Many people join the military to have life experiences that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else – some of those experiences are formative and other ones just leave veterans grateful that what could have happened didn’t.
Kevin Potts is a Software Product and Marketing Executive, but his buttoned-up professionalism and polished LinkedIn persona are laid on top of seven years’ experience as an Infantry Officer in the US Marine Corps. Although he was given opportunities to develop endurance and leadership skills, his favorite stories are “How I Almost Set Southern California on Fire” and “The Joke Is on You Baby O.”
Kevin recently joined Veteran Voices co-hosts Scott Luton and Kelly Barner, host of Dial P for Procurement, to share honest, unvarnished stories about his time in the US Marine Corps and how it prepared him for his corporate career:
Welcome to veteran voices. A podcast is 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 insight perspective and stories from serving. We talked with many individuals about their challenging transition from active duty to the private sector, and we discuss some of the most vital issues facing veterans today. Join us for this episode of veteran voices.
Scott Luton (00:42):
Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton and Kelly Barner with you here on veteran voices. Kelly, how you doing?
Kelly Barner (00:47):
I’m doing great, Scott. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Scott Luton (00:50):
It is wonderful to have you back special guest host beyond all the great things you do in supply chain, procurement and global business. You’re one of the leading veterans advocates. I know. So it’s a, it’s an honor back with us
Kelly Barner (01:03):
And you know what? These are the kinds of conversations to put all the other ones into perspective because we wouldn’t be discussing the ever given or long beach or any of those other supply chain procurement type things. If it weren’t for the stories that we hear on veteran voices,
Scott Luton (01:16):
You are right. I can’t agree with you more, but that’s, that’s, uh, that’s usually the case. Uh, Kelly, you, you, you always are making man still in our thunder, making all the good points here on veteran voices and supply chain now, but Hey folks, listeners, thanks for joining us here today. We’ve got a great conversation teed up with a veteran turned marketing and product management guru, doing big things out in the industry, especially early stage high tech companies. So stay tuned for a great discussion. Hey Kelly, quick programming it. Before we get started here. I mentioned supply chain now, Hey, this program is part of the supply chain. Now family of programming today’s show is conducted in partnership with our friends at vets, two industry. They’re doing some big things. Learn about this powerful nonprofit. That’s serving a ton of our veteran, uh, community members at vets, the numeral two industry.org. All right, so Kelly, are you excited? I know you’re excited about this guest. Y’all got some common ground and some common history, so I appreciate your help facilitating this interview.
Kelly Barner (02:15):
No, I’m very excited about this. I actually, haven’t spoken to this particular guest since I had a real job back in the day when I had to drive in my car and go to a, an office. So this is, this is very exciting for me.
Scott Luton (02:27):
It is well, uh, any friend of Kelly Barnes is a friend of ours here at veteran voices. So with no further due and welcome in our guest today, he’s a Naval academy graduate and former active duty Marine infantry officer. Let’s welcome in Mr. Kevin Potts. Kevin, how you doing?
Kevin Potts (02:43):
I’m doing well, Scott, thank you very much. And Kelly, it’s great to reconnect again after all these years,
Kelly Barner (02:49):
It definitely is. You haven’t
Kevin Potts (02:51):
Changed a bit
Kelly Barner (02:52):
<laugh> <laugh>, which is definitely not true, but thank you so much. I will love you forever for saying it
Scott Luton (02:59):
Very nice. This is gonna be fun. Moving along. I’m always hesitant to put the word former into the same sentence with Marine causes once a Marine, always Marine. So I try to get that right, but we’re looking forward to diving into both your time in the, in uniform and, uh, all the great things you’ve been up to ever since. So absolutely before we get there before we even get to your time in uniform Kelly and I like to kinda, uh, better understand and, and frankly, uh, see the, the human side of our, of our guests here. So tell us where you, where did you grow up and give us some, uh, stories behind your upbringing?
Kevin Potts (03:35):
Absolutely Scott. So I grew up in, uh, town called Peoria, Illinois. Okay. Which you may have heard the same, will it play in Peoria as a, as a, a a saying from a long time ago? So Peoria, uh, is the home of caterpillar tractor. Okay. I was the youngest of seven kids. My father ran a small, small accounting firm that worked with small businesses in and around and, and at the time I, I, so I am literally the last day of the baby boomer age. So I was born on December 31st, 1964. And so when my kids say, OK, boomer there stating a fact, but back then Peoria was, um, kind of sea is the cross section of the country, at least culturally. And so many products were tested back in Peoria. And the belief was that if they were popular in Peoria, they’d be popular across country.
Kevin Potts (04:32):
I don’t know if that’s still the case anymore, but, uh, and the reason why I got that saying is Peoria was the last step on the O old, old, old Vodville line. So they would test out shows. And if the audience in Peoria loved the Vodville show, then it would go up to Chicago and start making its way back to or towards New York city. Wow. So that was kinda where that original sane, uh, came in from, uh, from Peoria, but great place to grow up. In fact, three of my best friends still live there. So when I go back home, I get to see all of them at the same time.
Scott Luton (05:05):
That’s awesome. Kelly, I tell you, I’ve learned more about Peoria in the last three minutes than I in my entire lifetime. I’ve never heard that phrase. It makes a lot of sense. Will it play in Peoria? And I can’t wait to share that with Greg white, who’ll probably has heard it and will get a kick out of it, but, um, so grow. So if I can dive a little bit deeper. So growing up in Peoria, what, from a food standpoint, from a, what you did to have fun, I mean, big family. So I bet plenty of, of, uh, colleagues for sports or what, whatever else. Yep. What was, uh, what was instrumental in your upbringing?
Kevin Potts (05:39):
Well, so both my parents worked, uh, my mom was a nurse and when I was young, she was a nurse working nights. And my dad, as I said, ran this small business. So I grew up in a, a family where I had five older sisters. And so a lot of my upbringing, at least like during the, the school day and the, during the summer was with my older sisters, I was riding around in the back seat of their boyfriend’s car. We were doing all sorts of fun stuff. You know, they, all their boyfriends knew me by name and I was kind of the sidekick that one of them had to drag along, but it was a, it was a great experience. Um, and you know, the, the thing that I think fondly of to my childhood is family dinner. And it’s a big, big thing that I like to emphasize to others is the importance of just gathering around the table. And we would have big debates around the table. My, the, this was the time of, uh, women’s liberation, Billy Jean King played forget his last name, Bobby Bobby King,
Scott Luton (06:44):
Kevin Potts (06:44):
Yeah. They, they played, it was a really big thing. Like we all watched that around the, around the show. Bobby, Bobby Riggs. Maybe Bobby. Yes.
