Veteran Voices
Episode 52

When you're sitting on watch driving your submarine for hours with people, you talk about everything. You learn so much about your fellow shipmates. I noticed a giant transformation that happened in the young men. I got to meet guys who may not have lived past age 25, because of the life they had led earlier where they got caught up in gangs and drugs, and I'd hear all kinds of stories. The military had a positive impact on their lives.

-Rob Tiffany, Executive Director, Moab Foundation

Episode Summary

When President George Bush went on TV to announce the beginning of the Gulf War, Rob Tiffany was working his way through college and he immediately felt called to go. He wanted to fly the latest planes with stealth technology. There was a waiting list to enter the Air Force, so he enlisted in the Navy. After all, it worked for Tom Cruise…

Today, Rob Tiffany is the Executive Director at the Moab Foundation, focused on the use of connected intelligence to achieve global sustainability. Prior to that, he was the Vice President and Head of IoT Strategy at Ericsson. He has received a number of awards and recognitions and is routinely ranked as one of the top IoT experts and influencers in the world by Inc Magazine, Onalytica, and others.

Rob joined Veteran Voices host Scott Luton to share the honest truth about his journey into, through, and out of the Navy:

  • What it was like serving aboard a submarine – and the preparations and screening he had to go through in advance
  • How being in the military transformed him as a person
  • Why he decided to write a children’s book – Submarine Warriors: The Enemy Beneath

Episode Transcript

Scott Luton (00:00:02):

Welcome to veteran voices. A podcast is dedicated to giving a voice to those that have served in the United States, armed forces on this series, jointly presented by supply chain now, and vets to industry. We sit down with a wide variety of veterans and veteran advocates to gain their insight perspective and stories from serving. We talked with many individuals about their challenging transition from active duty to the private sector, and we discuss some of the most vital issues facing veterans today. Join us for this episode of veteran voices.

Scott Luton (00:00:48):

Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton with you here on veteran voices with my new friend, Rob, Tiffany, Rob, how you doing? Good. How’s it going? It is so cool to connect with you here after chat doing you tracking you down on social and seeing all the cool things you’ve been up to for a year or so. And to, and to now finally kind of do the, maybe the 2022 version of in person interviewing, uh, is so cool to have you here. It’s great to be here. I’m excited. We are too. So to our listeners who are tuning in today’s conversation, we have a big interview with, uh, not only a us Navy veteran, but a us Navy veterans become one of the most influential business leaders in tech in the world. So stay tuned for a great discussion. And as we always wanna point out a quick programming note here, this show is part of the supply chain.

Scott Luton (00:01:36):

Now family of programming today’s show is conducted with our friends over at vets two industry, which is a nonprofit on in the mood, powerful nonprofit, serving a lot of folks in the veteran space. You learn more at vets Nui, Okay. So Rob, I wanna, uh, before we get into, uh, our conversation and my, my interview of you, I wanna lay out a couple of things cause it really, it blew my mind as I learn more about Rob Tiffany. So, and, and, and feel free if I get anything wrong, just let me know. Um, my friends and family do it all the time. So, so Rob, Tiffany executive director currently of the Moab foundation, and we’re gonna learn more about that. And for context, going back, uh, previously get this. So previously Rob served as head of I O T strategy at Erickson, uh, name everyone in their brother knows at ha Hitachi, prior to that, you designed Rob help me, is it Lama Lama, Lama that’s right. Lama Lama, industrial IOT platform, which won a ton of awards, including the presidential product of the year. And as we all know here, supply chain now, now, uh, Gartner’s um, uh, magic quadrant, uh, leader. Yeah, pretty cool. It, you know what the cool factor does not stop there, Microsoft, which we were talking about prior to us, uh, jumping on online here today, you were co-author of the, a Azure, uh, IOT architecture and you drove development of the windows phone, which we were chatting about a second ago. How cool

Rob Tiffany (00:03:09):

Was that? It’s pretty crazy. <laugh> so lots of changes. <laugh>

Scott Luton (00:03:14):

Well, and, and lots of legacy and, and maybe we’ll touch on that as we get to I, but, but finally folks again, uh, Rob appears on all these expert lists of who’s who, especially in those topics of IOT, digital twin industry, 4.0, uh, and all the big, uh, publications from wired Forbes, eat magazine, you name it. So folks today on veteran voices, we’re going big time. And Rob, are you ready to dive in? Let’s dive, dive in. No pun intended, right? No pun, pun intended, no pun intended. Yes. Be a military connection there. <laugh> all right. So before we get to all of the, uh, all that you’ve been up to professionally, and even before we get to, you know, what you did in the military, which, which I’m gonna find to be really fascinating. Uh, let’s talk about where you grew up, just getting to know you a little better. So where’d you grow up and give us some anecdote, uh, a bachelor upbringing, Rob?

Rob Tiffany (00:04:01):

Sure, sure. So I’m from Texas originally. I was born out in Abilene and west Texas. Uh, but, but grew up primarily in Houston. And so a normal childhood, you know, went to college to university of Texas. Okay. In Austin,

Scott Luton (00:04:17):

Uh, go Longhorns,

Rob Tiffany (00:04:18):

Right. Go hook and horn. Exactly. That’s right. Um, but you know what? I didn’t graduate from there. I ended up we’ll talk later. I graduated while I was on the submarine, which you know, is a story

Scott Luton (00:04:29):

In itself. It

Rob Tiffany (00:04:30):

Is, you know, I’m super indebted to the military for all those opportunities. Uh, came from a military family. Uh, you know, my dad and uncle were both in the army and Vietnam. Um, my grandfather in Abilene, he flew B 24 bombers for the army air Corps in world war II. And so, you know, in the Pacific Japan, Philippines, all that kind of stuff, and lots of stories there. Lots of interesting things for sure. Yeah. But, uh, B

Scott Luton (00:05:00):

24 liberator, I believe that’s

Rob Tiffany (00:05:01):

Right. That’s right. Kind of had the two tails on the back there. Yes. You know, they didn’t have pressurization back then on those bombers. And so he would talk about taking off and flying for 17 hours on their mission wearing giant Lampkin coats, heavy deals. Wow. Cause, you know, there’s, they didn’t have what we have to day modern aircraft of any kind. Right. Greatest

Scott Luton (00:05:24):

Generation for sure. Well,

Rob Tiffany (00:05:26):

They were fearless and they just did what they had to do, you know? And so you were absolutely right about the greatest generation. It’s amazing. So yeah, just great stuff there. So all

Scott Luton (00:05:36):

Of that, undoubtedly, the stories that you just alluded to with your grandfather, of course, your dad, both of them, uh, army and army air Corps. So the guess

Rob Tiffany (00:05:46):

This, we call that the air force now don’t we

Scott Luton (00:05:47):

That’s air force now as of, uh, the 1947 national security act, I believe. Yeah. Uh, so <laugh> um, so clearly all of that impacted you any, any, so before we get into your, your military, what, what else growing up? I think I heard Abilene, Texas. Is that right? Yeah. Yeah. So was it football? What what’d you do as a kid that’s inseparable from when you think of your upbringing? What, what were some of your hobbies?

Rob Tiffany (00:06:13):

Wow. No, that’s a good one. So I was only in Abilene a little bit, but go out there, but you’re right. Most people will think of Abilene and Midland and Odessa and they think Friday night lights, don’t they? Right. <laugh> clear eyes. Yeah. <laugh> exactly. Uh, but you know what, everywhere you are in Texas is all about football, for sure. Gosh, every Friday night, but yeah. You know, growing up, obviously <affirmative> sports. I didn’t play football. I played baseball and soccer golf who knew my dad was a big, my dad was a scratch golfer. Wow. Okay. Yeah. And so, you know, when you’re a little kid, you can imagine going to play with your dad and you’re a Cady. Right. And then you, you learned to play. And so, so yes, I played on the golf team in high school. So not quite as cool as being on the varsity football team, but we’ve gotta take whatever we can get.

Scott Luton (00:07:04):

Right. I’m with you, I’m with you. Uh, it sounds like you’re more athletic than I am. One final question, and then we’re gonna get into, uh, what you did in the us Navy. So you, you were sharing pre-show about your dad brought home a computer and you really went into town on this thing. Tell us about that.

Rob Tiffany (00:07:21):

Yeah. So in the eighties, because I’m really old, <laugh>, you know, dad brought home a, one of the, it wasn’t the original IBM PC, but there were, if anybody heard about PC clones, like if you think about companies like compact and Houston and Dell and Austin, they were all made possible because the, this whole idea of it’s really geeky folks, but basically they reversed, engineered the IBM bios really to allow clone computers, which is why you can buy computers from HP and everybody else. And not just IBM interesting. Oh, I know lots of geeky stuff there, but it actually created a, a Revolut and actually this changed the whole world, uh, because of it. And so, yeah, I remember him bringing, it was an at and T 6,300, but it looked like an IBM PC. And so you’re running Doss back then and basic. And so I learned how to program basic. I also had this little tiny computer. It’s a, it’s called a Timex Sinclair. Yeah. This guy, Sinclair, actually, he just died recently. He’s like, sir, whatever Sinclair, he created all these computers in, in, in the UK really in Britain. Yeah. I think he was a Cambridge, you know, Oxford guy. Uh, and so it was this little tiny computer. You plugged it into a TV set, you know? And, uh, it had little thermal, you know, printer thingy. It was, it was nerd sounds

Scott Luton (00:08:43):

Like. So in my mind, I’m thinking like early generation Commodore. Yeah. I wanna say I’m not sure if the Atari ever released it, but they were did, did they

Rob Tiffany (00:08:53):

As well, they had a computer Atari, whatever, 800 back then.

Scott Luton (00:08:57):

Yeah. So at what point, so how old were you when you, when you figured out how to pro you learned basic first, right. As a kid.

