In some cases, the process of transitioning out of the military can be harder for those people who benefitted most from the structure it provides. Once service members adapt to the nuanced system of rank that plays out in every decision-making process, changing their way of thought back to something less structured – as is seen in a corporate setting – can seem like being adrift.
Raleigh Wilkins has spent his 20-year career overcoming adversity and personal challenges. A self-described “incorrigible” teen, he was in the foster care system by age 15. His final foster stay was with Marine Corps Major Michael Johnson, a no-nonsense guy who served in Vietnam. Once in the Marines, Raleigh served in Japan as well as stateside.
After transitioning out of the Marines, it took Raleigh a few years to find his place in civilian/corporate America. As he explains it, he was an “accidental” sales guy. Fortunately for him, he was able to apply his planning and analytical skills to sales – the world’s last meritocracy. Now he runs his own business and gives back as a mentor, a trusted advisor and coach.
In this episode of Veteran Voices, co-hosted by Dan Reeve, US Director of Sales and Business Development for Esker, and Scott Luton, Raleigh gives the ‘straight scoop’ about:
• How the military teaches people to succeed by serving as ‘the great equalizer’
• Why time spent in military leadership doesn’t automatically qualify someone to serve in a leadership position in another field
• How he works with Veterans to help them transition their military strengths (allocating revenue) into corporate strengths (generating revenue) so they can become top-performing salespeople
Welcome to veteran voices, a podcast dedicated to giving a voice to those that have served in the United States, armed forces on this series, jointly presented by supply chain now, and vets to industry. We sit down with a wide variety of veterans and veteran advocates to gain their insights, perspective, and stories from serving. We taught with many individuals about their challenging transition from active duty to the private sector, and we discuss some of the most vital issues facing veterans today. Join us for this episode of veteran voices.
Scott Luton (00:00:41):
Hey Scott Luton with you here on veteran voices. Welcome to today’s episode. We’ve got a special guest host with me today. Dan Reeve, dear friend, with Esker. Dan, how you doing
Dan Reeve (00:00:51):
All good. Nice to be back. Thanks for having me.
Scott Luton (00:00:54):
Great to have you back. I’ll tell you you’re rocketing up the charts in terms of being a repeat guest here on watching now and veteran voices programming. And I appreciate you connecting us with our guests today, which we’re going to share more on in just a moment. So Dan, are you ready to dive into all the goodness we’ve got teed up here today on veteran voices. Yeah. Ready to rock and roll. All right. So a few programming notes before we get started folks. So better voices as part of supply chain. Now, family programming. Uh, we conduct the show in partnership with our dear friends at vets to industry, uh, dot org, great nonprofit doing great work for our veteran community. And I believe they’re about to go international. So a lot of even more growth and good things for what they’re doing for veterans to learn more at vets, the numeral two industry.org.
Scott Luton (00:01:39):
Also big thanks to our friends, that sponsor veteran voices, episodes, buyers, meeting point and Dow P for procurement big, thanks to Kelly Barner and our friends over there. So check them firstname.lastname@example.org. Okay. So Dan let’s, uh, introduce our guests today. We’ve enjoyed our pre-show conversation. Let me tell you a little bit about our guests. So we’re going to be interviewing a fellow veteran entrepreneur and us Marine. In fact, our guest is a gifted storyteller who consistently inspires audiences to break down barriers and run through walls. Our guests has, uh, is egg, is regularly asked to share his powerful story of a 20 year career overcoming adversity and personal challenges. And now outside of leading his own business, which he founded our guests gives back as a mentor, a trusted advisor and coach. So join me in welcoming Mr. Raleigh, Wilkins, founder, and CRO with sales platoon, Raleigh, how are you doing?
Raleigh Wilkins (00:02:36):
I’m doing well. Thanks, Scott. I appreciate you asking me to be on your
Scott Luton (00:02:39):
Show. You bet your ears have been burning, uh, beyond Dan singing your praises. We’ve done our homework around here and, and uh, I think a lot of folks are big, uh, members of the Raleigh Wilkins fan clubs. Uh, great to have
Raleigh Wilkins (00:02:51):
You here. Thanks, man. I appreciate that. Yeah, it’s glad to be here. All right.
Scott Luton (00:02:55):
So Dan, we want to start with kind of just getting to know rod a little more, right. We, we wanna, uh, find out one of the, my favorite questions to ask, because I think it connects people, especially as humans and Raleigh, that is where did you grow up?
Raleigh Wilkins (00:03:08):
Yeah, well, I grew up all throughout Virginia, rural parts, so small towns. We didn’t have any, we had very, I think we had two traffic lights and the one I grew up in and then we graduated to a bowling alley in Franklin, Virginia. So it was a really small town America at its best. Yeah.
Scott Luton (00:03:24):
I’ll tell ya. Now, Franklin, Virginia, if I’m directionally, is that south north west.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:03:29):
It’s in the Southeast corner of Virginia. So it’s right on the North Carolina border, a Stone’s throw from North Carolina and then about an hour west of Virginia Beach. Okay.
Scott Luton (00:03:41):
Uh, now I got to ask you, you know, Dan and I love talking about food on plenty of our shows and if you’re near the border of North Carolina, then barbecue immediately comes to my mind. But what, what was a big part of, of your childhood from a food standpoint?
Raleigh Wilkins (00:03:55):
Oh yeah. I mean barbecue for sure. Venice and which, you know, most people in cities never eaten, but you know, we had a Adventist in barbecue, but, uh, peanuts is big down there. Huge is a war among peanuts, uh, manufacturers down there. And so I personally aligned with hubs peanuts, a small local roastery. I actually sent Dan some after we met and it really good. So, but anyway, as ESL peanuts, I always think of every time I come home, I load up the car. So.
Scott Luton (00:04:22):
All right. So, so Dan, I got to ask, I put you on the spot. Are we talking, uh, bowl peanuts, roasted peanuts? What, what did you eat?
Dan Reeve (00:04:30):
Well, he’s actually sent me a couple of these tens and, um, you know, it’s funny when he first sent me peanuts, I’m thinking peanuts now I realize it’s kind of a cultural, you know, traditional gift and a close friend or rock climbing with tomorrow is from Virginia too. So I’m actually going to take one of the tens of peanuts. Cause we’ve talked, I got talking to him and said, so what’s the deal with Virginia and peanuts? Oh yeah. That was a big thing. You know, when you were a kid, you would free to go to the peanut store and you want to do that. You know, he says he grew up poor and he says, but you know, that was a tree every once in a couple of weeks, maybe your family would get a food, you’d go to the peanut store and have a, just, just visiting. It was a real traditional things. So, um, I’m gonna, um, treat him to some of your peanuts tomorrow, get hungry. So, uh, I love it. I love it. All
Scott Luton (00:05:22):
Right. So, and we should probably, for our audience, may didn’t catch your earlier episodes with us. Dan, you’re also a veteran served in the Royal British army as well as the Wisconsin national guard, right?
Dan Reeve (00:05:33):
Yeah. So, uh, so I served in the British army, uh, effectively the unit of a core that I was in was the Royal engineers. Um, so help helping the army move, fight, survive, um, and also, you know, lots of times serving with the Americans. So bear borrowing stuff, begging stealing work, always bartering and trading going on. I’ll be peanuts
Scott Luton (00:05:53):
Involved in those negotiations. I’m in
Dan Reeve (00:05:55):
The peanuts. So I remember being on, uh, LEL Solema basic, wait minute. I think it was a us Marine was saying, well, do you want to trade? I can trade these munitions, but like you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re webbing and I’m thinking interesting offer, but I’d be back in my regimental Sergeant major, you might have questions about where’s my webbing gun, you know, six months, for example, you know, so very generous of you, but I’m going to have to decline. Um, so yeah, that was, I really enjoyed that the, the, the opportunity to see how the different units meshed. Um, I did get sick in Iraq and a us field it’s beautiful ladies or us field hospital took care of me. It was really, really, really good people. Um, you know, and, um, those ladies did a great job. I was not very well. So I really got to see great hospitality from it and from the American forces and the end of the loan to the American forces, um, team of which is brilliant walking around in Wisconsin, it was a British uniform, but nobody knew who it was or what rank, but I burned something in the exercise, which is sometimes, you know, you always assume our process, my unit, uh, is better than everybody else.