Scott Luton (06:53):
Kevin Potts (06:54):
Bobby Riggs. Sorry. Yeah. So I’m sorry too. I show you,
Scott Luton (06:57):
<laugh> not Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs. I was trying to put ’em together. Exactly.
Kevin Potts (07:02):
Yeah, I gotcha. So, you know, we watched that live on television and my sisters were, were very much into that. And, um, you know, didn’t mean anything to me. I was a young kid. I didn’t, I didn’t understand that these topics were issues, but they were very formative. I remember us all gathering on the black and white TV to see Neil Armstrong wow. Hopping off the, uh, off, hopping off the Apollo on the moon and, and so very, very formative time, um, in terms of the country. And a lot of what I learned about that time was from the dinner table.
Scott Luton (07:34):
So I think, uh, I’m gonna switch up a Smid here, cause I’m gonna, I’m gonna get you and Kelly to, to talk about where y’all met. Cause I think that’s a very important part. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> brings all home, but based on what you just shared there, formative time, uh, on a variety of fronts, you, you attended the Naval academy. Right. And, and right. And then you went on to serve active in Marines. Talk to us about your why, right. Talk about why, why Naval academy? Why military? Yeah. Cause I think that sounds absolutely connected to what you just shared.
Kevin Potts (08:02):
Absolutely. So my parents raised us to go out and see the world. They didn’t expect us to come back to Peoria to live. They didn’t expect, they didn’t tell us what to do. But the point was was you were gonna go to college and you were gonna go out and something in the world. And you know, it wasn’t, I mean, my dad made it explicitly clear. None of us were coming back to work in his company. I mean, it was, it was not something he wanted us to do. He wanted us to go make our own path in the world. And so, you know, that that was one framework and the other, the other kind of thing that was working in my mind, I didn’t know it at the time, but you know, if you think about life and, and kind of analogy for life that, you know, what I’ve learned over time is they’re, they’re two big analogies for life.
Kevin Potts (08:52):
One is life is a battle and the other is life is a journey. And I, I think it really to demonstrate how important these two are, is that, you know, two of the greatest stories from ancient Greece that we still read today, tell those two things. Uh, one is the I, and that was life is a battle where the Greeks fighting Detroit, uh Troja and the other is life is a journey. And that’s the odysey, uh, after the Elliot and, and Odis goes and explores the world. And so you can now see that, that calling me the military, calling me in the sense of at the time, going to the Naval academy and going out and kind of seeing the world. And, and that was something that was a big promise that I was very much called to. And, and so it offered a great opportunity to do that.
Kevin Potts (09:41):
And that’s really what I thanked the military for more than anything is just the experience that I would’ve never had. Now I get into the mil, I get into the Naval academy and I’m, I’m there for four years and I’m exposed to lots of military are a officers who are the instructors and the, the company officers and the like, and Scott, the one thing that, that the Marine Corps is always doing is it’s always recruiting. It is always putting its best people in front of its recruits. And so you think about many people don’t know this, but one out of every six graduates from the other academy goes into the Marine Corps. In fact, it’s called the Naval academy and not the Navy academy because there are actually two Naval services. There’s the us Navy and there’s United States Marine Corps, right? So they both are feeders to that. So the Marine Corps was always, this kind of had this aura about it. And you, the slogan in the Navy was see the world in the army. It was, you know, maybe, I don’t know, um, it was skill, it was
Scott Luton (10:45):
Good stuff done by 9:00 AM, right? Yeah. Than anyone else does all day
Kevin Potts (10:50):
Love this commercial. And of course, you know, was learn a technical skill and, and, and master that. And you know, what people don’t understand is the Marine Corps did offered all those things. You got a GI bill, you could learn a technical skill. You could see the world, you had a lot of stuff done before 9:00 AM, but the Marine Corps never, never, never promoted that Marine Corps was always about. We are not sure you’re good enough to be one of us. So there was this sense of like, prove it. And, and that was really calling to me that that sense of leadership. And we always used to joke that every piece of Marine Corps equipment had been used for, by the army for 10 years now, and then was handed down to the Marine Corps because we won war, not with the best equipment. We won it with our Marines. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And, and that was just a, you can imagine kind of a kid coming out of the Midwest, wanting to, to kind of live this life is a battle and life is a journey and, and it kind of fell. The Marine Corps was a, the perfect place where that all came together for me. I love it.
Scott Luton (11:46):
Kelly Barner (11:59):
Absolutely. So Kevin, we know the journey that you took to get to the Marines, but what did you do once you were in? Yeah,
Kevin Potts (12:07):
That’s a brings back to a lot of memories. Kelly, that question I joined in 1887 and it was a time mostly of peace. There were some small conflicts in the world. The cold war had not yet ended. So I actually went to east Berlin on a vacation and I actually had to wear my uniform because if you were in east Berlin at that time, and you were a military person and you weren’t in uniform, you’d be caught as a spy. Wow. And the last thing I needed to do was generate an international diplomatic incident, right. As my right, as I got commissioned as a second Lieutenant, but it was a, it was a, a time of, I think piece. So, and, and we could get a sense that obviously the cold war was coming to an end. I joined the infantry and I spent two deployments overseas.
Kevin Potts (13:00):
So this is kind of my see the world stories. I have a year and a half of my life on board, Navy ship. I got to see and float through the Mediterranean and, and tour many countries in Europe and in Africa and in the middle east. And I got to spend a lot of time. Also, these aren’t necessarily the places that you would go or take your children. Let me say, they’re not, these are not necessarily places you’d go for family vacation <laugh> but I got to see a, a, a great part of the world. And, and it was a, a very, very exciting time. And then the second for my time, I was, uh, on shore and shore duty. And I spent three years out in San Diego, which is kinda like college all over again. So it was a really, really fun time. <laugh> I love
Kelly Barner (13:45):
It. And Scott, I’m not gonna cheat and get too far ahead cuz I know we’re gonna come back to that. Yep. But when Kevin was just saying about it being in college, again, this was it, Easter recurring joke within the consulting team at mTOR, which is the company that Kevin and I met at and the guy that led the team, his name was Sean Devine. He had this one icebreaker question. You’re welcome to steal it. You’re not gonna want to though his one icebreaker question was how many toes would you give to go back to college and do it all over. Wow.
Scott Luton (14:17):
Wow. So exactly. Exactly.
