The advance of human capabilities has been led by people who were able to imagine things that were not possible and then muster the willpower to build them. That requires a combination of seeing the world a bit differently and being willing to take risks and push the limits to create something new.
Eric Adolphe, CEO of Forward Edge-AI, Inc., is a technology-savvy executive with over thirty years of success building high-growth firms focused on mission impact, revenue, and margin attainment, primarily in the national security sector. But he isn’t interested in technology for technology’s own sake. Instead, he believes that it has the potential to generate enormous benefits for all of humanity.
In this episode, Eric joins co-hosts Scott Luton and Kevin L. Jackson to talk about his passion for innovation and willingness to go where no man has gone before:
– Eric’s opportunities to work first with NASA and now with the United States Space Force
– Why innovators must dedicate themselves to building responsible and more inclusive AI capabilities than we have today
– How AI is acting as an accelerant in manufacturing, making it possible to bring designs to market faster than ever before
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Scott Luton (00:33):
Hey, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are. Scott Luton and the one and only Kevin L. Jackson with you here on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s show. Kevin, how are you doing today?
Kevin L. Jackson (00:43):
You know, it’s been a great day. Thank you very much for asking. Beginning of the week. Beginning of the fall. Hey, let’s do this.
Scott Luton (00:51):
Before long, you’re going to need a couple of clones based on everything you’ve got going on. But great to have you here. We’ve got an outstanding conversation. In fact, I’m really excited about the show that we’ve got lined up today. We’ve got a big mover and shaker joining us as we dive into, Kevin. Some of the intriguing work taking place at or near, I’ll call it, the intersection of artificial intelligence in manufacturing. Kevin, we should have sold tickets to today’s show, huh?
Kevin L. Jackson (01:17):
Yes, absolutely. I tell you, talking about moving and shaking. I mean, it’s an earthquake here with Eric, I tell you. He has some great stuff going on over at the Ford Edge-AI. I mean, I’m amazed at all the stuff they — that they’re into.
Scott Luton (01:33):
So, a good calamity. A positive calamity then what we’re going to have here today over the next hour or so. So, today’s episode, folks, is presented in partnership with our friends at Microsoft who’s doing some pretty cool things in the industry on — in their own right. Helping us all move forward. So, more on that to come. So, Kevin, I’ve got some bullet points. I’m going to introduce our speaker. You ready to go?
Kevin L. Jackson (01:54):
Oh, yes. I’m ready to go. Go.
Scott Luton (01:57):
All right. So, I’ve got our speaker today. Our dear guest has a phone book of recognition and accolades and awards. So, I’m going to give you the Reader’s Digest version here, but an award-winning business leader. Our guest today brings more than 30 years of experience in industry. He’s an honoree with the National Inventors Hall of Fame. How about that? He’s a winner of one of NASA’s highest civilian honors. He’s also the first African American Small Business Innovative Research Tibbetts Award winner. And those are, again, are just a few of his accomplishments and honors.
Scott Luton (02:28):
His company, Ford Edge-AI, as Kevin mentioned, is focused on artificial intelligence for the benefit of humanity. I love that. So, please join me in welcoming Eric Adolphe, CEO with Forward Edge-AI. Eric, how you doing?
Kevin L. Jackson (02:43):
Hi. Thank you, Scott. Thank you, Kevin. Good to see you guys.
Scott Luton (02:46):
It is so neat to rub elbow with you today. Kevin, I really appreciate you bringing some of your moving and shaking friends here today.
Kevin L. Jackson (02:54):
Oh, no. I tell you — I mean, Eric really is. He’s an inventor. He’s a serial entrepreneur. He’s smart. He taught me a lot of things, that’s for sure. And he’s a long-time friend. And I really — I appreciate him by taking some time to spend with us. Thank you, Eric.
Scott Luton (03:15):
Eric Adolphe (03:16):
That’s a lot. I want to meet that guy.
Scott Luton (03:19):
I want to — well, Eric, you’re too humble, too. You’re very modest, given all that you’ve done in your career. So, I want to start here. This is where we want to start. So, fortunately, as much as you and Kevin know each other and have worked together and done big things together, our audience may be new to some of what you’ve done. I want to get to know you a little better first before we get into some industry talk.
Scott Luton (03:37):
So, in talking with you before we kick things off, I understand you grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in a neighborhood, Eric, that was highly diverse and it had a big impact on your worldview. Tell us more about that.
Eric Adolphe (03:49):
Yes. So, that is actually, as I said, this is my formative — these were my formative views, right? So, the one that really kind of sticks out is a neighbor, as I said, that was — she was an Auschwitz survivor. And I would sit summer days, just sit on her porch and she would just — we’d just talk. And she would tell me about her experiences. I — she showed me her tattoos. And that made a big impact on me. And the entire community was that way. We had Polish immigrants. We had immigrants from Puerto Rico. We had immigrants from Jamaica that made up the fabric of this community.
Eric Adolphe (04:25):
And, you know, the best folks borrow from each of these, right? Which is what I ended up doing, I borrowed from each of these. And what I learned, or I got out of that experience was love of history. I’m just really nuts about history. And it wasn’t something that was taught in school. It was just, I love to read. I love watching anything that’s related to history. It’s just one of those things. And that’s how, actually how I keep myself busy when I’m not working.
Scott Luton (04:51):
And, you know, Kevin, my hunch — and Eric, I’d love you to weigh in too. I’m a big history nerd as well. And you know, what’s old is always new. Again, we can learn so much no matter where or how advanced we get, how technological we get, Kevin, we can look back to all sorts of different parts of history and always find new lessons to be learned and applied. Is that right, Kevin?
Kevin L. Jackson (05:10):
Yes, yes. Absolutely. I find that you learn how to apply new technologies by looking at old technologies and how they were applied in the past and how they affected our society. And there’s so many lessons that you can learn, you know, from just being a student of history.
Scott Luton (05:37):
Eric, it sounds like you would agree with that perspective, Eric.
