Supply Chain Now
Episode 865

I once thought technical proficiency was everything. And then I really had to learn that it is people, it's relationships, valuing those.

-Alex McGuire

Episode Summary

Take all the modern challenges of the supply chain, then throw them into the most complex government, defense and intelligence projects across the country, and you’ve got Alex McGuire’s job. In this episode, Scott and special co-host Allison Giddens of Win-Tech chat with Alex about the unique demands involved in supporting the global supply chain needs of government missions. You’ll also get his take on the importance of strong supplier relationships, risk mitigation, automation and more.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:03):

Welcome to supply chain. Now the voice of global supply chain supply chain now focuses on the best in the business for our worldwide audience, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and today’s critical issues. The challenges and entities Stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on supply chain now.

Scott Luton (00:29):

Hey, good morning everybody. Scott Luton, Allison Giddens here with you on supply chain now. Welcome to today’s show Allison, how we doing?

Allison Giddens (00:37):

I’m good. I’m good. How are you

Scott Luton (00:39):

Doing wonderful. You’re just getting from another trip. I think I saw you keying. Yes. Uh, at a, a cyber related conference is that,

Allison Giddens (00:46):

I don’t know that that makes me sound a lot more important. Uh, it was one of one presentation of many and, uh, yeah, it was good time Tampa.

Scott Luton (00:53):

Well, we’ll have to debrief you later, but great to have you here today. We’ve got an outstanding, uh, show line that we’re gonna be diving into the story of a supply chain. We leader doing big things industry, especially from a technology leadership standpoint. So Allison one heck of a show teed up, huh?

Allison Giddens (01:08):

Heck yes. I’m looking forward to it.

Scott Luton (01:11):

All right. Well with that said wanna dive right in when welcome in our featured guest, Alex McGuire, vice president and chief supply chain officer for general dynamics information tech analogy. Hey, Hey Alex, how you doing?

Alex McGuire (01:31):

Hey, good morning. I’m excellent, Scott. Thanks for having me.

Scott Luton (01:34):

We are tickled pink to have you here, Alex. I know how busy you stay. We appreciate your time looking forward to getting to know you a little better, uh, on that note, Allison, where are we starting with Alex? Oh,

Allison Giddens (01:45):

Well I just recently got connected to Alex, so I’m very excited to get to know him a little bit better and kind of wanted to, to level set, learn a little bit about you. Can you tell us about where you grew up and maybe anything that you’d like to share from from those days?

Alex McGuire (02:01):

Sure thing, Allison, um, let’s see. I grew up, uh, on long island, uh, great place if, uh, if you’ve in there great place. So when I was a kid able to hop on the bike ride, five minutes, 10 minutes down to the water. It’s not a big I big island, uh, north to south. So you could head to the water and fish, um, pretty much any day after school. Um, great place to stay, uh, connected with the, the Yankees and Mets. Um,

Scott Luton (02:27):

Oh, you’re breaking our heart.

Allison Giddens (02:30):

We won’t. Yeah, no doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.

Alex McGuire (02:35):

Well, in my defense, you know, I, when I, the time that I grew up watching the Yankees was the, uh, time between, you know, their, uh, their win in the late seventies and, um, their win in the, in 96 with, uh, jet and crew. So, yes. Um, I like to tell people that I actually grew up going and watching them lose every year and people would tell me, Hey, you know, it’s easy to be a Yankees fan. I would say, what are you talking about? They’ve never won in my waking life. Um, and that’s obviously changed again in 96.

Scott Luton (03:06):

Yes. It what a, uh, what a run. All right. So we gotta talk really quick about the 96 world series. Cause that’s one that for Atlanta Braves fans, like Allison and I has stung forever, um, Jim, Lares hitting a three run Homer off mark woos. Uh, you know, man, that was, and that was, that was Andrew Jones, which should be a hall of Famer hopefully soon that was like his coming out party. I wanna say he hit three homers as a rookie in that world series. I think Allison does that sound about right? What,

Allison Giddens (03:36):

What did you have? What did you have for breakfast? Scott? Do you remember any of that or just the 96 world?

Scott Luton (03:41):

No,

Alex McGuire (03:42):

No. Yeah. That’s amazing. I, I can’t believe that that memory, I, you know, I could not, I couldn’t give you stats or, or specific plays. I just remember the win, but maybe that’s it in there.

Scott Luton (03:52):

Well, I forced off, I can appreciate true fans that stick with your team during, during the losing years. And then there were awarded, uh, uh, I wish all fans were awarded like the Yankees fans were during, during that run, but they’re rewarded when things turn and it makes those good years so much better and more special. It just had, it just came at the cost. We, we thought the Atlanta Braves were going back to back from 95 and 96 even had the series lead, but Hey, that sport, that’s how it goes. Um, so more of a Yankees fan than a Mets fan Alex. Is that, is that accurate?

Alex McGuire (04:27):

Oh yeah, for sure. Uh, you know, that’s inherited, right. My dad is watching the Yankees. I watch the Yankees.