Kelly Barner (14:19):
So San Diego giving up toes to go back to college. Again, some that makes San Diego look pretty good, right?
Kevin Potts (14:26):
Scott Luton (14:28):
I’ll keep all my toes. Thank you. And, and I, we all had fun, but uh, um, yeah, I’ll keep all my toes. So <laugh>, I won’t be stealing that icebreaker question. Kelly, that’s a dangerous one. <laugh>
Kelly Barner (14:40):
No, you know, what has a, a, a way of not actually breaking the ice, but sort of thickening the ice a little bit, depending on who you ask
Scott Luton (14:48):
It of. Well, I can think of several hosts that have, are guests that have appeared on our joint programming, uh, Kevin and Kelly, that I would be really scared of their answer to that question. You know, some wild cards, uh, that might come to mind, Kelly. So who knows, we may have to experiment down a road a little bit. <laugh> Keeping our touch.
Kelly Barner (15:08):
Scott Luton (15:10):
All right. So we’re, we’re going next, Kelly.
Kelly Barner (15:11):
So next and, and this comes back to actually part of why Kevin’s here. So Kevin, you were just recently sharing some stories, uh, was the Marine Corps birthday. And so you were kind of digging back through your past. Now I’m gonna admit, I was surprised at some of these stories. Um, I remember right from the very beginning, almost knowing that you were a former Marine, um, although ES Scott points out, there’s no such thing as a former Marine. I remember thinking this briefing is really intense and somebody leaned over before I could see the look on my face and just said he was a Marine. Right. I gotcha. Okay. No more questions. Love it. Um, but you didn’t necessarily have the flawless straight up time and service that I would have expected having worked with you in the corporate sector. So any of those stories, or even new ones that maybe didn’t make the LinkedIn cut that you wanna share in this conversation.
Kevin Potts (16:08):
Yeah. I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you a couple stories. So, you know, what thing about the world today is we have this social profile. We have this presentations persona on LinkedIn or on social media, and we’re always putting our best foot forward. And we always think, boy, no one else ever makes mistakes. No one else has ever done anything really, really stupid. So part of my writing those stories was just to kinda break the ice to, to people I know on LinkedIn of, Hey, here’s some dumb stuff I did. And you know, I’m lucky sometimes I still think I’m lucky I’m here. But, um, and some of it was funny jokes that were played on me. And, and that was kind of the spirit of what I was trying to do, but, but in a broader context, Kelly, and I’ll tell a couple of these stories in a broader context.
Kevin Potts (16:54):
What I was trying to share with people is that the military exposes you to things that you would never get exposed to in the corporate world. And that is life enriching. So it started my summer before my senior year at the Naval academy. So I was, um, not even a Marine yet. And I was doing a tour during the summer with the Marine unit out at the Marine Corps mountain warfare center, which is somewhere in the Sierra Nevadas of, of, uh, California. And so we’re at about think of it like we’re, we’re operating at about 10,000 feet, probably a little less, like probably between eight and 10,000 feet. And we’re doing all sorts of super fun stuff. So I’m, I’m with a platoon of Marines. I have a, uh, platoon commander. He was a gunner from Vietnam. So think of this as a very, in the Marine Corps, we used the word crusty, which meant very seasoned person.
Kevin Potts (17:52):
And he took me under my wings and I under his wings, I was kind of his assistant platoon commander. And he treated me very well. Um, and made sure that I got the exposure I needed to do to make a decision about the Marine Corps, but this, you know, think about this. Like this is like outward bound, but you’re getting paid to do it. Uh, we were building rope bridges across rapid rivers. We were repelling, we were rock climbing. We were doing all sorts of super fun stuff. Learning how to maneuver a unit kind of across a mountain. And eight was really, really fun. Now Naval can academy graduates and also N R OTC graduates are often referred to as baby OS or baby zeros. Um, and that’s because the O stands for officer and they’re not yet officers yet. We’re, we’re really babies. We haven’t been commissioned yet. So the joke is, you know, they behind you back, they call you BBI O so, you know, what did BBI O do today? What, what stupid thing did BBI O do? So one of the things I was trying to, I, it was like 150 pounds. I gotta, I
Scott Luton (18:58):
Gotta interject just a second. Kevin, that seems very tame for nicknames in the Marines. I was waiting the real exciting definition of that. O and it’s. And so I gotta tell you, you you’re surprising me here.
Kevin Potts (19:14):
Well, this is probably the, the more, uh, yeah, the more friendly there were probably other names, which I never heard of <laugh>. Um, but, but Scott, they, uh, so I was 150 pound kid, really skinny, but one thing I could do is I could kind of, I’m like the Energizer buddy. I could just keep going and going and going. And one of the things that that officers always try to do is never ask more of the Marine than you are gonna do yourself. So we would often make sure that our backpack had was the heaviest one to be carried. And so I wanted to make sure that I, I don’t know that had the absolute heaviest one to carry, but I had a super heavy one and off lots of clothes, lots of gear in there and would have it. And most of this gear, you know, this is mountain warfare kind of winter style, but we were there in the summer.
Kevin Potts (19:59):
So a lot of this gear, you are never gonna wear mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, it’s got, you know, a wool underwear and stuff like that, and all sorts of rain gear, but it was a pretty heavy pack. I wouldn’t, I would venture say it was between 50 and 60 pounds, not what they were wearing in Iraq or Afghanistan, but at that time. And so I go in, at the end of this, the end of the, um, to turn my gear in the last day of the training before I’m heading back to the east coast and I’m unpacking it and there’s plow officer, you know, you’re handing it all back in and down at the bottom, there’s this plastic bag and this heavy object, and I pull it out and I unwrap it. And there is a 10 pound rock at the bottom of my pack that there’s no doubt one Marine snuck in there when I was not looking. And that rock said to baby O from the Marines of the third herd, which was the third platoon, second battalion, 23rd Marines, Las Las Vegas, Nevada. And the joke was on me and I, I, to this day, I still have that rock. It sits on my bookcase. It is no longer just a rocket is a, a memento or a piece of art from my time back when I was just learning whether I wanted to be a Marine or
Scott Luton (21:15):
Not. That is awesome. That is awesome. Kelly <laugh> well, Hey, we’re all carrying rocks physically or, um, mm-hmm <affirmative> metaphorically. Yes. Thank you, Kelly. The smart one. Absolutely. That’s why I’m here.
Kelly Barner (21:29):
Thanks for joining us, everybody.
