Veteran Voices
Episode 88

Initially, my plan was to come back in. But once I got promoted to mom, that has been the best role I have ever had. And so I never did come back in, but I still serve. I am still serving my community.

-Laurie Pimentel-Johnson

Episode Summary

Welcome to Season 6 of Veteran Voices! In this new episode, host Mary Kate Saliva interviews Army veteran Laurie Pimentel-Johnson. Laurie shares her journey from joining the Army, serving for 12 years, and transitioning back to civilian life.

Listen in as Laurie discusses the challenges she faced during her transition, including finding employment and adjusting to a new lifestyle. Laurie emphasizes the importance of building a network before transitioning out of the military and offers her assistance in helping others navigate this process. She also highlights her involvement with various organizations such as The Mission Continues and The Key Community, which provide support and resources for veterans and their families.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:02):

Welcome to Veteran Voices where we amplify the stories of those who’ve served in the US Armed Forces. Presented by Supply Chain now and the Guam Human Rights Initiative, we dive deep into the journeys of veterans and their advocates, exploring their insights, challenges, impact, and the vital issues facing veterans and their families. Here’s your host, US Army veteran, Mary Kate Saliva.

Mary Kate Soliva (00:35):

Hello everyone. It is Mary Kate Saliva, your host here for Veteran Voices. Veteran Voices is a podcast where we interview veterans who are serving beyond the uniform. So just a quick programming note before we get started. I’m really excited to introduce our guest today, but we are a podcast, a part of the supply chain. Now. Family of Supply Chain is one of the leading supply chain podcasts out there, and Veteran Voices is proud to be part of the supply chain. Now, family again, we are gearing up for an incredible season of episodes, so stay tuned and welcome back to those of you who continue to tune into Veteran Voices. And welcome if this is your first time tuning in and you can get these podcasts wherever you get your podcasts from. Now without further ado, I’m excited to introduce a veteran sister of mine, army veteran Lori, Lori Pimentel Johnson. Thank you so much for tuning in with us today. I believe you’re tuning in from Texas, is that right?

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (01:38):

Yes, Marianne, thank you so much for the invitation.

Mary Kate Soliva (01:42):

I’m so excited to have you on the show. I know we’ve been trying to make this happen and I’m glad we’re finally making it happen. Yes, rain or shine, just glad to have you on the show. And again, we’re going to be talking about the Key and some other incredible organizations that you’re working with right now. I’d love to kick off the show as I always do with motivation, pumping them up, and I always say, if you want to sing out a cadence, you’re welcome to, but if you could pump us up with a favorite motivational quote, I’m all for it.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (02:14):

So one of my personal quotes that I use and I love to share with others, just show up. It doesn’t matter if it’s a job fair, if it’s a workshop, if it’s an event, a networking event, just show up because you don’t know what can happen. So that’s my personal quote that I love to help motivate a lot of the folks that I assist. But the one that I want to share with everybody is Brene Brown, and her quote is, vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we are terrified about what people might see or think. So with that, we got to drop that, let it go. If you’re out there job searching and looking for your next career, just show up. That’s all you got to do is just show up. Give it five, 10 minutes. If it’s not at your cup of tea, you can leave. So

Mary Kate Soliva (03:17):

No, that’s true. I know from a loved one of mine, he ended up showing up at a job to go start out as a front desk person and the person that was actually running their books ended up not showing up to work and then decided just to quit abruptly. And they told him, can you just sit in this seat until we find somebody? And he ended up doing so well that he got the job. He ended up moving up so quickly, ended up getting a job that he didn’t have previous training, but he just showed up even though it wasn’t his first job pick showed up and it ended up being an incredible career opportunity for him. And so totally love that quote then. You’re the first one to bring that one up for us and sharing with our listeners. So thank you so much.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (04:05):

Yes, absolutely.

Mary Kate Soliva (04:07):

I’d love to, again, love having you here as a veteran sister, also army veteran. I of course interview from all different walks of life, different branches. But a special shout out, of course you being Army would love to take it back a little bit and just start, but prior to you joining the Army about your upbringing, sort of some of the influences there, and tell us where you grew up.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (04:35):

So my parents were divorced. I grew up in two different states, Hawaii, I know what a bummer. And California, Northern California. So those two great states is where I grew up. It was tough being back and forth between parents, but I also had a great upbringing. So that’s where I grew up.