Dan Reeve (00:07:04):
And when you do get loaned out to a different unit or different army, even what you learn different things and you learn to appreciate actually the national Wisconsin national guard, the army national guard, because really good script drills and skills, they’ve really learned some things in Iraq. And so that was a really good exercise to learn that, Hey, you know, you gotta be open to, to sort of learning best practices where wherever they may come from
Scott Luton (00:07:27):
I’m with ya. And, uh, and I appreciate that you dropped a lot of truths there. Uh, I most appreciate the fact that you got us connected here with Raleigh and, and we’re going be able to dive in his story. Um, and you know, uh, so back to Franklin, Virginia, so we we’ve established the peanuts and the value of those peanuts not can relate. I grew up in South Carolina, old peanuts, roasted peanuts. It was, it was definitely a part of that. Bring it now, one other thing before we throw it over to Dan, and we’ll talk more about your time as a Marine in active duty with the us Marine Corps, what else was, was a big part of growing up all around Virginia?
Raleigh Wilkins (00:08:03):
Yeah. You know, it’s, it’s a funny thing. You know, Virginia is such a diverse state. It’s almost like a country you get from the, the beach to the mountains. And so you kind of can play on both sides. And I dunno if it was grown up in nags head and, you know, going down in North Carolina and running through those sand dunes. And, you know, I had a, you know, an uncle who was a Marine and I think that formulated, you know, some early thoughts in my head, but my other uncle owned a bunch of dairy Queens and dairy Queens, a big in the south, you know? And so I had a, I had a card that allowed, I still have one, thanks to uncle Mitch where, you know, I can eat for free to any his dairy Queens and he’s been successful. It’s a lot of them. So I was a heavy kid. I ended up the calories. I think I was eating close to 8,000 calories a day, sometimes straight, my mom’s cooking. It is dairy queen, but it
Scott Luton (00:08:52):
Was just so good. It’s just so good. You’re right. Yes. That is date night in the south. Um, and one last point you made it clear. Pre-show, you’re a big Chicago bears fan. And, and I think there’s a lot of Americans, maybe a lot of global sports followers that are, that also are, maybe I’m a bandwagon bears fans from time to time. So we’re all rooting for the bears to get back. And it looks like they’ve got a new quarterback regime. Uh, so we’ll see what happens in the upcoming season. So, but big, big, how long have you been following
Raleigh Wilkins (00:09:21):
Essence? 86. I mean, two things happen and we got cable TV in Franklin, Virginia, and that label to us to get WEG. And at WTS, it was either the Braves or the Cubs. And it was either the bears in Atlanta at the time. Didn’t really have a team. So that’s right. Hey,
Scott Luton (00:09:37):
The Falcons are still trying to come back from that fourth quarter, uh, meltdown that broke a lot of our hearts here. Um, but nevertheless, okay. So now that we’ve covered, uh, where you’re from, we’ve covered food and now we’ve covered football. Uh, Dan, why don’t we, uh, dive into his background, uh, with the Marines, huh?
Dan Reeve (00:09:55):
Yeah. So, uh, rally, one of the things I came to learn was that the Marines us brings Airwing is actually larger than all the aircraft in the combined forces in the UK. So clearly a big organization for those who don’t know, actually what’s interesting right now is the, the, the newest, uh, carrier that’s just been deployed. Eight agents queen Elizabeth. The second is full of F 30 fives has the squadron is Marine Corps, half the squad air force, Royal Navy. So I imagine the us Marines love the fact that we can have a couple of beers every night, because all the problems they’re probably not used to doing that, or when they’re on the Eisenhower, the limits, you know, but on our carriers, they can have a few sherbets. So, you know, I don’t know if you want to carry or I believe you, in a, you, you traveled around, what was your, what was your, what was your role or roles? Where did you serve?
Raleigh Wilkins (00:10:47):
Yeah, so I started, I was all over, um, but my main deployment was out to Japan. So I spent two years out there and lived out there, um, was with the first Marine air wing out there and there’ll be HS one. It was a helicopter squadron. Our, our commander was a Harrier pilot. Um, and then came back state side. And so I was a 43 41 combat journalist when I came back. Um, so private joker from a full metal jacket. That was my, my MOS, if you’ve seen that whole movie. Right, right. Um, yeah. And so, you know, it was, uh, I came back to the state side. They put me in Richmond back in Virginia and I, and I duty. So in spectrum instructor, staff with batteries three 14 artillery battery. So that was, uh, I was an interesting experience to go from the, from the wing end, Japan to the artillery battery. How
Scott Luton (00:11:36):
Far, when you, when you went back to Richmond, how far were you from your folks?
Raleigh Wilkins (00:11:42):
I wasn’t too far. I was close enough that I was far enough away. They didn’t expect me home for dinner, but close enough, I can go there on the weekend. So it was, yeah, it was good. Um, and like Dan said, you know, one of the things that was great about being stationed in one of those independent duty stations is nobody knows it’s terrible to be a Marine on active duty at the base. I mean, you go off base and it shifts, you got all the negativity of what people’s unconscious bias against the military is you get to go somewhere and nobody knows the Marines. And it’s like, you walk down the street in a uniform on the way to work. And it’s like, it was, it was what I joined, you know, it was like, all right, this is a little better, a little better treatment. What’s your rank and what kind of car can you afford? Yeah, yeah.
Scott Luton (00:12:27):
That’s a good point. And Dan, I got to say that that is one of the first times that’s come up in one of our podcasts, but, uh, as I’m thinking back, just as Raleigh shares that I think, I think there is, um, quite a bit of, of that unconscious bias and assumptions and, and stereotyping goes on. And these military towns at times, right. Not, not to generalize too much, but I remember Rollie. And Dan, when I was in the air force, first time, I was probably, gosh, 18. I was 19 when I, when I hit my first duty station, permanent duty station that sharp force base in South Carolina got one of my first cars. And, and I completely backed into like this really nice Nissan 300 Z or, or something, some nice sports car, the lady got out of it and she let me have it. And, and probably some of that unconscious bias came right out of her, you know, cause I was in uniform at lunch, but you know, kidding aside, that is something we have to, we have to break through not only while you’re serving, but as we’ll talk about, uh, here soon the transition, right. As folks try to understand what you do and what you’re good at and, and, um, what you did in the military. So, all right. So Dan, where are we going next with Raleigh?
Dan Reeve (00:13:40):
Well, I think I’m thinking we’re gonna talk about is, uh, folks that made an impression when I think you asked me this question, Scott, and you said, well, there were a couple of people that really helped shape you or were the people that really stood out from your time in the military. And I talked about one of my staff sergeants who acted a bit, a little bit like a father figure and it makes your, my behavior attitude and technique. We’re always improving. And especially my attitude was where it needed to be a really good father figure at John Patterson. We’ll give him a shout out. He was, uh, became Sergeant major of my squadron, uh, later. So rally, I think we’re good. My turn to 30 questions to you. I mean, other people from the military that we got on there for one reason or another, they really stood out. They really had an impact on you.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:14:23):
Yeah, there’s a couple. And I was thinking back to that first command and it was a Lieutenant Colonel Holcomb and for being a young enlisted guy, you know, he was at our really my first command. He similar to you, we had had some interaction where we ended up hitting it off and he was always kind of looking out for me and he would give me books to read. And one of those was Joe Galloway’s book. We were soldiers once and young. And so it was, you know, he got my, my interest piqued and I think he something in me. So he kept pushing me to do different things, go to meritory sports, which I did and won, compete in different things. Try out for the force recon in dark, which I did, um, all these different things he pushed for and then the commissioning program. So he was really instrumental in getting me, like he saw something, a spark in me and pushed it in and you know, what and encouraged me. And of course from there other people kind of jumped on too. And you know, it was, it was very interesting coming from the background that I did to all of a sudden find myself in this situation where people were really supportive and wanted me and saw something in me that I hadn’t even seen in myself.
