Logistics with Purpose
Episode 68

It's not about the people in the back office. It's about the people driving these vehicles.

-Steven Hornyak

Episode Summary

BrightDrop is decarbonizing last mile logistics—and Steven Hornyak is here to tell you all about it. Tune in to this episode of Logistics with Purpose as Enrique and Adrian chat with Steven about his professional path to BrightDrop, how the company is disrupting industries like grocery with more efficient curbside fulfillment options, his advice to his younger self and more.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:02):

Welcome to Logistics with Purpose presented by Vector Global Logistics in partnership with Supply chain. Now we spotlight and celebrate organizations who are dedicated to creating a positive impact. Join us for this behind the scenes glimpse of the origin stories change, making progress, and future plans of organizations who are actively making a difference. Our goal isn’t just to entertain you, but to inspire you to go out and change the world. And now here’s today’s episode of Logistics with Purpose.

Enrique Alvarez (00:34):

Good Day. My name’s Enrique Alvarez, and I’m with Vector Global Logistics. This is another very exciting episode of Logistics with Purpose. Adrian, how are you doing today? Welcome.

Adrian Purtill (00:45):

Good, Thank you very much. Great to be here. Looking forward to a great conversation with

Enrique Alvarez (00:49):

Steve. I know we have a very good guest today and it’s a very interesting hot and sexy industry as well. Something that’s probably going to be the future, not only for us, but for the entire world. So we’re really happy and, uh, very excited to have him here.

Adrian Purtill (01:03):

Great. Um, Steve, great to be chatting to you today. I’d like to introduce, uh, Steven Hornyak, Chief Commercial Officer and executive Director of Bright Drop. Uh, Steve, welcome to the show. Wonderful to be chatting to you.

Steven Hornyak (01:16):

Absolutely. My my pleasure guys. I really, really appreciate it.

Adrian Purtill (01:19):

Thank you. Uh, to kick us off, uh, Steve, tell us a little about where you grew up and a little about your childhood.

Steven Hornyak (01:26):

So, Abso so I grew up in a small town in Central New Jersey, Hamilton Square, New Jersey. So, um, grew up there. I was an avid athlete, uh, mainly soccer player. In fact, I played soccer in, uh, I played soccer and university as well. So two, two thumbs up. So

Enrique Alvarez (01:44):

Who, who’s your team? You? This is very rare in the show cuz we have interviewed a lot of people and Adrian and I are crazy soccer fans, but we have never really interviewed someone that shared a passion for this.

Steven Hornyak (01:56):

I mean, I’m a, I’m a man. You got, I mean,

Enrique Alvarez (02:00):

Oh, come on.

Steven Hornyak (02:01):

You know, it’s, it’s like, it’s like the Yankees. But the thing is, I I’ve actually been to games, you know, I’ve traveled over, I have, and I’ve been to, I’ve been to so many games. This is me, this, I’ve been to Barcelona Games, and it’s, uh, it’s just a whole new experience. It’s a, it’s an all I’ve been to Chelsea games. Uh, so it’s just fantastic and, and I’m glad to see us as embrace soccer now or football. Right. The proper football. Absolutely. Yeah. But, uh, no, I, I grew up and I actually grew up as a surf rat. So we, uh, grew up on the beach at the Jersey Shore and, uh, was a lifeguard surf rat down there. And, uh, and worked in the family business at an early age, which was sporting goods business. So, uh, did that and then went down to school at Virginia Tech and, uh, got my master’s, uh, in undergraduate at Virginia Tech. And then, uh, and off to life, it was down there. I met, met my wife in college and, uh, she said her head hurt is, she went north. So we, we’ve been south ever since.

Enrique Alvarez (02:59):

Sounds great. And again, thank you so much for giving us some time. I know you’re a very busy person and, uh, thank you for that. Looking back a little bit, I mean, what story from your early days, um, do you remember that kinda shaped who you are and kind of what you do now?

Steven Hornyak (03:14):

Yeah, no, great question. I think there’s really, I’ll point out two things. One is that, um, my mom had always pushed me to be the best at everything that I did. And that was from school to sports to life. So, um, she was, I would say, you know, she wasn’t hard on me, but she was very, um, in guiding me through this thing called life and that, and that really set a strong foundation. And then the other thing was, um, you know, my, my my father’s electrical engineer, but he was very passionate about sports. And when I was in early teens, he did something crazy, went out and he bought a local sporting goods store, <laugh> Nice. And that was, that was before Sporting Goods. And all these mega stores used to have, I don’t even remember. I used to have like the mom and pop stores, like sporting good stores in a neighborhood.

Steven Hornyak (04:02):

So we had a local mom and pop sporting good store that we owned. And, and I, I worked in it. So I literally, I was, you know, from school to sports to working, and that’s what I did. So I was a hundred percent of the time never even knew what a couch was. Right. I mean, I was just totally active the entire time. And, and I think what was really one of the interesting turning points was after a couple of years in the business, he pulled me aside and he said, All right, son, you’ve been working, you’ve been selling sneakers, you’ve been doing this, doing that. Now I’m gonna teach you what it’s all about. And I said, All right, dad, what am I gonna do? And he said, Well, the Nike Salesman’s coming in and I want you to select what we’re going to buy for next season. Right? You had to come in and buy, and guess what, I’m not gonna pay you your hourly fee anymore. I’m gonna pay you based on how well what you select sells in our family store.

Enrique Alvarez (04:51):

Clever man.