Eric Adolphe (05:40):
A hundred percent. A hundred percent. Well said.
Scott Luton (05:42):
And you know, I’m thinking, especially where I’m going next because we’re going to ask you about some of your work at NASA, some of your groundbreaking work at NASA. Whether it’s modern history or even ancient history. I was reading about the construction of the pyramids and how there’s so many scientists still today, we’re still — we’re just mind-boggled of how things actually happened and were built and constructed.
Scott Luton (06:04):
So, hey, mystery is still abound. All sorts of different parts of our global collective history. So, let’s talk about NASA, Eric. Now, as I mentioned — Kevin and I have talked about this before, we’re in such a — an exciting time when it comes to space exploration as we see the private sector get involved. Man, and what’s taking place. And who knows? Who knows? Especially with the current missions, the Lunar missions taking place, and getting ready to put our newest stamps on the moon. And who knows beyond? Tell us though, what did you do at NASA, Eric?
Eric Adolphe (06:36):
Yes, so a little bit of history there. Space has always been, sort of, in my background. I was always a dreamer. I was a huge, and still am, a “Star Trek” fan. And most of what I learned, “Star Trek”, actually. And when I was a young engineer, I worked for the FAA. And the F — the government announced this new program called Technicians in Space. And they were going to send people to the Hubble and, you know, satellite and other satellites to do repairs.
Eric Adolphe (07:06):
And I signed up and, unfortunately, the year I signed up, the Challenger accident happened. And so, the program was canceled. The reason why I bring that up is just a few years later, after I launched my company, I was sitting in an office with the lady, Charlotte Adams. I was being intubated and trying to figure out what I was going to do. I just started my own company and she came to my desk and she put this yellow book on my desk and it said, Small Business Innovation Research Program at NASA.
Eric Adolphe (07:36):
And just like everything else, I was intrigued and I started thumbing through it. And I saw this requirement. The Shuttle Challenger accident had occurred, and they were trying to solve that problem. Well, I went home and I was watching “Star Trek” and I saw Kirk was at his seat, command seat, and Nurse Chapel came with this thing that looked like a tablet computer. And it was — and gave him a battle damage assessment. And I said, wow, that’s the solution. I want to go build that. And, yes. And back then there were no tablet computers. There were — there was no wireless networking back then. And I said, I want to build that.
Eric Adolphe (08:15):
So, you see where that spark came from. That it was — it starts off with that curiosity in trying to solve a specific problem and then being passionate about the subject. Well, I won that. I wrote the proposal, won that SBIR, and that was something like $60,000, right? And we began to build that technology and it didn’t exist. And the whole time, I got to tell you, it was the — probably the best time of my career, best time of my life.
Eric Adolphe (08:45):
I could remember sitting in the back of this white van, not a creepy white van, but it’s a white van. And we had our laptops in there. We had all our gear. And we were sitting there on the side of the road writing code on a battery. And we were given a certain amount of time to prove that the technology could work. And we were driving to the Kennedy Space Center, and we were writing code as we were driving — taking turns driving. We got to the gate of the Kennedy Space Center and didn’t know if it was going to work.
Scott Luton (09:21):
Eric Adolphe (09:21):
Yes. And we walked in and the — I’ll never forget this, the project manager said, well, this is your chance. If this works, then we’re going to move to phase two. If it doesn’t, this project ends. Man, we fired that thing up and it worked. And I got to tell you the — I still get misty about that. And that just defined, you know, my company, my career from that point forward. And that whole attitude of nothing’s impossible came from that dreaming beyond the horizon came from that. And it’s just the way we’ve kind of carried ourselves and our new company, right?
Scott Luton (09:57):
Oh, Eric —
Kevin L. Jackson (09:58):
Yes, its’ amazing how —
Scott Luton (09:59):
Yes, Kevin, go ahead.
Kevin L. Jackson (10:00):
It’s amazing how a vision and a passion combine to create reality. And that’s basically what happens over and over and over again.
Scott Luton (10:14):
Kevin, well said. And Eric, there’s so many — man, just what you shared in the last seven minutes, I wish we could spend the next four hours there, because to be able to be inspired by an idea that you find in the world of science fiction or make believer, or whatever that didn’t exist in real world. And then to go to work, rolling up your sleeves, making that happen, and the trials and tribulations that come with any kind of new technology of consequence, and then to be able to pass that big hurdle. And it just — and it not just changed your trajectory, but it changes the NASA trajectory.
Scott Luton (10:46):
And of course, as we all know, many folks know at least, all of — a lot of what has come out, all the feats and projects and successes and failures, all of it from our space program, from NASA, from the history to — up to now has benefited all the rest of us. All the rest of humanity and industry. So, Eric, we’re going to have to have you back and you’re going to have to tell us a lot more stories of you and your work. And of course, you and Kevin’s work both at NASA. And Kevin, I’ll give you the last word there.
Kevin L. Jackson (11:16):
Yes, before you leave that space work. I want to get — you know, Eric is still involved in space. And we’ve talked about history. And you — and, you know, everybody knows about all the junk that we’ve put up in space that goes around the Earth. And before long, all the satellites are going to be hitting each other because there’s going to not be enough. I mean, Starlink by itself is like thousands and thousands of satellites up there. But recently, I understand that the Forward Edge actually may be doing something about all of that junk that’s up in space. Is that right, Eric?
Eric Adolphe (11:54):
Yes, and I am so happy to be back in space, quite honest. Yes. So, we recently received notification that we were selected for a joint Space Force, air force SBIR to develop basically a device that will lead the way to the future space internet security. And what we’re doing — and there’s AI involved in that. What we’re doing is we’re going to be securing the data links that’s going to be used for low Earth orbit satellites and orbital robots that are going to be basically in orbit cleaning, grabbing space junk, and doing reclamation and warehousing it and that kind of stuff.
Eric Adolphe (12:32):
So, we’re going to be providing the technology that’s going to secure the data links so those robots can act autonomously without, you know, having to have human intervention. So, yes, it’s — we’re back in space and this is — man, I got to tell you, it’s a blessing for us.
