Supply Chain Now
Episode 805

We have clients in our roster today that used to just throw away all this inventory. Hundreds and hundreds of millions worth of inventory thrown away. And now they don't. Now they see that it has value to somebody.

-Howard Rosenberg, B-Stock

Episode Summary

Hailing from an entrepreneurial family, Howard Rosenberg was no stranger to the power of taking charge to solve a problem. And selling to liquidators was a problem desperately in need of solving prior to the arrival of the online marketplace. Join co-hosts Scott and Tony Sciarrotta as they chat with Howard about his lessons learned at eBay, the rise of his company B-Stock Solutions, new trends shaping liquidation – and what no one realizes about the world of returns.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:00:03):

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 opportunities stay tuned to hear from those making global business happen right here on supply chain now,

Scott Luton (00:00:33):

Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton and special guest host Tony Sciarrotta with you here on supply chain. Now welcome to today’s epic. So Tony, how are we doing?

Tony Sciarrotta (00:00:44):

We’re doing great every time. I’m called a special guest host that that’s kind of thrilling for some of us, you know,

Scott Luton (00:00:50):

<laugh> thrilling. Hey, I like how you talk. Uh, well, you know, we really enjoyed our programming via the returns and reverse logistics leadership series here at supply chain now, which of course we couldn’t do without out our partnership with, uh, Tony and the reverse logistics association, where he serves as executive director, Tony, we’ve had some great conversations, right?

Tony Sciarrotta (00:01:11):

We have had so many in the last couple lost years that have been going on and we actually go back three years and, um, it, it’s just, uh, it’s a little frustrating to be out there a low, and it’s so great to have supply chain now being a second voice of the reverse industry, just talking about it at least consistently, um, because you, as you’ve commented before it is important and we just need to hear, get more people to hear about it. So it’s

Scott Luton (00:01:38):

Great. We have a tremendous opportunity today to continue you that track record. We’ve got a big show with a big guest, uh, Howard Rosenberg with B stock will be joining us momentarily. Uh, so Tony, uh, we invite our listeners to stay tuned for a fun and informative conversation. Tony, are you ready to go with Howard?

Tony Sciarrotta (00:01:58):

We’re ready to go.

Scott Luton (00:02:00):

You buckled up

Tony Sciarrotta (00:02:03):

Right

Scott Luton (00:02:04):

Today. It’s tight. We’ll own that note, Les, welcome in Howard Rosenberg, founder and CEO of B stock Howard, how are we doing?

Howard Rosenberg (00:02:13):

I’m doing great. Thanks for having me. Good to see you guys. Good to see you, Tony,

Tony Sciarrotta (00:02:17):

You too Howard. It’s been a long, long time and, uh, unfortunately, uh, but look, looking forward to 2022 being a, a much better year, right? Howard.

Howard Rosenberg (00:02:28):

Absolutely.

Scott Luton (00:02:30):

Well on that note. So that of course there’s, uh, for, for many 2021, despite the environment and despite some of the challenges and, and the, uh, unusual aspects of what we’re fighting through has still been a successful year and love from the returns and the reverse logistics industry. We’ve seen a ton of innovation here, uh, whether that’s includes companies like B stock or some of the other companies, uh, Tony, you talked to day in, day out, but today it’s all about Howard Rosenberg, uh, his journey and some of the cool things that B stock’s doing as well as getting Howard’s take on, on some things that this challenging year has, uh, taught us all. So, uh, Howard, are you ready to get started here today?

Howard Rosenberg (00:03:11):

I’m ready to go.

Scott Luton (00:03:13):

All right. Well again, thanks for your time. Let’s get to know how Rosenberg a little bit better today. So we had a chance to chat a little bit. Pre-show where I, I learned a couple new things about you, including where you are now, but more importantly, where you grew up. So tell us, where did you grow up and, and Howard, give us a few anecdotes about your upbringing.

Howard Rosenberg (00:03:32):

Sure. Um, so I grew up outside of Boston, uh, about 30 miles south of Boston, a town called hang them. Um, I actually moved there. I think I was around six, seven, something like that from Ohio. Okay. Where I was born in Columbus. Um, but grew up primarily there in Boston, uh, in a, you know, nice, nice little suburb. Um, as far as, you know, anecdotes about my upbringing. I mean, I guess the most notable I would say or relevant was, uh, would be, uh, that I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family. Uh, my father was an entrepreneur. My brother, I have an uncle who’s an entrepreneur is two kids, both entrepreneurs. So, um, sort of in my blood to, to do this whole entrepreneurial thing. And I guess despite having started in, in finance in my career and I, I kind of always knew I’d end up sort of on the entrepreneurial side.

Howard Rosenberg (00:04:32):

Um, one of the first things I did as a kid work wise was working for my dad and his business. Uh, and his business was a shoe, a shoe company. Uh, he sold large size women’s shoes, uh, via mail order, uh, and retail. He had some retail stores. Wow. Um, and while I don’t think there was any connection or I didn’t draw any connection to this at the time, certainly looking back on it is interesting to me and looking at how he thought about inventory, um, inventory to him was always his biggest concern. And it was always what he was most stressed out about because the inventory sitting there in the warehouse on the shelves represented the bank debt that he had used to build the business. Uh, it was, this was in the eighties when bank debt was you, you, you just, that’s how you built your business.

Howard Rosenberg (00:05:28):

You borrowed, you know, venture capital, at least for a company like his was not a thing. Um, and so the more inventory he had, the more debt he had, uh, and vice versa. And so it was always, um, you know, he was always thinking about like, how do I minimize my inventory? How do I get rid of the excess? How do I not have it sitting in the, in the warehouse? Um, and so, yeah, that kind of, I guess that got a little bit ingrained in me and at a, at an early age. Um, in fact, I later on maybe in the very early in the internet, uh, but a while back, maybe 97 or so, um, built him a website for his company really. Um, and it turned out, you know, it wasn’t like a fully equipped e-commerce web website or anything, but it was kind of an online catalog and it turned out to be the best mechanism he’d ever found for clearing out his excess inventory. <laugh>, you know, we, we put the thing up and it was running for a couple, few months and he, one day he said to me, wow, he was walking around the warehouse and I, all those, all the shoes in this area that were just, you know, kind of the excess, they were gone <laugh> and he, he kind of didn’t even realize it because they were just sort of going out the back door via this website. Um, I love

Scott Luton (00:06:46):

That. I gotta ask a couple of quick follow up questions before I pass the Baton to Tony here. So, Howard, uh, first question, obviously, uh, in the nineties or so you built website, you’re talking about for your father, but back when you were still a kid there, uh, growing up in Massachusetts in your earliest days, what do you, what do you remember in those earliest days doing in his business?

