Supply Chain Now
Episode 1201

If somebody walks into my four walls and is learning about manufacturing, they don't necessarily have to join. I just want them to be advocates. I want to educate them. So, when they go back, they can talk to their colleagues, they can talk to their friends, they can talk to their professors and say, this is a career path I may not want to go into, but this is something that you may consider.

-Aneesa Muthana

Episode Summary

Modern manufacturing is no longer limited to the dark, dirty, and dangerous jobs of the past, especially with progressive, forward-thinking leaders bringing their organizations into the future.

In this episode of Supply Chain Now, sponsored by Microsoft, hosts Scott Luton and Kevin L. Jackson engage in an insightful conversation with Aneesa Muthana, the CEO and co-owner of Pioneer Service and M&M Quality Grinding. Aneesa shares her journey starting from her upbringing on her parents’ manufacturing shop floor to becoming an award-winning figure in the industry. The discussion delves into various aspects of manufacturing, including the importance of promoting the industry to the younger generation, the evolution of manufacturing roles, and the significance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in driving innovation and widening the candidate pool.

Listen in as Aneesa highlights:

  • The role of digital transformation in the industry, emphasizing the importance of human involvement alongside technology
  • Workforce challenges like AI’s impact on jobs, and the necessity of empowering and training the workforce in the era of Industry 4.0
  • The importance of strong core values such as integrity and stewardship in building a strong organizational culture

Join us for this episode that encapsulates inspiring stories, practical insights, and actionable advice from Aneesa Muthana, offering a comprehensive view of the current landscape and future prospects within the manufacturing sector.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:03):

Welcome to Supply Chain Now, the voice of global supply chain. Supply Chain Now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues, the challenges and opportunities. Stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on Supply Chain Now.

Scott Luton (00:32):

Hey, hey. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are. Scott Luton and Kevin L. Jackson with you here on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s show. Kevin, how you doing?

Kevin L. Jackson (00:41):

Hey, I’m doing fine. I was thinking about going outside for this because — I mean, it’s a warm day, you know. It’s been kind of cool up here. But these are not going to be around for long because as we get into November or finishing up November. Wow.

Scott Luton (00:57):

I’m with you. We got to put them in the headlock. We got to save them while we’re here. Live in the moment. And you know what? As beautiful as the weather is, we’ve got a beautiful conversation teed up here today.

Kevin L. Jackson (01:07):

Oh, yes.

Scott Luton (01:07):

We’re really excited.

Kevin L. Jackson (01:08):

Yes.

Scott Luton (01:09):

We’ve got one, Kevin, as we’ve been talking prior to the show here today. We’ve got one of our popular guests back with us. She’s a maker, a leader, a speaker, an advocate, and certainly a dynamo. And if that isn’t enough, we’re going to be talking about one of my favorite and probably your favorite two topics, which is manufacturing. Kevin, it should be a great show, huh?

Kevin L. Jackson (01:27):

Yes. You know, everyone depends upon manufacturers to manufacture something, right? I got up this morning and I needed that bar of soap.

Scott Luton (01:36):

That’s right. And, you know, it’s such a great point because all of us as consumers, because all of us are.

Kevin L. Jackson (01:42):

Yes.

Scott Luton (01:42):

We don’t stop and think about that often enough. So, we — this show is going to serve the help awareness of the manufacturing industry, awareness of leadership, best practices. A lot of different topics we’re going to cover here today. And of course, Kevin, today’s episode is presented in partnership with our friends at Microsoft who are doing some pretty cool things in industry, helping us all move forward together successfully. So, more on that later.

Scott Luton (02:06):

All right. Kevin, I’m tickled. I’m ready to go. Are you ready to introduce our guests here? Can you do that?

Kevin L. Jackson (02:11):

Oh, yes. Absolutely.

Scott Luton (02:13):

OK.

Kevin L. Jackson (02:14):

From the great state of Illinois — no.

Scott Luton (02:16):

That is right. That is right. Our guest was introduced to the incredible world of manufacturing on her parents’ shop floor at a young age. Now, those humble beginnings would lead to an incredible journey and career where our guest has impacted the industry on a variety of levels. She has since won a ton, a trophy case full of awards to include the 2017 Manufacturing Institutes Award, the 2019 NAWBO, Women Business Owner of the Year — Woman Business Owner of the Year, wow. Crain’s2019 and 2020. Notable woman in manufacturing and many, many others.

Scott Luton (02:53):

Our guest expertise, leadership, and achievements are appreciated in the industry leadership circles as she currently sits on the National Association of Manufacturing’s board, as well as the Precision Machine Products Association. So, please join me, Kevin, in welcoming Aneesa Muthana, CEO and co-owner of Pioneer Service and CEO and co-owner of M&M Quality Grinding. Aneesa, how are you doing?

Aneesa Muthana (03:17):

I’m doing great. Thanks, Scott. How are you?

Scott Luton (03:19):

Doing wonderful. Doing wonderful. I’ll tell you, the — you were with us roughly two years ago and the accomplishments, the list gets longer and longer, Aneesa.

Aneesa Muthana (03:29):

Yes, I guess. A lot of sleepless nights too comes with it.

Scott Luton (03:33):

That’s right. Well, you know, nothing worth doing is ever easy, it seems. And I really appreciate what you do. And it’s so great to have Kevin and you with us as we walk through a great conversation here. Kevin —

Kevin L. Jackson (03:42):

Oh, yes. I tell you —

Scott Luton (03:44):

Are you ready to get to learn a little bit more about Aneesa before we get into the heavy topics?

Kevin L. Jackson (03:48):

Yes, and in fact — I mean, I was — I’m sorry, Aneesa. I was a little disappointed, right? When I was reading it, it said CEO and co-owner of M&M’s. I said, M&M’s. Wow. You must go bring some — oh no, M&M’S Grinding. It’s —

Aneesa Muthana (04:06):

Well, actually we do at trade shows and anytime we’re doing sponsorships, we have our logo over M&M candy and we pass it out. So, I joke and say, you know, M&M candy took our brand, but it’s —

Kevin L. Jackson (04:22):

We’re good with that.