Steven Hornyak (04:52):

So it, it, it really, it really kind of introduced me to this whole pay for performance or commission. And, and it really was honestly transformational in my life because that really opened my eyes up, number one. Number two is I liked it because now I bought stuff. I was paying attention to it. I was helping sell it. I was monitoring it, Uh, I was promoting it what I bought into the store, and I actually took, it was a game to me. And I made more money doing that than I did under a base salary. And so that really was a transformational moment for me and my, and I thanked my father for

Enrique Alvarez (05:27):

That. Wow. They both sound like great, uh, great people. It sounds like you had an amazing, uh, schooling in your

Steven Hornyak (05:33):

Household. No, we, we did. It was, uh, fantastic. Uh, um, yeah, fantastic. Up and coming and, and great.

Enrique Alvarez (05:41):

What was, uh, what was the name of the, uh, story?

Steven Hornyak (05:43):

It was Sports Barn. So the reason why Sports Barn was, it was a separate two car garage on a house that they turned the house into an insurance agency. And it was a separate two car garage that we turned into a sporting good store. And then we later moved into, I’ll call it, you know, the classic strip mall, larger traditional format. But we started off, in essence, a barn. So it was a sports barn.

Adrian Purtill (06:07):

That’s awesome. Other than, other than maybe, uh, as it played against Sam, I’m, I’m not aware of any smaller kind of mom and pop sports store at, at the moment.

Steven Hornyak (06:17):

That’s a, that’s a franchise, so I wouldn’t even say that’s small anymore. Very, It’s

Adrian Purtill (06:20):

A franchise as well. You’re right.

Steven Hornyak (06:22):

It, it’s, it’s there. There’s very few, There are some in some smaller town us, but, um, you know, it’s really gone, it’s really gone away, um, when some of the mega stores came up.

Adrian Purtill (06:32):

Right. Yeah. So Steve, if you, with all your years of experience now, if you could, uh, go back and have a chat to your 21 year old self, uh, what, what professional personal advice would you share with that?

Steven Hornyak (06:47):

I ton a lot. You know, it would be awesome to go in a time back and actually live life again with all the learnings that you haven’t Actually, I, I, a side note, I actually thoroughly enjoy, uh, what I’ll call coaching, um, young kids, right? I, I really do help advising young kids, whether they’re in college or if I can, um, you know, I, I’ve taught classes in college. It’s kind of a guest speaker or different types of activity like that. I, I really do thoroughly enjoy it. And they’re just sponges, you know, They really do, you know, listen and learn and, and, and wanna, wanna have different experience. But I would say, you know, a a couple things. One is, um, don’t fear fear failure. You know, a lot of times you people just fear failure and it causes them to, I I’ll say go down paths in life that, um, really they’re, they’re, they don’t wanna do, but they, they’re, they’re fearing that failure.

Steven Hornyak (07:41):

So I stare in the face, embrace failure, you know, learn from it, use it as a motivation. Um, you know, as it relates that I would say embrace change. You know, it’s one of the biggest things that I’ve learned, especially in work. Um, cause I’ve seen far too many people get kind of stuck in a certain career path. And then they’re going, Well, Steve or Mr. Horn would’ve refer to me as, you know, I’ve been doing this for, you know, five years, six years. Right? I just feel like I gotta, I’m like, What? Why, why do you, you don’t need to change. That’s okay. Exactly. So many experiences are transferrable, right? I mean, I’m a salt or a tech guy, and I’m involved in a holding in sincerity, general motor now and later in life. I mean, I’m blessed to be in this situation. Um, and, and I’ll say the last thing.

Steven Hornyak (08:25):

If I, and I like things in three, I would say, um, outwork the competition and hard work beats in intelligence. Unless you have a really hard working, intelligent person, right? There’s your, there’s your, there’s your deadly combination, right? There’s your deadly combination. But I have found that in sports and in life and in work, that that grinding and outworking and, and hustling is, uh, really allowed you to succeed. Um, in, in, uh, in all in so many different ways that will just, and, and yeah. And a lot of people are, are just not, you know, I’m saying, you know, don’t be work, work your butt off. Right? Yeah. You know, And, and it’ll, it’ll pay in dividends. It absolutely will pay in dividends. I’m not saying all hours, right? Focus hard work. You don’t have to work a hundred hours a week.

Adrian Purtill (09:17):

Yeah. Concentrated, I mean, yeah, concentrated,

Steven Hornyak (09:19):

But I’ll work, I’ll work your competition.

Adrian Purtill (09:21):

Exactly.

Enrique Alvarez (09:22):

There’s no,

Adrian Purtill (09:24):

Yeah. 21 year olds don’t have to have it all figured out, right?

Steven Hornyak (09:28):

No, they don’t. No, they don’t. They can. It’s, uh, yeah. They can make mistakes and, and they can learn and they can change,

Enrique Alvarez (09:35):

Right. Steve and I, um, something that I, I was asked, uh, recently, I think it was two weeks ago, which is similar to this question, but I’ll just put a little spin on it before we move into your professional career. Uh, what would that 20 per one year old, um, advise you now, uh, that you should probably do more of or, or whatever <laugh>, what would be flipping it around? What would that answer be? That surfer, surfer, Brad, soccer player back

Steven Hornyak (10:02):

Then? <laugh>? Um, you know, I, that’s a really interesting question. I, the reason why I’ve said that is I know what my, my, you know, what my son and my wife would say is just, Hey, dad, you in great shape and you put on a couple of lbs around the midsection. So if they <laugh>. But, uh, um, no, that’s, uh, you know, interesting. I’m, that’s a, that’s a, that’s a tough question. I mean, part of it would say, just ensure that you’re enjoying life. I mean, so many people get so wrapped up in so many things that they’re not pausing to take it in, breathe and enjoy life. And, um, by all means, that is, that is paramount with both the culture that I put forth in my teams and companies that I’m with. I’m hyper competitive person, but by all means, we’re on this God-given planet to enjoy life.