Howard Rosenberg (00:07:10):

Oh, uh, I was a warehouse worker. Uh, I was picking and packing shoes, uh, sweeping the warehouse, um, and then, uh, eventually graduated to working in the, he had a little outlet store in the corporate office. Again, just always needed a clearance outlet for getting rid of excess <laugh>. So he had a little, little clearance retail store there in the, uh, in the warehouse. And I worked in that store. Um, you know, it was a typical shoe. It’s just that all the shoes were women’s sizes 10 to 15. Right,

Scott Luton (00:07:43):

Man. Gosh, the lessons that offered, uh, kind of that well rounded from warehouse to retail to eventually even eat the earliest days of e-commerce. Uh, one other quick follow up question almost related. You were born in Ohio, in the Midwest move to the east coast in your formative years in Massachusetts. Now you’re out on the west coast in California, you know, I gotta talk about food for just a second. Um, yeah, your favorite <laugh> from Midwest to the east coast to west coast. What’s one thing that, uh, you can’t live without, or one of your favorite foods from, uh, uh, from your journey?

Howard Rosenberg (00:08:20):

Well, I’m still a huge fan of Maine lobster. Uh, that, that, that was always a, um, we, I spent my summers up in Maine often with some, some relatives who lived on the lake up there and we were big lobster fans. Uh, and so, yeah, that’s, that’s probably the highlight for me.

Scott Luton (00:08:39):

Tough to beat I’m with you. Um, all right. So Tony, I hate to, to just, uh, tease everyone with a little bit of great food there, but we got work to do, where are we going next, Tony?

Tony Sciarrotta (00:08:50):

Well, um, I’ve known Howard, uh, wow. Almost 20 years now, I think, uh, from early days that, uh, uh, he was at eBay and we were part of this, uh, association to try to, uh, address returns way. Wait, uh, let’s not date ourselves too, too badly Howard. Right. It, it, it already shows, but, but Howard, you, you did spend some time in eBay, uh, uh, number of years and, and it was an important part of your journey. Um, can you tell us what got you to E I mean, and the story was great about Boston and then how do you get over to the west coast and join eBay? And what did you do there if, if you would?

Howard Rosenberg (00:09:32):

Yeah. Um, so I got to the east coast prior to eBay. Um, it was basically on a whim. I decided I had left my J my first job outta college was in New York. I had left that job and decided I was gonna go back to business school. What am I gonna do for the next, I had like nine months to kill, basically before school would start, I decided I’m gonna move to California. I I’ve never live there. I was, I was out visiting some friends a few months earlier and had a blast, and it’s like, I just wanna go try living in San Francisco and see how that is. Um, and I basically never left. I mean, here I am, you know, 30 years later. Um, but I, I, how I got to eBay, um, was that I had, uh, I had done another startup back in kind of the 2000 timeframe, um, and had sold it and was then looking for what I was gonna do next.

Howard Rosenberg (00:10:30):

And I forget exactly how it happened, but somehow I, I think I got contact did by someone at eBay who knew me from my business school experience. Um, and they were looking to hire a, uh, business development person within eBay motors. Okay. And I kind of looked at it and I was like, geez, like there’s 1500 people at this come, you know, that’s that, to me, that was a big company. Uh, at that point in my career, I had not been at a company with more than 25 people. Um, and I, you know, I wasn’t sure it was really gonna be right for me. But then at the end of the day, I thought, you know what it, a it’s it’s within this little startup within company, it it’s, this eBay motors thing was 15 people at the time. And it was growing like crazy.

Howard Rosenberg (00:11:24):

And I just thought this is gonna feel like a startup within a big company, but at the same time, it’s an opportunity for me to really learn some of the processes. And, um, just, just some of what you need to know to run a larger company. Um, you know, how, how things get, uh, how things are run in a bigger organization, which I thought would just be use, you know, useful for me to learn firsthand. Um, and so that’s what drew me, uh, that’s what drew me to eBay. So, um, it kind of was the best of both worlds, a little bit entrepreneurial, but the experience of a big company.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:11:58):

And those were the early years though, of eBay really still, uh, even though there were 1500 people, it had been active for what, just a few years when you got there.

Howard Rosenberg (00:12:08):

Yeah. I mean, that was, um, that was 2002. Um, and eBay started when like 96, 97, something like that. So it, it was, it didn’t feel like a startup anymore, uh, to me, but at the same time it was 1500 people. And when I left six years later, it was 15,000 people. Wow. Right.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:12:31):

The early years. And, and right. No, it that’s fine. It, it kind of grew fast. And, and you mentioned a part about being in that little niche, uh, startup, uh, the eBay motors. Uh, but you didn’t stay there. You kinda, uh, developed a little bit, as you said, entrepreneurial skills. And then is that what led you out that entrepreneurial, uh, spirit that was inside you from, you know, early years of growing up, did that take you out of eBay into the B stock world?

Howard Rosenberg (00:13:03):

Well, what, what I skipped over was, uh, the majority of my time there at eBay after eBay motors, uh, I did that for about two years. And after those two years, I had discovered that we acquired this company, uh, company from Boston called fair market. And they, we acquired it for completely different reasons. Uh, but what I saw was that there were a couple of companies using this platform, this fair market platform, as what we called pride marketplaces, and it more or less what B stock does today. And when I saw that, I thought, boy, this actually solves two really big problems. We’ve had here at eBay for many, many years. Um, those two problems, one was, uh, trying to get enterprise sellers selling on eBay. We had been trying over and over and over again for many, many years to get the big enterprise retailers and manufacturers selling directly on eBay.

Howard Rosenberg (00:14:04):

And they would come on board, they would try it, they would start to grow and then they would churn. And it just wasn’t, uh, they would just basically tell us, it’s too hard. It’s not, it’s not worth the, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. Um, so that was on one side. On the other side, we had our eBay power sellers, which were the small, you know, the small sellers selling on eBay. Uh, well, the biggest of the sellers, but they were small businesses. And every time we surveyed these guys and we said, what’s your number one barrier to growth of your son, eBay. They would tell us it’s reliable access to high quality inventory. They just couldn’t, they didn’t have good, reliable access to inventory. Right. It was, you know, back then you either were one of a very small handful of companies that knew the people at the big retailer who were selling the liquidation product, just because you, right. I don’t know, you played golf with them, or you went to church with them somehow. You just knew these people <laugh>, or you were buying some liquidators, which was a horrible experience. Um, and so I put these two things together, quick, Howard

Scott Luton (00:15:14):

Howard, really quick. Why was buying from liquidators, such a bad experience? Oh, <laugh> the stories

Howard Rosenberg (00:15:24):

Where to begin. Go ahead.

Scott Luton (00:15:25):

Yeah. Where to begin really? Just for, for someone that may never have done that, what what’s one who things that usually came with that experience.