Aneesa Muthana (04:23):

One day.

Scott Luton (04:24):

I love that idea.

Aneesa Muthana (04:26):

Definitely there’s an appreciation for those that have a sweet tooth.

Kevin L. Jackson (04:29):

Yes.

Scott Luton (04:29):

Yes, and most of us do, whether we like it or not, especially this time of year. But — well, Aneesa, it’s so great to have you back. And again, we’re going to be getting into a variety of topics here today, but I want to start with this, so we were talking pre-show a little bit because we all need that downtime. We all need to shut the laptops and turn off the devices and lean into things that help us get that balance, right? And remind us why we do all this stuff. And we learned from you, two of your favorite things in this world to do are sit on the beach and play with your grandkids. So, tell us more about that.

Aneesa Muthana (05:02):

Yes. So, every Thanksgiving we go to Aruba. This year we’re not going. We were planning on going to Maui, but for obviously reasons we’ve canceled that flight. So, we’re going to stay home this year. But it is a tradition, it — and I started it. And I — it’s taking the family, my mom, and it was either that or cook. And I figured it’s safer to travel than for me to cook.

Kevin L. Jackson (05:24):

You’re a smart woman. See.

Aneesa Muthana (05:26):

I was looking for their first interest. And so, in doing so, I adore my mother. And I’m a very family-oriented person. And although I’m an unapologetic workaholic as well, but when I do spend time, I spend it with my family and taking care of my mom and taking my grandkids places that they normally wouldn’t go definitely is a treat. So, yes.

Scott Luton (05:46):

I love that. Kevin, we talk about travel and the value of travel and value of family and spending that family time all the time. Where does Aneesa’s thoughts take your mind?

Kevin L. Jackson (05:57):

Well, you know, I really love the beach also. But when she talked about her grandkids, it — you know, my — I live in Washington D.C. and my grandkids live in Washington State. It’s like my son took my grandkids away. So — but we travel. Lisa and I, my wife, we traveled there to Washington as often as we can so we can get all our hugs in for the entire year.

Scott Luton (06:24):

Well, I can’t wait until the next time and getting pictures you all — but when you do this next time, whether you’re, you know, huddling this year at home, Aneesa, or going to Washington State next time, Kevin, please send pictures.

Kevin L. Jackson (06:34):

Yes, I would.

Scott Luton (06:34):

Family time is too precious. OK. So, we’ve got so much to get to here today. So, Aneesa, great to have you back. So, for our listeners that perhaps missed our — your first appearance with us, at least, I know you all — you get interviewed a lot, do a lot of keynoting, and of course we’re run a couple of growing businesses. But let’s offer up some context along that last point. What — tell us briefly, if you would, what your two companies do, and let’s start with Pioneer Service?

Aneesa Muthana (06:58):

Sure. So, Pioneer Service of Swiss Machine Shop, basically precision machine components. We serve a wide variety of industries. We’re AS9100 certified, which means we make parts for aerospace. We do a ton of business with Tesla as a tier two, medical devices, industrial. We also work with Microsoft Power Plant. We’ve been making parts for them as well. And so, yes, just really a very complex, high production, tight tolerance work.

Scott Luton (07:30):

Kevin, her last point she made at tight tolerances in those industries, she mentioned. As a former aviator, I’m sure you can appreciate those companies that can maintain and supply precision parts, huh?

Kevin L. Jackson (07:41):

Yes, absolutely. In fact, we — I’m working on a project right now where we’re going to be launching on SpaceX Falcon 9 next year. And one of the areas we’re actually — we’re developing a component that goes into a cube set and we were just developing some engineering models. So, we’re — we may have to pick up the phone because we need some very tight tolerances so we can fit into that little bitty cube side.

Scott Luton (08:10):

You know, Aneesa —

Aneesa Muthana (08:11):

We actually make parts for SpaceX as a tier two.

Kevin L. Jackson (08:14):

See.

Aneesa Muthana (08:15):

I can’t tell you where they go because of the NDAs, but I can tell you that we’re definitely tier two to SpaceX. And I was just talking to my customer this morning about some parts that she needs right away. And Nadcap, our suppliers — are obviously Nadcap certified. So, yes, that’s very important.

Scott Luton (08:31):

Wow. OK. All right. So, both of you all, I’m going to say rocket scientist. You all got to keep the conversation down so I can catch up with you all. But that is phenomenal. And of course, those industries require — I mean, you know, lives are at stake. So, I really appreciate that aspect of your business, and that’s just Pioneer Service. So, let’s talk about M&M Quality Grinding Aneesa.

Aneesa Muthana (08:51):

Yes. Som M&M is actually — although I was — I’ve been CEO and president of — and co-owner of Pioneer for the last 30 years prior to that — and yes, I am that old, prior to that I worked in my dad’s shop floor starting at the age of 11, leaving the family business back in 1993 at the age of 23. And just so no one’s counting their fingers, I know, I’m — I just turned 54. So, I’m extremely grateful. I wear my age on my sleeve. I feel like it’s very important to be OK with my age, right? I got grandkids, how much can I hide? I got grandkids, like, anybody could do that math.

Aneesa Muthana (09:30):

But nonetheless, I’m — I was very blessed to have worked on my parents’ shop floor and started running a machine by the time I was 13 years old. Leaving the family business when I was 23. Going into partnership with my uncle and then coming back full circle. Being asked to come back as a CEO and as a partner was extremely rewarding. Taking on the legacy of my family for, you know, 40 plus years.

Aneesa Muthana (09:56):

So, M&M is basically, we do bar grinding. So, typically we service our suppliers who require raw material ground, and that equally has tight tolerances but it’s one dimensional. It’s a diameter and 12-foot — typically 12-foot bars, but we handle anywhere from three foot to 24 feet, anywhere from an 062 diameter all the way to a seven-inch bar. So, we typically sell to — we could be selling to OEMs who have machine shops on their floor or a small machine shop, a local machine shop and everything in between.

Kevin L. Jackson (10:32):

Wow.

Scott Luton (10:32):

Wow.