Scott Luton (00:15:32):
And that, you know, that is one of the beautiful things, at least during my time as well, that, that, uh, not just to camaraderie, but beyond that, you know, oftentimes who you’re reporting to they’re, they’re trying to find the special gifts and talents and, and trying to look after you so that you can, uh, you can advance and, and maybe make rank earlier on. It sounds like that’s what it was. It was it Colonel Holcomb, you said there Raleigh. Yeah. So he, he played a big role there. Who else comes to mind?
Raleigh Wilkins (00:16:00):
Yeah, well, I mean, he was really instrumental. There was, uh, one officer and I was, I knew you were going to ask me and then I drew a blank on his name, right when you said it, but he had, I known him. I knew him when he was a staff Sergeant. He was the guy that, um, he would, he was the fastest runner in the battalion. And so, you know, it was when you get there, you kinda, you gotta make up your mind if you’re going to push yourself or not. When you get in the police force. And I decided I was in, so I was going to catch him in corporal Kang. And, um, you know, he w he was, I just had his name in my head and I just forgot it again. And when it said it, but he was, he was relentless, man.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:16:34):
He wouldn’t know, there’s no such thing as letting you win. Like, we’d be in the last 300 yards of a seven mile run and he’d still be pushing it all away and he would always win. And then he kind of looked back and laugh and said, me off. So I’d go run and try to be, and my finally beat him, you know, but then he went off to chief warrant officer school and we came in chief warrant officer. So he’d probably beat me now in a foot race. I was going to say, it’s just people like that. You know, I mean, there was so many people, you know, along the way that, you know, you know, and we don’t have a lot of time to get into background and all, but I mean, you know, I’m not a traditional background guy to go in the military.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:17:10):
I went in and I was a junior in college at old dominion university. Um, but I, you know, by the time I was 15, I was in cordial. Um, my mom didn’t know what to do with me, single family, single mother, or a single mother. Um, my uncle was trying to help out my grandmother, but I was in foster care system by the time I was 15. And, um, and you know, and when I was 16, you know, I stood in front of a judge and they gave me away. And, and, you know, so by the time I was 20, I was headed for a life of, I don’t know, mediocrity and, and kind of Alaska gas self-effort it was, uh, the Marine Corps came in and saved my life, saved my life. No, no, no doubt about it. That I would have a completely different life if I had not joined the Marine Corps and gotten through bootcamp.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:17:57):
Um, and then these people started seeing things in me that people in high score and CNN me even in college. And it was like, wait, maybe I do have some worth. Maybe I do have some value. Maybe I can become something in this life beyond just, you know, an hourly worker or, you know, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s noble work, but it’s like, I didn’t have that belief in myself. And so the Marine Corps was one of those things where it was a great equalizer. You get the same pay, same haircut, same uniform, and you really just get to test the metal of an individual and you find yourself out.
Dan Reeve (00:18:32):
I agree with that. I mean, I had an experience where I, when I went to university at the same time, I, I began, um, I joined the effectually. It was called a territory, alarming, the reserves, the British army reserves and what, the first thing that I said, okay, I want to be big into air and climbing outdoor sports in general, as a way of you, can’t always be training for war, but you can be getting fit and learning to work well as a team and putting yourself through difficult circumstances that all translate. And they put me straight through, um, I wanted to go and do the mountaineering course and they’re like, yeah, but first you can do some something for us. Let’s say three means the, the, uh, the Army’s physical training instructor school, which I didn’t consider myself good enough, strong enough, fit enough to go and do that.
Dan Reeve (00:19:19):
And then they were, you know, you’d hear these horror stories, oh, this is the hot everybody goes on. Of course, in the army. Oh, you know, everybody blows it up. Then you go do it. And you’re like, they sort of said, we think you could do it. We think you could pass, train, go do it. I loved it. I haven’t been a gifted athlete at school. I mean, I think since then, if anything, you know, all the, the mountaineering and everything that I do nowadays, it was, you know, they ended my V they added the fuel to my rocket. I just didn’t have as to suddenly, as I believe in myself, suddenly, I’m, I’m doing stuff that’s longer, harder than anything. I, I know others are doing. Cause the army pushed me then said, go do it. And you’ve got to do all these other, the police have the doors open for you.
Dan Reeve (00:19:59):
So I think when we, when we talk about hiring, I think when we get into talking about hiring veterans, they’ve often, you know, think about Goggins. You know, some of you read his book, Navy seal, David Goggins can’t hurt me. Most of you have got a cookie jar. What I mean by as there’s stuff they’ve done in the military, they can tap into when times are hard or it’s going to take a lot more effort. They’ve done some stuff they can route into and go, yep. I can push it up and test it before I can go. I can go there again. And I think that’s always interesting too, for me, that’s one of the things that veteran brings is they’ve probably been pushed and test tested and put through the crucible. Sounds like you probably had some of that as well. And
Scott Luton (00:20:41):
Yeah. Tell it. So that’s a great point, Dan, because I tend to agree with you. So Raleigh clearly as were transitioning from a really tough, he called it incurred a cordial, which is such a great word. And as you were going through, it sounds like the foster care system and then the Marines. And it seems like that structure initially, and the support you got from a supervisory standpoint, where they were looking to see how you, how they could, you know, find, um, not find your purpose, but find your talents, find your gifts. It sounds like that was really instrumental to what sets you for a new trajectory. You know, post-career post-military, is that right?
Raleigh Wilkins (00:21:19):
Yeah, for sure. You know, and it was, you know, it was, you know, I was lucky, you know, in a lot of ways, you know, I, you know, when I, I lived with some family, friends for awhile, when at first I was kind of going off the bus and then that didn’t work. And I ended up going into this family. This is when I was still young. Okay. This is when you’re still young. Gotcha. But then there was a Marine as well, who was a major, his name was, uh, Michael Johnson. And his family took me in for the last year when I was 16 to 17. And then I was on my just kind of took off Wednesday, my own thing. I’m on job and worked a little restaurant, but they really took me in and he was, again, one of those people, he was a no nonsense.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:21:57):
He was a Vietnam veteran, used a major in the Marine Corps as Mustang officer. And he didn’t really mess words with me or put up with much. And, but the thing that was different about the Marine Corps was instead of just getting beat up, which I felt like I was pretty good at taking a licking and keep on ticking, like the old Timex watch, you know, you know, it was, it was that there was this sense that there’s room for one more, if you mean business, if you’re willing to give it your all, we will meet you more than halfway to make sure you get to where you want to go. You know, it’s only when you give up that you’re done and I never gave up my life. There was no point of giving up. And even at the worst darkest point in the Marine Corps really has a way of shaping that.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:22:43):
I don’t know if everybody has the same experience Dan and I did going through the military, but it truly was transformational. I mean, bootcamp did more for me than any therapy or priest or well-meaning family member, because it really was the great equalizer. There’s the distance, it’s three miles. We’re all running there who gets there first. Right. You know, and it’s like, or whatever it is that you’re doing, Hey, we’re in recon in doc day and we’re not stopping till we lose half of the people that tried out. That’s not a distance. It is a great equalizer, you know, and it’s a, will, it’s a pure will thing. Well,
Scott Luton (00:23:20):
It’s also a great level setter, right? Um, w w they, they tear you down and build you back up and, and you know, the military standards, and you’ve got some, some brothers and sisters you can lean on and then you get to your, your first duty station and learn how to, then you learn to come to the professional side, meaning that, um, you know, the skill side of the military. And then it sounds like you had some great support there, so I’d love to die, but you got some AMR let’s face it, all Marines have better than what we have sometimes in the air force where I served. But when did you get out? What year? Kind of give us a backdrop. Cause I want to talk about your transition next. What, what year did you get out?