Scott Luton (12:47):
Wow. All right. So, before you ask —
Kevin L. Jackson (12:49):
Yes, sustainable — sustainable space flight.
Scott Luton (12:52):
Sustainable space flights, we need a lot more of that because all that space junk up there. But I would just add one more thing. And Kevin, and I’ll pass the baton to you. I am so glad of all the things that you could have been inspired by from watching “Star Trek.” I’m so glad the Tribbles were not one of those things. So — sorry, “Star Trek,” dad joke maybe. But — all right. So, Kevin, where are we going next with Eric here?
Kevin L. Jackson (13:17):
Well, you know, the name of his company Ford Edge-AI, I mean, they’re doing a lot of work in artificial intelligence. And I recall a story that Eric told me about. He was on travel — you may not remember this Eric, but you were on travel and got off a plane and wanted to go wash your hands. Went into the restroom and they had these automatic faucets. And he put his hand down to the automatic faucet and it didn’t come on. He moved his hand back and put it back and it didn’t come on. And somebody came after him and it was a white gentleman and put his hands and it worked just fine. And it was like, it sparked your interest in artificial intelligence, as I understood. Is that true, Eric?
Eric Adolphe (14:09):
Yes, and you’re telling the Cliff Notes version of that because somebody called the police and they thought I was being a creep. So, what happened was —
Scott Luton (14:18):
Eric Adolphe (14:20):
When it didn’t work, I observed. And that’s another thing about ingenuity, you observe things that others don’t, right? And I observed that other folks were using the sink no problem. And each one that I went to had that problem. So, I went underneath the sink and I started taking pictures of the part numbers and the manufacturing part numbers with the intent that I was going to, you know, contact the manufacturers and let them know their — that they have a problem. Well, somebody saw me taking pictures onto the sink. It’s like — so when the cops showed up at the airport and they said, well, what are you doing? And I said, your sinks are racist.
Scott Luton (15:06):
Oh, gosh. Man. All right. So, Eric — man, all the stories, we’re just going to get — be able to scratch the surface here today. But Kevin, AI, a lot of folks may still — although fewer and fewer may still be rolling their eyes here, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (15:21):
So — I mean, artificial intelligence, it’s a — you know, maybe I see it as a buzz word, but I don’t think a lot of people really understand what it is. And they oversubscribe to Hollywood when it comes to artificial intelligence. I mean, at its basic, AI is the ability of a computer or a robot to perform task that are typically associated with human intelligence, such as learning and problem solving.
Kevin L. Jackson (15:54):
But the goal of AI is to be able to do things like recognize patterns and make decisions and make judgments like a human. But let’s be clear that AI is not the “Terminator”. “Terminator” is a hypothetical type of like intelligent agent referred to as artificial general intelligence or AGI. If realized, an AGI could learn to accomplish any intellectual task that human beings or animals can perform. AGI has been defined as an autonomous system that surpasses human capabilities in the majority of economically valuable tasks.
Kevin L. Jackson (16:45):
So, the — so, let’s — don’t get these terms twisted. We’re not there yet. The timeline of AGI is a subject of a lot of debate among researchers and experts. Some argue that it may be possible in years or a couple of decades, and others say it may take a century or more. And a minority of these believe that it may never be achieved. So, don’t be afraid of AI. AI is just a tool. It’s not the “Terminator” coming to knock on your door.
Scott Luton (17:25):
Well — so, Eric, speak to that. You — you’re undoubtedly, there’s folks, we probably all know them in our networks that when they hear the word AI, they may roll their eyes a bit and it’s just — they may perceive it as just the latest, you know, tech flavor of the month. What must they know, Eric, about artificial intelligence?
Eric Adolphe (17:43):
Yes, I think I agree with Kevin, and I would — just want to distill what his thoughts to one kind of point. What’s different about AI, true AI is that it has the ability to learn, right? Absent that is just code, right? And I want to give you an example. When — so ChatGPT is the thing that everybody’s excited about and people think it’s going to take my job, it’s coming for me, that kind of thing. I went on to ChatGPT and I entered a prompt. I said, are Canadians, Americans? And it replied, no, they are not. And I said, what continent is Canada on? And it replied, the North American Continent.
Eric Adolphe (18:28):
So, then I did another prompt. I said, so are Canadians, Americans? And it responded, no. And then I prompt — said — and I kept down — kept going with this saying — I did Mexico. I did Haiti. Every — all the countries in North America. And it kept coming back, was polite. I said, I’m sorry, I —
Kevin L. Jackson (18:50):
It was polite in its ignorance, right?
Eric Adolphe (18:52):
But the point is — the point is that demonstrated fairly clearly that it wasn’t learning, right? So, it’s a large language model, right? Difference is, humans have the ability to take in raw data and learn, right? That’s something, as Kevin said, AGI or the singularity maybe in 2060 we might get there.
Eric Adolphe (19:15):
And the last thing — I’m going to go back to history for a second because there’s a lot of — I see the Hollywood strikes and that kind of thing. People are like freaking out about it. So, Thomas Edison and his team developed the light bulb, right? The Candlemakers Union went to Congress to try to stop him, right? Because they said he would take away all their jobs. And that’s a case where there was some actual fear there, right? So, Congress enacted a law that limited the deployment of can of light bulbs to hotels and not into people’s homes. So, the first deployment of the light bulbs were in hotels, not in homes, because they wanted to protect that market, right? So —
Kevin L. Jackson (19:55):
Protectionism, that’s the best.
Eric Adolphe (19:59):
Take a look at today, right? Candlemakers are not out of business, not by a long stretch. And what happened was candles now are used. The candle making industry is huge. And what they’re using it for, like, intimate settings. That — it’s changed what candles are used for. We don’t use it for lights unless, you know, we lose power, right? Birthdays, anniversaries, the things that are important to us. We don’t sit there with a light bulb to wish somebody happy birthday. Candles.
