Although the general push to attract girls and women into STEM fields has been underway for years, some industries are further ahead than others when it comes to empowering them to turn their interests into careers.
Chachere Shelton is the only black female captain at CommutAir. She has a passion for flight that has taken her on an interesting professional journey and given her an opportunity to be a mentor to future generations of female aviators.
In this interview with host Scott Luton, Chachere Shelton talks about:
• The variety of camps that are focused on getting various ages of young women into the field of aviation
• What it was like being a pilot during the COVID-19 shutdowns
• The sense of responsibility she feels as a role model, and why she is excited that two other women are about to join her as captains
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Scott Luton (00:32):
Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton with you here on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show. We have an outstanding conversation tee up this morning and focused on the aviation industry. Of course, a big part of global supply chain. In fact, many folks may be surprised at just how much air cargo is moved in the belly of passenger planes each and every day. Now, along those lines, we’re gonna be speaking today with a pioneering pilot and aviation leader to learn more about what she sees each and every day, as well as, uh, learn a lot more about her journey into, uh, the trail plays and exploits that she does with, um, commute air. So with no further ado on a welcome in Ary Shelton airline captain with Chachere Shelton, how you doing?
Chachere Shelton (01:17):
I’m doing great. How are you?
Scott Luton (01:19):
It is so cool to finally sit down with you a as you know, I’m a big fan of James and Dr. Kim Moore I’ve, I’ve had your parents. I’ve had the honor of collaborating with them as part of my journey. Brilliant people. Uh, I love your mom’s take on leadership. I think she, she joined us for a webinar way back, uh, way back when, so I’m not surprised that their daughter is, is doing big things in, in the industry.
Chachere Shelton (01:45):
<laugh> yes, I do have wonderful parents. Um, I’m a very blush child. I grew up, I actually grew up with four parents, right. So we don’t, we don’t have step parents in, in our household. So I’m very blessed to have, uh, two moms and two dads and they’re all extraordinary people. So, you know, they expect nothing less of their children.
Scott Luton (02:07):
You’ve been blessed. So you just have, uh, I’ve been blessed. You got four folks holding you to a standard instead of two. I love that. Um,
Chachere Shelton (02:15):
Scott Luton (02:16):
So let’s talk more about that. Um, SA let’s talk about where you grew up and you gotta give us some anecdotes about your upbringing.
Chachere Shelton (02:24):
So I grew up in Tampa, Florida, and, um, man. So I grew up in a very, um, conservative Christian household. I went to private school, um, all over my life. Wow. And, um, we, I grew up in grace family church here in Tampa bay. My parents all go to the same church. They’re all leaders in the same church <laugh> and so I grew up a church kid, um, just sparked an interest in aviation. And most of my life has just been God fearing sports and airplanes.
Scott Luton (03:01):
Okay. God fearing sports and airplanes let’s. So, uh, before we get into the airplanes park, I wanna, uh, growing up in Tampa, I mean, growing up on the coast, uh, you know, that, that that’s gotta be a really cool thing. Cool place to be as a kid. Uh, tell us what was that like?
Chachere Shelton (03:22):
I loved the water. <laugh>. I mean, let me tell you, I, I grew up on the beach, so anytime I didn’t have a sporting event on the weekend, which was rare. Oh mom, can I go to the beach? Can I go to the beach? Can I go to the beach? So I loved going to the beach and when I was in high school and I was finally able to drive a car, you better believe there were only a few, you know, there were restrictions as to where I could go as a 16 year old. However, the beach was one of those places I wanted to scout. So I love being near the water. I love the food food. Oh my goodness.
Scott Luton (03:56):
Food. Okay. So let’s food. See, that’s one of our favorite topics to talk about, right? <laugh> beyond the beach is the food. So if there was one dish sash, if there was one dish that you, that grew up with you that was inseparable from your upbringing, what would that be?
Chachere Shelton (04:12):
Ooh. Now see, we’re also, I’m from Tampa by way of Louisiana,
Scott Luton (04:17):
So, oh man, love it.
Chachere Shelton (04:19):
<laugh> so Cajun food is near and dear to my heart and my dad don’t let him, don’t be fooled by him. He loves a good pot of gumbo. Um, so I grew up on all things seafood. So being in, being in Tampa, that’s a, a great place to get fresh seafood. Now as a Tampa native, something that you can get here, that’s really good. Is some fresh caught red snapper. Oh yeah. Oh my goodness. So delicious as far as Tampa, but as far as, you know, just culturally being, you know, from Louisiana as well, I will eat a whole, you boil a pot of crawfish and I will dump it on the table with some potatoes and corn and have that.
Scott Luton (05:03):
Love it. I love it. Okay. You’re making me really hungry, man. Uh, gosh, to, to, to be able to grow up, not only in Tampa, but also to take advantage of your Louisiana roots, uh, from a food standpoint, that’s gotta be kind of getting your cake and eat it too. Um, alright. So one last question, and then I wanna move into kind of your professional journey. You doing big things there, you mentioned sports, you played a lot of sports as a kid. What was, what was your favorite sport and, and what position did you play?
Chachere Shelton (05:31):
Okay, so that’s kind of a trick question. <laugh> okay. Cause depends on my God. So my actual favorite sport was soccer. Love, love, love soccer, but I was just naturally better at basketball. So I did both. So it’s a small for, and a shooting guard in basketball and I was left Def I left defender in soccer. Okay. And in Florida, unfortunately they’re the same season. So I would, basketball was the primary. And as long as I played four district games during the season for soccer, I still got to be considered a, a player. So <laugh>, I SW my time between those two
Scott Luton (06:05):
Man. Um, so you stayed really, really busy. It sounds like as a youth, um, one, one additional question, cause team sports, you know, every time I sit down with someone that grew up, uh, playing organized sports, they talk about, um, how it impacted their view, uh, their teamwork abilities, their leadership, how they collaborate with others. Did you experience the same thing? Did those experiences playing, you know, team sports impact your professional journey?