Scott Luton (04:33):

Love it, love it, Allison. Um, if I can, uh, intrude on your question here. I wanna about food for a second with Alex. So, uh, growing up in long island, what’s one dish that was just inseparable from your childhood.

Alex McGuire (04:51):

Oh man. Um, you know, two things come to mind, neither one’s really related, right. One again, you know, long island, you’re surrounded by water seafood, right. And if you’re out there, you know, catching fish, uh, with your family, uh, nothing like coming home at the end of that day and, uh, grilling up your own, your own catch. So that, that really was special. And, and, uh, I think I even appreciated how special that was since that was reality, that I could do that all the time. And you have, you know, great portions of the country where you can’t just go out and do that any, any day. Um, so that, that that’s one. Um, the other is, you know, um, my mother is, uh, um, is Puerto Rican. And so, um, I did, I grew up, you know, kind of getting to do the steak and potatoes life and then also some really, uh, some really great, um, um, kind of Spanish style dishes. So, mm

Scott Luton (05:43):

Lucky, Allison making me hungry, aren’t know about you. Oh

Allison Giddens (05:46):

Man. That’s and I, I love that, cuz that’s so different than, uh, I mean, if you think of New York, you think, you know, you’re pizza, you know, so I, I kind of figured you’d say something Italian, so I love the, the seafood and Spanish lean is that’s awesome.

Alex McGuire (06:01):

That was there too, for sure. But, but you’re right. There’s, there’s so much more, so much more to New York than pizza and bagels. Yeah.

Allison Giddens (06:08):

Yeah.

Scott Luton (06:10):

Well, um, we really appreciate the chance of kind of getting to know you a little better on a personal level. Um, if it did come at, uh, uh, poured, some saw our wounds didn’t Allison, well,

Allison Giddens (06:21):

You know, at least, but he is, at least he’s not a Dodgers fan. I mean, then we would have to cut the interview short. You know what I mean?

Scott Luton (06:27):

Yes. Oh yeah.

Alex McGuire (06:28):

Yes. Those fans in New York are, are Mets fans. Aren’t they

Allison Giddens (06:33):

Pretty much

Alex McGuire (06:34):

Couldn’t be a Dodgers fan. The Dodgers left. You couldn’t be, you have to be a much fan that’s

Allison Giddens (06:39):

You’re right. You’re right. I’ve got family in New York and they’re either, they’re either Mets fans or Yankees fans. And there is no, there’s no overlap.

Scott Luton (06:48):

Well,

Alex McGuire (06:48):

That’s

Scott Luton (06:48):

Right. I’m glad you connected those dots. Uh, and we’ll have to dive into some of those, some of the reasons why the Dodgers are not at the top of our love list, um, here lately, but we’ll save that for a later show. Uh, Alison and Alex, um, Alex, I wanna shift gears with you. Uh, I wanna, I wanna talk, talk business, talk leadership, talk perspective, uh, point of view. We’re gonna talk about your current role in general dynamics, um, uh, information technology in just a second, but prior to your current role, what’s, uh, a role or two that you held that really shaped your worldview.

Alex McGuire (07:23):

Yeah. Sometime before, uh, general dynamics from G D I T um, I was lucky enough to work for Pricewaterhouse Coopers, PWC. Um, you know, and I started in a, in a us regional role there in supply chain and procurement. Uh, but then I was lucky enough to get to lead, uh, global it sourcing and procurement, uh, at that company a and you know, as far as shaping worldview, right? There’s just nothing like, um, being in a role like that, where, you know, you’re, you’re working with a 150 countries across the, uh, the world, um, you know, to, to work on, on strategic sourcing and procurement and, you know, some of the, the, the biggest deals, um, that the company need to get done in order in order to keep the company operating. Um, right. So getting to work, you know, and plan on, you know, big, uh, end user device or big software procurement and deployments, and, and not just doing that kind of in your own bubble, but having to collaborate with people in Germany, China, um, Australia, um, south America, right? All these different places, um, you know, getting to leverage their unique skillsets, uh, their perspectives on how the deal, you know, needs be architected and satisfy their local needs. Um, it’s a, it was an amazing learning experience.

Scott Luton (08:49):

Mm. Um, Allison, uh, kind of a following to a follow up question, Alex, and also maybe pose this to you. Uh, Allison, uh, since you lead a manufacturing operation, we all value relationships, right. That’s certainly how Allison and I are geared is kind of what I’m starting to pick up from Alex. Um, you know, the value of investing, if we’ve learned anything, you know, through the pandemic. And now, unfortunately through what’s taking place in Ukraine in that, that region, um, the value of relationships, uh, especially from that, um, you know, the sourcing procurement standpoint, but just being able to make it happen and, and, uh, have a strong, vibrant supply chain upstream and downstream, uh, filled with trust. And you gotta, you gotta take care of your suppliers, right? Cause cause, uh, a supply chain’s only a strong as it’s weakest link. Um, Alex, if you first could speak to that and Alex, I’d love for you to speak to that as well, Alex.

