Some barriers are harder to break than others – at least until the right person comes along. Vernice “Flygirl” had to fight to get into the Marine Corps, but once she got in, she was determined to rise to the top and seize every opportunity.
Vernice is a retired United States Marine Corps Officer and holds the distinction of being the first black female combat pilot in the U.S. military. She is also a bestselling author, an in-demand keynote speaker, a successful coach and entrepreneur, and served two tours of duty in Iraq.
Veteran Voices co-hosts Scott Luton and Kevin L. Jackson, host of Digital Transformers, were thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Vernice about:
Scott Luton (00:00:09):
Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton and Kevin L. Jackson with you here on veteran voices. Kevin, how we doing?
Kevin L. Jackson (00:00:15):
Hey Man. I don’t know. Is it, is it spring yet? <laugh>
Scott Luton (00:00:21):
Well, you know, don’t rush it. Don’t rush. It.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:00:25):
It’s be 15 degrees here in the DC area this week, man. That’s that’s too cold.
Scott Luton (00:00:30):
<laugh> well, I can’t say it’s 15 degrees here in Metro Atlanta, but it has certainly been in the twenties and thirties. I don’t know about you, but I I’ve been embracing this, uh, brisk or we’ve had a, a lot of hotter, uh, more humid weather. So, but, but 15 you’re right. I can’t get behind 15 <laugh> um, but you know, what’s gonna warm me up. Kevin, see, see what I’m doing here. You know, what’s gonna warm you up. Yeah. Outstanding conversations, fiery conversations with, uh, the movers and shakers across industry. Just like today’s conversation. We’ve got a big in be coming up with a brown breaking dynamo, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (00:01:06):
Oh, you, I tell you, uh, this is something I’ve been just waiting for. I know we’ve been working to try to get, uh, her on the show. Uh, since last year we’ve been working for her schedule is so tight and the audience will find out why during this interview
Scott Luton (00:01:23):
Agreed. Agreed. We we’ve been, uh, twisting her agent’s arm for quite some time, but Hey, she’s here now here on veteran voices. Folks, lemme tease this a little bit amongst other things that Kevin’s mentioned that our guest is up to our guest was the first black female combat pilot here in the us. That is incredible. Just wait to your story about that. So, Kevin again, yeah, only the movers and shakers hearing veteran voices, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (00:01:48):
Yeah. One thing I wanted to highlight, uh, the first black female combat pilot. Okay. Period, you know? Wow. And uh, I tell you, she, uh, she is gutsy and you learn why we talked to her about her. Love it, her, uh, career.
Scott Luton (00:02:09):
Love it. Looking forward to it. Uh, Hey, really quick though, before we get to introduce our guests and get to the discussion, uh, I wanna share a quick programming note. So this program is part of the supply chain. Now family programming and today shows is conducted in a partnership with our friends at vets to industry. You can learn more about this very powerful nonprofit. That’s serving so many firstname.lastname@example.org. Okay. So Kevin, I’m gonna introduce our guest today. You buckled up and ready to go.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:02:39):
Oh yes. Let’s go, man. All right. Two
Scott Luton (00:02:41):
Thumbs up. Here we go. Uh, so our guest is a bestselling author and in demand keynote speaker, she’s an incredibly successful coach and entrepreneur, as Kevin said, she’s a gutsy Marine that served two tours of duty in Iraq. So join me in welcoming Vernice fly girl armor. What’s up, know what
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:03:08):
You know this.
Scott Luton (00:03:19):
All right. So now we’re just gonna, we’re gonna get sued by the, the big attorneys across the music industry, but <laugh>, that’s
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:03:25):
Not true. That’s on me. And it was less than 10 seconds. So there’s no infringement. <laugh>
Scott Luton (00:03:32):
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:03:33):
<laugh> and isn’t this for educational purposes. That’s right.
Scott Luton (00:03:37):
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:03:37):
Purposes. And you had no idea I was gonna do that. So I did, you know, they can come after me,
Scott Luton (00:03:42):
But I’m learning Bernice as we spent our pre-show conversation, expect the unexpected with, uh, fly girl here. So Bernice, I am tickled that’s that you’re here. We had to work through, uh, your, your schedule, which was a beast, but that really belies the fact of all the different projects and all the cool things you’re doing out in the industry. Right.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:04:03):
You know what? Life is crazy and hectic out here. And honestly, the reason my schedule was so tough to get on is because I prioritized family time and connection time and not overloaded my friend of calendar, like I used to pre COVID. So yeah, I think that’s,
Scott Luton (00:04:22):
You know, cause someone told me once, uh, that you determine what’s important to you by, uh, reviewing your calendar and your checkbook and uh, you know, it, <laugh>, it’s really true. It is really true. So I love, I love how you’ve prioritize things and, and prioritize the important
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:04:43):
Yeah. You know, when, when I look at it and I had no idea, we were gonna go this direction, especially so quickly. But when I look, think about my philosophy in life, there have been literally billions of souls on the planet, right? Hmm. Yeah. All of us who are here right now, 150 years from now, we will not be you here. Unless some cryogenics thing has invented that all of, of regular normal people can take advantage of, but
Scott Luton (00:05:08):
None of us will be here and enjoy <laugh>. Right. Right.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:05:12):
So while we are here, cause really in the, in the, in the scheme of things like the universe, like our lifetime’s a blink of an eye. Right? Right. Well, what the hell are we doing here? What are you doing? What’s your purpose on the planet? Why are you here? And I guarantee it’s not just to go to work work 8, 9, 10, 12 hours. Right, right. Rush your kids off to bed. After doing homework veg out on a couple hours of TV, wake up in the morning to do it again, living for the weekend and those two weeks vacation every year. Like, and then the research shows that the average person only lives two years beyond retirement,
Scott Luton (00:05:50):
Really man. Two years. Right. All right. So I, I,
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:05:57):
I, I’m trying to get people to live while they’re living. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and make good, see, move, you know, to get there, to create the life you really want. Yeah. I talk to business folks and executive women and veterans and you know, I have my peeps, you know, that I like to talk to my messages that I like to deliver. But at the end of the day, my goal is an epic, amazing adventurous, juicy life.
Scott Luton (00:06:20):
Love it. All right. So I’m gonna ask you a question, but Kevin, you got
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:06:23):
Something and it all begins and ends with supply chain
Kevin L. Jackson (00:06:26):
<laugh> <laugh>, but it’s all about being consequential or delivering something consequential to society. Right. And, uh, that was something that we discussed last, uh, on Martin Luther king day, junior day. That’s right.
Scott Luton (00:06:41):
That is right. And that was, uh, yeah, that, that, that, that stopped a lot of folks in their tracks when, when Kevin was talking about, uh, being consequential and, and, and actively making that decision. But I wanna get more into your philosophy as we get into this interview, before we get there, Bernice really enjoyed, um, our pre-show conversation. We should have recorded that and release that as a podcast. <laugh> uh, cause your personal, we can talk about it again.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:07:06):
Cause you asked about my dog, who you just saw. Yes. Walk
Scott Luton (00:07:08):
That dog, food, music, family sports, you name it. Um let’s <laugh> so let’s get to know before we get into your record setting military career and, and entrepreneur entrepreneurial ventures and you name it, let’s know you a little bit better. So tell us where you grew up and let’s talk about your upbringing a little bit about what was important to your upbringing. So where’d you grow
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:07:31):
Up? Well, do you wanna talk about the exciting part of how I grew up or the regular like Wikipedia, boring stuff?
