Supply Chain Now
Episode 893

I think everything's on the table as companies are evaluating what to do in the [industrial real estate] space and how to adapt to their customers’ needs.

_Nick Pell, Chief Investment Officer, Link Logistics

Episode Summary

As companies continue to try and stabilize after the disruptions of the last two years, industrial space is playing a key role in their response. 73% of all available space in the United States was booked in the first quarter of the year, indicating that the lack of space seen today will either continue or become more acute in the coming months – even as labor shortages persist and interest rates increase.

Supply Chain Now’s Scott Luton was recently joined by three people with considerable expertise in this area. Matt McGregor is an Executive Vice President at Colliers International, Nick Pell is the Chief Investment Officer at Link Logistics, and Brandon Page is their Executive Vice President and Head of Leasing.

They took this opportunity to discuss what they are seeing in the industrial space today and how a number of macro trends are likely to come into play:

  • Whether talk of reshoring is translating into action, and where in the country new construction is focused
  • What we can learn from labor analytics and how it affects the ROI on investments automation
  • Their projections for rental rates and optional deal length

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:03):

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

Scott Luton (00:30):

Hey, good morning, everybody, Scott Luton, and special guest host, Matt McGregor, from Colliers here with you right here on Supply Chain Now. Welcome to today’s show. Matt, how are you doing?

Matt McGregor (00:39):

I’m doing wonderful. How are you doing, Scott?

Scott Luton (00:41):

I’m doing fantastic. The weather this time of year in the State of Georgia, it can’t be beat, so enjoying that, but getting ready for a big episode here. Matt, with your help, we’re going to be diving into the world of supply chain real estate, industrial markets, and really, overall infrastructure. So, big show lined up, right?

Matt McGregor (00:59):

That’s right. Excited about it. It’s a crazy time to be talking supply chain. I don’t know about you, but every day, I get home and there’s a stack of boxes that wasn’t there before COVID.

Scott Luton (01:09):

We might just talk about supply chain every hour here at Supply Chain Now, but, hey, we love it. We’re big supply chain nerds, but we’ve got big guests here today. I’m really looking forward to learning a ton and offering up some actual insights to our global listeners. So, with that said, Matt, I want to welcome in our two featured guests, Nick Pell, President and Chief Investment Officer with Link Logistics, and his colleague, Brandon Page, Executive Vice President and Head of Leasing with Link Logistics. Hey, Hey, Nick, Brandon, how are we doing?

Nick Pell (01:42):

Excellent.

 

Brandon Page (01:43):

Hey guys.

Scott Luton (01:44):

Well, we enjoyed the pre-show, both of y’all bring quite a bit of character to the conversation, and I think we’re going to not only inform our listeners, but I’ve got a hanker that we’re going to be entertaining them as well. So, great to have you both here at Supply Chain Now.

Nick Pell (01:59):

Well, it’s great to be here and thanks for having us.

Scott Luton (02:02):

So, on that, so Matt and I, as we’re doing our homework before this conversation, we’ve got a fun warmup question we’re going to pose to you in just a second. Before we get there, let’s give you a chance to kind of share with our listeners a little about yourself. So, Nick, let’s start with you. Really, briefly, tell us about yourself.

Nick Pell (02:21):

Well, like Scott said, I’m the President and Chief Investment Officer at Link Logistics. I live here in New York, New York, where I’m sitting here today, and I’m married, two young kids, and spend my days working on industrial real estate transactions and working with our development team to deliver new buildings for our customers across the country, and we’re busy as ever here, growing the business at Link. And for those that don’t know, Link is about a 550-million-square-foot logistics portfolio backed by Blackstone, and we’re about, I think it’s about 3,300 buildings now across the country. And so, yeah, a lot of different types of real estate, all servicing a wide variety of different customers in the logistics space.

Scott Luton (03:19):

Nick, that’s quite an inventory, Nick. One quick follow-up question before I flip over to Brandon, did you grow up in the New York area?