Rob Tiffany (00:09:04):

Yeah. Yeah. I was just, I guess, early teens. Okay. And you’re right. There was kind of flowing back between the early video games. And then there was computers that were doing a hybrid video and other stuff like that. And so I think that’s kind of, and I was really into audio equipment, stereo stuff, and I was a DJ in high school a lot, actually. Yeah. And so maybe that weird electronic something kind of got me into that. And so of course, you know, back then, I can’t speak for every school, but it’s not like we had some kind of computer education going on in high school. I think we had a computer math class that I could take, but you’re pretty much on your own back then in, in school. Yep. Um, obviously we were all playing Atari video games, uh, or gosh, what was the line in television television? Remember in television? Yeah,

Scott Luton (00:09:52):

I had that, that was our first game system at home in

Rob Tiffany (00:09:54):

That. Awesome. Yes. But I was really into stereo gear and I was a dis jocking dis jocking high school dances and stuff like that. And that was a lot. That was a lot of fun being a DJ. I wish I was still a DJ today. That was more fun than all this other stuff. Well

Scott Luton (00:10:09):

<laugh> who knows, Hey, we still have plenty of time, plenty time with you. That’s be a DJ next week. What an eclectic background. And really, uh, I think about some of the things you’ve done, uh, that I read off and some other things that, um, I, I I’ve been watching. You do be a part of out in, in the industry. And I can only imagine that that eclectic background, that, that exposed you to so many different things, especially all things technology paved that way. But before we get into that, what is interest you’re? You’re the first, I believe you’re the first in, I don’t know, 60 or 70 episodes we’ve been doing here, veteran voices, first submarine that we’ve had here. So thank you. So let’s talk about what made you join the us Navy and then we’ll talk about what you did.

Rob Tiffany (00:10:52):

Yeah. Actually I can tell you the moment I was literally, so what is this name one night? Whatever it is. Okay. I’m, I’m literally at, at a gym working out with headphones on for like a radio thing, probably a Walkman or something. <laugh> uh <laugh> and I hear the announcement. Uh, what was the, was it Marlon Fitzwater who reported to George Bush and came on the air saying we have now just started attacking Baghdad. Mm-hmm <affirmative> with this advanced new stealth fighter technology and stuff that no one had ever heard of. Yep. And you’re just like, whoa, this is really happening. And so the, the Gulf war started and I was going through college and I was at that kind and I was working my way through college and I’ve just had that feeling like, I gotta go, mm, we gotta go. You know what I mean? Yep. You know, a lot, you know, a lot of people are just called to it. Right. Yep. And so it’s like, and so, and you know, what props to you air force guys, I really wanted to fight fighter jets, like any young red blooded boy. Right. <laugh>

Scott Luton (00:12:02):

Right. That’s

Rob Tiffany (00:12:03):

Right. And I actually did talk to the air force guys. There was a waiting list. Wow. There was for air force. It was here. You have to wait like nine or 10 months before the, it was, it was like really? Who knew?

Scott Luton (00:12:16):

Well, just, just to be a, just a level set. I wish I could claim I did did a flute jets or something in the air force. I was a lowly data analyst and I wasn’t even a great data analyst <laugh> so it take, but it takes all types, um, certain and, and a lot of maintainers as we know, uh, to things move and, and project that strength. But it’s, it’s really, I remember that same moment too. Uh, that was a Wednesday night cause I was at church playing basketball. Yeah. And I remember, uh, my parents coming in and sharing that news cause we weren’t watching the news at the time and I, I love how you have identified and, and you know, that, um, epiphany you had and then that compulsion that you had to be a part you had to serve. So then that, so then you, um, the air force was booked. So you,

Rob Tiffany (00:13:00):

The air was booked, walked down the hall and there’s the Navy guys. And I was like, well, you know, gosh, you know, Tom cruise was a pilot in the Navy. That’s, you know, maybe that’s for me because you know, top guns by far the coolest movie ever. Right. And so, and so, yeah, I talked to those guys. I had not finished college yet. I had about 90 hours and I talked to ’em and they said, well, we had this nav CAD program where if you already had over 90 hours, you could go in as enlisted. But then you take all these spatial app perception, us do all this stuff, had to get a, a recommendation from a Congressman from your state and whole package put together. And so I was like, okay, sure. I’ll do that. You know? Uh, yeah. <laugh>, <laugh>, they’re so good at it.

Rob Tiffany (00:13:49):

They’re they’re good at it. Oh, they’re good. Aren’t they, they are good at those recruiters band. They’re the best salesman in the world. Aren’t they? That’s right. Yes. Hire recruiters for your Salesforce people. Absolutely. <laugh> so, yeah. So yeah, I go in and go to bootcamp in San Diego for the Navy. And I just wanna tell anybody, unfortunately, they don’t have the bootcamp there anymore. It was right next to the San Diego airport. Really? It’s like a, a Navy and Marine bootcamp, right. By each other gorgeous place. If you have to be miserable somewhere going through boot camp and being brutalized, <laugh> do it in San Diego where it’s gorgeous every day, sunny Palm trees. Oh yeah. And so when you’re just having to do pushups or hold up the wall or the angel thingy, right. It’s do it in San Diego, do it in San Diego because there’s, as you know, there are a lot worse places you could be going through that.

Scott Luton (00:14:39):

Yes <laugh>. So, so, you know, everyone makes fun of air force bootcamp. At least I’ve heard it from all kinds of folks, you know, six weeks, but I’ll tell you this, it’s in San Antonio, Texas, and you know, Texas. Yeah. Full BDU, man. I bet I lost 20 pounds just sweat through basic training, man. We went, let’s see, my first I turned 18 in basic. So I signed, enlisted at 17 and I started in early August. I think. So we, we were there August in September and it was burning way enough about me. So you,

Rob Tiffany (00:15:12):

No, that’s, that’s good stuff because our family, we have a ranch in the hill country of Texas. Okay. That’s not terribly far from San Antonio. And I used to spend a lot of time out there in the summers and I totally know what you’re talking about. That part, it it’s a little, little toasty. It is

Scott Luton (00:15:27):

A little toasty right. You’re line. So yeah. Uh, basic in San Diego,

Rob Tiffany (00:15:32):

I, I go basic and um, and so, uh, and it’s the funniest thing, you know, it’s like, well, what do you wanna do? And everything. And you know, you go off to your schools and you there’s a submarine coordinator at all these places and the Navy. So as most people know, we have an all volunteer military <affirmative>, but also within the Navy and there may be equivalence in other service branches, they can’t make you be on a submarine. Mm. You have to volunteer yet again to be on a sub cuz it’s really not for everybody <laugh>. And, and so while they can take anybody else in the Navy and put ’em on carriers or ships or whatever, submarines, it’s no bono for a lot of people. And so you say, yeah, I think, uh, in my mind, I’m like, I’m just gonna be doing this for maybe the next year or two while I’m putting my package together to go be Mr. Top gun. Right. <laugh> and so, and so I thought, well, that’s cool. Red October was pretty cool. That’s true. Yeah. You know, moves a little, the Tomcat, but you know, that’s okay. And so, uh, I said, yeah, I’ll sign up for that. And they, they put you through all these tests, uh, psychological tests. They don’t want you people just losing it underwater like that. Cuz you know, you’re in a tube and um, for long

Scott Luton (00:16:48):

For, and so let’s expound it a little bit more. Cause I think a lot of folks may not be familiar when you you’re, when you’re deploying a submarine, as you mentioned a con a tube, a confined space. Yeah. Uh you’re under, you can be underwater for how many months on end.

Rob Tiffany (00:17:02):

It could be several months. Depends on the kind of submarine you’re on. There’s fast attacks that you could be deployed for maybe six months. You may not be underwater that whole time. You might be going to different ports. And so I into that with my first summary, but, but if you’re on a Trident submarine, the ball, the Ohio class with the ICBMs, you basically, you’re going down for like 70 or 80 days continuously doing your patrol. Wow. And then come back. And so, and so it was important for them to do a lot of these psych exams and stuff like that. Cuz they, you can’t have somebody, he just lose their mind. Uh, and I’ve seen it happen actually really? Uh oh yeah. You know, you never know how people are gonna react in weird situations. So I saw that. I remember having to get all my, what wisdom teeth pulled out in advance of needing him too.

Rob Tiffany (00:17:50):

Uh, I never had a dentist before where he is like, I’m gonna lean on top of you in the chair. And he puts his knee on my chest to pull that stuff out. Cause he’s like, we can’t have, you have a problem like that while you’re underway. It’s like, cuz there’s no coming home. Right. You know what I mean? Right. And so yeah, that stuck outta my mind. So what, when you go up to you go to submarine school, which is in new London, Connecticut. Okay. Rock Connecticut. Yep. Yeah. Yep. And uh, and they have this really big tower there. That’s full of water and you have to ascend the equivalent. I dunno if it was like a hundred feet, you have to learn all these crazy situations. You may find yourself in like if you’re submarine San to the bottom of the ocean. And

Scott Luton (00:18:32):

So I gotta ask you a couple quick questions about this. Yeah. I saw and I wish I don’t have to Google the movie. I just watched it uh, a few weeks ago, maybe over to holidays and in one scene, it, it is probably set in, in the eighties or nineties, this, these, this criminal network still an old Russian sub. And then they do they find treasure or something. Then they try to outrun the folks that are after ’em. And at the end, unfortunately the crew parishes for a variety of reasons, including some psychological and one of the last acts that a captain of the vessel takes is he takes there’s three, three folks left. He takes two, the other two and sticks them in a suit. And then in the torpedo tubes and it shoots ’em up to the surface. Now it seemed to be, the whole movie seemed to be pretty realistic until it got to that point. And then I was like, I’ve never seen that in submarines. So Rob tell me I’m just gullible, right? That, that does not exist.

Rob Tiffany (00:19:30):

Oh no. That’s part of our training. You know, we all have to get shot out of torpedo tubes just to see how it feels. Right. I didn’t know if that <laugh>,

Scott Luton (00:19:37):

I didn’t know if that was part of egres or not evidently

Rob Tiffany (00:19:40):

Or not. It’s they, they have like, um, you know, where the hatches are on top, but they have this, you know, deal where, you know, you’ve probably seen it just like when people, most people see sci-fi movies or space movies where there’s an air, right? So imagine it being something like that, there’s a lower hatch. You go into this room, you seal that the top is sealed and they, they bring, they slowly bring the pressure up and then the water fills up in there. And so you do it gradually. And when the pressure in there is equal to the pressure in the outside ocean, the top hatch will open and then you’ve got a muscle and you, you do have this thing on your head. Uh, if you, anyone who’s a scuba diver knows if you’re in a weird situation like that, you have to, you can’t go faster to the surface than your bubbles do.