Eric Adolphe (20:32):
So, like — so my point is, you know, like art, poetry, literature, the things that make us human, right, we’re going to still want them to come from humans. So, I would just tell people just — take a chill.
Scott Luton (20:47):
And, you know, I love that perspective. And two thoughts there — and Kevin, I’ll get yours. One, is that candle example. It allows candles to be used for the — their best possible purpose, right? Where they add so much value, because to your point, you don’t want to celebrate happy birthday with a bunch of light bulbs, perhaps. And then secondly, folks, we’re going to get more into some powerful outcomes, especially in the manufacturing industry where we’re going to talk more about some big-time outcomes that AI is driving.
Scott Luton (21:17):
Kevin, before we move on, and we’re going to be talking about responsible and inclusive AI here momentarily, what else comes to your mind with what Eric just shared?
Kevin L. Jackson (21:26):
Well, the thing that jumped to my mind was the MoMA exhibit of AI where they have created a whole new art form, dynamic art form that is never the same twice, forever. And is a — and it’s amazing what’s possible when you are not limited by the human brain. I mean, AI can really expand the possibilities in art, the possibilities in technology, and the possibilities in the human experience. And I think that’s one thing we have to recognize.
Kevin L. Jackson (22:14):
Also, we have to recognize that AI only does what a human tells it to do. It’s not sentient, right? It can’t create itself, not yet. So, it’s all about humans. How are we going to use and leverage AI? Humans can do bad things but, you know, hopefully most humans that use AI will be — do it in a socially acceptable and empowering way.
Scott Luton (22:49):
And Eric, give you the final word here before we move on. What would you say, Eric, for folks that, you know, that aren’t enlightened like you and Kevin are about just how AI and Generative AI, or maybe even the AGI that Kevin was talking about earlier, whenever it comes along. How it truly is going to revolutionize industry and automate the things, the redundant things that humans really get tired of while accentuating, at least in my perspective, the creative side and enabling and empowering humans to really achieve new heights and do new things and create new value in industry? Eric, for folks that may be taking a pessimistic view there, and this is just the latest trend, what would you say to those folks, Eric?
Eric Adolphe (23:30):
Yes, I love that question. And to go back to the candle example, back then when Edison was doing the light bulb, there was one flavor of candle, it rolled [phonetic], right? And —
Scott Luton (23:43):
One scent, I guess. One scent, Eric.
Eric Adolphe (23:45):
One scent. One scent, that was it. One scent, one color. Now, you can get in every possible scent and color you can imagine that —
Kevin L. Jackson (23:53):
Eric Adolphe (23:54):
Yes. And it further human creativity, right? And so, I’m in favor of anything that reduces cognitive overload. I’m in favor of. And a good example of that, right? Right now, AI has gotten pretty good. Computer vision has gotten pretty good. Machine learning’s gotten pretty good at analyzing CAT scans, MRIs, X-rays, et cetera. Finding potential cancer, broken bones, that kind of thing, right? AI can do that quicker and as accurate as the human physician or radiologist can.
Eric Adolphe (24:27):
It’s important, right? A lot quicker and as accurate, perhaps, a little bit more accurate, right? So, what does that do? Fewer mistakes. I’m going to miss my doctor, physician, radiologist is going to miss fewer things, and it’s going to reduce the load on the hospital staff, right?
Eric Adolphe (24:47):
Now, imagine if I took a sonogram, right? A portable sonogram doesn’t give off radiation, and I augment that with artificial intelligence and I sell that to the consumers. Now, I can sit at home, I get injured, scan my arm and see if — and it’ll tell me if my bone is broken. So, I either need Advil or I need to get to a doctor. Scan my breast, and — OK, there’s a lump here. You need to go get this looked at, this looks like cancer. Could you imagine that?
Eric Adolphe (25:20):
Now, if you could do that, you offload all of that stuff, the misdiagnosis, the stuff that’s missed because people don’t have access to a doctor or healthcare, you offload all that stuff. Now, you could prevent diseases. You could prevent problems in the future.
Eric Adolphe (25:35):
Now, here’s the dark side of that, and this is where we talk about, you know, inclusive and responsible AI, right? So, black females have denser breast tissue, right? So, if you train your magical sonogram, augmented sonogram on one dataset, and then you try to apply it to others in the population, what’s going to happen? You’re going to get a lot of faulty data, right? So, as an entrepreneur, why would I go out and invent something that’s going to exclude a big part of the market? It makes no sense. But yet we do that every day because everybody around us in our lab looks like us. So, fill in the blank or whatever your company is, right?
Scott Luton (26:30):
Yes. So — yes. So, Kevin, I love Eric’s example there because he’s reading my mind. I was going to ask him about why building responsible and inclusive AI? What that means and why it’s important. And I think that example really speaks to both of those. What else would you add, Kevin?
Kevin L. Jackson (26:45):
Well, first of all, being responsible with technology is just good business to start off with, right? But with respect to AI, everybody thinks about AI as in the future. It’s not in the future. It’s — we’re there and we are accelerating. AI is used — like Eric was talking about, AI is used for virtual assistance and chat bots. It’s used in agriculture and farming, autonomous flying and security, surveillance, sports analytics. And a lot of different sports activities, manufacturing and production. We’ll talk more about that. And even in livestock and inventory management.
Kevin L. Jackson (27:32):
And today, what’s used to provide personalized recommendations, ChatGPT accepted to process thousands of transactions in a second. It can actually recognize problematic activities and protect you. It — well, it verifies applications for loans. It’s another use case for having a much broader database. And it can match clinical trials with patients. It drives robotic surgeons. And like Eric mentioned before, reads radiological findings much better than humans, OK. It augments humans, OK?
Kevin L. Jackson (28:17):
The question is, where is AI not being used? OK. You just don’t know how much it’s already affecting your life. So, I think AI with responsibility is key. And that’s why Forward Edge is going to be huge company because that’s the key to good business.