Mary Kate Soliva (05:03):

And I say, did you have influences? I know you said two different states. Were you near military bases at all? Did you grew up in base housing, military, family at all or was it sort of different? Completely separate from military upbringing, unlike me where I actually grew up in Navy housing, so I was surrounded by a military from my first breath, so to speak.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (05:25):

So I am one of the first generations in the last couple of generations in my family that joined the service. So when I was ready to join the service, I called my dad and told him what I was going to do and I was afraid because again, we didn’t come from a military background. And his only advice to me was, you only live life once, go and do it now because you’re not going to have a chance to come back and do it again. So do it now because you may not be able to have this decision or choice 20, 30 years down the road. So I did join the service. I joined from Fort Dusi in Honolulu, Hawaii. So Honolulu is my Homer record. So I didn’t really have a military influence. I grew up as a tomboy, and so I guess I kind of gravitated to having more of what my family would’ve seen as a masculine type of career field. But once I joined it, I absolutely loved being in the army.

Mary Kate Soliva (06:41):

I love that. And sort of what you say, not having that military influence, do you come from a big family? Is it just you and going back with your parents? Do you have a lot of siblings? Just curious about that, the influence coming from big family.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (06:55):

So my family was kind of small. I have two brothers, two younger brothers. And so when we think I had a large extended family, we were all distant families in Hawaii. So I’m Filipino, Portuguese, and then Hawaii is where a lot of my Filipino family is. And so they’re really big and very close, but I didn’t really always grow up with them. I did a lot of back and forth from California to Hawaii. So then I had my dad’s side of the family, which was Portuguese, and they’re also really big, but we were so far apart, so we didn’t always have those close family gatherings. So I consider myself coming from a smaller size family.

Mary Kate Soliva (07:49):

I like the cultural dynamics are super interesting as well, especially Hawaii even you kind of get adopted into the big family, even if it’s not by blood, it just simply by affiliation. Because the

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (08:04):

Fiesta parties, everyone’s an auntie, everyone’s an uncle every Yes,

Mary Kate Soliva (08:08):

Exactly. And I was like, I’d have these little kids coming up and saying, auntie Mary Kate. I’m like, wait, who do you belong to? My sister doesn’t have kids. I’m like, who’s your mother? So again, just that cultural difference between Hawaii and then of absolutely with California as well. Super interesting. And then I know you said with that tomboy influence that I’m sure would help you, but I would love to hear about why the Army, especially because you didn’t have the military influences. It wasn’t like your dad was Army or anything. I’ve had guests on the show say it was literally a billboard and I’m like effective recruiting or commercial top gun maybe for Navy. But what was it for the Army, especially the year that you joined?

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (08:51):

I love that you asked that question right now because there’s a story behind this. Why it’s the army. The Marine Corps was my first choice. I went into the Marine Corps recruiting office there in Honolulu. The recruiter was sitting there asking me questions, what kind of job I wanted to do, and I was like, I want to be a military police officer. And so he asked me some questions. I was real small. I’m only five one on a good day, so I’m really short. And at the time I was really tiny. I only probably weighed about 115 pounds. So his question to me was, how would you be able to subdue or arrest, for lack of better word, a drunken 200 pound male on base? And I can’t remember my response to that unfortunately, but he was asking me these certain questions and then he said, well, we do have a height requirement, so in the back room we have a bar. We’ll just have you hang from the bar and just hang there as long as you can and then we’ll remeasure you. And again, I am barely

Mary Kate Soliva (10:10):

Stretch you out like Willy Wonka Laffy.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (10:13):

So I’m sitting there and I’m hanging from this bar. It’s going to make me taller for the measurement. I was their joke for the day because afterwards I came out, of course, there’s no change in my height whatsoever. So that kind of bruised my feelings a little bit. And I left the recruiting office and then I ended up right a couple doors down was the Army recruiting. And I went in there and they were like, oh, come on in here, sign here on the dotted line. Let’s get you to meps, let’s get you to go take your ASVAB test. And I was in the Army. That’s how quickly it worked.