Scott Luton (00:07:39):
Uh, the excite stuff. No doubt. That’s like a trick
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:07:41):
Question, right? <laugh> <laugh>
Kevin L. Jackson (00:07:45):
Like, uh, come together to create Bernice, right? That’s right.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:07:49):
<laugh> oh, that’s right. That’s right. You go blow it up. So born in Chicago, um, parents got divorced when I was three. Right. Mom got remarried. We moved out to CA alley grew up there till I was four years old, moved to Memphis, graduated high school there. And um, you know, I’ll be honest when I was growing up in Memphis is an old, older town. It’s it’s for adults. Right? When you think of Memphis, you think of field street and blues and the barbecue and beer and bourbon and all that stuff. Everything we just named for people over 21. So when I was growing up, I was like, I am blowing this Popsicle stand. I am never coming back. And of course I came back and visited my first two weekends away at college. Then that really cured me when my dad was like, I expect the dishes to be washed when I was like, I don’t live here anymore.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:08:42):
I’m outta here. Love it, love it. But, um, you know, very, and I was just talking about this earlier, but I haven’t really spoken about this much. I think in the public domain, when I grew up in California, I lived in an all white neighborhood. There were maybe I think, three black kids in my school. There were a lot of Hispanics, a lot of Asians, a lot of white, but not a lot of blacks. Right. Then in fourth grade, think about it. You know, the way I speak is already developed from accent, all that kind of stuff. So in fourth grade I moved to Memphis, which is, is, um, a different kind of town. And the neighborhood my grandmother lived in was the first, historically black, um, huge community of home ownership. Like Dr. King was assassinated at the Lorraine Mo motel, which was like less than 10 minutes from my grandmother’s home.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:09:31):
Right. Wow. And now it’s one of the toughest neighborhoods. I, I would think in our nation with, um, over 50% of the land inside, you know, the homes are either gone or dilapidated and drugs and violence. I mean, it’s just really tough. So to, for the transformation of that neighborhood, then I moved there and when I got there, it’s like, oh, you talk like a white person, you have horses, you think you’re this, you think you’re that? And I’m like, wait a minute back up. What does talk like a white person mean? <laugh> I mean, correct. Grammar is white and incorrect. Grammar is black and you know, so there were, and I was in fourth grade. Right, right. And on the second day of school, this girl was like, go, you know, in my face, I was like, hit me, hit me. And she like, wow.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:10:10):
Oh, I got blood everywhere. The teacher thought I was in troublemaker. And at that point that’s when I started getting bullied. Right. Cause I was not telling anybody to hit me after that. <laugh> right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so, you know, I know you, weren’t looking for all of that when you asked me, you know, where I grew up, but um, that kind of those transitions, right. That a lot of military families see moving around a lot. Right. Um, even though it wasn’t because of the military at that point in my, in my childhood, but it really creates the person that we are. Right. Yeah. And there were some other things that really created the foundation of who I am. You’ll probably ask me some questions and I’ll be able to share more about that, but yeah, that’s the gist. And then I want to in Nashville, Murfreesboro, exactly. Middle Tennessee state university graduated from school there.
Scott Luton (00:11:02):
So Kevin, I wanna give you a chance. I, I wanna, um, um, there’s so much, I wanna ask you, Kevin will give you a chance to follow up to that. And then I’m gonna circle back before we talk military and talk, uh, a few of the topics about Memphis, Kevin, your response to what,
Kevin L. Jackson (00:11:18):
One thing I was, um, you said before we talked military, but you know, your life, your experience is what creates you. And uh, I mean, we didn’t say this, uh, earlier, but I’ve, uh, Bernese and I are actual first cousins. Don’t tell anybody <laugh> right. So we’ve known each other for a long time, like all our lives. Exactly.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:11:41):
And I’m gonna say, I know it’s all color, but it’s like, not only are we just not black and related, but we are like actual family, like for real,
Kevin L. Jackson (00:11:49):
For real <laugh> oh gosh. You know? Um, so you’re talking about how moving and these, these changes really affect you. Um, but, um, your father, my uncle Clarence, I mean, um, he was in the military. Um, how did that affect your growing up? Uh, was he strict when you grew up? Was he loose or what, you know, what did that do to you? How did that, uh, set you off so to speak?
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:12:29):
So was he strict when we grew up? The answer is, well first let me show you this picture right here for the folks that are looking at it on the web. <laugh> like, look at that picture. He has such a baby face right there. Doesn’t he? Yeah, no. I mean, he was like a drill instructor on the drill field too. And he played for the col when they were back in Baltimore, way back in the day was be a three tour, Vietnam vet and my, uh, American hero. This guy was tough. Right. And, um, I remember we would say, oh man, dad, we’re cold. He’s like, you’re not cold. It’s just your imagination. <laugh> I’m like, no, I can’t see my breath. Oh, and this is in the morning waking up. Right. It’s like no heat at night gonna get covers. <laugh> no, my dad was amazing.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:13:20):
He taught me about, uh, integrity, you know, and the, the, your word being everything lying. Oh my God. I was afraid to lie well and adulthood for the like, cuz it was just so not in my DNA. Cuz if there was anything, my dad couldn’t stand. Number one, it was a lie. And he said, if you lie, now we have to deal with the lie and the truth because I’m gonna find out. And that’s really deep when you think about it. I remember he used to hold his hands up and he’d say, hit me hit. I’m like, uh, you know, so he taught me how to be tough and protect myself and take up for who I am and stand up and speak up. Uh, he got my, my, my very first pony when I was six years old. Right. I wanted to be a cop that rode a horse downtown. You know, I got my first pony. I’m like, yes, I am halfway there. Right. <laugh>
Kevin L. Jackson (00:14:13):
Only a ticket book and a badge and I’ll start citations.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:14:17):
Right, right. I’m surprised I didn’t get a notebook paper and try to give people tickets or something. <laugh> but um, no, he was just, he was an amazing guy. I had a great childhood as tough and as firm as he was, he was also loving and compassionate. Right. Mm. So I, um, really had a great mentor and role model and a great guy I could always talk to. Right. Great. Great guys. Clarence
Kevin L. Jackson (00:14:45):
Clarence armor. Yeah. Clarence
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:14:48):
Jackson. Remember parents got divorced priest. I still had my father’s last name. Yeah, actually Jackson.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:14:56):
Yeah. And my father Gilbert. He was a, he went in the Marine also, but that’s one reason I actually asked you that because is that what made you become a Jarhead I mean a Marine <laugh>
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:15:10):
Oh my God.