Chachere Shelton (06:31):
Absolutely. Absolutely. So being an aviator, it’s all about teamwork. I mean, and there’s a lot of leadership involved and now that I’m, um, a new, newly upgraded captain, a lot of the skills that I learned and developed in my younger years and early developmental years have definitely carried over into the cockpit. Absolutely. Mm
Scott Luton (06:54):
Mm. So airline captain, man. I am so jealous. Uh, as I share with you preach show, I wanted to fly, um, as a kid and wanted to go to the Naval academy right after I saw top gun, uh, as probably the rest of, uh, the world. Right. Um, but let’s talk about your, um, as a kid, you’ve kind of shared some things you were involved with. When did you first, uh, identify how what’s the earliest moment, you know, telling yourself, gosh, I wanna fly jet when I get older.
Chachere Shelton (07:27):
Oh man. So it’s funny. You said, if you asked me this question, I was just talking about this a couple of weeks ago, and this is kind of a combo of a few things that I think you’re going to ask me. So I was 13 years old connecting, making a connecting flight to get to Lafayette, Louisiana to go visit my grandmother. Okay. And so my mom and I were in the airport and I think I was in trouble for something, you know, you know, 13 year old girl, probably being flippant, who knows, you know, kind of one of those things. And my mom and all I cared about was sports, sports, sports. I don’t wanna do anything else. I don’t care about school sports, sports, sports. So my mom says, well, you need to really start thinking about what you wanna be when you grow up, you really need to start diversifying yourself.
Chachere Shelton (08:13):
You can’t just be all basketball and soccer. And I’m like, oh, of course. Well, literally as we’re having that conversation, the first female pilot I’d ever seen is walking by and she meets up with another female pilot. And my jaw is literally like, and I’m like, is that a pilot? And I asked mom, yes, she’s a pilot. And that pilot, her name is Stephanie Grant. She’s a black female pilot. She was on the, the, all the first, all black female flight crew. Wow. So I saw her talking and I was just like, well, I think I wanna be a pilot kind of being a little, but kind of being cute, you know, 13 year old girl being cute. And my mom said, okay, you wanna be a pilot? That’s a good career. So we get on the plane, guess who? My pilot is,
Scott Luton (09:07):
Chachere Shelton (09:08):
Scott Luton (09:10):
Chachere Shelton (09:10):
So I peek my head in the cockpit and she was the first officer at the time. And I said, oh, look at all the pretty buttons and knobs. I can touch all this. This is so cool. And I just thought it was so cool. And she was so nice and sweet. And um, her captain was really cool. He was a really nice guy and oh yeah. Tell him my mom, get her involved in camps. You know, there’s all this stuff going on, all these camps. And Stephanie’s telling my mom about camps. So we get on the plane and we lay in Lafayette and that’s it. So now it’s the following year and summer rolls by. So my mom signs me up for, uh, like a, a leadership, a elite America camp that I went to. So I went to lead America camp and it was a week long and it was in Oklahoma city and they exposed you to all things, aviation. Right? All things, aviation, all things flying. And I was like, oh man, this is really cool. So then the next year I said, mom, can I go to another camp again? Because I really liked that camp. So I, she said, yeah, let me look into it. Well, my mom’s signing me up for this camp called, um, ACE academy.
Scott Luton (10:12):
Okay. So lead America and then ACE academy
Chachere Shelton (10:15):
And then ACE academy. So at ACE academy, though, it was, you can unique about ACE academy is that I would actually get to fly an airplane. Right. So that was, you know, when you’re 15 years old, that seems, that’s like what? I get to fly an airplane. So you apply, you apply. And they do, um, there’s a whole application process and you have to put together a resume and, you know, 14 years, 14, 15 at the time, actually 15 years old trying to put together a resume was a big thing and filling out an application. And I was selected as one of the kids to go to this camp. Yeah. And it was in Atlanta and it was a week long and there were hundreds of kids and it was held by Delta airlines and organization of black aerospace professionals. So they partnered together and put on this camp and they sponsored it, all these kids to go. And I went and guess who I see first day of
Scott Luton (11:06):
Camp, Stephanie Grant,
Chachere Shelton (11:08):
Scott Luton (11:10):
<laugh> well, so can I, for a second there, if I can interject for a second, you know, going all the way back to you and your mom in that airport when you were 13 years old and you first saw, uh, Stephanie Grant, even before you met her, you know, we talked, pre-show the, you know, if we’ve heard anything through, um, almost a thousand interviews here on the main channel and, and lots of, uh, hundreds of others in our other, um, um, channels, a constant theme of see it to be it, right. See it to be it. And gosh, if you’re, if that, if your story there that’s led you clearly just seeing and connecting with, you know, that, that what became a role model in the aviation industry and look at the impact. Look, we’re gonna touch on this in a second, but you are the only black female captain at commute air you’re being you’re you’re that see it to Beit figure for so many others. Um, so do you ever look back and on that moment as a 13 year old and just, um, accept the impact that it had on your trajectory in life?
Chachere Shelton (12:14):
Absolutely. Absolutely. And it really, it really struck home. Um, a month ago I was doing, um, a camp, a kid’s camp, um, with, um, sisters of the skies in Houston. And, um, Stephanie is on the board of sisters of disguise and I’ve seen her around, you know, kept in touch. I mean, she’s, she’s an outstanding individual. And, um, I had, I was a team lead of a group of 13 year old girls, 12 and 13 year old girls, and they’re running all around and they’re excited just like I was, and they’re at their first flight camp where they get to get and fly in airplanes and kind of the same thing that I did. But except for this camp, what sisters of the skies was for one day and they’re asking me, oh, S how did you get to flying? And so Stephanie was like, yeah, how’d you get into flying.