Mary Kate Soliva (10:54):

No way like that same day.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (10:56):

It wasn’t exactly that same day. It was just like

Mary Kate Soliva (11:02):

The Marine Corps. I mean, gosh, shame on the Marines for doing that, but they’re famous for having that pull up bar all over the place when they do recruiting. But the fact about trying to stretch you out, stretch

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (11:15):

Me. Yes. So it was a joke. I didn’t get it at the time, but now that I look back on it and I was like, ah, they were playing with me. So

Mary Kate Soliva (11:25):

Wait, I am so glad, Chris, that you ended up in the army and that you didn’t let that deter you from joining and wanting to serve again. That’s what they say is kind of innately in our DNA of that service above self and just wanting to serve in whatever capacity, there’s room enough each of us to take part in the fight somehow. So when you walked into the Army, recruiters, what was on the table? I can tell you on the table for me, they were cook and I was like, Nope, I can’t cook a driver. And I was like, oh, I don’t know about driving mechanic. Well, I don’t really know anything about all that stuff. So I ended up with Medic. But I would love to hear what some of the options were for you, what you were thinking at that time.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (12:08):

So when I actually joined, it was during the holiday season and of course, so Army headquarters, they were in Washington dc they all shut down early or what have you. So when I went into Mets, I got the same, you could be a cook, you could be a mechanic, and I think maybe driver, right? And then they came with personnel. And so I was like, oh. So my recruiter was there and he was like, no, you don’t want to do mechanic. I was like, oh, I’m going to go do mechanic. He’s like, no, you don’t want that. You don’t want go with personnel. And so I went with personnel and I came in as a 75 Echo was personnel specialists back in the day.

Mary Kate Soliva (12:52):

Now I’m wondering is that similar to the 42 Alpha admin? Was it similar as it is now or what was the tasks at hand that they wanted you to do?

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (13:04):

So absolutely similar. Very similar. They’re exactly the same. 75 Echos did convert over into 42 Alphas. So I started out as a 75 Echo personnel specialist and then transitioned into the 42 Alpha human resource specialist.

Mary Kate Soliva (13:27):

Mad respect, I dunno how you all do it. I still get confused at all the boxes and the numbers. You have to be so meticulous with things and I feel like I always, nine times out of 10 will get some form kickback because something is wrong on it. I’m like, I don’t know how they 42 stare at this all day. But as far as, and I’d love to again to hear about the dynamic. So at this point, early on in your career, were you still not married, no kids, or you live in your best Life first duty station? Tell me about that.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (14:05):

So I came in the Army in 1993, and so my very first assignment was Fort Bragg, now known as Fort Liberty there in North Carolina. And so soon as I got there to Fort Bragg and I’m in the reception station, they gave us the opportunity, how many of you guys want to go airborne? And so a lot of people raised their hand, they got sent off to Airborne School. I just wanted to get to my first unit. I wanted to get settled in. I wanted to just start being a soldier. So I didn’t raise my hand. And sometimes I look back and wish that I did, I would’ve loved to have been jumping from planes while serving

Mary Kate Soliva (14:49):

Laurie. I’m telling you, you would’ve just gotten, I mean you thought it was bad walking the Marine Corps station. I was like, I think I’ve lost an inch and a half

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (14:56):

From Oh, you jumped. You

Mary Kate Soliva (14:57):

Were a jumper. Yes, I did. Yes. But I think I’ve definitely, I was five five on a good day too, and I somehow between the rocking and Airborne, I don’t know. I think I’ve lost an inch.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (15:10):

Oh wow. Well, I did actually do a jump. I did a tandem jump. Well, I was active duty. I went and did a tandem

Mary Kate Soliva (15:18):

Jump. I wish I had that option.

(15:21):

Oh no. But I love that what you said about just getting started and just going for it because people sort of don’t think about that. They think that we go to the recruit station and it is that first day you sign in and it’s as easy as that and you get shipped off. But especially depending on where time of wartime piece, of course that changes, but there really is a long process and the time you’ve gone through basic and your advanced training and you’re like, I’m just ready. Let’s go. Let’s start. It’s already been a year, so no, I absolutely get that. What were some of, I guess, your favorite locations? I cannot, I won’t believe it if you tell me Fayetteville, North Carolina, but you’ll have to sell me on that if you tell me that that was your favorite duty station.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (16:05):

It wasn’t my favorite, but I’m very honored to have been stationed there. I feel like that set the precedence for the rest of my military career and what was expected of me because of what’s there at Fort Bragg or Fort Liberty, you got Delta Force, you got special forces. It was just like the cream of the crop were at Fort Bragg. And even though I wasn’t airborne, I did wear a beret. I belonged to an airborne unit when I was assigned there. So I still wore the class A uniform with the jump boots, and I had a Maroon Beret at the time, it was a maroon beret, so I still looked the part, I just didn’t jump. And so it wasn’t my favorite. And my military career, I can’t say I had one bad assignment. I went from the east coast to the west coast. I was stationed in Germany, I was stationed in Hawaii. I did a lot of great exercises or missions I should say. I never saw combat. But I was in Bogota, Columbia, I was in Macedonia, Thailand on different many assignments. But I finished my career at South Con, so United States Southern Command there in Miami, Florida.