Howard Rosenberg (00:15:34):

So it was, I would say, um, if you think about the, um, sort of the, uh, stereotype of the liquidation, you know, transaction happening in the alley, back behind the, you know, behind the building, where someone has a truck and they like, look, show, look, what’s in the, a truck. Uh, it wasn’t quite like that, but it was not very transparent. Um, it was, you know, it was, it it’s a zero sum game between you and the liquidator, right? Like you’re trying to get the lowest price. He’s trying to get the highest price you’re negotiating. And they’re, they’re playing little games to, you know, when it went on the line, it was like, oh, look, here’s a picture of a pallet. And you see like the, the Dyson vacuum cleaner in the front and the, I don’t know, the, the fancy whatever. And then you can’t see what’s behind it, which, you know, they would kind of jam all the garbage behind it.

Howard Rosenberg (00:16:27):

And, you know, they would just, they’d come up with little tricks to try and maximize their own business, their own profit. Um, you usually had to call somebody on the phone and like, Hey, what do you have? And go describe that for me. And, you know, it’s not like just going down to the store right. And shopping the store and picking out what you want. You’re trying to buy large volumes of inventory basically by phone, or they’re sending you a fax or a, an email with a big list of product. Um, so it just was, it was very inefficient. Um, and that’s what we ended up capitalizing on was the inefficiency. And, and just like eBay did in the consumer world, we used to say, we’re bringing efficiency to inefficient markets and that’s what drove eBay’s success. And we, we, more or less did the same thing.

Howard Rosenberg (00:17:15):

Uh, and, and what, what I saw when I was looking at those two problems at eBay was an opportunity to do exactly that. Mm, we could take, uh, we could take the retailer, uh, that problem of, you know, trying to adapt to sell on eBay and not just being too hard. Now we had kind of a semi customizable platform and we could just customize it to their business. So you tell us how you do business. We’ll customize the platform to work with you, uh, in an efficient way. Um, and then my, my idea was, Hey, if we can build these marketplaces for all the big retailers and manufacturers and kind of own those pipes through which the, the, the inventory is flowing, we meaning eBay at this. I’m still remember I’m still on eBay. Right? Right. Um, we could, we could go put our power sellers at the other end of those pipe and say, great news, power sellers, all the inventory you’d ever need.

Howard Rosenberg (00:18:13):

And here it is, it’s all transparent. You can see it all here. Nice manifest. You don’t have to negotiate with anybody. You decide what you want to pay for it. You just put in your bid and this auction site, if your bid happens to be the best bid you’re gonna win. And it, and that was another big difference, uh, in the old way, versus the new way with this mechanism, it was all you had to do to win the merchandise was bid the most. Whereas back in the old days, even if you were willing to offer the most money, there was no guarantee you were getting the inventory because the purse who control the inventory might just favor one person over another for any reason, wow. Who took me golfing this week, you know? OK. You can’t be

Scott Luton (00:18:59):

So, so it’s really fascinating to kind of hear the wild, wild west before kind of the, the current day and the more forward looking and, and better optimized approach at, um, at, at, at the current marketplace. So, Tony, I wanna get you to just quickly comment. I’m gonna, um, I wanna talk with Howard about, uh, B stock, what it does in those early days here in just a second, but Tony comment on what you just heard. Howard, describe

Tony Sciarrotta (00:19:28):

I was there. Um, I looked at that at Phillips and to Howard’s point, uh, I, I will, uh, apologize and say there was fraud and, and illegitimate activities involved going on, which is why I was appointed the head of a returns management group at, at Phillips, because to Howard’s point, it was who shook, whose hand, and what did you put behind their back for them? And things like that. It was really a wild, wild west in the worst possible way. And, and, and those relationships existed, um, from old school days. And, and we changed the world, right. Then we changed it at Philips Howard, changed it at E bay. And, and with B stock, in terms of two parts, one is that manifesting, uh, in the old days, you, you, weren’t always sure what you would get, uh, Howard gave a good analogy. Uh, sometimes you use a, a big screen TV to hide the rest of the garbage that was in the box, uh, or the, or the Gaylord pallet. So it really was an, and at Phillips, for example, we had over 200 accounts buying this stuff. When I took it down to 25, we actually collected more money for that stuff because they knew who they were bidding against as Howard suggest, but they also knew it was legitimate merchandise. So it really, those were early days of changing that secondary market approach, uh, liquidation completely. And, uh, I’m proud of Howard and, and what we did at Phillips. And what Howard did.

Scott Luton (00:21:05):

I love that a lot more trans, uh, the buyers. It seems like to me, what I’m hearing could trust the information we’re getting could trust, uh, who they’re dealing with and could really trust the process and the quality of, of what was at stake. So, um, I appreciate both y’all, uh, shedding some light on that. Let’s so Howard, uh, exciting. I, I love what we’ve heard thus far, uh, your background, both from a family standpoint, uh, of, of changing things and entrepreneurialism to, you know, being a disruptor inside of a, a young but disruptive company, uh, and how you still, you know, how that illustrated some problems that still needed to be solved and all of that leads to, uh, the, the, the founding of B stocks. So tell us more about when you started B stock in, in a nutshell what the company does today.

Howard Rosenberg (00:21:57):

Yeah. Um, yeah, I guess I, I, I stray off the, off the path of answering your question about how I left eBay. Like, what was that transition to, to just give, give you that as I get into the B stock thing. Sure. I did this for about four years at eBay and then 2008 hit. And, you know, you know, what was going on in 2008 and the decision was made at eBay to basically put all hands on the core business. So there were a number of little businesses, like, uh, like the one I was running that were just gonna to be stopped. And we’re just gonna put everybody back on the core to kind of save the mothership. Um, I didn’t really want to be part of the mothership at that point. eBay was 15,000 people, not my thing. Uh, I’m just, I don’t, it’s not, I’m not excited about working

Scott Luton (00:22:44):

Different strokes, different folks. Yep.

Howard Rosenberg (00:22:47):

Yeah. So, uh, it was, it was towards the end of oh eight that eBay, you know, everyone kind, it was not a big secret that there was a big round of layoffs coming at eBay as a result of the financial crisis. I sort of nudged my way onto that list, um, to, to just make my exit at that point. And so that’s how I end up leaving eBay. Um, as I thought about what I was gonna do next, it wasn’t obvious that I was gonna start B stock. Um, but I knew, I mean, I just saw from my experience over those last four years, that this was a business. What we were doing was a clearly gonna be a successful business. We were creating so much value for our customers. You know, every one of ’em was telling us you’re increasing my recovery rates by 50%, 80%, a hundred percent, like this is amazing.

Howard Rosenberg (00:23:40):

Um, and the buyers at the same time were super excited because they were seeing and getting inventory. They never, they never could get before. And all of a sudden people were growing businesses and starting companies. And, and so it was pretty clear to me that there was an opportunity here, but it was like raining fire outside in November of 2008. And the idea of starting a company was still a little bit, uh, I wasn’t, I could actually achieve that at that point in time. Um, obviously it turns out that I could, I w I <laugh> got together with somebody, a friend of mine from business school who was a venture capital guy, and I just was PI picking his brain. I wasn’t even trying to raise money. I was like, Hey, do you, you think I’m crazy to start a company right now? Would I be able to raise any money?