Scott Luton (00:15:12):
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:15:15):
So we’re already stepping in. We’re already stepping in. So I’m gonna, and this is not about or Marine or so I was, I was on the train in, in Atlanta, living Atlanta. I’ve been here for six years and uh, I got on in this older gentleman, he, you know, he looked at me and he said, Hey, were you in the military? And I said, yes, sir. Marine Corps. And you know, he go, oh, that’s great. And most people like, oh wow, thank you for your service. He said, oh wow. I was never in the military, but I did retire outta the air force after 30 years. Oh
Scott Luton (00:15:45):
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:15:49):
And sisters, he had that joke. I did not make it up. I was like, oh my God. So you feel, feel free to hit me up on LinkedIn, Instagram, all that stuff. You all have your share Marine jokes out there and that’s okay. That’s okay. Look
Kevin L. Jackson (00:16:07):
At that. We got air force Marine and Navy all on the same screen. Oh, amazing. <laugh>
Scott Luton (00:16:14):
Yep. So, uh, alright, so let’s talk, uh, your why right Kevin, right? Your wife, say again, joining your, your wife or joining the Marines, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (00:16:26):
Yeah. Why joining the Marines? I mean, uh, and uh, I mean, Scott already talked about the fact or first black female combat pilot. Did you wanna fly? Is that why went Marine? Cause that’s not the first, you know, branch you would think about if you wanted to fly.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:16:45):
Right. So actually my grandfather was a mum point Marine. Right. Which is for those that don’t know about the month for point Marines, uh, 1942 signed order, um, Marine, the M point Marines were the first to desegregate the Marine Corps, just like the Tuske airmen with, uh, flying. Right. Marine many don’t know that the Marine Corps actually had three places for bootcamp, not just San Diego and Paris island, but camp Johnson, which is where black Marines went to go through bootcamp. And it is no longer in existence. Now it’s just, um, Paris island or San Diego now. But, uh, my grandfather went off to war. Um, my dad Clarence couple tours in Vietnam. He was in the Korean war and I wanted to be third generation Marine Corps. Now of that being said, when I first got to college, I did enter the delayed entry program in 90 August of 92, went through Fort Jackson in, uh, January of 93, enlisted came back in the summer, made up my classes, cuz I through for a semester to go, uh, through training, then enter ROTC army RO OTC. We didn’t have Navy R OTC at my campus, ended up becoming a police officer, which again I wanted to do, you know, since I was a little kid and eventually went on to become a Marine, I I usually say, and then I saw the light, right. <laugh>
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:18:10):
I can help that I can help.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:18:12):
Right. But just by thinking about that and, and, and sort of part of your, your life, you, you’ve also served as a diversity liaison officer at the Pentagon. Um, so as you look back on the life that, that it prepare you for your experience or did your experience, uh, create your life? What are the Eureka moments, uh, in, in your role as a diversity officer, as a Marine, as a pilot that, that you would share with, with business leaders today because we have these issues in business when it comes to, uh, diversity, when it comes to yeah, not lying. I mean, we have a with, with people with, uh, fake resumes. Um, so, uh, what have you learned in your life?
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:19:10):
Yeah, it’s interesting. And, and I’ll start off by saying, you know, I am well aware that most of the folks listening to this podcast don’t look like me, right? They’re probably middle aged, white guys, um, throwing a couple women. Uh, and then you have the, the rare person me, right. And the one thing that I’ve learned no matter where I lived as a kid, as an adult, being a cop in the military and now being an entrepreneur is that, you know, at the end of the day, even when you look at politics and Republican and Democrat or third party, whatever, at the end of the day, we all wanna have a great life in a great country. Right now, we might disagree on how we get there and what that looks like. But at the end of the day, I believe that’s all, that’s, that’s what we all have in our hearts to create.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:20:01):
And when I became, uh, a diversity officer, I’ll be honest. I had no idea about the world of diversity. And I was, I was. I got moved to headquarters Marine as a diversity officer and the equal opportunity. I was like, what? I mean, how did I get moved to equal opportunity? They said, well, armor, they wanted a black female pilot. I’m like, I’m the only one. How equal is that? <laugh> right now, I wasn’t the only one in the Marine Corps at the time, there were two others Miska and Elizabeth, I was the only one up for orders. Right. I, uh, and there were only three black female pilots in the Marine Corps. And that was back in 2001, 2002, when we all came in and there has not been another female, right. Not too long ago and 20 years ago. Right. And I think we just got into the black female pilot in the Marine Corps.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:20:54):
Should there be 20 years between a woman becoming a, a black? And let’s be honest. When I first applied to the Marine Corps, I didn’t get in, uh, there’s an 88% attrition rate after, or the first year 88% of people don’t reapply. So I was part of that 12% that applied the second year. Didn’t make it third year. Didn’t make it the fourth year. They’re probably thinking, okay, this chick’s not going away. <laugh> right. And I was invited to go to officer candidate school, made it through, graduated from flight school. Um, number one outta my class of 12 and number one out of the last 200 folks to graduate. Wow. Um, cuz I was super focused and I knew that I was doing something that hadn’t been done before and I knew a lot of eyes were on me and I wanted to do the best that I could do. And I wanted to fly Cobra and the number one guy got to pick whatever ever they wanted to fly, whether it was available or not. You still got it. So,
Scott Luton (00:21:53):
And really quick determined to fly cobras. So really quick. So when you say cobras that we’re talking about Huey Cobra gunship, right? Huey, I’m sorry. Um, did you say I’m well, I can’t in the Cobra. I Huwi
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:22:12):
Well, so they do call it the skid kids Huey have skids and cobras have skids. Okay. Um, but the Huey is troop transport. It has crew chiefs on the side shooting the gun. It’s what you see in Vietnam. Right, right, right. And for the most, in all the, the movies and then the Cobra is tandem two can’t carry any passengers, 20 millimeter Gatlin gun out the front and the army used to have cobras as well. Then they switched to the Apache platform, Marine Corps, of course limited budget. We say we’re sticking with the cobras, which is four blade glass cockpit. Absolutely amazing piece of gear.