Raleigh Wilkins (00:23:54):
Yeah, it was interesting. So I came off active duty in August of 2001, and then aligned myself with a reserve battalion fourth lav battalion out of Northern Virginia. And we all know what happened. Not even a month later, it was September 11th happened and I fully expected to get activated called back up. You know, I’d done my six plus years, but I was ready to go. And it was for whatever reason that battalion was not on the embolization plan and we didn’t go anywhere. And so I ended up having a very non, I don’t know what you would call it non-combative career in the Marine Corps, but when you train for something for six years and you’re ready to go, it was like, I remember calling the base up at Quantico and saying, Hey, it’s Sergeant Wilkins. You guys ready for me? And they’re like, we’re good.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:24:39):
We’ll call you if we need you. You know? And it was like, it was like, no, I’m, you know, put me in coach, I’m ready to play. You know? And it was this weird dynamic where, and I will tell you that in a different way. And I’ve got a chance to work with probably close to a thousand veterans now over the last couple of years. And that transition out is hard in ways that we cannot imagine. And that loss of identity was a big one for me. And it is for a lot of the guys that I work with. And they underestimate that when they leave active duty, I did. And I found myself right back to being, and I hate to say it this way, but I found myself back in a place of being a frightened 15 year old boy in order to put my hands.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:25:20):
Right. Yeah. You just took my uniform. He took my rank, he took my sense of purpose. You took my dignity and here I am back in the world. And all of a sudden they don’t care. They don’t know anything about what I did and they don’t know how to translate it, you know? And what do you do with, uh, with a former admin slash combat journalist who was deployed with artillery so he can blow up and write a story about it. There’s not a whole lot of, not a whole lot of you, you’re in a big career civilian path for that. Right.
Scott Luton (00:25:47):
Well, I can definitely relate to that, uh, from own journey. I think a lot of folks that we’ve interviewed and just network and talk with that, that also have had, uh, struggles for different reasons in their transition could relate to that. Dan, what I mean from, from your perspective, what did you hear there and how’s it resonate with you?
Dan Reeve (00:26:03):
Well, I think it was interesting thing is it is going to, it is going to have be a, be a impact. It’s going to be a change. Um, I think I’m jumping questions that we had planned, but I’ll go there. Anyway. When, when one of rally sales, platoon members called me, he got in touch and he said, have you got any advice for when I transition? And I said, well, you know, in many ways I was lucky. I can say that now at the time, I mean, I’d always wanted to go and be a career officer. And a lot of engineers, they said, we’ll be honored if you become one of our offices. And I was like, wow, this is a 400 year old 500 year old organization saying, come on in. And I moved up that assessment. So basically I ended up staying as a non-commissioned officer and continued my career can move at my software company, ASCA 23 years.
Dan Reeve (00:26:45):
So my transition happened every weekend or every couple of weeks when I was waiting for the army back to civilian, I got used to doing it a lot. And even if just transitioning from weekends or two week periods, which I did all the time, even there I’ve sort of come back and they’re like, ah, I’ve got it. I’ve got to change my head. They don’t understand what I’ve just been through. They don’t understand what I’ve just achieved and how much time and effort and just how difficult it really was. And conversely, the folks in the military, they didn’t understand the complexity and some of the size of these projects and deals global technology projects I’m working on. So sometimes there was overlap. I think, I think what rally said is, yeah, you know, you, you do build up a lot of identity, a lot of self worth.
Dan Reeve (00:27:25):
A lot of the belief in yourself is through what you do in the military. And you get to wear that on your uniform, your rank and people knowing well, where you served, what course you achieved, you’ve been, or what you’ve achieved and suddenly you’re naked, you know? And then I think, how do you, I guess the big question is how do you prepare for that right scales that you can take to the civilian world, you build your resume and look at well, what, what have I done? You know, and this is where I’ll give a plug out to David Kogan, Goggins, and say anybody who hasn’t read the book and gone through the exercise, he actually makes you sort of go through that and say, what were the things that the obstacles I’ve overcome in my life? Things I’ve done I’ve really achieved. I think that might force veterans to really think about that stuff. And they’ll be better prepared for the interview in civilian street. So
Scott Luton (00:28:11):
That’s the perfect segue. So beyond reading David Goggins book, which I’m gonna have to add to my list,
Dan Reeve (00:28:17):
You’ll be doing workouts at four in the morning,
Scott Luton (00:28:23):
But so Riley, what else before we start talking about sales platoon here, uh, if you had a room full of folks that were getting ready to transition or already have started to transition, what’s some advice you’d give them,
Raleigh Wilkins (00:28:34):
You know, and I get to have this, it’s a loaded question away because I, one of the few people probably that gets to have a couple of hundred conversations every quarter with veterans. I mean, I had over a hundred conversations in the last several weeks. I mean, it was packed 12, 14 conversations in a row. Wow. With veterans that are coming off active duty and I mean all ranks E three to 2 0 6. So from Lance corporal to full bird Colonel and essentially the first thing that I have to do is I try to think about what they’re hearing in the market. And then I hear, I try to give them some ground truth, right? Military term, what’s the, you know, what’s the straight scoop on what you need to know. And the big, I try to push a lot of myths and misconceptions out of the way and the biggest misconception.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:29:24):
So the biggest thing people think is they go a military leadership and they come out and they tell them all to put military leadership on their resume. And I can tell you now this is a guy spent 20 years in the civilian world. I’m not impressed with your military leadership. You ran an organization with people that couldn’t quit. They were subject to the UCM J that article 6 86 and article 92, they lose their rank. If they mouth off to superior officer, they, if they don’t show up, you can come get them where the MPS drag them out of bed and take them to work in the morning. I’m not impressed any more than you would be impressed by an SVP of operations for Amazon and all they had done and put them in charge of first Marine expeditionary force, supply lines. There’s a disconnect there.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:30:06):
And in no one talks about it, they want to pretend like, oh, it’s a direct transition. What’s not a direct transition because when you come off active duty, there’s no rank structure. There’s no uniform. There’s no, Dan’s a director. Sedan has the same thing as an oh five. Well, no, that’s not the way the sedan world works. Sometimes he’s like an Iwan. And sometimes he’s like, oh, nice. And, and learning that is a hard lesson. The longer they’ve been in. And the reason is there’s only three things that separate our military from the civilian world. I try my best from the, from the cook in the Marine Corps to the Navy seal, what do we all have in common? And that the only things that come up with our bootcamp uniform and the UCM J and, and boot camp, we all went to bootcamp. Everybody had to go through transformational.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:30:52):
And why that’s important to think about is when you went to bootcamp, it was six to 14 weeks of learning mission, then team themself. And you learn to set aside the mantle of self-worth that every Susie sorority and Frankie fraternity has spent four years building. Right? And so you’re coming at the, every problem set from a completely different point of view. And the longer you’re in the harder it is, then you, the rank structure, obviously uniform, you know, where you stand in a very complex organizational unit. And then finally the UCM J is a, I tell people it’s like being a us citizen, except you voluntarily give away half your rights and all your freedom. Right. So it feels
Scott Luton (00:31:34):
A lot more than half,
Raleigh Wilkins (00:31:36):
If that makes sense. So, yeah. Yes.
