Did the military invent logistics? For Lt. Gen Leslie C. Smith, who now serves as the W.E. Carter Jr. Leadership Chair for the Parker College of Business at Georgia Southern University, there’s no question of the impact his military experience made in terms of the depth of knowledge and practical experience he brings to educating the next generation of supply chain leaders. On this episode, Lt. Gen Smith joins Jerry Burke, Professor of Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Georgia Southern, to chat with Scott about supply chain challenges past, present and future. Whether you’re choosing an educational path or looking to make a career change, get practical insight and advice from two seasoned supply chain leaders growing a premier undergraduate supply chain program.
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Scott Luton (00:33):
Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton here with you on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show. Hey today, we’ve got a great show lined up where we’re gonna be talking leadership education, the extraordinary power of the new talent coming in the industry these days. And of course, you know, supply chain. So with that said, I wanna welcome in our esteemed guest here today. We have Leslie Smith, Lieutenant general, us army retired. I think I got that right. General Smith. That’s right. Who now serves as CEO of the LVC Smith corporate group. Uh, Les, how you doing, sir?
General Leslie Smith (01:05):
I’m good. Good to see you again, Scott,
Scott Luton (01:06):
You as well. I enjoyed our, our warmup conversation and now the real deal, looking forward to getting your, your POV here today. And you’ve brought with you a colleague of sorts, Jerry Burke, professor of logistics and supply chain management at Georgia Southern university. Jerry, how you doing, sir? Hey, never better. Never better. <laugh> that’s right. It is, you know, on that note, it is a intriguing time to be in supply chain, you know, warts and all as, as someone famous once said, and it presents a ton of opportunity in innovation and gosh, what are doing at Georgia Southern university, engaging these young minds that are gonna bring a lot solutions to what we’re fighting through. I bet. I bet life is never been better, Jerry. Yeah. Doing well here. Thank you. All right. So Les and Jerry, before we get into the heavy lifting, and we’re gonna talk more about the program there, the, the program on the grow, we’re gonna talk about industry and, and some other things, but let’s get to know you both better first and Les. I wanna start with you. Uh, I had a sneak peek into the Les Smith story way back when, when I saw you, when you were still in the army, when you addressed, uh, a vet Atlanta event at ups world headquarters. And I, I was like, man, we gotta get this guy on a podcast. And now you continue to big things. Tell us though, where did you grow up and talk about your upbringing?
General Leslie Smith (02:25):
Yeah, so I’m, I’m originally from Atlanta, Georgia, but I, I would say I’m from Atlanta and Mississippi. So my, my family came here, uh, when I was, uh, you know, before I can remember I was born here, uh, in the city of Atlanta. Okay. Uh, and, uh, but my father died when I was five. Mm. So my mom had the decision to make of what she wanted to do and who she wanted to expose her children to. So instead of going back to Mississippi, great thing to place in, go and visit, she cares to keep me I’m the middle kid, by the way, my brother who’s younger than me and my sister in the city of Atlanta. So we could have access and exposure to positive things and going from there. Uh, are we gonna talk about antidotes coming up later? Or you wanna talk about it now? No,
Scott Luton (03:06):
I, you know, gosh, there’s so much there. I mean, your mom made a big decision and made that sacrifice kept y’all together. So you could, uh, be exposed to, to some of the things, great things that Atlanta had to offer. Tell us more about your upbringing. What, what up sticks out? Yeah.
General Leslie Smith (03:19):
Well, I will tell you that. So while, while my father died, you know, uh, he’s a Korean war vet too. Um, I always knew what was the expectations for me. So there was no. So, you know, you can’t feel sorry for yourself. There, there are things that as a Smith man you’re expected to be and to do so at a young age in Mississippi, I saw business people doing things. I saw logistics, uh, of, you know, my uncles who were, uh, had farms and had businesses and how they got things from place to place. So it was inculcated in me in a, in a young age. So I think your environment has a lot to do with what you go, not necessarily what your circumstances are, but the environment that you’re placed in and, and you get, uh, going from there. And, and we’ll talk about Georgia Southern later, but it played a key key role in, in part of that too.
Scott Luton (04:11):
Wonderful. Looking forward to that. And, you know, we talked, uh, before I shift over to Jerry, we talked, uh, last week on, on the prep conversation, how folks that serve in the military yes. And just keep serving and keep serving. I mean, gosh, your family has a legacy and you continue to fulfill it. So that is incredible. So Jerry, let’s talk about where did you grow up and let’s talk about truck upbringing a little bit.
Jerry Burke (04:34):
Well, I grew up a lot of places. My father was in the Navy listed man, and so we Trae up and down the east coast. Uh, for the most part I was born in Jacksonville beach, Florida. Okay. Uh, Mary Young went to Puerto Rico onto Virginia Beach, Orlando, Charleston,
Scott Luton (04:53):
You weren’t lying <laugh> west.