Scott Luton (00:22:49):
Oh man. Okay. So I promise you, I I’ve actually rid in the helicopter before, uh, not the Huey, but the Blackhawk I got, I got an incentive rod over Atlanta about a year or two ago. Fascinating. What fascinating. Yeah. I went through, uh, have you ever heard the group called vet Atlanta space here in Atlanta? No big.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:23:09):
Scott Luton (00:23:10):
Definitely. We got, we gotta talk about that. Um, well all right. So talk, talk to me for a second. If I can nerd out just for a second. And then with both of y’all, both of y’all are pilots and y’all have had experiences that an overwhelming majority of others will not have. So flying that Cobra, especially that, you know, a vehicle built for combat, right. It’s been serving in the military for quite some time to be the pilot and, and to lead that, um, powerful platform into co talk to us about that. What was that like your first mission? Um, just how fulfilling and rewarding was that,
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:23:45):
You know, and I’ll throw the diversity piece in again as well. Um, only because you know, diversity, it’s not a buzzword for me. It’s not something that’s just a, a fad or a thing. Um, it really had a it’s it’s real right. I saw a black female in a flight suit when I was at advanced leadership school and at Fort Bragg, right. Leadership, advanced camp, and it planted a seed. And because of seeing that woman, I chose to be a pilot when I finally made it, um, first in the Marine Corps, then we, we go to war.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:24:21):
My very first mission it’s night cloud, 300 feet. Couldn’t see the moon tank oil fires everywhere, hulks on fire. And as we were getting closer to the border between Kuwait and Iraq, I was on the lead aircraft. And I remember saying 3, 2, 1 were in Iraq. Wow. And there was complete silence and you could have heard a pin drop over the radio and we were not in contact with bass anymore. Cuz we were too far away. We weren’t in contact with Friendlys yet cuz we hadn’t located them. And I could feel my body oozing back into the armor of the seat cuz I was the only armor on the aircraft, on the entire aircraft. And if we got shot down, no one would know where we were and no one would even be looking for us for another couple hours. Right. Wow. So it was this, uh, crazy feeling.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:25:16):
And I could feel even the fear right. Of just like, oh my we’re not shooting at tires. And people are shooting at us trying to take us out of the sky and I could feel the fear, you know, just kinda emanating out from my body and those that can see me, you know, just like explosion. And I remember the why right. To protect the soldiers and Marines on the ground and I could feel it, the energy come back in and focus like a finely tune, laser burning through steel. Right. And I think that can have happen to us in life where things get overwhelming. COVID you know, the, what we’ve all been through over these last couple of years and everybody’s hoping 20, 22 is in a three P right. And at a certain point you have to re collect yourself reassess then reinvent, you know, well actually reimagine first, right?
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:26:09):
Reassess, where am I re what do I wanna create reinvent create a new plan, uh, reinvigorate. Oh my God. I felt like I was been sitting in the same chair for like two years now. Right in front of this screen doing zooms and, and webinars and all this virtual stuff. Right. And then re reengage REAT attack, you know, get back out there. So now lot of live events are coming back online and um, over that time of COVID I, and I think a lot of people got to reassess reimagine where they are in life and put some things in perspective about what is life and how am I spending it and what am I doing with it and what do I want to create with it? Right. So it’s been an amazing couple of years with definitely some challenges, some up and ups and downs, but I believe opportunities or obstacles are just opportu is in disguise as Napoleon hill will say. But I
Kevin L. Jackson (00:27:04):
Really, I really like the way you said that about how you have to reimagine yourself and, and figure out not where you are, but where, what you would be. And, and one of the things we try to do on Reverend voices is speak to those veterans that are transitioning out the, of the military. I mean, so you came from, you know, riding a gunship to, you know, being a, a regular person trying to figure out how do you reimagine yourself? How do you transition? How do the military, how do you change your mindset? How, how difficult was that? What, how would you, what would you share with that? Um, uh, you know, military individual that was doing one thing one day and now they’re a civilian.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:28:00):
Well, the script a little bit. So Scott, when, when new transition, when you got a, when you founded supply chain now, right, right. As founder CEO, you know, what was your thought process on, Hey, I wanna create this big thing. And did you imagine it as a big thing when you first created it or were you thinking, this is my little niche right here and I’m gonna work in this, this spot and it grew ruin into something you never imagined.
Scott Luton (00:28:26):
Yeah. That certainly the latter. Uh, and you like you, as you crossed over into Iraq, uh <laugh> that fear if we’re gonna be honest, that fear, uh, cause you know, especially when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re, you’re, you’re flying. I mean, of course with support and uh, incredibly capable and intelligent wife and partnering crime, but holy cow, the fear of, of creating kind of being independent. So yeah, definitely the latter, it was, uh, you’re gonna follow your passions and, and see what you can build. Right?
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:28:59):
Yep. And Kevin, um, you know, I’ve known you ever since I was like, you know, five or six years old and I just thought it was cool that my older cousin was a jet jock and you know, he walked around all cool. I saw your pictures ready <laugh>. And after the military, you know, you’ve worked inside of corporate America and you’ve also been an entrepreneur you’ve written a best selling book. I mean, how did you see yourself stepping out? And in that direct,
Kevin L. Jackson (00:29:28):
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:29:28):
Know I flipped the table. I flipped the tables you
Kevin L. Jackson (00:29:30):
Did. I who’s being interviewed here. Right. But, um, it’s sort like, uh, something that I’ve used in my life is, uh, to look at, uh, my redevelop, my five year plan every year. So I try to reimagine what I want to do in the future and do today, what I need to do to get there. Now it’s always changed. It’s never the same thing. And the, the destination is never what I’ve envisioned to be five years ago. But it, uh, also allows me to understand, accept, and work through change.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:30:17):
But when you were gonna step out and be a consultant,
Kevin L. Jackson (00:30:20):
<laugh> I that’s
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:30:23):
Right. So I mean, and I’m talking to, so it doesn’t matter. White, black, Hispanic, uh, Asian male, female, I mean, they’re, we’re human, right. And fear. Even you go back to cavemen, they had a fear of survival. Right. And you gotta kill the, the whatever sabertooth tiger, you know, that pact. But the same thing as
Kevin L. Jackson (00:30:46):
Being able to pay your mortgage <laugh>
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:30:52):
Scott Luton (00:30:52):
Raptor. Yes. There’s some days I’d rather face that Veloso Raptor than, than try to tackle that mortgage bill for being in <laugh>
Kevin L. Jackson (00:31:01):
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:31:01):
Look, re rates low. Um, yeah. <laugh> so what I would say to that is the gutsy move right in your gut, you know it right. It takes guts to do it, but you gotta take action. And that’s the thing the three of us have in common. And especially if, if you’ve been, I was in the military for 14 years, five years, army reserves, nine year active duty Marine Corps, right years. And, um, now to get an active duty retirement, I would’ve had to have done 11 more years. Right. So people say, oh, why’d you get out like 11 more years. Right. Let’s 11 years, a long time. And that would’ve been a whole lot of deployments. Plus I had this mission in mind already, and you’re either a hundred percent Marine or because you’re not doing a whole lot of stuff side of being a Marine.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:31:43):
Right. And when I looked at making that move, I remember the three star general called me in his office and it was general Coleman. And he said, why should I let you outta my Marine Corps? And I said, well, sir, this is what I wanna do. And why. And a big part of it was diversity front, right? Where I wanted to show a woman in a minority, in a, a science, a stem feel and a combat arms feel to give that access and exposure. When I saw that woman, it planted a seed. I had never thought about being a pilot before that. And actually my battle buddy, young white female was on a aviation, uh, contract. And I was like, black people don’t fly, which is not the truth. Right. Tuske gear I’m in Bessie, Coleman, Willow brown. The legacy is long and large, but it’s about access and exposure. Your which is go ahead. Yeah.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:32:34):
Your also flew. Thank I love it.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:32:45):
Right, right. I know it’s so crazy. It’s like, not until something is just in your face, but tell me, you know, what supply chain now and the services that you provide, you talk to and clients and different folks and like something has to be so in their face. And they’re like, oh wow. I didn’t really think about that. So you’re giving them the access and exposure in a different way where, you know, it’s like, this can be your solution. It just doesn’t have to be a solution for someone else, this whatever set solution set, you give them, right. This can absolutely work for you. So that access and exposure, um, is huge. And what I call the, again, the gutsy move and your gut, you know, trying to take guts to do it, but there’s a catch. You gotta take action. If you don’t take action. It wasn’t, it wasn’t lip service, gutsy move. It’s just gutsy thought. That’s right. That’s right. And, and gutsy thoughts. Don’t get our ports moving again.
