Supply Chain Now
Episode 956

What we do in this field impacts people's lives in ways we can't even imagine, and it's not always clear on the surface. I try to impart that because it gives us a sense of purpose and of accomplishing something for the greater good. Our field has a lot to offer in that respect that goes overlooked; it makes what we do a very rich thing.

-Dr. Travis Tokar, Professor of Supply Chain Management with the Neely School of Business at TCU

Episode Summary

For those of us already working in business, the conflict in Ukraine, COVID, and warehouse space shortages are three disruptions in what has been a very challenging last few years. But for the students getting ready to graduate from college with degrees in supply chain and management, they combine to equal job security for the foreseeable future.

In this popular Supply Chain Now classic episode, Scott Luton had the chance to speak with two seniors about to graduate from Texas Christian university and Dr. Travis Tokar, a professor of Supply Chain Management with the Neely School of Business at TCU. Anne O’Connor will be graduating with a degree in supply chain and value management, and Jacob Mutscher is graduating with a double major in supply chain and value management and business information systems.

In this conversation, they share their well-educated views on:

  • Why supply chain was the most appealing course of study for them, and what they hope to be able to do with the degree after graduation
  • The global supply chain trends they are tracking while completing their studies
  • The importance of investing in college-level supply chain programs, and how they are positioning students to succeed after graduation

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:03):

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

Scott Luton (00:29):

Hey everybody. Good morning, Scott Luton here with you on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show on today’s show. We’re gonna be diving into the perspective of the now generation. We’re gonna be talking with a dynamic duo students that are POed to do really big things in industry. Stay tuned for an extraordinary conversation. I’m joined today. Uh, a very special co-host Dr. Travis Tokar professor of supply chain management with the Neely school of business at Texas Christian university. Dr. Tokar, how you doing?

Travis Tokar (00:59):

Doing great. Thanks for having me.

Scott Luton (01:01):

You bet. Well, thanks for, thanks for carving time out. You know, these are some of our favorite conversations. Not only do we get to spend time with members of the now generation that are already making their impact felt, but with folks that are really charged with, uh, inspiring and helping them down their journey, uh, in this case at Texas Christian university. So, uh, thanks for your time here today.

Travis Tokar (01:23):

Absolutely.

Scott Luton (01:26):

So, uh, alright. We’re gonna be introducing our guests in just a minute. And, uh, listeners, uh, Travis here is kind of a pseudo co-host, right. Uh, he’s gonna be asking some of the questions he’s gonna be answering some of the questions, but nevertheless, we’re gonna enjoy our conversation here. Uh, so let’s introduce our, really the two stars of the show. I want to introduce Anne C O’Connor. Who’s a senior at Texas Christian university. Who’ll be graduating with a degree in supply chain and value management, also working towards a minor in global business and get this a certificate in consultative sales. Joining Anne will be Jacob much a senior at TCU. Who’s gonna be graduating with a double major supply chain and value management and business information system. Just welcome. And Anne and Jacob. All right. Anne, Jacob, how are we doing today?

Anne C. O’Connor (02:23):

Good, great. Thanks for having us.

Scott Luton (02:25):

It is so wonderful. As I mentioned, these are some of my favorite conversations. Uh, I love a little bit the passionate y’all both already kind of displayed in some of our warmup conversations and, uh, looking forward to diving in a lot more. So, uh, I wanna start though, uh, let’s level set a little bit, and I wanna ask each of y’all including, uh, my steamed co-host, uh, Dr. Tocar, where are you from? Right. Where are you from? And give us a little, little bit of flavor, uh, a little anecdote, maybe about your upbringing. So Anne, let’s start with you.

Anne C. O’Connor (02:56):

Yeah. So I’m from Newport beach, California, which is a beautiful city, a lot different than Texas. I grew up on the beach, loving the beach and a little fun fact about Newport’s actually headquartered, um, Chipotle their headquarters is set there, which is pretty interesting for a small town. So pretty good.

Scott Luton (03:13):

It is. And, and give me, uh, uh, one, so beyond Chipotle what’s one other food dish that you grew up with would be an inseparable part of your upbringing.

Anne C. O’Connor (03:25):

Um, this is pretty niche, but there’s a French bakery shop. That’s very local to where I’m from. That was called Stacy bone that everyone I knew in town would always go for for coffee, pastries sandwiches, SA bone bakery. That’s what I grew up on. Probably every single day it would have when I was in high school.

Scott Luton (03:42):

Love it. And I bet really good coffee. So, uh, thank you for sharing Newport beach, California and okay. Let’s move around to Jacob. Jacob. Where, what about you? Where’d you grow up?

Jacob Mutscher (03:53):

Yeah, I grew up in a small town called Midland, Michigan, which is about two hours north of Detroit. And it’s really known for the, any headquarters for Dow chemical company.

Scott Luton (04:04):

Okay. Uh, outstanding. Now, um, uh, you said two hours at two hours north of Detroit. Is that right?

Jacob Mutscher (04:11):

Yep.

Scott Luton (04:12):

So did you ever venture in maybe Detroit pizza is prevalent throughout Michigan? Is that, is that the case?

Jacob Mutscher (04:18):

Yeah, there, one of my favorite pizza joints is called jets pizza and I was really a good to tot style pizza. And so didn’t go to Detroit too often, but there’s a lot of places around the state that really get pizza,

Scott Luton (04:28):

Man. I could eat pizza every day. Thank you, Jacob, for helping me ruin my diet today. Uh, but love <laugh>. I love these little anecdotes about where you’re from, especially of course, related to food. So welcome in Jacob and Hey Travis, you, you can’t get out the question. So let’s, let’s learn. Where did you grow up and give us a little, little flavor too.

Travis Tokar (04:47):

Oh man. I grew up a lot of places actually. Uh, my dad is an agriculture specialist. We moved around quite a bit, including, uh, other, other countries, but, uh, we settled in Fayetteville, Arkansas when I was about 15. And so that’s very much home and uh, this day actually, uh, my family’s still lives there and love to get back and visit when I can. But, uh, uh, yeah, it’s an interesting place. You’ve got Walmart, JB hunt, Tyson foods, all headquartered up there and I’m guessing being part of the supply chain world. You’ve had many conversations with folks who’ve passed through that area. So, uh, yeah, it’s, uh, its a neat place.