Howard Rosenberg (00:24:27):

And within about 10 seconds, he was like, yeah, we’ll do it. And so at that point, I was kind of like, all right, I guess I have to really consider doing this. Um, so that’s how I got started. Uh, that was January of oh nine at this point, I guess when we kind of had a term sheet with an investor and we started working on our platform. Um, and so now to get to your question, what do we do in, in simplest terms? What do we do? Uh, I would say at the simplest level, we, we help retailers and manufacturers make more money with their liquidation inventory. And we do that by operating market marketplaces that are auction based marketplaces, primarily. Um, we bring massive buyer demand. We put this inventory up in front of all these qualified buyers who are interested in the particular type of inventory. We use technology, we use data and analytics to optimize, and we let buyers compete for the inventory. And the result of that, you know, really leveraging my, uh, my economics background from college supply and demand. And you, you, if you have enough of a buyer base, you are gonna get the fair market value for whatever you put in front of them. And that fair market value to be far more than traditional liquidators pay these guys for the inventory. So that’s how the system drives higher recoveries for the retailers.

Scott Luton (00:25:59):

One quick question. Uh, a moment ago you used the phrase recovery rates when it comes to sellers. Can you explain a little bit more because, um, it, on that side of the marketplace, that’s a really important, uh, metric and a really important driver, right?

Howard Rosenberg (00:26:16):

Yeah, for sure. Uh, Mo most of our clients measure their performance and liquidation via recovery rate. And what it means is the price they, they get for this liquidation product divided by either the original retail value or the cogs cost of goods, different companies use either revenue or, or retail or cogs. So if you have an item that would normally sell at retail for a hundred dollars, and you liquidate it for 20, you get a 20% recovery rate.

Scott Luton (00:26:48):

Gotcha. Okay. Um, excellent. Um, and, and, and it’s not just complete loss. Uh, you, you, you’re getting something back for what those cost you to, to bring to market in the first place. Um, so Howard y’all have grown since, since that fateful, um, lunch, as it were, I think with a college buddy that was an investor, you know, you’re picking his brain as you, as you put it. Uh, and all of a sudden he saw the opportunity. It sounded like, and then y’all are off to the race, uh, off to the races. Y’all have grown dramatically since then. And if I heard you, right, that was January, 2009, is that right?

Howard Rosenberg (00:27:29):

That’s right.

Scott Luton (00:27:30):

Okay. And so now here, as we are about to enter 2022 B stock has grown dramatically, you’re hiring left and right. You’re working with, um, some of the biggest names in the, on the fortune 1000 side, but on the flip side, you’re working with a bunch of small businesses and all points in between, if you can D describe y’all’s growth a bit. And as a founder, gosh, you’ve gotta be beaming. You gotta be jumping outta bed morning. Huh?

Howard Rosenberg (00:27:57):

Yeah. I mean, I’m, I’m absolutely, I’m super proud of the work that, you know, all our folks have done. Um, and, and, you know, we, it’s, it’s pretty, it’s pretty, um, I don’t know. I guess it’s sort of inspiring to me looking back at, over the last, you know, 13 years and, and seeing what we’ve accomplished. Um, you know, when we started, we sort of had, you know, there were some 800 pound gorillas out there in the industry. He kind of looked at them and said, oh, someday, we’re gonna, you know, we’re gonna be taking them on. And, um, and, uh, you know, now they’re, they’re all in the rear view mirror. Um, right. You know, we, uh, we have successfully become the largest, uh, player in the business, uh, from a volume standpoint. Uh, as we know, I mean, there there’s, there aren’t that many public companies in the space.

Howard Rosenberg (00:28:50):

There’s one, you can see all of their numbers, but others are private, but, um, so it’s harder to know their specific numbers, but, um, but what we know is, uh, that the company, like you said, it’s grown tremendously. Um, it’s all, it’s, it’s all thanks to the people we’ve hired and put around this thing. Um, we’ve just got a great quality crew in every, in every area of our business. Um, and I think our growth is just a Testament to the work they’ve done and the, and the solution, you know, just, it, it, it’s better. It’s the better mouse trap. And we, we figured out a better trap. And then that doesn’t do you any good unless you have all the right people in place to take that out to the market and execute on it.

Scott Luton (00:29:34):

Yep. And, and, and nature of the problem that you’re solving, uh, which is also good for industry. It’s good for consumers. It’s, it’s good for a lot of change that we’re all trying to drive across industry. Um, I’m gonna ask you about culture next, a quick, uh, kind of a, uh, I somewhat related note, but Tony, before I do your quick comment on, uh, what I’ll call the rise of B stock, I mean, you know, you’ve known Howard for quite some time, your comment on what you’ve seen.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:30:01):

Um, Howard always had a, a, a, an important passion for this industry and for making a difference. And, uh, we knew that at Phillips and, and we, we, uh, we talked many times about doing things, but actually we stole Howard’s idea and we, and we did it at ourselves at Phillips. So, um, we were that impressed with, of what kind of business model that was like, we can do this. And I think electronics companies, a little different, they tend to, uh, be able to do that themselves, the Dells and the HPS of the world. But Howard opened up a window. Uh, keep in mind, this is early, before the term, sustainability was a big deal and the circular economy didn’t exist. And that’s what Howard and B stock helped create and, and help manage and run every day. I’m just proud of that. We don’t even think about this when we think about B stock or the RLA, we don’t even think about the fact that we’re not just making a difference for consumers and for companies we’re making a difference at the planet.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:30:59):

Level’s, I mean, this is stuff that’s not going into land. And, and that’s, to me a huge part of, uh, what drives us behind the scenes, right? I mean, Howard can be very proud, but he’s not just proud of the volume that they, that they generated. But the fact that this stuff is not being dumped in landfills and, and it’s helping, and the retailers love it. They love the solution that’s being provide for, because they don’t always know what to do with this stuff. We hear that so many times, right. Scott, even on, on some of the podcasts, the, the, the broadcast we hear, you know, what, what do we do with this stuff? And Howard and B stock have created an incredible solution that, uh, we love to see agreed,

Scott Luton (00:31:41):

Lots of purpose with lots of practical. I love practical solutions. Uh, you know, I was <laugh> as you know, Tony, I once gave my, my dear wife an umbrella for Valentine’s day. It’s something I’ll never, ever live down. I noticed though she was walking in the rain, she didn’t have an umbrella. So I saw a problem meet solution. Oh, she loves giving me a hard time about that, Howard. But, uh, uh, let’s talk for a second. Um, we’re gonna gonna broaden the conversation out, uh, kind of moving away from the B stock story as we move towards, uh, key lessons at twin 21 taught and kind of other observations around industry, but Howard, before we leave B stock, you know, as a fellow founder, right. Culture is, is, um, I don’t know about you, but it courses through my veins. Right. I, I know when, uh, when we’ve had great weeks, that really embody what we’re after and what we’re trying to build, and then we know those challenging days too. Um, what are you most proud of when it comes to the culture at B stock?