Chachere Shelton (13:00):
And Stephanie was standing right there. And I shared that story and she started to tear up and then, well, she cried. So it made me cry and I’m crying. So now the girls are crying. And so now we just have all these female aviators in the room crying, and she’s just like, she knew a little bit because she kind of remembered me and she kind of remembered me from camp. And she saw me passing through the terminal a couple times, said, always spoke, said, hello, how you doing? But she never really realized how much of an impact she had on my journey. And then in that moment to stand there with these young girls who I am now doing the same thing with these young girls that Stephanie did for me, that that moment hit. And it just was like, wow, like you see it to believe it. I mean, that, that is every, that is entirely see it to believe it right there. I mean, and it really did. It definitely hit home. It did,
Scott Luton (13:50):
I, I appreciate, I really appreciate you sharing that. Uh, what a special moment. And, and gosh, if I’m Stephanie Grant, uh, to know that that not just you, I’m sure there’s lots of others that she inspired to do different things in the aviation industry and beyond. So, um, let’s talk for a minute. So you, you mentioned some of those camps, so for any of our listeners that wanna maybe get into the aviation industry, or maybe parents that might be listening and they’re looking to kind of fuel their kids passions, it sounds like lead America, ACE academy. What else, what other resources would you put out there?
Chachere Shelton (14:22):
Oh man. So now with the way that the industry is moving, I mean, there are camps popping up left and right. I mean, United airlines for one is they’re, they’ve decided a program called aviate. So I would tell parents to look into aviate for their kids, even adults. I mean, no matter what level you’re at in life, whether you’re a teenager getting ready to, you know, at the end of high school career, getting ready to go to college or you’re in college, or you’re a professional, doesn’t matter how old you are looking to look into that program. I mean, United’s doing they’re, they’re moving and shaking when it comes to trying to get more aviators in the industry. So is Delta airlines, um, Delta airlines. I mean, that’s how I got started flying was with Delta airlines and organizational black aerospace professionals partnering up and creating camps like this sisters of the skies.
Chachere Shelton (15:12):
They have camps. They do. I think they do two, maybe two a year. I know they do one in the spring and the summer I think, um, called grow. But that’s for girls. That’s for young ladies. Um, okay. Since it’s sisters of the sky, they, they, they focus on young ladies. Um, that’s kind of their goal, um, organization of black aerospace professionals. They typically gear towards people of color. However, you do not have to be a person of color. If you apply, they will accept. They will look through your application just like they would, anyone else, um, lead America. I’m not, I haven’t been in touch with them in years, but I would look into that. A lot of, there are a lot of local airports that have programs. So I mean, a lot of people think that aviation is just so unattainable, right. They just, they just see it. It’s expensive. It’s time consuming. It’s hard. I don’t have the resources. When in all actuality it is out there, right. You just really, I mean, really just type in a Google search, local flight school. Mm-hmm <affirmative> aviation camps. The big cities always have them. Like Houston has tons of camps. Atlanta has tons of camps. You’ll find camps in Chicago, DC, places like that. And, and they’re free. That’s what people don’t understand. Wow. Is that all these camps that I went to as a kid were all free,
Scott Luton (16:27):
Man. Well, and there’s, there’s a ton, a big need for pilots, which I’m assuming is part of the reason why there’s, there’s a plethora of all these resources to get folks involved and get ’em trained up and, and on their way. So, um, I appreciate you sharing all those resources. Um, you mentioned a second ago, uh, about where you got your start official start. So after you got trained up after you maybe earned your wings, if that’s not too cliche, what was your first paid role? Your, your first job in the aviation industry as you broke in?
Chachere Shelton (17:00):
So my first job in aviation industry was actually working at a local FBO. So I graduated from college with my commercial multier certificate, but I still had to build enough time to be able to fly for anyone. So most would you say
Scott Luton (17:17):
Chachere Shelton (17:17):
F FBO. That’s a fixed based operator. Okay. So, um, anytime you go into like Tampa international or Atlanta on the other side, there’s something called a fixed based operator, an FBO where all the private jets fly into and all the smaller airplanes. Yeah. On the other side of the field, and I worked at one here in Tampa at Tampa executive airport called Skyport aviation. And while I was working there, I was, part-time working at a flight school and all the, um, money that I earned at the flight school went towards my flight account so that I could fly. So, um, and I was working on getting my certified flight instructor certificate so that once I could get that, I could start earning money and building time at the same time. But while I was in the process of working on my flight instructor certificate, a friend of mine flew in and landed at that FBO and saw me working at the front counter and said, what are you doing behind the counter?
Chachere Shelton (18:13):
You’re supposed to be flying like me. And I said, oh, I’m working on my CFI. You know? And, oh, well, apply, apply here at this guy takes low time pilots. We fly assess the 1 72 S and Piper AZ text. And we do survey. We’ll do aerial survey. How many hour? Oh, I only have 300 hours. Perfect submit. So I applied, I get a phone call and he says, Hey, how soon can you start? Wow. And I was like, well, I have to give a two weeks notice. And he was like, okay, so you couldn’t be here tomorrow. And I was like, I would love to be here tomorrow, but I’m actually the customer service manager. So I would have to train someone. He said, well, I tell you what, I’ll give you a month. And you’ll just come in at the new season. New season starts October, 2017. I said, perfect. So I had one month to get all my affairs in order <laugh> and because this job you’re full time on the road, it’s like being a truck driver, you get a duffle bag in a book bag and you don’t come home for a year. Wow. It’s like deployment. It’s like deployment <laugh>. So that was my first,
Scott Luton (19:19):
The end of that year, though, uh, Sasha, at the end of that year, you you’ve got your, your CFI. I think you called it right. Is that,
Chachere Shelton (19:27):
So I did, I stopped getting my CFI, my certified flight structure certificate because I, because people get that to build time. Right.
Scott Luton (19:34):
Ah, gotcha. And you are getting all your time with this new role for over the course of a year flying the Cessnas and the pipes with this new opportunity, right?