Scott Luton (05:22):

It really is. In fact, I’ll just share and we some time with uh, Dr. Fett, uh, and the univers of Arkansas, uh, there. So it is a, it is a really cool part of the country now. Uh, Fayville Arkansas. What, you know, if I heard you, right? You set up shop there when you’re about 15 years old, what was one of your, uh Hauns or, or restaurant joints? What what’d you love as a kid?

Travis Tokar (05:45):

Oh man. So we had moved to Fayetteville from California. So like Anne was saying, uh, Newport beach. My grandparents, uh, were in the Torrance area. Redondo beach had spent some time there and uh, when we moved to Fayetteville, uh, barbecue was kind of a new thing for us. I mean, there were a couple of barbecue places, but uh, never like true, you know, good Southern barbecue. And so I was just blown away. I just, uh, any, any barbecue I could sing my teeth into anywhere up there was, was gonna be high on my, my list. And uh, so yeah, it was a fun experience.

Scott Luton (06:19):

I love that. Uh, I think we were separated at birth. I think we think a lot alike. I can tell by your answer there. Uh, so Travis, uh, Jacob and Anne. Great to have you here. Let’s get kind of get down to business a little bit. Uh, I can talk about food for, for, for way too long, but let’s talk supply chain of course. Uh, and Anne, I wanna circle back to you, um, you know, you’re poised you and Jacob both, uh, as we record this here today, you’re graduating just around the corner. Uh, you’re well equipped with some incredible degrees. Um, you be, you can be dangerous out there in industry. I love that. Why supply chain for you?

Anne C. O’Connor (06:55):

Yeah, so I chose supply chain because I really liked how it gave me access to all different like areas of the firm. And so you’re not only just in one department all the time, you’ll have your hands kind of in every ACC aspect of the business and you get to see the product really follow through. So from manufacturing, all the customer, and then now with the circular supply chain coming back to you. So I liked how I almost feel like I’m always on my toes instead of always just gonna be stuck in one department. I could really move around within the supply chain or even within, let’s say I’m a, in the procurement department, there’s a lot of different things I can do. So I’m really excited the fact that I have a lot of exposure the entire firm while still having that excitement of getting to do a lot of different things.

Scott Luton (07:34):

What a great answer, Anne, uh, you know, I, I think of, um, uh, systems level thinking comes to mind, right? And, and I think, um, a lot of folks and a lot of, uh, hiring managers and a lot of leaders would wish their people had a better sense of upstream and downstream, you know, what takes place and, and I couldn’t have said it better. Uh, you know, that’s a great advantage of, uh, being a supply chain expert and being a part of supply chain and lots of options with your career. So excellent stuff there. Um, Jacob, same question to you. Why supply chain?

Jacob Mutscher (08:05):

Yeah, so I kind of interested in supply chain cause it’s both people oriented and there’s also a lot of data involved with it, both of which are two of my passions and interests. So I kinda like the ability to talk, interact with people, but also back that up with a lot of data. And I also like the idea that you can work on a specific problem, but then step back and see the bigger picture. And so there, it’s just, there’s a big breadth within supply chain. So there’s a lot of different fields you can get yourself interested in. And so for me, it’s interesting to see how that all interconnects and wines and for me, it’s a great way to explore different areas. And so if I find my niche or my specific area supply chain, I like I can dive more deeply into that.

Scott Luton (08:43):

Love it. Uh, all right. So Travis does this square with, with what you hear from other students and what what’d you hear and, and Jacob Bo say,

Travis Tokar (08:53):

Yeah, uh, what they shared is pretty common, although, uh, what I get most, at least from freshman, sophomores is what is supply chain most, uh, incoming students have never heard of it. Uh, and by the time that they do, uh, it’s, uh, you see some light bulbs come on, kind of like Anne was just saying, you have a chance to see, uh, all the different functional areas of the firm and how they come together. I mean, ultimately companies exist to provide goods and services to their customers. Uh, you can’t do that without the efforts of every functional area. Uh, and so what we do in supply chain is really, uh, bring all those efforts and all that energy, uh, to fruition in a sense. And so, uh, yeah, it’s one of our big selling points for students is, uh, uh, the types of projects you get to work on. Uh, it’s not just, uh, you know, uh, moving boxes or buying materials or whatever it is that people might conceive of initially is very cross-functional, uh, which means that, uh, you’re never bored. Uh, you’ll always find something that fits your interests. Uh it’s uh, yeah, it’s just a great opportunity for, uh, people looking to do something in business and, uh, maybe don’t know exactly where they want to fit in initially,

Scott Luton (10:09):

Well said, well said, and, you know, Hey, we’re partial around here, but supply chain makes it happen. Uh, and it also provides, uh, these opportunities, you know, as Anne and Jacob both touched on the big picture, uh, which is always appealing, you know, to be part of the big picture and kind of understand the big picture, you know, people and problems and data as, as Jacob also touched on mm-hmm <affirmative> so, uh, thank you. Thank all three of y’all for weighing in on why supply chain. Um, okay, so I wanna switch, uh, shift just a bit here. And so, and I wanna circle back to you if you, you know, as you survey global business global supply chain right now, and you think about a topic or two or a trend or development, really your pick what’s a couple of things you’re tracking more than others right now.

Anne C. O’Connor (10:52):

Mm-hmm, <affirmative> one of the biggest things I’ve been looking into recently and seeing a lot of news on is omnichannel and the future of our omnichannel and supply chain. And so, especially with the pandemic, the shift to like eCommerce and they call it like fi like distribution and shopping centers. And so I’ve been seeing a lot on that and how a lot of companies are moving toward maybe some popup fulfillment centers for the holiday season or pay and pick up curbside or the last mile, um, improvements with drones. And so the whole omnichannel retailing sector, I thought has been really interesting. Another thing I’ve been kinda tracking with the Ukraine, Russia conflict too, is just like how that’s disrupting some supply chains, especially in the agricultural industry. I was doing some research on it for different class. And I found out that Russia actually supplies a lot of, um, this industries, agricultural products and like fertilizers and everything. And we’re seeing some food shortages that are happening. And so that’s gonna have a great impact as the conflict goes on. So just seeing how, even though it’s not happening on like the United States of soil, how everything is impacting us internationally with that conflict as well. So those are two of the things I’ve most recently just been following,

Scott Luton (12:00):

Man. Uh, we could dedicate a six hour show to both of those topics. Uh, and Travis, I’m get you to weigh in, uh, one of my thoughts on the first topic that Ann shared, you know, it is truly amazing to see what retailers have done, uh, over, over the last couple years and enrolled with the punch after punch, after punch to try to meet consumers and, and, uh, give them what they want when they want it and how they want it. So that whole omnichannel, uh, and digital transformation and supply chains have been fascinating. And then secondly, and, and, um, you know, so much going on and a lot of heartbreak going on, of course, in Ukraine and, uh, due to Russia’s actions. But, you know, I was reading just the other day, uh, as, uh, countries look to send artillery pieces, a wide variety of AR artillery pieces to Ukraine, uh, the supply chain and logistics there, it, it is absolutely fascinating. Uh, so, but Travis way in, on, on those two first, uh, first two observations from Anne there.