Scott Luton (00:31:38):
I know. We’re just scraping the surface. There’s so much more, uh, given what you do in terms of a transition to bias. We’ll have to have you back on, but Dan, I want to start talking about sales platoon, because that’s where we’re Dan, you put Raleigh Omar radar, at least. And as we talked pre-show, I wish I had Raleigh Wilkins bat when I separated out of the air force in 2002. So, so Dan, when we start talking about sales platoon, we think
Dan Reeve (00:32:00):
We should go to the Simon Sinek road route. I nearly use the American term route. I’m going to use the route. Why, why did you do it? What, what propelled you to do, what were you trying to get out, creating this organization that trains up veterans to go into a career in sales? Um, why, why did you go about it? You know, perhaps this was something, an evolution of something you’d been thinking about for awhile. Tell us you, why, why did you do it? What was your, why now? Why are you doing?
Raleigh Wilkins (00:32:29):
Yeah, well, I’ll do my best. Not to turn it into an advertisement as you guys say in Britain and seven advertisement, which we say here in south commercial advertisement, whatever. Um, but yeah, th the Y came to be over a period of time. So when I came off active duty, it took me a few years to find my way into corporate America. And then it took me about a year from there to find my way into a sales role. And I was an accidental sales person in corporate America. I was not the prototypical, you know, four year degree guy who comes out and goes and gets a role. I was the former us Marine who came out as an executive assistant, who went into marketing, finished his degree, and then went into sales and I failed at it. And it was weird because I was really successful at vacuum salesman when I was on active duty, I sold Kirby vacuums door to door.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:33:16):
Wow. Um, yeah, but that does not translate to the corporate world. And the main reason is, as you guys know, when you’re in, when you’re selling to corporate, every human being buys things, because it’s gonna, it’s what the product is going to do for me. It doesn’t matter what the product does. It’s what is it going to do for me? And that’s as true for, uh, a man at home. This doing is vacuuming as it is for a woman CEO, who’s deciding which accounts payable software to use. And so, you know, it’s, you know, trying to figure that out. But I, so I failed at it, not realizing that there was a science to business selling that was much deeper and ingrained and much more aligned with my military service and not even realized whether it was after action reports, bam says five paragraph orders smack all these different acronyms we use in the military and we’re doing a war fighting and war planning.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:34:08):
They translate very well to the sales world. Cause you got to recon, you got to do all your different analysis. You have to do your research. Then you have to use persuasion. You have, you know, you don’t have rank to use when you’re in sales, but you have to have influence. That sounds a lot like being an NCO. And, and so there’s a lot there that I didn’t know, I had to fail. I had to get really, really bad at it. And I was like number 495 out of 500 or the B2B salespeople at T-Mobile and Bethesda, Maryland, um, and ready to get fired. Probably the only reason I get fired as the other four worst people in the company were on my team. And so I looked better than them, but it wasn’t saying much. And, uh, so, you know, but I think because I wasn’t the best natural B2B sales person, it gave me a respect for process and the science of it and the numbers of it, um, that there is a pathway to learn.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:35:00):
And in essentially the day that I learned what that was and started applying it through a bunch of different books, Stephen Schiffman’s cold calling basics Miller Heiman was really big back then PSS. I became a student of sales, uh, Sandler, which I know you’re a fan of Dan. And, you know, and, and I got, I became a student. I started to apply it in the laboratory of life. And it’s very similar to like the laboratory of learning to fight. If you’ve never fought before, it’s like, it doesn’t make sense. A lot of the things you do are counterintuitive leaning in when you want to retreat attacking through an ambush, they’re all counterintuitive things. You learn. Sales is a lot like that. And in doing things, I went from number four and 95 to the top five within a year from making $40,000 a year to well over $200,000 a year.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:35:46):
And, and I knew, I knew that I would never go hungry again. And I knew that I’d found a pathway. That was the great equalizer because it was the world’s last meritocracy. They didn’t care that I didn’t go to a good school. They don’t care that I was older than everybody else on the team. They didn’t care. It was, what can you do today? What did you do the last 30 days for our organization? And I realized then that sales as a profession was very misunderstood. And that the second piece was that there was a group of people that were salespeople within it that were just as CR as astute group of professionals as being an engineer and architect. And I said, if I’m going to do this, cause at the time I want to go back to school and be a maritime lawyer. And I said, if I want to commit to the essence that of going back to law school, I want to professionalize sales the same way that those other industries like architecture have been professionalized.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:36:39):
And it was a pure calling inmate in the next 20 years, I spent working my way in building teams and sales. Platoon was a natural evolution to that because my favorite part of, and I know I’m talking a lot, but my favorite, um, my favorite, you know, one of my favorite stories I got called in his company. So I was a manager and a director and senior director. And I got brought in to turn around this company. And there was three guys that I was told we needed to go, and I’m not going to mention the company or the guys names. Cause it would have been fair to them because they’re still very active. But I went into the company, I was doing this and I said, I always had the belief whenever I took over command or you know, new corporal, new Sergeant, whatever the place.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:37:17):
And I inherited people. I say, look, here’s the straight dope. Here’s what I heard about you. I don’t know you, you don’t know me. So you got a blank slate with me. We’ve got 30 days to figure this out. And so I got to sit down with those guys and it was when I started making that transition from, I want to make as much money as I can and get as high as I can the organization to how many people can I develop? And I put those three people on a plan. I gave him the option. I said, it’s Thursday afternoon. Don’t tell me today, come back on Monday. And it’s up to you. If you want to, we’ll get really, I’m going to get really involved in your life for the next 90 days. Or you can come back on Monday and tell me, you don’t want me to get involved and that’s fine.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:37:52):
I won’t fire you. You’re doing me a service by letting me know you’re retired on active duty. I will continue to pay you out for the next 90 days and you go find your next role. And two, the three took me up on that offer and I got really involved in their lives. And two of those guys, they both became team leads later managers, then directors and senior directors. And now they have teams and sales crews their own. And I realized that I, because maybe of all those struggles, I had a unique ability to reach a diverse group of people and teach them what I had learned and then transform their lives. And that was the seeds for what became 10 years before sales platoon became sales platoon, which is, I would say, Hey, go to my recruiting agent. And I would say, Hey, give me a stack of the resumes you’ve rejected in the last 30 days, because I knew I was going to find my Marines army Navy air force coast guard in there. Cause they don’t have any sales experience. Why would you bring them into a sales role? But if they even applied, they’ve got the, uh, thought process that I want to meet with. And we started building those onboarding programs. And so over 10 years I started doing it. Well,
Dan Reeve (00:38:54):
I can say you started to describe what sales platoon is and maybe for the benefit of the audience, folks may not actually realize exactly what sales platoon is. I mean, uh, I hinted early and explained it again. It’s a conduit for folks to move from the military into sales, but could you put it in words and describe what you’re doing now? What is sales person?