Rob Tiffany (00:20:24):

And huh. Also with the weird thing about pressure is your lungs are compressed. And so you’re taking a deep breath and your basically you have to exhale the entire way, all the way to the surface, which seems impossible. Like there’s no way I’m gonna be able to keep doing this. Right. Anyway, we trained for weird scenarios like that. Not a hundred percent cuz depending on the depth and how much there’s a good chance that you might survive, but your ears will probably explode or something like that. And so, but at least you’re alive, you know, just, you know, it’s

Scott Luton (00:20:55):

Unbelievable. I mean, this is what is, what vessel were you on? A couple different vessels?

Rob Tiffany (00:20:59):

I was, I was, yeah. So my first submarine was the USS John Marshall. Okay. And what was interesting about this one was originally anyone who is a boomer, sailor boomers being the ballistic missile subs. Okay. You know the nuclear triad, right? Yep. B 52 bombers B one bombers B two submarines. Uh, and then I see BMS, right? Yes.

Scott Luton (00:21:24):

The air force has two of the three. Uh that’s that’s all we got. Rob. That’s all we

Rob Tiffany (00:21:29):

Got, man. So I, I know, I know you’re gonna, I know you’re feeling pretty awesome. Powerful. <laugh> you’re feeling powerful. Unfortunately those are the least survivable of the two legs of the nuclear triad. The, the most survivable are those dang submarines. You can’t find and deep ocean. So, uh, but my first sub, so it was it called it 41 for freedom. And so, uh, I don’t know if it was Eisenhower and then Kennedy, you know, once we figured out, after we created the Nautilus, figured out, you know, a lot of great science and actually we could talk later, I actually go teach elementary schools, the science of submarines. And it really was their minds, all the stuff we figured out in the forties, obvious we figured out about the Adam didn’t we <laugh> yeah, thanks Einstein. And then Oppenheimer and a whole bunch of other people.

Rob Tiffany (00:22:16):

Um, and we figured out how to do nuclear FIS and have energy that lasts almost indefinitely. Um, so anyway, 41 for freedom, they built 41, uh, ballistic missile subs. Uh, what is it? The Polaris, uh, missiles back there for the, in the sixties, the cold war, the Soviets, right? Well, they took some of them later on, I think in the seventies, maybe eighties and they converted a few of them to seal team delivery of vehicles. Gotcha. All right. So seals became a thing, uh, starting in Vietnam and then special forces became more and more important. And boy, we’ve certainly seen the importance of special forces in the last, you know, all the stuff we’ve been doing in Afghanistan and Iraq. Um, and so what they did is they took out all the ICBM silos except for a couple at the front to have extra birthing for seal teams in there. Then you have a flat missile deck on top when they put this kind of shelter, they called it a dry deck shelter on top with too many subs parked in there. We’re talking James Bond, James Bond. That’s exactly what came to my mind. Yes. It’s total James Bond stop. We had all these cameras and so we could go do crazy special ops with the seal teams, uh, and they’re going up and getting into their mini subs and doing their assault. And you know, this is

Scott Luton (00:23:35):

The USS John Marshall.

Rob Tiffany (00:23:37):

This is the yes. And so it was originally SSB in six 11, cuz it was a ballistic missile sub, but then they changed it to SSN six 11, cuz became cuz it changed its mission. Right. So it’s more like a fast attack even though it’s huge. Right. Um, and so I loved working with the seals. Great guys. Great guys, if you are in a bar fight in another country, <laugh>, you’re set <laugh> and uh, nicest guys in the world, you’re on the MAs deck, singing songs and just being silly. And then they flip a switch and it’s, they’re just killing machines. Wow. And crazy weapons and stuff like that. And so got to live with those guys, hang with them all the time, be on their, I wasn’t to seal myself, but I got to be in their missions and it was pretty remarkable. So you can imagine just like people in big corporations, you know, how you have matrix corporations, your solid line to this deal, but you might be dotted line to this. Right. Right. So we are part of the submarine force, but we are dotted line to SOCOM, which is McDill air force base in Tampa. Right. Which is the, you know, our, so our special operations command. Right. For, um, you know, and so pretty cool stuff. Yeah. For sure.

Scott Luton (00:24:48):

I be, you got some stories you can’t share with us. Exactly.

Rob Tiffany (00:24:51):


Scott Luton (00:24:52):

It’s what, so, um, two quick follow up questions. Cause I want to get into some of the folks you worked with that are specialty and I know we can never do that justice in a little bit of time, but uh, what other vessels did you serve on if there were any others and is there anything else? I love how you’re going into schools and talking to kids about, about any, anything these days, but certainly how cool submarine operations are. Anything else would really surprise people about submarine

Rob Tiffany (00:25:18):

Operations? Yes. And we’ll talk about the school stuff. When we talk about one of my books, I wrote for kids about submarines. So I will was on an after the Gulf war. Remember it was kind of short, you know, storm in Norman Schwartzkoff that’s right. And Poland Powell, they got it done quickly, overwhelming force, great doctrine and Powell doctrine. So very old trained at this point and they say it’s time to decommission it. So coming from, you know, where over there and we’re gonna cruise we’re on the Atlantic side, gotta go through Panama canal. So I got to experience that. So you’re on the surface. We had grills out and we’re cooking burgers and barbecue. Oh, that’s awesome. The, cause it takes about a day, a transit time to get through the pan. And we had like seal teams and their Zodiac boats in front of us and behind us. Oh that’s cool. And yes, a black helicopter orbiting us the whole time. It was totally just in case. Right, right. Uh, cause you’re kind of a sitting duck, you know, that’s

Scott Luton (00:26:12):

True. I hadn’t never thought about

Rob Tiffany (00:26:13):

That. Yeah. And so, uh, a cool thing got around Pacific side, we stopped in San Diego point Loma, uh, base there, San Diego’s giant Naval, obviously great military town. I remember it being the super bowl when we were there, we had a little time off and then we did something it’s called a tiger cruise where you could invite friend or family to come on a short trip with you on the submarine. Wow. And so I invited one of my best friends and my dad. And so for the remaining transit from San Diego up to the Seattle area to Bremerton shipyards, about five days they got to come on and ride on the submarine. That’s awesome. And so lots of people had friends and family came on and we would do drills, radiation, drills, battle stations, missile torpedo. Oh we did emergency blow where we’re shooting out of the ocean.

Rob Tiffany (00:27:02):

So that was cool for them. But yeah, I arrived in the Seattle area at this Bremerton shipyard to decommission the submarine. Great timing to arrive in Seattle because it was grunge. Oh it was the early nineties. Kirk. Yes. And so I got to be there. It was the, there was no better time to be in Seattle. It’s all been the downhill since then, man, that first half of the nineties, that whole grunge thing with Nirvana and Pearl jam Allison chains. Oh yes. Right down garden. It was insane. And a lot of these guys were playing at local places, bars and clubs in Seattle. And so I remember going, I was like, this is crazy. It was cool. It was cool. Wow.

Scott Luton (00:27:42):

Yeah. Yeah. The, the experiences and the opportunities, uh, that you’ve been able to be a part of it is remarkable. Cause to your point, your timing to pull into Seattle around that, that legendary part of, of music history. Yeah. What, so did you, were, were you able to catch any of the, during that time, your most famous person you saw live? Maybe

Rob Tiffany (00:28:07):

I did see Kurt. Um, you saw Kurt really? I saw, uh, obviously Pearl jam when their first album, you know, they’re all having like their first albums sound garden had actually been around longer than people realized they’d actually done some stuff in the late eighties, but you know, a lot of bands that you think, oh, they’re grunge. Some of ’em had been working at for a while. Right. Um, I highly recommend watching any kind of documentary that Dave gro puts on TV or read or his new book, listen to his audio book. He’ll tell you the whole story of the beginning of Nirvana and him sleeping on a couch for months and living off of corn dogs from a Arco gas station until they made it big. And oh, <laugh>,

Scott Luton (00:28:46):

I love that. I love that. Check it out. Dave gro uh, drummer for

Rob Tiffany (00:28:51):

Absolutely drummer for, and obviously started F fighters. Right. So he, uh, so the timing, interesting timing. Remember I was also thinking I’m still gonna be Mr. Top gun. Right. And so one person who meant a lot to me on my first set Marin, the John Marshall, the executive officer, the exo. So that’s the second in command to the co. Right. And he really helped me a lot in putting my package together. When we were in the shipyard at Burton, we were parked next to the USS Carl Vincent, which is one of the giant aircraft carriers. And I remember doing all kinds of tests, did all this stuff, got my recomme. I think it was a Congressman from Abilene actually. Um, and all that stuff at the same time I met my wife or to be and started dating. She was from Seattle. Okay. And you know, this brings up big questions here.

Rob Tiffany (00:29:41):

So I remember when they came back and said your package got approved and when we’re done decommissioning, this sub you’re gonna report to Pensacola for flight flight school. Right man. And I’m just like, but then they said, but here’s some caveats. A lot of people don’t remember of this when the Gulf war was over George Bush S a lot of people don’t remember, there was a draw down in the military mm-hmm <affirmative> and we started closing, remember the base closure commissions they had in the Congress. So they were really scaling back, cuz it the peace dividend we won the cold war. We had just kicked butt in, in uh, you know, in Iraq. And so he said, they’re making it more painful for you. You’re gonna have to, I forgot what the extra obligated service was. And he’s like, just so you know, he goes, you can’t be married or anything like that. And however many years of flight training in Pensacola, cuz they need you to be super focused. Um, and then he goes, and you’re gonna be a, a carrier for like 10 years, probably in the Indian ocean, just doing flight ops and stuff like that. So make sure you want, and wow, I’ve been dating my wife to be, and I had to make that tough decision. And so I ended up going with the girl instead of the fighter jet <laugh> um, I know it’s tough. It’s

Scott Luton (00:31:00):

Tough. Well, you know, but those, um, who knows that the, your decision, how clearly it teed up for you to go and do some big things, perhaps using Seattle as a base of operations for yeah. Sounds like to me, for the rest of all your, your technology journey. So, so you mentioned, okay, so the exo, what was his

Rob Tiffany (00:31:23):

Or her name? I can’t remember his name. I’m a loser. Uh <laugh> so my next submarine though, was I, I transferred so after I decided not to do that and we finished decommission the sub, got my dolphins finally, which is another thing you have to do get qualified. You have to learn how to operate every system on the submarine. In fact, it was harder than anything I ever did in college. <laugh> um, you know, you have to like, you’re spending all your time learning about how to the nuclear reactor, how to operate that torpedoes, sonar, whatever your job is. Cross training on a submarine is critical because in battle things, bad things can happen, right? And you may need to take over for another person, right. That’s right. And do, and do their job cross training Absolut it’s critical. And so that was a big deal.

