Compressing any life’s journey into a single conversation is hard under normal circumstances and becomes much more difficult when the person has worn so many different ‘hats’ or uniforms. Each of those roles shapes who the person is, and the reason for making each choice is a wonderful way to learn more about them.
Eric Gates is the Founder and CEO of Devil Dog Coffee Company as well as a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a Retired officer from the Austin, Texas police department. When he lost a dear friend to an active-duty shooting, he turned to alcohol for support. AA helped him realize that alcohol was not the solution he needed, and so he went to seminary and was ordained so he could minister to others. After serving the community by working in alcohol and drug treatment centers, he remembered the horrible coffee he used to drink during AA meetings and founded the Devil Dog Coffee Company. Today he makes a living by selling a beverage that literally saved his life.
In this episode of Veteran Voices, produced in partnership with Vets2Industry, co-hosts Monica Fullerton, Founder and CEO of Spouse-ly, and Scott Luton speak with Eric about:
• The power and vulnerability associated with accepting that sometimes difficulties are too much to handle alone
• How much we all have in common – regardless of what walk of life we come from
• The ways in which freedom and creativity go hand in hand, growing stronger along the way
Welcome to veteran voices, a podcast dedicated to giving a voice to those that have served in the United States, armed forces on this series, jointly presented by supply chain now, and vets to industry. We sit down with a wide variety of veterans and veteran advocates to gain their insights, perspective, and stories from serving. We taught with many individuals about their challenging transition from active duty to the private sector, and we discussed some of the most vital issues facing veterans today. Join us for this episode of veteran voices.
Scott Luton (00:43):
Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton and special guest hosts, Monica Fullerton, right with you here on veteran voices. Welcome to today’s episode, Monica, founder and CEO of spousely. How are you doing? I’m doing
Monica Fullerton (00:56):
Good, Scott, how are
Scott Luton (00:57):
You? Wonderful. You know, I think this is officially your second episode. Co-hosting with us. We had a great one with Katie, not too long ago. And what we have read about today’s guest. This is going to be a special intriguing episode as well. Huh?
Monica Fullerton (01:12):
It’s always a good time on veteran voices. So thank you so much again for having me and yes, today’s guest is going to be amazing.
Scott Luton (01:19):
Wonderful. Now, listen, Monica, let’s make a little deal. Don’t pick on me because of this ugly shirt I’m wearing. There’s a story behind that. We’ll, we’ll let you in on that a little after today’s episode, but most importantly, we’re excited about our guest today and his POV that he’ll be sharing. So let me tee a few things up programming wise. So folks listening in tuned in whether the video version of the podcast version, Hey, today’s program is part of supply chain. Now family of programming. Uh, our show is conducted in partnership, Monica, with our special firstname.lastname@example.org, nonprofit, doing big things for our better community, check them out. They need your support. Uh, but most importantly, if you’re a veteran in transition or just a veteran in general, military spouse, a veteran family, check out their vast array of vetted email@example.com. Now, one of the things big, thanks to Kelly Barner and our friends at buyer’s meeting point at the LP for procurement, for their support and their sponsorship of the series.
Scott Luton (02:17):
You can learn firstname.lastname@example.org. Okay, Monica, we got our heavy lifting out of the way. You ready to dive into our guests here today? I’m ready. Alright, buckled up. Ready to go. So let’s introduce our guests here. So today we’re going to be interviewing a fellow veteran founder. Our guest served in the United States Marine Corps and also spent nine years as a police officer in Austin, Texas. Keep it weird. Austin loved that town. In fact, it’s been said that our guests lives to serve others. And I think we’re going to hear a lot more about that here today. He’s only mission. Get this to bring people together to foster deeper and more meaningful relationships, sometimes around delicious coffee, which we’re going to hear about. Let’s welcome in Eric Gates, founder and CEO of devil dog coffee company. All right, Eric, how are you doing
Eric Gates (03:06):
Great, Scott. Good to see you and meet you and Monica. Hello again. Hello.
Scott Luton (03:11):
So again, really your reputation through Monica and through what we have done our homework, our own kind of procedure yourself already admire your servant leadership and your action oriented leadership. And we’re learning a lot more about that here today, but Monica, you’re a big fan of Eric Gates. Am I right?
Monica Fullerton (03:27):
I am a huge fan of Eric and Eric has actually been my by my side on this journey was spousely as well for pretty much a long time now since launching. So I am a huge fan of Eric.