Travis Tokar (12:54):

Yeah. The eCommerce piece is, uh, something that everyone’s scrambling to figure out in one way, shape or form, uh, in retail specifically. But, uh, yeah, I, I’ve been reading a lot about, uh, the impact it’s having on, uh, real estate and warehousing, for example, and how firms are, are effort to support their eCommerce and efforts having to find, uh, space for new facilities, uh, the cost associated with that. Uh, you trying to plan out where these are supposed to go. Uh, just, it’s interesting how, uh, this transition in the way that people shop is driving all kinds of challenges, uh, in the supply chain that most wouldn’t think about initially. Uh, so that’s been kind of interesting to see

Scott Luton (13:39):

Agreed, and, and, and of course, all four of us are consumers. Uh, I was sitting down and talking with some, uh, industrial real estate folks the other day. And of course that’s an, an explosive market, but I, I, I read, I wish I could figure out who I could attribute it to. I was reading a wall street journal piece about how some communities are pushing back on facilities coming into their neighborhood. Uh, but one of the pros in this article said that as consumers, we all want that product same day, next day, as long as it’s being fulfilled, uh, a town across the state or across the county or something. And I was like, you know, how true is that? We want our cake and eat it to, um, but nevertheless, uh, Travis, thank you for that. Let’s circle back to Jacob. So Jacob, same question to you, you know what, what’s a couple things you’re tracking across global supply chain, much like Anne shared.

Jacob Mutscher (14:28):

Yeah. So one of the things I’ve been tracking is just in time Chi and how that’s kind of changed through the fact of COVID before COVID a lot of companies and retails were trying to streamline their business processes is hold the least amount of safety stock as possible, but COVID really disrupted that as supply chains were disrupted, we saw lot stockouts when renewable is toilet paper. And so you kind of can see an industry shift, almost carry more and more safety stock. And that’s kind of also coupled with a second trend I’ve been looking at is over in California with the ports there and how there’s actually a backup of cargo there, how there’s irregular supply from China due to some of their COVID restrictions, and then more COVID restrictions and labor restrictions are causing plants and different ports to not actually fulfill as much cargo needs. So those two coupling are kind of, I’m seeing a shift almost to increase safety stock, to help meet consumer needs, as demand is more irregular along with supply industry to kind of see how industry is almost shifting from just in time to a lot more safety stock

Scott Luton (15:29):

Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And I can’t wait to see how, uh, members of the now generation as you get in the industry like, uh, Jacob, you and Ann are gonna change that and, and change in some cases, some archaic approaches at how, uh, global supply chain works. So it’s gonna be really exciting to see, uh, but Travis, uh, I bet my hunch, I don’t know. Uh, and, and on one hand toilets shoot is kind of the gift that keeps on giving because it really helped folks kind of, kind of, uh, better understand, uh, supply chain a little bit on the other hand, man, if I hear toilet tissue, one more time, toilet paper, one more time in a supply chain conversation, I’m gonna lose my mind, but Travis, uh, what’s your take there on what Jacob shared?

Travis Tokar (16:12):

Yeah. Um, I, I, I think he’s, he’s spot on in terms of the, the, the, the question, and this is something I’ve presented to my students several times now and, and told them this, this is job security for you guys going forward. So, so when I was in school, uh, studying supply chain, uh, the, the, the, the mantra was replace. And, uh, we were in the midst of, uh, focusing on hyper efficiency, trying to drive cost outta the supply chain. And of course inventory is cost. And the more you could replace that with, uh, yeah. Information systems to know where it is, or to move it more effectively, uh, the less inventory you could get by out with, well, we’ve seen now thanks to this, uh, hopefully once in a lifetime experience of, of, you know, a major catastrophe, there’s not a lot of buffer in the system when things like that happen.

Travis Tokar (17:04):

And so you’re seeing pushback and you’re seeing companies begin to question, was that the right decision? Um, in some ways, well, yeah, it, it’s, what’s responsible for the drop in consumer prices that we’ve seen over the decades. I mean, we all get lower and lower and lower prices on the stuff that we buy and use every day, however, yeah. When something happens, it disappears and it disappears fast. So what’s the answer going forward. Do companies go back to that model that we, we spent decades trying to create, or do we come up with something different? That’s got some buffer built in, uh, how much should there be, uh, you know, how long should we hold buffer before we go back? Or do we ever go back? There’s just lots of questions right now, uh, that, uh, need answering. And, uh, uh, yeah, that’s, I think what this generation’s gonna be tackling for the years to come.

Scott Luton (17:57):

So Travis very well said very well said, and it’s, I’m really looking forward to seeing, uh, the change that Jacob and Anne and other members of this now generation are gonna be driving from the very first day, uh, they step into their role. Um, you know, I should also mention, uh, both Anne and Jacob have an interesting combination of, uh, of their degrees. So Anne, you know, supply chain, global business and some consultative sales man, that’s gonna be a dangerous combination. And then on Jacob’s side, as he mentioned, you know, supply chain, but that business information systems, uh, the data, uh, and, and, um, the, it, the technology there, that’s also a powerful combination. So this is gonna be really neat to see, uh, where you both go from here. Um, all right. So Travis, we’ll circle back to you. Uh, so as we were getting this conversation kind of to heat up, uh, we were talking with Dr.