Alex McGuire (09:40):

Yeah. I couldn’t agree more and it’s, it’s been something that I’ve really had to learn in my career to be honest, right. I’ll just, just to be, you know, really transparent and, and honest, I think I started my career thinking, you know, just work really hard, right. Work really hard, be very technically good at your job and things follow and certainly right. Um, you know, you, can’t in supply chain, you can’t negotiate deals, you can’t, uh, mitigate risk, right. You can’t put, uh, big enterprise deals in place without, um, building your tech technical acumen. Uh, but you, you learn pretty quickly that that’s just, you know, one an ingredient, um, and that you’re nowhere without, without, uh, people and that, so to your point, that’s your suppliers. Um, are you treating each other, you know, well, are you treating each other respect, um, are you making time for each other when things are going well? So that you’re not just calling when things aren’t going well, um, you know, that’s important and of course, you know, we can talk about it, you know, now or later, right. But that extends to the team as well. Um, you know, it, you you’re, I, you, we are nowhere without that really strong team that’s around you and helping to make it happen every single day.

Scott Luton (10:54):

Yep. Love that Alex, uh, strong vibes, lots of it. There are lots of kindred spirits. Um, Allison love to get your take on this.

Allison Giddens (11:03):

No, I love that. I, I totally agree. And right when you said Alex about, um, making sure that, you know, you’re, you’ve got that good relationship with suppliers, even when things are going well, it really made me think, okay, who have I reached out to recently that just to say, thanks, or, you know, just to check in on ’em and it’s crazy, cuz my mind immediately went to, okay, well who’s done that for me. You know, it’s like, well hold on this, this is a two way street here. So yeah, no, that’s, that’s a really good point.

Scott Luton (11:31):

Awesome. Awesome. Uh, all right. So, um, I wanna move ahead to general dynamics information technology, G D G D. It is that right? Is that, can we call it that? Um,

Alex McGuire (11:45):

Alex? Yeah. G D I T that’s right. That’s GDI.

Scott Luton (11:48):

Okay. I might save seven minutes in this interview by being able to acronym. Um, but Hey, let’s let’s level set a bit, it’s one of our favorite words around here, right? Because it is, it’s really important to not assume that our listeners, you know, although we had the savviest most intelligent audience in all of digital media, I’ve been careful to level set what folks may not know and don’t assume anything there. So for the handful of folks that may not know what does the company do?

Alex McGuire (12:18):

Yeah. So I, I just, at the highest level, um, we provide technology solutions and it services to, um, the government specifically defense, federal civilian, uh, health intelligence and Homeland security markets. Um, so know our company is helping to, to build capabilities, to support, um, the government, some of the government’s most complex projects and missions

Scott Luton (12:44):

That is quite a niche, Alex. Uh, and, and, and it’s a niche, but it’s also a very broad, those, those niches that you mentioned, those are deep industries with, uh, common, but also unique needs. Right?

Alex McGuire (12:57):

Yeah. It’s really true. And, and it’s motivating, um, you know, I’ve, I’ve worked for a few different, um, types of companies, um, you know, and, and, you know, supporting them then their supply chain, uh, with great missions. But, um, it’s really inspiring, right. When you know, that we’re, um, that the work we’re doing right are enabling it systems or, or projects, um, that are supporting, you know, um, government missions, right. Uh, around things like the VA department of state, um, army, right. And the list goes on. Um, but to have that, uh, connectivity right with, with, you know, um, what some truly amazing people are doing in, in arm services and, and our government be able to support that it’s, uh, it, it really is amazing. I’ve, I’ve never loved being in supply chain as much as I do now supporting now. Wow.

Scott Luton (13:51):

I love that. I can hear, I can hear you jumping outta bed in the morning seriously. Uh, uh, cause of the, the types of folks and projects and organizations you’re supporting Allison along these lines, uh, you know, you and I are big military aviation buffs for a variety of reasons. Uh, buffs, I’m a big nerd when it comes to military aircraft, I’ll be honest with you, uh, Allison, uh, speak to cause you know, your company Wintec obviously plays in that space speak kinda along the lines of what Alex was just sharing.

Allison Giddens (14:21):

It’s really cool to see that the big picture. So we do a lot of aerospace defense products. So we do the product side rather than the service side. And it’s cool to see how it’s all integrated and how, I mean, going back to the supply chain in general and your suppliers that getting everybody to kind of play ball and be on the same sheet of music that no matter what you’re providing, whether government is your end user or your customer, no matter what, we’re all in this for the same ultimate goal. And that is USA U S a no, but it’s, uh, yeah, it is. It’s, it’s that, um, it’s that supporting, supporting our, our civilians, our government, our, our country.