Scott Luton (03:39):
Wonderful. Well that, that that’s going to make two of us here today. So Eric let’s dive right in. We love to kind of level set initially that universal question, you know, where folks from and tell us that, but also tell us, give us the goods on your upbringing a little bit. So Eric, tell us more. Sure.
Eric Gates (03:55):
So I was born and raised in west Germany when the cold war was still going on. My mother is German. My father is a retired army CID agent and we grew up in a small village in Germany and I had family on the other side of the wall living in east Germany. And so, wow. Yeah, it was really a really intense environment, especially as a kid growing up.
Scott Luton (04:29):
Um, Eric and Monica, I was just re reading about this other day. I had kind of things as historical things you forget about, but how they basically implemented the Berlin wall, like overnight kind of under darkness in a split second for folks knew it. You had a divided country in many ways, Eric.
Eric Gates (04:47):
Right. It was really tough growing up and not being able to see my relatives on the other side of the wall on a regular basis. I mean, when, you know, you knew your family was there, but it wasn’t easy to get across to go see them. And so it was fun when my grandfather would smuggle Levi, BlueJeans and vinyl records over to our relatives in the east. So that was always cool to hear him doing that and, you know, making sure that they had a little bit of us over there.
Scott Luton (05:18):
Yeah. I love that Eric Monica, that I think we could probably dive in deep on the episode, just dedicated to Eric’s grandfather. Yeah.
Monica Fullerton (05:26):
I was going to say it’s always the small things that make the biggest impact and you know, just hearing that, I mean, we’re all, we all have smiles on our face because we know just how meaningful that was at that time.
Scott Luton (05:38):
Hmm, absolutely well said. So we’re gonna have to bring your grandfather back on an episode and he could probably write a book about some of his experiences, but, uh, I love hearing that. So let’s, if we could, so you grew up in west Germany. What else was special about your upbringing, uh, that you really look back fondly on? I
Eric Gates (05:56):
Really love the fact that I was
Scott Luton (05:58):
Really close to my German family and we were the majority of my childhood. We were in Germany. So I didn’t really get to know my grandparents or family on my dad’s side. Now some of the family on my dad’s side that I did get to know where my uncle, Tommy uncle Tommy, and I heard stories of my uncle Eddie, but they were both in the military with my dad. And so uncle Eddie was in the air force. Uncle Tommy was a green brain Vietnam, and my dad started as an MP and they all joined during Vietnam. All three, you put in to go to Vietnam. The only one who went was uncle Tommy, uncle Eddie went to England. My dad went to Germany and that’s where he met my mom. So growing up in my family, I began to learn really quickly the life of service that so many of my family members had lived.
Scott Luton (06:50):
My German grandfather, my OPA, the one who I mentioned to you would take the records and the genes over to east Germany. He actually was in the German air force during world war II. A lot of my German family were in the German military during world war II. Most of them were killed by the Russians on the Eastern front, but I just, my DNA from my family. The thing that I really appreciate the most is just the DNA of wanting to serve others and to be there for others clearly to be a part of something bigger than myself. Clearly you got, your family has quite the track record in that regard. Um, so let’s switch gears over to, uh, your time in service, of course, in the Marine Corps. So tell us about that, how long you serve your deployments, just what you did. Tell us more about that.
Eric Gates (07:41):
Sure. So I joined the Marine Corps in October of 1991 and I served until October of 1999. It was pretty much peace time. There was not a whole lot going on. I got into right on the tail end of desert shield, desert storm. We did not expect that to finish as quickly as it did. And I was in Marine infantry. I started in Marine infantry and then I went into Marine reconnaissance. And so we would do just a lot of more specialized missions and training for more behind the lines type of situations. I loved it. I absolutely loved it. We always considered ourselves high speed, low drag. That meant that we got to do a lot of the cool stuff that normal infantry units didn’t get to do. And at that time we were not considered part of special operations command or any type of specialized division within the Marine Corps, but it’s been really great to see how Marine recon has moved under that umbrella of special operations in the past 10 years or so. I’m a little jealous of the guys that put all the fancy equipment. Now. It was crazy. The backpacks that we had issued to us were from Vietnam. I mean, when I waterproofed my radios in Marine reconnaissance, I was using hefty garbage bags from home Depot. And now they’ve got these real fancy boxes. They put them in and waterproof and all that stuff. So we
Scott Luton (09:18):
Couldn’t have any of that. It’s a lot
Eric Gates (09:19):
Different. That’s right. That’s right. It’s a lot different.
