Corporate sustainability initiatives are critical to the health of our planet – but the distance between objectives and regulated execution on a detailed level can sometimes be very broad.
Case in point: Worthington Industries, the last U.S. based manufacturer of lightweight recyclable cylinders for transporting refrigerants. Because their cylinders are used to transport hydrofluorocarbons (or HFCs), they’re on a collision course with the EPA… cue the drama.
In this week’s Dial P audio podcast, Kelly Barner breaks down the good news, bad news, and surprising news in this supply chain related story:
– Why the precise difference in meaning and usage of words like disposable, non-refillable, recyclable, and refillable matter
– The complexities caused by the intertwined nature of government regulators and global supply chains
– The role of legislation and interpretation in enacting sustainability requirements
Welcome to dial P for procurement, a show focused on today’s biggest spin supplier and contract management related business opportunities. Dial P investigates, the nuanced and constantly evolving boundary of the procurement supply chain divide with a broadcast of engaged executives, providers, and thought leaders give us an hour and we’ll provide you with a new perspective on supply chain value. And now it’s time to dial P for procurement
Kelly Barner (00:32):
Corporate sustainability initiatives are critical to the health of our planet, but the distance between objectives and regulated execution on a detailed level can sometimes be very broad. The news story I’m gonna cover today provides an ongoing example of the complexities associated with even the simplest mandated change. And it throws in a healthy dose of illegal dumping on the part of China, just for good measure. This is the story of Worthington industries. The last us based manufacturer of lightweight recyclable cylinders for transporting refrigerants. These cylinders are used to service stationary air conditioners service refrigeration units, and in some cases to service motor vehicle air conditioning, because their cylinders are used to transport hydrocarbons or HFCs Worthington now finds themselves on a collision course with the EPA. But before I go any further, let me introduce myself. I’m Kelly Barner. I’m the owner of buyer’s meeting point a partner at art of procurement.
Kelly Barner (01:47):
And I am your host for dial P here on supply chain. Now I’m constantly scanning the news for complex subjects that we can discuss. These are things that are interesting, but which may escape people’s notice. I think these are great opportunities to think, analyze and learn dial P releases, a new podcast episode or interview every Thursday. So be on the lookout for future episodes. And don’t forget to check out past episodes as well. Now, before I get back to today’s topic, I have a quick favor to ask, as we build out dial PS community and following I’d love to get a review, a share, some stars alike, your favorite emoji, whatever it is, I’ll take it. The net impact of that is bringing more voices and opinions and opportunities to learn into this audience. And I benefit from all of that as well. Most of all, I’m grateful for your interest and for your time.
Kelly Barner (02:53):
So thank you for returning every single week and listening to these new episodes. All right, let me pick up where I left off on June 28th, 2022 Worthington industry’s CEO, Andy rose wrote an opinion piece for the wall street journal titled the EPAs supply chain disruption, a ban on non refillable cylinders for air conditioning, coolant will cost American jobs and help China. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I was hooked before I even got to the body of that article. At the same time, I approached this story with a healthy sense of skepticism. Like I do everything that I read. I always look for independent validation and I seek out both sides of the story. Worthington industries is an industrial metals manufacturer and they are used by 99% of companies based in the us for heating ventilation and refrigeration. Their production facilities are based in Ohio and Kentucky.
Kelly Barner (04:04):
And that Kentucky location used to be AMRO, which was the last us manufacturer. Other than Worthington. They were acquired by Worthington industries in 2017. For these cylinders, all of their competition is based in China now of great importance as we go forward in this story is the difference between a few key words. And you’re gonna hear variations of these as I pull information from different sources, disposable, refillable, and recyclable. So non refillable cylinders, meaning either disposable or recyclable, depending on your point of view, these are containers that cannot be refilled, but there is a notable difference between disposing and recycling. They weigh about 35 pounds when they’re full refillable cylinders weigh about 50 pounds. Worthington produces both types of cylinders and their lines are dedicated to either refillable or non refillable, which in their case means recyclable. And according to the CEO, their production lines are currently at full capacity.
Kelly Barner (05:27):
Now, if you think you had a tough 2020 let’s check out, what’s been going on at Worthington on March 27th, 2020 Worthington industries petitioned the us commerce department charging the China was dumping non refillable cylinders in the us market dumping, not a technical sounding term, but one that actually does have established meaning means another country or company is selling a product in a different market at less than fair market value. The goal is typically to drive out local companies that have higher costs of business because they’re actually not finding subsidies anywhere. And when the dumping occurs and lower priced comparable product comes into the market, usually what happens is the domestic producer is priced out of business. Then the dumpers get to take over all of that demand for themselves in the United States. The practice of dumping is illegal. According to the us tariff act of 1930 now in March Worthington, alleged dumping margins, as high as 61% saying that all of this incoming product was being subsidized by the Chinese government.