Nick Pell (03:28):

I grew up in Newport, Rhode Island, so not too far away, a small, little coastal town there, and came here after college, and did a few tours of duties in other cities, but ended up back here in the mid-2000s.

Scott Luton (03:44):

Love it, love it. Good stuff. Okay. So, Brandon Page, Brandon, good afternoon. How are you doing?

Brandon Page (03:51):

I’m great. Thank you for asking. Yeah. So, I’m Brandon. I oversee leasing nationally for Link and also work with our team at oversees, our largest occupiers. I’m based out of Park City, Utah, which is my little mountains in the background, homage to that. Married, have two kids, nine and six, grew up in Billings, Montana, and I lived all over the country and worked for a number of good companies. This is actually my second stint with Blackstone, having been a part of their original InCorp portfolio, and then came back in 2017 to start, kick this off to what is now Link today, which is significantly bigger than when we started with just three of us back in 2017.

Scott Luton (04:35):

Man, it sounds like y’all have been through a ton of growth, and I can only imagine what your world is like here in the current environment, and we’re going to touch on a lot of that, and we’re going to share a lot of what your observations, and your experiences, and your expertise with our listeners. But before we do, Matt, I love this question that we’re going to have a lot of fun with, with all three of y’all, as a matter. Because I remember my first car, and I remember, I could probably write about three books about what that car experienced, but we’re going to have to save that for a later episode, but, Nick, you’re going to go first. You’re going to be our Otis Nixon, maybe, famous Atlanta Braves leadoff hitter, and let us know, what was the first car that you purchased?

Nick Pell (05:20):

So, this is a little embarrassing, but the first car I ever purchased was, I just moved out to Los Angeles from New York, I was pretty young and there’s an old adage that you dress for the job that you want, not the job that you have. Well, in Los Angeles, they wear Vans and t-shirts, so I think you drive the car for the job that you want, not the one you have. And so, I went and got a used 2000 BMW 740i, which was a kind of a nice car for a young age. And I lived in a very tiny, terrible apartment, but I had a very nice car that I drove, and I was working at a movie studio at the time, so it felt appropriate. It ended up being a lemon and I sold it shortly thereafter, but that was my first car.

Scott Luton (06:07):

I love it, man. I feel like there are so many stories there, but we’ll save those for a later time. Brandon, same question, first car you purchased.

Brandon Page (06:15):

Yeah, it was basically the opposite of Nick. I lived in New York City out of college, and was there for a couple years, and had moved back, and was looking, getting my MBA or like figuring out what I was going to do with my life, and living with my in-laws, and I bought a used Jetta. We named him Jimmy the Jetta. And I’m 6’4”, barely fit in this thing to begin with, and you’re driving along, and the four banger was just screaming, and we’re going like 50 miles an hour, so it was not the 7 Series Beamer, but it got me from point.

Scott Luton (06:50):

Nice. A tale of two cities there a little bit, Matt. Thank you, Brandon and Nick. And, Matt, same question, first car you purchased.

Matt McGregor (06:59):

Absolutely. Well, I’m a child of the ‘80s, muscle cars, that was my introduction to the cars. It was a ‘77 Monte Carlo, white, Diamond Tuck interior, Swivel Buckets, herd shift kit, 3074 barrel, got after it a little too much and blew the engine about eight months later.

Scott Luton (07:20):

Man, I’m not sure what you just described. It could have been a space shuttle for all I know about automotives, but undoubtedly, some stories there. Alright. And by the way, folks, I’m probably a big nerd here, but I had a Honda Civic, a four-door Honda Civic was my first car. I got about 372 miles to the gallon and it worked really well. Okay. So, Matt, we got to get to work here. We got a couple brilliant minds, informed on what’s going on, making deals, helping to power the global supply chain to do what it does, right? Where are we starting, Nick and Brandon?

Matt McGregor (07:57):

Let’s dive into today’s kind conversation, gentlemen. I’m going to kick it off with you, Brandon, the industrial growth over the last 24 months in the US has been enormous. What has Link seen related with overall industrial growth in the US markets?