Scott Luton (09:23):
So I’ve got one more question before I turn it over to Monica, as we walked through kind of your post-military career and all the cool things you’ve been up to. Have you ever seen that movie heartbreak Ridge? All right. You got to leave it to the air force. Scott is going to ask you a stupid, silly question, but how much of that was ever remotely, like what it was to be in the Marines.
Eric Gates (09:43):
So they actually filmed a lot of their training scenes on camp Pendleton and that whole area where they were training. And when they dove into the big mud pit and wrestled with the infantry guys and everything, that’s an actual place on camp Pendleton. Now, the only thing that’s very accurate about that movie is just the, the way that Marine recon units are viewed. At least back when I was in, we were, we were kind of looked down upon by the regular infantry units, almost like this attitude of, oh, you, you know, you think you’re hot stuff and well, you know what, you’re just gonna have to do what the rest of us do. Just because you recon doesn’t make you any different. We’re all Marines. You know? And so I saw in related to that tension between, I’m trying to remember the character saying, but the gunny highway getting highway in his, his, uh, platoon of recon Marines, and then, you know, just the numb skulls that were leading the infantry guys. So, um, and I will say in recon, we did call some of the infantry guys knuckle draggers because, uh, they just were ops. I mean, they, they on me see machine gun on hill, me attack, you know, it’s like, well, there’s a smarter way we can do this. You know, I have to do a frontal assault. So
Scott Luton (11:17):
Hello. I appreciate you entertaining a stupid question, but, uh, you know, w we all lived through movies and of course, Clint, Eastwood’s one of the con, okay, Monica, we gotta put our adult britches back on. So I’m gonna pass the Baton to you.
Monica Fullerton (11:29):
Eric, let’s talk about your post-military, uh, professional journey. You know, I know you have a few different careers under your belt, and I know that they are all so inspiring and one thing has led to another. So will you kind of walk us through what all of those look like and, you know, the ones that you are still doing as well?
Eric Gates (11:49):
Definitely. When I was transitioning out of the Marine Corps, I was trying to find a line of work that was a good fit for me. So I was also getting my degree from Texas a and M university. So if there’s any Aggies out there listening to this gig and hope we do well on the sec this year. And so, um, I got my degree in history. Didn’t really know what to do with that. And I had this whole background in Marine reconnaissance, and I thought about becoming an officer in the Marine Corps, but the Marine Corps doesn’t promise you anything. They don’t guarantee that you’re going to end up in the field that you’ve been trained in. And so my dad was a Texas ranger at the time after he retired from the army, he became a Texas ranger. And I asked him, you know, what do you think I should do?
Eric Gates (12:39):
He said, look, I’ll ask around at some police departments and, you know, get you to talk to some guys. And you can start applying at different places, which is what I did. And the first place in Texas that hired me out of Fort worth Houston, San Antonio, San Marcus, Austin was Austin. They were the ones who said, look, we’re getting to academy started up in January 98. So I started the police academy. What was so attractive about that line of work was again, the sense of mission, the sense of serving the community, the sense of being a part of something bigger than myself, comradery, teamwork. Also, I have to tell y’all, I am not a big fan of having to do a lot of clothes shopping. I do not like wearing suits and ties. I CA I really despise wearing suits and ties. It just feels like it’s choking my neck.
Eric Gates (13:28):
And so it’s great to be able to wear a uniform and not have to worry about what am I going to wear today. So somebody else can make that decision for me, I’m as happy as a pig in slop. And so I, yeah, I got out there and was a police officer for nine years. And after September 11th happened in November around Thanksgiving time, a really dear friend of mine, who I had actually been as field training officer. And he was an army veteran Clinton hunter. He was killed by convicted felon in the line of duty. And it was that night that I had decided to take off from work because I needed a mental health day. And so, and I had, I had it up to here with people’s stuff, but when Clinton died, it really sent me into a tailspin with grief and loss and sadness and anger and confusion and guilt.