Chachere Shelton (19:44):
Absolutely. So I ended up, I said, well, man, this is something I can’t pass up. So I stopped doing my flight, stopped working on that, which is no big deal. Right. I mean, it was just a, a kind of a means to build flight hours. Right. Instead of paying for it out of pocket, because it’s, it’s very expensive. Right. So I got that job being an aerial survey pilot, and that’s exactly what I did. I packed my duffel bag and my book bag. And I went to him in Louisiana and I did flight training for a couple of weeks. Right. And then they assigned me an airplane, a little SESA 1 72. And they launched me and I stayed on the road for actually, I stayed on the road for 13 months and I got to come home one time because I had a project nearby. So that’s what I did. And that was my first paid job as a pilot. And it was about the coolest thing I think I’ve ever done. <laugh>
Scott Luton (20:41):
So, um, I said, and I’m I’m I just pulled up a CNA 1 72. Now I think my uncle I’ve only been up in a private plane once in my entire life it’s back when he would fly. And he had one, a similar aircraft in a, uh, based in Augusta, Georgia. And he took me at one weekend, but it was so hot. We had to, we had to make it a short trip. Um, but what a, what a great, um, uh, meet almost like a chance meeting, you know, your buddy comes in, sees what you’re doing, Hey, check out this, this new role. And then in a month you have this opportunity to earn all the hours you need and fly for a living, not, not take anything away from, uh, customer service, uh, roles, because those are really important. But man, if you wanna fly, I would assume you like being in the cockpit flying. Right. Um, absolutely. So let’s talk now, um, about, when did you join commute air?
Chachere Shelton (21:38):
I joined commute air in April of 2019.
Scott Luton (21:40):
Okay. And how did that, um, how did they hit your radar and how’d you say, Hey, this is what I wanna do.
Chachere Shelton (21:47):
So, uh, it’s kind of a funny story. I have a lot of, <laugh> a lot of full circle moments in my life. So that same friend who landed at the airport and said, oh, no, apply. He called me up and he said, Hey, what are you doing? And I was like, well, I’m starting to look for a job because I have enough flight time now, you know, and my contract with skylines it’s ending. So, um, I’m looking for a job. He said, well, how about, how about you come over to the airline on that? And he was, I think he might have been in pilot recruiting at the time. Ah, and I said, you know, I, I think I’m gonna go the corporate route because I had made being a customer service manager at an FBO. I made a lot of connections, right? I mean, I have met some of the coolest people and very, very well known people that I have the funniest stories about and they all, and, and they all give you their business cards and Hey, you know, they try to connect you and people really do.
Chachere Shelton (22:45):
And I’m noticing about my parents’ generation is that, um, they really, if they see a young person that’s really in their grind and trying to hustle and trying to work their way through corporate America, you guys really do really well about reaching down and saying, here, here, let me be a resource. Let me be a connection. Let me help you out. And let me tell you every time they walked in there. And at the time I think I had started at Skyport when I was 22 years old at the time, it was a young girl. You’re a manager already. You’re only 22. Oh, you fly airplanes. Here’s this here’s that? Well, let me help you let me this. So I collected, I kid you not, I had a, a Rollex of business cards. I said, no, I’m gonna use one of my connections. I’m gonna go try to fly for somebody like waffle house though.
Chachere Shelton (23:28):
The president of WAFF house is the coolest guy I ever met. Maybe even rooms to go. So I, you know, maybe I’m gonna try that and you say, no, no, no. You wanna come to the airlines. You want to come. Now, if you get to the airlines and you don’t like it, use your connections to go corporate. But let me tell you, if you could say our lines and you like it, it’s a totally different lifestyle. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. So I said, you know, I called my dad, talked to my dad about it and he said, well, I think he’s right. Think you ought to give it a shot. So I applied in a couple of weeks later. Yeah. I got called for an interview and then 2019, now it’s 2022. Here I am.
Scott Luton (24:05):
The rests is history. The rests is history. Rest
Chachere Shelton (24:07):
Scott Luton (24:08):
And, uh, speaking of history, uh, again, you’re set you’re, you’re making history. You’re the only black female captain at commute air. And the first to fly this aircraft that had to look up called the ERJ 1 45 now. Yes, sir. From what I see, uh, as I look that up, it’s an Embraer aircraft. If I said that. Right. And I’m a big, yes, sir. Aircraft nude. I was, uh, aircraft nerd. I was an air force, uh, military aircraft. I am a big nerd about, but, um, as I look up, look at this picture of the ERJ 1 45, you know, got the, the two, what? Tell engines, I don’t know what y’all call it industry mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah. Okay. So not on the wings, but it is the two, uh, engines on the back,
Chachere Shelton (24:53):
Um, mounted on the too. Yes.
Scott Luton (24:54):
Yes. So a lot bigger than the Cessna and the Piper aircraft that you flew earlier, give us, um, as a pilot and, and, uh, what you do, how much different is it flying? This might be a dumb question, but I’m curious how much different is it flying? You know, this bigger aircraft and have all these more people on board. And of course it’s a jet versus the prop jobs where you were flying for the survey company.
Chachere Shelton (25:21):
Um, well, first to me, there are no dumb questions. OK. I love all the questions. I don’t think there are any dumb questions, but very, definitely very different. So flying a piston engine versus flying a jet, they just handled differently because of just the size and the weight. Right? So I mean that, it, it was definitely adjustment because flying this jet, this is my first jet first type rating for those that don’t know what a type rating is. Anytime you fly any jet, you have to get something called a type rating to get certified, to fly that particular airplane. Ah, okay. So this was my first type rating, first jet first type rating, first airline. Um, it was, it was an adjustment, you know, um, but at the regional level, that’s what they expect. They bring in first officers where this is their first jet in their first type rating. And they know that it’s going to be an adjustment and commute air has an excellent training department. I mean, in my personal opinion, they’re Subpart or none. They have an excellent training department. They have an excellent line check airmen. The line check airman is the person that will fly with you in the real airplane and teach you how to fly the actual airplane. I had excellent instructors. So, um, it was definitely an adjustment, but I did not feel the pressure of having passengers behind me until I moved to the left seat.