Howard Rosenberg (00:32:34):

Yeah. Yeah. I’m glad you came back to that. Um, culture has always been, excuse me, has always been super important to me. Um, in fact, from the very beginning, when I started the company, I kind of said to myself, you know, I, I’m gonna be spending a lot of time on this. Um, I’m gonna be spending, you know, I’m sure 18 hours a day, and it’s probably gonna be something I’m gonna be doing 18 hours a day on for the next five to 10 years. Right. I expected that it was gonna be a long road and I wanna, I want to enjoy going to work every day. I want to want to go to work every day. And so I have to surround myself with people I wanna be around <affirmative>. And that is, I think, just another way of saying, I wanna build a culture that I’m gonna enjoy.

Howard Rosenberg (00:33:26):

And, um, I think if I enjoy it, others will enjoy it. And that, that will help drive us, uh, drive success in the business. And so, you know, as I thought about that early on, I thought, you know, I had certain ideas of what was important to me, probably at the top of the list with being around smart people who were fun, um, and who were, you know, as, as driven to make this thing successful as I was. And so that’s kind of that, that was the foundation of who, who I kind of started hiring at the beginning. Um, and I, if, if there’s any, any one thing I think that has driven the success of the company, more than more than anything else, I think it’s been the culture that we’ve we’ve created. Um, and it started at the very beginning, I mean, with the first five people, and it was a hiring, according to those, you know, general, um, guidelines, like hire people who are really smart hire people who are fun to be around who you’re gonna like to go in and see every day.

Howard Rosenberg (00:34:32):

And, you know, you put the right people there in the first five or 10, they’re gonna just continue to propagate that over time. And, uh, you know, it, get, it got quite challenging over the years as we grew, you know, the first, first 50 people, it’s pretty easy to stick to, like, like everybody still hires, like according to the guidelines, right. Um, between 50 and a hundred, it starts to get a little more challenging. We started to have offices, multiple offices, um, around the country that added a challenge, you know, when you’ve got a group in Boston and a group in the bay area, and it’s, you know, you’re not seeing each other every day necessarily. So it just, that gets a little harder. Um, but, uh, but with the right core group, you know, it just sort of propagate and, and, and sustains itself, um, rapid growth also makes it quite hard.

Howard Rosenberg (00:35:29):

You know, when you’re hiring, when 50% of your employees are new each year, like new to the company, like that’s a lot of dilution of the culture. Um, but I’d say the biggest challenge with regard to culture bar, none has been the last two years, uh, this whole COVID thing with remote work and not seeing each other in person, not, you know, whether it’s working together every day next to each other, or just socializing and going out for beer and pizza after work. And just all those little things that, um, that contribute to that fun, you know, the, the fun part of, of work. Um, it’s been really, really challenging dealing with that over the last couple years.

Scott Luton (00:36:13):

Well, there’s so much that you shared there, and I really appreciate how, how genuine and transparent you’ve been about, um, not just the, the current state culture, but kind of the process and, and how growth, how growth and the most recent set of, of, of incredibly challenging circumstances have, have, have, um, disrupted, uh, that culture that that’s so important to you. So I appreciate you sharing. That’s a wonderful segue, Tony, to what you’re gonna ask, uh, Howard about next. Right.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:36:41):

Well, I do wanna point out that Howard actually had B stock had a, a virtual company before virtual became virtual companies became a thing. So, uh, you did have the remote offices and you, and you grew the culture in spite of that. Uh, but your comments about the last couple years are, are truly important, uh, about some of, uh, what we’ve lost, uh, uh, and it’s a challenge we can overcome it and we all have, but it’s not normal human activity to be separated the way we have been. And we all look forward to like opportunities to get together more, uh, and, and be safe. We get together, of course, uh, but Howard, the last couple years, we’ve of course seen a huge, uh, shift to e-commerce and sales by online sellers and returns have skyrocketed. We know that as well, returns with the e-commerce platform arm, significantly higher than brick and mortar, but brick and mortar’s been closed.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:37:44):

So it’s been, uh, a force feed into the, uh, eCommerce space. So, uh, 2020 was kind of a stumble, but 20, 21 little bit of, uh, footing, uh, with, with the way business acclimated, adjusted, and there’s some takeaways. So in addition to that eCommerce shift, uh, which by the way, it’s still, it, it’s still less than 20% of the total economy, but it, but it’s a significant part of the return side, Howard. So it’s affected you, it’s affected all of us. Um, talk about takeaways now that 2021 is looking in the rear view mirror. What are your takeaways, uh, from that shift of the business and the shift of the returns?

Howard Rosenberg (00:38:28):

Yeah. Um, that, that’s a great point. I mean, the, the shift in the shift to eCommerce has been obviously a huge driver. Um, uh, in fact, I’d, I’d say it’s kind of the, the, the second tsunami, um, that we’ve experienced in Bock’s life kind of propelling the business forward. The first was kind of Amazon coming along with their, their mission to be, I forget the exact wording, but the world’s most customer centric company or something like that when they, when they kind of dug into that as their mission, it, that sparked free returns, no questions asked we’ll pay for it, like anything you want. Uh, that was the first big tsunami that drove returns in retail in general, because everyone had to compete with that. Every everyone had to do it. Right. And now you’ve got this, this e-commerce shift with, you know, two to three times the, the return rates.

Howard Rosenberg (00:39:26):

So, absolutely right on that. Um, I think if I, if I think back to the year, and I think what, what big takeaway, um, there might be from the, from the, the experience that we’ve seen out there in the business from the perspective of a retailer or a brand, um, the importance of making sure, excuse me, making sure your, uh, solution and this probably applies to anything thing in their business, not just liquidation, but relying on solutions that are resilient enough to, to withstand the kind of shocks yeah. That a pandemic can bring. Um, yeah, we had so many, uh, so many examples, maybe this was a little bit in 2020, uh, I think we probably saw kind of the recovery from it in 21 examples of companies who were reliant on a single liquidator to buy all of their liquidation product, or maybe two liquidators and they got shut down, they got shut down.