Kevin L. Jackson (10:33):

That’s really amazing. But it’s really impressive though that this has been in your family, right? And there’s a lot of times when you’re born into a family business, the children don’t want to do that. But you clearly have made a choice to spend your career in manufacturing. What did that — was it — I mean, was it your family but you left the family business, but you pursued manufacturing career outside of the family business. What drove that?

Aneesa Muthana (11:11):

Kevin, I don’t know what my parents put in our food, really, growing up.

Kevin L. Jackson (11:14):

Blame all the food.

Aneesa Muthana (11:16):

They — I don’t know. But seriously, I actually, when the economy was hard for five years, I was a real estate agent. And because of relationships I’ve had and because of my business background, I was very good at it, and I only did it as a hobby, like, after work, at — on the weekend. It was when my kids were teenagers. They didn’t want to be around me anyway. So, you know that age.

Kevin L. Jackson (11:40):

Yes.

Aneesa Muthana (11:41):

So, I kept myself busy in real estate and I made more money in five years in real estate than I made 1p five years in manufacturing as a business owner, let alone in manufacturing. So. I’m not encouraging people to leave manufacturing for real estate because obviously there’s more to the career and the money in manufacturing. I feel like especially when you are a leader, when you’ve gone through and you’ve worked in a dark, dirty, grimy shop. When you’ve seen the impact that we have as makers, anything from being part of SpaceX to the soap that you mentioned earlier and everything in between, medical devices during Covid, oxygen equipment during Covid, that’s extremely rewarding. And you don’t get that, you know, when you’re making money. You get that when you’re making a difference, and that’s what manufacturing does for me.

Kevin L. Jackson (12:35):

So, that’s really amazing. Except the food caused you to get into manufacturing. But right now, there’s like more than 600,000 open jobs in industry. Has the food gone bad? Well, shouldn’t more people really want a job in manufacturing? It seems to have done you well. You know, what should they check out?

Aneesa Muthana (13:00):

Yes. So, I feel like it’s our responsibility as manufacturing leaders to promote the industry because people don’t know what they don’t know. And it starts very young. So, we had a program when we were in Addison and our mayor was extremely proactive and very engaged in the manufacturing sector. And so, we would literally mentor sixth graders, fifth and sixth graders, and they would do something like a sharp tank. And so, we would bring them into our shop. We would show them everything from marketing, to manufacturing, to quality, to engineering, and just really expose them to manufacturing.

Aneesa Muthana (13:38):

And so, we — there’s a motto, manufacturing day is every day because there’s obviously the outreach during manufacturing day or manufacturing month where for us it’s part of our values. We need to do outreach. We — if we want to make a dent and bring people into this industry, we all have to collectively work on that. Whether or not we win an employee or not, it shouldn’t be the driver. It should be that we just give back to the industry and expose.

Aneesa Muthana (14:08):

Because I — you know, back in the ’60s and ’70s, and even ’80s, it was dark, dirty, grimy. And if — I was a parent and I wouldn’t want my child to work in it — at what it was back then. And the success wasn’t very sustainable, it fluctuated. Where today you could be working in marketing, you could be running a machine. There’s a lot of coding. There’s all different roles in this industry that kids don’t know about. And so, just like you would ask a child and expect them to say doctor, lawyer, engineer, we want them to also include maker in their selection.

Kevin L. Jackson (14:42):

Yes, that’s really important.

Scott Luton (14:43):

Kevin, I love that. Respond to that if you would, Kevin. Does that hit you? That makes me ready to run through the wall back behind me, huh?

Kevin L. Jackson (14:50):

Well, the thing about it is that she — I think she hit it on the head. Exposure. You have to expose people to the possibilities. Like, you know, today the only thing they get exposed to is social media and TikTok. So, that’s what they want to do. But if they get exposed to the power and the importance of manufacturing and how it really delivers value to society. And the fact that everything is manufactured from, you know, yes, you got the dirty grinding stuff, but you also have high tech semiconductors that have to be done in clean rooms, right? There’s a whole broad range of jobs, and software is in everything. So, I think it’s the exposure, the different tasks, jobs, different careers in manufacturing.

Aneesa Muthana (15:43):

And Kevin, even like as manufacturers, when we do that, I do a talk about DEI, diversity, equity and inclusion. And one of the ROIs of DEI is exposing those that are inclined to join it.

Kevin L. Jackson (15:59):

Yes.

Aneesa Muthana (15:59):

So, people that don’t typically join like women and inner-city individual students, many times we host children that come out and they just — they’ve never even heard of it, like, they’ve been in a factory and heard about these positions that we have. So, really exposing them. And my thing is that the — had somebody walking into my four walls and learning about manufacturing, they don’t necessarily have to join. I just want them to be advocates. I want to educate them. So, when they go back, they can talk to their colleagues, they can talk to their friends, they can talk to their professors and say, this is a career path I may not want to go into, but this is something that you may consider. And I think that’s our responsibility. And it’s the ROI of DEI exposing those that aren’t inclined, those that not necessarily think about manufacturing and that opens up the pool of candidates and that’s a win for everyone.

Kevin L. Jackson (16:55):

Yes.

Scott Luton (16:56):

Yes.

Kevin L. Jackson (16:56):

Can I just make a comment —

Scott Luton (16:58):

Please.

Kevin L. Jackson (16:58):

— about that though? You are a role model and you are the poster woman for DEI. How you can get into this career that’s typically associated with mail and be the CEO of two different companies and being very successful in high tech manufacturing. So, I just want to congratulate you on everything that you’ve done.

Aneesa Muthana (17:28):

Thank you. Thank you, Kevin. And on the flip side, I feel like being the CEO, I need to make sure, keep myself in check and make sure that everyone on my team and that I interact with feels that sense of belonging. It’s not about me, it’s about everyone. And when I say that, and I think Scott and I talked about this last time, it’s important that no one feels excluded. When I empower women, that’s not dividing. That’s not writing off a gender. When I see people of color or minorities and include them in the conversation, that doesn’t mean I have to eliminate the white males.

Kevin L. Jackson (18:07):

Right, right.

Aneesa Muthana (18:07):

It means that we all should be together. We should all interact. Collaborate. Because that’s — you know, I always believe innovation is champion through diversity.