Scott Luton (21:30):
I’ve now this killed my well, I was really be frankly, uh, Kevin, when you’re, uh, alluding to the famous Greece stories and, and mythology Kelly. I was waiting for you to dive in and tell us about Homer and, and the importance of, uh, of his writing on humankind. Huh?
Kelly Barner (21:49):
I, Hey, that’s gonna have to be another podcast. We gonna start maybe like a literary video podcast on the, I love it as part of the supply chain now.
Scott Luton (21:56):
Absolutely. It’s, it’s kind of like that little subgroup in the, uh, sitcom, the office where a couple of ’em got into lunch room for, uh, I can’t remember what they caught it, the fancy club where they reviewed. Yeah. So novel. So we’ll, we’ll hold out for that Kelly, but, um, alright. So we’re kind of that, that question, which led to that rock story. If something gets snuck in his rock, sack was part of what you had seen him sharing across social. What else before we get into some of the folks he served with? Yeah,
Kevin Potts (22:25):
I think a topical story nowaday. I, I call this story how I almost set Southern California on fire <laugh> I was
Kelly Barner (22:35):
I Kevin Fox. This is my second. Just to be clear. <laugh>
Kevin Potts (22:38):
Well, it’s topical now because obviously forest fires are yeah. Raging everywhere. You know, back in the, this was early nineties, this was probably 90, maybe early 92. Um, or in 92, I should say forest fires were not of the scale they are today. They did not make front page headlines in New York times back then, although they still happened, but they were not of that level. So we were down in San Diego and I was what was called the guard officer for a unit of that guarded, uh, basically guarded part of a Naval base. And these Marines think of these Marines, like security guards. They’re, they’re not the typical Marine that’s out storming the beaches. They are more working inside a double fenced compound and making sure that no one gets in there alive. And if they get in there, they don’t get out alive. So they’re carrying live bullets 24 hours a day and stuff like that.
Kevin Potts (23:34):
But I wanted to give them some real life what you think of as the, the fun Marine Corps training. So, uh, we were fortunate that we were about an hour and a half south of camp Pendleton, which is one of the big Marine Corps bases, um, in Southern California kind of, uh, touches the Pacific ocean between San Diego and LA. And I drove up there with one of the people I I’ll tell you about a little later to kind of get some training area reserves so I could bring the Marines up and we could do some live fire and fun stuff like that. Well, we were low, low unit on the totem pole because all the infantry units and all the artillery units in camp pen got first picked. So I’m like, you know, they’re, they’re not gonna know me from Adam and they’re gonna, they’re gonna kinda laugh me out when I asked for a training range.
Kevin Potts (24:21):
So I thought, Hmm, how am I gonna be able to do this? So what I decided was I’m gonna buy two cases of beer and I am going to drive up to the operation center at camp Pendleton, and there’s gonna be a gun re Sergeant in there. And I am just gonna carry two cases of beer in and say, gunny, I have brought you a presence. And I, this was not a quick pro quo. I was living there, whether gunny was gonna help me or not, but I felt they, it, he would understand the nice gesture and he would help me and sure enough, that gun re Sergeant secured for me, training areas that I could use. So we took the Marines up. We had some fun, we, we fired rifles, we fired machine guns. Uh, we got live hand grenades and we threw hand grenades.
Kevin Potts (25:03):
And that was a real, that was a real eye opener. I, you know, basically the, for those of you who know hand grenades like a, um, like a baseball in size, it’s got a little pin on it. You pull that pin out, start to fuse, and then it’s got about two seconds. So basically you’ve got wing that out into the range and either myself or the platoon Sergeant was standing next to each Marine as they did it, just to make sure that they remembered to duck because <laugh>, we, once again did not want any kinda casualties. So I probably once or twice, I had to grab a Marine and we ducked back behind the sandbags after the, uh, grenade or before the grades exploded. But the point was was to show them, Hey, you know, you probably have never thrown a hand grenade before. Maybe you threw one and basic training, but I doubt it.
Kevin Potts (25:48):
But, um, but you know, you gotta get comfortable with these kinds of, of things. So, so the final training, we, this is the last data out. We we’ve been up there for like three days and we’re getting kind of tired and all the final training is a live fire, not a live fire, uh, a maneuver along the hillside where we’re pretending to attack. So we’re firing blanks there. These are not real bullets, but we do have some pyro techniques. Okay. And pyro techniques are like smoke. Think of like smoke a that you would throw to mask your movement. So a big cloud of smoke would come up and you could kind of move and move behind it. And then we had, um, flares. So you would shoot a signal flare up in the air and the signal flare would maybe give it an announcement to a unit that was next to you, but not couldn’t hear you that it was time to start moving forward to start the attack.
Kevin Potts (26:33):
So there’s a certain, a signal flare. Think of it. Like it’s an aluminum tube. That’s maybe the size of a large flashlight. Okay. And there’s a proper technique where you hold it like this. So when you pop it up, it shoots straight up. Cause if you were to hold it like this and you hit it, you might hit it sideways. Well, <laugh>, I think this Marine ruined someone’s day. Probably. Yeah. This Marine did not. Yeah, exactly. Scott, this Marine did not use the proper technique. So the flare, rather than going up bounced across olden hillside of California. So this is probably late summer. Oh my gosh. You know, everything’s turned brown and so lo and behold little pockets of fire. Oh gosh. Up. And we’re sitting there and you know, like we all wanna go home now. We’re, we’re, we’re tired. We’ve been up for gotten very little sleep and, and I’m thinking maybe, maybe it’ll just go out.
Kevin Potts (27:24):
Maybe it’ll just go out. And it took a little while to Kindle, but all of a sudden we have these pockets of fire. And before, you know, it they’re all converging into one large fire and I’m thinking, holy cow, I do not wanna be the Lieutenant that makes the front page of the San Diego is having burned down 10. So this was probably completely unorthodox. And we, um, you know, every firefighting manual that, that, that they produce would probably say, don’t do this. But we got online. We had little shovels. We had some water in our canteens. Some Marines pulled off their flat jackets and we’re just flapping it down and probably over for a half hour, we finally put it out. And it was funny because each time you thought you had it out, little parts would start to, to erupt again. Wow. So, so it was a, it was a very, very good thing.
Kevin Potts (28:16):
And you know, I, to me, the story there is lots of things can kind of be obviously catastrophic. I’m not trying to downplay how bad forest fires can be. They can be awful. Mm-hmm <affirmative> sure. But the point is, is that we lined up as a team and we did what we felt we needed to do. And there was no debate. Everyone did it. And that was kind of a, that’s a, that was a great lesson that, I mean, you learn teamwork in, in the corporate world, but that’s a different kind of teamwork. I love that to Ellie.