Raleigh Wilkins (00:39:13):
Yeah, so, so the sales platoon is a transformational, um, program designed for active duty military and soon, especially soon as separate veterans who are leaving active duty and they’re interested in, but have don’t know how to break into corporate sales. And I am of the belief, which I know you are Dan. And I believe Scott would be of this belief too. He can contradict us if not that sales is more of an apprenticeship than it is a study course. You can take, you can watch all the YouTube videos and read all the books in the world you want on how to be a great golfer. But until you go to the range and try to hit that ball, you don’t know a thing about golf. And until you, the first time go out near try to sell and apply the things. It’s like the industry and playing a first person shooter game and BNS Navy seal deployed in a Ford combat theater, a war it’s like they’re two totally different things.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:40:05):
So I designed a program that was 12 weeks to six months long, a true apprenticeship where there were this full-time, it’s 160 hours of instructionally designed material, but it’s teach enabled do so by week four, they’re on the phones calling into people like you and C-levels in fortune 5,000 companies and able to secure appointments and start to learn how to sell by doing it by being part of a team and using discover dot Oregon HubSpot and all the other tools of the trade ZoomInfo and connect and sell, which you split. You know, there’s, that was the idea is what’s that first 90 days that I really is the crucible. You want to put people through when they’re new in your organization, because you know, it takes that long for them to get the product to product line and understand are they even, can they learn to sell? And can I take that off the plate of a corporation where they don’t have to do that? It’s not a guesswork, whether these people can learn to sell, they already know. Does that make sense? So that’s the,
Scott Luton (00:41:07):
So do you work directly at what I’m hearing with organizations that hire sales platoon to help improve and, and, and probably diversify their sourcing of sales talent, I’m hearing that channel. And then I’m also assuming you work with individuals that come across sales platoon say, Hey, I want to get into this highly lucrative career of selling. Uh, can you work with me? So you work in both of those channels, Raleigh, is that right?
Raleigh Wilkins (00:41:34):
Yeah. So it’s an, it’s an interesting model. And everybody that has heard it before it became successful, told me it wasn’t possible to do it that way. Um, I don’t charge the veteran and never will. I don’t take their GI bill. We’re not a nonprofit and I don’t take money from the government. So they’re like, well, how do you make money? And I said, I help companies make money. And they said, well, how do you help companies make money? And I said, how Susie sorority and Frankie fraternity doing statistically, when you hire them into your sales organization, how many of them, how good are you at it? Hiring recruiting, sourcing, grit, determination, resiliency, and past experience when you’re taking raw talent. And the answer is it’s 50 50 at best. I mean, some companies like Dan’s great. He’s got an amazing program and he’s a little better than the average bear.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:42:19):
A lot better than the average bear, but they’ll they’ll train and they bring them on. You know, most companies they’ve really struggled with how do you, I mean, it, think about the burden you put on the average recruiter. What you’re saying, if you’re a sales leader and you go to recruiters, you’re saying, I want you to go and find me the next PGA tour star, but you can only hire people onto the PGA who have never played golf before. And based on the way they wrestle and play football, you gotta determine right now, are they going to be good on the PGA? Cause as soon as you hire them, we’re going to put them on the course. And that’s what sales is like the day you start playing golf, you’re on the PGA tour and you’re getting evaluated metric rated and people can do right.
Scott Luton (00:42:57):
You better, you better be hitting those drives. You better be rolling those big, big money putts in. Yeah. So I love the fact what you, what I heard there. You’d never charged a veterans. You don’t take the benefits. You don’t charge the government. You focus, you monetize the business based on the results that you’re producing with the, or with the companies that you’re working with. I love that in my understanding is that’s how you and Dan met. So, so Dan tee that up and let let’s, uh, what have been your experiences with,
Dan Reeve (00:43:22):
Well, I think the way we met is I think it was definitely picked up two of, uh, rallies, troops, um, M and a to former AMA. And one of them hit me up, just contacted me on LinkedIn. And then he called me and he was asking for some advice. And that’s a very interesting approach. It’s not, I’m trying to sell you something. You’re just trying to ask you some advice. And then I thought about it. I thought, well, okay, fair enough. I could probably come a few, few minutes to give him a little bit of advice. And he went back to, well, what was your transition like? And he said, I’m trying to get into sales and can I get some advice off your mind? Okay. So we had a chat like the guy, we had a chat and he followed up and he said, I’m going to send you this.
Dan Reeve (00:44:03):
And this is what, this is really what I’m up to in trying to sort of grow, grow, or my, my knowledge and awareness of sales and, and open up a position. So I can go into sales. I here’s what I wanted to, here’s why I was done with the military. I’d reached the point where I want him to leave. What did he grow and develop further? Yeah. I like this rally was to talk in there about taking folks, growing them, developing them, giving them the opportunity to achieve dreams. They didn’t think was possible. That’s the cool thing about sales, you know, back in Wisconsin recently, and you know, one of my guys I’m taking you out to my land. They go fly fish. Cool. I like fly fish. First thing he does is his want, thank you for what he says. This wouldn’t have been possible values.
Dan Reeve (00:44:42):
There’s all I did was you put the effort, the graph, the determination, the study, and the application. All I did was open the door now and again, tweaked you and adjusted you, you know? So I think what rallies tapped into as a sales leader. Yeah. We’re busy, but yeah. It’s so I think depending on how you’re wired for me, it’s so rewarding to see people develop and grow. And then, you know, we, we keep training them and developing them and often they bring back ideas and more content and you get this multiplier effect. And that’s what I’m seeing both with. Certainly the two guys that were brought in from rally’s organization is they came in hungry, humble, and you know, raised the bar a little bit, certainly raised the bar of effort. Like, Hey, we don’t know this space. We’ve learned some things rally whooping your a game every day. So, uh, that’s how we got connected. One of rally’s veterans reached out and have a chat with me. Many of them, it was compelling. And I was like, well, you know, okay, would you, would you have a chapter chapter of our fandom? Like, yeah, that sounds interesting
Scott Luton (00:45:36):
Is, uh, what a great testimony. And it really speaks to the, uh, the value of what, uh, the organization and the methodology and the system that you’ve built, uh, Raleigh. And I love it. And, and so veterans, if you’re listening folks in transition that well, I’ll tell you what, instead of me saying it Raleigh for, for veterans and for whoever’s listening from a individual candidate standpoint, who do you look for to reach out, maybe get into your system, your database? What have you,
Raleigh Wilkins (00:46:04):
Yeah, ideally you’re going to have at least 90 days left on your service because we are authorized through DOD skill bridge is entitlement. If you don’t even know you have it. If you served active duty for 180 days minimum, then you have an entitlement where up to your last 180 days, the government will tad, temporarily assign you to a company to learn a trade. And so we were authorized one of the few companies that does what we do. That’s authorized to the DOD to train you and take you. And she can be with us up to six months before you leave active duty, where we can really train and get you up to speed. The second thing is don’t get locked in your MOS, your job code, no one. I don’t remember everybody calling me aside and saying, Raleigh, what would fulfill you to be a Marine?
Raleigh Wilkins (00:46:46):
What would you like to do? They’re like, no, here’s your test. Here’s what you scored. Here’s what you’re going to do. You know? And then no one, along the way, it was like, you know, does this fill you? Do you feel more of a, nobody cared? You know, it was like, just show up, shut up and do your job. So there’s plenty of wrench, Turners and aircraft, mechanics, and infantry and artillery, and you know, guys and girls who you’re not even thinking about sales, because you think of sales as the person that knocks on your door at five o’clock wants to put solar panels on your roof for annoys you. When you’re trying to buy a pair of dress shoes, you’re not thinking about how does a company like Esker get its product out in front of executives. How do you, how do you become a game changer and a change agent?
Raleigh Wilkins (00:47:28):
And you, most times when I talked to us military folks, they think, oh, I got to go into operations or logistics because that’s where you do the planning in the military. That’s not where the planning occurs in the civilian world. The planning, the real planning and change occurs in the sales and revenue ops world. But we don’t know about that in the military. So, you know, read some books, you know, get to know, listen to some people, you know, is stare away from the, if they’re real popular and they got like 3 million followers, they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. It’s just, they’re really good at talking. But most of it’s not applicable fine. Like the guys that are doing stuff like what he did, he found Dan, right? Here’s a, here’s a, here’s a former British Royal army guy, you know? And I’m going to call him up and ask him a question about how he got to where he is. Hell that’s. So, you know, that’s how you find your way into study, find somebody who’s doing it. And that’s what he’s talking about. Love
Scott Luton (00:48:20):
That that’s great advice. Even outside of sales, Dan, you were going to add something there.