Jerry Burke (04:55):
And, and then back to Jacksonville for high school. So ended up, uh, he retired in Jacksonville and I finished up high school in Jacksonville. And, um, that’s sort of my background and where I grew up. Um,
Scott Luton (05:08):
So Mo let me ask you a question, Jerry. So moving around through all those formative years, how did I impact, how did you adjust, you know, getting, getting to know and meet new people every couple years? It sounds
Jerry Burke (05:21):
Well, I mean, in a way we had, uh, you know, some stability in the family. I had two sisters and a, a younger brother and mom and dad, obviously. So we were a, a six pack moving around <laugh> and, uh, so we had some, some stability with that, but it was always hard every two or three years, especially at the time, it was viewed as a huge negative leaving friends and familiar environments. But now I look back on those experiences as opportunities, uh, a way for me to develop my adaptability and to cope with uncertainty, which is something that, um, uh, you know, it’s hard for young people to, to think about that, that kind of uncertainty. So I got to experience it early on in my life.
Scott Luton (06:00):
Hmm. All right. So I’m gonna ask you both kind, kind of think of a, a rapid fire response here. So when you think of toys or you think of food in your upbringing, what, what do you look back on now and say, man, if I didn’t have that, it would’ve been a different childhood, less, I gotta start with you fried
General Leslie Smith (06:19):
Scott Luton (06:20):
I’m with you. I’m with you have a favorite. Have you had, have you Hady bees yet? You know, that they, they moved, they came to Atlanta a couple years ago and I have
General Leslie Smith (06:28):
Not. No, right. No, no, my mom’s fried chicken. Yeah. Okay. That’s, that’s a requirement of my family for that. Every birthday I will have fried.
Scott Luton (06:37):
Well, Hey, let’s, we’ll have to compare recipes. Okay. And I wanna, I wanna I’ll buy Hatty bees on me, uh, in, in the weeks ahead. Okay. Okay. All right. So that’s gonna tough to top Jerry, what about you?
Jerry Burke (06:48):
Well, mine’s more on the, on the sports side again, like, like I said, moving around a lot, the way you could connect with, to actually play sports. And, you know, with these military bases, a lot of the times they have, you know, organized leagues and things like that. So I got to play football and basketball and baseball and get to meet people that way. So without sports, I think it would’ve been much harder.
Scott Luton (07:09):
Mm that’s such a great, you know, that probably goes unsaid so often. And that’s such an important part of our upbringing. Yes. All right.
General Leslie Smith (07:16):
I agree with that. If I could. Yeah, please. As, as a senior commander and I, you know, having my kids grew up in, in the biggest thing that if I could get kids and that my wife Andra always talked about this, how we could get our kids into whatever program we had at base a, to go to base B, because then they’ll have something forward to look to. And they wouldn’t feel like outsiders. I think that’s critical not only in, in the military, but as we know, people will move around. How do we make sure they can, they can have that stability for the family, which in turn helps, helps us workforce
Scott Luton (07:51):
Agreed, agreed. You know, that outsider label can be so tough when you’re in those early years and, and grade school and whatnot. So well said there. So let’s shift gears as much as I would love to explore more stories, uh, from y’all’s upbringing. Cause I I’m convinced we’re not getting some good stuff, but I’ll save that for a later. So let’s talk about leadership, one of our favorite topics around here. So prior to your current roles, when you look back and you think of, you know, one stop of that long successful military journey, let’s Smith, or, you know, part of your, your background, your journey, Jerry, what’s one role that really shaped how you look at the world and let’s go with Jerry first here. Yes.
Jerry Burke (08:28):
Good. Well, I was the first to go to college in my family. So I was pretty naive getting into, uh, the university and was not a very good undergraduate student to be honest, um, and work my way through college. Um, supervising people and food service like on campus and catering. So just got to know people and, and I always gravitated to be in a sort of a leadership position even, even early on, got into graduate studies and did a lot better and a lot of international students there. So, uh, again, we did a lot of teamwork and I would gravitate into the leadership roles and coordinating the groups. And then finally here, uh, in my first faculty job at Georgia Southern, you know, you typically hold off and be like an academic administrator or department chair until you’re been here quite a while, but there was a need after, um, as soon as I was able to, to fill the role. And, uh, the people asked me to do it. So I did that for about 10 years, but all in all in all these different contexts, you know, the, the, the, the, the, the resounding truth to me is that human resources are the most flexible and valuable resources. And that’s especially true in supply chains. We’ve learned that, uh, over the last year or so,
Scott Luton (09:40):
I, I cannot, that is a hall hallelujah moment. We talked about Eureka moment slot, but that’s a hallelujah moment. We interviewed, uh, Monica tri with N four here in recent weeks. And one of the, her great things she shared, and I’m gonna part butcher this, but she said the people of global, uh, the people have been the salvation of global supply chain during the pandemic not technology. And so I completely echo your sentiment there. The human factor is, is, uh, critical. All right. So that’s a good one, Jerry. So Les, that’s gonna be a tough one to add to, but tell us about a key, key leadership role for you.