Kelly Barner (28:45):
Oh my gosh. Absolutely. And, and you know what, not being able to quit you can’t be like, you know what I put in my time, I’m just gonna, I’ll catch you guys.
Kevin Potts (28:54):
No, I’ll see. Little more cold beer over there from those two cases.
Kelly Barner (28:57):
<laugh> exactly you guys mind if I go grab that last beer <laugh>
Kevin Potts (29:00):
Kelly Barner (29:03):
Oh, well, Kevin you’ve talked an awful lot. I about how formative the military was for you. And we sort of talked about some collective stories, but one of the things that I know people look forward to that listen to veteran voices is hearing about a couple of the individuals that really influenced you. So you talked about your, your crusty friend, right. That you served under, but how about a couple of other specific people that really made an impact on you during your time and the service? Yeah. Yeah.
Kevin Potts (29:31):
So two people that are extremely memorable to me were both people I served with out in San Diego, at north island with the nav air station, north island, where we start the first was a, a, a gentleman named major gene McCluskey and gene, he subsequently was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, but he was my commanding officer out in San Diego. He was the commanding officer of the entire Marine barracks, Marine Corps security force company out there probably about 200 Marines. Gene comes from west Texas, um, out in Odessa that area. And he had a Texas accent, but a attitude about him that was basically no show patient calm act with reason don’t get flustered, nothing could flu him. He was just so easy going. And when you were around him, you felt at ease, you didn’t feel anxious or anything like that. He made the whole unit feel at ease and, and he just had a comfortable way of interacting with everybody.
Kevin Potts (30:39):
And he really became a mentor of mine. And my last role in that, I was the executive officer of the unit. So let’s think of it as second in command. He was the commanding officer and he basically basically let me run the entire unit. The only two things I could not do because of the, you know, the, the, the regulation report. I could never promote anybody and I could never punish anybody. So he had to do all that, but everything else he let me do, um, and oversaw me and gave me advice and, and guidance and stuff like that. So he really let me step into his role and, but was there to make sure I didn’t fail. And so, so that he was probably one of the absolute best bosses I’ve ever had. And the other guy was a guy named Brian Popa. And Brian was, uh, when I first got there, he was a corporal and I believe he was meritoriously promoted to Sergeant.
Kevin Potts (31:33):
I’m not sure if he was, I think he was, meritoriously promoted to Sergeant at, uh, at north island. Meritorious promotion is when you go above and beyond your peers and you get at, uh, promoted ahead of cycle. And Brian, what astounded me about Brian was he just had a Cando attitude and he, you know, there was nothing that he, he just didn’t take no for an answer. Like, so if, if we were struggling to get something done and we ran into a roadblock, he’d come back and say, you know, captain Potts let’s think this over, let we gotta be able to do this. Let’s think this over. And he was incredibly audacious. He was just like, let’s, let’s shoot for the moon and let’s try to make it. And that was a, such a infectious attitude that, that really helped shape my kind of view of the world after, after serving with him in that, you know, a lot of success and audacity comes from your belief that you can do it, and it isn’t necessarily your credentials. It isn’t necessarily the people, you know, it’s the willpower, right. That you muster within yourself.
Scott Luton (32:44):
Mm. So I got the major McCluskey. And then Sergeant, what was his last name?
Kevin Potts (32:49):
Paua his, his last name was spelled P a Q U a. Okay. Brian
Scott Luton (32:56):
Paua have y’all. Have you, uh, had any interaction with them since you, uh, transitioned outta Marines?
Kevin Potts (33:02):
It’s funny that you say that because just recently I have reached out to both of them via email and Facebook to reconnect, not at all related to this story. Right. I mean, I didn’t even know you were gonna ask me that question, but I’ve, I’ve had this sense of trying to reconnect. The last time I talked to, um, Colonel McCluskey was probably 2002, 2003. Wow. A Marine that we both knew, uh, had passed away and we were just connecting on that.
Scott Luton (33:34):
Well, Hey, here’s to, y’all getting together and, and sharing an adult beverage and, and lots of, of, uh, stories of what y’all did together and, and getting caught up on what’s what’s transpired since. So, uh, we’d love to we’ll circle back and, and see how that goes. Kevin, please do, please do. All right. So let’s talk about, uh, I bet you’ve got, I bet you could write a book with your stories and experiences, uh, between what you did to Marines. And now we going is what, you know, after your transition and then what you’ve been doing since now, before we get into that transition, let’s just make the connection between you and Kelly, because to our listeners, uh, as Kelly alluded to earlier, you know, between ke what Kevin was sharing and stories on, on social, kind of, they, they reconnected and Kelly’s like, Hey, this is a veteran we’ve gotta get on better voices and getting to share. So how, where again, where did y’all meet? Uh, Kelly?
Kelly Barner (34:25):
So we met at a company called tus. Now, ironically, I didn’t work there a super long time. I think I was there from, oh my gosh, like 2004, 2005 to 2008. I was the associate director of consulting, actually, at least towards the end of that time, working for another veteran, uh, us Navy officer named Sean corre, not the guy that wanted you to trade out your toes. That was Sean Devine, not a veteran. This is Sean Carrell. You had to keep all your toes <laugh>. Um, but I was customer facing. And so once a year, we would have this massive conference and to tell you the truth, Kevin, you may remember it differently, but that was really the time of year that I remember having a lot of contact with marketing. So Kevin was head of marketing at mTOR for the time I was already on my procurement journey.
Kelly Barner (35:16):
So we were doing, you know, spend management work. Um, but all the rest of the year, we’d be dealing with the tech teams. We’d be dealing with finance. We’d be dealing with sales a lot, but this was kind of the one time a year that we spent a lot of really focused time working with marketing. And it’s funny because when I think back to who did, what did you learn from different people along the way? There are actually two Kevin pots, things that I learned in that brief window that I have carried with me through every single role that I’ve been in since one was at the details matter. And this particular conference was called emptor empower. And you know, around the office, it was exhausting. So you got to the point where you just empower, empower, empower. Kevin sat us all down. Nope. The details matter.