Eric Gates (14:20):
I felt really guilty that I wasn’t out there with him when that happened. And so over the course of five years from oh one to oh six, I had a lot of personal struggles and I realized, wow, you know, alcohol, isn’t really doing a lot of good things for me. It’s just keeping me more and more depressed and down. And the feelings just kept coming up stronger. And so it was in that, that I got into recovery and got sober in may 16, 20, uh, oh six. And I got out of the police department and started a life in ministry. And so from there, I went to seminary. I was working in the alcohol and drug treatment centers, cleaning up people’s vomit and cleaning bathrooms and changing bed sheets to solve this stuff, this current work, and went to seminary and became a spiritual director and treatment centers, and then became ordained and started working in a local church in downtown Austin. I was there for five years and back in 2019, I went to a small church out in Bryan, Texas, which is the twin city of college station where Texas a and M. And so I kind of went back to my life of having been there for a little bit. And now I’m the pastor at the small country church. And I, at the same time in 2019, started up double dog coffee company. And those are kind of the careers. Yeah. So that’s been my journey.
Scott Luton (15:54):
We’re going to touch on that. And so Eric, we gotta, you know, there’s so many questions we have so little time, I can only imagine, I mean, what you’ve laid out, if I can back up for a second Monica, if I can’t, you know, some, would you say, you know, as, as, uh, veterans are trying to transition out and some of what they go through, whether you’re combat veterans or not the, the three or four or five-year period, I didn’t catch it as dates. Exactly. But some of what you were experiencing as you were dealing with the loss of a sound like a partner, how did you find out about yourself, especially when you, when you finally made a decision to, you know, to move forward? What’d you find out about Eric GatesAir?
Eric Gates (16:35):
So, yeah, I was in my personal life self-destructing I would show up to work and I would keep it together. I was doing okay at work and I just was self-destructing personally. And so it was in my darkest moment that I realized I was a very broken man and I really needed some help. And I wasn’t able to manage the crisis anymore. I mean, in the Marine Corps, in the police department, I had been trained to go into an unknown environment and take control and take command of that situation and to find a resolution and to fix the problem within, you know, 15 or 20 minutes, especially as a cop, sometimes fixing it within five minutes. And so I realized, well, I can’t, wow, I can’t fix this. There’s something going on here. And I realized in that moment, Scott, when you asked me, what did I learn about myself?
Eric Gates (17:36):
I realized in that moment that I am not the be all end. All I realized in that moment that my ego was writing checks that my spirit couldn’t cash. And I, it leading me down a path of self destruction. And I was a very arrogant person. I was a very closed minded person. I viewed everything in black and white right or wrong. I was very judgmental of people who were different than what I looked like. And all of this stuff came up. And I didn’t realize that all of this stuff was inside of me, but Clinton’s death is, and was the catalyst that broke, open this little, pretty glass ball that I thought was my perfect world. And when that was shattered, I realized, wow, my world’s not going to be the same anymore. That there are people who are in the same struggle that I am, and it doesn’t matter how much money I have. It doesn’t matter that I’m a police officer and I’ve got all this authority and power. I am just like this person sitting to the left and right of me in these rooms of AA and Alabama, and, you know, I had a bachelor’s degree. They had a GED and here we were at the same place. Right. And I thought, wow, it’s the ultimate equalizer. And so it was very humbling.
Scott Luton (19:12):
So one quick thing, and Monica know that he kind of took us up to the point. We’re going to talk about entrepreneurship next, but really quick, if you’re listening to this, I think one of the challenges we have that, that Eric is so open and transparent about sharing is not asking for help, right. Not asking for help. And now we have even more reasons, especially as a veteran community too, uh, and more things, the process, and it’s really important if you need help, there’s nothing wrong with putting that hand up, making that call and asking for it. And on the other side, if you’re in a good spot, reach out to people, reach out to veterans that may be isolated and you know, now’s the time to make those connections. So Eric, thank you so much for letting us use your story to help so many others, which I know you do day in and day out anyway. So Monica, thank you for that little departure there, but where are we going to go next?
Monica Fullerton (20:00):
Yeah. Let’s talk about entrepreneurship and what’s led you into that path as well. Cause I know, you know, one thing builds off of another. So I would love to hear, you know, what inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
Eric Gates (20:13):
Sure. I never knew I had the entrepreneurial spirit within me and when I would sit in those rooms of AA and we would all hold the same little styrofoam cup, the copy that was in there was God awful. It was, it was some of the worst. I mean, you had alcoholics who were making the coffee. And so, you know, they, they weren’t the best. We’re not talking about, you know, baristas here. So with that, that, that drink would bring us together. And so I just say that because in 2006, that became a very important thing in my life. Coffee replaced the alcohol, the ritual of making a coffee drink in the morning, replaced the rich full of making a white, Russian, or a toast at all meant or some other drink with liquor or alcohol. And so it was very important for me to replace that ritual.