Kevin L. Jackson (18:16):

Yes, it is.

Aneesa Muthana (18:17):

And you don’t ever want to limit yourself to just one. You know, like, OK. I got this. I got my check off the box. Diversity’s done. Here we go. No, it’s always evolving and it’s always looking at different perspectives, different backgrounds. And it could be — it doesn’t have to just be male, female and maybe race, but it could be even broader than that. Even lifestyles. Where they went to school, education levels. So, I think the limited that we are, the limited our growth is. And I’m not just talking about our growth in business, which is obviously important, but our personal growth. I feel extremely accomplished when I understand someone’s perspective differently than it was before I met them.

Kevin L. Jackson (19:02):

Yes, I think what you’re really bringing up is that diversity really gives you that range of different worldviews. And the different worldviews are what drive innovation, and innovation is the fuel for success. So, it — they all connect to one another.

Aneesa Muthana (19:23):

We’re on the same page, my friend.

Scott Luton (19:24):

Aneesa and Kevin, I love the last couple of minutes. And I’ll tell you Aneesa, if more industry leaders in manufacturing would take that responsibility to make more — expose more folks, make them more aware of the opportunities, not only — first off. the world be a better place, but not only would manufacturing industry, we’d make some progress on that 600,000 or so open jobs. But equally as important, we’d be opening those horizons for those individuals, to your point, Aneesa, and I think Kevin, you made this too.

Kevin L. Jackson (19:56):

Yes.

Scott Luton (19:57):

Even if they don’t open the door and walk through it into the manufacturing industry, the more horizons you have to pick and choose from and be aware of. So, very nicely. I applaud your leadership there, Aneesa. And most importantly because I know you, and I’ve been tracking you because I’m — I think I’m co-chair of the Atlanta Aneesa Muthana fan club. You put it into action and it’s not lip service. We see it. So, I appreciate what you do.

Scott Luton (20:23):

All right. So, manufacturing days every day. And the ROI on DEI, I’ve been taking notes, Aneesa, this is gold. And one last thing I want to call out to our listeners because I thought that last segment was so important. The more limited we are, Aneesa said, the more limited our growth is. And we all put self-constraints on so many things on what we think we can do or what we think we can’t do. And I really appreciate your there.

Scott Luton (20:48):

OK. So, much to get to. So, as we approach the new year, Kevin and Aneesa, I cannot believe as of this recording, we’re a month and a half away from 2024. So, the question I want to ask you, Aneesa, is what is one topic in global manufacturing that you believe will have more boardrooms talking about it in the months ahead? What do you think that might be, Aneesa?

Aneesa Muthana (21:10):

Yes, I — workforce is a huge one. Like, innovation, obviously Industry 4.0 and even beyond that is — those are hot topics. I feel like also just really understanding the DEI factor, right? Getting that on a much higher scale. So, there’s — I feel like there’s so much that’s going on. And workforce is always something that we start talking and we never end stop — and we never stop talking. And the solution to many of those issues that we’re facing workforce are the Industry 4.0. It’s like all of the other topics are subtopics because of the workforce issues that people are facing. And I feel like that this is relevant, not just in manufacturing but in all industries because it’s — it is. It’s hard finding the right people. It’s not — you know, sometimes you can hire, but you — finding the right person that’s aligned with your values, that’s aligned with your mission in your company. And then also, developing their skillset to what you need, those — that’s not a small task.

Scott Luton (22:14):

Right. Well — and Kevin, I’ll get your thoughts here on workforce. So, that’s a big theme Aneesa’s pointing to. And which — one of the things she implied on the end there is it takes a ton of effort and investment and focus and intention to not just hire the right people or anybody, but certainly the right people. But then engage — make sure they’re engaged and they have what they need and they’re advancing and they’re adding to their knowledge base and they’re fulfilled in their role. That is — that in and of itself is a big job. Kevin, your thoughts?

Kevin L. Jackson (22:45):

Yes, I really like the emphasis on workforce, especially in today’s world where everyone’s afraid that some A.I. or machine learning algorithm is going to take their jobs away from them. I mean, we need to make — use and leverage our humans for what they are good for, right? And it’s their imagination. It’s their ability to think outside the box. It’s their ability to succeed without having the software written into their brains, you know. It’s that software up here in your head that you have to leverage across your workforce. So, I think that is really, really important, especially, especially with — from leaders.

Scott Luton (23:34):

Well said. Aneesa, do you want to respond to anything that Kevin just shared there?

Aneesa Muthana (23:38):

Yes. So, A.I. is a great tool, and it’s going to make it better. But it doesn’t replace people because A.I. can’t sign off on anything. A.I. is not responsible for anything. You’re still responsible. You’re still making judgements. It’s a tool. It’s not the solution to everything. And I feel like it goes back to automation. Automation replaces tasks, not people. We want to upscale our people. We don’t need to upscale a robot. A robot is going to — you’re going to program it to do a certain thing. Where that human touch, that common sense, that outside the box thinking you can’t get that from a robot.

Aneesa Muthana (24:23):

So, it falls under the same category. And I think that there was so much fear when Industry 4.0 came along. And I think also it’s our responsibility as business owners and leaders in any industry as to make sure that transparency is there. Yes, we’re going to use this tool and this is what’s — this is my intention. And not just be like, OK. Like, the other day we had MxD, I actually sat on the advisory board for MxD and we’ve been collaborating for a long time about our digital transformation. So, they came with a pilot and they — we were brainstorming where we’re going to put that to get data. Once we figured out which machine, I refuse to let them put it on the machine until I got my guys that run that cell in a meeting and they’ve seen the automation, they’ve seen the machine monitoring. Industry 4.0 is heavy in my shop. So, it’s not like something brand new. But I didn’t want to make that decision until we were all on the same page and I told them what data we were pulling and why.

Aneesa Muthana (25:27):

Because, you know — and I told the engineers, just imagine them coming to you. Like, I’m sending three guys to your desk and they’re putting — they’re planting things on your desk, connecting it to your computer. What would you feel? How would you feel? Like, what would people be thinking? You’d be, like, obviously this is surveillance. Obviously there’s something going on that they’re not being transparent to me with. And so, that being said, I thought — I think that it’s important to have that level of transparency so you can have the buy-in of your people. So, it goes both ways. Yes, don’t worry about it, but let me tell you my intention.