Kelly Barner (36:06):
If they matter to us, they will matter to the customers. All of this comes together. Do not. Let me hear you at the conference, referring to this is empowered. This is em, tourists empower <affirmative>. And just that mindset of it doesn’t matter what role you’re in or who you are. If you pay attention to the details, the collective quality and success of the whole team, it just, it takes a step up in a way that it can’t without that. And the other thing, now, Kevin, this may or may not be from your, your mil service, but it struck me as being a little bit drill oriented at the time, um, was that, you know, we had a, a keynote stage, right, with a big, huge convention center, but then there’d be all the little breakout rooms where people would go for panels and, and things.
Kelly Barner (36:52):
And you had said to us, it’s gonna be crowded. And it was, I mean, this was back in the days when people pack these rooms in the Seaport in Boston. And you’d said, if there is one customer standing in the room, there is not one emptor person sitting in a chair. The last person in the room to take a seat is the first em tourists person. And to me, just that, that courtesy, that sense of ex you know, not necessarily saying, oh, you know, we’re here to serve you, not so much that kind of messaging, but just little ways of discretely communicating respect. That’s one of those things that I have always carried with me. So it was a, it was a fun job from my perspective. It was about up the next closest thing to college. It was consulting. So it was 8,000 and a half percent travel, but it was, it was a blast. It was the kind of job you worked, you know, Allnighters and you know, for days and days and days you worked, but it was a really fun place to work. And I feel very fortunate that in that short window of time, my path crossed with Kevin’s. Mm.
Kevin Potts (38:02):
Kevin, your response. Yeah. Well, so first Kelly, I’m, I’m very touched. You, you bring up points that I had long since forgotten, but I’m glad that they, they made a, a impact on you. And, um, it brings back a lot of memories of that. Um, what I remember. So, so I, if you think about how easy it is to talk to Kelly, she had three or four other peers and a boss that were carbon copies. I mean, this was a group that you loved to hang out with at the end of the work week, grabbing a beer or something like that. And Kelly was so approachable and so friendly from a personal point of view, personal rapport, right. Very, very friendly. But the other part is Kelly knew the customers and she knew the customers that were willing to talk. And the customers that had good stories because she, she was doing the business consulting to help them. So if a customer had a really good story and was a good speaker, I needed to work with Kelly to recruit that person. And it’d be someone like Kelly who had the bond. Like they wouldn’t answer my call. Right. They answer a call from Kelly.
Scott Luton (39:11):
So my question is, did it take two cases of beer can cooperate?
Kevin Potts (39:17):
Scott Luton (39:18):
Did take two toes. <laugh> oh, and I won’t go, we won’t touch champagne already. That holidays only S only. Okay. So, uh, I know an an hour never does these justice, but I want to, um, now that we’ve kind of gone forward after you transition and made a connection between Kelly and Kevin. Now I wanna go back to, uh, separating from the Marines. Tell us a little bit about that transition. And then also at the same time, some advice for any of our military MIS uh, members listening or veterans listening that are, and, and working their way out, uh, up up the, uh, private sector.
Kevin Potts (40:00):
Yeah. So, you know, my transition is probably, uh, I was very fortunate in, in one way and that when I transitioned, I was going back to school. So I was using school as a couple of year, uh, a graduate degree in this case, a graduate degree in business, as a way to kind of help me a build a network B build, you know, be able to speak the vernacular of business and kind of helping that transition. I know many, many vets don’t have that luxury. So many people are going straight into the workforce. And, and I can’t, you know, I, that would’ve, I imagine that would’ve been very, I imagine that is very, very difficult. Um, and I didn’t have to do that. So I went to business school and then I worked at a consulting firm for a couple years after that, which I look at as kind of like a post from business school, where you get even more for, in how businesses
Scott Luton (40:58):
Work. And when you say consulting firm, if I’m not mistaken, one of the, basically like big four, right. Is a big firm, right?
Kevin Potts (41:04):
Correct company called McKinsey, which is a, it was a, it was a great opportunity for me. I got, once again, I got to go back and travel the world. They took me to China. They took me to France. They took me to the UK. Wow. But I also spent a lot of time in, in central Texas, um, on what kind of study you got. But, but I overall, I, I did very well in terms of the, the parts of the world I got to see, and, and the work I got to do, and it was, it was very, very exciting, but yes, it was a great kind of transition. And so that thing of that is like four years from my time in the Marine Corps, before I actually got into a job, which became my career and that was in marketing, in high technology.
Kevin Potts (41:43):
Um, and I was email@example.com boom. So it was kind of a great time to, uh, to realize that I wanted to be in technology and I wanted to be in marketing, but it, it took four years to figure that out for me now, piece of advice that, that I, you know, and this is not advice I followed <laugh>, it was advice I figured out over, over 20 plus years of, but oftentimes when we are recruiting and trying to get hired, we’re trying to get hired by a company and we’re trying to get hired into a certain function. You know, I wanna, I think I’d be good at operations or supply chain or marketing. You know, I did, I, I did this work in the Marine Corps, so maybe I’ll be good at HR. So we, we think about that. And if I had to do it all over again, I would recruit not for a company and not for a job, but for a boss, because what I’ve realized in my career of 25 years post the Marine Corps was how much I learned from great bosses who were willing to take the time and teach me on the job.
Kevin Potts (42:53):
And I had plenty of bosses that didn’t do that either. So having someone, even if you’re, even if you’re not sure, you know, maybe you don’t end up in marketing, maybe you move to operations, or maybe you don’t end up in supply chain, you move over to it. But having someone who can help you start to learn the ins and outs of a job and a career is really, really important. And oftentimes I don’t, well, I’ll tell you how I felt. I felt like I’m smart. I can figure it out myself. I figured out myself and I don’t need anybody. And I realize now that that was such a, a naive point
Scott Luton (43:30):
Of view. Well, you know, I think some of the best advice, uh, especially as we were reflect and, and offer up now, whether it’s advice that we used, which is helpful, right. And that we’ve practiced, but man, some of these missed opportunities that leads into the best advice that we didn’t follow in our own journeys. Exactly. <laugh>, that’s the powerful stuff. Right. I can think of, I mean, you know, I didn’t, uh, I was, I was, um, a dead analyst in air force got out in oh two, you know, had all the reason in the world to leverage my time, working with data, you know, long before big data became a thing. And had, I just leveraged that and, and really leaned into that experience, who knows what that path would’ve been. But I was like, I’m, you know, I hear you can make a bunch of money in sales.