Eric Gates (21:09):
Well, fast forward to 2019, I go on a trip with some of my colleagues in ministry. We go to Israel and Palestine and it was in Israel and Palestine. And I would sit with Israelis and I would sit with Palestinians and we would be in these coffee shops. And just to have conversation with them over coffee was amazing because just like in AA, I saw the power of how it brought people together from different walks of life and different backgrounds and worlds apart. And so I get home from that trip and I am not a fan of working for other people. It’s not something that I particularly like to do because in most workplace settings, those environments tend to stifle my creativity. They tend to stifle my ability to live into ideation or coming up with ideas or visioning a new way or a better way or a more fun way of doing something.
Eric Gates (22:19):
And so having been in workplaces where I wasn’t supported in being able to live into those strong parts of my personality, I thought, you know what? I want to start up my own business and what, what I want to do that I’m really passionate about money, not being an issue. What do I want to do that I can start small and just build on that? Well, what I shared with you all coffee is something that I’m really passionate about. This drink has literally saved my life. Wow. It has kept me away from alcohol. It’s something that I absolutely love. There’s so much science behind coffee about behind the roasting process. There are so many different beans from around the world. Hundreds, if not thousands that you can try. I mean, it’s, the possibilities are endless. And so being able to connect with that passion with this drink that saved my life and start my little business on GoDaddy for 19 bucks a month.
Eric Gates (23:27):
I mean, why not try it? And it gave me a much better attitude working in the church and being in that environment where people, they have a certain expectation of you. They look at you a certain way and do you have to play that part? And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m saying that that can really stifle your ability to be creative, creative, to be your genuine self, to work different hours than maybe what you’re expected to work. And so that’s what drove my passion to start devil dog coffee, and to really push into that entrepreneurial spirit. And it’s worked really well for me.
Monica Fullerton (24:19):
Yeah. It’s, it’s so inspiring Eric, every time I talk to you, I always leave the conversation, just feeling so inspired and it definitely drives everything home to what I’m doing with spouse, because it’s exactly what you said, the power of communication, being able to find ways to support one another and just being a part of the journey with each other and your, your story is just so inspiring. And I know you answered already a few questions that I already had on deck. So I would love to just jump right into, you know, what’s coming up, what’s in the works I’ve been waiting to hear. So can you share with us what you have going on?
Eric Gates (24:57):
Sure. So my business up until about a week or two weeks ago has been primarily online sales through Shopify, and then also partnering with spousely.com and having my products on your platform, Monica, which has been really outstanding and also setting up a small table at small vendor or market events in my local community. That’s been my business model up until this point. I dabbled some in wholesale and getting my products into local convenience stores and other like small business owned restaurants. But that was a lot of work for a little, very little off the juice wasn’t worth. The squeeze is exactly, exactly right. I felt like I was spinning my wheels and it kind of felt like I was getting into a rut and being stuck. And so there’s a dear friend of mine, Tom Thoreau. He owns a marketing company up in Syracuse, New York called tango squared.
Eric Gates (26:08):
I met him in Dallas a couple of years ago at the veteran edge. And veteran edge is an entrepreneurial event held by the Institute for veterans and military families at Syracuse university IVMF. And if you don’t know about IBMF, if you haven’t heard of them, I really encourage anybody who is wanting to start their own business to look up IBM, IBMF at Syracuse university. They help them wonderful resources. They have great boot camp programs for guiding veterans and military family members who were starting their own businesses into getting help and growing. So it’s a great childless type of organization and a lot of it’s free. And so they really quick
Scott Luton (26:56):
Eric for anyone listening. And we’ll try to include this link in the show notes. So the Institute for veterans and military families is I think what you’re referring to and folks all can find that at IVMF dot Syracuse dot E D U good stuff there. So Eric, you were saying, um, how, how your model was evolving, I think, right.