Kelly Barner (06:48):
Now, while they were waiting for the commerce department to do their research and make their ruling, Congress passed the American innovation and manufacturing act or the aim act, it was enacted on December 27th, 2020. And the goal of it was to reduce those HFCs being transported in different types of cylinders, whether you call it disposable, recyclable or refillable, the aim act gave the EPA the authority to phase down HFC production in the United States by about 85% over the next 15 years. And as with so many of these acts, despite the intended benefits, the aim act is expected to potentially cause significant transition costs, especially for businesses like supermarkets and data centers that use an awful lot of these refrigerants to keep their facilities and equipment. Cool. So now we have two things going on in parallel. One is the investigation into Chinese dumping of these steel cylinders.
Kelly Barner (08:01):
And the other one are the new regulations about the management of HFCs, kind of a good news, bad news situation. I like to be positive. So let’s start with the good news in April of 2021, the commerce department ruled in favor of Worthington quote, an industry in the United States is materially injured by reason of imports. That would be their fancy way of saying yes, dumping is happening. And it was interesting because Worthington had alleged margins in the sixties in terms of Chinese government, subsidization of these cylinders, the commerce department’s research turned out that those dumping margins were actually 80% and above. One of the interesting data points that went to proving the case of dumping is that Chinese imports of these cylinders had increased by 52.2% from 2017 to 2019. In the finding the companies associated with the dumping were forced to pay tariffs equal to the dumping margin, basically paying a fine that would’ve brought their costs to where they should be.
Kelly Barner (09:19):
So that’s the good news. This celebration was short lived because it was quickly followed by the bad news. Two weeks after the us commerce department ruled in Worthington’s favor, the EPA announced they were banning non refillable containers in the us starting July 1st, 2025. Now I’m guessing at Worthington, this came as a bit of a shock. The ban on disposable containers had not been mentioned in congressional debates, and it was not in the text of the law. So remember that we’re gonna come back to that later. The APA was claiming additional inherent authority to adapt these measures complimentary to the aim act. What they were saying is that based on their mandate to draw down these HFCs, every time a steel cylinder used to transport them has to be destroyed or recycled. There’s the question of what happens to the heel. That’s the little bit of HFC that’s left in the cylinder.
Kelly Barner (10:26):
And the question is about whether it would be released or disposed of properly before the cylinder was destroyed or before recycling took place. This was the rationale that they used to justify the additional measure of actually banning these non refillable containers. So from good news to bad news, according to Worthington, quote, the aim act provided the EPA with authority to phase down HFC production and use, but nothing in the act suggests that Congress gave the EPA authority to impose an outright ban on cylinders, simply because they contain HFCs end quote. So Worthington industries petitioned the EPA via the DC circuit of the us court of appeals in November of 2021, and then nothing in December of 2021, about a month after that petition was filed Worthington and a number of HVAC trade unions filed a lawsuit against the EPA. And that’s when California said, hold my beer.
Kelly Barner (11:39):
Okay. Not quite California’s response wasn’t to the EPAs ruling. This is something that’s been going on, but anytime we look at anything related to sustainability, environmental issues, you can bet the California’s going to be involved, setting their own standards. And in some cases leading the way for what happens in the rest of the country, the California air resources board currently limits the production of disposable or non refillable cylinders for every disposable cylinder sold four refillable ones have to be in circulation because the manufacturer of one refillable cylinder displaces the manufacturer of five disposable cylinders over the course of its 20 year life. So basically the California air rare air resources board looks at this as an offset and the EPA factored this into their decision because certainly their mandate is about drawing down HFCs, but they still have to make sure that there are enough refillable cylinders remaining in the country, or that can be produced to meet demand so that businesses are not interrupted.
Kelly Barner (12:51):
And if you need a review of why government action should not be allowed to suddenly or unduly affect how businesses operate, check out the story of baby formula, that’s all I’ll say on that. Now Worthington says there is not sufficient global capacity for refillable cylinders. So they’re saying by outlawing anything that can’t be refilled, you’re actually going to be left with a shortage of these containers for transporting HFCs. And of course, because we’re being fair. We’re also going to acknowledge that this ruling by the EPA and the California air resources board takes away some of their market share by requiring that us demand be filled with global supplies. Remember we said, Worthington, their production lines are already at full capacity. And so any competition means bringing in Chinese cylinders that meet the us standards instead of allowing Worthington to meet that demand. Now I read some of the analysis done by the California air resources board in advance of them releasing their guidance.
Kelly Barner (14:00):
Now remember the three words that we’re talking about, disposable, recyclable, refillable, the EPA and the state of California say disposable or non refillable Worthington says non refillable or recyclable, not quite the same thing. And everybody shares that word non refillable, but the difference between disposable and recyclable, both in practice and also in the court of public opinion is enormous. California looked at the lifecycle analysis of high global warming potential greenhouse gas destruction. Now they use the term scrapped disposable. That’s a little bit more charged because it absolutely strikes out the possibility that we’re talking about something being recyclable. And yet they still estimate the potential for metal reuse being between 15 and a hundred percent. They used a conservative estimate to assume that 75% of the non refillable cylinders would eventually be recycled. So it’s interesting if their ranges from 15 to a hundred and they settled on a conservative estimate of 75, not exactly in the middle.