Scott Luton (15:01):

Yeah. It, it’s really amazing when you look at, uh, you know, you take your F 22, your C one 30, you name it, the supply chain that comes together to ensure, and, and, you know, those table stakes are, are critical. Uh, you know, not only protecting that pilot’s life, but also being able to support the mission national security and beyond. So it’s amazing. I appreciate what organizations like both of yours, Alex and Allison do to protect that and, and, and able that and optimize it. Um, so let’s keep going down. So, so, um, Alex, uh, beyond the military aviation, uh, nerds here, we’re also big supply chain nerds, and you’re a chief supply chain officer, uh, at GD it tell us, uh, um, you know, we, we could probably speak hours about all the things that your fingers and toes are in, but what are a couple key priorities you could share with us,

Alex McGuire (15:52):

Uh, certainly in this industry it’s risk. Um, you know, and I, and I’m gonna say risk with a capital R meaning, um, in its broadest sense, right? Because, you know, certainly we’re hearing about things like cyber risk all the time, right. That gets the, you know, big press. Um, and you’ve seen executive orders coming, um, about, you know, the focused on protecting, uh, you know, focusing on cybersecurity and improving cybersecurity in the government and, um, in the supply chain. Um, but it’s so much more than that, right. Um, you know, everybody knows now with COVID there’s delivery risk, you’s really risk really, really, um, and, and needs to be managed, um, right. Contractual risk, you know, there’s just, there’s a never ending list of, um, things you need to think about nowadays in supply chain. Everybody, I think knows it’s been talking about it. Um, it’s not just about negotiating a great deal anymore, right? It’s not about controlling costs. Can’t save your way to zero, all that kind of thing. Um, so really it’s, it’s, you know, um, negotiating great deals is, is your table stakes. And then on top of that, the great supply chain needs to be managing risk. And, and, um, that’s not easy to do so it’s top of mind, always for us,

Scott Luton (17:08):

You know, speaking of, uh, cyber risk, we we’ve seen just in the last couple weeks, uh, logistics firms, couple, uh, uh, household names get interrupted their operations, uh, from cyber tax Allison know this, that’s kind of up your alley of interest and, and expertise. Your quick comment there.

Allison Giddens (17:26):

No, you’re, he’s absolutely right. Alex is right, because there’s, there’s so many different levels to that risk too. So it’s not like when you tackle one, the other one goes away it’s these are, is compounding each other. And so it’s, it’s tough to, to Wade through the noise, but it’s there for sure.

Scott Luton (17:42):

It’s, everything is interconnected. It really is. Uh, and gosh, once, uh, some of these risks that y’all both were speaking to, uh, if, if you don’t mitigate one of them, you leave yourself open and your organization, your supply chain to, to many others. Uh, sometimes at the same time, as we’ve seen in recent re recent, uh, months and years, Alex, let’s talk about, um, how, how the supply chain management, uh, organization or team operations at G D I is supporting government programs. You’ve kind of alluded to that. Can any specific examples or, or, um, programs there.

Alex McGuire (18:23):

Yeah, of course. And, and you’re right. There’s cuz there’s two aspects to, um, our supply chain job here, right. One is actually just supporting internal operations, um right. Which is common for a lot of supply chain organizations, right. What is it that the company itself needs in order to run? Right. Um, but then for us, you layer on top of that, um, supporting our customers and our customers needs. So it broadens a, our, our supply chain quite a lot. Um, you know, for instance, we have the department of state is one of those programs, um, where, you know, our supply chain team is supporting, you know, their day to day needs. What do, what do they need? Um, and then that also includes when there are, um, you know, situations around the world, you know, things like when there are natural disasters like Irma, um, our supply chain is there in order to deliver, uh, what the department of state needs worldwide mm

Scott Luton (19:23):

It seems like contingencies. Is the name of the game these days. Uh, and it’s, it’s really amazing. I love to get your comment here. It’s amazing how proactive, so much of our planning has become based on, you know, the immersion of technology and how we’re using that. But the surprises just keep getting unfortunately bigger and it seems like more frequent, but Allison speaks to that a bit.

Allison Giddens (20:00):

It’s crazy too, to think that you can’t just create a template of a project and basically say, all right, here’s the plug-in play. When the government calls, we’ll give ’em this, and then we can plug in ABC. Every thing is so unique and the needs are so unique. I mean, speaking back to the, the, the global work that ultimately G D I T has their fingers in because we are, I mean, we are global. Everything is global in, in our industries, what we’re doing right now. So to think that there is no real plug and play, you know, so you’re having to cost constantly on the move, constantly evaluate, evaluating risk. Um, there’s a lot going on and it takes everybody, uh, again, singing from the same sheet of music.