Scott Luton (18:51):

Morgan Swink when your colleagues there, uh, at TCU and he was telling me about a, uh, a trip he had planned, I think you and he, and maybe other members, uh, TCU delegation perhaps visited Iowa, where you were having a lot of these conversations probably touched on some of the things you just shared where, uh, were all facing a ton of change and challenges and, and then some across global supply chain. Can you talk, talk to us a little bit about what took place, what, what was the event and give us a couple, uh, takeaways from your discussions there?

Travis Tokar (19:23):

Yeah, absolutely. So the event was, uh, a doctoral symposium for PhD students in supply chain management. And it’s a group of schools that, uh, uh, traditionally have a, uh, more of a logistics focus, uh, I guess you could say to their, their studies, their research focus, and at least historically that was the case. Um, but a great group. Uh, and yeah, it rotates year to year from who hosted this year happened to be at Iowa state. And I know I shouldn’t talk too many nice things about a big 12 rival, but, uh, great place, uh, beautiful campus and just a great group of faculty up there too. A lot of good things going on there in Ames. Uh, but, uh, yeah, we, we met and, uh, all the programs bring, uh, a number of their doctoral students. And, uh, the purpose is to really, uh, discuss what’s on the horizon for them, uh, as, as students and then early on in their career as faculty members.

Travis Tokar (20:17):

So there’s a little bit of discussion of, uh, you know, research methods and, uh, there’s some other topics related to building your career, but what we enjoy at least, uh, you know, as a faculty member talking about the most is just what’s going on in the world. Do you see, and what are you thinking? Uh, what are the types of research questions, uh, that you hope to address in the days to come? So, uh, yeah, it was a lot of fun to get a chance to interact. We don’t have a PhD program at TCU, however, uh, opportunities like this, give us the chance to, uh, yeah, engage and, uh, just hear, uh, what’s, what’s the latest and, and what’s got people interested. So of course, uh, the pandemic and the response like we were discussing earlier came up and, uh, what’s on the horizon. Uh, how do we address some of the challenges that we’re seeing now with, uh, infrastructure, uh, you know, ports, uh, you name it, I mean, just, uh, everyone’s feeling these effects. And so, uh, in supply chain, uh, the, the research side of the supply chain world, uh, yeah, we’re looking for ways to, uh, maybe address some of this stuff.

Scott Luton (21:23):

Love it, love it, deeds, not words. Uh, uh, and, and by the way you getting, did you have any local dishes up in, uh, Ames, Iowa?

Travis Tokar (21:32):

Uh, we did eat a nice restaurant downtown, uh, at a nice view, but I’ll tell you the, the best food I had that this British pub, believe it or not. Uh, I think it was called the plucky duck. If I remember correctly, a friend of mine knew about it. So I had, uh, I had a fished and aim. I aims Iowa. It’s pretty darn good, actually. So

Scott Luton (21:52):

Hey, it just, it, it, it continues to, uh, uh, tell us time and time again, never make assumptions, never make assumptions who to thank, uh, great fish and ships in aims, Iowa. Um, okay, well, thank you for sharing. And of course, best wishes to Dr. Twink and his family. We look forward to reconnecting with am soon. Um, let’s circle back to Ann and Jacob. Uh, Ann, I’m gonna start with you here. Uh, TCU seems to be, uh, like one heck of a place to go to school and, and certainly one heck of a place for folks interested in supply chain management. But Hey, I wanna hear from you, what, what makes, uh, TCU such a cool place to, to go to school?

Anne C. O’Connor (22:29):

Yeah, well, first off go, frogs always best school on the planet. What I love especially about TCU is the school spirit, but also the like group dynamics that people have. So a lot of times in a lot of the classes we’ll have group projects and you can just tell every student there wants to work really hard and we all push each other to be our best, but then the teachers really have a hand in our success as well. So they’re always giving us help and making, mentoring us and making sure that we’re doing our best and providing us with the skills that we need throughout my degree at TCU and every class I took here at the middle school of business, I feel like I’ve learned so much that has added to my professional development and my personal development as a student. And I feel really equipped to go off into the real world with presentation skills, Excel skills, essay skills. And so I think just as a, not only is it great place to meet people and to make long lasting relationships, but that you can really tell the professors and the faculty and the administration, they want you to succeed, and they truly care about you, which is what really makes it special here,

Scott Luton (23:27):

Man. Wow, there’s so much unpacked there. Uh, lot of passion and, uh, clearly a big emphasis on communication skills, which is timeless, right. Timeless and universal. Uh, and, and I believe you, I think you’re rip rear and ready to go, and it’s gonna be really cool to see what y’all do, uh, from here and, and, and really just the weeks and months ahead. Um, Jacob, same question. Tell us about why you like, uh, TCU as much, especially for folks interested in supply chain management.

Jacob Mutscher (23:54):

Yeah. So one of the things I really appreciate about TCU is that small school feel a lot of your classes around 30 to 40 students. You really get a personal interaction and you school of business really feels like I’m an MF in a big family. And one of the things I really appreciate with the supply chain program is really starting with your junior year. You actually in a cohort class. So all the, the people are participating in the supply chain degree, actually take a one credit course class together. And so you really get to know each other and know some of the faculty and really go through your whole supply chain degree together. So it really helps with group projects, get to familiarize yourself with everybody. And then from a faculty standpoint, we have some amazing faculty, if you’re always willing to help you, a lot of them have great field experience.

Jacob Mutscher (24:36):

So they come from your working career and you’ve taken time to actually spend time with students. And so it’s great. They’re always ready to meet with you and something I’m also liked. There’s a lot, you learn of hard skills in the nearly school business with supply chain, but there’s a lot of real world applications. So a lot of times outside businesses you’ll come in and actually do projects with them where you actually get to interact with outside experts and actually test the skills you worked on throughout your supply chain career. So it’s really a great ample flexibility about how different utilizing different skills through communication, interacting, and actually practicing those skills.

Scott Luton (25:11):

All right. So what I heard, Anne and Jacob both say, uh, Travis is, Hey, take that Iowa state. Uh, right. So tra Travis, uh, weigh in on maybe what you heard there. Um, and as a follow up to that, I’d love to get kind of one of your favorite recent moments, uh, in the classroom, uh, per se.