Scott Luton (44:16):
I want, I want, I wanna, you know, figure that out, never had any experience in that. And it changed, you know, it made, it made those early years coming outta the air force, a little more challenging perhaps than, than, uh, otherwise. But, you know, I appreciate you taking a moment to reflect on your, uh, transition. And I wanna combine Kevin’s, uh, insights and advice there with Kelly Barners Kelly, you and I have had, uh, several opportunities to not, not mentor, but just kind of hear veterans out that are transitioning and, and, you know, those are tough conversations cause as you and I have chatted Kelly, you’re trying to kind in a short amount of time kind of assess what they’re looking to do and then also offer some kind of viable advice like Kevin shared. So Kelly, what would you, if you’re speaking to a room full up in the New York city, Ritz Carlton, I’m not sure if there’s still one up there or not room full of veterans that are your captive audience. What advice would you offer up Kelly?
Kelly Barner (45:14):
So I think the advice that I would offer up is maybe twofold, right? But they, they very much go together. You know, one is, if you’re going into a situation where you do have to apply for a job and that application is coming in the form of a resume, a cover letter, I think that’s really hard because as you’re taking a person and a really colorful, rich experience, and you’re boiling it down to two sheets of paper, but sometimes that’s the process and that’s just how you’ve gotta go. And in that case, I would say find someone friend, family neighbor that will be really harshly, honest with you. Are there typos? Is it not professionally worded? Is it not representative of your experience? I would say find someone that is willing to help you by being as brutally honest as they need to be, but then find another way to bring your personality in, right.
Kelly Barner (46:10):
Of all the veterans that we’ve heard on this podcast than other places telling their stories, right? Hearing Kevin’s stories here, the life that comes into that, if you are the boss that has someone looking to join the team, how do you not want to bring this person into the fold? Right. So finding a way to get your personality across, maybe it’s through a re you’ve prerecorded video that goes along with your resume that says like, Hey Mr. Miss. So, and so please just, you know, take a look at my resume. It may not be what you’re used to seeing, but gimme a shot cuz I bring this whole richness with me. Right. And before I give it back to you, Scott, I actually have a question for, for Kevin. So knowing your leadership experience and knowing that you were an officer, one of the things that I don’t feel like translates real well to the private sector is sort of the notion of influence and authority.
Kelly Barner (47:05):
I mean, in the private sector, we’re always all trying to build it. A lot of times we’re trying to influence people without having authority, which is an enormous, but very common, whereas in the military and not speaking obviously from my own experience, but from what I’ve learned, authority is more or less an absolute thing, right? You’ve got the hierarchy. You’ve rules are what they are and they are to be followed. And yet the stories like the ones that you’ve shared today or the relationships that you’ve talked about, every single one of these conversations, mirrors, that there is a, a love of connection and loyalty that seems to come from people’s military experience. And I’m curious about what, what people in the private sector can learn from people that have been through military service. We’re so built busy trying to build influence without having authority. And yet you guys to an extent are handed authority, but go so far beyond influence and turn it into a camaraderie law. I mean, I don’t even know the word, but you hear it in every single one of these stories. I would, I would love to get your perspective on what we can learn in the private sector from the way that the military not only handles authority, but also builds those bonds between units and, and teams.
Kevin Potts (48:27):
Yeah. You know, one of the Marines I went through my basic officer training at Quantico with after his time in the Marine Corps, went over to work at 3m and he was a brand manager for some product line at 3m. And I remember an anecdote, he told me that at maybe they’re getting ready for a new product launch or something like that. And it was extremely chaotic. And Kelly used would be like us, Adam tourists launching the next version of our software and you know, a lot of details you’re trying to pull together and yeah. And all that stuff. And he just was, he said, so finally I sat down with the team cause people were getting very stressed and I sat down with a team and I just said, okay, everybody, let’s take a deep breath here. One is going to die in this process.
Kevin Potts (49:14):
No one is gonna get shot at, we are not going to have any casualties as part of this product launch. Right. So let’s keep this in perspective. And that’s one of the things that I think the military does a really good job of is exposing you to situations that sometimes are so far beyond the pale. And like you don’t have a guidebook there to tell you, you know, open a page 1 27 for how to deal with this thing. You know, you gotta kinda figure it out and you gotta collectively figured out as a team. Right. And, and, and I think that’s, you know, one values, but you can’t read that. You gotta experience it. And that’s one of the things that I love about the military is it’s the experience you get and, and you get people coming in who who’ve seen some stuff. And I certainly, I didn’t see anything like what the Marines are seeing today, you know, think about the, the nightmare getting out of Afghani, you know? Yes. I can’t even imagine what they faced. Those, those people have dealt with incredibly stressful situations and they’re gonna have a lot to give. Right. Cause they’re gonna come with a perspective that many of us will never have been exposed to.
Scott Luton (50:28):
Right. And, and then tying that back to transitioning, it can make that from the thousands of conversations I’ve had since oh two, you know, some have been on these podcasts. Many others have been private learnings and, and really conversations of struggles, you know, everyone’s transition can be very differently. So I appreciate how you kind of couched yours. You know, cause I, I had a four year degree. I was not a combat veteran. Uh, I had a strong, uh, family and friend network and I still struggled transition. Now I didn’t have a lot of those challenges that to your point that that many others, especially in the last, uh, 20 years have. So we gotta keep that in mind. I really appreciate both of your comments and questions around this advice piece. And, uh, Kevin, thanks again for sharing some of your transition with our listeners. So let’s talk about, as we start wrap here on today’s, uh, veteran voices with, uh, Mr. Kevin Potts, let’s talk about what you’re up to now. You’ve, you’ve gone on, you know, to do some really big things in an exciting aspect of industry, right? Early stage tech, uh, often, uh, a founder involved, um, companies and initiatives. So, so tell us what you’re up to now.
Kevin Potts (51:41):
Yeah, so right now I, um, I am consulting with actually one of my old bosses who taught me so much about marketing. He founded his own consulting firm and I work with him where he places me in to help with some of the companies he’s working with and my main role in marketing. So these are early stage tech companies. Okay. That are oftentimes you no one’s ever heard of ’em they’re trying to raise money, trying to get some of their first sales. And what I am trying to do is help them talk to the person who has the pain and teach the salespeople, not to talk about what the product does, but talk about what the person’s pain. Mm. And, um, you know, maybe, maybe an analogy here would be, uh, something that we’re all very familiar with now. But when it was first coming out, we might not have been familiar with it was GPS.