Scott Luton (28:42):
Well said, Kevin. And going back to Eric’s example about the inclusive part, making sure all parties, all users can benefit. And you know, one of the thing is as Eric and Kevin, as both of you all were talking about the healthcare applications, there’s so many transfers between the healthcare industry and the manufacturing industry.
Scott Luton (29:00):
I mean, just kind of sitting back and listening to you both, you know, capacity, quality, value, waste reduction, just to name a few. And so then — so, with that said and — before we move on, Eric, anything else that you want to add? We’re going to — we’re about to get into Semantic votes [phonetic] about the manufacturing industry and where you’re seeing real value, AI driven value. But anything else you want to share that we didn’t touch on when it comes to that, how passionate you are about the need for greater responsibility and inclusivity when it comes to AI.
Eric Adolphe (29:28):
Right. Yes, so, great, great lead in. So, as I mentioned, data is king. It was a project that happened about four or five years ago. Social Security administration, very laudable goal was to reduce fraud in Social Security and also in Medicare, right? And so, they began developing an AI tool to sniff out, find fraud in the filings, right? Which is everybody wants that. You as a taxpayer, you’d want that, right?
Scott Luton (29:58):
Eric Adolphe (29:58):
So, what they did is it got data of known proven fraud cases and they used that to train the artificial intelligence, right? That’s the data. So, it got quite good at recognizing these patterns. And then what they discovered is that it kept picking on senior citizens and kept picking on veterans. As it turns out, veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress and senior citizens were being overmedicated for reasons, you know, that are kind of beyond me.
Eric Adolphe (30:34):
So, when you train the artificial intelligence to look for people who are consuming these drugs, and it’s this large population, the AI learns that all senior citizens and all veterans are criminals, which is not what you want, right? So, now you have a data set, a raw data set of the entire population, it’s going to keep picking out the veterans and the senior citizens, right?
Eric Adolphe (31:01):
So, this is another example. So, every — when we say inclusive AI, people always think it has to do with ethnicity or something like that. This is a perfect example of what I’m talking about, right? So — and one more point before I know I’m going on here, on my first company, I had a consultant who came in to look at the company and tell me what was wrong. And he came to me, he says, you’re the problem. And I was like, shocked. I was like, me. And he said, yes, you’re the problem. And he says — and I said, why? He says, because you’re biased.
Eric Adolphe (31:31):
Now, I looked. I had black, white, Asian, I mean, you name it in my company. I said, no freaking way. He said, yes, yes, you’re biased. And he says, come step outside. And we — I stepped outside. I had all the — I had a bunch of employees there. He says, look around. He says, don’t you see this? I said, no. All of my employees were between 5’4″ and 5’6″.
Scott Luton (31:53):
Eric Adolphe (31:54):
Yes. And I — it was like, wow. And I was instinctively hiring people who reminded me of myself. And even though I was sort of “Enlightened,” everybody was 5’4″ to 5’5″. I’m 5’5″.
Kevin L. Jackson (32:13):
Eric Adolphe (32:16):
So, I got out of the hiring process. We’re human. We’re all susceptible to these things. And if you sit there and you think it can’t happen to me, well, look again, the moral of that.
Scott Luton (32:28):
I love that. And Kevin, I’ll get your word here before we get into some other anecdotes related to manufacturing and we do need to take. When we talk about the word inclusivity, we need to be highly inclusive and universal and very broad and holistic in terms of how we even define the word inclusivity, to Eric’s point. Your final word there, Kevin.
Kevin L. Jackson (32:48):
There are an indefinite number of domains within which you can apply inclusivity, right, and diversity. So, let’s not be just stuck on one domain. It’s — have an open mind for a lot of reasons.
Scott Luton (33:06):
And it’s really important for AIs they learn and learn and learn to have really big open minds. All right. So, shifting — we’ve been teasing, we’re getting there about examples of manufacturing of real practical AI applications and outcomes. So, Eric, let’s get into that. What’s a couple of stories that you can share that you’ve seen AI really powerfully be applied in the manufacturing environment?
Eric Adolphe (33:30):
Yes. One — so, there’s one that I’m pretty excited about now. Som when I was, a younger guy, I was designing ASICs, or these are application specific circuits, right? So, very, very complex. And now, designing these things to — for the performance we’re looking for is just humanly not possible. And I was just shocked to see how AI has come and turned that around. And so, you have — humans are still involved, obviously, but now using AI, you can get to market a lot faster with designing these chips because a lot of this now could be done by AI.
Eric Adolphe (34:09):
And I am — I was just shocked by what can be done and what can be produced. And basically, what I’ve been seeing in manufacturing, a lot of what AI can do is get me to the 80% solution and the 20% that remains is where my human inspired creativity comes and takes in, right. But I can offload the — just the monotony of designing a circuit, a print circuit board or a chip to AI, and then bring in the human, you know, intellectual property and inspiration to make it something unique in the marketplace.
Kevin L. Jackson (34:46):
Scott Luton (34:48):
Kevin, your thoughts on that?
Kevin L. Jackson (34:50):
Well, when it comes to manufacturing, one of the most visible areas is in connected field service. Where technicians can deliver proactive and predictive service by connecting a manufacturer’s smart product with the empowered technicians through, like in Microsoft’s case, the Azure Cloud, really. This is — this drives innovation with connected products by reimagining manufacturing. OK.
Kevin L. Jackson (35:29):
Just like Eric is saying, you make it better with improved insights that a human can bring. And you get efficiencies through the use of things like digital twins, right? An electronic version of the product that you can leverage to improve the product and improve the customer service. This also comes down to building an intelligent supply chain. By using intelligent business applications to optimize digital operations. This really helps manufacturers achieve the right balance of customer service and supply chain cost. And much of this is really empowered and enabled, made possible even by artificial intelligence using broad diverse data sets.
Scott Luton (36:36):
Yes. Well said, Kevin. One quick thought on both of what you just shared there. Eric, going back to what you have seen is, in your example, getting to markets faster, hey, that’s speeding up the monetization of new products. Even by extension, we’re seeing AI driven gains in limiting that order to cash flow. Shortening that cycle, right?