Steven Hornyak (10:55):

Right? And there’s things well outside of, of the office that drives that, you know, you need to enjoy your, your job, but enjoy life. So I, that’s probably the biggest thing. And, and, you know, I went through, I went through stages like we all do, where, you know, I was a workaholic and, and, and I didn’t have that much of a life because of the dresses and pressures of being a 20 something that, that, you know, was on a high, uh, trajectory path, right? Um, so that, that’s just the one I, I think that would be the main thing. I would, I would tell myself or amplify to myself or reinforced to myself.

Enrique Alvarez (11:30):

Well, and now with that said, and thank you so much for sharing, um, let’s talk about your professional journey. You mentioned briefly that you’re a software and technology, but you also did marketing and business development. I mean, can you tell us a bit more about how you started down this path?

Steven Hornyak (11:44):

A absolutely. So I’m, um, I’m a mechanical engineer MBA combination. And I was probably one of those odd people that I actually, when, when going to college, I actually knew what I wanted to do at that point in time. Knew what I wanted to do in the, was get a degree in engineering from a top engineering school, get a master’s in business, that’ll be your foundation. And then go to work for the big six. It was a big six back then. Consulting, uh, firms in their consulting practice. Go there for a couple of years, then you can decide what you want to do, that that’ll be the foundation to allow you to go in whatever direction that you needed to go, which is what I did. I went to work for Pricewaterhouse Coopers at a graduate school. Uh, went to college when I was 17 years old.

Steven Hornyak (12:27):

So I was young in college and, uh, graduated with a master’s degree fairly young. So got a quick good start on, uh, on a career path. And, uh, and from there I was approached to go over to this little tiny company out in, um, in California called Oracle <laugh> <laugh>. And, um, uh, yeah, I, I’m just small of right off, right? It was like, yeah, the dinosaurs were doing databases back then, but it, it was, uh, you know, approach to do that. And I’m like, What the heck? You know, I, I thought about it and then I said, You know what, This, this could be interesting. So I went over to Oracle. I had some other people that I knew had gone there, so I went over there in the consulting group. I was a tech guy, right? I literally was, I was kind of a, you know, tech in the consulting services.

Steven Hornyak (13:09):

And, um, after about a year and a half of, at Oracle, I got approached by people over on the, on the sales team. And, uh, they said, Steve, we wanna pull you over to our team in technical sales or sales engineering and, you know, representing a product. And to this day, that actually was my favorite job is sales engineering. Cuz you didn’t have the weight and burden of the quota, but you were customer facing and representing an evangelizing product, right? Um, and then from there, you know, I got, I got, uh, I got pulled away from Oracle, Didn’t, didn’t really want to, but got approached from a, uh, startup company out of Atlanta, Georgia. The company’s name was SQL Financials at that point in time, seven employees. And, uh, they brought me on as head of sales and I, I took over marketing and, and was blessed and fortunate enough to do my first IPO as a forum for officer in my low thirties.

Steven Hornyak (13:59):

And, uh, and then from there, I’ve been a serial entrepreneur ever since, you know, uh, building six different, uh, startup companies. Um, you know, took, uh, one other company public, uh, third company that I was, uh, CEO of America’s was, is a planned, planned IPO here shortly, did a bunch of sales of companies, did a bunch acquisitions of companies, and, and bottom line is a tech accelerator taking smallish type company and taking it over the cast if you’re a big Jeffrey Moore fan over the cast and into the tornado of, uh, of activity. So that is, that’s been, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 30, 30 plus, 30 plus years.

Enrique Alvarez (14:37):

Did you always, was it part of your regular plan, I guess? I mean, you always wanted to be a serial entrepreneur, uh, by some point, or

Steven Hornyak (14:45):

<laugh>, you, you know, that really wasn’t the plan to, per se, but once I went and did it once, um, it was, it was addictive. Um, so, uh, I enjoyed it. I I was actually good at it. Um, it was something that, you know, motivated me. And, and even now, um, you know, I, I, I will, you know, advise, you know, I, I’ve got a lot of people that’ll come to me for advice and starting companies and others. And I actually enjoy, uh, helping people think about startup companies and what they need to do. That’s my, you know, that’s kind of my, instead of watching TV or, or, you know, sitting on the couch, I’ll, I’ll get on the phone at night and people gimme a call and say, Hey, Steve, we’re thinking about doing this. What do you think? Uh, so I, I just thorough, I just thoroughly enjoy that.

Adrian Purtill (15:29):

Now, you’ve held, you’ve held, uh, multiple positions across multiple companies. So how did you find yourself, uh, landing at Bright Drop?

Steven Hornyak (15:37):

I still don’t know <laugh> <laugh>. No. It was, you know, that’s how Live works. Well, here’s, so, it, it’s really actually, it’s a really interesting story. And, uh, and I’ll say God works in a serious ways, That’s my wife says. So, um, I was approached by a recruiter and you get approached all the time, right? And, you know, people, you know, trying to, and she said, No, there’s a really interesting opportunity. It’s a all electric last mile they’re doing, It’s the General Motors funded holding Unsu subsidiary. And I was like, it just sounded, I was trying to figure it out. And just luck happens that Travis Kas, our, our ceo, uh, he lives in Palo Alto area, and I was actually out there on business when this recruiter called me. I was like, Well, I’m out on the West Coast right now. And they go, Well, let me see if Travis come meet you for a coffee <laugh>.