General Leslie Smith (10:13):
Yeah, I think, uh, serving as an army is six. You six inspector general. When I thought I was gonna retire as a two star was, was seminal. And, and it’s, you, we won’t have time to talk about it in, in this podcast, but everything you do builds upon something else, and you don’t realize what is building toward until you step into the job. And just the difference between the two star to the three star level is like a different planet. Uh, and you understand that, you know, you work for the secretary of the army and the chief of staff of the army, who in turn work for the secretary of defense, who in turn works for the president. So that’s the scope of what level we’re talking about. Wow. And it, it can be intimidating until you realize that your entire life, your entire career, again, coming back to, I learned at Georgia Southern about the Southern pride and, and what it means to be an Eagle played a key role in that development, which ties back all the way to where I’m from and how it’s brought up. And, and those things are tied together. Cause I, I think we are, we have to make sure we take the time to do the things, to help people understand what their potential is and show them the opportunities via who we are and what we’ve been.
Scott Luton (11:23):
Mm man, well said, I gotta ask you. So I was an air force airman, so I know that a Lieutenant journal has three stars. Now, the Marines and the us Navy structure throws before a loop, but three stars. I don’t have the numbers. I should have looked this up, but there can’t be that many. I mean, you’re one of very few, right?
General Leslie Smith (11:40):
Yeah. So I, I, I tell people all the time, 1.3 million soldiers and civilians about 350 active duty, general officers, 45 of those are three star general. Wow. So that, I mean, the numbers are, you know, pretty small. Yeah.
Scott Luton (11:56):
That is a very prestigious group. All right. We’re gonna have to have you on veteran voices and we’ll talk more about that incredible journey. Sure. Thank y’all for sharing that. Let’s, let’s go, you know, I mentioned Eureka moment a moment ago, and thankfully, you know, the silver lining in the last couple, when it comes to supply chain is there’s been lots of those which has driven lots of innovation. It’s really attacked a lot of things in our blind spot, which all that and more is gonna strengthen industry for, you know, the year, the months ahead, the years ahead and better prepare for the next curve ball. Now we all hope it’s not nearly as big of a problem as the, the pandemic, but there’ll be certainly more challenges that test global supply chain. So with all that said, Jerry, I’ll come back to you. When you think of your bigger Eureka moments, uh, in 2021, let’s say what comes to mind? Yeah.
Jerry Burke (12:44):
So, uh, for me, I have an interest in this phenomenon. That’s probably talked about a lot. It’s called the bull whip effect, and that’s where you get variability and demand information at. And it amplifies from the end consumer all the way up to the manufacturer. And in 2021, it clarified for me that transportation is pervasive between each supply chain link, both inbound and outbound. So the flexibility of transport services and systems are key to handling those disruptions when, when it, when they happen to, to crop bump in a system. So supply chains, uh, more resilient, especially through more robust transportation services.
Scott Luton (13:23):
I completely agree. We probably are both. If, if we could talk to ourselves like from 2017 and say, you’re gonna hear the, your words supply chain, someone’s gonna add a hyphen to it. And you’re gonna hear bull whip career other day amongst the general populace. We’d say you’re crazy, but that’s exactly what we’ve seen, uh, general Smith. Let’s talk about your bigger Eureka moment from last year.
General Leslie Smith (13:44):
Yeah, I, I think especially when it comes to supply chain, you know, as the inspector general we’re responsible inspections, assistance and investigations for 1.2 million, there’s 1.3 million soldiers in civilians. But what I I’ve saw amongst my peers and it really takes an entire whole of, uh, us army government is when COVID hit, how, um, disconnect is not the right word, how strain our processes and systems already were. And so, you know, you don’t think about, uh, from a military perspective, what role and part that you, you play, but that really exacerbated or manifest or showed us what the problems were. That’s why we had to mobilize soldiers to go to hospitals. That’s why we had to, to, uh, you know, the defense, uh, acquisition act to, to get things in place. So it showed the strain across the board. So the question that we have to think about is, okay, uh, I think some of the terminology was just in time logistics, right? That was a good buzzword, but the question is where, where should it be in, in the pipeline while it might be cheaper initially the habit overseas, what’s the, what’s the, the risk factor Trump’s benefit factor to, to do that. And so, uh, the higher you go up in the rank, in the military, that’s really what you’re thinking about, logistics, how do you get people equipment and to the decisive point to make the mission? Cause they can’t get there. They can’t do the mission. Right.
Scott Luton (15:10):
And right. Well in, you know, it can be argued that the military invented logistics, right? And, and so I dour <laugh>, so there’s always been a lot of synergy. I would go on to say that beyond the, the history linkages, my time in air force and my time in, in the manufacturing industry are very, you know, that’s that sense of camaraderie. Mm-hmm <affirmative> team mission. I mean, there’s a lot of synergy between the military and global supply chain. Hey, one quick follow up question then I’m gonna, I wanna talk about what you’re doing now and Jerry, I’m gonna come to you and talk about the, the vibrant program there at Georgia Southern you’ve said it inspector general a couple times you were the 66th inspector general in the army, I believe in a nutshell, what, what does that role do?
General Leslie Smith (15:50):
So the inspector general works for the chief of staff of the army and the secretary army responsible for those inspections, assistance and investigation. For that 1.3 million soldiers in civilians, I was, I’m a prevention guy. So there’s a reactionary part. You can be like, something happens in ha I’m gonna jump on it. Right. I’m to the left of it. I’m a prevention strategy guy, similar to let’s see what the links are, where the problems are, so we can help fix those links before they fray and break.