Eric Adolphe (36:56):
Scott Luton (36:57):
And then, Kevin, to your point, you know, one of the things I heard there, kind of, going back to the healthcare example where you’ve got finite supply of medical expertise, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (37:07):
Scott Luton (37:07):
But you also have, as I’ve seen for 20 years now, finite supply, seemingly of maintenance talent, right? It’s tough to get the newer generations excited about going in and fixing stuff. We’re making some gains, but still there’s a massive opportunity. So, naturally we’re seeing AI applied and addressing these gaps where there’s not enough maintenance know-how, valuable maintenance talent to go around. So, naturally industries are going to apply and make gains there.
Scott Luton (37:35):
So, I love these opening examples. I’ll go back one quick question, Eric, before perhaps you share another anecdote. You mentioned ASICs. I am not a programmer or a technologist. My brain went straight and maybe I were illustrating some of the different mindsets to the sneaker. The shoes. Asics, right? That’s not what you’re talking about, right? You’re talking about —
Eric Adolphe (37:53):
No, no, no. No, no, no. Not at all. I’m talking about a computer chip.
Scott Luton (38:00):
See? So, we’re illustrating see between two humans, much less the leap between all the different AI mindsets. OK. Let’s — any other anecdote, Eric, that you might want to share from how you’re seeing AI very powerfully being applied in the manufacturing industry and driving big outcomes and opportunities?
Eric Adolphe (38:19):
Yes. Like I said, even, Kevin provided an example, there’s lots and lots of examples like making manufacturing’s line — lines more efficient. This has been something that has been going on since manufacturing lines were invented right before, right? Trying to make it more efficient. The reason why we were so successful in World War II is because we took a lot of the principles that Henry Ford developed in automating the manufacturing line, right? And we were at — we got to the point where we’re able to manufacture bomber aircraft, like — it was like one every hour was coming off the assembly line, right?
Eric Adolphe (38:55):
So, now could you imagine AI in the mix now? How quickly we can get to market? How quickly — how the efficiencies we can get from manufacturing. And this is — and by the way, we are looking to take the factories that — and those jobs that we outsourced over the last 30, 40 years and onshoring it. How are we going to compete against a country that the labor costs are like a 10th of the cost of American labor costs? Well, the way you do that is more efficiency, right? More efficiency. And that’s what’s going to really propel this country forward.
Scott Luton (39:35):
And, you know, it is not — no longer, maybe 10 years ago, perhaps, Kevin and Eric, or whatever the right timeframe is. No longer is it a nice to have, but it’s going to be requisite to protect and grow that competitive advantage to what I’ve just heard Eric speak to. Kevin, your final word here before we start talking about the future.
Kevin L. Jackson (39:54):
So, the future is now. I saw a story over the weekend on CNN for — with Fareed Zakaria on “GPS”. And he was interviewing the minister of digital transformation. He used to be a minister of digital transformation for Ukraine. And he is credited with really inventing the ace centrum — ace symmetry — asymmetric warfare that Ukraine is conducting against Russia with drones.
Kevin L. Jackson (40:35):
And one of the aspects of that is how the electromagnetic spectrum is changing on a minute-by-minute basis. How you can control the drones and conversely how the Russians are trying to prevent the control of these drones. And artificial intelligence is one way that they are able to bring in data, modify their software, and then get the drones out there to complete the mission.
Kevin L. Jackson (41:09):
So, in this case, artificial intelligence is actually saving the country. It’s not the scary “Terminator”, but it is a very difficult situation to be in. And artificial intelligence is doing a good thing, from my point of view. Personal.
Scott Luton (41:31):
Eric, any thoughts there?
Eric Adolphe (41:34):
Yes, that quite a bit. And I saw that interview as well. What struck me — or — and I think that that was mentioned during that interview. So, the way we view artificial intelligence is different than the way other countries view artificial intelligence. And I’ll give you — for example, not picking on anybody. But the way China views artificial intelligence and the purpose is completely different than what Americans do. And this is why I’m glad to be an American. I’m glad to be here and in this day, this age of artificial intelligence.
Eric Adolphe (42:04):
They’re using artificial intelligence to — for — in large part, to control their population, right? We value our freedom, right? So, if you look at the training data, if you look at the data that Chinese government uses or regulates to train artificial intelligence, you will not see the word Tenement Square anywhere, right, in the dataset, right? Not allowed. Think about that for one second, right?
Eric Adolphe (42:32):
So now you’re trained — you’re excluding a set of data, and that — that’s just one example, you’re excluding a set of data and then you’re training the AI. The AI is only as good as the training data, right? And you compare that against what the American philosophy is, right? We want as much data as possible, as much diverse data as possible, whether it’s — it helps our argument or works against our argument. Because then you’re getting closer to true generative or, you know, artificial general intelligence where it can then start to make decisions at some point in the future.
Eric Adolphe (43:10):
So today, if you think about this, if you have a product coming out of China, product coming out of the U.S., both are augmented with artificial intelligence, based on what I just said, which product do you want?
Scott Luton (43:22):
Kevin? I’ll let you answer that. Which —
Kevin L. Jackson (43:28):
No, it’s — when you look at the value of openness and truthfulness, it always, always outshines against constraint and restrictiveness.
Scott Luton (43:43):
Well said, Kevin. What — very well said. And Eric, great example. I appreciate what you’re sharing here today. I just want to ask a question. I know Kevin said, the future is now. And I think all of us agree with that in many different ways. But in terms of thinking about what’s next, where is AI going next? Kevin touched on — a little bit on that on the front end. Eric, in your thoughts, where is AI going next, and how fast are we going to get there?
Eric Adolphe (44:09):
Yes. So, this is why the company was founded, and this is — it’s in the name of the company, Forward Edge Artificial Intelligence which is AI at the edge, right? So, right now, artificial general intelligence, which is this kind of stuff that Elon Musk and these guys are talking about is kind of the ability to solve complex problems like a human can do, right? Humans are not, you know, plugged into — well, most of us are not plugged into a wall.