Mary Kate Soliva (17:33):

That’s wonderful. And do you speak any other languages? Did the Army train you in a language?

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (17:39):

No, English is my only spoken language.

Mary Kate Soliva (17:42):

Okay. Same here. I try to dabble in others, but unsuccessfully maybe to kindergartners, and I still think they run circles me. But no, I mean you’re making it sound like I chose the wrong MOS. And I honestly feel like as far as the travel goes, that you wouldn’t have gotten that same in the Marine Corps. I mean, I know the Marines travel too, but I feel like just from some of those exotic locations that you mentioned that I think that it was meant to be, so to speak.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (18:12):

Yes, it was. I just love sharing that story about how I wanted to be a Marine because they got the best uniforms. And they

Mary Kate Soliva (18:19):

Do still. They do.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (18:21):

Yes. The Marines will always be my favorite branch of our brothers and sisters in arms. But I am very honored to have served in the army.

Mary Kate Soliva (18:36):

I mean, you’re even wearing red today. I know we’re wearing red and it is Friday. So depending on this episode airs or when our listeners are tuning in, just remembering all those deployed. So it’s just one of the things that I’d love to hear about is about how long you served and sort of that point in your career where you were like, this is it. So

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (19:05):

I served a total of, I think it was almost 12 years. So I got to the halfway mark. I was in stationed in Miami at the time. I wasn’t married at the time, but we were going to get married and we didn’t want two green suitors to start a family. So I went ahead and I said, well, I’m at my halfway mark, so I’ll get out and then I can always come back in after I have kids. So that was initially my plan was to come back in. But once I got promoted to mom, that has been the best role I have ever had. And so I never did come back in, but I still serve. I am still serving my community. So during the service serving those 11 years, I learned a lot about myself. We grow up. I grew up in the military. The military was my extended, I guess, parenting unit. They taught me responsibility, how to have accountability for our own actions, our choices, decisions, et cetera. So I give a lot of credit to the Army for molding me who I am today. So I’ve had failed marriages. I’m one of those that married and been divorced, so I’m now a single parent and I’m rocking it. I am rocking it.

Mary Kate Soliva (20:42):

Good for you. And I love what you said, I was getting goosebumps. I do not have children of my own. But the fact that you said about your promotion to mom, because I have so many girlfriends who are stay-at-home moms or were stay-at-home moms for many years and they’re trying to step back in the workforce and they’re like, ADE, I’ve been a stay at home mom for 10 years, or I dunno how to do this. And I was like, are you kidding me? You got the toughest job in the world 24 7, keeping these little humans alive and just so much respect for moms. And of course the green suitors, those who are still serving, who are mothers, hats off to them that they were able to manage that too. But I know it looks different for every family and kudos to you, and I appreciate you sharing that because it does change.

(21:31):

And there is a whole transition piece that we continue to go through and that segues into really one of the things that I love about Veteran Voices is being able to talk about the transition journey because it does look different for everybody. And you mentioned Fayetteville and you’re with the Deltas and Special forces, and there’s this sense of badassery right when we’re there and you’re literally, I remember driving home one day from Fort Liberty and a helicopter was literally hovering down the street alongside of me. I could see in the window and wave to the pilots and the fact that they were just hovering, it’s like you feel like you’re in a video game and then to go from that to a completely different world, whether that’s parenthood, whether it’s just being a civilian, just navigating that. So I’d love to hear about what the transition was like for you at 12 years and advice that you would have for those going through the transition right now.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (22:30):

So when I transitioned out, it was back in the year of 2004, I pretty much got handed my DD two 14 and I was shown the door. There was not a lot of organizations that we see out there now like hiring our heroes, a CP, vets to Industry, the key community. There weren’t these organizations out there looking for us that were transitioning out to kind of grab us and be our sponsor back into the civilian life. I felt like I was going to land a job easily at 11 years of honorable military service in human resources for sure. I thought I was going to land a job. I couldn’t get a job at Walmart. I didn’t know how to fill out applications correctly. I didn’t really know how to write a resume. And I really got out thinking, well, I’m a veteran, of course they’re going to hire me. And so reality slapped me in the face to where I couldn’t find a job. Not even so much as being a cashier somewhere. Eventually I did. Luckily when we got to his duty station and I was a military spouse, I applied for a role in the federal government and worked that role for a short period.