Steven Hornyak (16:26):

So I actually met Travis the next morning for a coffee. And, um, and he and I instantly, instantly got along. We were incredibly aligned in both, you know, he was a technology guy, an entrepreneur. Um, he and I were about the same age. We’ve done a lot of similar things, um, you know, align so much on the way that you run businesses, grow businesses. Um, and, and I looked at this going, Wow, this is kind of interesting. I can actually go to a startup company, right? But the two things that are really hard for startup companies, like just really hard raising money Yes. And scaling on an international basis. Those two things, honestly, I don’t really have to worry about because of our parent company, right? We’ve got one of the largest global manufacturers in the world, and they’re funding us, right? So we could focus on building this business.

Steven Hornyak (17:18):

That was really exciting. The other thing is that, um, really making a difference, right? And, and as we move forward, you know, and, and then move to zero tail pipe emissions, uh, the move from ice, you know, terminal combustion engines to electric it, it’s a natural. Um, and it’s not even an evolution, it’s a transformation. Last time we went through this, we actually fed our vehicle, right? We fed the horse. Um, you know, so we’re, we’re, you know, I looked at it and say, Wow, I can be part of this entire industry transformation. I can leverage what I’ve done as a accelerator, uh, business accelerator, right? And oh, by the way, the last thing was, I’ve never built a company from zero to a billion dollars or more of revenue. I’ve done it to value, right? Multiple times. So multi billions of dollars of value, but never revenue. So it kind of all came together. And then the last thing is, I’m a car guy. I love cars <laugh>. And, and my wife looked at it, she said, Oh my gosh, it took 30 plus years for you to find an opportunity where you can blend your passion for cars, right? With your experience in startup technology accelerator. Right? So it, it, it worked out with you. It sounds

Enrique Alvarez (18:27):

Like this starts align. It was an amazing opportunity. And it sounds like you’re just judging by how you’re describing this whole process. I mean, you, you must be having fun. It sounds like you’re excited. It sounds like you’re proud and really, really,

Steven Hornyak (18:40):

It’s optimistic. It’s awesome. Right? Uh, uh, I’ll be, I’ll be honest with you, I get up every morning, smile, and, and you know, the, I’m thankful and we filled a great team over here. We’re continuing to build a great team. We’re making a difference. We’re, uh, really, you know, looking at dominating, uh, an emerging space and, uh, and having a blast doing it. I mean, really looking at making a difference. So it’s, um, you know, it, it’s been absolutely awesome over the last little more than a year. And I really look forward to the next several years of, uh, building this thing to, to being big.

Enrique Alvarez (19:12):

We can, we can certainly feel the energy through, even through Zoom <laugh> right now, So, Yeah, absolutely. So for people that don’t really know about Bride Drop and what it is, and in particular the mission of the company and kind of your role there, what, what can you tell them, Uh, people that are listening to us, What, what is Bride Drop?

Steven Hornyak (19:29):

So, uh, so Bright Shop was actually started and incubated within General Motors. So General Motors, though, they’ve got a technology incubation lab, right? And there’s really three outcomes of that lab. One is it becomes a product within General Motors, who is this dyes? And three is, it can be spun out to a holding own subsidiary or similar. Um, so they looked at this opportunity as total green space for the company and elected to spin it out into its whole separate, you know, separate company, but a wholly owned company. So, in other words, we’re a hundred percent owned by, uh, by General Motors today. And really what the company’s doing is reimagining the commercial delivery and logistics industry focusing on all in, all, in all electric futures. So, but it’s not just about the vehicle. There’s much more than just the vehicle. It’s a lot of software, It’s a lot of other ways of moving products, right?

Steven Hornyak (20:21):

There’s a whole wave of micro mobility, you know, the first of which is our trace, ecar and trace, by the way, is ecar backwards if you hadn’t figured that out, <laugh>. Um, which is our, which is whole looking at a whole containerization strategy of how you take packages and go through a containerization approach in order to optimize the movement of that product through the ecosystem. Um, so, you know, what we’re building is really reimagining. It’s, again, looking at the entire space of moving product. The last mile in eCommerce is, is the, I’ll say the first vertical that we’re focusing on, but there’s a number of other different applications out there where we can take our products and software, um, and mobility solutions and apply them,

Adrian Purtill (21:02):

Right? So see, that led that, uh, that, um, lends itself to me asking the next question. What, how did you, how did you come to focus on the last mile delivery? What were the thought process behind that?

Steven Hornyak (21:14):

It, well, it’s exploding guys, right? I mean, you look at e-commerce, it was already moving quickly, the pandemic hit, and it was actually throwing gasoline onto an already burning inferno, right? And then putting a big old fan on it. So, you know, the, the eCommerce has absolutely exploded. And, and its, it’s continuing to grow, right? I mean, we’re, we’re, you know, we’re, we’re outta the pandemic, Um, but the eCommerce business is continuing to grow. So we looked at that and said, you know, eCommerce is growing, It’s moving movement of product to households is growing. That’s bringing tailpipe emissions closer to where we live. So it’s an incredible fit for a, a electric vehicle, and it’s an incredible use case because the amount of mileage un under, you know, with these planned trips of using this type of vehicle to do, um, that, and the fact that 50% of the cost of actually delivering a product or getting a product into a PE person’s hands from eCommerce, 50% of it’s that last mile part of it that’s a last mile. So it, yeah, it, it’s just, there’s so much, there’s so many efficiencies that can be brought to this space, and companies are getting squeezed because us as the consumers, uh, we’ve really got a mindset of a click and have to have it now. Right? Right. You know, it used to be three days used to be okay, right? And then all of a sudden got two days, like, ooh,

Adrian Purtill (22:36):

Two days. That’s, that’s too long. Yeah. Now it’s immediate.