Kevin L. Jackson (44:38):
Yes, you know.
Eric Adolphe (44:41):
We’re not plugged into some wall, right? We’re at the edge. We’re always at the edge, right? And for you to be able to solve those problems at the edge, you need lots and lots of data, lots and lots of bandwidth, right? So, that’s not their end. You don’t have that kind of data and bandwidth available to you at home. So, this is the next frontier. This is why we’re there. Wayne Gretzky said this, and others have said this before as well.
Eric Adolphe (45:08):
So, there’s a book that called “The Second Bounce,” I think it’s by Ron Cohen, I think, the guy’s name is.
Scott Luton (45:14):
Eric Adolphe (45:14):
Most people can predict, most entrepreneurs can predict where the — when you throw a ball, they can predict where the first bounce will be. It takes an exceptional person to predict where the second bounce will be. And Wayne Gretzky said it even better. He said, I’m successful. I was successful because I went where the puck is going, not where the puck is. And in my view, my humble view, where the puck is heading, the problem we have to solve is AI at the edge. Great that we can have a supercomputer and figure this stuff out on the factory or whatever. But when you could solve this at the edge, my God, that’s when things are going to really open up.
Scott Luton (45:56):
Exciting. Eric, appreciate you sharing that. Kevin, your quick thoughts. And then we’re going to touch on some of what Microsoft’s do, and of course we’re going to make sure folks know what Forward Edge-AI is up to along those lines that Eric just shared. But Kevin, your thoughts there?
Kevin L. Jackson (46:09):
Well, I really believe the power is in AI is at the edge, and how the different devices at the edge communicate with each other and create new knowledge at the edge that can be applied immediately. So, that’s where we’re going. That’s what edge computing is all about. That’s what advanced communication is all about. This is really where the protection of data is all about. And you see hints of it when it comes to the power of social media. It’s scary, but it’s powerful. We just have to learn how to —
Scott Luton (46:52):
Scary and exciting.
Kevin L. Jackson (46:54):
— how to control it. How to manage it.
Scott Luton (46:56):
Yes, scary and exciting all at the same time. It’s like going a hundred miles an hour in a convertible down the interstate or something. It’s fun, but it’s scary.
Kevin L. Jackson (47:05):
Scott Luton (47:06):
All right. So much more to cover and limited time here, but I want to touch on this. And Eric, we’re going to circle back with you in just a second. But I want to touch on, Kevin, some of the cool things that Microsoft is doing out industry, again, especially as it when it comes to leveraging AI and technology to power manufacturing forward.
Scott Luton (47:24):
I got to touch — before I throw it to you, Kevin. I got to tell you, Microsoft — I read a story the other day about how Microsoft’s working with PepsiCo, in particular Cheetos. So, my middle daughter, Grayson [phonetic] — I’ll tell you, Microsoft’s going to be a hero in her book. She’s the biggest Cheetos fan, I think in our extended family. And anything that keeps Cheetos supply chain coming and protecting the quality of said Cheetos, Grace is going to want some engineering autographs maybe. But Kevin, kidding aside, what’s some of the cool things that Microsoft’s up to out there?
Kevin L. Jackson (47:53):
Well, artificial intelligence is built on top of a cloud computing platform. So, Azure is really driving the use of AI responsibly in manufacturing. They’re really using it to transform businesses and reshaping the organization across every industry by integrating AI into the factory of the future. This really requires the business leaders to really do what humans do best. Look at big picture thinking, and not just consider what AI can do but what it should do.
Kevin L. Jackson (48:40):
So, Microsoft is really collaborating with these leaders and customers and partners to create a collective approach to engaging AI in a responsible manner. So, they’re really working with society to navigate what the shift — what this shift really means. And to gain the insights and perspectives that we all need to share to make AI deliver good things for the world.
Scott Luton (49:17):
Man, Kevin, you’ve got some challenge — some Shakespeare today. Some supply chain Shakespeare, I love that.
Scott Luton (49:24):
But you know, Eric, kidding aside, it’s not every day — I mean, I know I get to collaborate with Kevin regularly, but it’s not every day you get to sit down and rub elbows with an inventor, a visionary that has done big things with our national space program, and now doing big things with current and next generation technology. I mean, I know that there’s a lot more stories and we’re going to have to have you back. I’ll look forward to maybe connecting with you in San Antonio at some point soon. But I want to make sure folks know in a nutshell what Forward Edge-AI does. So, Eric, tell us about that before we wrap here.
Eric Adolphe (49:56):
Sure. So, before I do that, I wanted to make sure everybody was aware, we are a Microsoft for Startups company.
Scott Luton (50:03):
Eric Adolphe (50:05):
Microsoft was our first — was one of our first investors. We’re Microsoft startups, and we’re what’s called a Microsoft for Startups Pegasus Company, which is at the tippy top of the Microsoft Startup ecosystem. So, I wanted to make sure everybody heard that.
Scott Luton (50:20):
And tippy top is a highly technical quantification of that.
Eric Adolphe (50:26):
No. So, Microsoft has been very good to us. So, yes, so Ford Edge, there’s three things when you think about Ford Edge, I want everybody to think about. What we do is we focus on, again, leveraging artificial intelligence to solve complex problems related to national security, public safety and defense. Those are the three things we do. We don’t do anything else.
Eric Adolphe (50:47):
So, everything we do is related to that. I want to be the one that’s getting the — helping the firefighter get his or her job done. I want to be the one helping our guys and gals on the ground, boots on the ground trying to protect our freedoms. That’s what we want to be doing, right? So, a couple of examples real quick. We — I mentioned earlier, we recently won a SBIR with space force, air force to develop this space internet security thing. The reason why I bring that up is because, man, that is at the edge of the edge, right? So, we always said we want to be at the edge. We — you can’t get more edge than that.