(24:02):

So the transition was kind of tough. It was kind of tough.

Mary Kate Soliva (24:08):

I just want to go back a little bit about what you said, how it was 2004 and just for people to think about going, oh my gosh,

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (24:15):

That almost 20 years. That’s almost 20 years.

Mary Kate Soliva (24:19):

You have me goosebumps right now. But that was even the thing that I was highlighting. It was the fact that it was 2004. I mean we’re talking about 2001 happened September 11th, and then you’re making that decision to transition just a couple years later, especially when the war had just the war started. So did that play a part at all do you think, in just not having the things available? They weren’t really thinking about those who are getting out because they’re thinking about those they’re sending over. What are your thoughts on that?

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (24:58):

I don’t know that it’s just that they weren’t thinking about those that were transitioning out. But you’re right, there was a lot going on in our world. That’s when deployment started, just started up when I was getting out. So I just don’t think they had those things set in place as I was transitioning out. And it was pretty much our wave of transitions throughout the years that created all these other programs saying, Hey, our veterans are getting out. They’re not finding jobs, they’re losing their homes, they’re becoming homeless, and they don’t have the education background to compete with the civilian private sector job seekers. When I got out, I had that 11 years of HR experience, but I didn’t have education to back it up. I had Army, human, military, human resources, but I didn’t have what the private sector was looking for. They wanted compensation and benefits, payroll, but we had specific departments in the military that covered those areas for us. So I pretty much got out as a glorified admin clerk is pretty much what I was equivalent to without an education.

Mary Kate Soliva (26:23):

And even looking now, I mean we say we’ve come such a long way in 20 years, but it seems like a lot of those organizations you just mentioned have only started existing in the last five years. So it’s like we talk about how much you’ve grown in 20 years, but even the certifications and having things like the DODs Skill Bridge program and the pool program for credentialing opportunities and professional certifications and for them and their spouses and the military family. So a great opportunity for us to talk about the key and to talk about some of the incredible organizations that you’ve worked with. And I guess this would be a great time too, to add about what you benefited from these organizations, how you got started and what they do.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (27:12):

So I really find it very important to volunteer. So I started out volunteering with an organization called The Mission Continues. The mission continues is nationwide, just about every large city is going to have a platoon and there are veterans that are out there in their community making a difference. So I started doing service projects here with the platoon here in San Antonio. And so those will roll around.

Mary Kate Soliva (27:45):

I just got accepted into Mission continuous.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (27:48):

Oh, well congratulations.

Mary Kate Soliva (27:50):

Thank you.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (27:50):

So

Mary Kate Soliva (27:52):

Yeah, again, it was all word of mouth, right from Veteran Sisters that are like, you got to do this. And that’s how we find out.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (27:58):

Did you get into the leadership program or

Mary Kate Soliva (28:00):

Yes,

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (28:02):

Yes. Well, congratulations. I haven’t done that yet.

Mary Kate Soliva (28:09):

Think about that. For women, it’s just that not having that opportunity to surround ourselves with many other women, a lot of times we’re the only woman in the room, or there might be one other woman, but I think this will be great.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (28:20):

And mass deployment will be here in San Antonio in June of 2024. Fantastic. So every year there’s a mass deployment somewhere in the nation where they bring about 80 folks from the Mission continues to work on a project, and it’s going to actually be here in San Antonio. So I’m super excited about that. So yeah, with the mission continues that I really believe in giving back.