Scott Luton (00:33:39):
No, they don’t. Right. They don’t pay bills. They don’t that’s right. They don’t do any of that stuff. So let me ask you. Yeah, definitely. Won’t pay bills. <laugh> so you, so, um, that three star general, general Coleman, I think was his name or her name. Yeah. Um, they let you outta the Marines. What year did you transition to, uh, the private sector, I guess
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:34:00):
August oh seven. Now my last day on terminal leave was June 1st and I had six gigs lined up for that month and folks, well, how man, how did you already have six gigs before you even got out? So there’s this thing called networking? That I had no idea what it was. Okay. Didn’t know I was doing it, but networking. And this is, this is for folks who are transitioning like this is so key, right? Because we all hear about network, got a network, got a network, got networking is relationship building. It’s not how fast can I work the room and shov a card in somebody’s face. I actually got to the point where I didn’t even give my card to anyone unless they asked for it. Right. And when I first walked then, or whenever I got introduced to someone new, I didn’t ask, what did they do?
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:34:46):
I said, how can I be of servant? Then people would look at me like, oh, cause think of, well, here we are walking around, quote, unquote, networking, trying to meet our needs, our aims. Like there’s an objective, hopefully that you have. And then someone ask how you, they can help you meet your objective. And you’re like Deering the headlights. Right? So that, um, that desire to be of service really paid huge dividends. Um, because people, when you care, they just show up in a different way. It’s not a, what can I get? What can I get? But it’s what can, and you’re automatically gonna get back.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:35:25):
I think that’s one thing that, uh, people in the military don’t recognize the importance of relationship and importance of the network. And when you are in the military, you have to pay attention to those relationships and that network, because that is really, what’s going to your skids for transitioning into the other world. Cause it’s not world, it’s the same world. It’s the same, it’s the same network. <laugh>
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:36:00):
So that brings up another good point. Right? So how are people meeting? How are military service members who are still on active duty? How are they meeting people outside of the military? Or, you know, are you maintaining the connections to the folks who, who have already transitioned out? So when you’re transitioning, you can be in contact with them, right? But also what are your extracurricular activities? What are you getting involved in, you know, three, five years before you get out, like you said, Kev, you know, grease the skids, um, to make an easier transition. So you already know folks, hopefully in the area, uh, that you wanna go into and you know, and I’ll urge you to really, really put some thought into it. If you’ve given 10, 15, 20, 25 years, 30 years to our great country, you can absolutely be a beltway bandit. You can absolutely throw, get outta your uniform on Friday and throw in a business suit on Monday and go back and be a GS or SES or whatever.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:36:58):
And I would encourage you, what do you really wanna do? Like, what do you really wanna do if you had 20 million bucks in the bank and you could do anything and you were guaranteed not to fail, what would you do? Oh man. And if your answer is different, from what you’re getting ready to do or what you’re doing, why is it different and why are you settling? Like why are you not going for it even wow. On a part-time basis, a side hustle basis basis, like how, cause your life is what you create, hear it in the story. Right. And
Kevin L. Jackson (00:37:32):
We’re not here long that’s that’s that reinventing aspect. Right,
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:37:38):
Right. It’s safe. Right. It’s safe. It’s it’s I remember. So I wanted, once I got in the Marine Corps folks started asking me to speak for their units and uh, like a scholarship luncheon and be a part of the women’s mentoring program and speak to the enlisted women. And it was really cool when I got back for my rack, my dad asked me to speak for a school and I’m like, wow. You know, I was in my dress blues and looking good and slim and trim. And these kids are looking up to me. I was like, this is, you know, I will always do this. This will be a part of my community give back. Right. And at the time I thought of myself as a motivational speaker, now it’s inspirational leadership. Right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> cause motivation. That’s, that’s external, that’s outside stuff. I wanna light the pilot light on the inside, get people on fire where they can keep their, their light lit.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:38:20):
Right. And uh, I wanted to do, like, I wanted to go to FBI, DEA, ATF, CIA, something like that. I always thought it’d be cool to be a spy. Um, or I was thinking about being a physical therapist, you know, becoming a doctor. And I said, you know, and I’ll, if, if speaking ever blows up, I’ll do it full time. But it’s like, how did I even know about speaking, being a career? I was at a conference again, access and exposure. I was at a conference, 2,500 people there. It was a corporate, um, stem women of color and technology awards. Right. And so all the top fortune 500, a lot of ’em were there. And this woman, or whoever was up on stage speaking and I said, oh, wait a minute. You mean, they get paid for that new dream was born. <laugh> right.
Scott Luton (00:39:08):
New pilot light on.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:39:10):
Right. And at one of those conferences, I was walking down the halls after breakout session. And I just spoke at my table. It was like maybe eight women at my table. So this is not speaking to the whole room, just my table. And a couple women walked up and said, oh my God, we’re so inspired. We’re all going for our plan a, I was like, that’s great. And then inside, I was thinking, holy crap, I inspired them to go for their plan. A and I’m not even going for mine. Wow. And then moment, cause I’ve been waiting for a sign. When am I gonna get out? When am I gonna get out? When is, when is the right time to make a move? When am I gonna get, you know, everybody plays with that. When is the time, if they’re not looking at that 20 year mark. Right. Right. And, uh, so at that conference I made up my mind and I, the whole rest of the conference, I went around telling everybody I was getting out, including the generals that were there. I do not recommend that strategy to everyone. <laugh>,
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:40:01):
You know, but I came back, I turned in my papers. Um, they were approved for me to resign my commission. Um, within 30 days I had six months before I, I went on terminal leave on June 1st, August 7th, 2007 was my last day in. And you know how I really got that jumpstart was just telling people what I wanted to do. And when people know what you want to do, they can show up to help you. But if you just try to squirrel it away, keep it secret. And you’re just like, I would, I just wanna, I just wanna get there first and then everybody can see what I’ve done. That
Scott Luton (00:40:35):
Folks can work for
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:40:36):
That. Right. That’s, that’s a tough road right there because you’re just trying to do it all by yourself. And there’s not anything you did by yourself in the military. Nothing like it was, it was team all the way.