Scott Luton (26:42):
Gotcha man. Um, and if I’m understanding you correctly, so if you, uh, you had to get a specific rating for this aircraft, if you went on to fly, you know, uh, a jumbo jet you’d have to get a specific rating for that specific model. Is that how it works?
Chachere Shelton (26:59):
Yes. So if I wanted to go, um, to the next level, right. So I kind of think of aviation kind of like baseball to me, I’m a big baseball fan. Okay. So, um, the regionals, the aircraft that I fly now, they’re, we’re the minor leagues, right? We’re the minor leagues. And then, uh, United Delta American Southwest. Those are the big leagues. Those are the majors. So, um, when, if I move to the next level of going to a major airline that flies Boeing seven 30 sevens or seven 50 sevens, or an Airbus 3 21, I would need a type rating. So I already have all of my certification to fly those airplanes. Um, but I would need a specific type frame to fly that specific airframe.
Scott Luton (27:43):
Gotcha. Okay. Speaking of, uh, all those airframes I read earlier this morning that, uh, now that folks are getting out and they’re flying more that some of the jumbo jets and the biggest aircraft that had been kind of put, parked and put away for a while, that airlines are bringing them out and putting them back in service to handle the capacity. That’s fascinating. It really is fascinating. Yes. Um, and I guess that adds to the maybe, uh, adds to the prestige of those major leagues as, as maybe more incentive for you to keep. Uh, could you, could you imagine being at the, uh, was it the a three 80 is a really big, could you imagine being the pilot of an aircraft that big?
Chachere Shelton (28:24):
Oh my goodness. I haven’t even that, that just seems like some of it would take a, would take more than a few years to get that ahead, but it’s definitely on my list of goals and my husband, oh, my husband’s also a pilot. He’s an airline pilot and it is his goal to fly the biggest, the fastest and the baddest there is out there. Love it. And he talks to me all the time about that, but yes. So they parked a lot of planes during COVID right. COVID hit everyone across the board. Like just every single industry was deeply impacted by COVID. And the airline industry took a huge hit, you know, before COVID we were short of pilots,
Scott Luton (29:05):
Chachere Shelton (29:07):
We were short of pilots. We were short of airplanes before COVID well, then COVID happened. And now these airlines were doing everything they could way, way beyond my, my understanding. I’m sure. Doing everything they could to figure out, how do we not shut down? Right. How do we not close the doors? How do we stay open? How do we break even? You know what I mean? So what they did was is that they offered early retirement to a lot of those guys that were going to time out. So 65 is the timeout age in the airline industry. So they offered retirement and then they parked a lot of those airframes that they weren’t using. We call it, send it to the desert, that’s what they say, send it to the desert. So they sent a lot of those airplanes to the desert. They parted a lot of them out. Um, and they parked them well, now this summer we’ve, we’ve been operating at twice the amount of operations that we were before COVID happened. Wow. So if you think about that, just think about that. Like, that’s, that’s probably one of those things that a lot of people don’t really understand about what’s going on in the aviation industry right now, we were short staffed before COVID now a lot of people have retired and airplanes have been parked during COVID and now we’re off, we’re operating at double the capacity that we were before, because
Scott Luton (30:28):
Chachere Shelton (30:28):
Scott Luton (30:28):
Of times there’s so much more demand, right. Folks wanna get out and they wanna travel.
Chachere Shelton (30:32):
They wanna travel, they wanna get out. And it’s like, so they’re having to UN unpack those air. They’re probably, they’re having to get those planes out of the desert. And also they’re having all the more reason to kind of circle back what we were talking about before more camps, to get more kids, right. More adults, more interested, more pathway, more career pathway programs to get people interested in flying, because there’s a huge demand for pilots. I mean, I, up, I’ve been at commute air for three years, starting in April of 2019, and I am a captain. So to become a captain, you have to have a thousand hours minimum of qualified experience in that aircraft, in the right seat, before you can upgrade and become a captain in the left seat. Wow. Before 10 years ago, it would’ve taken 10 years ago. It would’ve taken five anywhere from five to eight years of right seat experience before I could go to the left seat.
Chachere Shelton (31:28):
And I truthfully, would’ve gotten to the left seat sooner, except for, I didn’t fly for a whole year during COVID. I was, I was just sitting at home on call because they had nothing for me. So in all actuality, I have about two, maybe two and a half years of flight experience at this airline. And I’m already in a less seat. That’s just unheard of wow. What they need. They just, they’re such a demand and there’s such a need. So all these delayed flights, you may not have a plane. You may not have a pilot <laugh> you may not have a flight attendant, right? I mean, there’s a flight attendant demand. There’s a baggage baggage handler demand gate agent demand. I mean, it’s unreal.
Scott Luton (32:07):
So listeners, if you’re looking for good jobs industries that of course that continue to persevere been around forever will be around forever check out the aviation industry. And if you wanna fly, Hey, look at what SA is doing. Uh, and I wanna, I wanna talk about that for a minute. Captain Shelton, that’s gotta be music to your ear as captain Shelton. <laugh>, uh, now that you’ve been able to move over to the left seat, um, what does it mean to you? And, and, and when I, when you, cause you are a role model, whether you like it or not, whether you look at it as, um, uh, the, the only black female captain at commute air, or whether you look at it as a young person that has really moved up, um, the chain and has, um, you know, in that left seat, you know, from a mult, uh, from multiple different perspectives, you’re, you’re a role model. What does it mean to you?