Kevin L. Jackson (26:04):

Yes, and I thought I’m going to steal from one of our earlier guests. The job of an executive is to take the robot out of the human. Leverage —

Scott Luton (26:14):

Love that.

Kevin L. Jackson (26:15):

— leverage the power —

Aneesa Muthana (26:16):

I love that.

Kevin L. Jackson (26:17):

— of the human. So, that’s what you — that’s what a servant leader does, Aneesa. Thank you.

Scott Luton (26:25):

Kevin, well said. And Aneesa, very well said. Kevin, we should give a shout out to Trevor. So, Trevor, if you’re listening, Kevin and I really loved your response. And Aneesa back to yours, I think the power of what you’re sharing goes so far. Not only is it relevant, of course, with digital transformation, which we’re going to ask you about in a second, manufacturing and workforce. But it’s universal to leadership, right? You — this phrase that we’ve used a lot I run here is you want to do it with your people, not do it to your people.

Scott Luton (26:54):

Because to your point, Aneesa, you don’t know what they’re going to assume, but it’s usually going to be bad things if they’re left out and don’t understand and what’s the WIFM? What’s in it for me, or what’s the so what, or you know, why are we doing it? Which is the great word you use there, Aneesa. So, I love that.

Scott Luton (27:10):

OK. So, we all have a big appreciation, I think, for A.I. and machine learning and Industry 4.0 and all the technology that is an exciting time. But the beautiful good news is it takes people. So, let’s talk about digital transformation for just a minute. As you were describing a lot of that, Aneesa, just a second ago, clearly you are — it struck with me the last time you were here, you’re a lifetime constant learner. And that struck me in your first appearance with us, and it’s striking me again now. What’s been a couple of your biggest lessons learned when it comes to leading digital transformation in manufacturing operations?

Aneesa Muthana (27:50):

Yes, so thank you, Scott. Thank you for all the pint sentiments. I really appreciate them. And — so, yes, as far as the digital transformation, not too much too quickly. And I always say, if you’re collecting data, what are you doing with the data? If there aren’t any action items coming from that data, don’t collect it because you’re just wasting your time and you’re overwhelming your team. That’s one, that’s a big one. And I spoke about the engagement of your team, the visibility and the transparency, those — both of them are key. Visibility is put the monitors, let them see it too. Don’t have it hidden in your office or be collecting reports and they don’t know how you got those numbers. Let them see because there might be a glitch, there might be a reason. Giving them the opportunity to communicate the easiest way to communicate.

Aneesa Muthana (28:41):

And when I say, you know, the why, right? Like, you have data, so what’s the action items? The action items, nine out of 10 times will fall on the engineers or upper management. And what that means is that if there’s raw material that they’re having issues with, if that’s the reason why the data is giving us the downtime because of a machine, because of raw material, then it’s on us to buy better material, better tooling. If it’s training, then we better be giving — providing training. If it’s because there’s a confusion in one of the processes, we better give clarity and more training on that. So, it falls more on us. And I think that’s how you get the buy-in. It’s them actually seeing that, wow, she is collecting this data. The numbers aren’t possibly great, but we’re not in trouble and she’s here to support us. That’s how you’re going to get the engagement of the team. That’s just — it’s simple math, it’s not brain surgery.

Scott Luton (29:39):

Well said, Aneesa. And Kevin, I’ll get you to respond in just a second. I want to call out two things that she just shared there. One is a root cause. Sorry, I was trying to get my mental thoughts in line root cause not just fixing it. There may be some, like, she was talking about material changes or other fixes so that we can eliminate those headaches from coming back and nipping at our teammate’s heels. Once again, really important.

Scott Luton (30:02):

And then secondly what I heard there — Aneesa, correct me if I’m wrong, but all the things you mentioned that are lessons learned from digital transformation, from pace considerations, not too much too fast to what are you doing with data to the visibility to transparency. All of those things, kind of, in my mind, boil up to protecting and building on the trust you have with your team. Because as I’ve always said it, when your team trusts you, when organizations and team members trust each other, that’s when you can move mountains. You can move those — that Teton Range that I saw with my son a couple weeks ago.

Scott Luton (30:34):

Kevin, respond to what some of the elements there that she’s learned from leading successful digital transformation.

Kevin L. Jackson (30:40):

Well, I really liked the way she connected data to the business process. And that’s really at the heart of any digital transformation. Because she — Aneesa, you said, what are you going to do with the data? What action are you going to take with the data? And you can only digitally transform if you understand what data you need, how it relates to your business model, and how that business model or that business process contributes to the organization attaining its goals. So, I mean, I think that’s number one. That is critical in any digital transformation process.

Kevin L. Jackson (31:28):

And I’m not surprised because you serve on the board of the National Association for Manufacturers. So, I’d imagine this is something that you guys talk about all the time. Is that true or is, if not, what is your favorite issue that you use your voice on to advocate for in industry because it’s clearly saying the right things.

Aneesa Muthana (31:56):

Yes. And thank you, Kevin. Yes, I think — as a small manufacturer, so National Association of Manufacturers. You have big names. Big companies out there that are even a small manufacturer, small to mid-size manufacturer, some of them are, like, 10 times bigger than we are. So, there’s a — I would say it could be very intimidating being in the room full of those people that are decision makers and running these big organizations. But I feel like it’s partly a responsibility to be there as a small manufacturer and make sure that my voice is being heard.

Aneesa Muthana (32:32):

We meet politicians all the time on a mandate. You invite them to speak or they invite us to meet with them locally, or nationally, or through virtual. And so — and in doing so, having that voice and talking about whether it’s regulations or whatever we’re dealing with, whatever advocacy we need, NAM is there. I’m a big fan of Jay Timmons who is the president and CEO of NAM. And he just — he really out to really just advocate for us and be in front of either the media or politicians. And every opportunity that we have to do the same is to support the association. And in doing that, we’re supporting the industry.