Steven Hornyak (22:38):

Now, now you get the net. Now if you don’t get the next day, you’re a little upset. You’re like, What do you mean order something that’s moving the same day in a lot of areas? So with that, you’re moving a lot more product and there’s a lot more opportunity to squeeze and get efficiencies in that whole package movement space.

Enrique Alvarez (22:54):

No, definitely. Kind of consumer patterns and trends are definitely disrupting, like the overall logistics and supply chain. We know, uh, and we saw it during the pandemic, but on a different note, um, on the Bright Drop website, you say, and, and I quote, uh, the way we ship and receive packages is changing. I mean, can you unpack this a little bit? And we were just starting to touch on the surface of this and how quickly it is changing, But, uh, can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Steven Hornyak (23:19):

Uh, absolutely. I, I think the biggest part of that change is the impatience of the consumer. And, and, and when you move from one, you know, basically when you move from three days where you can optimize, you can optimize density of, of package, you can optimize the trips and the packing and everything else. When you move that to next day, it gets really, really hard. Then when you move it the same day, it gets super hard. So I think when, you know, when you look at that, what we’re really talking about is, is this kind of on demand society and the on-demand requirements and demands that won’t let up, and how to do that and still make money. Right? So, you know, what I say to a lot of people is, Hey, Bright Drop is, it’s great for the environment, but it’s even better for your profit and loss statement and balance sheet.

Steven Hornyak (24:11):

So when you really look at the cost associated with it, and moving from an ice vehicle to an ev depending upon your cost of electricity and your cost of fuel, which is, you know, we know it went up, it’s coming back down, but, you know, operating cost for, um, an EV in our space on the low end, 7,500 up to possibly even close to 20, $20,000 a year in some of the high priced areas of operational cost, right? These things just don’t require as much maintenance and, um, you know, and, and the cost of, of fueling them with electricity significantly less than putting diesel or gas in it. So when you look at an area where companies that are delivering these packages and you expect it for free, i e is blended into the price and the margin, somebody’s gotta pick that cost set up. So the price has already been set at the market. It’s free delivery that’s already there, right? So the only way to increase your margins is to decrease your cost. And moving to an electrified, optimized future, uh, like a platform like Bright Drop is absolutely the way to go.

Adrian Purtill (25:15):

Great. So, Steve, talk, getting into the world of, of groceries and grocery shopping and so forth, tell us about the Trace Grocery Program, um, and the impetus behind that.

Steven Hornyak (25:26):

Oh, absolutely. So we, we start off, and again, when we talk about a Bright job, entire ecosystem, whole solution, product, movement. So I, I think of it as kind of like, I think of the Apple ecosystem, right? You buy one Apple product, you buy another, they, they just, they just harmoniously work brilliantly in a background through the software and infrastructure. Um, so that’s the same thing we’re looking at doing and, and have done between, you know, our vehicles, our EVs and, and our, our e carts and with future mobility solutions, uh, as we move forward. So just the harmonious, the working system. So we looked at that and the first, uh, product we looked at was traces was moving of parcels in dense areas. And, you know, FedEx was, uh, one of our initial customers in that we’ve got a couple of dozen, um, deployments underway as well, uh, with the Tracy car, um, on for parcel movement.

Steven Hornyak (26:18):

And the whole premise there is kind of bifurcate the process between truck movement and then last hundred yards truck can come up, drop off the trade car, save the packages in it, you’ve got runners, those runners can go deliver the package, truck can go grab more and bring it back. And we found that, uh, in our tests, 25% more packages can be delivered using this type of containerization smart container. What happened was, we, we looked at it and, and myself and some others, we came and we did a lot of work in the grocery eCommerce space, right? We said, You know what, this could have an interesting application there. And, um, and, and we started talking with some grocery customers, and Kroger is a, an early adopter, evangelistic type company. They’re like, You know what? This, this might work. So the whole focus on it was, um, in, in, in e-commerce and grocery, the grocery stores are actually perfectly sets places for e-commerce delivery.

Steven Hornyak (27:14):

They’re close to the customers. That’s what they’re designed to do. I came from the robotics and automation space before this, and micro fulfillment and automation has its place, but you gotta have a certain amount of volume and a certain amount of density. And that’s about 10% of the grocery stores out there. I think the other 90% they’re still picking in store, right? So you got people going the aisles and picking, then they either have to deliver it or what’s come up a lot more now is click and collect. So people are like, I’m gonna leave my groceries sitting on my doorstep, right? It’s like food and, you know, and I’m not sure I’m gonna be there or when it’s gonna get delivered and grocery stores right around the corner, I can pick it up on my way home or just run an err and pick it up.

Steven Hornyak (27:55):

Um, so we saw face grocery as an opportunity to optimize the in-store picking to staging to pick up scenario. And, and that is what we’re focusing on. So what we actually found was that the whole staging area where you take product, it gets picked off the shelves, you put it in bags and you fit it in a freezer or a refrigerator or a shelf, then that process, unpack it, put it all in there, customer comes, I gotta go find it, take it out to ’em, right? Very time consuming. We actually, with our trades grocery pocket, we just, we’ve removed that entire staging area cuz you’re picking right into this smart container Oh wow. That can keep the product fresh for up to six hours and, and ultimately allow it to be for a self-service type note. So, picks picks into it, it goes straight out the curb, customers come up and the product goes right out into it, ultimately in a self-service locker based situation. So it saves time, allows the grocery operators to, to get more revenue and more productivity at the same labor. Um, and also gets customers a much better, uh, customer service experience. So Great, great use case for it.