Scott Luton (00:40:48):
So, um, businesses and entrepreneur books, honorary doctorates, um, all the different things you’ve been, you’ve been involved in so much since you exited, since evidently you had that epiphany and exited, uh, the Marines what’s been, um, what, what’s one of your favorites. What’s one of your favorite things that you’ve done since leaving the military. And then I wanna talk about your, some of your advisory roles.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:41:16):
Ooh, okay. Am absolutely well, I’ll say it this way. I was reading golf magazine. That’s the first clue I’m reading a golf magazine. I was reading golf magazine. <laugh> the article title? The article title said, how do you know if you’re obsessed or addicted to golf? I was like, oh, that’s good. What if it’s both? I, I rediscovered golf. Right? Um, in the military, I really didn’t play at all. I played a good bit before I went in, uh, lived in Phoenix for a little while. And as an entrepreneur work, work, work, work, work. And then after a couple years I was like, wait a minute. I am just working myself to death. And I’m not. I’m just flying into these cities and flying out and going here and going, I’m not spending any time. I’m going to these great destinations. I’m not enjoying anything.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:42:01):
It’s like, what do I love to do? And play golf and ski or slash snowboard. I wanted to learn how to do that. So the golfing became my summer sport, which is also now my winter sport. Cause go to Orlando, Miami and Tampa a lot in the winter time. <laugh> OK. And my goal was to play 25 rounds of golf on business and it has been so much fun. So in my first life, I was a cop in my second life. I was a Marine in my third life. I’m an entrepreneur. And in my fourth life, I am going to be on them. Master’s tour
Scott Luton (00:42:35):
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:42:37):
Money practice, right. Money and practice. That’s all you need. <laugh>
Scott Luton (00:42:42):
I love it. So, uh, alright, one quick follow up. And then, and Kevin, I want you to you to comment on some of what you’re hearing here before we get into, okay. Some of the other businesses that are looking for, um, that look regularly to, uh, Bernice’s uh, expertise and perspective what’s what is one of your favorite golf courses? You’ve you’ve been able to play.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:43:02):
Ooh, I think this one, are you, do I have to just say one? Can I say two? <laugh> sure. Two. You got it and you’re right. I got a list. You’re right. Cause I went, I actually went to Scotland. I mean, and I played the course, um, Dar knock. I played KTI. Um, yeah. So I’ve also played Tory Pines. I’ve played Pinehurst. Um,
Kevin L. Jackson (00:43:25):
Man, that was such a hard question. <laugh>
Scott Luton (00:43:28):
Know it’s really,
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:43:31):
That’s just like courses right there.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:43:37):
Somebody asked me, Hey, we’re gonna go play at pet double beach. Oh God. <laugh>
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:43:44):
Okay. I think hands down, my favorite course was pine Hurst. Number two, the us open had just been played. And when I was on the tee, you know, your look cuz it’s lane, right. You’re looking down the first four holes before it makes that right turn. And I just, and you could see all the foursomes with all their cadies walking down. And I was like, oh my God, tiger woods was just walking on this course, this person, this person. And do you think of all the historical folks who have walked those same steps and to cap it off? I finished with the same ball I started with
Scott Luton (00:44:19):
Dang <laugh> man. Right’s so we’re gonna we’re we’re gonna have to get into some, uh, golf tips at some point you send me some consulting invoices. Um, right. So these next two, I wanna get
Kevin L. Jackson (00:44:31):
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:44:32):
Get Kevin, go ahead, Kevin.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:44:35):
No, no, no. I was, I was, um, you know, a lot of things we’ve been thinking about is, uh, about internal, right? Cause Bernice was talking about, she really wanted to light the internal fire of people. And she was talking about when she was sitting at this table with eight people, which she sort of discovered her own fire and this, this kind of, uh, really puts into my face. You know what I, I really know about you and, and your, your goal to help people go from zero to breakthrough. See how I did that? Oh, maybe
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:45:14):
I like how you worked that in. I like how you worked that in. Cause
Kevin L. Jackson (00:45:18):
Cause that zero is at beginning where you don’t know what you wanna do and trying to find your fire, but what you don’t know is how long will it take to your, can I survive paying the mortgage until I get my breakthrough? So, so that’s so good. And you’ve developed this success model. So I wanna know how does somebody, the second they find their turn, a fire and they’ve made that decision to, to do it, whatever it is until they break through that fear of, well, will I ever break through, how long will it take me to break through? Will I lose my house before I break through? What is, what is that success model? What is it? Um, how do you leverage that model? How does it impact an individual and maybe a business or a CEO of a business?
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:46:23):
Four months into my business. I found myself behind in the house note partner, kid, mom was living with us. I mean, I was not just some young kid out, just Willie nilly. I’m going for it. I was going for it. But I had also had a responsibility and people depending on me and that conference that I said I was, you know, getting out and I was telling everybody, right, well, when I did that, there were a lot of folks that said, Hey, we wanna bring you in. And I was like, okay, great. And again, I knew nothing about networking, getting people’s information and all of that stuff. Right. Um, and at that point, this was mid October, the end of October actually. Cause the conference was September, November 2nd, third, fourth. And it was coming up and it was too late to buy a ticket cuz it was like a week.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:47:13):
Right. It, um, Tuesday I woke up in the morning, it’s a Wednesday morning. I’ll never forget. And I’m pacing back and forth in my bath. Okay. And I just in the book blink by Malcolm Gladwell. And I was like, in that book, he said, the act of smiling changes, shifts the physiology in your body. I was like, all right, I gotta smile. <laugh> not exactly a smile. I was doing a lot of teeth, but it wasn’t exactly. And you know, the Marine and coped me said, all right, you gotta followed up with action. So made a couple calls. And I ended up talking to Larry and uh, I said, well, you know, things, aren’t going all that great. And this ended up being more of an associate call. And he said, well, a friend of mine is having a thing. And th on Thursday, down in Durham, you could come down, halfway, hit the conference the next morning, you know, spend the night shower up, get ready.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:48:04):
And you know what ran through my mind was okay, uh, don’t where I’d stay. I’d have to sleep in my truck. Don’t know what I’d eat. And I definitely don’t have registration for the conference. <laugh> again, the gutsy move, right. That, that the voice would not go away. It’s that voice doesn’t let you go to sleep at night, wakes you up in the morning, you know that voice. Right. And some people have multiple voice that’s right. When you can’t shake <laugh> so I right. Not all bad. And I’m standing there in my suit. Right. And this guy conference, organizer walks, he goes, oh, captain armor. We didn’t know you were coming. I’m thinking neither did I <laugh>. He said, Hey, we had a speaker fall out. Do you mind filling in? And don’t worry, we got your conference registration in your hotel. I was like, what?