Rob Tiffany (00:32:06):

Getting my dolphins, you know, you’re sitting there doing a, it was like a three hour panel with the CEO and all these officers just grilling you for hours and stuff like that, but then transferred up the road. So two of America’s Trident bases where we have the Ohio class submarines one is it’s called of banger in Washington. So anyway, it’s north of Bremerton and then there’s another one in Kings bay, Georgia. Yep. And so, uh, those are the two places. And so our whole strategic fleets are both there. And so it just went up the road, joined the Alaska and, and got onto that submarine and uh, and completely different vibe, completely different, everything, much larger sub big crew, 24 ICPs. Wow. The mission’s so different. The mission is really be a black hole in the ocean and just wait for the message from the president to wow. Up the planet.

Scott Luton (00:33:00):

That’s um, that, that is so tough. It’s tough for me to wrap my head around. Uh, can you imagine folks that maybe, um, new to submarine concepts begin with? How did you, so, so you mentioned earlier, there was a whole battery of tests to make sure psychologically that everybody was good to go, but how did you deal with there’s longer tenures in the submarine where you had, maybe they cut off communications for a little while you submerge, how did you handle that personally?

Rob Tiffany (00:33:28):

You really have to kind of get in a groove. In fact, some people will tell you that going into a port call. So like on the Trident submarine, a lot of times we’re just gone for 70 or 80 days. Sometimes we pull into Pearl Harbor though, and you’re excited to go to Honolulu and that’s exciting. But sometimes people are like, you know, it would’ve been better if we never got to see how great life could be out there in Hawaii, if we just stay at it, you kind of get in a groove. Um, you know, you’re on watch. So a lot of people don’t realize, uh, submarines. I think they’ve changed it now, but at least back then you’re on an 18 hour day, not 24 hours. So you, there are three, six hour watches that you are doing on a submarine cuz you have no concept of time or where the sun is underwater and who knows where you are.

Rob Tiffany (00:34:14):

Right. So we’re always on Zulu time. And so, uh, you would be on watch for six hours and whatever. So I’m driving the submarine, you know? And uh, and then you’d have two hours or two wa you know, 12 hours off, you know, and where you may be doing your other job, uh, and then sleeping, right? Uh, serving meals every six hours, you know, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and mid rats, uh, as they called it, uh, in the middle of the night so that everybody can get, uh, but you kind of get into groove. And when, you know, when you’re sitting on watch for hours with people yep. You talk about everything. Yes. And you learn so much about your fellow shipmates. I will say something. Some people may think it’s controversial. I think it’s amazing. I noticed a giant transformation happened in young men. When I was there, I got to meet guys who may not have lived past age 25 because of the life they had that led earlier, got caught up in gangs and drugs and all kinds of I’d hear all kinds of stories.

Rob Tiffany (00:35:20):

Um, and, and so, you know, sometimes I’ll tell people, it’s like, well, I really wish everybody served. Right. Um, because I know it transformed me as a person. It made me a better person. Um, but I watched huge transformations of people who, who their life probably wasn’t going anywhere fast. And I watched them convert to this amazing American citizen. Who’s gonna come back and contribute to their country in a, just a great way. And I saw it over and over again. Can you imagine being a drug lookout in Chicago and the projects, and then you’re forced, <affirmative> going to get your dolphins and you’re learning all this stuff and it, you and you don’t have any choice. You don’t can say I quit. That’s true. And then, and then I see these people come out the other side and they’re, they’re awesome. People, I’m a

Scott Luton (00:36:11):

Fan I’m, I’m so glad you shared that. And you know, one of my earlier guests put it, I never really thought about it until he, he shared an interview that veterans, so many veterans just want to hang up the uniform. They keep on serving the community, the country, the industry, they keep on serving. It’s like instilled in them. So to your point, the transformation that I think most military members go through, you know, I know I, you, you said you did. I know I did. Cause I turned to 18 and basic you’re you’re transforming whether you like it or not with, with, or without the military at that point, they

Rob Tiffany (00:36:42):

Are transforming you. <laugh> that’s right.

Scott Luton (00:36:43):

That’s true. That is so true. Let, um, so any before we move on, cause I wanna get to the books and some of the cool things you’re up to now. Yeah. Who else? And, and I know, and there’s a long list, but who else comes to mind of special folks you served with?

Rob Tiffany (00:36:58):

Yeah, so senior chief Sexton, Joe Sexton, he was my boss. And so on the Alaska, the second submarine, you know, I did have some time, you know, you weren’t, you’re doing drills, but you’re not always frantically doing stuff like we did with the seals. Right. And so I was really interested in computer stuff and he is like, Hey, you know, if you wanna bring your computer on board, your woo, see 3 86 or whatever, and put it in the, in the shack here and can and do stuff you can. And so he gave me the freedom to do that. I remember like pulling into Pearl Harbor and going into what’s the, what is it? Monolo mall there and Honolulu. And back then you had, you know, you go to computer stores and I bought all these books. I bought, you know, I bought books on C plus plus on visual, basic on access databases.

Rob Tiffany (00:37:46):

Oh man. You know, all that stuff from back in the day. And, and I spent a lot of my free time learning, teaching myself how to program also Pascal was another one back then teaching myself about database and why that’s important and structures and all that, nothing hardcore computer sciencey or algorithms. Um, but doing that just really, and then we applied it, you know, how, how did we, how do we do personnel stuff in the past? Or you have file cabinets and folders. Right, right. But, and so we’re like, well, let’s see if we can write a program that could do that. And so, you know, we’re talking windows 3.1 back then on, wow. You know, these 3 86 S and 4 86 PCs. So really old. Um, and, uh, but it, it was, that was huge for me because it enabled me to transition to a civilian career. Yes. Without the hiccups that some other people have, if I, if I’d been a torpedoman or a Soman and I’d gotten out and they said, well, what are you good at? And I’m like finding contacts on, you know, soar contacts. Right. Well, I’m not sure if we have a job for you. Right. You know? Um, so that, that was, that was critical.

Scott Luton (00:38:57):

His last name was Sexton. What was it? Sexton

Rob Tiffany (00:39:00):

Joe Sexton. Joe Sexton. Yeah. He senior chief. So yeah.

Scott Luton (00:39:04):

I mean he’s wherever you are, obviously. Yeah. Yeah. Joe Sexton. Um, one, so you mentioned three, three, a six S and 46 is I think our time in service kind of coincided. I was yeah. Saw air force base in the mid nineties. And I remember in our data analysis shop, um, we’re tracking all these maintenance trends and then briefing the, the maintenance group leader, a full bird Colonel. And I remember when we first got, we got our first P chip computer and like only one person in the office could have it. And it had to do all the, the, uh, 287 slides, you know, cause I think would always crash and it changed everything. I was still stuck on those earlier versions you were said, cause I was the lowest ranking in the office, but it’s just, it’s, it’s remarkable that time looking back and to see now, which we’re gonna talk about with you, where technology has gone, where technology’s gone.

Scott Luton (00:39:57):

So, but before we do, let’s talk about these books. So it’s fascinating. We’re gonna have to have you back to dive deeper again. No pun intended submarine stuff is just so intriguing because I can’t imagine how small the population global population, if you expand on the militaries have actually served even for a couple days on the submarine. Sure. It’s just a whole different environment, but let’s talk about these books. You’ve got a variety of books. Yeah. That I came across a lot of, lot of stuff for technology, but then I came across submarine warriors, the enemy beneath and walking to, uh, uh, Omaha beach. Yes. Uh, so talk about those two titles.

Rob Tiffany (00:40:32):

Absolutely. So, you know, like they say right. Things, you know, right. So submarine warriors though. I wanted to write a children’s book, not for little kids kind of middle school age, like the same kids are reading Harry Potter. Right. Okay. So that’s the age group. And I was thinking, you know, it’s gonna, it’s gonna be like Tom Clancy meets by I kids. And it’s gonna have some sci-fi ish stuff and fantasy stuff as well. But the gist of it was there’s all these kids whose dads were on these submarines where I used to be over on the Olympic peninsula, across from Seattle. And they were going out to see one day. And then they got a special message that they had to break off from their north operations to go investigate some anomaly on the ocean floor. And they discover the underworlds and this whole race, advanced race. That’s been living down there watching us all these years. Very cool. And they get kidnapped by these bad guys. And so the Navy is kind of like, oh wow, it’s too bad. But the there’s always the, the kids aren’t gonna give up. And there’s always a grandfather retired Admiral who says, I know what’s really going on <laugh> and we’re all gonna risk our lives, but your, I think your fathers are alive and let’s go get ’em. And so

Scott Luton (00:41:56):

It’s kinda like iron Eagle applied the submarines yeah. Is kinda what I’m

Rob Tiffany (00:42:00):

Tracking it is. And so they knew whenever a submarine comes back into port and there’s always all the families hugging, kissing the wives and they’re, and there’s hardly anybody on the submarine at that time. Well, these kids are now the kids of the fallen fathers who’ve died. Oh, of course. We’re gonna let ’em go on the submarine. They shut all the hatches and they take control and they steal the submarine and take it out there to go find these underworlds love it. Which kind of it reminds you of, uh, do you remember star Trek search for spark? Yes. Lock had died. Yep. And was on that planet and remember Kirk and them, like they stole the enterprise. Yes. And go get it, you know,

Scott Luton (00:42:41):

Only a handful right. Of folks that’s stole this massive enterprise. Exactly. So the

Rob Tiffany (00:42:46):


Scott Luton (00:42:47):

<laugh> yeah. They stole us up. When did, when did that book come out? That came

Rob Tiffany (00:42:50):

Out, I think 20 10, 20 11 a while ago.

Scott Luton (00:42:53):

Yeah. Who knows? It might be on movie theaters and silver screens. You, you never

Rob Tiffany (00:42:58):

Know, man. I’m almost done with the sequel. Really? The working title is underworld strike back. It’s it’s gonna be brutal. <laugh> I

Scott Luton (00:43:06):

Love it man. And, and, and folks, listeners. Yeah. You heard a nugget that, that Rob shared earlier, right. About what? Write about what, you know, whatever it is. Maybe I’m not an author, but maybe also what you’re most passionate about, what, you know, maybe what you’re you love to do. All right. So walking to Omaha beach, tell us

Rob Tiffany (00:43:25):

About that. Yes. Great story. So Microsoft, I found myself spending a lot of time in France and I knew about it’s. I feel like it’s that movie taken, I have a special set of skills. <laugh> uh, anyway, I was really outta a special set of skills around these mobile devices and this database synchronization technology with SQL server. And so I kept going to France, helping like the bullet train people there S and CF and lots of stuff like that. So anyway, I was going to France a lot and that’s, it’s great. So when you’re over, I highly recommend everyone go to Normandy to visit the American cemetery, to, to see where all these young men stormed the beaches, you know, uh, for project overlord. And so of course I, I had to go. And so I remember getting on the train outta Paris and you get off at a town called Bayou.

