architect. So I have an, a talented musician and a talented architect in the family, twins born 20 minutes apart, both
Scott Luton (17:42):
Claudia Freed (17:42):
Things. And they are creating beautiful things, looking at the world through the eyes of somebody that I understands that they were given the opportunity to be who they are. And we, I kind of took, uh, some of those, uh, lessons as a parent over the last 30 years. And I looked at our team at EAL green. And so during the, the pandemic, we realized that not everybody was reacting the same way, right. To the threats, uh, of, uh, health management. Not everybody was able to not work in the office because we have fulfillment centers. We have trailer loads coming in. They could not work from home. So what we decided to do was to look at incorporating certain levels of training at the same time. So that the message that we need to learn, how to be tolerant of each other in the place, work in the workplace, how do we need to afford everybody room to grow?
Claudia Freed (18:40):
Wasn’t just the CEO saying that message. We partnered with our payroll service and said, ADP, what training do you have for teaching our us how to tolerate each other at a place where things are so tense and things are changing. Uh, we also did training on cyber security to ensure that our new way of working was also a safe environment. Yeah. And we coupled that training with the idea that we had to change and afford everybody. If I have an extrovert in the team or an introvert that you recognize that, and with sensitivity and with the parameters of the law, uh, you can accommodate your team to continue to grow.
Scott Luton (19:21):
I love it. Lots of options based on personal preferences, uh, personal choices. So we can, we can make sure everyone is, is more comfortable and position to succeed and contribute, right?
Claudia Freed (19:33):
That’s the point, correct? Yeah. Uh, there is no point if the company’s doing well, but your team is unhappy or doesn’t feel appreciated or doesn’t feel valued. And so presenting that package of this is a place that we cared about you, and we will provide the opportunity for you to be able to do your job and, uh, know that you are doing it for the great purpose.
Scott Luton (19:58):
I love that. Love that. Okay. So we’ve saved the be maybe the best question for last big bold predictions for 2022. Now I might have had just a little sneak peek into what your response is here. And I think it’s a, it’s a home run and I like BHAG big, hairy, audacious goal. And I think it’s gonna hit that. So tell us, look at, look deep in your crystal ball. What is your big fearless production this
Claudia Freed (20:23):
Year? I, I love my crystal ball and it’s, it is an instrument that I use all the time, because I do think that when you are in leadership, you are expected to be able to have the
Scott Luton (20:37):
Claudia Freed (20:37):
Right. Right. I mean, you, you don’t make progress by trying to react. You need to be ahead of the idea ahead of the times, like the founders for the Yale green war 40 years ago. Wow. When they came up with this idea of what do we do with excess inventory and how do we help young people, uh, realize their dreams that was vision, that was pure vision. Right. So I have the legacy that I have to carry on my shoulders of that legacy. So I have my crystal and it’s lovely, and I love it. So in response to your wonderful question about what do we see going forward? One area where I believe is very important for us to focus on is the fact that in the United States, there are only 18%, 18%. So less than 20 of all patents are held by women inventors.
Claudia Freed (21:31):
Wow. 20%. So 18%, the predictions of the bureau of labor statistics says that it will take 70 years until 2092 for us women, right. To reach parity. Yeah. So my bold prediction is that we are going to cut that difference in half. It’s not going to take 70 years. I think it will take less well a bit 30, well, hopefully in the next 10 to 15 years. And why the connection, because I believe that the reason that we don’t have so many women inventors is that we have had a death. Is it with regards to technical education, right? Stem, that emphasis is relatively new. So my prediction is that not only we are going to cut the difference in the number of women that are inventors to have for less, but that the inventions will come from very much this industry, every aspect from a product, the way that it is designed to the way that science, for example, if we talk about medicine for a second and the research for medicine, largely it is now an established fact that the research for medicine is largely based on the male constituency, because very few drugs are developed considering the female, uh, needs for medicine.
Claudia Freed (22:55):
So the fact that we need to not only have the parity of the science, but also the customer in this case, a patient, right? So medicine is looking at formulating treatments are really much more specific, more individualized. Yes. And I believe that that is going to give women entrepreneurs a much greater opportunity, whether it’s inventing a new type of packaging, whether it’s inventing a new way of tracking your talent. Yes. Another colleague that is in the supply chain world created an app that tracks the skillset of every employee in a warehouse. So if they need to weld a motor at the end of the warehouse and know where to go, they deploy that person instead of having to hire the same person two or three times. So innovation is coming and it is going to be hidden in a purse. And it’s going to be part of my crystal ball.
Scott Luton (23:52):
And it’s, it’s coming. The rate of change is going to increase to based on a lot of the factors you’ve pointed out. I love that. And that is some wonderful, good news to wrap on, you know, like you, I don’t have, uh, twin daughters, but I’ve got two of my three children are daughters. And as we, I wanna say, we talked about this a couple years ago because that’s not good enough just to have daughters and want to change things. And you want to, you know, you wanna change things for the sake of changing things. So you create opportunities for all. Yes. So that everyone can benefit, including the daughter the you happen to have. But, you know, I don’t want anyone, I want them to blow through any obstacle, walls, barriers, and, and, uh, and know that they can. Yes. Right. And, and I really appreciate what folks like you are doing because they need those presences and CEOs or senior leaders that are doing big things yes. To help them aspire to do big things. Right. That’s an important thing, is that right?