Mary Kate Soliva (28:48):

Yes,

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (28:49):

Excuse me, sorry, that one of those little tickles. So even on a small scale, it’s all about making change and making change in the community. So with that, I ended up, I just want to share a little bit of personal story too, is after my divorce and becoming a single parent unemployed at the time with a 2-year-old, she was only two at the time, I decided to go back to school. And so I said, well, I got to make myself, because now I’m going back into the workforce since being home as a stay at home mom, stay at home wife, I needed to make myself more. So I decided to finish my degree and I went through Grand Canyon University, which allowed me to do it remotely. And so I was going to school, I was unemployed, but I ended up finding a job. And that was with the Texas Veterans Commission for the state of Texas. Wonderful. And so I was working full time, working on my degree as a single parent of a small child. And so all those nights that I would tell her when she’d be like, mommy, come play mommy, come play. And I’d be like, oh, not right now, honey. Mommy’s got to do homework. Or I would find five minutes to sit down, do a puzzle or color with her because she is the most important thing in my life. But I also, a lot of weekends were spent doing homework, working on papers. So

(30:37):

When it was time for me to get my degree, I had the option of having them send it to me, which I would’ve been fine with, just mail it to me, I’ll put it in a frame, put it on my wall. But it was really important for me to fly my daughter to Arizona where this campus is so she could watch me walk across the stage in cap and gown to see, I’m so sorry for this go.

(31:04):

And so it was important for her to watch me walk across the stage in Cap and gown to see all those weekends that I told her we couldn’t go to see World, we couldn’t go to the movies. Mommy had a homework. I wanted her to see why and why I did what I did. But during the time that I was unemployed, I had to dig through coin Jars just to get quarters to go get a quarter gallon half gallon of milk from the corner market. That takes a lot to dig down and it’s a huge pill to swallow, but you do what you have to do as a parent to make sure. So even though times were tough, I showed her or tried to instill in her that

(32:12):

We still got to dig deep and keep fighting to stay in the fight. And so fast forward here I am, I’ve been with the state working for the state for almost 10 years now. I get involved in the community, I do a lot of volunteer. My daughter comes out and does a lot of projects with the Mission continues. So she’s out there learning the value of volunteering. This weekend, we’re volunteering with the Rodeo here in San Antonio. Again, I volunteer with the Mill City Meetup. This is their fifth year in operation. It was founded by four individuals, Chuck Bunch, Quincy Harper, and the two powerhouses behind it is Ray and Sam Domingo. Ray’s an Air Force veteran, Sam Samantha, she is the military spouse, but they saw the importance of networking. And so they built Mill City meetup. It happens once a month here in San Antonio and gives a foundation for people to start networking. So I started volunteering with them and I kind of am their volunteer manager getting volunteers to help assist and set up the event. During the pandemic, Ray and Sam Domingo created the key community, the key community key stands for keep Elevating Yourself. And during the pandemic, that’s what we all needed. We were all closed down, shut down, everybody was sent home, people were losing jobs left.

(34:01):

So they wanted to bring something virtual. So they started the key community. Well now go. So during the pandemic when we all really needed to feel a connection, that’s when they created the key community and the events were done virtually throughout most of the years, the years during Covid. Well now that we’re all back in person, the key community is starting to have in-person events. And so anyone that’s, and the key community is not just military focused, it’s open to everybody because our community, it’s our neighbors, it’s the people at the grocery store, it’s the people at our gym, at our churches, it’s everybody I love in our community. So that’s why the Key was created and it’s a community within itself. And so if you haven’t checked out the key community, I strongly advise you go into your search your browser, type in the key community, the key community.org and check out and see what they’re building.

Mary Kate Soliva (35:18):

No, it’s wonderful. And I remember when they were Kick-starting it, and it was at a time where I really felt like I was going through the transition myself. And during the pandemic I transitioned off active duty in 2021 out Fayetteville, North Carolina. And so a lot of things were shut down and people in my unit were getting covid. So a lot of things were social distance and we were having to do it from home. And navigating the remote world, the virtual world, to try to find these resources was really challenging for me, especially when I was sort of programmed to say, don’t put so much about yourself on the internet. And instead when you’re transitioning, employers don’t want to hire a fake person. They got to know you’re real. So to know you’re real, you got to start putting more about yourself, even if it’s on places like LinkedIn.

(36:09):

And I think we sort of take for granted how hard that is for somebody who has served in the military to talk about themselves because that part of us is sort of stripped at basic training to say, it’s not about you anymore. It’s about we about the team and now you’re in the military and it’s about the team. But then when you’re transitioning out, it’s back to we again or me again, it’s back to the individual person. And that’s hard. And so the community seeing what you all have been doing has been absolutely incredible. And the amount of people that you have helped both the service member, their family, but even beyond that, like you said, and if any time that we learned that we needed a community, it was during the pandemic, we sort of realized that even that cranky neighbor we didn’t like before where I actually missed that guy. So no, I love that. And I’d love to hear about how folks can get, you said the Keys organization, but is there any way as far as, like you said, Texas as well has a huge support group out there for the military and their families, how they can reach out, how they can get involved, or where is the help needed for our listeners?