Rob Tiffany (00:44:17):

And, uh, I think I spent the night in the hotel and then the very next morning, it’s like, oh, I’m gonna rent a car. And I’m gonna drive from this town out to the ocean, to the American cemetery. Well, as luck or no luck would have it, it happened to be May 1st, which is Mayday, which probably no one thinks twice about in America, but in Europe and other places, it’s a big deal. It’s like, no, one’s working. It’s like a solidarity workers of the world kind of thing. Yep. And so everything’s closed <laugh> I go to a place where I was gonna rent a car. They’re I go talking to you, go into town. There are people milling around, just whatever. And I remember talking, just trying to talk, you know, find someone who spoke English. Right. My French is horrible, even after all my time there.

Rob Tiffany (00:45:03):

And uh, I remember someone saying, oh, go to this other side of town. There’s a car auto body shop. And I think they have cars too. You can do that. So I remember walking there and they, I didn’t have anything. And I’m just like, I can’t believe I came all this way and I’m not gonna be able to go there. I walk out of the garage at this auto place and I see a sign, you know, that’s pointing, you know, towards the ocean, you know, gosh, I don’t know, 10 miles or whatever to, to, to get to where I needed to go. Right. And I’m like, I’m just gonna walk it. We’re just gonna pretend that we’re just doing a hike today. Like people do, right. We’re going out in the morning. And so I’m set out and I’m walking along the side of the hot road, uh, you know, kind of walking ahead, my little map, showing me how to get to where I need to go.

Rob Tiffany (00:45:48):

Uh, I did step on a broken Coke bottle glass along the way. So that was no fun. But you just press on, I do remember getting to a lone restaurant that was open when I’m really close now to the American cemetery. Uh, it was cool cuz uh, it was the first time I got to experience what other Americans have experienced. You know, a lot of people talk about being in Paris and they’re not friendly or there’s not, but I got to experience the magic of being in the Normandy region and being an American. Mm. And I went there to have lunch and there and you know, good luck paying for anything. Mm. Kindest people ever, um, had this hot dog, it was in a baguette with two hot dogs on either end pointed at each other with a, uh, Brie or whatever melting on there.

Rob Tiffany (00:46:35):

So that was pretty cool. Apparently they had something called the Michelle Obama burger, even there. That was funny. Yeah. Who knew <laugh> but, but you, you started to get this different vibe and then I made it and walk to the American cemetery and it’s this beautiful place you kind of go in through this giant building, you see all these things on the walls, even before you got to the cemetery, you know, you, you see stuff like, you know, uh, you know, the, obviously you talk about how tough the enemy is and you know, you can manufacture bullets or whatever, but you can’t manufacture valor and, you know, guts and stuff like that. You see all these quotes from Eisenhower, the little note that all those may and had in their pockets from Eisenhower, you know, the, the eyes of the world are on you right now.

Rob Tiffany (00:47:20):

I mean, you get chills and then you go out there and you walk and you just see the gravestones going on forever and it’s moving. And I got, if you can do it, I highly recommend going there because it’s a part of America. It is actually American territory, uh, there, and it’s a magical place. And back to the beginning of our discussion, this greatest generation, <affirmative> fearless, um, and did what they had to do. And so you walk, you spend hours there just walking through grave sites and all the stuff you see, the, the stones, you know, who were they, what were they doing? You know, I was a Colonel or I was a private or I was, you know, doing whatever. Right. And then you walk along the beach and everything. Yeah. It was magical. Yeah. But I took pictures along the way, um, on my walk and throughout there, and I kind of took notes cuz it was like, I can’t believe I’m having to walk, you know, 15 miles or whatever to do this thing. I was lucky at the end to even find, I, I ultimately found a taxi to take me back cuz all of a sudden it’s getting dark and I’m like, oh I’m in so much trouble. <laugh> <laugh>.

Rob Tiffany (00:48:36):

But uh, but yeah, I kind of wrote notes and then I, and then I had, I did a blog post about it originally with all the pictures and then I made a, kind of a coffee table, picture book called walking to Omaha beach and it’s all the photos and the beautiful countryside as you’re walking through the fields and the hedge rows. And you’re imagining what it must have been like for those young men back then, they were going the opposite way that I was going, seeing this beautiful countryside, but war torn, you know, if you, well, it’s plenty of movies where you can see that and true. And so yeah, yeah. It

Scott Luton (00:49:10):


Rob Tiffany (00:49:11):

Experience. Oh absolutely. It was very powerful, very moving

Scott Luton (00:49:15):

It. Remind and, and I hope I get a chance to, to, to take that same walk. It reminds me of Arlington though. And Arlington, I was able to go to a couple years ago and really have plenty of time to do what you describe. You wanna go through and reflect and you wanna see every inch. And just one of the things that still sticks with me is just, you know, we think about this, all the sacrifice and, and, and not just with world war II, but, but over time, even up until the last 20 years yeah. Of conflict and there in the, the expanse of acres and acres of, um, of a cemetery, the immense immense scope of that sacrifice and the immense, uh, just how much sacrifice you go to you think about the families behind every single marker, you know, lost a loved one that they’ll never be able to get back in so that the rest of us can do what we all do. And it really just, uh, um, sounds like you had a very similar did experience. Uh,

Rob Tiffany (00:50:13):

And I definitely know what you mean going to Arlington. I definitely spent a bunch of time there when I was based in Norfolk, Virginia. Yeah. And yeah, people should go see it got too, people should realize this life they had, didn’t just happen by magic.

Scott Luton (00:50:27):

You know, I couldn’t well said very well said, and, and we gotta, we gotta live with that mindset day in and day out and, and, and protect that legacy. Yeah. That’s all in all of us, for sure. For sure. Okay, man, Rob, I I’ll tell you, we’re gonna have to, we’re gonna have to have it a Rob Tiffany series or so many different things I wanna ask you about, but for the sake of time, let’s talk about, you know, we do talk a good bit about transitions from the military to the private sector. Unfortunately, we’ve made a lot of gains, at least when I got out oh two and, uh, we’ve made, I think as a military, as a country, as a private sector, we’ve made some gains. It seems like since then and making that transition easier. But I still talk, you made too to lots of, of, um, veterans that, you know, have separated and they’re still struggling with some aspect, finding a good job, finding a job that is not under employment, you know, uh, being able to talk to the hiring managers that, um, can, are brave enough and are willing to lean into trying to decipher what they military, you know, but anyway, let’s talk about your transition.

Scott Luton (00:51:30):

Talk to us about, um, uh, when you transitioned from the us Navy to the private

Rob Tiffany (00:51:34):

Sector. Yeah, absolutely. So as I mentioned, I was fortunate enough to get to learn about those computer stuff and get, in fact, I was even, I got to be the computer security officer on my submarine on the last actually nice. Um, that being said when windows three, one was out, they thought security meant the screensaver <laugh> so <laugh> so we won’t get too carried away. Wow. But, uh, but I’m sure all the branches have this, you know, when you’re coming up on the time for you to get out, they had special classes that I went to and they had people kind, these transition people in the military who are there to kind of give you guidance and stuff like that. I remember one of the things the guy said, he goes, you know what most people say they’re gonna do when they get outta the military, I’m gonna go home.

Rob Tiffany (00:52:20):

<laugh> he said it that way, I’m going home, wherever home was I’m going home. And he said, he goes, are you married by chance? I know a lot of you guys, guys are married. He goes, does your wife have a job in this town where you live now, where the base is? He goes, you might think hard on building on something you already have, rather than going home, wherever that is and starting over. Cause it may home may not be the home. You remembered it. You never know what great advice. Yeah, it was. It was. And you know, sure enough, my wife did have a pretty good job. And maybe that was Sage advice, you know, don’t just blow up everything cuz you have some attachment. Right. Um, and so, uh, but then I remember I got out in 94 and so I remember I knew visual basic and access and windows and it was going crazy. And I was in the Seattle area. OK. What was happening in the Seattle area? In the early nineties, Microsoft divorced from IBM, right. IBM started to collapse and Microsoft rose from the ashes and with windows and office and all these tools and it was exploding and they

Scott Luton (00:53:35):

Were hire, were they hiring

Rob Tiffany (00:53:36):

Left and right. Oh, they were. And everybody was, if you knew Microsoft technologies, everybody was. And so I interviewed with a bunch of different product group groups in Microsoft, all kinds of companies around Seattle and in Bellevue, which is the suburb of Seattle. On the other side of the lake Washington, I ended up taking a job with a company called realtime data, which is where my I O T journey began. And my wireless journey began cuz we were monitoring vending machines with primitive wireless networks. Okay. Where we had to invent everything from scratch. Um, which obviously leads to the second story here of, you know, how I got to where I am now. Oh, I,

Scott Luton (00:54:17):

I was gonna ask you what was the most popular item in those VE machines, if you were attracting mu movement and uh, demand.

Rob Tiffany (00:54:25):

Sometimes it was white powered donuts <laugh> and rightfully so those exactly. And rightfully so those are good ones, aren’t they? Yeah. Um, you know what, there were some ex-military guys there. And so it was interesting. I, you know, in the moment you don’t necessarily know, I took a job with a startup. I had offers where I could have had different roles, Microsoft in 94 had I taken those roles in 94, the tens of billion, millions of dollars of each laying around the house. Right. <laugh> like everybody who worked at any, I forgot what the time period was at at any time period. If you were there, you know, you were a millionaire. I think Microsoft back then created 10,000 millionaires. Wow. Really? But even today it’s crazy. But back then. Yeah. Um, and so, but I ended up taking this job with this company. I thought it was really interesting.