Scott Luton (20:44):

No kidding. And, and the music changes sometimes by the hour, maybe even sometimes about a minute on some of the tougher days. Uh, and, uh, so, uh, Alex, I wanna shift gears once more. We’re a fast moving conversation. I think we’re throw a lot throwing a lot of stuff at you. Uh, it, it’s the only way to be, right. It’s the only way to be slightly the basket and Robins approach. Uh, I don’t want just the butter up P can. I want to have, uh, some of the double chocolate, some of the Oreo, I wanna horn a little bit of it all. Um, we keep

Alex McGuire (21:12):

Coming back to food here. I, I wonder if you did have breakfast,

Scott Luton (21:16):

Hey, you know, it takes a lot of comfort food to get through the times that we’re facing. Right. Uh, it’s, it’s good to depart from email and from the news and, and down with, with, uh, something good to eat. I’ll tell you, um, let’s, let’s look at the, uh, when it comes to global supply chain, then let’s broaden our conversation a bit, uh, Alex, when it comes to global supply chain, you know, we, we, we’ve kind of talked a lot of different things here from risk mitigation to relationships, uh, sourcing, uh, some of the, uh, unique aspects of the projects, the types of projects and customers that you are serving at G D it, but what else has your attention, whether it’s news, innovation, challenges, you name it, uh, good news, whatever what’s one or two things that has your attention more than others right now.

Alex McGuire (22:04):

Uh, you know, I mean, we talked about a couple for sure. You know, imagine rest day’s top of mind, but probably, you know, data analytics and automation. Um, you know, I just find that exciting, um, you know, just finding those ways to, um, um, create a more efficient supply chain, right. And, uh, reduce the amount of, of, you know, manual touches that our team has to, has to make on a day to day basis. So that, um, you go back to the importance of people, right. Continuing to refocus their efforts on, you know, the strategic, right. So, um, you know, instead of spending time trying to track various risks manually, right? The, or data analytics and kind of risk alerts that we’ve got, and that are being kind of processed in, um, machine kind of, um, form right. More that we can, uh, focus our people on analyzing those risks on, you know, uh, socializing those risks with the right decision makers through governance, right. Uh, engagement with, you know, our, our CISO engagement with our programs. Um, right. So automation for the sake of making sure that our folks can really be focused on the strategic.

Scott Luton (23:24):

I love that Alison come to you for a quick follow up in just a second, but Alex, uh, also kind what you’re speaking to, what I heard is also freeing up your people from selling mundane activities that you can really apply, uh, you know, modern day technology, uh, to, and, and creating opportunities for them, not only to bring more value to the table using their judgment and expertise, but probably, uh, in a more rewarding way for their career path. Right?

Alex McGuire (23:55):

Yeah, absolutely. It’s more rewarding for the career path. Uh, it’s fun to think about those innovations and work with some incredibly talented teams. We have to actually implement them. Uh, it makes everything more fun. And then, you know, the, the really exciting part of it is, you know, moving more and more away from reactive, right. We’re never gonna be able to, um, you know, completely predict everything that happens. Right. Um, so we’re, you’re always gonna have aspects of, of reactiveness that are in the supply chain, but really exciting to think about, you know, a helping people, like you said, enjoy the job more and put yourself in a position where you, we can get to more predictive about, you know, whatever it is, risk price, et cetera.

Scott Luton (24:39):

I love that Alex, uh, Allison, speak to that a second, and then I think we’re gonna, uh, unless Alex wanna share anything else that we’re gonna shift gears a bit, but Allison, to, uh, what Alex is talking about there kind of putting your people in a position to not only deliver the most value to the organization, to the mission, but also to, in a role that is most rewarding and fulfilling to them.

Allison Giddens (25:01):

Yes, definitely. And I also heard a lot of being able to take the stuff that we know and that we’re good at and applying it to whether that’s automation or whether that’s, um, being able to do the, the simpler things more effectively and efficiently. Um, just making us better at our jobs in general. And I think that the, the idea of implementing a lot of the automation and being able to take out the mundane, I think that’s also key to attracting the next generation, the next, the next workforce, because you know, the younger generations, they don’t wanna do the, the boring stuff. They, they have already become light years ahead of many of us. So let’s put their skills to better use. So in, in light of that, and kind of migrating into the workforce conversation, Alison,

Scott Luton (25:50):

If I, I can interject for a second, uh, cause I gotta speak to, uh, with three children at home. Uh, oh yeah. I’m glad you said light year’s plural because holy cow, to see what they’re doing now with technology at their ages of, uh, 12, nine and eight, it’s amazing. Uh, amazing you more jobs. Yeah. Hey, Alison, we’ll make the connection. We’ll see. I got one more football analogy before we move into, um, your next question, Alison, both of y’all made me think of, as you’re, you’re describing about the use of technology these days, um, you know, we hear the phrase blocking and tackling all the time, right. And it’s really kind of to, um, not to de demean the skills that are really involved in football when it comes to that. But it’s really meant to be like the stuff that just has to happen, right. Almost in your sleep. Imagine a football team, if you could just ensure you could apply technology where blocking and tackling was gonna be world class and you could save all your time to the next level. Imagine how dominant that football team would be. It’d be like the, uh, I’m assuming you’re a New York giants fan Alex.