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (37:22):

So for listeners, depending on what they’re looking for, what they need help with, if you want to connect just virtually building your network, check out the key community.org because the key community is global, but specific to Texas, I don’t want to say just to Texas because listeners can be listening and from anywhere is reach out to the Mission continues, Google Mission continues, see if there’s a platoon there near your city and get involved that way. Start building your network. Definitely connect with me on LinkedIn. I’m out there on LinkedIn Super. Just if I don’t get to your connection request right away, don’t fret. I will get to it. And if you want to connect virtually with folks like on LinkedIn, definitely send a message when you’re trying to connect like, Hey, looking to build my network. That’s all you need to say because if I have to go in and research why Mary wants to connect with me and I don’t see how you’re affiliated with the military or how you’re affiliated as someone like a recruiter or something in my interests, then I may overlook you as a connection request. So definitely send us just a simple little note when you’re trying to connect with people.

Mary Kate Soliva (38:53):

Great advice. And again for our listeners, this is Laurie, L-A-U-R-I-E, Pimentel Johnson. So look her up. Definitely connect with Laurie online on LinkedIn and those incredible organizations like the Key Community Mission continues and I love that you said Mission Continues has Platoon, so they’re sort of keeping some of that same lingo in there that we’re so used to and familiar with, but it is really, we both get how challenging it is to put yourself out there. And my mentors jokingly say, and from vets to industry about how I didn’t have a last name when I first put on the LinkedIn. I was just Mary s, I didn’t even have Mary Kate on there. So I feel like I’ve come such a long way, but the transition looks different for everybody. Lori, thank you so much for sharing that. Besides LinkedIn, is there any last remarks you’d like to make about folks reaching out to you or some of the things that you’re doing now that you could support them with? Whether that’s resume help, putting their LinkedIn together, anything?

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (40:01):

Yes, most definitely. So definitely reach out to me on LinkedIn. If you want assistance, reach out to me there. You can also email me at the key community. And so unfortunately my email address is really long, so it is L Pi andelJohnson@thekeycommunity.org and I can spell that phonetically if someone wants to jot it down. It’s Lima, Papa India, Mike Echo, November, tango, echo, Lima, Juliet, Oscar Hotel, November Sierra, Oscar november@thekeycommunity.org. Sorry, I just spell it out.

Mary Kate Soliva (40:47):

Well done. Some people do. Is she going to remember all these letters? Good for you, Lori.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (40:51):

I do because I’m always having to spell my last name, so I’m always spelling it phonetically. You start,

Mary Kate Soliva (40:56):

People say here saying C for Cat.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (40:58):

Yeah, but you mentioned vets to industry. So yes, go vets to industry, always has a virtual event. Attending these virtual events. I pop onto those Alfredo’s Coffee House, it happens every Sunday. Alfredo’s coffee house,

(41:17):

Yes, hope White and Alfredo Torres. It’s his coffee house. But that there is a unfiltered space. It is a safe space. We’re in there talking about anything from transition to just things going on in life. So you just come as you are to these events. But yeah, usually on Sundays when my time and my schedule permits, I’m in there in Alfredo’s coffee house, hanging out with them, laughing and sometimes crying. But isn’t that what our support is all about? And I’ve never met these people. Most of them I’ve never met in person, but there’s a connection there. They’re friends, they’re my safe space when I go into that.

Mary Kate Soliva (42:04):

I love that you mentioned that because it’s so important. I feel like the majority of my mentors, I haven’t actually met in person, but I trust them so much. There’s so much that I’ve been able to laugh with them and cry with them and be able to talk to them at all different hours of the day. They drop what they’re doing to just help or even the random check-ins to say, how’s your family doing? How are you doing? And sometimes the how are you is met with tears that I can’t believe you just messaged me now having the worst day and sometimes the timing by design. So I really love that. Laurie, thank you so much for coming on Veteran Voices. It’s good. I do

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (42:46):

Have one last thing I want to say. Yeah,

Mary Kate Soliva (42:47):

Absolutely.