Kelly Barner (15:13):
The other thing they looked at that I think will be of interest to people in supply chain is that they remembered to account for the total impact. They didn’t just look at the cylinders. They looked at the transport costs associated with recycling and refilling because in many cases, the recycling or refilling isn’t done at the location of use and they found quote distances to transport refillable cylinders from cylinder manufacturer to refrigerant manufacturer to distributor to technician are assumed to be the same as those of disposable cylinders. However, due to the increased size and weight of refillable versus disposable cylinders, over 30% more truck trips are assumed to be required to transport them. Now, remember refillable cylinders weigh about 50 pounds while the recyclable ones or disposable, depending on who you are weigh 35. If refillable cylinders were to replace the use of disposable ones, a greater number of reusable cylinders would need to be produced relative to those currently needed on an annual basis in order to avoid market disruptions and to account for cylinders that are in transit or use.
Kelly Barner (16:32):
Now, as I record this in mid-July Worthington’s lawsuit in cooperation with a bunch of those labor unions is making its way through the courts, but the world doesn’t stand still, as we’ve already seen, waiting for these different things to happen in parallel. And I think I would be remiss if I did not bring into this coverage mention of the recent Supreme court ruling West Virginia versus the EPA. This was related to the clean air act and the ability of the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. I’m not gonna go into all of the details here, but the key takeaway is the question about how much detail lawmakers have to spell out when they want an agency like the EPA to enforce something. How specific does Congress need to be? The EPA is supposed to be an execution arm of the government. Congress is supposed to make the rules that they execute against these cylinders that have now been banned by 2025 by the EPA are not explicitly mentioned in the am act.
Kelly Barner (17:38):
And they were not discussed in Congress prior to the Bill’s passage. The question, especially based on the ruling in West Virginia versus EPA, where the EPA was found to have inferred far more authority than they were literally given was whether the EPA has the right to ban these containers based on a clear mandate to simply draw down HFCs. Now, I certainly don’t know the answer to this question, but the storyline in both cases seems close enough. That makes it a reasonable question to ask. So what do we learn from this story? First of all, take it from me. Word choice matters. Non refillable does not mean straight disposable, but recyclable does not always mean they get recycled. And when you can look at word, use patterns in a complex situation like this and see trends start to emerge, that’s one really good way to figure out who’s in this corner.
Kelly Barner (18:39):
And who’s in that corner. It’s impossible to ignore the ongoing complexity created by the intertwined nature of business and government. This has come up in many episodes of I P so the us commerce department helped Worthington industries, or I should say more appropriately found in their favor in the case of the Chinese dumping. That’s what the facts supported, but the EPA took it upon themselves to ban a major product line for us based employer with hundreds employees, when they told Worthington, remember the last us based manufacturer of these non refillable cylinders that this product would in fact be banned, sustainability plays a huge role in this story. And again, there’s this question of what is the impact on how the world works and on existing businesses, the devil is always in the details. If it were as simple as saying, let’s just make the environment better.
Kelly Barner (19:39):
Everyone would be in agreement, but someone has to be tasked with a specific act. And that act always has a ripple effect. Some consequences of which are expected. And some that nobody sees coming. The example of the added road time and the additional truckloads required to transport these larger refillable tanks is a perfect example. Even the calculations associated with figuring out what’s best for the environment are not straightforward. And so what it comes to mean is that interpretation is everything who’s doing the calculations who’s making the decision of what’s better. Who’s looking at an act based on congressional ruling and making the decision of what rights are gonna be enforced based on that, maybe more importantly, who do we want doing that interpretation? The last point that I’ll make here is that after two years of supply chain disruptions, one of the words that we heard a lot in, which is now faded is reassuring.
Kelly Barner (20:42):
If you remember the early days of the pandemic where supply chains were disrupted and everything was shut down, everyone in their neighbor was going to reassure everything. Well, now reality is set in and just like sustainability initiatives and global dumping questions. Reassuring is no simpler, but we do know it sure as heck isn’t going to work. If the us doesn’t seem friendly to manufacturers. Now that doesn’t mean regulators have to look the other way. And it doesn’t imply that manufacturing is always a messy business. The answer is somewhere in the middle, but there’s no hope of supporting critical reassuring if everyone can’t work together or at the very least agree on their terminology. Now that’s my point of view on this story. And of course, I appreciate you listening to this episode of dial P for procurement, but as I always ask you, please don’t just listen, join the conversation and let me know what you think, share this episode with your network and bring their thought process and expertise into the conversation as well. If you have knowledge to share on this topic or any other reach out to me directly via LinkedIn, let’s work together to look at the hard questions and do the best we can to come up with workable solutions until next time. I’m Kelly Barner here with you on behalf of dial P for procurement and the whole team at supply chain. Now have a great rest of your day.
Thank you for joining us for this episode of dial P four procurement and for being an active part of the supply chain now community, please check out all of our shows and firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you follow dial P four procurement on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to catch all the latest programming details. We’ll see you soon for the next episode of dial P for procurement.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.