Scott Luton (16:19):
Okay, man, there is so much Jerry. Yes. I know when it comes to supply chain, man, we could, we could have talk for days about that. Yes <laugh>. Okay. All right. So Jerry, let’s, let’s come back to you. Uh, I’d love to talk more about, uh, what you’re doing now and of course, the vibrant supply chain program at Georgia Southern university. So tell us more.
Jerry Burke (16:38):
Yeah, our program’s been around since the, the, the late nineties. It was kind of an early program in logistics and supply chain, uh, with a focus on the transportation management and then, uh, also on the sourcing and supply strategy stuff. So we started out kind of small and built it our over time. Now we have about 400 undergraduates enrolled in the, in the supply chain program. We have two sides of it. One is, uh, logistics and intermodal transportation, which tends to be the bigger portion. And then we have an operations and supply management side, which maybe is 15% of the students, but we’ve grown it, uh, kind of organically just through good job placements and word of mouth advertising from students and their parents. And then we have a good, we have a, a really great faculty here, um, which surprises a lot of people.
Jerry Burke (17:25):
We’re, we’re ranked in the top 25 on certain empirical research ratings around the world. Uh, so we, we do teach well and we, we also research 12 and, uh, we really care about student success here. I think it’s not just lip service. And, uh, we put our money where our mouth is on that one. We have a logistics round table every semester here, we bring, uh, 30, 35 companies to campus and they meet up with about a hundred plus students. And, uh, they do breakout sessions and they do like a career networking event where they pass out resumes and business cards. And then we also have a lot of scholarship opportunities for students here. We’ve developed, uh, several through our university foundation. I’ve sort of gotten one off the ground with the remote association in north America. And it provides about $45,000 worth of support each, each year. A lot of that goes straight to tuition scholarships, but some is for travel too, which is another big draw, right? Uh, we get, we get our students out there and see what’s going on in the field, go to conferences. Um, we go to big, um, big event in long beach every year called the IANA expo and students get to mingle with some of the industry leaders in, in the intermodal freight.
Scott Luton (18:37):
So it sounds like to me, uh, really being, um, laser focused on the student experience or SX and the latest X, maybe providing them opportunities, scholarship it’s exposure to corporate, uh, the folks that are doing the stuff. Um, and then, and then getting the word out of all of that stuff. Sounds like a lot of the secrets to, to all the growth and success, 400 students and the undergraduate. Is that just undergrad? That’s right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> outstanding. Okay. So, uh, general Smith, I bet you got a couple things to talk about the robust joy or just Southern university supply chain program.
General Leslie Smith (19:13):
Yeah. I, I will tell you the part, part of the reason why I asked Jerry to be on the net with you today, cuz it ties in exactly what you’re talking about. So as I was retiring, uh, the Dean and the president came to me and says, Hey, we really want to take the w Carter, uh, junior chair for, of leadership and, and up Gunn it a little bit. Not that I could really do that, but they wanted me to up gun it a little bit and put some, some focus and drive to it. And so this is the first example that we’ve had the ability to do to highlight all the great things that are happening the park college. So that’s the first step. In addition to that, the goal is to get our students, which we know are different than your average bear, because you just heard what Jerry talked about and then get them in front of institutions or organizations in, in Savannah and in other places. So we can highlight the great things that they do, not only the great things that they do, but the problems that they can solve for these organizations, because they’re thinking through all, some of the hard problems. So that’s part of what I wanted to do. Uh, as I retired, I wanted to have a suite of things that, that I had the ability to do. So that’s why I, I stood at that limited liability corporation to do so. So I I’m prepared to talk about those as, as needed. Yeah, I’m,
Scott Luton (20:27):
I’m, I’m gonna CU circle back. I wanna go back to the program just for a quick second cause as we are in the pre show, Jerry was telling me a little bit and if I got this wrong, just correct me, Jerry, it happens all the time, but I believe you led the program for a while. And then here recently you’re getting back into the, the classroom more cause that’s one of your passions. Can you speak to that a little bit?
Jerry Burke (20:45):
Yeah. I mean, we’ve had a long legacy of great people that kind of spearheaded the, the undergraduate program. The department of logistics supply chain management was formed about seven years ago. And I was the inaugural department chair for that group and had done that all the way through, um, summer of 2021. But, uh, we had a, a, a really acute knee need for someone to be in the classroom and our capstone course. And so I stepped outta that administrative role to let someone else handle that for a little while. And, uh, I could be in, in tune with the students and be in the classroom to, to give them a little value, add that that course needed. Mm.