Aneesa Muthana (33:15):

And so, how can we not? How can we not — how can we ignore all of the issues? And especially in Illinois. Illinois is not a very pro-manufacturing state. And because of that, when I was — when IMA, which is another version of NAM on a local level, Illinois Manufacturing Association, when the president CEO asked me to go to a press conference because they were talking about some laws that they passed, and the governor was speaking and he wanted someone from the manufacturing sector, let me tell you every second I was in his ear, I was on that mic talking about needing to advocate for manufacturers and the laws that they’re passing. Many of our shops, especially in my sector of machining, even as small machine shops already paid the PTO that they put in place. Already paid for health insurance for our employees. So, we’re already a step ahead than the average industry out there. So, if I’m not there telling them, if no one’s out there telling them, then how are we going to really make a difference?

Kevin L. Jackson (34:22):

Yes. So, I was right. You are using your voice well.

Scott Luton (34:26):

Oh, undoubtedly. Undoubtedly.

Aneesa Muthana (34:29):

You can’t hold me back. You can’t hold me back.

Kevin L. Jackson (34:31):

Who wouldn’t want to?

Scott Luton (34:32):

I learned that last time, Aneesa. You touched on so much there because it goes without saying that, not just in the states, but globally. Manufacturing is so critical to any economy in any country, in any region. But here in the states, obviously reshoring, nearshoring, friendshoring, we’ve heard all sorts of themes in the last couple of years and we’ve seen it. You mentioned the different states and, you know, some states are oftentimes can be more appealing for different industries. You know, everywhere you turn around down here, Kevin, at least between South Carolina and Georgia and Alabama, they’re winning all kinds. The automotive clustering that goes on. A very prevalent and throughout the southeast. And of course, electric vehicle batteries, man, there’s all kinds of infrastructure everywhere going up.

Scott Luton (35:14):

And if it’s not — if we don’t have voices, to your first point, Aneesa, from all aspects, not just the big heavy duty global manufacturers, but the middle market folks, the small manufacturers. Well, we need all those voices so we can really create a playing field that works to fuel the growth and success for all the whole ecosystem. Kevin, your quick comment before I keep driving here if you need it.

Kevin L. Jackson (35:37):

No, no, no. You’re absolutely right. It is about the ecosystem. About how the different members of the industry collaborate to make everyone’s business better. And using your voice to highlight the challenges, really, I think focuses on that collaboration. Not just within the industry, but across other industries because everything’s connected in today’s world.

Scott Luton (36:07):

Right. Oh, undoubtedly. And you know what, back to — we were talking earlier about what consumers know. I think that’s one of the lessons they’ve learned. We’ve learned as all of us are consumers, but those aren’t in industry. I think they’ve really — they’ve made a lot of progress connecting the dots, especially when you look at global supply chain or you think about what comes from where and what makes what. I mean, I think there’s been a lot of strides made when it comes to educating the consumer.

Scott Luton (36:32):

One last thing, and we’re going to keep driving here, Aneesa. But one last thing, it’s really, as I’m reflecting on what you’re sharing in kind of the conversation thus far, I think about how we’re talking about what makes a healthy manufacturing industry on a variety of levels. From the people component, right, and bringing people in, to the economic environment and how can states and the private sector work together so that we can grow and grow production, grow business, you name it. To the technology side, which every industry is grappling with the most effective and practical way of leveraging modern technology and doing it the right way and at the right pace, which is one of the things that Aneesa put out — pointed out.

Scott Luton (37:12):

But I want to broaden the conversation now. One of my favorite parts of our last interview, Aneesa, and really in general is getting some of your leadership advice. That’s why a lot of organizations seek you out and have you come in and speak and whatnot. So, one of the things you’re passionate about is getting the best out of your team, right? So, what do you — in your mind, there’s a long list probably, what’s a couple of proven best practices for truly getting the best out of any team?

Aneesa Muthana (37:38):

Yes. So, I feel that it’s important to emphasize it’s got to be the right people. I say people first, I use that term all the time, but it’s got to be the right people. Because people will take advantage. The people — there are bad apples. There’s — transform everyone, right? You can’t — not everyone’s going to buy into your vision. So, one thing that I do, like, we just hired two people with our move and our expansion. We need more people. So — and one is going to be a buyer and the other is going to be a sales engineer. And so, I interviewed them on different times and hired them different times, but they ended up being hired on the same date and started on the same date.

Aneesa Muthana (38:18):

So, the orientation, part of the orientation is I sit with them and just like I said in the interview and emphasized in the interview, go on our website and I give a card, I can pull one out.

Scott Luton (38:30):

OK.

Aneesa Muthana (38:30):

I give them our core values, and at the interview when I feel like it’s going in the direction, I hand them a card and I say, I want you to look at these and I want you to make sure that you feel comfortable working at a company that’s going to hold you accountable.

Aneesa Muthana (38:44):

And so, when you literally build your foundation on that, right, and then let’s just fast forward now I’ve hired them, I give them a card again. They’re very inexpensive to print. And I want to make sure they don’t lose it and it’s all over. Like, I always say I don’t want them to just be pretty words on a wall. I want them to mean something. I don’t want them to be content on my website. I want them to actually be words that we live by. And how do I do that is I emphasize the importance. And I use examples like integrity. Integrity for a shop operator, a machinist, is making sure that when he pushes his parts to the next department, he knows that those parts are good. And if anything is questionable, he raises his hand and tells the supervisor, there’s — should I sort these? What should I do? Put a hold on them. So, he doesn’t need to make the decision, but he needs to be transparent about any issues that he’s having.

Aneesa Muthana (39:42):

And that to me defines his integrity. My integrity is when I interviewed you, what I told you in the interview, the proof is in the pudding. When after I hire you, I make sure that I’m checking in and that you’re understanding what I said to you in the interview. My commitments that are on that job offer continues throughout your career here.

Aneesa Muthana (40:06):

And if something’s changed, whether you’re not taking on the responsibilities or the expectation isn’t clear or whatever it is that we’re communicating regularly to make sure that we’re on the same page. Because the last thing I want to do is like, well, six months in, I’m supposed to give him a raise. But you know what, he’s not doing that great. So no, he’s not getting the raise. Why didn’t I tell him three months ago? Why didn’t I tell him — why am I telling him the day that I committed?