Howard Rosenberg (00:40:32):

And as soon as that, like, what are you gonna do then? Like all this image where he is not leaving your warehouse, it’s just sitting there. So that drove a lot of folks, you know, to us, because, you know, if you think about a marketplace, it’s kind of like a self-healing organism. You know, if we have a thousand buyers in our network, get shut down due to COVID you, no, one’s gonna even notice because there’s so many other buyers who will just fill in those gaps. And so, um, it, it, it’s just, it really put a fine point to me on how important it is to make sure what you’re doing. Like you have that kind of resilience in any mission, critical piece of your business, um, who, who would’ve thought that a pandemic would hit, right? Like, you know, you, you can’t really predict that, but if it wasn’t a pandemic, it could have been something else. It could have been a, a weather event or an earthquake or something else. And if you don’t have solutions that can, that can be resilient to those events, you’re, you’re putting yourself at a bit of a disadvantage,

Scott Luton (00:41:42):

Right. Uh, how, gosh, speaking to that, one of your last thoughts there, uh, just earlier this week, I was watching, uh, the movie from 2013 called dark skies. And there’s a moment in this film where, uh, not to go too deep, but, uh, there was a moment where these two kids are, are, are, um, uh, playing, uh, are teasing each other and they’re handling some things that should be handling. And one of ’em said, you’re gonna be you’re, you’re, you’re gonna cause a pandemic you’re gonna be quarantined. Right. And who would’ve thought to your point exactly. In 2013, that was just a harmless little joke. Right. Uh, and then of course we’re where we are here at the end of 2021. So, but Tony, to your point, we are gonna persevere. We’ve learned a ton. One of my favorite things to talk about is, is all the different ways that we’ve learned that are gonna make the business in global industry stronger and better, uh, that, that weren’t necessarily related to the earliest days of the pandemic.

Scott Luton (00:42:40):

It was just kind of a, a, a rolling series of lessons, learned adjustments and innovations. So that’s one of the big silver linings here. Um, all right. For the sake of time, Tony and Howard, I wanna keep moving into this global resale market, cuz it really is. I find it fascinating and it’s such a, a, there’s such a feel good to it. Right? Uh, one of my dear friends went out and bought a, a 1979 Cadillac, uh, one of the long El Dorados and it really just puts a it’s like spike in the football of what’s old is new again. And I love that. I, I bought a Nintendo weave for my kid, which they quit making forever go. But if you look at the global resell market, some project it to grow to over 130 billion by 2024, that’s one of the studies I saw. So, um, Howard, what, when you look at, you know, what’s powering that growth, what’s a trend or two that you point that are easy to point to

Tony Sciarrotta (00:43:36):

If, if I might for Howard’s sake too, let me just point out. Um, Scott, you’re talking about the resilience of our economy and the rebound, uh, national retail Federation and others are saying, this is one of the largest holiday seasons in sales ever, ever, and yes, there’s inflation, but there’s pent up demand that people went out and shopped like crazy. And despite the supply chain issues earlier this year, they found enough stuff to buy that we set records on selling and Howard that’s gonna lead to next year records in returns. And where’s that gonna go talk about that secondary market.

Howard Rosenberg (00:44:18):

Yeah. Um, I mean, we’ve talked about probably the, the, the biggest one, which is that, um, that shift to eCommerce, I mean that clearly, um, that clearly is gonna outweigh any other, um, factor increasing the volume. I think coming to this market, you know, when you’ve got two to three times the return rates and it’s growing at the rate that it’s growing, I mean, we’ve probably seen five to 10 years worth of eCommerce adoption in the last two years, you know, at the, at the prior trajectory, like it would’ve have taken five or 10 years to get where we’ve now gotten. So that that’s definitely, um, a big one. Um, but there’s other stuff going on that are maybe, I mean, there, they’re certainly impactful and maybe a little more nuanced, but one just thinking about it over the long term of how, since we’ve been in this business, we, you know, the, the effect of us being in the market driving these higher recovery rates has been a gradual increase in the general recovery rate environment for this type of inventory.

Howard Rosenberg (00:45:24):

You know, even people not participating in our market are having to pay higher prices because we’ve, we made it, you know, it’s no longer true that you can buy, I don’t know, just picking, making up numbers, but if you used to be able to buy electronics for 20 cents on the dollar, now we’re getting 40 cents on the dollar and we’ve driven that up over the years. You’re not gonna be able to just go somewhere else and buy for 20 cents on the, the dollar anymore. And so just the fact that we’re raising that tide, we’re raising the, the, the water level on the entire industry from a price standpoint makes it economically more palatable and interesting for a company to consider liquidating something. They might not have liquidated in the past. So for example, you know, if you think about like a markdown cadence in a retailer, you know, product that’s out on the floor, they might mark it down to 30% off after X amount of time, then go to 40% off, then go to 50% off.

Howard Rosenberg (00:46:24):

Well, there’s a line at which when they hit that line, they say, okay, just take it off the floor and get rid of it. Right. Well, if the whole, if the whole level of the, the ocean has risen such that liquidation prices are now up 50%, they can draw that line sooner. And that results in more stuff being liquidated sooner because it’s economically more viable. Lastly, I would say, um, there’s a much greater awareness today than was 10 years ago of the environmental impact of what’s what used to happen to all these products. And it, you know, we, we have clients in our roster today that used to just throw away all this inventory or burn hundreds and hundreds of millions of it’s worth of inventory thrown away. And now they don’t now they, now they see that it has value to somebody, um, circular.

Howard Rosenberg (00:47:23):

And so, yeah, and, and now there’s like, I mean, the, the buzzword is circular economy, you know, eCommerce, all of that, which is coming, coming to the forefront, it’s always existed. Um, you know, you could always go to a thrift store or go to the flea market. It’s just, now it’s becoming more mainstream and it’s becoming more easily accessible. Uh, and more products are arriving in that market because the inventory is becoming more accessible, upstream directly from the retailers and manufacturers. Uh, so all of those things contribute, uh, and are, are driving that volume. And we’ll continue to, I think,

Scott Luton (00:48:02):

A ton of good news and just what you shared. I think here’s a ton of good news in, in this conversation we’re having here today in general. Um, and I also love that demand we’re seeing and the interest we’re seeing, uh, across the consumer world in, in all these products as well. Um, okay. So I want to get, and I wanna pose this next question to both of you, Tony you’re, you’re kind of, you’re kind of a guest host slash pseudo pseudo guest here today. Uh, but I’m gonna start with you, Tony, uh, uh, Howard rather, what would be one aspect if you’re speaking to, uh, the consumer universe, the folks that aren’t, you know, plugged into the reverse space or the return space, or maybe even global supply chain, what’s one aspect of the re of returns and the returns world that you believe Howard may be the most misunderstood by consumers.

Howard Rosenberg (00:48:53):

Hmm. Well, I mean, as I think about that question, um, I think there’s two perspectives from which a consumer, um, might, uh, interact with the returns world. One is as the returner, they could be returning a product. And the other is as a purchaser of return merchandise in the secondary market. Um, in either of those two cases, I think the consumer, neither of those two have any idea of the complexity of what’s going on in between those two, two points. Um, you know, you return something like you buy something online, you just take it to your mailboxes, et cetera, or your ups store, you just drop it off. You don’t even box it, you just drop it and it’s just gone right to you. It’s just gone. Um, but the complex of what’s happening from that point, all, all the way through the reverse supply chain, until it lands back on the kitchen table of the next person who buys it is pretty remarkable.