Scott Luton (21:22):
I love that. And, and can
General Leslie Smith (21:24):
I, I gotta interject something here. Yeah. That is one of the things that I did not know before I came to Georgia Southern, but it was, I call it the, the actual, no kidding what’s happening thing. <laugh> I dunno if that, if that’s the right term that you use, but it, it is what we felt. We didn’t know what it was, but it’s, I call it the hands on mm-hmm <affirmative> taking the academic aspect and, and talking about what’s really happening in the world and then bringing that together for the students. So they, they can fill and speak to those terms. So because there, there are people who’ve been out there and they talk to those things and that’s how we bring the real, real realism to the
Scott Luton (22:00):
Student. I love it. I can only imagine the impact that has on the overall learning experience and, and, and how much better prepared they’ll be a when they hit the job market, those members of the now generation. Um, okay. So thank you for sharing Jerry. I wanna circle back one more time, uh, to you Les, about the LV Smith corporate group, uh, pre moment ago, you alluded to that you serve as CEO. Tell us more about what that group’s gonna be doing.
General Leslie Smith (22:26):
Yeah. So is, is, uh, cuz so on leadership and, and other aspects at it’s the same, um, venue that I use to sit on corporate boards. I find that the knowledge and experience that I have when it comes to leadership, strategic planning, management, change management across the board is very, it’s not unique, but it’s still surprising to me that how much in demand it is. So the, the skillset, just a plug for our veterans, they bring a unique capability, Scott, as you know, uh, and we have to highlight that. And part of the reason why I’m here at Georgia Southern is to help highlight that leadership aspect, but also highlight what veterans bring to the table. So I kinda use that to, to do the things that I, I want to do, uh, for myself and for my family.
Scott Luton (23:13):
Okay, man, I bet you’re gonna be you and your firm are gonna be extremely busy. Uh, and, and, and again, going back to that, that prevention mode, that mindset got so much of business that, uh, can benefit from that. All right. So we’ve talked, we’ve talked a lot, uh, at various points here about Y as young people. And then of course the now generation numerous, you know, as it relates to the program, uh, I want to add another layer because general Smith with your, uh, tenured, successful time in the military, I bet you learned a lot from, um, young troops, you know, so Jerry I’ll circle back to you start with what are all those young people coming through the Georgia Southern university, uh, supply chain program. What’s something they’ve taught you.
Jerry Burke (23:54):
Well, I’ve got, I’ve been, I’ve had the great privilege of, of teaching some of our top students in a case study course like Les was talking about getting them in, in, in front of actual industry people and tackling problems that are somewhat real, somewhat simulated. I dunno if you can see over my shoulder here, all that glass hardware background, right, right. That’s the first place awards that these teams have won. They work hard to really represent Georgia Southern and, and, and make us proud. Uh, so I’ve learned, you know, that they, you know, if you, you give them a, a goal they’re gonna work really hard to reach it, which is great because we often hear about, you know, some of the ambivalence you, you see in younger generations. Um, but generally speaking, they, they’re very comfortable with technology. And, and I’ve learned that, you know, there, there is a distinction between problem solving and critical thinking mentality. Sometimes they’ll just jump in and try to, you know, run the numbers and dig into things and really, really get down in the weeds. But they haven’t looked at the big picture yet. And so all of that work sometimes is for not, uh, and you know, so that, that’s something that they’ve taught me is, you know, to, to step back and look at the big picture before you jump in with both feet and, and think you’ve got a problem to solve. There may not be a problem there at all. I love that.
Scott Luton (25:09):
I love that. Uh, before I shift over to Les, how can companies listening to this? How can they, you know, work with those students, maybe give them some problems and some case studies, how does that
Jerry Burke (25:20):
Work? So some of it’s formalized. Um, so the intermodal association of north America is a great, great eight partner. Um, you know, they’re, they’re a consortium of, um, the ocean carriers, the big railroads, the big trucking companies, all of the, uh, equipment providers to those industries, uh, the ports themselves. And, um, they sponsor a, a, a academic, uh, challenge every year. They used to do two a year and they’re done to one. And so we get plugged into that. And, um, they’re really great cases. A consultant named Larry Gross writes a lot of them. And he, he, he is very, very good and educational in the cases. And it’s, it’s hard stuff. I mean, it’s, it’s hard stuff to, to, to solve, and they do a great job with it. And then the different, uh, organiz have ’em around ASCM has one. And, um, the Denver transportation club actually has a great one really in February, every year called operation stimulus. So I’ve just gotten plugged into a few around the country and have developed a, a, a set of principles and guidelines to help them break these things down and, and, and, and out how to solve them in, in good ways. Um, so that’s how we’ve gotten plugged into it is my mainly through Iyana.
Scott Luton (26:34):
Gotcha. All right. So business leaders, uh, if any of that appeals to you, I bet Mr. Jerry Burke would be willing to take your phone call and see how they might, could plug y’all into companies into some of these things they described. All right. Soles, let’s circle back to you. Uh, I bet your experiences there, you know, from your earliest ranks up into putting on that third star, you could write maybe a couple books, but specifically, what are some, what are some things you learned from, from those junior enlisted junior officers, the young coming in?