Kevin Potts (52:40):
So if you think about GPS, it’s on your phone, it can tell you how to get, you know, to school or wherever GPS is incredibly complex. It’s got set SS orbit in U it’s got this map, it’s got all this stuff, but now GPS is, you know, secondhand for almost all of us that, you know, drive in big cities and have to navigate around, uh, traffic. Well, if you think about that, when we were first learning about GPS, weren’t excited about the satellites. We didn’t care about the satellites. We didn’t care about what was happening inside the phone to do it, what we is, we had a problem. We needed to figure out how to get to point a to point B. And we’ve never been to point B before, or ultimately we had to get from point a to point B and we only had 30 minutes to do it. What’s the fastest way to do it. <laugh> that is the problem. Um, and so learning to, to talk about very complex topics in very easy to use analogies that people can get is what I try to work with sales teams on.
Scott Luton (53:42):
I, I love that. Uh, it’s such, it’s, that’s great. A for any, any, uh, listeners that may be considering, uh, you know, founding your own business, starting up a business, you name it because, uh, Kevin, to your point, no one cared. Uh, no one knew it. No one cared about how it worked. They just cared about what it did for them. Right. Absolutely. And we all missed, well, I, I was gonna say we all missed the day’s note. We all remember the day of the map quest printed out directions, especially yes. Y’all remember Kelly and Kevin or the trip tech <laugh> right. But yes, uh, Tom Turkey, Tom, or whatever, whatever that GPS specific directions, which now on our phones. But, you know, I, I remember back in the earliest of days when I first moved to Atlanta, when I had a, a 10 style sales day or, you know, whatever it was, I would, I would use MapQuest and map it all out. And then I’d have 20 pages of directions of navigating through Atlanta. It was, it’s crazy where we are and where we’ve been, but great advice. Uh, Kevin, and that’s really built if I understand correctly. When did you exit the Marines?
Kevin Potts (54:43):
I got out in 94. Okay.
Scott Luton (54:45):
So that, so if I understand it correctly, a lot of what you’re doing now, you’re leveraging couple decades of working with tech, uh, early stage companies. So you’re really, gosh, I bet you’re a, a secret weapon for these companies you’re working with now. Well,
Kevin Potts (54:59):
Well, what you realize is the problems never change. I mean, you’ve got a sales team. People go to what they’re comfortable with. They like to talk about the product. And so, you know, as much as technology has advanced so much that we do, and a lot of the conversations now happen on the web or, or happen in, in video calls or stuff like that. The problem, at least in larger scale tech sales is the same, which is, is you don’t have the right to talk about the product until the customer tells you they care. <laugh>
Scott Luton (55:34):
I love that. What a great, great advice. So Kevin let’s make sure folks know how to connect with you. Uh, and you know, Kelly, it feels like you, we could have a, a Kevin PO series here on, on, uh, that the startup whisperer, perhaps we’ll see,
Kelly Barner (55:54):
But we do have to acknowledge, can we, can we please just elephant in the room? Kevin Potz has a world class post-it game. I mean, you have like the, a game post-it notes. Cause I’m, I’m very like, you know, neat Dax and OCD, the whiteboard behind you is like the stuff dreams are made of it. Yes. I don’t even care if that’s your grocery list. That is next level organization, Kevin, that is right there. That’s a piece of advice. Just do that.
Kevin Potts (56:21):
I am still, yeah, I’m still a paper and post-it person. I can’t do any of my organization on my computer. I just, I’m not a, I’m not native to it. It’s not native to me.
Scott Luton (56:33):
Right. Hey, whatever works, whatever works, right? Yeah. But I would echo Kelly’s sentiment. Uh, and, and to our listeners may have missed that just over Kevin’s rights shoulder. You see this gorgeous, uh, projects, amazing with post-it notes and labels. You could map out world domination on that plane. So very capable <laugh> uh, and that might be what’s on there. Who knows? We can’t quite see. Nope. Nope. So, all right. So let’s make sure folks know how to connect with you, Kevin, how, you know, um, you know, if they wanna leverage your experience on the startup tech side or happy to, if they wanna compare notes, uh, as you know, in their military journey, how can folks connect with you? Yeah. So
Kevin Potts (57:15):
My, probably the best way to reach out to me is via email. My email address is Kevin K E V I N, pots, P O T T. The number seven, gmail.com. So that’s Kevin pots, seven gmail.com, no periods, no spaces or anything like that. Scott also on LinkedIn, I think the traditional linkedin.com/kevin Michael Potts is my LinkedIn on Twitter, um, at Kevin pot seven. And so those are probably the best ways to reach out to
Scott Luton (57:48):
Me. Scott, we’re gonna make it easy. We’re gonna put those links in your, in the, in the, uh, show notes. So you’re one click away from connecting with Kevin. We wanna help facilitate and connect those conversations. So Hey, uh, a blast talking with you, Kevin. I really appreciate it, but Hey, before we, we, I don’t know if Kelly Barner, gosh, uh, I’m convinced this is clone number seven. I’m talking to today because of all the things she’s got, cooking buyer meeting point, uh, art procurement mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, dial P for procurement here at supply chain now and beyond all of that concept, a lot of service work and a lot of work, uh, on behalf of our veterans community, which we very much appreciate. So Kelly, how can folks connect with you?
Kelly Barner (58:29):
Probably the easiest way is LinkedIn. I don’t have a simple, a number of seven. It’s like Kelly Barner 6, 4, 3, 3, 3 something. <laugh> um, but if you just stick Kelly Barner into there, add procurement. If you have any trouble finding me, I’m always glad to connect with people, whether procurement supply chain or military veterans, please do reach out.
Scott Luton (58:49):
Awesome. Wonderful. Hey big. Thanks to Kevin pots. Big. Thanks to Kelly Barner. I appreciate you both joining us here today, Kelly, we welcome you as a special guest host anytime, anytime, and Kevin will have to have you back on, uh, offering up your startup whisperer, uh, advice and expertise really enjoy that. Uh, Hey listeners on behalf of our entire team here at veteran voices. Thanks for joining us. We invite you to find us and subscribe to wherever you get your podcast from big thanks again to our partners over at vets, two industry, you can check ’em out at vets, two industry.org, uh, beyond it all Scott Luton here wishing all listeners, nothing but the best do good. Give forward, be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see you next time. Right back here on veteran voices. Thanks everybody.
Kevin Potts is a Naval Academy graduate and former active duty Marine infantry officer. After receiving an MBA from Stanford, he spent a few years with McKinsey. Then for 20 years, he ran marketing and product management teams in supply chain and pharmaceutical software businesses. These were mostly early-stage, founder-led, high-growth companies. More recently, he has been consulting with early-stage high tech companies on their marketing challenges. Connect with Kevin 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.