Rob Tiffany (00:55:15):

They were doing something I’d never heard of before they took dumb vending machines. You had guys who are embedded software firmware guys with black boxes and cabling. Cuz remember there was no such thing as smart vending machines or smart, anything back then. True. And there were, retrofiting dumb things with cables. So a vending machine, the way it works, there’s spirals that move that push like the potato chips and stickers and everything out. Yes. And the cans, Coke machines, Pepsi, whatever, they all have mechanisms. So we figured out how to work and know what those mechanisms were. You would say, well, I know this is what items are in slot 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, whatever. Right. And how many items I put in and then we’re measuring the spinning of the spirals to know that they’re dispensing an item. We also can monitor the quarters going into the change cuz you couldn’t swipe credit cards back then. Right. We had had an antenna on vending machines. <laugh> we had radio frequency, RF engineers, you know, we didn’t have all the stuff you have today. Well,

Scott Luton (00:56:15):

And we’re laughing. But at the time this is like innovative cutting edge, probably vending machine technology. Right?

Rob Tiffany (00:56:22):

Oh yeah. Yeah. It it’s unheard of. Yeah. And so we, we create, we had to create our own wireless technologies. We created our own wireless modems to bounce packets off of these public. They were called business radio towers like okay, four 50 megahertz or whatever. And then we had the application itself running on a windows PC that it looked visually graphically. It was in visual basic. I think that’s how I got the job. It looked like you were looking at a vending machine, you’d see all the candies and the numbers of how many items you’d see green, yellow, red to show. If, if we’re about almost to run out, the whole point of the idea was inventory management. Right? You might know something about that. <laugh> and as it turns out, it’s kind of the thing. And so <laugh>, and it’s a thing today and it was a thing back then you have route drivers who every morning get in their pickup truck and they fill it up with all the stock of candy and chips and drinks.

Rob Tiffany (00:57:16):

And they drive their route that belongs to them to restock all these vending machines. Cause you don’t want stockouts or whatever. Right. And you’re losing sales. So what we initially were the goal was to optimize that and make it more efficient and save them money. And when you, you know, we talk about truck rolls or whatever, what if we told you exactly every morning, what machines to go to and exactly what to bring and importantly, where not to go. And so we did that all the way back then with real time wireless data and reports would be out

Scott Luton (00:57:51):

There and the drivers would go wherever they wanted to go. Um, along the way, cuz we’re just a bunch of Neanderthals and you stumble upon things, you go, oh, I noticed this. So you know, a lot of times vending machines, there’s like a bank of machines, just like a bunch of ’em together. Right. And we would notice in certain locations like there’s, we would be monitoring vending machines all over a city for instance. And there’s different businesses like on the second floor of this skyscraper, the people at that company go to these vending machines every day. Well we learned their preferences in real time cuz we shooting real time data about the, regarding telemetry about what, what products were selling and what weren’t selling. And so we’re like, huh? They sure love those white powdered donuts. <laugh> what if we doubled or tripled up on the white powdered doughnuts, let’s see what happens and sure enough, now the machines making more money than it was making before we’re already saving you money, the, the vending company, but now we’re making it more money.

Scott Luton (00:58:51):

And then flip side, we saw the products that weren’t moving and we got ’em out of there. And so pretty soon you’re optimizing, you’re doing merchandising and optimizing the product mix based on real time customer preferences all the way back in the stone age of IOT when the, the dinosaurs still were roaming the earth. And uh, it was magical. Magical. Yeah. Well early there was no Iott back then there was no M to M back there we just created the whole thing from scratch. Big data. You be big data before data was even a thing. And, and clearly you were using it, which, which, um, I’m no technologists, but, but uh, we talk a lot about how big data was a big term. Everybody talked about accumulating all this data, but then what were companies doing with it? Right. Y’all were, I love that PR the practical aspect, what you just yeah. Uh, described with a vending machine, which it all, probably all of our listeners can relate to. Yeah. So what did, so work with that startup? What was the startup’s name again?

Rob Tiffany (00:59:48):

It was called realtime data,

Scott Luton (00:59:50):

Realtime data. Imagine that. So imagine that, that was, you were poised then with that experience and, and some of the things you were doing before, before it’s time. Really? Yeah. When did you, cause you know, you, obviously you worked with a bunch of brand names, big companies, everyone knows. When did you, um, what’d you do after realtime data?

Rob Tiffany (01:00:08):

After realtime data? I clearly got the, that whole wireless industry was growing. Right? The smartphone. Well, it was just flip phones obviously in the nineties, but that cellular cuz we, we were, we were at the beginning of that, we used a variety of technologies to get connectivity, but that started maturing. And so you kind of feel like, well, I’m kind of part of this. We had thing that happened. Right, right, right. In the late nineties. And it blew up in April or March of 2000, actually I was doing startups. So I got conditioned to be risk averse, risk taker and be a startup guy rather than big company, safe guy. Right. Turns out you’re not safe at big companies either as it turns out. But a lot of people think that. Right, right. So I, I became, you know, I, there’s nothing more thrilling than working a startup.

Rob Tiffany (01:00:59):

It’s much harder. You’re wearing a lot of hats. You’re doing multi jobs and you live or die based on what you do. True at a, at a startup. There’s no looking around and saying, well, so, and so’s supposed to handle that. It’s like, no, you it’s on you or it doesn’t get done. You’re right. So startups did the web thing did e-commerce we did a, a deal where we had, uh, early days of digital photography on, on baseball fields at games. Really? It would take action photos with these crazy cameras. Cuz one of the guys who started the company is like an NFL photographer for the Seahawks. He’s got covers of sports illustrated, super bowl stuff. And so we were like, what if we did action photography on the field at little games, soccer, you know, that kind of thing. Right. Very cool. And then had printers to sell to ’em and then built, I built the e-commerce website where they could buy that stuff. I did another startup. I built a, a mobile device management company. So anybody who, you know, like if you have a corporate phone, that’s locked down by your company, that’s using AWA or mobile iron back then Blackberry enterprise server. So we had, uh, a partner and I built a mobile device, probably the first cloud-based mobile device management company called net preceptor. Um, and then we sold that to a company in Scottsdale and then I joined Microsoft with windows mobile and windows phone

Scott Luton (01:02:23):

Was Microsoft your first big company after getting outta the Navy after started? Yeah, I guess so. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I guess you’re right. And, and at Microsoft, our listeners will remember, uh, if you’re, uh, old enough, the windows phone, you of that, if I’m not, not mistaken, that was your baby, your project, you led the development of the windows phone. Is that right? Rob? I

Rob Tiffany (01:02:46):

Didn’t lead everything, but I was part of that team. It was part of the team, a lot of big group of people, uh, development, business marketing, you know, it’s a huge deal on Microsoft. So we had windows mobile in the early days. So if you go to the late nineties, some people might remember the Palm pilot. Right? Definitely. Um, people who are even older might remember something called the Newton from apple. Yes. Which was even earlier and right. What they don’t know is some of the team that built the Newton and after the Newton crashed and burned, it was a lot of those same folks that created Palm <affirmative> and then Palm sold to Threecom and some other people and a new company called handspring came out and those guys created arguably the first smartphone, if anybody remembers a device called the trio. Oh

Scott Luton (01:03:31):

Yeah. Uh, you remember trio that is a blast. The pass right there that I think that was my first smartphone was a tree. If

Rob Tiffany (01:03:38):

You think about, you know, cuz I feel like being part of that smartphone revolution was just amazing ride for me. Right. And so you had the smartphone, this handspring trio and then Palm bought them back and then they had the Palm trio and then micro and then you had Blackberry in the nineties, Blackberry was basically a two-way SkyTel pager, basically with a keyboard. Then they started smartphone and then Microsoft had something called the pocket PC in the nineties back when we had PDAs, you know, with a little stylist,

Scott Luton (01:04:09):

Personal digital assistance, I think what that acronym was for.

Rob Tiffany (01:04:12):

Yeah. And so the evolution of the pocket PC went to windows mobile and my mobile device management company. We built the technology for, we could manage windows, mobile devices. We could have an administrator push down software, corporate apps down to the device, dynamically, know the health and performance of the devices and do that. And so going into windows mobile, it was great to be a part of that, that whole revolution and the, the rise of apps and everything. Wow. And wild

Scott Luton (01:04:43):

West legendary. It was, it was wild west aspect of technology.

Rob Tiffany (01:04:47):

It was great being there, you know, and you know, it was all about business phones. I have to say back then really the consumer thing hadn’t happened yet. And so you were trying to build the best enterprise device. We had exchanged server and we had outlook on our device to a good email. And so for business users, business users loved the Blackberry push email was a huge thing. There were lawsuits over push email, believe it or not back then. And so us having active sync to get email on the phone and then all this other stuff. Um, and so that was an exciting ride, mostly battling it out with Blackberry and then the iPhone came along and changed everything. Yes. And the iPhone was a consumer device. Apple didn’t care about enterprises. They’re like, we could care less about you guys <laugh> and you know, and uh, and so that was a game changer.

Rob Tiffany (01:05:37):

Android came a little after that and I think that’s when we realized we had to reboot our phone platform and the way we thought of everything, cuz we built our phone with kind of windows ideas. Right, right. And we had to just break away from that. And so we rebooted the whole platform like in 2010, 2000 nine, two ten for this phone where you saw the tile interface. Yep. And this gorgeous devices, beautiful interface, very differentiated from what you were seeing from the new Android devices. And you know, they all just had a rose of icons and um, and so that was exciting and it was tough and we got our kicked. Um, <laugh> you had to get thick skin. Um, I would no imagine there’s this big building at the Microsoft campus called executive briefing center. I know lots of other companies have something similar.

Rob Tiffany (01:06:28):

And so you would go to an EBC. So every week plane loads of executives from every company on the planet flying to Seattle and they come out to Redmond to Microsoft headquarters for a two day thing where they go and they get briefings by product managers, from all the different product groups at Microsoft telling them roadmap and all that stuff. Yep. I was doing a high percentage of the windows phone EBCs and I remember doing those same things for windows mobile when it was us and Blackberry and I felt pretty good of a up myself <laugh> when, when windows phoned, when the tiles came out against black gray, Android, it got rough in there. These CEOs are like, I don’t even know why I’m talking to you.

Scott Luton (01:07:09):

<laugh> but you know, one of the things you shared with me pre-show uh, cuz I I’ve kind of forgotten about windows 10, you know, these things, all the releases come out and of course, um, you know, here now we’re in 20, 22 now the start button. And so talk about how that windows, cause I think if I’m not mistaken, there’s a connection between a windows phone and then windows 10, is that right? Right.