Eric Gates (27:15):
That’s right. And so Tom said, look, you know, I agree with you, Eric, you need to be out in the community. And so I kept thinking, how can I be out in the community? And I looked at a coffee shop location. Well, brick and mortar locations are just super expensive here in Austin, Texas. I don’t know if any of y’all heard, but a lot of people are moving to Austin. It’s one of the hottest markets, right? And so the cost of living has gone up tremendously. And that’s why I moved to little Buda, Texas, just south of Austin, about 15 minutes south. And so I was looking around and I stumbled across this website called use vending.com and used vending is an awesome website. And I’m going to plug them because they were absolutely outstanding. And I’m, I’m shameless in giving props and shout outs to people who’ve been brave who helped me, but they have all of these different food trucks for sale. And they had a lot of different coffee trucks for sale. And so I kept thinking about, well, what size do I need? And I knew the general length of vehicle that I could work with in the places that I wanted to go to
Scott Luton (28:35):
Eric, just for anyone, if they want to buy a truck, what does that does that, is that 20 feet? Is that 30 feet? What does that right.
Eric Gates (28:41):
So I was looking anywhere from 15 to 25 feet in length and they have vehicles longer than that. They even have old mobile RVs really converted into the
Scott Luton (28:55):
Full 53 foot drive.
Eric Gates (28:57):
Yeah, it’s crazy. Yeah. Seriously, they get that at large in size. And so I got a 23 foot van from used vending and it was located out in Arizona. And so a couple of months ago, my brother and I flew to Phoenix and then we drove up about 40 minutes north of Phoenix. And the Maricopa county picked up the van from the seller and used vending. They acted as the broker between myself and the seller. So they verified the title. They verified that this vehicle was legit. They made sure that there wasn’t any shenanigans happening. They reassured the seller that I was legitimate. And so when all that was said done, I met the seller in person, really awesome guy and his name’s Nick and his wife, Kimberly just really great people. And my brother and I drove the van back to Buda from Phoenix.
Scott Luton (29:55):
I got to ask you, did you capture any of that wonderful road trip? Did you document your journey via social or anything or capture lots of pictures and videos?
Eric Gates (30:04):
So I got a lot, I got quite a few pictures. It was hard to get videos cause we were out in the middle of nowhere, a lot of the time. And also it was just kind of stressful. I was under a lot of stress with having a vehicle that I’d never driven before. It’s a six ton vehicle. Wow. I’ve never driven a vehicle that heavy before. And also max speed on a good day is 65 miles an hour. So it was, it was a lot of work getting it back and the air conditioning wasn’t working. And so, yeah, it was really, really difficult to change
Scott Luton (30:43):
What I’m hearing Eric. It is,
Eric Gates (30:45):
It is it already has. It already has. So I did a lot of work on it. I fixed up a lot of things and just this morning I was at a gym in Austin, uh, where I exercise and opened it up for shop. And a lot of the gym members came out and bought coffee. And last Saturday I didn’t, I did an event with a couple of air force veterans. They were J TAC air force veterans and serve in Afghanistan and they were doing a it’s called a catch-all lift foundation. So catcher lift foundation is a nonprofit in Virginia. Again, an awesome nonprofit. If you’re a veteran and you’re out of shape or you’re struggling with getting back into shape, contact, catch a Lyft and they will actually deliver free gym equipment to your garage expense really is
Scott Luton (31:37):
Eric would call gym equipment around here, clothes hanging equipment around here. I don’t know if y’all can relate to that.
Monica Fullerton (31:44):
Oh, that is what mine is. Yep. I’ve been, my husband keeps telling me he’s going to sell our spin bike. Cause I can’t, I don’t use it. And I was like, knowing I can think so many clothes on it. So Eric, I have a question. How can we get some spousely branding on that amazing coffee truck? That would be awesome.
Eric Gates (32:04):
Right. And so one of the things that I was going to do is reach out to businesses and see if they wanted to become sponsors. And they could either do a per event.
Monica Fullerton (32:16):
We can do a QR code on.
Eric Gates (32:18):
Right, right. So it could either.