Dan Reeve (00:48:24):
Yeah. You know, uh, there’s a, there’s a, there’s a good southerner. Uh, I know very well. He’s a, uh, a guy who’s written a numerous number of books. Jeff blunt, anybody
Raleigh Wilkins (00:48:33):
He’s actually, I mean, there’s a guy.
Dan Reeve (00:48:36):
You can do it all. And very helpful. Got an engine like nobody, I know wasn’t in the military. He could have easily been in the military by anybody really wants to sort of get the real, you know, there’s a difference between reading the book with theory and reading the book where, Hey, this guy, our users, the things he does, I say the things he says, and it works. I’d go read some of jet blue bloods books. Fanatical prospecting is good. EEQ for sales cause emotional intelligence and empathy, and the ability to really listen. These are key. And I don’t, I think that could be a barrier folks in the, in the civilian world might be thinking, oh, I don’t know if can this person come in and both do project management and really apply empathy and ETQ and listening skills. I met some people in the military.
Dan Reeve (00:49:16):
One of my warrant officers was a paratrooper formally. He was two core oil engineers, but 5, 9, 5, 9, I’m sorry, I’m getting a nine, nine parachute squadron. So super fit. He could pass the army fitness test, run it backwards, true story. He did well that mile and a half and beat a lot of people in past. He did it for a joke, but the best man skills, some of the best management and management skills I’ve ever seen. So sometimes we have this there’s this perspective that they may not have. You know, the, the EEQ, the empathy, the listening, the emotional skills. These are all key skills for sales, anybody in the veterans, any, any veterans thinking about getting out, take a look at some of the Japlin stuff. Eco for sales is especially good
Scott Luton (00:50:01):
Q4 sales. We’ll try to include the link to that as well. As soon as of the things y’all both have mentioned. So I love the model. I love sales platoon, I’m drinking the Kool-Aid because I love, I love kind of how your approach as well, as much as I, I believe that, um, our fellow veterans, you know, there’s plenty of things that they are carved out of because of this unconscious bias, because of these assumptions that folks make about what their abilities are, what their is. And I love how sales platoon in one aspect of that is fighting back against that. So excellent work Raleigh. I really appreciate the fact you, you, you spent, you know, as busy as you are, you spent some time with us, you and Dan, for the sake of time, we’re not going to have to do this justice, but you know, you’re also a fellow entrepreneur, fellow founder.
Scott Luton (00:50:45):
And as we were talking, appreciate it, there’s a plethora. And I think it’s a beautiful thing. There’s a plethora of military entrepreneurial-ism. And for that matter, military spouse and significant other, entrepreneurial-ism a big shout out to our friends at spousely. If you all have, if you are new to that, it’s like a marketplace for, uh, military, um, entrepreneurs and like product creators and stuff. Um, but y’all check that out, but, but speak to Raleigh, speak to want to be founders, whether they’re veterans or not in a small nutshell, what’s one or two pieces of advice there.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:51:19):
Yeah. Like you said, I mean, we could spend a whole podcast episode just touching into that. Don’t underestimate the power of your network that you have, and starting to develop that before you leave, because you’re going to need those mentors. You, you know, the military, we take people, you know, and we transform them and we don’t hire civilian contractors to go to Paris island to make Marines. We have Marines make Marines. So when you’re doing your transition and you’re thinking about being an entrepreneur, but by God, get to know some, you know, don’t rely on your tap officer or a well-meaning book author to, to help you. Because the hardest piece of coming out of the military from any of the things is when you go to become an entrepreneur, every company only has one purpose. And that is to produce a revenue or profit period.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:52:09):
It might have moralistic property. It might have a why that’s deeper that, but if I don’t produce revenue for sales platoon, it doesn’t exist. There is no money bucket to go get. So I have to produce revenue for Dan’s company, for other companies or otherwise it’s just a charity. And so if you’re going to be an entrepreneur realized that for whatever years you were in the military for 8, 12, 20, 30 years, you were never responsible for creating revenue. You’re responsible for allocating revenue. And so when you go become an entrepreneur, you really need to understand how to do sales. And for most people that come out that want to be entrepreneurs, I end there in the military, I say their biggest handicap is they don’t know how to raise and create capital. You know, even, you know, I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and he’s got a great program, but he can’t articulate the value of that program to a CEO. And therefore everybody, Sam, we love what you’re saying, but they don’t know how to buy from them. And, and that’s the thing you have to be able to. And that’s just realizing that I think is one of those things that we’d revenue creation is not something that comes naturally, you know, as a dentistry, managing a budget and creating the budget. Right.
Scott Luton (00:53:16):
Right. Well, you know, as we all know, uh, and uniform the first and the 15th,
Raleigh Wilkins (00:53:22):
Uh, like clockwork, right. That paycheck
Scott Luton (00:53:24):
To Les, that that was coming and he never had to worry about that. Although there were some, some visits I’d like to forget over work, go with the folks at military today. I’m not throwing stones. They had a tough job, but as an entrepreneur, you’re, you’re absolutely right. You hit the nail on the head. Um, if I could just add one more thing to little tidbit and that we could, we could spend a week talking about this, but I think it’s really important. I think what’s illustrated right here in this conversation is if you’re looking for a mentor or an advisor as a potential founder, as a potential entrepreneur, be very judicious of who you seek counsel from, especially who you pay any kind of consulting fees to there’s lots of folks going back to something. I think Raleigh said, Dan may have alluded to as well.
Scott Luton (00:54:06):
There’s a lot of folks that talk about it. And then there’s folks that do it and they’ve got the results and the businesses that they’ve built potentially, you know, perhaps exited. And those are the folks that have been there done at a real deal. Holy field. You want to get advice from so, uh, veterans service members, uh, just be very judicious. And that’s where vets to industry.org can come into play because they vet a lot of these things. Uh, so you can check out the resources there. All right. So I know we’re just scratching the surface and I love the passion between Riley and Dan man. We could fuel city blocks on the passion and the action here, but Raleigh, how can folks, as we start to wrap here, how can folks connect with you and sales platoon, whether they’re a company interested in working with you, whether they’re a veteran, airman, soldier, Marine, semen, you name it, or anyone else that’s interested, how can they connect with
Raleigh Wilkins (00:54:56):
Yeah, well, you know, they can go to our website. You know, we do have a website, uh, the, my sales platoon.com, sales, platoon.com, sales, platoon.org. I bought them all as we did it. Um, so I kind of, I’m all snatched up now, but yeah, they can go to the site and there’s a lot of information on there. If you’re a civilian employer, there’s a lot of information about how many veterans are coming off active duty and in some, some good information on tax credits and what you can like most people don’t, most companies, myself included as a VP of sales, didn’t even know there was the workforce opportunity tax credit, where if you bring somebody in from active duty, you get a minimum of 5,000, $400 up to $9,600 in tax credits. So, and that’s been around since world war II, but most companies aren’t able to take advantage of it because they didn’t know that, you know, they didn’t one didn’t know.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:55:45):
And number two, they didn’t have a way to capture it. So, but our site has a lot of information on it. It’s not a very good sales site. I hate to say that as a sales guy, you know, I, I basically created it myself and I’m not a web developer and we’re getting better. We’re investing some money in it, but you can fill out if you’re a veteran, you can find me on Vetter rati, which is another great resource for veterans free resource. But if you go there, there’s a link to my calendar. And if the date’s open, it belongs to you. And, you know, just like Dan gave his time, you know, to, to cheat on guys in our platoon, I give my time and you know, I can help tell you about my career, how I got, where I was. And if you’re interested in sales platoon, we’ll see if we can get those dates to align. I mean, we’re authorized nationwide as a DOD skill bridge program. We’re going to soon be the first department of labor apprenticeship approval, national standards and accreditation. So we’re in final stage review. There there’s a lot too that we can do to help you and get you into our program. You know, so there’s both sides of that. If you’re an employer looking to hire military sales talent, you know, then you know, there’s nowhere else to go. So, and I hate to sound that way, but it’s, you know, we’re there,
Scott Luton (00:56:54):
You’re a trailblazer, uh, one final question, just to clarify for me. And sometimes I’m a little bit slow on the uptake as, oh, Greg white, let’s say, but his veteran status required to be part of the program.