Rob Tiffany (01:07:30):

That’s right. That’s right. And actually the connection even started earlier in that, do you remember windows eight, windows eight where the whole thing was tile. So we had windows seven, which was a huge hit cuz Vista was a disaster. Windows seven was a hit. Yep. And then it was time to do windows eight. And so Steve Sinofsky the guy who, who kind of rescued windows with windows seven. It’s like it’s time to tear off the band eight and go into the future and let’s stop cuz remember every version of windows, windows, basically. Yes. Some variation of windows 95. Yes. <laugh> you know, the same look and feel right. The task bar and the menus. And so that was like, let’s take this revolutionary tile thing that you phone guys came up with and let’s make a whole windows device. Remember also the iPad come out.

Rob Tiffany (01:08:17):

And so the rise of tablets and we were like, wow, we need to make sure windows could be good for tablets. Um, and so we built windows eight, which was all tiles touch screen pretty cool. And it was a total disaster. Um, it was so different. And I remember us writing these blog posts on the Microsoft site saying at some point we need to break away from the past and move to this new future. We just gotta pull that bandaid off. But it turns out it was a bridge too far for, you know, so cuz all of the corporate world uses windows primarily. I know lots of people love max and stuff like that rank and file companies are running windows and they manage windows and the training for windows eight. It was so bizarre. <laugh> so and so, uh, anyway, it was a race to salvage that.

Rob Tiffany (01:09:08):

And so, um, Terry Myerson, who was the last guy running windows phone, um, he came over, became the new head of windows and brought some of our windows phone people there. And the idea was, let’s do a blend of the familiar windows desktop with the start menu, but with the innovations that we had created in windows eight and with windows phone so that everybody can understand it. And so that’s what windows 10 became. And so you still had to start menu, but the icons were alive and they could flip over and tell you kinds of information and stuff like that. And so, but yeah, all that came from the innovations that we created in the, on the smartphone for sure.

Scott Luton (01:09:52):

And so one last question about that before moving on. Cause I want to make sure we better understand what you’re up to with the Moab foundation, how windows 10 was a as I recall a smashing success, right? Yeah, yeah,

Rob Tiffany (01:10:06):

Yeah. Actually we have billions of people are running windows 10. Yes.

Scott Luton (01:10:11):

Um, well I love, I love, I really appreciate that history. You have, you have conjured up some things I completely forgotten about including my first smartphone that, that trio and yeah. Um, uh, I loved doing my email on that tri it was the first time that I really had that, that Blackberry type, you know, um, having that great

Rob Tiffany (01:10:31):

Keyboard yes. With your thumbs and the stylist really fast and the stylist

Scott Luton (01:10:34):

And the stylist came out. Um, so I remember setting all kinds of meetings with that thing. And I was like, man, where, where have I been? Because I, cuz I, I can’t remember the phone I upgraded from, but it didn’t any, any of that stuff. Let’s um, so let’s talk about the Moab foundation and sure. If I’m not mistaken, um, uh, it, a big part of its mission is global sustainability. Is that right? Right. So tell us about what you’re up to there.

Rob Tiffany (01:11:04):

Sure, sure. So Moab is something that started a few years ago, been something kind of on the side while you do your day job, right? Sure. Yeah. And so, um, as I was doing IOT, you know, at Microsoft, I ended up being on the Azure I O team. And then I did the stuff at Aachi and over time I realized, wow, you know, there’s a lot more we could do with internet of things and analytics than just commercial business stuff. If you step back and say, well, what is the internet of things all about? It’s basically just remotely knowing the state or the health or the whatever of something, an object, just like we started in the nineties, we remotely in real time had data telling us the inventory of a vending machine. I was like, I gotta believe that there’s a lot of problems in the world we could solve.

Rob Tiffany (01:11:50):

If we remotely knew, oh, using the power of wireless and all this stuff we have today, uh, to, to help out. And I remember being, getting asked to be on these sustainability panel discussions and I’m having to study my butt off to figure out a good story around there. And you know, what really helped me was the United nations came out with something called the sustainable development goals and they named 17 of them. Right. And, and for a, you know, a Neanderthal like me, it was like, oh good categorization. That’ll make it easier for me to underst S yes. Structure, yes. Structure. And so you have, you know, hunger, poverty, water issues, climate, you know, you name it, all these categorizations. And so you start thinking through, well, how could IOT help poverty or hunger? Well, it turns out both of those are related to agriculture, turns out the poorest people in the world all work in agriculture.

Rob Tiffany (01:12:51):

It also turns out that being able to eat is kind of a thing. And, uh, and agriculture kind of helps you with that too. Right. And so you start studying and going, well, what’s going on with agriculture? You know, turns out we got a almost double food production between now and 2050, uh, because we’re about to have 10 billion people on the planet. And so you may have heard terms like precision agriculture, but a lot of it is I need to produce more crops, but I have fewer inputs. Um, boy, anybody who lives in California right now knows that the water is gone. Yeah, that’s crazy. And the Western United States has been on fire and there’s smoke everywhere. It’s pretty scary stuff. And so you already gotta do this tall order of almost doubling food production while everything’s on fire. <laugh> right. And so how can I keep growing crops and feeding everybody when I have less water?

Rob Tiffany (01:13:44):

Well, I need to be more precise about it. And so using IOT technology, measuring those, that soil, moisture, humidity, transpiration, things like that to precisely know this is when you need, need to irrigate. This is when you turn it off, cuz people are still believe it or not are still just kind of irrigating on a schedule. Right. You know, oh, it’s time to water, just like you might do at your house. Um, and we’re wasting water, uh, chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, those are expensive input costs. Anyway, it looked like a, you know, I’d start writing up use cases on poverty and hunger and things with IOT, water issues, water treatment, plants, water, everything, monitoring, all this stuff. Um, and then, uh, and then thinking, okay, well how could I get this technology to people who need it? Hmm. It can’t be some big for-profit company. Cuz it turns out that people who are trying to save the world don’t have a lot of cash.

Rob Tiffany (01:14:41):

Mm they’re. Usually, uh, NGOs, right. Non-government organizations and stuff like that. And non-profits who are doing this amazing work. I was like, right. I’m gonna start off by categorizing. I’m gonna come up with recipes where IOT can make a difference and how you as a person who wants to adopt this can do it since I know how I’ve invented this technology myself multiple times. Could you say that again? Don’t you love it when Siri thinks you’re talking to her all the time. Um <laugh> and so I, uh, cuz you know, I built, I helped design, you know, Azure it, and then I totally designed and helped build Luma. And so it’s like I can do this. And digital twins was a big thing I’m into. And so I built something, literally the coordinate was called Moab, like the place in Utah where they have the arches and everything.

Rob Tiffany (01:15:29):

Oh yeah. And so on a little edge device, low cost, low power device built a whole lot of what you might expect from a high end cloud IOT platform and digital twin to give away just to give to people. And so I’m like, here’s the recipe, here’s the technology. Now obviously people are the other part of the equation in volunteering. Right. Um, and so I’m not gonna say it’s a slam dunk. It does take a lot of effort. Part of the other thing is just awareness. You know, I spend a lot of time and other people just getting awareness, uh, around all those sustainable development goals and how could you make a difference? Yep. Um, cuz basically the gist of that is from the UN is they’re trying to achieve all these by 2030. <affirmative> we’ll see if that happens or not. Right, right. You know, no telling. Yeah. Um, but uh, that’s the gist of it. And so, so it’s just trying to give something to people to try to make a difference. I love man,

Scott Luton (01:16:25):

Rob, I, I love that admire how you’re using all of this technology expertise, experiences, this entrepreneurial, add the, uh, see a problem, no matter how big it is, solve a problem and then kind of using an open source approach to sharing. I mean really, uh, I admire all of that. How can folks learn more, uh, about the Moab foundation? Where, where can they go?

Rob Tiffany (01:16:49):

Yeah. You can go to Moab, uh, website, uh, we have a deal on LinkedIn, you know? Uh I’m spaming you on Twitter about sustainable development goals all the time as well. Love it. Yeah. But yeah. You know what it, you know, back to what you were saying, you know, back to that service you do in the military, it’s gotta be a life of service. I remember, I think one of the, most, I, it was a billboard when George Bush S was president and it was in Houston. Cause that’s where he lived. I remember it was a picture of having a billboard and the, the words on it says any definition of a successful life must include service to others. Mm mm. And it’s like, I think he nailed it there. Agreed. And so just give, give, give, give, give. Yep. During COVID we’ve been doing this elevate our kids nonprofit. Yeah. So

Scott Luton (01:17:40):

Lemme tee this up for a minute. Yeah. Cause uh, when I first met you on social, one of the first things I noticed that you were involved in out of a, all these projects and, and let’s make sure we mention the podcast and, and the business and, and all this stuff, you’re up to this elevate for kids and helping to, um, uh, tackle and bridge. The digital divide really got my attention. Uh, it’s SU was such a cool effort. So tell us more about this. And also if you would talk, talk to our listeners about the, the massive problem we have, which, which has really been made more aware cause of all the, you know, the remote learning that we’ve gone through, uh, collectively the last couple years. So tell us more about what you’re doing there.

Rob Tiffany (01:18:24):

Yeah. So some of these crazy characters, I, we do our weekly IOT call a talk. Yep. And so, uh, Stephanie Atkinson, she’s the analyst and Leonard Lee and some other people, it’s basically a combination of analysts. And then a few, three of us are like actual inventors of some of the IOT technology. And so we do that stuff, but, uh, it was really driven initially by Stephanie know, she lives down in Bandera, Texas out on a ranch. And the conversation was, as you said, COVID happened, all these schools went virtual and we started hearing stories about, well, not all those kids have laptops to go virtual. Right. Some wealthier, you know, that’s when you see kind of inequities. Yeah. Um, some school districts already had kind of that, what do they call one-to-one grams where every kid had a laptop or some wealthy schools were giving kids iPads and stuff like that.

Rob Tiffany (01:19:17):

And so we just started pondering that issue and seeing that a whole lot of kids are not gonna get educated cuz they don’t have a laptop. And so that’s kind of where it began. And so, um, Stephanie did the real hard work of, you know, getting, putting together this nonprofit, working with groups, uh, to get us, uh, mechanisms so that we can raise funds and stuff like that, that kind of thing. Um, but the goal was simple. We need to get laptops and give ’em to kids. And so it probably wasn’t gonna be MacBook cuz they were too expensive. But, and we, so we’re looking at low cost windows, PCs, and also a lot of school districts use Chromebooks. Those are really popular as well. Right. So we spent a lot of time with distributors and stuff like that, uh, in the us and around the world to source these laptops where fundraising hook or by crook or whatever.