Travis Tokar (25:30):

Hmm. Yeah. Uh, one of the things that, uh, I’ve enjoyed most about being at TCU is I think what they both brought up the relatively, uh, small class sizes, the, uh, personal engagement, um, not that that’s, uh, not possible at other schools, but of course, uh, you know, when you’re taking class class with 70, 80, a hundred other students, it’s gonna be harder to get to know the faculty. It’s hard for the faculty to get to know the students here at TCU. Uh, yeah, our class sizes tend to be quite a bit smaller than that, uh, by design and, uh, gives us a chance to get to know, uh, the people in our classes, uh, for students to engage, uh, with faculty and, uh, just makes for a very rich experience.

Scott Luton (26:13):

So, um, speaking of those experiences, uh, you know, all the discussions you get to have, uh, you know, as I mentioned, I love these, I get a chance to kind of, uh, you know, peer into the brain and the passions of, of, of bright, uh, members of the now generation leaders like Jacob, and then Travis, you could do this all the time. I I’m so jealous. What’s, you know, out of all those experiences, no discussions and, and, um, you know, inside a classroom, outside the classroom, what’s a, a moment, a recent moment that really maybe reminded you of why you do what you do.

Travis Tokar (26:47):

Gosh, uh, you know, I had a student come by my office, uh, I guess it was last week. And, uh, she had, uh, asked me to write a letter of recommendation for her. Uh, she was looking for some, uh, interns for the summer and internship opportunities I should say. And, uh, yeah, she had, she got, uh, ended up with two offers and, uh, she just wanted to share that. And she, uh, also was asking me for some insights on, you know, uh, how she should, uh, uh, which direction she should go, what opportunities she might wanna take, but more than anything, uh, it was just really, uh, it was just so great to, to hear from her about the opportunity that she’d had and, and the fact that she wanted to just share that news with me, having been a very small part in that process. Uh it’s things like that, that, uh, uh, yeah, in the midst of grading stacks of papers or, uh, writing out exams, you’re like, oh, wait, yeah, no, this, this is what I’m here. This is why I really enjoy what I do. Um, so it was, it was a, uh, very well timed as we approach finals to, uh, be able to step away from, uh, um, yeah, all the classroom, uh, grind for just a second and yeah, and like, wow, this is, you know, um, this is why I enjoy what I do.

Scott Luton (28:04):

I love that. Thank you so much for sharing Travis. And I bet. Is it fair to say that, uh, in your experience that, uh, you know, the students will keep coming back and, and keep checking in and probably find ways of supporting TCU and, and, and maybe even the supply chain management program? Huh?

Travis Tokar (28:21):

Yeah. I’ve got lunch lined up next week with the student from five or years ago. Uh, you know, I, I, that tends to happen over the summer. It’s one of my favorite things is a chance to, uh, just keep up here where people are, are, where they’re going, what they’re doing. Um, yeah. How their lives have changed over time. I’ve been invited to, you know, weddings and, uh, I get, uh, pictures and babies are born. I mean, it’s just, that’s the, the, the, the thing about my job is that, uh, yeah, I’ve played a small part in people’s lives. And, uh, I get to keep up with that over time. It’s, uh, kinda like Jacob said, the, the family experience and feeling it it’s very, very real and, uh, um, makes, makes this, uh, yeah, just a really rewarding career. So, um, so yeah,

Scott Luton (29:07):

I love that. That’s part of stuff that makes my day, I mean, hearing, I mean, uh, really, it, it, it brings, uh, such purpose to it. Uh, and family, that’s the term that that’s, that’s the, that’s the, uh, maybe the, the word of the, of the episode here, uh, circling back to Anne and Jacob, um, pre show. We were about the Renaissance and Eureka moments, you know, and I, you know, last few years certainly haven’t been to Renaissance, but I would argue that, you know, there’s always good news if you go looking for it. And it’s really, I tell you there’s so much good news and so many great stories of, of, um, achievement and innovation, real innovation, right. Action, uh, and overcoming obstacles, uh, whether it’s products, whether it’s some of the omnichannel developments that Anne was speaking to earlier, Hey, uh, the workforce look at what the global supply chain workforce and beyond of course, healthcare, many others look what they’ve done to keep things moving and where a lot of the populations sitting home and getting stuff delivered to the doorstep. It is really remarkable. If you can kind of step outside of, of the, of the, um, you know, what the pandemic has been. So lots of good news, but my question is what’s been a Eureka moment for each of you in these last few years. So, uh, let’s switch up a little bit, uh, Jacob, I wanna start with you, you, you’re gonna be the Otis Nixon today, right? The, uh, famous Atlanta Braves, uh, leadoff hitter from, uh, years ago. So Jacob, what’s been a, a good Eureka moment for you in recent years.

Jacob Mutscher (30:36):

Oh boy. There’s, there’s been a lot of big Eureka moments, both inside now, outside of academia for me. Um, I guess I’d say one of the big Eureka moments for me, I guess, would be my junior year, second semester taking my logistics course. And that was the real first supply chain course that I really delved into. And really, I learned a lot in that class and really challenged me cause it got aspects of Excel and our some simulations we worked in. And what really interested me most about that class is I got to see the big picture of supply chain. I got to see what it means to actually deliver goods from point a to point B and where it takes you from the, from the beginning point of producing a good to the end point of actually delivering to a consumer. And I got to and see that all throughout, uh, half of a semester. And so that was something I think was really big for me, cuz for most of my time I thought supply chain was purely just the transportation of goods. I didn’t realize the more upstream and downstream aspects of supply chain for, so me person just be able to see that big picture and all the different components that actually go into supply chain really just broaden my perspective of it.

Scott Luton (31:46):

I love that. Um, uh, Jacob, what a, what a great talk about a big Eureka moment and Anne coming back to you, you know, uh, upstream, downstream, reverse stream, as you alluded to earlier, you know that the re economy is, uh, billions and billions and billions. I’m not sure the latest, uh, uh, uh, market estimation, but that’s a great thing too. And of course, supply chain again, reverse logistics and returns processing and, and management, all of that falls under the umbrella. Uh, and that’s really cool. A lot of cool things going on there, but Anne talking Eureka moments. How about you?