Eric Adolphe (51:26):
So, think of it this way. We’re using data provided by Microsoft. They have eight trillion security signals that they’ve collected, cyber related security signals. We’re using that to train our artificial intelligence to be able to detect a cyber-attack that’s attacking a CubeSat or an orbital robot, right, so that it could then detect these attacks, learn the patterns of life, detect these attacks, and then initiate an immune system, kind of, a response. You are not going to get into your car and drive to that satellite to make a repair. It’s got to be able to detect it, react, protect, right? It’s got to be able to do it instantly. Not waiting for a technician to show up, right? This is the kind of stuff I’m talking about. This is what we’re doing.
Scott Luton (52:15):
As inspiring and invigorating. And Eric, I really appreciate what you do and the opportunity to chat with you here today. We’re going to have — definitely have you back. Eric, really quick, how can folks connect with you?
Eric Adolphe (52:26):
All right. So, two ways. One is LinkedIn, and the other is telepathy.
Scott Luton (52:35):
Oh, man. Your sense of humor is boundless as brilliant as everything else you do. I love it.
Scott Luton (52:41):
All right. So, Kevin, first off, your quick thoughts — well, hang on a sec. Kevin, because something — as you mentioned “Terminator” — Eric, he’s mentioned “Terminator” like 12 times a day. And I just — that keep — brings up Arnold Schwarzenegger’s really intimidating face. First off, whenever we get to that point, let’s make sure we teach those bots to smile a little better. A little easier to engage, right? And then secondly, when you all —
Eric Adolphe (53:04):
Probably better without the Sunglasses too.
Scott Luton (53:07):
Right, without — and the shotgun perhaps. And perhaps not the shotgun, too. One other thing. One of you all mentioned about plugging in as humans and stuff, there was a great — since both you all may be Sci-fi fans too. There was a great amazing stories episode way back in the day, and it was a robot grandmother that was sent out to a family that didn’t have. They — I think they had just lost their grandparents or something. And there’s a — an incredible scene there as part of that Steven Spielberg series, I believe, where at the end of the day, after the grandmother had finished her nurturing duties, she was sitting and knitting in a rocking chair, being plugged into the wall, recharging for the next day.
Scott Luton (53:43):
And it was just a set — it really stuck with me as a kid. And who knows where we’re headed next, right? So, Kevin, your quick thoughts of all the brilliance that Eric has shared here today. And I want to make sure folks know how to connect with you and all the cool things you’re up to, especially with Digital Transformers.
Kevin L. Jackson (54:01):
Well, this is an amazing show. Thank you, Eric, for sharing all the things that your company is doing to make — develop and deploy AI in a responsible manner. So, thank you for all those stories. And it’s really about Digital Transformation, and that’s what I do, Digital transformation. So, you can always catch me on Digital Transformers. We release our show the fourth Monday of every month. And I will also have a — the Buzz series, a Digital Transformers edition on the second Monday of every month. And you can catch me on LinkedIn or X, that’s kevin_jackson. And I’m going to go check with Eric on how to get that telepathy thing done.
Scott Luton (54:56):
Hey, I’m confident two of you all will figure it out by next Tuesday and then maybe you’ll let some of the rest of us know. And hey, if that’s not good enough, you can find “The Rolling Stones” opening for Kevin L. Jackson’s act every once in a while. So, we’ll find out where that world tour is there. Kevin, big thanks.
Scott Luton (55:12):
Going back to Eric Adolphe with Ford Edge-AI. Eric, really appreciate your time here today and the mission you’re on — what you’ve done, right? But you know what, the best people I know, the most brilliant people I know are the folks that they don’t sit on their laurels. I mean, they appreciate the big things they’ve done, but it’s about the mission today. And today what I heard is how you are determined to find a way to help humanity and — on so many different levels. And, Eric, really appreciate your time here today.
Eric Adolphe (55:40):
Thank you. Thank you, Scott.
Scott Luton (55:42):
Kevin, always a pleasure. I appreciate you helping to facilitate today’s conversation. I learned a ton.
Kevin L. Jackson (55:46):
Thank you. That was fun.
It — a blast — really, it was fun. It was practical. It was inspiring. A little scary at times, but because, you know, all of this comes with threats and obstacles and burdens, right? But it is exciting.
Kevin L. Jackson (55:58):
I’d say, going in with eyes wide open, right?
Scott Luton (56:01):
That’s right. You got a really shine a light or a very expensive candle because the candle markets still doing pretty well these days in that blind spot, right? Big thanks again to Kevin L. Jackson, of course, Digital Transformers. Make sure you find that wherever you get your podcasts from. Big thanks to our collaborative partners over at Microsoft as well, appreciate what they’re doing, the power industry forward.
Scott Luton (56:21):
And to our listeners, hey, thanks for joining us on this journey. I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as Kevin, Eric and I have. We’re all working on that telepathy thing. But hey, whatever you do, be sure to find Supply Chain Now, Digital Transformers, wherever you get your podcasts. And on behalf of our entire team here, Scott Luton challenging you do good, give forward and be the change that’s needed. And we’ll see you next time right back here at Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now community. Check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to Supply Chain Now anywhere you listen to podcasts. And follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Supply Chain Now.
Eric Adolphe is a technology-savvy executive with over thirty years of success building high-growth firms focused on mission impact, revenue, and margin attainment, primarily in the national security sector. Eric’s expertise covers mega-project scale, high-availability and highly performant software for a range of customers and use cases. Eric is a National Capital Business Ethics Award winner, Federal Computer Week (FCW)/Fed100 awardee, Service to the Citizens awardee, National Inventor’s Hall of Fame Honoree, winner of one of NASA’s highest civilian honors, and the first African American Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Tibbett’s award winner. Forward Edge-AI, Inc., is Eric’s new startup focused on AI for the benefit of humanity. Connect with Eric on LinkedIn.
WEBINAR- Unlocking the Power of Diversification in Last Mile Delivery: A Game-Changing Webinar for Logistics Professionals
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.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, 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.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
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.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, 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.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
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!
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.
Principal & CMO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
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.