Howard Rosenberg (00:50:01):

Um, you know, there is a lot happening there. Um, now I guess the beauty of the, the whole returns world is that it doesn’t matter that they don’t understand they don’t, they don’t really need to understand that, right. Um, there is a, a very well developed industry of logistics, uh, solutions that is making that pro process more and more efficient. Um, and the more efficient that process becomes the better it is for both of those constituents, the buyer and the returner and the buyer. Um, you know, there’s only so much value in a given product, right? Like a, a $50 product that’s gonna be, you know, returned is only gonna have so much juice in there to squeeze out. And the, the, the less of that juice that gets lost in the trip between the return and the repurchase, it’s better for both sides, right? Um, because the retailer can be more aggressive about letting you return things and how you return things. If they’re not losing as much money in that process. And, uh, that will only serve to create more, uh, more variety and more choice for the purchaser, because more stuff will end up being liquidated since it’s more efficient.

Howard Rosenberg (00:51:22):

So I think that’s the best I can do for you on that.

Scott Luton (00:51:24):

No, I love it. And, and I love going back to the beauty folks. Don’t have to know how it works. It’s, it’s kind of like the, uh, uh, reminds me of the low code, no code movement, right. Folks don’t know how the ins and outs of a, of a computer language to be able to build their own apps and, and, and, and platforms and whatnot. Uh, I, I think that’s a great thing. Uh, just like the modern day global supply just enables that, um, <laugh> those things to happen, drop it off and hit your kitchen table. You know, it, it is just, um, it’s quite quite the word we live in. Okay. So Tony, your quick response to that same question, what’s one aspect of the returns world that would surprise consumers.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:52:08):

Well, Howard hit it pretty well in terms of the misunderstanding of the, the, the buyer and the seller, uh, purchaser of, of goods. But I wanna add what’s, what’s completely unseen and is gonna catch up the higher returns are gonna cost more somewhere. And that’s ultimately probably gonna cost us as a consumer more just like the global supply chain costs of skyrocketed. We expect them to settle down, but they’ve skyrocketed, right? Container costs, shipping costs, et cetera, have skyrocketed. And we’re seeing inflation. The higher returns is going to drive costs is driving costs and will ultimately be a price that we’re going to pay. And unfortunately that’s a much harder aspect. Again, I’m really proud of, of, of Howard and B stock and companies like his that have found solutions for the returns. What we haven’t done much of is done anything to really prevent returns at the beginning.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:53:17):

Um, Howard mentioned, uh, what’s misunderstood is people think if, if I buy it and I don’t like it, I can return it easy. It, it, isn’t a question of buy what you really need buy what you really want, and unfortunately buy what should fit you. For example, in the apparel industry, it’s a nightmare, right? Um, Howard sees a lot of apparel to liquidate because people are bracketing. They buy a size big or a size, smaller NACE, send it back. So it, it, it’s unfortunate that, uh, the front side of making a customer happy is only focused on making it easy to return rather than making sure they’re buying what they really want and what they really need. And, and I do believe, and I’ve heard this over the years. Most people don’t buy something, intending it to return. They didn’t use to, but unfortunately we’ve enabled that in the eCommerce space.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:54:13):

And there’s some famous companies out there saying buy as many different sizes as you want. We’ll take them back as forever. And so that the, the misunderstanding for the consumer, they don’t, they don’t see the impact it’s going to cause on our cost of products that we buy, uh, even with all the great solutions that B stock and others can offer. We’re seeing some increase in costs on the front end that that’s a reflection of these higher returns. So I, I think that tends to meet miss understood and frankly, uh, you know, Howard’s being, uh, you know, both being patient allowing me to, to talk about that a little bit, because we rarely talk about that front end. How do you make the experience better so that they don’t return it and that that’s just missed

Scott Luton (00:55:03):

Yes. Missed to the tune of $67 billion in holiday gifts. I believe this season would, uh, being returned, which is about a 30% increase over 2020. So I, I think the, one of the points you mentioned here, Tony is as, as consumers and all of us are, there’s a responsibility that we have. Um, as we, as, as industries trying to address sustainability and trying to become more of that circular economy, consumer plays that big part in that. And there’s certain behaviors and, and, uh, or all in all a certain responsibility, we have to embrace there in that regard and our buying

Tony Sciarrotta (00:55:37):

And purchasing decisions. But Scott, uh, one, one point on Scott on numbers, they’re much bigger. I, I think if you were to check with say Zach Rogers, who’s, uh, folk on returns volume in the secondary market volumes, uh, were really more like 500 to 600 billion in returns in this country alone. And that’s bigger than Walmart’s volume and probably bigger than Amazon’s volume five to 600 billion in returns is, is enormous. Is that for

Scott Luton (00:56:09):

The year though? That’s for the year.

Tony Sciarrotta (00:56:13):

Okay. That’s for the year, you mentioned 66 billion for returns for holiday shopping alone. Right. But it is more like five to 600 billion for the year for all new goods channels. And a lot of it goes back on the shelf. So I don’t wanna make it that it’s 600 billion that could be thrown away, but it’s, it’s enormous numbers that, uh, we wanna make sure to say it’s even bigger than the numbers. We’re, we’re saying so far.

Scott Luton (00:56:38):

Wonderful. I love having, uh, a fact checked, um, CISM as my, my shotgun partner here today is always Tony. I really appreciate that. Uh, but, but you, you bring that’s that’s important context and perspective, cause it’s not just, uh, a seasonal, uh, challenge that we’re, we’re, we’re dealing with and, and offering solutions for us. That’s a really important point. Um, okay. So finally again, Howard Rosenberg, uh, B stock. I really appreciate you spending some time with us here today to, um, as much as I enjoy the B stock, um, story, and as much as I enjoy to always talk and returns and reverse logistics with Tony and the industry, I love, I appreciate you walking us through, especially the earliest aspects of your journey that, uh, you know, that your family of entrepreneurs and some of those early experiences and, uh, just what you were willing to what you, you know, getting to that Eureka moment where you identify what you wanted to do, what, what you really wanted to go after and what you didn’t want to do. And, and you know, how faithful in a great way those decisions were. So how Rosenberg, uh, how can folks connect with you and the B stock team?

Howard Rosenberg (00:57:48):

Uh, probably the best way. Um, you people can visit our website@bstock.com and you can always submit a contact us there. If you want to talk to us in more depth, also, people should just feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Uh, you can find me very easily, Howard Rosenberg, B stock, I’ll pop up happy to connect with with anybody. Um, and, uh, yeah, I’d encourage folks to do that.

Scott Luton (00:58:14):

Wonderful. Well, Howard, hope you and your family get a chance to enjoy perhaps some, some main lobsters here. Uh, as we wrap up 2021 and move into 2022, it a pleasure to get to know you better. And thanks so much for car time out. Uh, Howard Rosenberg, founder and CEO of B stock.

Howard Rosenberg (00:58:33):

My pleasure. Thank you guys.

Scott Luton (00:58:35):

Thanks Howard. Thank you, Howard. All right, Mr. Tony, Sheroda man Howard. I felt like, uh, we need like a sick installment conversation with Howard are so much more there, but for the second time we had to keep moving forward. Um, but what was your, if you had to point to one of your favorite parts of what Howard shared to here today? Just one, I got 18 pages of notes, but if you had to point just to one, what would that be?