General Leslie Smith (27:03):
Yeah, I, I would say, uh, be real, uh, be upfront with them, uh, provide them a vision. And I, I, and I, and I I’m telling you that, cause it’s the same thing I see with my two daughters. Uh, but, but be transparent to you. Uh, we know we weren’t perfect coming up. And so the more you, you can tell your story and the mistakes that you made, then that it seems real. Uh, and, and the other part, I think that I’ve learned is that we have to be open to mentorship across familiar lines, across organization lines, because it’s that important. Uh, so if you just see a young, just like today, I saw a couple of recruiters sitting down talking to a young lady. She just so happened to be a biology major. That’s what my youngest major in. And I asked her about going to medical school and she’s like, well, who are you? And why are you asking? I just tell people to, to Google me now, and then they start freaking out. Uh, but, but to that point though, is that requirement requires me to have the ability to stop what I’m doing to have a conversation with somebody, which you don’t know where it’s gonna go, but it’s important because we, we owe it to people that have come behind us to, to give the mistakes that we made and go from there. I know that was a long answer, but no, at
Scott Luton (28:24):
Dead on the money. Uh, but what, what both y’all shared, uh, but on front end of your answer, that authenticity is so important these days. Um, all right. So as much as I hate, it sounds like y’all got more lessons that share there, but we gotta move on for the sake of time supply chain. Now imagine that we’re all that supply chain. We’re, we’re big, I’m a big supply chain nerd. We love talking. It’s fascinating right now, what we, what we’re all, uh, experiencing and learning and growing through and fight through. In some cases, Jerry, back to you, you mentioned the bull effect earlier. And of course that has been on the tips of a lot of folks tongues for the last couple years. But what, what beyond that when you survey global supply chain and, and where we we are and where we’re headed and, and, and that kind of thing, what’s a topic or two that you’re really focused on right now?
Jerry Burke (29:12):
Well, because of the nature of our program, I’m really pretty laser focused on intermodal freight transportation, supply chains, the supply chain system for containerization. So from the concentration of capacity to manufacture overseas around Southeast Asia and China, especially to the big ocean, uh, container vessel, uh, alliances to, um, operations of seaports along the landside distribution networks, um, you know, how we get it from the seaports inland, be a truck and, and rail that’s sort of my main thing. Um, but I’ve always been a big proponent of risk diversification, sourcing, diversification, distribution diversification, and supply chains. So I’m very interested in this five corners logistics strategy where they’re bringing, you know, freight in through the Northwest, the Southwest, the Gulf coast Southeast and the Northeast. So, uh, how tho how that those dynamics are gonna continue and how they got disrupted because of COVID. All of that is very interesting to me right now. And, uh, kind of getting some of that, um, congestion away from Southern California. We can, we can handle it over here on the east coast. <laugh>,
Scott Luton (30:18):
It’s amazing to see the growth, of course, in Savannah, we’re kind of spoiled. We got one of the great ports, at least, at least in north America, not the world, uh, Charleston just uped up these coast has done some big things. I think their, their volume 20, 21 over 2020 was like 25% if I, if I saw that. Right. But we’re all the containers. Uh, you, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re, it’s like where’s Waldo. Uh, so there’s so much that story. Uh, one, one quick follow up question, and I’m gonna come to you, uh, less, but Jerry, I’m assuming with Savannah, just down the road, I think one of y’all mentioned that, uh, I bet y’all have got some pretty strong relationships there where students can, can even take a look maybe firsthand into some of the amazing things that go on at the port there. Huh?
Jerry Burke (30:59):
Yeah. Lot of them, you know, fair share arrogant internships over there. Um, before COVID we would do a bus tour over there every semester, so they could drive around the port itself and see how those container ports, uh, do their magic. And, uh, yeah, we have alums that work there. Uh, we have alums at Jack’s port. We have alums at, uh, port of Charleston. So we’re pretty well connected. And, um, you know, our per program has a great reputation.
Scott Luton (31:25):
Well, you know, relationships certainly, as it was said the other day, uh, a United Kingdom leader. So I think he used Petro relationships for the Petro that fuel global business. And that’s true. I, I wholeheartedly believe that. And, and that’s when you can bring them to bear, to provide those experiences like you’re describing for the student. And it just happens. You know, one of the great ports is just down the road there in the, uh, Georgia ports. Okay. Soles, I wanna come to you, uh, when you’re talking about, uh, when you’re thinking about global supply chain, there’s so much to dive into these days. What, what are you really focused on right now? Yeah,
General Leslie Smith (32:01):
I, I think the biggest thing that I think about, cause one of the boards I’m on, uh, is, is in the oil and gas industry. And so they they’re looking at what does the resiliency look like for their network? You know, if something happens in one location, how can they lift and shift associated with that? I think the other part that I think is gonna be a big deal is sustainability. And, and since I’ve in here, this trip to Georgia Southern it’s about workforce development and, and developing the next generation of, of people who have to work at our ports, our airports, whatever the port is, our networks, because we know us older folks are, are, are retiring. And if we don’t plan now, I was talking to Savannah, Chatham county, superintendent, and others about what’s the next step. Mm. Uh, that’s one of the, the real focuses for the president, uh, the Dean for the college, uh, here and the provost, what’s the next step doing it locally, regionally and nationally. So we understand how do we bring that workforce
Scott Luton (33:01):
Development? Yeah. Excellent point, excellent point. And I’m glad you mentioned airports. You know, some of our listeners maybe would be surprised at how much cargo, how, how hot air cargo is in general right now and how much cargo comes through Hartsville Jackson, um, international airport, uh, big car. And they’ve had some really cool innovations in recent years to make it easier and push more cargo through. All right. So here’s always so much to talk about. So little time, I want to, let me one quick follow up question, going back to you, Jerry you’re, you’re talking about diversification amongst, uh, especially when it comes to procurement sourcing, you know, options are a good thing, right. Options that we learned painfully there. Great thing. Is there any, as you’ve studied that and had your conversation with business leaders, is there a, a best practice or an approach that you’ve seen a company? Do you know? When I was in manufacturing, I was in, uh, in, in metal parts, um, uh, metal stamping was where I spent, uh, a couple years and I learned firsthand. We were trying to, uh, win programs and then produce ’em manufacturing. ’em how difficult it can be to find backup suppliers. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And that was long before the pandemic. Have you seen anything firsthand that, uh, you could share that you’ve seen a company do that really other companies should, should maybe benchmark?