Chachere Shelton (32:55):
It means the world. I mean, it’s, it’s hard to put, it’s hard to put for me to even express in words, I’ll start with this. So the first to ever do it at commuter, her name is Dion Beckford brand. She’s a United airlines now. So she flew the beach 1900 for commuter over 17 years ago, first and only. And then they, and then the, I think after the beach, 1900 commuter had the dash eight, there were none. And then there was the ERJ 1 45. Now, when I came to commute air, there were no black female pilots at all. So for two years, I was the only one at the company at all. Wow. And then after COVID, um, we got a couple of hires. So now there are two more, there’s a total of three of us. And I’ve heard that there’s one that’s in the training department right now.
Chachere Shelton (33:52):
I can’t wait to find her and gets to know her and meet her. But you know, it’s such a rarity to see a black female airline pilot. There are less than 150 black female airline pilots to give you a little perspective. I wanna say Delta airlines alone has roughly 12,000 pilots. Okay. They have, I think six total black female. Wow. Pilots, I think six to eight. It’s got it’s no more than 10. I know that for fact, that there’s no more than 10. So think about that. Like, there are less than 150, over a hundred thousand pilots in this country. There are less than 150, so that’s less than 1% and less than 1% and then less than 1% again. So, I mean, there’s a, there’s a huge responsibility that I feel when I’m walking through that terminal, you wouldn’t believe the overwhelming response of people, whether they’re black, white, Hispanic, and it does not matter what they look like, male or female, I get stopped every single day to take pictures with people.
Chachere Shelton (35:07):
I get stopped because they just don’t see it. And I never, I never realized it until I put on this uniform and became an airline pilot. I never realized how rare it was. I just did it. It just never registered cuz I was so focused on just flying and what it means to people to be able to see that representation really does matter. Mm-hmm <affirmative> it changes the game for me, it was always Stephanie Grant. Right. And that’s, but I just never fully understood the magnitude to which it impacts people to see that representation across the board. And now that I’m a female captain at commute air, I mean the response that I got, the response that I’ve gotten from my coworkers and the response that I’ve got even from management has been overwhelming. And it’s just like, I mean, I, it fills me with a sense of pride and at the same time, it fills me with a sense of responsibility and an obligation, a positive obligation to, to get more involved, to, to bridge that gap so that there can be more female aviators. There can be more aviators of color and just aviators in general. And I mean, it’s truly a blessing to be in the position that I am, but I will tell you, I hope I’m not in this position for long because there’s two coming up behind me and I can’t wait for them to join to get that fourth. You know, for me, I may be the only right now, but the goal is to not be the only for long.
Scott Luton (36:41):
I love that. Uh, gosh, we, we, we could easily have a, a three hour conversation about just what you shared in the last, uh, five minutes or so. Um, I’ve got a hunch with this next question, but I want to ask it, uh, we’ve heard a lot about Stephanie Grant and the impact she’s had on your career. Of course your, your folks. Um, but who else, what other role model that’s really inspired you to do what you do?
Chachere Shelton (37:06):
So my mentor, his name is Jared Hodge. He’s Delta airlines, captain, and one, you know, role models, Stephanie Grant United. And she’s a first officer for United and Jared Hodges. My mentor at Delta airlines. He’s a captain there. He is really, I mean he is ever since I met him as an instructor at that camp when I was 15, he was also one of my instructors at the camp that I did the following year. So I, I went back the next year and was, um, sponsored to solo in a solo flight academy that Delta and OAP together collaborated and sponsored me where I met my husband <laugh> and, um, we both got to fly an airplane in solo and fly it by ourselves. And I, um, he has followed me and caught, stayed in touch with me from the time that I was 16 years old.
Chachere Shelton (37:57):
And we have spoken every six months over the last 14 years. And he has every step of the way, really just held my hand through the process and a good mentor. Well, in this industry can make or break your career. It can Excel your career. It can shorten it. I mean, a good mentor goes a long way. So, you know, I’m very grateful to have Jared as a mentor of mine. And I would say another one of my role models, the older I get. I mean, my mom, let me tell you something. My mom is an outstanding woman. Like she, so my mom, I, you know, Kim, Dr. Kim more, very well. Right. And Dr. Kim and I, we have a wonderful relationship. I mean, she’s gotta be the best bonus mom out there. I’m not even joking you. She and I have a wonderful relationship and we love spending time together.
Chachere Shelton (38:50):
And my mother, I know you don’t, you don’t know my mother. And, um, she is, I don’t wanna get this wrong. She is the director of business systems and giving for grace family church, the church that my parents all attend and the older I get, the closer we get, because she is just an outstanding human being. I mean, just the way she handles things with such grace, that something that she’s teaching me to work on right now was an extension of grace. Right? And I mean, man, she is just, I call her, I’m grown and married and out of the house. Doesn’t matter, mom, mom, same thing with my dad. You asked my dad, how many times I call him, dad, I need help with this dad. I need help with my LinkedIn profile. Dad, I need help with my resident. Mom, I need help with you to, I’m doing an interview.
Chachere Shelton (39:39):
Mom, can you help me? Can you help prep me? And it’s just like, you know, my parents, all of them are just, I lean on my parents so much and I am just so blessed to have them. And the more, the more I get out into the world and being an aviator, I see a lot of the world and I meet a lot of different people. And I can say that people just don’t have the parents that I have mm-hmm and I am so blessed. I mean, so I, I just, I would say they, they’re my roster. They’re my starting lineup for sure. And I’ll, I’ll make my husband on my start lineup too. My parents and my husband are my starting lineup. Definitely.
Scott Luton (40:16):
I love it, man. Um, alright. So, uh, I really appreciate your approach to this conversation. Uh, I think all of us are, you know, you make others feel so good as part of your journey and, and it almost like it’s just part of who you are. Um, you’re a very grateful individual as well, just, but what you shared there about your folks, um, you know, gratitude is such an important part. I think of our journey. Cause as you pointed out, you look elsewhere around the world and gosh, we, we do have so much to be thankful for. Um, alright. So switching back for a minute about business, um, if you think about commercial air travel and operations and, and, and all aspects of that huge industry, but you know, so much better based on what you do than others. What’s one thing that might surprise some of our listeners about that industry.