Brandon Page (08:14):

I think what’s most fascinating to me about the last couple of years, particularly 2021, is just the broad-based demand. It was every market, every size range, every submarket, just had like relentless demand, and we’ve certainly seen it flow through the absorption numbers. And if you look at like specific markets, SoCal has been in the league of its own entirely. I mean, 110% year-over-year rent growth just in the last 12 months, 75% in the IE East. And then, you get more to like South Florida, which is in the 20% range, Seattle, Matt, you’re close to home there, New York, New Jersey at 18%. And even if you look like the low end of the spectrum out of the top 50 markets, there are like six that are below 10% and only one that’s like in the low single digits. So, really remarkable, broad-based growth. And we’ve certainly seen that flow through, really, from an industry standpoint, through occupancy, through this consistent rent growth across the board. It’s been really a fantastic couple of years for the industrial market.

Matt McGregor (09:21):

Those are just insane numbers and facts, Brandon. I know one of the tightest market is probably the inland empire, isn’t it?

Brandon Page (09:30):

Absolutely. Yeah. I think there’s like 0.3%, which it’s like a couple buildings and a billion-plus-square-foot market, so yeah, there’s just nothing available. And there’s still a fair amount of supply coming, but that market above others has seen so much preleasing. And I think like we look back at the deals that we signed mid-2020, and we were high-fiving at what we thought were all-time highs, and those rents today are 100 to 150% higher, and there’s really no slowing down the demand that we’re seeing roll through that market. It’s always been the premier market and that has not changed at all despite the fact that rents are now pushing $2 monthly.

Matt McGregor (10:11):

That’s just insane with that kind of growth. Nick, anything on that, and I mean, specifically, when you’re talking about rent growth like that, how are tenants taking that in? How are you guys explaining that kind of rent growth?

Nick Pell (10:25):

Yeah. Look, really, there’s just not enough space, is another way to think about it, I mean, and it’s overwhelmed by the demand that Brandon described, and it’s that broad demand across the country. And landlords like us are scrambling trying to service our customers’ needs, and they want space, they need space, they’re pursuing new business, they’re growing, and these are tough conversations, right? I think the most important thing for a lot of these customers is just making sure they can get, so they can secure to meet the demands of their business. And so, not that rent isn’t a concern because it is for all customers, but I think just the lack of space that’s available is a major issue for them, and they’re also focused on all the other rising costs in their overhead, which has been the number 1 issue for probably every company in America, which is labor and access to labor to run their businesses. And so, tremendous, and I think when you really look like at all the markets, pretty much everyone has outperformed the inflation number, too. So, actually, we’re growing rents at a pace that’s outpacing inflation, which I think is a really good sign for our business and this asset class, as you think about from a real estate standpoint, going into an inflationary environment, which we’re most definitely in at this point.

Matt McGregor (11:57):

That’s a great point, Nick, and that kind of rolls me to my next question. And you touched on labor, labor certainly has been an impact of companies assessing whether they can nearshore or onshore. What impacts has Link seen related with geopolitical changes, and around nearshoring, and onshoring, and then exit out of China? Are you guys seeing more deals here that are transferring from other markets, including China that is bringing some manufacturing home?

Nick Pell (12:31):

We’re watching it closely like everybody is, and I think there’s been several high-profile examples of this announced across the country, industries consolidated around us conductors, things that are of national interest, items and goods that there’s a benefit to being closer to the end customer, where the customer’s input can more easily get into the goods and the production plan. The reality is these are large-scale investments that take multi-years to develop and plan. And so, we’ve seen, certainly, announcements around these, some of the electric vehicles and battery plants as well.

 

Nick Pell (13:10):

The Sunbelt obviously winning a lot of these announcements, but not all that way. I mean, there are some in the Rust Belt Midwestern market, lower Midwest markets, too. So, I think we’re all watching it closely, we’re thinking about the impacts and downstream impacts to our business around it. They do tend to be in areas where land’s a little cheaper, you can build a huge plant, and then we saw that with the auto facilities down in the Southeast, with BMW, and Mercedes, and the like. But we’re looking at Austin and Phoenix, where these big announcements had been made, and we’re seeing just tremendous growth, and trickle down from this investment that we expect just in those two markets as an example.