Eric Gates (32:23):
Right. And I was gonna say, could either be a per event, like a small fee for each event that I do. If the company wants their logo right by the serving window, that’s where it would be placed if they want to do like a three month deal and see how it goes. Or six months or a year, I was looking at different levels of giving to have a company’s logo on the vehicle because I’m already starting to get asked to be at events that are going to be big next month. Actually, I’m sorry, this month I already have two events. The Harley Davidson, Austin they’re nine 11 ride for the badge. And then they have got another event on September 25, their ride with the wind, which is an event for women motorcycle riders. And yeah. So, and then south by Southwest Austin city limits. Huge. And that’s, that’s the great thing about my band is it’s mobile. So I can pick and choose where I want to go and what events I want to be at. I’m not stuck like a brick and mortar. So
Scott Luton (33:26):
Eric, I want to, I want to make sure for folks that can’t be where you are and where you’re your new business expansion vehicle is, but they want to purchase devil dog coffee company products. I know that from what I can tell on the website, y’all do like cold press coffee, but what, what are, what are some of your core products? So just in case folks know that we’ll put a link to your spouse’s site on the episode page, can you can folks get whole bean GRA
Eric Gates (33:54):
Great question, Scott, because I get asked this a lot by people that do order. So we primarily do whole beans. However, the customer has a request for the beans to be ground that specific way. Then we’ll make sure the beans are ground for the way that the customer needs it. We do the whole beans normally because people want to make it their own way. So there’s a lot of different ways to make copper brewed coffee and so many different grinds that go into different styles of brewing and spousely is yeah, the place that you can go and find buy products. And I do offer free shipping for any purchases of $50 or more. And I have pretty much all of my whole bean products up there on spousely I’m not able to ship the cold brew coffee because it’s preservative free. It’s an extremely fresh product. And so you don’t have any chemicals put in there to extend shelf life or anything like that. So, um, I would encourage you all to come visit Austin sometime, and then you can get some of my cold brew, but if you can’t make it, I’m more than happy to ship it wherever you are. And I can ship internationally as well.
Scott Luton (35:06):
I love it. I thought you were about to say I’m willing to drive where you are so you can enjoy well, Hey one last thing one last thing, two quick questions. And then we’ll wrap up and I want to get Monica’s latest own spouse and make sure folks can connect. What’s your brother’s name? You’ll give your brother a shout out. You know, he went out there and we all need, we all need brothers and sisters and our businesses, you know, they’re, they’re such great resources. Uh, tell us about your brother,
Eric Gates (35:33):
My brother, his first name. [inaudible] it’s a German name, but it’s pronounced full Kamar and it’s spelled V O L K M a R. And my brother, he’s a retired school teacher. Here we go back to the life of service. So he was the math teacher for seventh and eighth graders at a title one school in Houston, Texas. And that’s where he and his wife and daughter live now. But yeah, he, he was great. He was great. Now he didn’t enjoy sitting in the band, uh, not being close to the AC that was working. In fact, when we got to Valentine, Texas at two 30 in the morning, the first thing he said when he got out of the band was you tortured me the whole entire way here. And I was like, man, it’s two 30 in the morning. I couldn’t even get into this. So I let him drive the next day.
Scott Luton (36:25):
Oh, I bet y’all have some great conversations, experienced food all along the way. We’ll have to bring him back and get his side of the story. All right. One follow-up question for you, Eric. And how can folks come beyond spouse at which we’re going to put that, that direct link on the episode page? How can folks connect with you and devil dog coffee company?
Eric Gates (36:44):
Sure. So the two great ways Facebook or Instagram devil dog coffee company is past or the name and also I’m on Twitter at devil dog coffee. And if they want to subscribe to my newsletter, they’re able to do that through my website, devil dog coffee company.com. Wonderful.
Scott Luton (37:05):
Hey, uh, from a veteran founder to veteran, founder, love what you’re doing. Uh, I really, you know, your story of self w what you went through and then you get to a point and you just grab your inner soul and your character, you know, in your fists. And, and then you, you pull yourself up and you, and all of a sudden do a course of that transformation. Now you’re the resilient entrepreneur. That’s building your own business and by all accounts love and every single hour of it. And that whole, that whole story is just, there’s so much power there while you keep serving other folks through your ministry and through some of your other things. So keep fighting the good fight. Uh, we’ll have to have you back as your business continues to expand, but it’s an honor to get to know you here. Uh, Eric Gates, thanks so much for joining us on veteran voices.
Eric Gates (37:52):
Definitely Scott and Monica and Scott. I just have one request to you all. Please pray for me. I am actually in the process of going back into the military, into I am at 47, going back into the military in the Navy reserves as a chaplain. So that process looks like I may be going to MEPS the military entrance processing station next week. So pray prayers for, for that journey.
Monica Fullerton (38:19):
Absolutely. Eric, you always, always have a full plate of just so many great things. And I, Scott, I knew he would be amazing to bring on just because this is what we all need right now is, you know, just that uplifting feeling, just learning from one another. I love what you’re doing.