Alex McGuire (27:00):

I’m gonna disappoint you. I, no, I, I, you know, I, uh, I never got into it much while I was there. And then when I went to school in Boston, I became a Patriots fan, so, oh,

Scott Luton (27:10):

Well, that’s a perfect, that’s even a better example, frankly. So better example and no, no, not throwing these shade to our giants fans, listeners, you know, they had some great years 91 with O Otis Anderson. Right. But man Patriots,

Allison Giddens (27:25):

Like how do

Scott Luton (27:26):

You just nerd, I’m a big nerd Allison, but, um, Alex that’s even better example because gosh, talk about just, um, the table stakes and the basics, uh, of what the Patriots have been able to do so that they can spend more time and attention on the proverbial skill positions in the game. And it’s led to what, five or six, whatever how many titles they’ve had. Right?

Alex McGuire (27:52):

Yeah, no, it’s so true. Um, and it’s funny cuz I know I’m, I’m gonna go back to baseball too. Right. Um, cause I, I use this metaphor all the time, uh, which is kind of small ball. Right. Um, really focusing on those singles, hitting those doubles, you get that, that small ball strength down, um, the same kind of concept, right. Everything else that then you start to layer on top of it, the home runs. Right. And, and you win games. Um, absolutely. That’s uh, that’s how I see it for, for supply chain as well. Love ask those basics and be strong with that.

Scott Luton (28:26):

That’s right. I love that one even better, you know, uh, analogies like, uh, uh, speed, never slumps, you know, or in basketball, you know, length, you know, height does never slumps the, these, some of these basics. Right. You put yourself in position, uh, to build the basics. Okay. Allison, thank you for, uh, uh, allowing me to kind of go down one little more path, but uh, what are we talking next, uh, with Alex

Allison Giddens (28:49):

Of course, any, any chance I can hear more stats and you just pull these, you are a veritable encyclopedia Britanica and for that next generation, what those are, those are books that they used to have. No. Um, so yeah, no on

Scott Luton (29:04):

That in Waals fun. And Waals, as I thought, you know, that that’s, I’ve had

Alex McGuire (29:07):

To explain that to my daughters too.

Speaker 5 (29:10):

Did she? Right. So those are both funny, Alison,

Allison Giddens (29:15):

These are those things. Great. No, so for that next generation and for those, uh, for the, the younger, uh, folks looking for a career in this industry and supply chain, what would you Alex give, give as a, as career advice? Um, key piece of advice. You’d offer them if they thought, you know, I wanna be in Alex’s shoes one day.

Alex McGuire (29:37):

Uh, it’s a funny question to even answer, right. Because I don’t know about you guys, but, uh, I, I don’t feel internally older than 22. Um, so I still feel like the person who’s starting in his career. And so it feels a little strange, uh, and alien to give anybody else advice. Um, but, um, but I do reflect on, on some things, you know, like we, and we talked about some of the, some of these concepts right about, um, you know, that I once thought, you know, technical proficiency was, was everything. And then I really had to learn that it is, you know, people it’s relationships, um, valuing those. So I, um, you know, along those lines, I, I think that things that, that I’ve learned that I, I think about every single day, um, you know, one, um, you know, that technical skillset that’s, that that’s important.

Alex McGuire (30:27):

Right. And there’s gonna be times when you, you guys have probably been through this, you know, just working too many hours, um, you know, you going through rough patches, you don’t realize it at the time, but it’s actually a value. Um, you, right. I mean, I remember feeling frustrated at times where, and kind of looked at the number of hours and the amount of work as, um, a little bit of a burden. And I think I, I realized over time that I had to reframe that and realize it was an op an opportunity, um, right. And that I could shift to, instead of, I have to do this thing today, I get to do this thing today. Um, I get to learn, I get to help. Um, right. I get to just be a part of making something a little bit better. And I think when I learned to receive the, the day to day in that, in that way, it was a shift for me.

Alex McGuire (31:16):

Right. And I just, I didn’t have that in my twenties and my thirties. There may be a lot of people in their twenties and thirties who do, but I didn’t. Um, I, I think once I learned to see the day to day as, um, an opportunity to learn, to grow, to get stronger, um, that shifted for me. So that, that attitude mindset, um, you know, and just knowing that when you come out the other end, you know, of putting together, um, the day to day significant effort, um, right. That may be painful at times. Um, you do, you come out stronger, um, and that’s really what that’s, what gets you where you want to be

Scott Luton (31:53):

Allison. I really like

Allison Giddens (31:53):

That. I like that your take. Yep. I like the idea of, I don’t have to do this, I get to do this. I like that a lot.

Scott Luton (32:01):

Yes. It kind of embraces that, uh, uh, that daily gratefulness or gratitude rather, um, that, you know, sometimes can, if you’re having a tough day, sometimes that’s maybe the last thing on your mind, but really when you think about what’s going on in other places around the world, we’ve got it really good. And, uh, being grateful and, and, and Alex, how you spoke to how that kind of allows you to really lean in more war and, and probably have a bigger impact, uh, hour to hour, day to day. Um, alright, so Allison, you skipped over questions. So since you skipped over question, I’m gonna pose it to both of y’all. Uh, so Allison, we’re gonna talk about Eureka moments, one of my favorite questions. So I’m gonna pose it to Alex, and then I’m coming to you too. Allison, you’re not getting outta, you’re not getting outta answering that question.