Chachere Shelton (41:09):
I would say the biggest surprise right now is just touching on people. Not really understanding just how, um, short staffed the industry is. I mean, I’m constantly getting phone calls from friends and family, like life, like I canceled, why did it get canceled? What’s going on? What’s happening? Um, people not really understanding what exactly is happening in the aviation industry. Now I would say that that is probably one things that people don’t really realize. Um, another thing, people, something that I didn’t really realize is, uh, something you touched on at the beginning, how much cargo we move? I had no idea. I just thought we moved passengers. No, we moved boxes. So, um, so that’s something. Um, but I would definitely say the biggest thing for me right now to stress to people is understanding of what’s going on in this industry. And also how many different avenues there are to get in that cockpit.
Chachere Shelton (42:09):
So many people stop me and say, man, I’ve always wanted to be a pilot. You told me that you always wanted to be a pilot. So you better believe that as soon we get off this meeting, I’m going to blow your phone up and harass you about getting in the air. I kid you not by the, by this time next year, you’re going to have your private pilot license, mark my word on that. And, and yet you, you did something to yourself and you thought, oh, I’m gonna bring her on and I’m gonna talk. You should have never told me you wanted to
Scott Luton (42:34):
In the air. Oh man, oh man
Chachere Shelton (42:36):
Trouble. I would love people to realize, um, it’s not that the road to, to getting in the cockpit is easy, but it’s that the road to getting the cockpit is, um, attainable. You can do it. And I think people just don’t understand quite how to, um, and, and they see it and they’re just like overwhelmed.
Scott Luton (42:58):
Chachere Shelton (42:59):
Right, right. And they think, they think, oh, well I’m too old. Not true. Oh, well I, I don’t have the right vision. Not true,
Scott Luton (43:06):
Man. Okay. All
Chachere Shelton (43:07):
Right. I’ve got this. I’ve got that. I’ve got this. No, if you want to fly airplanes, we will get you flying. Okay. And that’s something. So the way the industry is and how to get to that cockpit, I don’t think people really fully quite understand. And while I would like to help people get a full picture, I’d like to get more people flying. Yeah, I really would.
Scott Luton (43:31):
I love it. Um, going back to something you said, uh, that your mom is helping you with, I think extending grace, right. I think with all what’s going on, we’re all, you know, this, this, at this point in, in civilization, you know, after, after the pandemic years and we’re still fighting globally to get truly, you know, uh, with both feet in that post pandemic environment, you know, stress and, and just, uh, all the frustrations, all that stuff. And then when folks fly, I, I don’t wanna overly generalize, but I think a lot of folks take it out on those folks at the gates, you know, or, or, uh, the air crew or what have you. We gotta extend grace. I think collectively to these folks, because to your point so much is outta their hands. You know, there’s limited capacity, whether we like it or not.
Scott Luton (44:17):
And just like in global supply chain, sometimes things go wrong, right. And, and that connection, you know, is gonna be three hours late or whatever, you know, it’s just the nature of the global organism and ecosystem. That is the airline industry. So let’s, let’s, let’s all agree to extend grace to the folks, working hard to make things happen. Okay. So we’ve, we’re coming, coming down a home stretch and we talked pre-show about Eureka moments, know kind of a standard go-to question. I love you. I’ve learned so much from asking people their Eureka moment. Um, cause we, you know, there’s certain days where we there’s 10 of them I’ll know, and those can be good days and that can be bad days, but it’s all about what we learn from those and how we apply it. So to you, uh, captain Shelton, I wanna ask you, you, what’s one of your favorite Eureka moments from the last couple years?
Chachere Shelton (45:11):
Well, so recently I was afforded the opportunity to be a part of our union. So, um, we have airline pilots, associating association, Alba, and I was able to join the union on contract negotiations, man. So I had an opportunity to be with the upper level management of our company, along with my colleagues, working with them on the contract. And man, I learned a lot. I mean, you just, as an employee, you’re like, I want this, I want that. I want more pay. I need more rest. I want better everything. Right. <laugh> so going to contract negotiations, I really got to see the company’s perspective on what they could and could not do. Um, as far as operations go and money and how we earn money, how we make money, how can we operate? Um, it gave me an opportunity to see management as humans, right? Cause you always, you never, we never really see them. We just see them in emails here and there. It, it, it allowed me an opportunity to humanize it. And let me tell you commute airs, upper management is sub part two. None. They are some of the most wonderful. When I tell you, I have never worked at a place where I could call our CFO or the head of HR or the vice president. Hey, SA, how’s it going? What can I do for you?
Scott Luton (46:43):
Wow. How about that?
Chachere Shelton (46:44):
Of an airline of an airline, right. That’s pretty, that’s pretty impressive. And, um, being a part of the union, I really got to go to them, but I guess that moment of understanding how flight operations work and the ins and outs of scheduling, how many pilots we have to have, how many airplanes we have to have, how many flight attendants do we have to have, um, working within that scheduling, that’s kind, that’s one of the things I just never understood how it works because as a pilot, all I care about is flying the airplane safely, right. Implying the airplane well, right. That’s kind of my focus, right? So, um, it really gave me an opportunity to see how scheduling works. Um, and with that being said, I would always suggest to people if you’re ever flying anywhere and you have a connection, take the first flight of the day <laugh>
Scott Luton (47:36):
<laugh>, we, that that’s outstanding advice and perspective and, and touching on that scheduling thing, you know, I think as a supply chain nerd here, um, of course we are, uh, right. Rightfully so consumed with planning and, and, and by extension scheduling, you know, uh, scheduling is part of planning, but it, it is nothing short of a modern day, Marvel, how all these airlines, including commute air go about the planning because you know, it goes so far beyond just planning, which Aircrafts can be where, you know, all of the things that goes with that, you know, related to the cargo related to the ground crew related to the air crew related to, uh, just the gates and the space they’re gonna be at related to the connections. It is nothing short than amazing. And whenever I go through, especially, uh, Hartfield Jackson, international airport in Atlanta, and what one, you know, most times of the year, it’s the busiest.