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:48:52):
And it was also one of those conferences where they feed you, you know what the banquets and luncheons and all that. Oh man. It, so in that moment, it’s like the stars, just the line. But I it’s like that Indiana Jones movie where he has to step out into the canyon and then the pylon comes up and meets his foot. Right. But at first he just, he was just stepping out or like the on faith, right? Yeah. Yes, absolutely. Faith. And you know, within 30 days I had checks in my business checking account from companies like bank of America and Boeing airplanes. Right. And that year within another eight months. So 12 months total from August to August, my company broke hundred, a hundred thousand dollars, 130, $6,000 to be exact right. More money than I’d ever made in my life. And four months into it, I was a month month behind in my house note, within four years, my business broke seven figures. I, I almost shutter to think where I would be right now. Had I not made that gut. See? Right. So, so many people say, well, what if this, what if, what if the fear, uh, uh, it’s not, what if I do? It’s like my God, what if you don’t, what future are you putting at risk? What security are you throwing away for, for your family? What you know for your kids college. And it’s not what if you do the, the real question is what if you don’t what’s the cost. Mm.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:50:19):
Well see, so you you’ve foreshadowed my next question. Cause you’ve, you’ve written many, many books, uh, and best seller, right? And the next book is entitled the gutsy mood. So that’s when you’re at that zero before you can even start towards that, that breakthrough, you’ve told us about your gutsy move. How, how can somebody that is behind in their mortgage and has all these responsibilities and really only has that vision and a fire inside of them. What is your advice for making that gutsy move?
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:51:08):
No, that’s good. Um, number one, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing like I did. Right? Doesn’t it just doesn’t have to be that way. There can be preparation, but don’t let it be preparation on ice. Sometimes you just have to be ignorance on fire. And Les brown had a saying, he’s like, if it’s worth doing it’s worth doing ugly. I mean, it won’t be all the way. Perfect. Won’t be all the way polished and put in place, but you have to start taking action. The supply chain. Now isn’t the supply chain of the day. It was started. It’s completely different. It has evolved. It has, it has transformed. Right? So how do we start from where we are? And that’s really what zero means. Zero is today right now. Cuz there’s no four. There’s no after we’re we’re right here. How do we, you know, you know, me and my helicopter analogies, I’m not a sexy jet need all that runway.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:51:56):
I don’t need all that runway. You can just put me in a feel I’m gonna pick up. I’m gonna take off from where I am. So that’s my thing. Who needs a runway take off from where you are from zero to boom breakthrough, right? As soon is my skid lift up off the ground. I am in flight. Even if I’m hovering, I’m still in flight. I am taking action and you keep taking action and build up the, that momentum. So no matter where you are, you know, write out an, an action strategy, write out, write out a plan and you don’t have to do this by yourself. You don’t have to do it in a vacuum who is someone that is already on the path to where you want to be, ask them some specific questions, ask for some, um, mentoring time, you know? And once you get those first steps, you don’t have to have the whole plan to start taking action. Dr. King said, you don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step. Right? You take the first step and the next, then the next, then the next, the secret sauce folks is in. Well, let me say it this way. There are only two ways to succeed the first time or again or again or again, secret sauce is in the REAT. Re-attack reattach.
Kevin L. Jackson (00:53:11):
Yeah. And once again you highlight the, the value of your relationships and your network. You don’t need to do it alone.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:53:22):
Hmm. If you okay. Another stat, most women owned businesses do not make over $50,000 a year. Now I know most folks on this podcast probably haven’t even heard that stat before. Mm. But most women owned businesses don’t make over $50,000. Why is that? Because they try to do it all themselves. Oh, well, they won’t do it. Like I would do it or I could do it myself. Cuz think about it. A lot of women own moms and they take care of the household and they, they don’t have a sister, wife. They have to do it all themselves and women are, um, we also know about title IX and a lot of women in sports and stuff. They didn’t grow up in sports like young girls of today are. So that teamwork aspect isn’t hasn’t necessarily always been there. Right. Right. But the team is the very thing that’s going to allow you to go farther.
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:54:11):
So have a personal advisory board, right? It’s a lot easier for a hundred people to carry a log than one. And when you’re bouncing, when even when, as an entrepreneur app, now when I’m making my marketing materials or looking at this, looking at that, I don’t come up with a, by myself in a vacuum. You’re gonna be sitting there forever. I actually reach out to previous clients, uh, whether it’s an organization or executive women, I’ve coached. Right. I work with executive women in stem and tech that want to climb in leadership and be the leader of divisions and enterprises. So they have to have allies because if that table, if a promotion is up and folks are sitting around that table and no one at that table looks like her. Well, who’s, who’s speaking for it. I mean, right. You, you, you have to have allies that don’t look like you too. Right. So let me just say that sponsors champions, but we, even if you’re the average white guy, Scott, not that I’m calling you average by any means, right?
Scott Luton (00:55:09):
Oh, you hadn’t seen my golf game. <laugh>
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:55:14):
Hey, we’re gonna play. I’m gonna see it.
Scott Luton (00:55:16):
I’m good’s see it. Let’s do it. Are you
Kevin L. Jackson (00:55:19):
Here in Atlanta? We like that.
Scott Luton (00:55:22):
I’m on fringe of Metro Atlanta. So we’ll definitely get connected. We’ll have, you we’ll have to have you in our, in personal we’re out in Walton county. So we’re halfway to Athens. We’re we’re on the fringe of that. Was it 26 counties that make up the Metroland area. But, but you know, we’ve got our in-person studio. We’ll have you in, maybe we’ll do that. Do something in person. Maybe have Kevin fly down and then we’ll all go out and great bread and play golf. Kevin were gonna say something before, uh, you were gonna say something kept, well, I
Kevin L. Jackson (00:55:51):
Know we’re I know we’re probably over, over a lot of time, so I really appreciate you with us. <laugh> a bit, but I just saying, I think what you’re telling me is that gutsy move in order to make that a gut to move, you also have to have your network. You have to have your relationships and you have to believe in yourself. So I really appreciate that.
Scott Luton (00:56:19):
Yeah. Mm-hmm <affirmative> well, uh, well said so much here. So, you know, gosh, usually I take 17 pages of notes on these, these things. I think I’ve got closer to 30 with one transcribing
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:56:34):
The thing <laugh>
Scott Luton (00:56:37):
There is so much, there is so much in fact, including going back to, um, I think you said it, the, it was the Mumford point Marines. I’d never heard that story. Uh, and I’ve heard a lot of, of military history stories and, and veteran stories. So I’m gonna look that up and learn more about that. Um, please do. And we didn’t, we didn’t even get to, um, so much that you’re up to, um, I’m glad we tackled a book with the business. I mean, you’re on Forbes school of business and the technology board we’re advisors, the Comcast NBC universal joint diversity council, uh, council. We didn’t talk about, uh, uh, fly, grow construction or, uh, V is it Vai consulting and training, right? Yeah. Speaking
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:57:16):
Scott Luton (00:57:17):
Mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah. Well, so how
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:57:19):
Connection LinkedIn, um, LinkedIn is of course primary, right then of course there’s Instagram for more personal communication or Twitter email fly email@example.com. Don’t forget the use just like under armor, but armor. And I, I feel like I’m easily accessible. And if you know of an organization that would love to hear more of this message or have me in as, um, a keynote speaker or you want more of a conversation that leads to some, uh, aspects of consulting, I would love to connect. However, I can be a service.