Claudia Freed (24:50):
Absolutely. And I believe that the issue of gender is it’s a topic that really deserves a wider conversation. Um, yes, we have to be very inclusive. Right. And so I have daughters, other people have sons, other people have son or daughters, people that don’t identify or declare our agenda. So for me, uh, being progressive in that sense, it’s super important. Yeah. Um, the one thing I would say to anyone in terms of developing a culture of support, uh, the children do look up to the parents, uh, spending time with each of them individual, rather than as a bunch of people, the same thing with the team. It may not be possible for everybody. The, the larger you grow to spend time with every member of your team, but it’s very important to try to be ACC, to have access to them. And for them to see you as a role model, living, living the passion that you have for what you do.
Scott Luton (25:48):
I love it. Well, you’re living embodiment of that passion. Uh, and I’m looking forward to you set a high bar with your, with 2021. So
Claudia Freed (25:58):
I agree. I agree. You are absolutely right. And I, that is exactly a very valid point and why understanding the dynamics of the time that we live in, right. Uh, we used to have the ability to do three year strategic plan. Now it’s three months now you are touching and going and base measuring. And every measure that you can put in place, right. Go ahead and put it in place because it will never be enough. Yes. Never because in four months time, the work can change and your company, your grow, your group better, be ready to change, and you can’t afford to say we’ll do that next year. Agreed.
Scott Luton (26:37):
Agreed. Well, I’m excited to see what y’all do accomplish in your 41st year. Congratulations on your 40 year anniversary, which was February 2nd,
Claudia Freed (26:46):
Correct? Right. Yes, February 2nd.
Scott Luton (26:49):
And, uh, we’re gonna have to, uh, reconnect as we work through your 41st year, have you back on maybe have you on live stream and that way you can take some questions from our global ecosystem here at supply chain now
Claudia Freed (27:01):
Would love to do that. And again, and thank you so much for all the support that you lend to the community and for your success as well. Well, I know, I know that if you are not successful, we are not successful. Well,
Scott Luton (27:12):
I appreciate that. You know, it takes a village, right. And then some, but love what, so, so let’s make sure folks know how to connect with you and EAL green. There might be some listeners out there that want to, you know, get behind your effort and help support it. So how can folks connect with you?
Claudia Freed (27:28):
They first need to listen to supply chain. Now
Scott Luton (27:31):
I love that. That
Claudia Freed (27:32):
Is where we are all the time. Uh, they can connect with me on LinkedIn, Claudia fried E L green, or they can visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Luton (27:43):
Wonderful, wonderful, well, Claudia, I am so glad that we could reconnect here after absolutely. The last couple years that goes without saying so much has changed since the last time you and I sat down with Greg white. Yes. Who missed you here today, but, but we’ll,
Claudia Freed (27:56):
We’ll reconnect. Send my regards another fellow AIAN. Yes,
Scott Luton (28:00):
Claudia Freed (28:01):
Scott Luton (28:02):
But we will. Absolutely. We’ll talk soon folks, make sure you connect with Claudia free and E L green. And, and if you can, what a great story to get behind and support. Uh, so thank you so much, Claudia, for all that you do.
Claudia Freed (28:14):
Thank you so much.
Scott Luton (28:15):
You bet. All right, folks, uh, that just about wraps up our coverage here from the 18th annual reverse logistics association conference expo, stay tuned to all of the episodes we’ll be publishing in the weeks ahead. Be sure to connect with Claudia. Most importantly, you know, on behalf of our entire team here at supply chain now, uh, be like Claudia, do good gift forward. Be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we see next time, right back here at supply chain now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our supply chain. Now, community check out all of our email@example.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.
Claudia Freed is a business leader with a strong record of managing challenging situations and creating value for all involved. She became part of EALgreen in 1982 when she was chosen to become the first low-income scholarship recipient to receive the gift of a college education. With the EAL scholarship, Claudia earned a degree in Economics and worked in the financial sector, commodities trading, and credit risk management, moving on to management consulting under a selective program designed to lend private sector expertise to the City of Chicago government. EAL was founded on the principle of “paying it forward” and was engineered as a proof-of-concept on the importance of social and environmental impact in the business world. It’s mission is education. EAL exchanges excess inventory for scholarships using supply chain as the solution for reallocating resources between two sectors: businesses and higher education.
Twenty-five years ago, Claudia was recruited to return to EAL as Executive Director and in 2016, she was named CEO. This full-circle story has been professionally rewarding as she has served on more than 10 boards of directors, including Chicago NPR affiliate WBEZ, traveled the world, and now she is on Supply Chain Now Radio. Together with an amazing team, EAL has grown to be a national organization that has impacted the lives of nearly 19,000 students empowering them through education while helping the environment.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
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Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.