Raleigh Wilkins (00:57:07):
Yeah. So they do have to be, you do have to be military at the moment. We’re looking at other, as we go deeper. I certainly have an affinity for our professional athletes coming out. And there’s a friend of mine. Nossa YG started a company called prolific company that works with that NFL NHL and, you know, professional sports leagues. Because again, the average professional athlete, they’re kind of in that same dilemma, they’re going to go spend 5, 6, 7 years making three, 400,000 a year league minimum. And then they’re going to be on their tail at 30 years old with no skill set, no training, but a hell of a lot of discipline drive determination. So will we have a sisterhood brotherhood with them type of companies, but we got to Shoemaker stick to that last. I try to stick with, uh, with our veterans. And it’s not that we couldn’t train salespeople. It’s just, I mean, Dan had me come out and I spent some time with his team. I can share things from my own experience. I’ve 20 years sales experience, but we stick with veterans. You do need to be a veteran or a military spouse. We do, we will take a few military spouses as well, you know, in each cohort. So
Scott Luton (00:58:13):
We’ve been talking with Raleigh, Wilkins, founder, and CRO with sales, platoon, what an outstanding program. So Hey veterans, military members, military spouses, or companies looking to get more successful at their sales hires, be sure to check out sales platoon and give Raleigh. And Lauralei, I’m assuming you were across social media as well beyond the website,
Raleigh Wilkins (00:58:33):
Right? Yeah. Oh yeah. We’re up on Instagram and Twitter and you know, I’m a, I’m a little slow adopter to it. I’m a little in that age group where that we’re out there, we put our graduations up on our Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn. You can find us pretty well. So
Scott Luton (00:58:47):
We’re going to make it easy in the show notes. This episode, you’re going to be able to be one click away from Raleigh and sales platoon. So I really appreciate that. Raleigh really appreciate your time. Dan, don’t go anywhere. I’m about to ask you your, your favorite takeaway here, but Raleigh, I really appreciate how unique this program is. Um, how it plugs the gap of how it fights through some of the, some of the just human assumptions. Like we all make them set unconscious biases out there, whether you like it or not, I believe. Um, so I really appreciate what your organization is doing and, and congrats for continued exceptional growth. So really appreciate your time here today. Thanks. Appreciate that. All right. So Dan, before we let Raleigh lead, before I close, what was your favorite thing that Raleigh has shared here today about sales platoon?
Dan Reeve (00:59:31):
I think he’s reminded this, that one of the things that veterans bring to the table is grit, determination, the ability to bounce back and just get on with it. And you know, one of the, uh, a good friend of mine, he’s one of the reps in my sales organization. And I, you know, I, I enjoy supporting him. We’ve worked together for 23 years and he wasn’t in the military, but he has the ability to bounce back. He can lose a million dollar deal, or if for some reason it gets canceled or poles are stalled. He can bounce back within a half a day. It’s incredible. Now he may have worked on, I think one or two years, but he can, he can apply gratitude. He can bounce back. I think that’s what many veterans have to bring to the table. I’ve been through tougher times, I’ve worked hard, I’m determined, I’m disciplined, I’ll study and I’ll apply and they have grit.
Dan Reeve (01:00:19):
And, and so that all of that, and you wrap all that up and the ability to bounce back when things don’t go exactly as expected. Um, I think that’s what many veterans can bring. If those veterans also willing to say, right, I am a rookie. You know, I, I would certainly encourage them to be reading books and watching if this is the path they want to go in, but they also have to come in and go and sort of accept, okay, I’m no longer. And I was six or, you know, whatever I’m starting from the bottom, right. We can be in the more curious they can be in the more, you know, the more they can show that drive, but through empathy and humility, they can do really well. You know? And so this is definitely a way where there are set. We’ve got people in sales making more than oh 6 0 6 is in sales and, and, and they don’t have to wear uniforms or Che
Scott Luton (01:01:12):
Baby some days. All right, Dan, a pleasure. I appreciate deeds, not words with Dan. I mean, we we’ve been collaborating now. It feels like a year and a half maybe, and you live what you preach. And I admire that Dan and I love how you find ways of uplifting the veteran community here. So I really appreciate, uh, so Dan let’s, let’s make sure we close the loop with you. How can folks connect with you? Uh, Dan Reeve and Esker
Dan Reeve (01:01:38):
Yeah. Folks can find sq.com. That’s E S K E l.com. And you’ll find me that Dan Reeve or you’ll find me on LinkedIn, uh, Daniel email@example.com.
Scott Luton (01:01:48):
Wonderful. All right. Big, thanks to Raleigh Wilkins with sales, platoon, chorus, my special coasts here today, Dan Reeve with escrow, make sure y’all connect with them. Their information will be in the show notes, Hey, to our listeners. Hopefully you all have enjoyed this conversation as much as I have. I’ve learned a lot of new things. You know, it’s always neat to sit down and rub elbows with the trails. A trailblazer that’s addressing a gap in the market has existed for quite some time to make sure you connect with Raleigh. Also connect with we we’ve mentioned vets to industry.org, tons of oftentimes vetted resources there. Brian Arrington does a great job and the whole team there, be sure to check out our sponsors for this episode buyers meeting point.com, Kelly Barner over there, and of course, Dow P for procurement, a big thanks for their support on behalf of our entire team here at veteran voices and supply chain. Now Scott lewd and signing off for now, but Hey, challenging you to do good. Give forward, be the change that’s needed on that note. We’ll see you next time right here on veteran voices.
Raleigh Wilkins is the founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Sales Platoon, Wheeler-Wilkins, and Ground Truth Sales System, and draws from his experiences as a U.S. Marine, executive business leader, sales professional, and entrepreneur to help organizations build sales teams and achieve new levels of success.
He uniquely combines leadership development, sales enablement, sales training, and goal-setting into strategies and techniques that empower team members and leaders to hit top-line sales goals, increase profit and scale sustainably. As a speaker, advisor, and coach, Raleigh’s training sessions provide the practical ‘ground-truth’ tools needed to achieve greater results. Tying together personal stories seamlessly with professional experiences, he is a gifted storyteller who inspires audiences as he describes his life-changing journey from foster care through the US Marines, across a 20-year career overcoming adversity, and personal challenges as he transformed failure to success and became a true servant leader. Connect with Raleigh on LinkedIn.
Dan Reeve is a Sales Director, approaching 22 years with Esker. Dan works to help companies free up front-line troops to be finance and customer service rockstars through the application of machine learning and AI.
Dan was fortunate to serve 10 years as a Combat Engineer in the British Army, then was attached to the Wisconsin Army National Guard. He traveled the world, served alongside Americans and many others, and learned everyone has a good idea, every Army unit thinks they are better, and what can you learn and apply so that you are indeed better prepared and more professional next time.
Dan’s career highlights include getting paid to represent the Royal Engineers in Army shooting competitions, being selected to Army Mountaineering expeditions (climbing Mountains, getting paid, seeing the world, and having a good time with the locals in Nepal, India, Scotland, Wales, France, Spain). Connect with Dan 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.
Data Analytics and Metrics Intern
Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.
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.