Anne C. O’Connor (32:22):

Yeah, I’d say for me, it’s probably more, I’ve had my biggest Eureka moment on like profession development, personal side, going through all the internship and full-time job interviews and applications. Jacob kind of said this earlier, but TCU does a really good job of teaching those hard skills and having the real applications. But I’ve learned through all the processes that it’s the soft skills too, that really help you stand out as an applicant and even going through all those processes, it’s really just making about making connections and relationships with people. So maybe you, the job wasn’t for you or that certain group you wanted to join wasn’t for you, but you met people and you built relationships and hopefully in the future you can bring value to them. So my biggest moment I would see a Eureka wise was just making sure that I’m bringing value and soft skills to people because in the end it’s all about relationship building, cuz people can learn any of those hard skills whenever, but if you can bring positivity, soft skills and charisma and have that relationship with people, it’s really gonna make all the difference in the world.

Scott Luton (33:16):

So well said, man, uh, I wish I had your perspective as I was wrapping up college, both of y’all really, um, cause relationships, they matter so much and, and you know, there’s, there’s all kinds of different layers and levels. Uh, and it’s tough. Uh, as my, uh, dear partner in crime here at supply chain now says Greg white is tough to build a relationship in the middle of a pandemic. You’ve gotta, you’ve gotta be nurturing them in need it. Uh, or as, uh, Harvard McKay says, uh, you gotta dig you well before you’re thirsty, which I think is one of my favorite, uh, sayings. So well said, Anne, and I love your appreciation for relat relationships, you know, especially where you are in your journey. Uh, but Travis, uh, first I’ll tell you, Jacob and Ann he’s savvy individuals light years ahead. I don’t know about you, but the light years ahead of where I was. Um, that’s gotta add to your appreciation for what you do and, and your sense of mission, but what’s been a Eureka moment for you.

Travis Tokar (34:13):

Gosh, um, I think seeing over the last several months or a couple years, uh, the, the ways in which the pandemic is played out has, uh, just reiterated how interconnected everything is, uh, globally. Uh, it’s something I’ve, I’ve always enjoyed about supply chain, uh, especially having lived overseas a few times and having, uh, some sense of, uh, what happens other places affects us year, but you, you lose the appreciation for that over time. You begin to take things for granted and, uh, just to see how, uh, events happening half a world away impact what’s on my store shell for the price I pay for something or the availability of, of goods and services. Um, it’s just a, a, a, a remind, an important reminder of just the, the connectedness of everything. And, and what, for me, not just, um, you know, the access to the stuff that I want, but it, it reminds me that what we do in this field matters tremendously.

Travis Tokar (35:15):

And I, I try to impart this to my students every semester, uh, where talk about, you know, you’re gonna be working in industry or for a big company and, and, uh, maybe you’re crunching away in a computer. Maybe you’re negotiating contracts, maybe you’re making stuff move. And at times it’s tempted to tempting to think that, uh, okay, that’s really all I’m doing, but it’s so very much bigger than that. Uh, what we do in this field impacts people’s lives in ways we can’t even imagine, and it’s not clear on the surface. So I try to impart that because it gives us a sense of purpose and, uh, of, of, of, um, accomplishing something for the greater good, uh, I think our field really has a lot to offer in that respect that goes overlooked. And, uh, it makes what we do a, a very rich thing,

Scott Luton (36:06):

Jacob, and that just about took my breath away. And I mean that with all sincerity, I mean that, uh, Dr. Travis, tocar a, every practitioner everywhere, regardless of where they are in their journey needs that, right? Because we all have those days where maybe, you know, Jacob, you brought up Excel spreadsheets a couple times, we’ve all done, done battle with Excel spreadsheets, where you look up and the whole day’s gone and you don’t, and, and you can lose sight of the impact you’re having in the bigger picture. So Travis amen, well said. And, uh, look forward to sharing that with, with our global ecosystem. For sure. I should go back up too two quick clarifications. Uh, first off Iowa state, I’m just picking on you. Hey, no, just messing with you a little while ago. I’m sure you’ve got great programs. I’m sure we’ll hear some for, from some folks in aims, but it’s all all in.

Scott Luton (36:52):

Good fun. Uh, and then secondly, kinda along the lines of what you are sharing here, Travis, you know, as consumers, you know, as, as we take off our practitioner hat and we, you know, kind of look at things just as consumers, inexpensive prices, cheap prices, they have repercussions, you know, other things that we want and demand and expect they have repercussions, you know, and global supply chains right now, all three of y’all have spoken to they’re fighting through some of the things that consumers expect, uh, here in 2022. Um, okay. So I want to, this is one of my favorite parts here, cause we get to talk about the really cool things. Anne and Jacob have lined up, they already got it lined up. Uh, I was going in, I, I, I had a job, uh, in college. Uh, I, the air force was getting me right after I grad actually, uh, a couple months after I graduated and, and Jacob, so I didn’t get a chance to jump right into the private sector and do some cool things, spent a lot of great, uh, years with, um, uh, some dear friends of mine in the air force, uh, doing some data analysis work, but man, what y’all are doing.

Scott Luton (37:54):

So, and let’s start with you, you’re jumping right out, uh, uh, and, and starting a new role with Dell technologies. Tell us what you’re gonna be doing.

Anne C. O’Connor (38:05):

Yeah. So I’m joining Dell technologies in Austin, Texas in their supply chain development program. So I’m gonna do a three rotation between operations, logistics, and procurement, and I’ll get my placement within the next few weeks, but right now I’m going in as a product analyst. And I’m really excited just to get to learn and grow at Dell.

Scott Luton (38:23):

That is wonderful. I’ve heard a lot of good things. You know, we, we’ve managed to interview some folks from Dell over the years and they all to a person speak about the culture there at, uh, at Dell. And, and have you already gotten kind of a, a sense of that through your, your, uh, conversations?

Anne C. O’Connor (38:39):

Yes. It’s a very people oriented culture, which I love and everyone just wants to, like I said earlier, build relationships with each other and everyone pushes each other to be their best and work their hardest, which I really enjoy. And I’ve already met a lot of the Dell team and love them and know I’m gonna have some great relationships with them and they’re gonna push me to be the best I can be. I’m very excited,

Scott Luton (38:57):

Wonderful. We’re big fans. As, as I look around my, my home studio, I’ve got about 18 Dell products, so we’re big fans of that company. So I look forward, it sounds like they’re getting a, a dynamic addition to the team. So, uh, we look forward to maybe getting an update from you a few months down the road. Um, Jacob, uh, tell us about what, what you’ve got on tap with, uh, Frito lay north America.