Scott Luton (48:29):
I think them in, uh, Heathrow in London, sometimes I’ve seen them kind of go one or two, but typically Atlanta’s the busiest. It is amazing what goes on and what the people do day in and day out to, to move the rest of us in our cargo. So thank you on that, from that perspective, captain Shelton, thank you for what you do. Thank you for spending a little bit of time with us here today to share your, uh, your fascinating backstory, uh, all the different points where your trajectory, you know, kind of changed a bit and sometimes in big ways, such as the, the Stephanie Grant moment that you’ll never forget probably. And I bet she won’t either. Uh, and then all you’re doing now, you know, uh, which, you know, a poster child for the industry, you know, poster child for bringing, you know, recruiting pilots, uh, you know, joining a union, the business side of the industry. It it’s, you know, uh, we’re gonna need a whole series to get down to all the things you’re up to sash. Um, how can folks connect, uh, with you or with commute air?
Chachere Shelton (49:31):
So for me, you can connect with me on LinkedIn. Um, my dad and I have been working on, on that <laugh> so you can connect in with, with me on LinkedIn. Uh, SARE Shelton. I think it’s my, I’m not sure how they it’s. I think it’s just the regular LinkedIn slash SARE Shelton. That’s my URL on that. But you could just type in SARE Shelton, um, or you can connect through my dad, James Moore, um, you’ll see him on there. Um, and as far as commute air, so commute air is on all social media platforms. Air has Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram. Um, if you reach out to them, a, um, HR department or recruiting department will get in touch with you. If you are in that phase of your career, where you are, um, close to reaching flight time to be able to apply at an airline, you can always reach out to me. I can connect you with somebody who is a pilot recruiter. I have a very good friend of mine. Um, her name is Emma. She’s a pilot per commuter at commuter. She’s aware that I’m doing this. And I told her anybody that wants to get connected, I can send her away. Um, but you can also, even if you just want, uh, tips on how to just get in the air, I would just say, wherever you live, get on Google and type in local flight schools.
Scott Luton (50:44):
Chachere Shelton (50:45):
Just an easy, and first that easy in a flight school will pop up. You’ll click on that and you’ll call that number and you will say, Hey, I wanna do a discovery flight, and it’s gonna be anywhere from 90 to a hundred dollars. And they’re gonna take you in an airplane for an hour, and you’re going to go up there and you’re going to say, I absolutely love this. This is what I wanna do. Or are you gonna say, this is not for me? <laugh> <laugh>
Scott Luton (51:08):
Chachere Shelton (51:09):
Start there. That’s how you start. You just go ask for a discovery flight and that’s how you start, but you can always reach out to me via LinkedIn. I’ll do the best I can to get back to you as quickly as I can please be patient with me as I do fly a lot. Um, and you can also just, um, reach out to commuter as well. If you were at that phase in your career, or you’re eligible for hire,
Scott Luton (51:30):
It’s just that easy and we’re gonna make it even easier. Uh, all the links that, uh, SA mentioned as part of the interview there in the last couple minutes, we’re gonna put one, uh, we’re gonna put all the hyperlinks there and episode page. So you’re one, one click away from connecting with her, from connecting with commute air, uh, you name it and, and she gave a for your, your potential pilots out there. If you’re interested in that, just Google flight, local flight schools, and ask for that discovery flight, you can learn a lot, probably not only about being a pilot, but a lot about yourself in those discovery flights. Um, SARE Shelton. Thanks so much for your time here today. Uh, I really appreciate it as busy as you are. I love the uniform by the way. Uh, our, my, my friend, Justin Daniels, who’s, uh, engineers, these great episodes here. That’s at one of his first comments. It is a sharp looking interview, uh, uniform. I reminds me of my time in the air force. Um, although you’re a captain, I was, I you’ve got, uh, and I bet you’ve got the, uh, the captain hat that probably commands a lot of attention and respect, right.
Chachere Shelton (52:30):
<laugh> I need, I don’t wear it though. <laugh>
Scott Luton (52:33):
Chachere Shelton (52:34):
It usually, that’s usually something that you wear in the wintertime. You wear the hat and the blazer in the summertime. It’s just so hot. <laugh> so we always try
Scott Luton (52:43):
To, we CA you down a little bit, is
Chachere Shelton (52:45):
That right? Yeah. In the summertime, you’ll typically just see us in our, our white shirt with our S and tie and our in our dress slacks and the winter. You’ll see the full hat in the, uh, the brave, the blazer.
Scott Luton (52:57):
<laugh> love it. Uh, alright. Hey, big. Thanks to, uh, our guests here today. SARE, uh, Shelton airline captain with commute air that’s, captain Shelton to many other other than our parents is captain Shelton, everyone else, but, uh, loved I’ll tell you what, uh, listeners loved her, her point of view, her expertise, her journey, her enthusiasm, her her inspiring words. I mean, gosh, you spent an hour with SA here, uh, and, and you’re gonna run wanna feel like running through the brick wall or like the one behind me here, but whatever you do, uh, to our listeners, hopefully you enjoy this conversation as much as I have, uh, Scott Luton and the whole supply channel team challenging you to do good to give forward. And Hey, be like SAS here. Be the change that’s needed across the globe. And what that said. We’ll see next time. Right back here on supply chain now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our supply chain. Now community check out all of our firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure you subscribe to supply chain. Now anywhere you listen to podcasts and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on supply chain now.
Chachere Shelton is a experienced, decisive aviation leader who excels at generating new ideas and solutions to get her job as a pilot done. She is currently a Captain at CommutAir, doing business as United Express, a regional carrier for United Airlines. Chachere thrives on new challenges and has rose to those challenges in the private airport, commercial aviation, and humanitarian and disaster relief environments. Connect with Chachere 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 transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.