Aneesa Muthana (40:28):

So, that’s integrity for me. So, integrity — people hashtag it. People put it on every — it’s on all core values. But how do you define it based on your role? Everyone has to know how they’re defining it. And I’m just using one of many of our values as an example. And so, that I feel like is the structure. Is making sure that everyone is on the same page and everyone understands the expectation. And now as the owner, the CEO, I have two managers that have — they’re responsible and they have my permission to tap me on my shoulder, should I steer away from this? So, when we get stuck and we’re trying to make a decision, it’s literally in the conference room, what do the core values say? It gives us our compass, let’s use it.

Aneesa Muthana (41:23):

And so, I feel that in itself, being able to lead by example, I think that speaks volume to my team. And if someone’s trying to get out of something, if someone’s, you know, not aligned to these values, it’s just a matter of time for them not to be on my team. It’s going to show somehow and it’s going to show consistently where many people with good intention, they may not — intensions could be really good, but the expectations not — may not be clear, and that’s my job. And that’s where I need to make sure that the expectations are clear and their managers should be doing the same and we should all be speaking the same language and showing them the same thing.

Kevin L. Jackson (42:08):

Yes, you’re building culture. You’re building the right culture that will permeate your organization. And if you start with that as a foundation, you’ll always be successful. That’s — those are great words there.

Scott Luton (42:23):

Agreed. Aneesa, you dropped — you mentioned the word integrity a lot in your response there. And, kind of, leadership integrity is what I took away, you know. So, they see you operating with integrity. They trust you. And again, for me, from what you’re sharing, that trust leads right into operational performance, right? Because I tell you, if you don’t trust any — if you don’t — and not just in workforce but in general, if you’re not trusting whoever you’re collaborating with or working with or playing basketball with or whatever, you’re always going to have this little second guess that kind of eats away at this decision or that decision. But when you completely trust someone because you see the integrity that they operate with and you see it and deeds, not words, right, that’s when you — that’s when special things happen.

Kevin L. Jackson (43:07):

Yes.

Scott Luton (43:07):

So, Aneesa, I really appreciate that because that’s so tied to any team’s performance. And I really appreciate that, how you all do things there. Now, I got to ask you, Aneesa, you held up that card. What’s one of your other favorite core values that’s on that card?

Aneesa Muthana (43:23):

Well, it’s actually not a value, but it’s on here. It’s outreach.

Scott Luton (43:27):

OK.

Aneesa Muthana (43:27):

And that — we’ve talked about that before.

Kevin L. Jackson (43:29):

Yes.

Aneesa Muthana (43:30):

But if I were to pick another one, it would be stewardship. Stewardship is — it’s, like, I feel like it’s teamwork on steroids is what I call it. And it’s basically, I have your back, you have my back, and that applies to the customer, applies to the suppliers, and it applies to the team, and it doesn’t have to involve me. Stewardship is, let’s just say there’s two employees that one of them made a mistake and the other was able to help them fix the mistake. They identify it, they fix it, they move on. And that’s stewardship.

Aneesa Muthana (44:02):

It’s not I’m going to go find out your boss and I’m going to go rat you out, or I mean, literally, and I use that as an example when I also hire. Like, what stewardship means within our four walls? I say it obviously means a lot to our customers, our partners, our suppliers. But within our four walls, what does stewardship mean is that we are in it together. We win together and we lose together.

Aneesa Muthana (44:28):

And when someone identifies a problem, it’s not necessarily have to identify the person. It can identify how do we correct the process? How do we train this person so it doesn’t happen next time? And just really having that — going back to what you said earlier, Kevin, and both you and Scott, the trust factor. Having that level of trust that you have my back. I feel like that is the core of what people need to have because nowadays that level of trust, that’s my success, has to be at your expense. Like, why is that? Like why do I have to put someone down so I can feel better about myself? That’s something I want to steer away from. And yes, so, stewardship would be my favorite after integrity.

Scott Luton (45:14):

I love it. Kevin, I’m going to get your — before we make sure folks know how to connect with Aneesa here, get you to respond their own integrity, stewardship, outreach, and how they’re living their values amongst your teams there.

Kevin L. Jackson (45:27):

Yes. So, once again, it’s all about culture. You have to have — culture permeates an organization, but it starts at the top and it has to be something that the company is. And I can see that’s what — Aneesa, that is what you are. So, it’s really a strong example, a strong statement, and a powerful role model that you are with respect to setting your culture in your organization

Scott Luton (46:02):

And good for the company, good for the organization, good for the team, good for the industry. I told you, Kevin. Aneesa —

Kevin L. Jackson (46:06):

And it’s good for profit.

Scott Luton (46:09):

Right? That’s right. And it’s important. Without profit, there’s not a whole bunch we can do.

Kevin L. Jackson (46:14):

Yes.

Scott Luton (46:14):

But, Kevin, I promised you that Aneesa was quite the dynamo. And I really wish we had a couple more hours with her here today. But hey, Aneesa, let’s make sure folks — I know you do beyond running a couple of successful businesses and doing a lot for industry and sitting on boards and talking with fifth and sixth graders about manufacturing, which is one of my favorite things that we’ll talk about next time. You also speak and give a lot of interviews. A great ambassador, really, for not just business, but especially the manufacturing industry. How can folks connect with you, Aneesa?

Aneesa Muthana (46:44):

LinkedIn pretty much is the best place. I always check my messages and I obviously am very active when I can be. I’ve been not as active recently, but overall, I feel like LinkedIn is the best platform as far as business, manufacturing, development, making connections and continuing our connections. Like I said earlier, Scott, before we went and recorded it was that really engagement and what — seeing what you’re doing not only for the industry but just as a human. And some of the posts and comments and really just keeps that line of communication open.

Scott Luton (47:23):

Aneesa, I really, really appreciate it. I’m so glad that we could reconnect again and share your powerful voice and actions with our global audience. So, thank you so much. But before we leave here, Kevin, big shout out again to Microsoft doing some really cool things in the manufacturing space. What are you tracking right now?