Jerry Burke (34:18):
Well, you know, the one I could that think of, of right away is Boeing. You know, they, they outsourced a lot of their parts, um, sourcing and they realized that, you know, even little rivets and things like that, that don’t seem like such a big deal. If, if they get snarled in the supply chain, then you’re outta luck. And so they’ve sort of brought that back in, you know, the, the big trade off outsourcing as you give up control. And so, um, you know, it, you need to have that control, then you, you ought to have an ownership piece of it. So you may not own all of the capacity you need for all of the parts, but you should have, you know, your, your tow dipped in, uh, to some of the capacity for most of the parts.
Scott Luton (34:54):
Agreed. I love that. Thank you for take, uh, for, for sharing. I would add to that. I think one of the things that was reported reported on earlier in the pandemic, uh, and I think Boeing is one of the companies that wall street journal had pointed out where these companies were paying earlier to their supply chain partners. Mm-hmm <affirmative> than their due dates to, to protect them and protect their supply chains. And that is a wonderful, uh, trend here, uh, in 20 21, 22. Okay. So we’re gonna have to, I want, wanna make sure folks know how to connect with both of y’all here. You I’ve got so much going on. Uh, I’ll tell you Georgia Southern university getting general Smith. It’s like, it’s like the bucks signing, uh, the famous quarterback, the one of em, super bowl down there. Who, who was that? Les
General Leslie Smith (35:36):
At? Georgia Southern Tracy
Scott Luton (35:37):
Ham. No, no, no. So, well you mean Tampa
General Leslie Smith (35:41):
Bay? The guy
Scott Luton (35:42):
We don’t like. Yes, but he was a free agent and it was a good guy.
General Leslie Smith (35:46):
We don’t like that beat the Falcon. We, we don’t mention his name. Tom
Scott Luton (35:49):
Brady. Yeah. Let just Tom Brady, that’s his name? Just for comparison, just for comparisons or, Hey, here’s a better one. It’s like the Braves signing, uh, trading for Fred McGriff and signing Greg Maddox. Right. Which set them up to win that 95 amongst other things at 95 world series. I, I can’t agree with that one. Okay. Fair enough. <laugh> we’ll have to, we’ll have to snip that part about Tom Brady. Yes. Cause we don’t like saying that, uh, his name. Okay. Uh, so much good, tough going on. Uh, at Georgia Southern university, uh, leadership, supply chain, student engagement, you name it, um, connecting this, the now generation with the, the folks doing it. Right. Uh, the practitioners, the companies making it happen, you know, really making for a vibrant learning experience. I bet let’s make sure folks can connect with you both. So let’s start with you, Jerry. How can folks connect with Jerry Burke and learn more about Georgia Southern university? Yeah. Well,
Jerry Burke (36:43):
I’m on LinkedIn. Put my, put my name in with Georgia Southern you’ll find me, uh, or you know, our, our, um, our web address here, the department supply chain management, LSC, M as the last extension there and the Parker college, the directory is there. You can maybe email I’m kind of old school. I’m not a big social media guy yet. <laugh>
General Leslie Smith (37:03):
We gotta work on that. Jerry
Scott Luton (37:05):
<laugh> Hey, you know, it takes all kinds for sure. Right? It does. And we’ll make sure these links are in the show notes folks. So if you wanna reach out, you wanna, uh, uh, compare notes with some of the cool things they’re doing at Georgia Southern university, you can do just that. And, and then, uh, general Smith. Um, how can folks connect with all the cool stuff you’re doing including here in Georgia?
General Leslie Smith (37:25):
Yes. So I’m on LinkedIn, uh, Lieutenant general, Leslie Smith. You’ll see my, my smiley face <laugh> on, uh, on Instagram is LTG Leslie Smith spelled out and on, uh, on Twitter Smith. S M I T H L E S the number two. And yes, I do answer my own tweets and other things from there. We’re gonna tweet about this today. Awesome.