Adrian Purtill (29:10):

Yeah. I saw on your website that there’s a, the, the cart is that white car looks like a chest of drawers, right? And the one cart, the one is out and there’s a packet of, it looks like some bottles of something and a bag of fruit. I see some melons in there and it’s, it’s, so, so how does that, how does that, that work then? That would, that would, is that at the front of the, of the store?

Steven Hornyak (29:30):

Actually no, Outside. Outside actually’s fine. Yeah. So think of this

Adrian Purtill (29:35):

Like’s name on it or how do they know that that,

Steven Hornyak (29:37):

So it’s, it’s a smart locker. So it knows when Steve Hornick pulls up that Steve Horn through the app is on the, the trace number 1 23 and the George number, you know, two, three, and four for my order. And so it knows what, what Tracy cart and what, what actual bins are associated with my particular order. Now. Wait, wait. Now the initial testing is going to be done. It’ll be human assisted with the cars coming out. Curbside people will come up, they’ll, they’ll know based on the app. Okay, it’s here, it’s here, the, they, we will, we’ll assist them getting in kind of like an assisted self checkout, if you think of it that way. Right? Um, and you see how efficient that’s where that’s worked. Then ultimately, the ecar can then be fully automated so that when I pull up, you actually will it, it will, you know, say, Okay, here’s where you need to go. I can go get my own fetch, my own grocery myself off I go reducing labor costs, Right? So that, that’s a big part of it,

Adrian Purtill (30:37):

Right?

Enrique Alvarez (30:38):

That is incredible.

Adrian Purtill (30:39):

It is. And so, um, I, I saw that Kroger actually, um, underwent a, a pilot program, right? Um, I dunno what period that was for, but what did, what did they, what did they find during that pilot program to make them think, right, we’re onto a real winner here. Yeah,

Steven Hornyak (30:56):

And they’re, and we’re still, we’re still in a pilot in the early stages of, uh, of the phase rollout with, uh, with Coga right now. So what they found was actually they could remove the saging area, which is huge, right? So they got space back, They don’t have to buy freezers, that’s expensive, right? They don’t have to buy refrigerators, that’s expensive. Um, and so they removed that whole process. They found that their, their time to serve. So in other words, when a customer pulls up the time from when that customer pulls up to when the groceries are in the trunk, that has actually gone down. And that’s one of the key KPIs that they’re measuring. And they’ve actually found that the overall time to serve. So, in other words, how much it costs me to take an order all the way through from receiving it online to getting it in someone’s trunk has gone down, um, and gone down. And so all of those, you know, it, it’s taking them in direction that, wow, this is actually, it’s a good, it’s a transformational, transformational product.

Adrian Purtill (31:54):

Right.

Enrique Alvarez (31:55):

No, that sounds, uh, very interesting. Sounds amazing. Yeah, it’s very interesting and very exciting too, right? Because it could disrupt not only supply chain, but also the way we think about groceries and buying, and there’s just so many different things that we’ll have to think about. Uh, and it’ll save a lot of time for

Steven Hornyak (32:11):

People. And, and if you think about it, I mean, you take it one step further, you know, how do you get your mail, How do you get your mail today at your house? It doesn’t come to your door, does it? It goes to a centralized mail pickup area, right? Right. How do you get your packages today? For the most part, they go to your door, right? Well, Costwise, they move to a centralized mail pickup area for Costwise. So the, you know, the, the whole concept of having these micro mobility e hubs, um, smart e hubs for package delivery and reverse logistics, you know, is, is coming. And, um, you know, so it’s, it’s a whole application of the technology and evolution of what we’re looking at as well. Um, so we we’re really excited about how we can take not only what we’re doing in the movement of product and the containers through, uh, electric vehicles, but also everything else associated with optimizing, getting packages into people’s hands and the movement product. Right. Right.

Enrique Alvarez (33:09):

No, that’s, uh, that’s incredible. And definitely something that’s coming quickly, uh, to the world and to our daily lives. So, um, very exciting. Steve, changing gears a little bit here. Um, the pandemic, right, The coronavirus, I’m guessing there’s other applications that kind of, uh, can help that, that you can use. Uh, and what did you guys in general, and I’ll make this a more general question to you, what was the kind of some of the key learning experiences during the pandemic? How do you guys, uh, tackled it and what did you learn from it and how did somehow validate the understanding of this curbside

Steven Hornyak (33:44):

Delivery? You know, I, I think obviously during the pandemic e-commerce, it, it boomed. And particularly grocer, you know, a lot of people who never bought groceries online bought groceries online, and then they go and we’re worried about the family. So my wife was like, first day she was buying ’em online. She’s like, I’m done with going to the grocery store, right? And so we were, we embraced that, but others just didn’t. And, and, and not that you’re gonna stop going to the grocery store, but for some of the, I’ll call it the recurring staples that you’ve got in your house, it’s made life easy. Um, so what we did find was that, um, in the beginning, the, the grocers were willing, they wanted to make sure that they kept those customers, right? You had a lot of market disruptors to do third parties and startup companies that could lose a bunch of money and get you your groceries.

Steven Hornyak (34:32):

And grocery stores don’t have that luxury because most of ’em are publicly held, or they got operating models that don’t really allow them to lose money, but they didn’t lose their customers. So in, in the beginning, that was the big strain, was how do we make sure we don’t lose these customers, but ultimately, I’ve gotta make this profitable. So I think what the pandemic did was really amplify the fact that, hey, it’s an increasing percentage of my overall business. Now I really have to look at how, how I can increase the efficiencies and optimizations around that, which is things like what we got with Tracy, uh, the ecar, Um, and also what you’ve seen in micro fulfillment and automation, a number of other areas out there that have exploded because they’ve gotta get their costs down because customers won’t pay more. They’ve got too many options.