Jacob Mutscher (39:21):

Yeah. So I’ll working for Frito lay north America, headquartered in Plano, Texas. I’ll be starting here in July and I’m still waiting to hear on my placement, but, um, hopefully it’s either in the product supply or logistics, transportation department had the opportunity to intern them for the previous summer and their product supply field. And that was very interesting to me.

Scott Luton (39:43):

Okay. So you already kind of have, uh, taken a, a kind of a, a look under the hood, so to speak, huh?

Jacob Mutscher (39:49):

Yep.

Scott Luton (39:50):

Um, well, so it’s interesting as both of y’all share, uh, you kind of already got your next steps lined out and you’re still kind figuring out or still waiting maybe to figure out some of the specifics, uh, Travis, I’ll bring you in. And, and by the way, Jacob congrats, um, free delay is gonna get clearly a, a, a bright, uh, capable member of the now generation. That’s outstanding. Uh, Travis, as, as I was touched on the second ago, as the specifics of the roles are kind of materializing, is this pretty common, uh, for how companies recruit from college campuses these days where they kind of, you know, look to secure the relationship and, uh, they’ll tip it hat to you with the students, um, kind of get ’em, you know, part of the organization and then kind of define where they want to be, uh, kind of after they get started.

Travis Tokar (40:39):

I think it’s a mixed, uh, I think it’s a mixed bag. I think you see some companies, uh, like Ann and, and Jacob have experienced to say, uh, you know, Hey, we can clearly see you are talented. We want you part of our team. Uh, we have several opportunities that could be materializing, let’s see where you fit best. Uh, and then there’s others that come in with the very, a find role and say, uh, you know, this is the, this is the role, this is the location. Uh, and, uh, they’re looking for somebody who fits that. So, uh, yeah, it, it can work both ways.

Scott Luton (41:13):

So, um, so Anne one additional for you and Jacob, one additional follow up question, you know, we’ve kind of talked about what your next steps are with who an idea of what you’re gonna be doing, but if you were to, you know, kind of just look at industry as a whole kind of what we were talking about a second ago, mm-hmm <affirmative>, is there one aspect of impact or change or something you wanna tackle in industry? If so, tell us what it is and, and why it appeals to you.

Anne C. O’Connor (41:40):

Mm-hmm <affirmative> I think for sure, in my career, I definitely wanna be able to have communication internationally. So working with international teams with maybe that’s talking with international suppliers, making sure that they’re getting all their products and just working across functionally with different stakeholders. That’s pretty much my goal tying my global business in there with that degree. Um, yeah, just my, one of my things I really wanna do in industry is get to work in that international and have a hand in maybe moving around and living in new places and getting to work with those teams.

Scott Luton (42:09):

Love it. I love it. I bet you get the opportunity to do just that. Uh, and you’re gonna have to report back all your new food fines, uh, and as you make your travel, okay, that’s a deal. Um, all right, Jacob, absolutely question. <laugh> all right. It’s a deal. So Jacob, same question for you. Uh, is there something specific in industry you wanna do and why?

Jacob Mutscher (42:28):

Yeah, so my answer is very similar to Ann’s as I had the opportunity to study abroad after my freshman year, right before co of it hit in London. And that was just a phenomenal experience for me ever since then, it’s really peaked my interest to have some, my feet, uh, wet in the global supply chain aspect. And one of those areas is just making sure we can get cost effective products out to individuals around the world. So I’ve seen the real big impact that globalization and help improve people’s standard living. And so that’s something I hope to bring. And in part to other parts of the world is just consumer products that we enjoy here in the United States at a low effective cost and bring that to other countries, to people and to enjoy

Scott Luton (43:07):

Wonderful, uh, Jacob, that total total landed cost sounds like it’s gonna be a regular part of your future. Uh, Travis, you gotta love what you hear, um, uh, passion, uh, drive, uh, impact, uh, some of the, some of the themes I’m hearing, um, touch on that. What what’d you hear between what Anne and Jacob both shared?

Travis Tokar (43:30):

Yeah, I think the, uh, the global focus, uh, is appealing, uh, to a lot of students, uh, particularly in the impact that you can have on, on the quality of life of people around the world. I think that we all recognize that, uh, we’ve been very blessed here in the United States with an incredible standard of living. Uh, that is not the norm historically. I mean, if you think back, uh, it’s only in the last, uh, you know, a hundred, 150 years or so that, uh, lives have been this long lives have been this rich and comfortable, uh, that didn’t happen by accident. Uh, and a lot of systems went into place to helping to bring that about. So you, I find a lot of students wanting to find ways to, uh, help spread that to other places that aren’t so fortunate that don’t have access to the things that we do.

Travis Tokar (44:20):

And, uh, so we had to Jacob’s point in supply chain, uh, what we do matters like we were talking about earlier and, uh, the access that we create to goods and services at more and more afford affordable prices absolutely can change the quality of life for people that, uh, otherwise, uh, yeah, wouldn’t, wouldn’t be in such a great shape. So, um, to the extent that, uh, um, we’re able to provide avenues for students to, uh, yeah, link what they do to those type types of effects or help them to see that, like on a day to day basis, you may not recognize it, but the things that you’re doing contribute to that, um, I think it really just, uh, uh, resonates and, uh, then students in their awesome creativeness go and find ways to engage in that even deeper and even further.

Scott Luton (45:09):

Yes. Uh, completely agree. And I love, um, uh, uh, so many of folks that are entering the workforce now are asking the question why, and, you know, the five whys, if you ever heard of that, you know, it, it is driving so much change and good change. And, and, you know, as really all three of y’all touched on the, the global supply chain profession is in a unique position to do something about so many of the issues of our day. And, and it comes with a serious charge and responsibility to do just that. Deed’s not words. Um, okay. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so as we start to wrap here, uh, Dr. Travis, tocar, I’m gonna put you on the spot. Uh, I know you’ve got a crystal ball around there, a lot more accurate than mine. Uh, what’s one thing, uh, that maybe our listeners can expect from a supply chain perspective or global business perspective in the second half of 2022 and beyond

Travis Tokar (46:01):

My gosh. Um, <laugh> yeah. I, uh, I don’t even know where to begin because, uh, uh, I think I’ve had some, some real successes in making some calls as of late, and I’ve had some major WHS as well. So, uh, I hesitate to go on record saying much of anything, but, uh, you know, I, I’m looking at the, the landscape right now, uh, seeing, I think, an alluded to earlier, um, some of the, the global conflicts that are taking place and, uh, various, uh, struggle, uh, with infrastructure, with shipping, um, with manufacturing, like the computer ship shortage and things. I I’m a bit, um, pessimistic that the, the, the worst of things is behind us in terms of, uh, shortages and in terms of, uh, price increases. I, I think that, uh, uh, we’re gonna con continue to see that persist for a little while. Um, not to say that certain things might not get better here and there, but there’s still challenges to be solved. And, uh, um, so yeah, I, I think that this next year, we’re gonna continue to see a lot of what we’ve been dealing with already and, uh, and hopefully, uh, yeah, those begin to Wayne. Uh, but I think it’s gonna be slower than we’d all like to see happen.