Scott Luton (32:45):

So when you think of the last, uh, couple of years, again, it’s, it’s one of the things of our conversation. Just, just, uh, how much, uh, not only is it different, is it more challenging, but it’s, it’s new challenging, right? It’s, it’s, uh, we we’ve had some long, the industry supply chain global businesses had, um, some long held challenges, but man, we have really loaded up the cart on new complex, uh, new challenges that are new to business leaders and organizations alike. So, uh, with that as a backdrop, uh, when you think of the Eureka moment, maybe one in particular that really has been intriguing and impactful for you Alex in recent years, what would that be?

Alex McGuire (33:28):

You know, um, some are probably worth repeating. I think that we’ve talked a little bit about, you know, when you think about COVID and you think about, you know, um, supply chain constraints, um, you know, the, the, you know, one of the things was that, you know, I always knew that supply chain could be strategic, right. Uh, and that you could rely on supply chain to really, you know, help you with better deals and to manage risk. Uh, but certainly the past couple of years have, have, um, showed me that it’s even than that, right. I, I, it’s no longer about having a strategic supply chain in my mind. Supply chain really can be your competitive differentiator. Um, I’m not sure before the last couple years that I necess, I personally necessarily saw, you know, supply chain as, as a competitive differentiator even, right. But nowadays you just see it and you there’s certain companies where their supply chains are or were more durable going into this. Um, and they’re moving through, you know, we’re navigating through this environment, um, in a more agile fashion than others. Um, and, and it’s amazing to watch you, so certainly Eureka moment, um, supply chain, not just strategic, but it really can be, you know, the difference maker at a lot of companies

Scott Luton (34:48):

Agreed, agreed. And, you know, part of that, uh, comes from how we’ve empowered consumers via e-commerce, but also in retail and in, in other different ways to, uh, expect to, for companies and business to meet them where they are price that they want, uh, with the product and the choice and the quality and the experience. And by the way, uh, with, uh, especially from a retail standpoint, we’re gonna take it back and make that easy, uh, to, to, to ensure they’ve got what they want. It’s, it’s fat it’s, I’ll tell you, I’m not sure what we’re gonna be tackling in 50 years from now, but this, this era we’re living through now, to your point about how supply chain is, is positioned to be one of the most, uh, important differentiators, uh, and difference makers in business, it is absolutely fascinating. Um, Allison, uh, Eureka moment for you in the last couple years,

Allison Giddens (35:39):

I think for me, it’s really been the new understanding that so much more is interconnected than I think I gave it credit for the, the systems thinking angle of things that, of course we can look back and say, well, of course that happened. That’s because of that. Um, everything from, I mean, I know for months we talked about the toilet paper shortage during COVID, you know, and then all of a sudden then when we started seeing bull whip effect, and you started seeing sales on toilet paper, because there was too much, um, things like that, those kind of like mini pieces of supply chain, uh, were fascinating to me, but now that we’re dealing with this off ramp of COVID, um, and the workforce challenges and, you know, fall out from everything from the push to get vaccines out to just all these pieces that are interconnected, that ultimately are playing into a lot of the things that Alex talked about earlier, those the, the risk assessment of, okay, I need to plan accordingly because if this happens, I need to pivot and do this. So a lot of those kind of conversations just seems to me to be moving a lot quicker.

Scott Luton (36:49):

Well said, Allison completely agree. Um, okay, Alex, we have reached near the end of our time with you here today. Thanks so much for joining us. Uh, really we’re gonna have to have you back, uh, and we’re gonna maybe bolt on a couple more hours so that we can really dive deeper into your sports past, um, Alex and your culinary, uh, past. But, um, how would you suggest, I, I, I imagine beyond all that’s on your plate, uh, with, uh, at general dynamics information technology, I imagine you’re pretty active in industry doing a bunch of different things, but how can folks connect with you and learn more about G D I T?

Alex McGuire (37:27):

Um, yeah, absolutely. We’re always looking to connect with folks, uh, especially amazing talent. Um, so for us, you know, G D I T website, uh, I’m on LinkedIn, uh, anything like that works, uh, we want to hear from folks

Scott Luton (37:45):

Wonderful, wonderful, uh, Alex McGuire really have enjoyed your time here today. Thanks so much for spending it. Uh, Alex’s vice president and chief supply chain officer for general dynamics information technology, and we hope to see you again really soon. Alex,

Alex McGuire (38:00):

Thank you so much for having me appreciate it. You

Scott Luton (38:02):

Bet.

Allison Giddens (38:02):

Thanks Alex.

Scott Luton (38:07):

All right, Allison home run guest. I tell you, we shot he’s

Allison Giddens (38:12):

Fun.

Scott Luton (38:13):

He really is. Uh, and I’ll tell you, we could have, we could have spent so much more time on the front of that conversation, but also old

Allison Giddens (38:19):

Food and sports.

Scott Luton (38:21):

Right.