Scott Luton (37:50):
Uh, Hey, we can’t, uh, I’ve been excited about this since we initially got connected and then we made the connection to Jerry and, and all the cool things going on here. Not too far from, from where we’re having this conversation. Yeah. So,
General Leslie Smith (38:02):
Hey, is that one other thing I could talk about real quick? Yeah, so we, we are, you know, we’re doing something in March I think is, is, uh, is gonna be a sea change for Georgia Southern. Uh, we have our first Parker, uh, uh, gala, uh, it’s the business schools gala, and we recognize great things that the, the universe has done and the Parker college has done. And I think it’s gonna be a great stepping stone to that helping build that synergy that we talked about before. So that’s gonna be a big deal. So be on a watch out for those pictures and everything else that comes outta there.
Scott Luton (38:34):
Definitely the Parker gala, uh, how Parker
General Leslie Smith (38:36):
Gala March the fifth, I think we almost sold up, you know, but if Scott, if you, you act nicely, you know, maybe the Dean will help
Scott Luton (38:43):
You out. <laugh> Hey, I I’ve never been popular with Dean, so I don’t know. Maybe we can, we, we, we,
General Leslie Smith (38:48):
Yeah, Jerry probably has the connections there.
Scott Luton (38:50):
Okay. Fair enough. Well, it sounds like it’s some place to be, right, Jerry.
Jerry Burke (38:54):
Yeah. It’s a good place to be a few days before that we’re gonna have our logistics round table here on campus. If you wanna get plugged into that. Yeah. You can connect with our career services. People here, you can, you can hit, uh, you know, connect with me. I’ll, I’ll connect you with them. Uh, we have like about a hundred students gonna be there. Uh, so if you’re looking for new talent and your supply chain who the round table and Statesboro is the place to be
Scott Luton (39:18):
General Leslie Smith (39:19):
And Scott, if you think about it, that would be a great follow up podcast. If you don’t do it this time, actually talking to the students about what they’re learning, what they’re seeing and, and how can we, we, the enterprise help them achieve their
Scott Luton (39:33):
Goals. Agreed. That’s the name of the game? That’s the name, the game. And some of our best episodes, you know, we’re, we’ll probably be about 840 episodes deep in the main channel. By the time we publish this. And some of my favorite episodes have been interviewing, you know, freshman, you know, college students that are more passionate. They, as y’all both have mentioned, they bring the solutions and the ideas and they wanna break how things have, have always been done because it, it, it, it, it’s not the best way. So, uh, we’ll have to tee that up on a later episode. Big thanks to our guests here today. Up first, we had, uh, Leslie Smith, Lieutenant general, us army retired, who also serves as CEO of the LV Smith corporate group. Thank you so much, uh, Les for your facility here today. You’re welcome and stay tuned. There’s more to come. I believe we’re gonna get some more, uh, experiences and stories out of less here on future episode and his friend, colleague, Jerry Burke, uh, professor of logistics and supply chain management at Georgia Southern university, big things happening in Statesboro. Thank you for your time, Jerry.
Jerry Burke (40:37):
Hey, my are glad to be here.
Scott Luton (40:39):
All right. And we’re gonna have to get some of your students out next time. Folks, hopefully enjoy this episode as much as I have. Uh, we had, we had a lot of fun. We compared a lot of notes. I think we’re all certainly passionate about not just leadership, but also ensuring that the next, uh, the leaders coming up through the ranks are best prepared and experienced to do the big things that they’re it’s in their destiny to do, which is, is, is change the world and, and make, uh, the global supply chain craft even stronger and more capable. So on that note, uh, if you enjoy conversations like this, be sure to find supply chain network, wherever you get your podcast from subscribe. So you don’t miss conversations like this with Jerry and less, but most importantly folks, most importantly, challenging you to do good, give forward, be the changes needed on that note. We 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 email@example.com and make sure you subscribe to supply chain. Now anywhere you listen to podcasts and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on supply chain. Now.
Leslie Smith, The former Army Inspector General responsible for the Inspections, Assistance and investigations in the Army in support of 1.3 million Soldiers and Civilians. He led organizations at every level in the Army (from 20- 100k). Lieutenant General (retired) Smith currently Focuses on leadership development, building trust in organizations, and change management. Connect with General Leslie on LinkedIn.
Gerard (Jerry) Burke, Ph.D., is a business professor in the Georgia Southern University Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management. He joined the faculty at Georgia Southern in 2005 after completing graduate degrees at the University of Florida (2005, 2004, 2001). Jerry has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in operations, logistics transportation, sourcing, negotiation, and international business. Dr. Burke has published research in highly regarded academic journals including: Decision Sciences Journal, Production Operations Management, European Journal of Operational Research, Operations Research Letters, Supply Chain: An International Journal and Operations Management Review. His professional service includes: academic administration in the Parker College of Business from 2011-2021, board of director of the Production Operations Management Society (2015–2021), associate editor for Decision Sciences Journal (2012-2020). Professor Burke continues to connect students to careers and industry insights via involvement with the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA). He also advises the Georgia Southern Logistics Association student group and helps coordinate the Logistics Roundtable career networking event each semester on the Statesboro campus of Georgia Southern University. Connect with Jerry 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.