Adrian Purtill (35:18):

Yeah, exactly. So, uh, talking about lessons, lessons learned, um, during everything with, with any kind of new innovation, new innovation, there are challenges and obstacles, right? So what, what, what sort of challenges have you have you faced and how have you overcome

Steven Hornyak (35:34):

Them? Uh, I think challenges are all the time. I think one of the biggest, biggest things that, um, uh, entrepreneurs here, entrepreneurs like myself and, and Travis and Rashad and Anthony, um, you know, that came into the company from external, um, right? Uh, tech accelerators is don’t, it’s that fear of failure thing, right? It’s moved quickly, fail fast, learn, and then go, right? And, and whenever you have a new product, particularly if it’s a disruptive product, right? It’s not a replacement products, right? You’ve got replacement products that’s like, Okay, I’m getting a new one of these, and it’s different, right? But a total disruptive product where it’s the e-card is a disruptive product. The EVs are a replacement product. I’m replacing an ice version with a next generation, right? You’re gonna have early adopters, et cetera. But I’m, I already, I, I know I look at this and go, Yeah, I know what it does versus something that you don’t know what it does, and you’ve gotta evangelize. So part of that is just you’ve gotta move fast. Um, you, you’re never, if you’re, if you ever think you’re ready to go, you’ll never go,

Enrique Alvarez (36:40):

You’re not <laugh>,

Steven Hornyak (36:41):

Right? And, you know, so, so, you know, just go, just go and figure it out why you’re going, you’re gonna be fixing the engines on the plane while you’re flying, right? Um, but, uh, you know, so, so I think those are some of the, the, the, I’ll say the lessons learned that we’re infusing into a more traditional business on, on speed and, and how you execute. Um, but it’s awesome to be able to leverage all of this, this operational excellence and quality and scale and cost and manufacturing, uh, from our parent companies. So it’s really been just blessed to have the mix, the mix of both of those that allows for a, a, a perfect tornado of opportunity for Bright Child.

Enrique Alvarez (37:28):

Right. Right. Good. Really interesting. Yeah, definitely. Very interesting. And, um, so I’ll ask a little bit about the decarbonization part of this last mile, uh, of the industry, right? Because that’s something that you mentioned earlier. It’s like, great for the environment, but it’s better for the bottom line or the PNLs of the company. So it’s, it’s like you have a win-win situation here. On one hand, you’re saving the planet, on one hand, you’re being green, and you’re, uh, really making this world a better place in general. But on the other, of course, it represents, uh, savings. And of course, companies are very interested in maximizing their profits. They can continue to compete. But what, when you think about this, um, what, what is really the end goal here? How, how do you think about decarbonizing? Uh, what what do you see in the future?

Steven Hornyak (38:13):

So I, I think as part in our niche, right? So in our, in our niche, and, and again, if you look at General Motors, our parent company, Mary, be, has been, you know, absolute visionary as it comes to the move to electrification and electric vehicles for all, you know, so zero congestion, um, you know, zero emissions, zero crashes, um, part of the absolute foundation that GM operates under, and we do as well. Um, so if you look at that, and you’ll look at the specific niche that we’re servicing with, um, you know, specifically taking these ice vehicles and product movers, um, and not just for, for last mile, you know, you’re gonna see a lot of service companies out there, and we announce Verizon as being a partner, and you’ll see other people using these for service based. Wherever you see the box trucks, they’re gonna get replaced, right?

Steven Hornyak (39:00):

Um, so I, I think what you’re, what you’re gonna see is, is next year you’re gonna see the start of that transformation. Um, and, and they’ll be, you’ll start seeing a lot of these, if you own California right now, you’ll see bright drop vehicles driving around from FedEx and the greater LA area. Uh, next year you’ll see in probably a couple a dozen cities out there, under a couple of dozen different brands, not just FedEx, but a bunch of others that we have haven’t yet announced. And, and then I think 20, um, calendar year 24 is really when you’re gonna start seeing people go, Okay, now we’re gonna start buying these, I’ll say, in more mass quantity. And then in 25 is really gonna be, I’ll say the, the turn year again in our knee where people will be buying more EVs in our, in the like commercial segment than they are ice vehicles.

Steven Hornyak (39:49):

Wow. Um, and then ultimately, as you go through and, and, and it varies by customer, but the replacement cycles are on average seven years. So 15% of somebody’s, uh, fleet they’re buying every year. Some of them turn ’em as, as quickly as three years, some of ’em as long as 10 years. But if you just use seven years, 15%. So if you look at all the vehicles out there and you just get in this recurring churn where they’ll be taking the ice vehicles out of decommissioning those, or selling those into the market, and then bringing in the, the, the, uh, the electric vehicles. And then over time your fleet just, just ultimately grows. And then by 2030, uh, we see that, uh, the majority of people’s fleets in the like commercial space will be EVs versus ice.

Adrian Purtill (40:58):

Right. Um, Steve, I know there was a lot of research, uh, that went into your, your, uh, vehicle. What, what is, what are some of the, uh, some of the lessons learned, uh, during that, during that process?

Steven Hornyak (41:10):

You know, it was really interesting. We actually, while we were doing it, we, we, you know, we brought drivers in, right? We brought drivers that do this for a living and say, you know, what, what do you don’t like about your, your current vehicle? And they’re called step in bands. So these are step in and they’re designed because people that use these get in and out of them, right? Could, you know, could be over a hundred times a day. So you gotta have a really comfortable seating position. You gotta have easy egress, and, you know, getting in and out of the door. It’s gotta, the, the, the, the step height as low as possible, which, you know, as an electric vehicle, it lowers the whole vehicle. So actually we can lower the step height getting in. Um, it’s gotta be safe. I mean, one of the things that we learned was, um, as many safety features as we put on these, and we put all of the safety features that you would expect in a luxury car or suv.