Scott Luton (00:57:52):
Gosh, you bring so much to the table for Anice and you do so, um, uh, in, in such a, uh, engaging and, uh, I, I, I probably laughed, I don’t know about 50 times today. I mean, really you can learn while you enjoy, you can be challenged while you enjoy, you can, you know, you can be, um, uh, developed and, and reimagining and reinventing yourself, learning from you while you kind of enjoy the process. And that’s not always, we can all probably speak to, that’s not always the case. Thank you. And it’s not always the case. Um, huge. Thanks Kevin. I’m gonna, before I, um, uh, wrap up our time here with, I’ll give you the last word and then me and you will close,
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:58:34):
You know, can I say one thing real
Scott Luton (00:58:36):
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (00:58:36):
Please. Um, there’s a resource. If, if folks are really struggling or not struggling, they just wanna get clear on their gutsy move. I have a, what I call the ultimate action guide for creating, you know, your gutsy move and they can go to get clear with fly girl.com, get clear with fly girl.com. And maybe you can put that in the description of the podcast as well. Got it. Um, so folks can get that easily. Um, but that’s just a, whether it’s for you or someone, you know, or your kids, whatever. I just want that information to be out there because I think if more people really went for a fulfilling, amazing life, too many folks, friends, colleagues got the wife, the husband, the kids, the car, the picket fence, and they’re like, Jesus, this all there is like, they, there, there, there’s just something right. They’re missing. Right, right. So how do we go for it and how do we get that fulfilling life? All right.
Scott Luton (00:59:29):
Cause, well, I’m well get clear with flag.com. Kevin
Kevin L. Jackson (00:59:33):
I’m. Yeah. You’re, you’re, you’re absolutely right. But that long laundry list of things that you have to care about, you have to start about caring about yourself, understanding and stoking that fire that’s inside of you, because if you don’t stoke that fire into a flame, all those other things will go away.
Scott Luton (00:59:58):
That’s true. So
Kevin L. Jackson (00:59:59):
Thank you very much for, for giving and us that, that vision of how to make the gutsy move
Scott Luton (01:00:05):
That’s right. Absolutely. Find that fire and then pour gasoline on top. Uh, so really very appreciative of Bernice of your time here today. We’ve been chatting with author speaker, coach, entrepreneur, uh, in demand on the move, the mover and shaker, uh, Bernice fly girl armor. Uh, thank you so much for Anice. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time. And we look forward to connecting in person soon
Vernice FlyGirl Armour (01:00:29):
Honor to be of service day
Scott Luton (01:00:31):
Gutsy. Awesome. <laugh> awesome. Oh, Kevin man. I am so glad there’s, there’s so much there. I mean, regardless of what season the life, you know, to our listeners, if you’re, you know, still in the military and you’re preparing for your transition or, or preparing for your retirement, or if you’re already out and you’re kind of working your way through the, you know, the professional journey or, or if you’re facing life’s challenges, whatever got, gosh, Bernice just, just showed up with a, um, I’ll call it a helicopter pallet load of <laugh> of, of <laugh> practical tools, tips. Been there, done that challenging folks to think different and reinvent, reimagine, and reinvent their path forward. Your final word, Kevin. Sure.
Kevin L. Jackson (01:01:22):
One thing is just said that, uh, uh, really, um, envisions that gut to move, right? And you only get that from helicopter pilot, right? Even, you know, once you take off, you are flying, right. And even if you are just hovering, you are taking action. So, so when you need to change your life or you need to have a transition or you need to do something, take action. Just because you’re in the same place. Doesn’t mean you’re not flying.
Scott Luton (01:01:56):
<laugh> <laugh>. That is true. I love that, Kevin, what a great, uh, what a great, uh, uh, point despite the football on. Okay. How can folks connect, uh, with the one only Kevin L. Jackson, of course, digital transformers, yearbooks your business. Gosh, you’ve got a bunch of things going on too. How can folks connect with you?
Kevin L. Jackson (01:02:16):
Well, absolutely. Uh, firstname.lastname@example.org or digital transformers on supply chain now. And, uh, we have a great year lined up, so just reach out anytime or on LinkedIn.
Scott Luton (01:02:32):
I love it. Love that. Uh, love our collaboration, Kevin. Uh, again, thanks so much for facilitating today is in interview with, uh, the fly girl, Bernice armor, uh, loved her, uh, her passion, her challenge, her, her story, her fire, you know what, yeah. Her fire that’s right. That pilot light is still burning, right? <laugh> um, Hey folks, hopefully you found this last hour or so, uh, really helpful and inspiring and hopefully you’re gonna take action. Cause that’s what it’s all about. No matter how small that first step, uh, on behalf of our entire team here at veteran voices, we invite you to find us and subscribe to wherever you get your podcast. You can look up veteran voices there, of course, big thanks to our friends at vets to industry, uh, and learn more if you’re, especially if you’re a veteran getting through your transition or ready vets to industry.org have lots and lots of resources. So check that out, uh, get, uh, get clear with fly girl.com was the, was the free resource that, uh, just shared with us. So check that out and beyond it all. Hey, Scott Luton and Kevin O. Jackson signing off for now wishing our listeners. Hey, nothing but the asked challenging you though. Challenging you do good. Give forward, be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we see next time, right back here on better voices. Thanks everybody.
Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour Combat tests you. Being a beat cop tests you. Life tests you. Three brothers and being the only girl…tests you. Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour has been tested her whole life. A gutsy trailblazer, her resume is an impressive collection of “firsts” including America’s first Black female combat pilot. She served two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine. She was also a diversity liaison officer to the Pentagon for Headquarters Marine Corps. After her military service, FlyGirl revved up her career in the private sector as an entrepreneur, consultant to business, and author of Zero to Breakthrough, The 7-Step, Battle-Tested Method for Accomplishing Goals that Matter. As a speaker, FlyGirl unleashes hard-hitting advice and amazing anecdotes from her adventures on the battlefield and in business. She helps individuals and organizations Get Gutsy and build a sustainable inner force and conviction, that results in accomplishing significant goals. In 2007, FlyGirl launched VAI Consulting & Training, LLC. Through that work, she helps individuals and organizations make gutsy moves and create breakthrough results by applying her “Zero to BreakthroughTM” Success Model –a mindset that helped to propel her career and kept her safe in air combat. FlyGirl regularly takes her message to premier meetings and conferences worldwide and is a Gutsy Confidence Mentor for elite senior executive Women in Tech. As her newest business venture, in 2020 FlyGirl started FlyGirl Construction, a General Contracting Firm in the Atlanta, GA area. As a Black gay woman and single mom, FlyGirl brings vital experience to her role as a member of the Forbes School of Business & Technology Board of Advisors and COMCAST/NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Council. FlyGirl has two honorary doctorates and has received numerous awards as a pioneering pilot, including honors for her commanding role in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour’s story has been featured in the media including on CNN, MSNBC, The View, FOX News, Oprah Winfrey, and many more, along with being a running back for the San Diego Sunfire professional women’s football team and two-time title holder of Camp Pendleton’s Strongest Warrior Competition. She is currently working on her next book, The Gutsy Move. Connect with Vernice on LinkedIn.
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 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.
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.