Allison Giddens (38:22):

But always isn’t it that way. I mean, you can really steal a person,

Scott Luton (38:26):

Uh, and judge your character as long as he likes sports and food. Right, exactly. Right. There you go. I think from a, from a leadership standpoint, uh, Alex seems to be a very, uh, conscious deliberate study of, of, uh, forward looking leadership. So I gotta ask you, Alison, I got two quick questions before we wrap with you. Uh, first thing is what if, if you think back what everything that Alex McGuire, which GD it shared with us here today, what’s one thing that you would, you would, uh, suggest to our list terms that they really wrap their head around?

Allison Giddens (38:57):

I think it’s really important that the people piece, he stressed it from an early point, even from, you know, riding his bike, to go get seafood with family as a kid and, and spending time all the way through enabling his team to be able to be, uh, efficient and effective using auto and technology and, and just teamwork in general. But those relationships I think are vital. And that’s, that’s, I think the, the key theme today

Scott Luton (39:24):

Agreed, and, and also to, to, uh, add to that empowering your people, whether it’s technology or, or other things, right. Um, I’ve talked about this a lot, but we were having a, a panel session, uh, about a year or so ago, and it was a supply chain executive from a big hardware organization, a well-known hardware organization. And she was talking about how some basic, uh, she was talking about how some employee requests pre pandemic one was related around expense reports and how they can make it easier. All the employees were asking for certain things and they leadership said, no. And then she was talking about that here in the middle of a pandemic where everything else has changed. And she was like, what were we thinking? Of course let’s do this. This is easy. And it was just, it was a very powerful Eureka moment for me, because sometimes you’re dealing the small potatoes and you don’t even know.

Scott Luton (40:17):

Right. And, and, and that should be just table stakes. Let’s make it E let’s make it easy stuff. Let’s make it easy. Right? Let’s take care of our people and make their day to day as easy as possible, especially based on everything else or tackling. Um, so I, I love Alex’s take on, uh, on some of things here today. So Allison, thanks for, for facilitating today’s interview, but let’s make sure folks know how to connect with you. You’re, uh, not only at win tech where you lead the, uh, the company there, but you’re doing a lot of great, great work in the community with things like the Dave crate, you foundation. How can folks connect with you?

Allison Giddens (40:52):

Uh, find me on LinkedIn. I’m happy to connect there. I’m there a lot. Allison Giddens on LinkedIn and, uh, yeah. Feel free. You reach out.

Scott Luton (41:00):

It is just that easy. She’s everywhere folks. She’s everywhere. Allison, a pleasure to have these conversations with you. Uh, big thanks to all of very great

Allison Giddens (41:08):

Work. This was fun.

Scott Luton (41:10):

It was a lot of fun. And I appreciate your, your time here. Big, thanks again to Alex McGuire. Uh, with general dynamics information technology home run interview you here today. Folks, thank you to our listeners that, uh, make all this possible. Hopefully enjoy today’s episode. Wanna encourage you to find supply chain now, wherever you get your podcast. So you don’t miss conversations just like this one, but whatever you do, Hey, be like Alex and Allison. Hey, do good. Give forward. Be the changes needed. And on that note, we’ll see next time, right back here at supply chain now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (41:42):

Thanks for being a part of our supply chain. Now, community check out all of our programming@supplychainnow.com and make sure you subscribe to supply chain. Now anywhere you listen to podcasts and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on supply chain. Now.

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Featured Guests

Alex McGuire serves as GDIT’s VP, Chief Supply Chain Officer, leading all aspects of strategic sourcing, procurement, category management, and supply chain risk management. In this role, Alex collaborates with strategic partners and suppliers as GDIT delivers on its commitments to customer missions. Alex’s career in supply chain management spans more than 17 years, during which time he has held senior supply chain leadership roles in the consulting services and healthcare industries. Alex is the executive sponsor of the AbilityFirst Employee Resource Group at GDIT. Alex earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Boston University and holds a Juris Doctorate from Suffolk University Law School in Boston. Connect with Alex on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

Allison Giddens

Host, Supply Chain Now

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Adrian Purtill

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.

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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.

Donna Krache

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.

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Vicki White

Controller

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.

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Scott W. Luton

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.

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Allison Giddens

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.

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Greg White

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.

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Chris Barnes

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.

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Karin Bursa

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.

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Kevin L. Jackson

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 CiscoMicrosoft, 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 UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier 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.

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Enrique Alvarez

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.

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Kelly Barner

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’.

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Mary Kate Soliva

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.

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Jeff Miller

Host

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.

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Amanda Luton

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.

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Clay Phillips

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.

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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.

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Billy Taylor

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.

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Chantel King

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.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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.

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Katherine Hintz

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.

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Ben Harris

Host

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.

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Page Siplon

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).

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Kristi Porter

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.

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Kevin Brown

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.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

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.

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

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.

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Demo Perez

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.

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Kim Winter

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).

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Nick Roemer

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.

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Alex Bramley

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.

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