Rob Tiffany (01:20:14):

And you know what, here’s another cool thing. A lot of giant corporations have money to spend on philanthropy. And if you can tap into the right folks, they’d be happy to help you. And so one of the big ones we did was great was, uh, if anybody’s familiar with Phillips 66 yep. They’re in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. So we did a whole thing with the Tulsa school district. And so Phillips donated a bunch of money, a lot of money to us. And then we got all the laptops and we provided tons of laptops to Tulsa school district for all these kids it’s we got, and we got pictures of all the kids now with their laptops and uh, yeah, it’s great because that digital divide thing has always been this ambiguous thing or people talk about it, but they’re like, I don’t even know what that means or it doesn’t, it doesn’t affect me, but we’re like, we’re gonna have a generation of kids or swaths of kids who are not gonna know.

Rob Tiffany (01:21:10):

They’re not gonna get educated in high school or whatever. Yep. And they are gonna fall behind and we need to keep everybody going. Uh, the other part too was, um, connectivity. So the laptop was the huge thing, but then what did we discover? And also my wife is a school teacher. She teaches fifth grade and so, oh, and live, I’ve been living this. Wow. You know, we did her teaching virtually last year and then back in person and that’s been fits and starts and stuff with things, you know? And um, we would find out that, well, there are certain families that didn’t have internet at their homes and stuff like that. It’s like, what are we gonna do about that? So we started to that. We worked a bunch with T-Mobile, they’ve got a program that was like, I know 10 million something or other I’m I’m I don’t know what it’s called.

Rob Tiffany (01:21:58):

But anyway, T-Mobile had a plan where they had folks work to try to get connectivity to these people. And so we worked hand in hand and got laptops and you know, like those little, uh, kind of hockey, pucks things where it’s wifi, it’s like a hotspot hotspot. That’s what it is. Yep. And so we get LTE hotspots, love it, uh, and get ’em to these families and, and for free. And so these kids could go to school. And so that’s been great. That’s been the, this in the horrible, this time that we’ve been living in the pandemic, that’s been the bright spot for me. Oh, I can only imagine.

Scott Luton (01:22:30):

Uh, and, and uh, the size of these projects and, and the support you’ve gotten and being able to, I love the simplicity, even if it’s a big problem, it’s like hammer meat nail, right? Yeah. And these folks now can connect. They can learn, they’re not left behind and bringing it full circle back to the beginning of our conversation with you here today, Rob is there’s some of these kids who, they’re not, you know, their, their folks, aren’t gonna be in position to bring home the computer of that time or of this time rather. And so they don’t have that opportunity not only to connect in the moment and learn in a moment, but opening up these doors that will lead and have a big impact on their journey and their livelihood and, and, and, and, uh, how they, uh, fulfill their aspirations moving forward. Right.

Scott Luton (01:23:19):

And, and I gotta not be too dramatic, but man, I bet some of y’all’s work in a, in giving these, his families and these kids, these electronic devices, and these networks allowed them to tackle that blind spot that every kid has and open up doors of, you know, the art of the possible. So I, I admire, I love you got a really cool entrepreneurial and, and I didn’t really understand that as much in our, in, in, uh, our social, um, connectivity earlier. I love that entrepreneurial aspect. Um, and then of course, big industry, but then throughout it all is a service and the give back and the give forward as we call it here. And Rob, that is, um, certainly a life well lived for one Rob, Tiffany <laugh> and you’re not done. We’re

Rob Tiffany (01:24:06):

Not done. We got lot to do. And you guys are doing some great stuff. I wanna learn more about what you guys are doing, veterans. That’s great stuff that you’re doing well get veterans to. Is it veterans to industry

Scott Luton (01:24:15):

Vets, to industry that’s, that’s our nonprofit partners over there. Brian, Airington founded that. In fact, uh, Rob, you’re talking about how Moab foundations, but kind of been on the side, you know, along with all of your careers and stuff. Well, Brian, as of today, uh, when we’re recording this, he works, full-time, he’s a air force retiree, um, works. Full-time at Wells found to this nonprofit. So he’s, he’s making it happen for, you know, a big bank. And then he’s building this, this powerful nonprofit, which is a clear house. Um, I don’t know about you when, but when I transitioned out finding resources, all those resources out there that are really there for veterans and mil and military spouses and families, those in need, but it’s tough to find it and then find the vetted ones. Right. So, mm. Yeah, we all know what is, what else has come up in the last 20 years, uh, with, with, uh, some of the, the folks that aren’t doing, good things, but are using that flag. So vets, two, y’all check that out. Vets, new more, two I promise you, um, there’s lots and lots of good stuff there, but Rob man, an an hour does not do it justice with your journey, man. It really doesn’t. Um, how can folks connect with the one only Rob Tiffany? Yeah.

Rob Tiffany (01:25:33):

Um, well, I’m on LinkedIn and Twitter at Rob Tiffany. Um, uh, yeah, I go to Moab Um, I’m pretty much everywhere. It feels like it all at once. Cuz we don’t sleep. We don’t sleep, you know, <laugh> we don’t,

Scott Luton (01:25:49):

I’ll tell you. And uh, IOT, uh, what’s the podcast I tea, coffee talk that’s every week,

Rob Tiffany (01:25:55):

Every week we do it’s on YouTube. Um, I also, I do a Rob te digital podcast where I’m just talking about, you know, I haven’t done like what you’re doing. I’m not doing the interviewing thing. It’s me just talking about certain topics to teach people about just in their little short, like five or 10 minutes masterclass

Scott Luton (01:26:12):


Rob Tiffany (01:26:13):

From Rob. There you go. That’s the word from last year masterclass <laugh>

Scott Luton (01:26:18):

I’m bad about use them all <laugh> well you’ve got so, I mean clearly go back to that Venda machine example, Y y’all were doing these things well, well before way before all of it now. So, so no wonder when folks need IOT expertise, innovation and ideas that come to the guru and that’s just, just part of what you had to offer. You know,

Rob Tiffany (01:26:41):

What it’s the word for comes to mind? When I think about back then, how hard it was, it was rocket science and we had to invent the hardest things. And so when you move forward to today and people talk about, oh my gosh, this is so impossible. I’m gonna build this global I O T thing or whatever. And you’re like, now we got this, this is trivial compared to what we did back then where we had to invent every last thing. That’s right. And so it does give you perspective, just like the perspective you give serving in the military under a level of stress that people in the business world have no comprehension of excellent point and so excellent. It helps you in business and in life where you’re just like, well, you know, I used to be at launch depth with my submarine and I think that was a little more stressful than this little thing. <laugh> right.

Scott Luton (01:27:32):

Perspective. That is a great, and you know, a, a dear friend of mine, uh, wanted the brilliant people I worked with in, uh, manufacturing. He, uh, was an engineer that designed, uh, dies right. For metal stamping, just okay. Genius. And I, I came in one time to his office and I was, I had some, I don’t know, some small little problem as he’s orchestrating this, this, this, this big new program. And he is like, Scott, that’s small potatoes. I ain’t got time for small potatoes. And that one moment has stuck with me kind of to your point, you know, taking a step back and just kind of really gaining a little perspective, a little context. Uh, a lot of times our biggest problems we think are really not that big. Yeah. Right. All right. So Rob, Tiffany, we’re gonna have you back. Thank you so much for your time here today. Um, really appreciate all that you’ve shared. I mean, we, we really, we touch on it all from video games to submarines, uh, military experiences to technology evolution and my favorite part that purposeful, uh, give back, give forward. So thanks so much for joining us here today.

Rob Tiffany (01:28:38):

Thanks so much for having me. This has been great. Good stuff.

Scott Luton (01:28:41):

Thank you. Uh, so don’t go anywhere just yet. Uh, listeners, folks, hopefully you enjoy this really unique and very special episode of veteran voices. I had no idea, um, the, some of the products and technologies and innovation, um, that I’d kind of forgotten about, including some of the cool things that Rob was on the, on the cutting edge up. So make sure you connect with Rob check out his podcasts. He’s a great Twitter follow by the way as well. Uh, but connect with LinkedIn as well. Um, hopefully enjoyed it. If you like stuff like this, uh, find veteran voices and subscribe wherever you get your podcast from be sure to check out, uh, our great friends over at vets to industry dot. They could use your support as well beyond it all, whatever you do. If, if Rob Rob and his story and his perspective, don’t get your blood going, getting ready to run through a, a wall, gotta check your pulse, right? Check your pulse. But Hey Scott Luton challenging can do good. Give forward, be the change that’s needed on that note, which next time? Right back here on veteran voices.

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Featured Guests

Rob Tiffany is Founder and Managing Director at Digital Insights. He’s been featured in Wired, Forbes, Fierce Wireless, Inc. Magazine, Mobile World Live, and Techonomy.Prior to founding Digital Insights, Rob served as Vice President and Head of IoT Strategy at Ericsson driving 5G connection management for IoT devices. As CTO and Global Product Manager at Hitachi, he received the Presidential “Product of the Year” award for designing the Lumada Industrial IoT platform which landed in Gartner’s “Leaders” Magic Quadrant. Spending most of his career at Microsoft, Rob was Global Technology Lead for the Azure IoT cloud platform and co-authored its reference architecture. Prior to Microsoft, he co-founded NetPerceptor developing one of the industry’s earliest Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) platforms for smartphones.A bestselling author and frequent keynote speaker, Rob serves on multiple boards and is routinely ranked as one of the top IoT + Digital Twin experts and influencers in the world by Inc Magazine, Onalytica and others. Connect with Rob on LinkedIn.


Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Katherine Hintz

Creative Director, Producer, Host

Katherine Hintz, MBA is a marketing professional 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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Kim Reuter


From humble beginnings working the import docks, representing Fortune 500 giants, Ford, Michelin Tire, and Black & Decker; to Amazon technology patent holder and Nordstrom Change Leader, Kimberly Reuter has designed, implemented, and optimized best-in-class, highly scalable global logistics and retail operations all over the world. Kimberly’s ability to set strategic vision supported by bomb-proof processes, built on decades of hands-on experience, has elevated her to legendary status. Sought after by her peers and executives for her intellectual capital and keen insights, Kimberly is a thought leader in the retail logistics industry.

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

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

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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., 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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