Scott Luton (38:36):
A will said, Monica, couldn’t say it better. Uh, and, and the us Navy needs need ya. You know, all of us need ya, but, uh, I look forward to, to hear more about your exploits and adventures as a chaplain. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed and we’ll be praying for you. Uh, we’ve been chatting with Eric Gates, founder and CEO of devil dog coffee company. Don’t want to wear you just yet. Eric Monica. I want to kind of bring you back in as a, you know, you, now you fulfilled your role as special guest hosts. Now I want to ask you just a question or two, give us the latest with spouse.
Monica Fullerton (39:09):
Yeah. So, um, we always have a lot going on, but, uh, let’s see, we are adding, uh, new vendors on a weekly basis. We have so many just amazing, uh, more stories, more vendors, um, both on the product and service side. We’re raising our first round of capital right now. So we are on we funder, which is a crowdfunding platform. So anyone who loves what we’re doing, I encourage you to please check it out. You can invest for as little as a hundred dollars and every little bit helps. Um, and we’ve got just a lot of exciting things in the works. I don’t want to share some of them too soon, but you know, everything takes time. So you’ll probably see some exciting announcements over the next year.
Scott Luton (39:50):
I love that time. Blood, sweat, tears, and coffee. We can all agree on that. Okay. And one last question for you, Monica, uh, obviously spouse lead.com and there’s a hyphen between spouse and the Elwha just to clarify that it’ll be on the show notes, but how can they connect with you?
Monica Fullerton (40:08):
Yeah, we are on Instagram and Facebook and LinkedIn. Instagram is where we share a lot of our vendors stories. We show behind the scenes and it’s just a really great place to get to know what, who we are, what we stand for and how you can be a part of it. So I highly encourage you to check us out on Instagram and follow along,
Scott Luton (40:28):
Love that. And you know, you’re, you’re, you’re living it as well as, as, uh, being a military spouse herself. And we appreciate your husband’s service and of course your family service, but even more importantly, how you’re helping other veteran and first responder or military family entrepreneurs, uh, make it happen too and expand their business. So a lot of good stuff at Spousey and, and, uh, an honor to have you co-host some of these shows with us. So look forward to that. So w that was Monica Fullerton, founder, and CEO at spousal. Thanks so much, Monica,
Monica Fullerton (40:58):
Thank you so much for having me. You
Scott Luton (40:59):
Bet. Okay. So folks hopefully enjoyed this story of transformation of perseverance and eventually of entrepreneurial excellence. And who knows where we go from here? As much as we did, you’ve been, we’ve been talking with Eric Gates and Monica forks, and then kind of getting their story, getting Eric story, kind of the backstory of devil dog coffee company. If you like stuff like this, like stories like this, be sure to check out veteran voices, wherever you get your podcasts, be sure to subscribe. So you don’t miss a single thing. We’ll send Eric after you who’s who’s buff. If you don’t subscribe, uh, be sure to check out vets to industry.org. They’re a clearing house of resources. Also nonprofit that helped take care of our fellow veteran community. We got to take care of each other as we all know. And then also a big thanks again to our dear friend, Kelly Barner and our sponsors at bars meeting point and Dow P for procurement, you can learn more at bars, Minnie point.com. Okay. Folks. That’s all I got for now. Most importantly, though, we’ll wrap on this message. Do good gift forward. Be the changes needed. We just like Eric Gates and we’ll all be in a better place. Folks. We’ll see you next summer right here on veteran voices. Thanks.
Eric Gates has lived a life of service to others and continues to do so. From being a Recon Marine, to working as an Austin, Texas police officer and serving as a pastor in DOC and UCC churches, he has found yet another new way to be of service. In August 2019 he founded Devil Dog Coffee Company and has expanded to include a coffee truck in his business model. This allows Eric to be in the community, serving gourmet coffee and making connections with people from different walks of life. Learn more about Eric and Devil Dog Coffee here
Military life often requires wearing lots of hats, and that’s especially true for Monica Fullerton. She was recently named a Trailblazer in Tech by Military Spouse Magazine and is an ambitious entrepreneur, twin mom, and Air Force spouse. She has long dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur, but she wanted her efforts to support a greater purpose than just starting a business. In an effort to provide highly transient military families, as well as those that have previously served, a space to market their products and services regardless of their duty station, Monica launched Spouse-ly. Connect with Monica on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
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 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.
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.