Steven Hornyak (42:00):

We’ve either put on these vehicles or are putting on these vehicles, right? And our customers are applauding. They’re saying, Yeah, great, Steve, all of now within a reason, right? And, and, and, but, you know, um, you know, we want as many safety, uh, features that you can add to this and options as possible. Um, so that, that was, that was a lot, you know, a lot of what we, what we learned, you know, out there and we learned, you know, the behavior and how they drive and what they do and, and operate. And we applied all of those learnings into the vehicle that you see behind

Adrian Purtill (42:34):

Today, right? That, that was great, that you actually had the drivers coming in and, and giving you the feedback. I mean, they’re, they’re the ones who gonna be, you know, well,

Steven Hornyak (42:42):

They’re arguing over it. They’re arguing over who, So when you have these out in the people like, no, no, get to drive the job today. It’s comfortable. You don’t get the vibration that’s comfortable. It’s got great air conditioning, it’s got great heat, it’s got heated seats, it’s got heated steering wheel, it’s got, you know, airbags, it’s got early, you know, automated, um, you know, braking. It’s got pedestrian warning, people get in. They’re like, and, and what that does is it helps with the turnover. So as a company, if you don’t, right, so there’s a big churn in employees out there. So this is a big part of what they do. So if they like this and they’re comfortable, they’re like, Hey, I’m not leaving. I’m not gonna go back to that, that I’m not saying Yeah, I’m saying this.

Adrian Purtill (43:23):

Yeah. They wanna be on that list. On that list. Exactly.

Steven Hornyak (43:26):

Exactly.

Enrique Alvarez (43:27):

It sounds to me that you guys looked into all the different angles, uh, of this problem, and you actually have come up with a very unique and creative and efficient solution to this and adding just the drivers to the whole mix. It’s very refreshing and and empowering, because at the end day, you’re right, they are the ones that are doing the, the jobs, right? Why they should definitely be part, You have to listen

Adrian Purtill (43:50):

To the front

Steven Hornyak (43:51):

Abso Absolutely. It’s not about the people in the back office, it’s about the people driving these vehicles. And, and the cool thing is that, you know, our customers, FedEx and, and all the other people that move packages, you know, go names we haven’t announced, you know, everybody yet, but you know, they’re executives and their managers have all started in the field. So, so they get it, they come out and they’re driving these, so they’re the first ones that jump in and drive it. When we go off for demo days or, or, or otherwise, testing is the executives and the managers and they know what their vehicles do. So it’s really kind of cool to like, Okay, alright, I got this, I got that. And they’re like, Right, this is actually, drives kind like a luxury suv. This is kind nice.

Enrique Alvarez (44:29):

That’s so different experience. No, it’s, uh, I mean, congratulations to you and also to your team, to this, uh, company. Uh, it’s, it’s again, very inspiring to interview, uh, people and companies like yours. And we’re somewhat more optimistic about the future of the world when we actually talk with, uh, with people like you. So kind of to wrapping things up a little bit, I will ask you one last question. What, what does logistics with purpose mean to you?

Steven Hornyak (44:56):

So I, I think logistics with purpose is how do you help companies serve their customers better, save money, and also be environmentally friendly? So if you look at those, being able to do those three things, you’re absolutely with purpose, right? Please my customers, please my shareholders, and take care of Mother Nature,

Adrian Purtill (45:19):

Right? Yeah. Yeah. That’s a perfect, Yeah. Perfect trilogy. Um, Steven, in closing, how can our listeners, uh, connect with you and with and with Bright Drop?

Steven Hornyak (45:31):

No, absolutely. Please. Uh, our, our website is go bright drop.com, not bright job.com, but go bright drop.com, uh, or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, um, or follow me, um, on LinkedIn as well. Um, you know, we’ve got lots of who are moving very quickly and, and you know, I would say there’s, there’s lots of incredible news that, uh, we have in the plans in the works, um, over the coming weeks and months as we move forward. So would, uh, would love for you guys to connect with us or any interest in the product or what we’re doing out there, please reach out to me and I’ll make sure that we follow up with you quickly.

Adrian Purtill (46:06):

Thank

Enrique Alvarez (46:07):

You. Thank you. Thank you so much, Steve, for being here today. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you and getting to know your company a little bit better. Uh, we wish you the best and congratulations again, and for everyone else that’s listening to episodes like this, if you like them and you enjoy kind of, uh, the experience of sharing, uh, this great projects with, uh, everyone else, just feel free to join us, uh, once again and Calz with Logistics with purpose. Have a great day and I’ll see you later.

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Featured Guests

Steve Hornyak is BrightDrop’s Chief Revenue Officer, responsible for developing the company’s sales and marketing strategy, partnering with customers to grow a new delivery ecosystem. Before joining BrightDrop, Steve was Chief Commercial Officer at Fabric. While at Fabric, Steve helped clients improve their logistics with automates micro-fulfilment centers. In addition to Fabric, Steve has held various executive and senior management roles with Symphony Retail, Trax Retail, Brickstream/Nomi (now Teledyne FLIR), Clarus, SQL Financials and PwC. Steve earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Virginia Tech. Connect with Steve on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Enrique Alvarez

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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Adrian Purtill

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.

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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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Vicki White

Controller

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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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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

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Greg White

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

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

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

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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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Host of TEKTOK

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

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

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is 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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Jeff Miller

Host

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

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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

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

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

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

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

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Ben Harris

Host

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

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

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

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

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

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