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson (42:48):

To any transitioning service member right now and their military spouses dependents, you guys are getting ready to transition. You need to start building your network now. Don’t wait until after you get out. Start building that network now so that you have a nice foundation. So when you actually do transition out, you’re getting that guidance and that building those relationships of those that can help you navigate the transition process. Transitioning is not always smooth. You hear those stories of like, man, I got out, I landed $180,000 a year job just like that. And you’re like, oh, in a million. Yeah, okay, the truth and the ugly, let’s talk about the ugly truth about transitioning and how tough it can be. So definitely reach out to me. I’m always happy to assist whether that’s federal resumes helping you guys navigate that process, converting your civilian resume into civilian terminology, talking the private sector lingo, anything that I know I’m happy to share and happy to help. And services are absolutely $0 99 free,

Mary Kate Soliva (44:09):

99 free. Thank you so much. And I love, again, to circle back about what you said about volunteering because don’t wait to start your network now if you’re still serving stealing uniform, but also you can volunteer now for many of these organizations that we listed or just pop in. Even if you can only spare five minutes to just, I guarantee you’re going to want to stay longer and you want to going back, just show up. Just show up and circle back and see, look at the great things. Your daughter’s right there alongside of you volunteering with Mission Continues. I just love that piece. And thank you again for being vulnerable and sharing that story. Your story of motherhood, of being a single mother and a veteran and just the power of your story I’m sure is going to touch many of our listeners who are tuned in today.

(44:57):

Thank you Lori, again, for our listeners. Thank you. Hope you enjoyed this episode. Reach out to Lori. Rewind. Listen again, lots of golden nuggets to take away from this episode. And again, veteran Voices is part of the supply chain now, family of podcasts and programming. And you can get our episodes wherever you get your podcasts from. And as we love to say, do good, pay it forward and be the change that’s needed. And as Lori says to show up. So that’s all you got to do. Folks, it’s been a pleasure. I’m Mary Kate Saliva, your host of Veteran Voices, and we hope to see you next time. Take care.

 

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Featured Guests

Laurie Pimentel-Johnson is an Army veteran where she served 11 years of honorable service as a Human Resources Specialist. As she was attending Grand Canyon University in pursuit of her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Management she served as a Work Study for Texas Veterans Commission assigned to the Family Career Advisor, where she assisted family members with employment readiness. She began her career with Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) in March of 2015 as a Veterans Career Advisor. As a Veterans Career Advisor her dedication and passion to assist veterans was relevant in her day to day performance and she set the example for the team to emulate. She enjoys being part of the team and ensuring that the TVC mission for VES is accomplished and often was the first to volunteer for events and was always willing to help assist a team member. Her performance was recognized in June 2019 when she received the Disabled American Veteran’s (DAV) Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist Award, and awarded the TVC Excellence Award in 2020. She is currently working for Texas Veterans Commission and is serving as the South Texas District Outreach Coordinator as of January 15th, 2020. Where she performs a vital role in the community of San Antonio, also known as Military City USA, and other assigned areas to South Texas District, informing community partners and organizations of TVC’s role in advocating for veterans and their families in the state of Texas ensuring that they receive the benefits they are entitled to. She truly enjoys assisting and informing veterans of their benefits, assisting with employment readiness, and volunteering with organizations in her community. She places the best interest of the veteran and listens to the veterans and their needs and is always ready to assist with contact information or pointing them in the direction to attain assistance. She holds a high level of integrity and work ethic in customer service. She also serves in a volunteer role as Chief of Staff for The KEY Community, the Volunteer Manager for MilCity MeetUp, and also volunteers with The Mission Continues San Antonio Service Platoon. Connect with Laurie on LinkedIn.

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Vicki White

Controller

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

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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

Host

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. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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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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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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Allison Giddens

Host

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

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

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Billy Taylor

Host

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

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

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

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

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Tandreia Bellamy

Host

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

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

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

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

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Marty Parker

Host

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

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

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Laura Lopez

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Jake Barr

Host

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

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Marcia Williams

Host

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

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Constantine Limberakis

Host

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

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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

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

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Greg White

Principal & Host

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

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

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

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

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

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Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

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

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

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

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

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

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Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

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

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

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

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

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

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

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

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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

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Katherine Hintz

Creative Manager & Executive Producer

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.