Tony Sciarrotta (00:59:03):

Um, I, I think the fact that Howard took, uh, an industry nightmare and created a viable solution. Uh, and, and, and again, since I saw it and I got to cheat and, and borrow some of his ideas and made a huge difference at Phillips, I really appreciate that aspect of hi of the vision. And sometimes I, I, I, what I love about Howard is, is an industry thought leader who had this vision and, and it just turned into a bigger tree than I think he even expected. And, and there’s a lot to be said for the passion behind that. And, uh, a again, I’m lucky, I’ve known Howard for close to 20 years, and we to share some of this, uh, experience and, and, uh, ideas, uh, back when we were both on the LA advisory board, uh, way back in the early years. And we were both frustrated by some of the things going on, on, uh, with the RLA in the early years, but we’ve turned that around and Howard and B stock, not only, uh, industry thought leaders, but they’ve been very active participants and supporters of our association. And that means a lot too is, you know, Scott, because we need support. We need industry leaders to go out there and help talk about what are we doing? What do we, what can we do the differences we can make? The stories Howard shared were, were tremendous. So I’m, I’m really glad you finally got ’em on live together with, with us Scott

Scott Luton (01:00:34):

He’s like, uh, six more chapters

Tony Sciarrotta (01:00:35):

Are needed. <laugh> yeah, we, we will need six more chapters agree with Howard. If we could talk him into bearing the time over the next, uh, couple years we could, we could write a good book, Scott

Scott Luton (01:00:47):

That’s right. Uh, he’s like white IP, you know, bring in law in the order to the wild, wild west of returns, driving lots of change, uh, but really, and really quick. And I wanna make sure you make sure folks know how to connect with LA, but, but one of my favorite parts was just how, you know, when he started talking about culture, how genuine and transparent and, um, heartfelt his comments there. I mean, it was almost like it was day, you know, nothing’s changed this as important as it was to him and day one, you know, when it, when it was, it was a, um, you know, infants to art business to where it is now. I mean, you can clearly, uh, the passion was palpable there. Um, right. So Tony, uh, we’ve got the big, uh, annual conference coming up, the reverse logistics, uh, association conference expo in Vegas, everything in person, um, that’s right in person, it coming, comes up in February. How can folks connect with you? And RLA

Tony Sciarrotta (01:01:46):

Everything that folks need is on our website. It is, uh, rla.org. And we are just about to post the announcement of making our members safer by asking for a proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test. We’re implementing a program for the lead of the other major conferences that are going on. We want our members to be safe and to feel comfortable. Las Vegas has been open for some time, Scott, you and I have been there together. Um, it’s a, it’s a great city to have an event like this in it’s a great venue at the Mirage hotel. Uh, we will see we’re expecting upwards of a thousand people to be there in person. So, uh, uh, there’s a lot of pent up demand people want to visit. And again, it’s rla.org for everything you wanna know about the rev, reverse logistics as association, the upcoming conference, uh, webinars that we feature with other industry thought leaders, not always people as good as Howard, but other industry leaders appear on our webinars. So, uh, uh, we hope to see them all there with you and I in Las Vegas in February.

Scott Luton (01:02:59):

That’s right. Uh, y’all check that out, check out rla.org. Be sure to connect with, uh, Howard and the B stock team, lots of, uh, job opportunities there, uh, and lots of thought leadership and, and, uh, good disruption, um, and join us in Vegas in February. Looking forward to that, Tony, um, folks hopefully enjoyed this conversation as much as I have, uh, Tony, a pleasure to continue this, uh, returns and reverse logistics leadership series. And you’re right. We don’t always get a chance, uh, to meet legends like Howard Rosenberg, but Hey, this is an important industry, uh, driving really important change across global business. Uh, folks, if you enjoy this, you can check out supply chain. Now, wherever you get your podcast, be sure to. So you don’t miss conversations like we’ve had, uh, like we’ve had here today and beyond joining us in, in Vegas. Uh, totally look forward to that. Uh, challenging all of our listeners to do Hey, be like Howard, do good. Give forward. Be the change that’s needed on that note. We’ll see you next time. Right back here as supply chain now. Thanks everybody.

Tony Sciarrotta (01:03:59):

Great. Thanks.

Intro/Outro (01:04:04):

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

Howard Rosenberg founded B-Stock in 2008 with the idea that auction technology and strategy, powered by deep data and analytics, could revolutionize how businesses leverage the secondary market to sell and buy returned, excess, and other liquidation inventory. Prior to founding B-Stock, Howard started and ran eBay’s enterprise B2B business, known as the Private Marketplace group, which he launched in mid-2004. Through his work Howard has helped a variety of enterprise clients liquidate billions of dollars of excess inventory and returns via bulk lot, online auctions; this includes launching over 100 online marketplaces for a variety of enterprise-level retailers, manufacturers and others. Prior to launching the Private Marketplace group at eBay, Howard had a variety of operating and investing experience including being an early member of the team that built eBay Motors, founder and CEO of a web-based, user-generated, on-demand video service, a venture capitalist investing in retail and other consumer products companies, and an early employee of BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager. He holds dual degrees in Economics from The University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School of Business and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Howard spent four years on the Advisory Board of the Reverse Logistics Association and has been a frequent speaker on techniques to optimize liquidation recovery. Connect with Howard on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/howardrosenberg/

Tony Sciarrotta serves as Executive Director of the Reverse Logistics Association. He was nominated and selected by the Board to serve as the Executive Director on August 1, 2016. Since Mr. Sciarrotta had been an active member serving in committee leadership of Reverse Logistics Association since 2005, he had also served on the Board of RLA from 2005 to 2012 while employed at Philips Consumer Lifestyle as their Director of Sales & Marketing. So it was a simple decision for the selection team at RLA to approve Mr. Sciarrotta. Since his experience, qualifications and service to RLA was more than substantial to meet the requirement that was needed as the next Executive Director. Mr. Sciarrotta has held a variety of sales and marketing positions in the consumer electronics industry for over 35 years, most recently as the President of Reverse IT Sales & Consulting. Tony brings so much experience to the RLA team, including 25 years at Philips Consumer Lifestyle. His background helped prepare him for a developmental role as director for returns management activities, and in 1998 Tony was assigned to create and manage a cross functional department to reduce returns and their associated costs. He was successful at implementing effective returns policies and procedures with a variety of dealers, and in 2005, Tony assumed responsibility for maximizing asset recovery of all returned consumer goods. Tony has specifically targeted best avenues for reselling returned goods at the model level, by using tools developed with finance support. In 2013, after establishing best-in-class results for returns in the consumer goods industry, Tony retired from Philips and now sits on various committees and industry groups. Learn more about the Reverse Logistics Association here: https://rla.org/

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more.  In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.

Patch Reilly

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.

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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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