Scott Luton (47:19):

Mm well said, uh, I, I generally agree with you as well. Um, we still got some, um, some tough, tough hurdles to get through it, to, to get firmly entrenched from my take, uh, in the post pandemic environment. Of course, it’s important that we all get there together. And, uh, we learn as much, uh, the good lessons and the bad lessons, uh, that the last few years has taught us, not just as a global profession, but as frankly as humanity. Right. Uh, and I’m hoping some of those lessons stick for a very long time. Um, all right. So Anne and Jacob and Travis, a delightful conversation, I really, uh, these types of conversations are energizing. Uh, if our listeners or anything like me gets, get some ready to run through, like the walls behind us here. Uh, this is, this is, this is why we do this. So, uh, Anne, I’ll start with you, uh, to tell us, you know, for folks wanna learn more and, and, and hear more of your take on, on all things supply chain than some, how can listeners connect with you?

Anne C. O’Connor (48:18):

Mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah, they’re more than welcome to feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. It’s just look me up my name, Anna O’Connor. I should come up under TCU and I’d be happy to talk to anyone about anything.

Scott Luton (48:29):

Wonderful. Wonderful. And we look forward to hearing about your next steps with, uh, our friends at Dale and, uh, Jacob, how about you?

Jacob Mutscher (48:37):

Yep. So you can connect with me on LinkedIn. It’s just my name, Jacob Muer and, uh, feel free to talk to you about any more of these topics.

Scott Luton (48:45):

It’s just that easy, Jacob, Muer the pride of Midland, Michigan and Ann. O’Connor the pride of Newport each California. Uh, it’s been a pleasure connecting with both of y’all. Uh, I’m looking forward to kind of following, uh, news as you, uh, begin your career as an earnest, not taking anything away from what you’ve been doing as you’ve been matriculating through TCU. I know both of y’all have been really active, uh, in the community and, and, uh, the landscape there, but, uh, looking forward to next steps. All right. So Dr. Travis tocar, uh, how can folks connect with you and TCU?

Travis Tokar (49:18):

Yeah, uh, LinkedIn is a good way. I’m, I’m not the most, uh, active LinkedIn user, but I certainly do get the messages and, uh, we’ll see anything that comes through. Uh, the best way to reach me is just my TCU email, Travis dot tocar@tcu.to you.

Scott Luton (49:34):

Wonderful. It is just that easy. Well, this has been again, I really appreciate y’all’s time, a fun conversation informative, inspiring in many respects. And I appreciate all three of y’all for joining us. So, uh, again, Anne C O’Connor few, uh, uh, soon to be with Dell. Thanks for your time, Anne.

Anne C. O’Connor (49:54):

Thank you for having me.

Scott Luton (49:56):

You bet. Uh, and then, uh, Jacob, Muer soon to be with Frito lay north America. Thanks for your time here today.

Jacob Mutscher (50:05):

Yep. Thank you for having me.

Scott Luton (50:07):

You bet. And Hey, uh, Travis, again, really appreciate what you and your fellow faculty members do to, to, to, I mean, this is in many is not taking anything away from, uh, Anne and Jacob, but man, this is, this is like the product of, of y’all’s talent factory, uh, there in Fort worth. So, uh, I, I’m sure you take great pride in that and a pleasure to have you with us here today.

Travis Tokar (50:29):

Absolutely. Yeah, no, I thank thank you for the opportunity. You’ve really enjoyed the conversation and particularly showcasing yeah. Our amazing talent that, uh, comes out of our program.

Scott Luton (50:40):

It’s name the game and it’s gonna be changing the game. So thanks so much. Uh, Travis listeners, hopefully we’ve enjoyed this conversation is much as I have inspiring really inspiring and formative innovative. Uh, it’s gotta make you feel really good about not just the future of supply chain, but again, this is now generation. These folks are already making an impact, a strong impact on global business, uh, on behalf of our entire team here at supply chain. Now, uh, this is Scott Luton challenging all of our listeners. Hey, do good give forward and be the change with that said we’ll see next time. Right back here on supply chain now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (51:15):

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

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Featured Guests

Travis Tokar (PhD University of Arkansas) is a Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Neeley School of Business, Texas Christian University. His research focuses on issues of judgment and decision making in supply chains, with particular interest in demand planning activities such as forecasting and inventory control, as well as consumer behavior. His work has been published in several leading supply chain management academic journals. Connect with Travis on LinkedIn.

Anne C. O’Connor is a Senior at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas pursuing a major in Supply Chain and Value Management and working toward a minor in Global Business and a Certificate in Consultative Sales. After graduating in May of 2022, she will be moving to Austin, TX to work for Dell Technologies within the Supply Chain Development Program. Her passions include traveling, learning about international cultures, connecting with other people, and continuous professional development. She enjoys meeting new people, challenging herself with new experiences, and is very excited to start her professional career in the supply chain industry.

Jacob Mutscher I am a senior graduating from Texas Christian University with a double major in Supply Chain and Value Management and Business Information Systems. I am also earning an emphasis in leadership as a member of the BNSF Neeley Leadership Program. Some of my passion include running, traveling, exploring new opportunities, and spending time with family and friends. After graduation, I will be working for Frito-Lay North America in Plano Texas as a Supply Chain Analyst. Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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Vicki White

Controller

Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.

She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.

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Greg White

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise

When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.

Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.

Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.

With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog.  He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community.  Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include CiscoMicrosoft, Citrix and IBM.  Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.

He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Jeff Miller

Host

Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business.  Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM.  When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.

An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.

A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.

A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning.  He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.

Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.

Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.

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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.

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Ben Harris

Host

Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics.  He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.

He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.

A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.

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