Kevin L. Jackson (47:41):

Well, you know, I really liked this show because a couple of things that Aneesa highlighted. One was like empowering the workforce, right? Making sure that you have the right culture around your workforce. That they know that each other — you have each other’s back. And when we were talking about Digital Transformation and A.I. and machine learning, the importance of re-skilling your workers and letting them know that we’re not collecting data so that we can catch you doing the wrong thing.

Kevin L. Jackson (48:16):

And the second thing is about innovation, right? You need people to help you think of new ways to have that imagination that drives innovation, and that’s how you unlock new services. Manufacturing and companies that focus on products are now doing what’s called servitization, where they’re taking the product and adding services on top of it so that they can deliver innovative values to their customer. And both of these things are really coming from the capability of the Microsoft Cloud for manufacturing because it’s really designed to deliver the capabilities that support these core processes and requirements of any organization in the manufacturing industry.

Kevin L. Jackson (49:18):

So, the end-to-end manufacturing Cloud solutions are being released so that you can release these new capabilities, securely connect your people, your assets and workflows, and your business processes. And you can see from Aneesa that she’s leveraging that every day. So, I mean, thank you for the leadership that you are exhibiting, Aneesa.

Scott Luton (49:48):

Undoubtedly. Let’s see here, Kevin, very well stated, by the way, very well stated from the person, you’re too humble, but the person that wrote the book on cloud computing, by the way. You’re doing a lot of cool things. Of course, Digital Transformers, you lead here part of our Supply Chain Now fam, what — how can folks connect with you, Kevin?

Kevin L. Jackson (50:05):

Yes, like Aneesa, I’m on LinkedIn also. And that’s very — that’s a good place to catch up on me. But the best place is right here on Supply Chain Now where we have a monthly show for Digital Transformers and The Buzz where I’m there the second Monday of every month. So — and hey, LinkedIn, Facebook, and the X, I’m there as well.

Scott Luton (50:33):

I got — I’m still making that mental shift. But, you know, Kevin, you’re everywhere, I’ll tell you. And I feel like I get a degree every — on that second Monday of each month when you join us for The Buzz. But all of this to say, I’ll tell you, Aneesa Muthana, CEO and co-owner of both Pioneer Service and M&M Quality Grinding, like Kevin said, you’re really an inspiration. I really appreciate what you shared here. We didn’t mention this on the front end, but I know from our previous conversations important to you in our audience that especially women, that they look to role models like what you’re doing. Leading organizations, leading industry. And they can — since they see it, it helps them know and be confident that they can be it.

Scott Luton (51:15):

And Aneesa, what you’re doing is so important, and I hope you continue to rub off on many others and the future leaders of our industry. So, Aneesa Muthana, thank you so much for being here.

Aneesa Muthana (51:25):

Thank you for having me.

Scott Luton (51:27):

All right. So, Kevin, I promised, and Aneesa as always delivered quite the dynamo. But we should thank again, big thanks to our collaborative partners over at Microsoft as well, helping us to bring wonderful, inspiring stories and leaders like this one to our global audience. Kevin, always a pleasure to knock this out with you.

Kevin L. Jackson (51:44):

I learned so much on these series, this Microsoft series. So, thank you for letting me be your co-host.

Scott Luton (51:51):

Absolutely. My wingman, right?

Kevin L. Jackson (51:55):

Yes, wingman.

Scott Luton (51:55):

As an aviator parlance, right?

Kevin L. Jackson (51:57):

Yes.

Scott Luton (51:58):

But big thanks again, Aneesa and Kevin. To all of our listeners out there, folks, hopefully enjoyed this episode as much as I have. But now the onus is on you. You got to take some of the brilliance that Aneesa and Kevin dropped here today. Take just one thing at least put it into action, right? Deeds, not words, it’s what it’s all about. But with that said, on behalf of our tire team here at Supply Chain Now, Scott Luton challenging you to do good, to give forward and to be the change. And we’ll see you next time, right back here on Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (52:29):

Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.

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Featured Guests

Aneesa Muthana got her first taste of manufacturing as a youngster in her parents’ shop, M&M Quality Grinding. At first, she spent her days running machines and bounding over bundles of metal, but soon these tasks gave way to handling payroll, accounts receivable, sales, and other duties. In her early 20s, Aneesa left the family business to become CEO and co-owner of Pioneer Service, a small, struggling company in Addison, IL. Thirty years later, the company serves a variety of industries including aerospace, medical, and electric vehicles. In 2021, Aneesa returned to M&M as co-owner and CEO, coming full circle while retaining her role at Pioneer Service. Aneesa contributes regularly to Modern Machine Shop on a variety of topics and served on several boards including the National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) and has served as President of Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) 2021-2022. She’s won numerous awards including the 2017 Manufacturing Institute’s Award, 2019 NAWBO Woman Business Owner of The Year, Crain’s 2019 and 2020 Notable Woman in Manufacturing, SWE “Women Engineers You Should Know” and CIOGC 2021 Muslim Achiever Award. Outside of the shop, Aneesa advocates for DEI through outreach at various public speaking events. Her core message stakes its claim on hard work, not playing the victim, and disavowing the “us vs. them” mindset behind most harmful stereotypes. In her personal life, she always finds time for faith, family, and her four grandchildren, who remain the light of her world. Connect with Aneesa on LinkedIn.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Kevin L. Jackson

Host, Digital Transformers

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

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

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

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

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Vicki White

Controller

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

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Allison Giddens

Host

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

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

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Billy Taylor

Host

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

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

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

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

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Tandreia Bellamy

Host

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

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

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

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

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Marty Parker

Host

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

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

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Laura Lopez

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Jake Barr

Host

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

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Marcia Williams

Host

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

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Luisa Garcia

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Astrid Aubert

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Constantine Limberakis

Host

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

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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

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Greg White

Principal & Host

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

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

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.

Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.

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Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

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

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

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

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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

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Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Katherine Hintz

Director, Customer Experience

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

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Mary Kate Love

Chief of Staff & Host

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

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

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

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

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