Matt McGregor (13:56):

That’s a great point. With these firms really studying how that would impact them to onshore these manufacturers, when you guys look at doing development, I’m just curious, you touched on labor, are you guys running those labor analytics, and communicating to potential users how those labor analytics look on potential developments?

Nick Pell (14:22):

We are. I mean, we’re evaluated on the front end when we get into a process where we’re purchasing a piece of land, and beginning an entitlement process or construction of a building, and then as we get closer to the leasing of the space, that’s part of our value proposition, is we are building a tremendous database of information about our buildings and how the buildings fit into all the different key metrics that customers are looking for, labor, proximity to transportation nodes, rooftops to the extent you’re going to be doing distribution, but obviously, room labor as well. So, the beauty of onshoring all these huge investments are these are jobs, right? And so, for our business, we’re storing product to supply things for local economies.

Nick Pell (15:09):

And so, as these jobs come into some of these markets, that’s just more goods and services that need to be provided, and you need a place to do that. And so, that’s hopefully the stuff that we’re doing with our development. In Austin, we’re the largest landlord in Austin from an industrial standpoint and we’re the largest developer. I think we have about 5 million feet on the ground on there, and we’ve got about 4 million feet under development, and it’s not a very big institutional stock. There’s probably 60 million feet in the whole market. So, it’s a market we really like. It’s small, it’s not a regional distribution market, but it’s got really great demographics, and people and jobs are moving there.

Matt McGregor (15:51):

That’s great. I know that market’s on fire and congratulations on your success there. Brandon, you touched earlier on some amazing rent growth numbers. We know what has happened over the last two or three years, unbelievable rent growth as you’ve pointed out, when is this going to stop and/or is it going to stop? And what are your realistic estimations of rent growth kind of in the top 10 US markets overall over the next 24 months?

Brandon Page (16:22):

Yeah. Do you remember when we used to have those conversations about what inning we’re in, and this was like five years ago, I think we’re in the middle of like the longest game ever that, now, we’re like watching it in hyper speed and getting like five years in one. I think like, look, we look at, obviously, the demand side and the supply side. So, if you look at like just this last quarter, 73% of all available space that was available, like the whole country was leased in the first quarter, so like leasing absorption nationally has held consistent. I think like I look back in our portfolio a-year-and-a-half ago, and we were low to mid-90s, everybody’s up to 98%. So, you’re still seeing the same leasing volume, which means there’s no space. Like effectively, everything is leased up.

Brandon Page (17:06):

I think that’s certainly telling for the balance of this year. On the supply side, there’s definitely a wave of construction that’s coming in a lot of markets. Markets, lower-barrier venture markets like Phoenix, Vegas, Indianapolis, and Dallas have just a massive amount that’s coming. Now, when it comes relative to demand, as long as the demand side’s there, you’re seeing more preleasing than historical averages. So, now, it seems like it’s in check. If we see the consumer start to spend a little bit less, if we see people that are taking a break or not with the uncertainty just generally going on in the world, do they pause? Does that create some sort of a gap on the demand side? But I’ll tell you what, just for the balance of this year, it’s hard to find a market that’s got any sort of balance. It’s all completely imbalanced to the landlord at this moment.

Matt McGregor (17:56):

That is just crazy after the rent growth that you were talking about to predict that we’re going to continue to see that. Do you see by the end of two or three years, is it going to get back to that normal, say 3 type of bumps, or is there so much demand that you just can’t predict when we’re going to see a normal?

Brandon Page (18:18):

I think inflation’s an interesting factor into that, too. So, like historically, we go back to annual bumps, we’re just CPI, and then all of a sudden, we’d sign a lease two years ago, and now, we’re 30% below my market. So, you’ve got the actual rent component, as Nick mentioned, that’s outpacing inflation, but then you layer inflation on top of that, it’s hard for me to believe that we’re going to go back to a standard 3% annual bump, markets go up 3%. But again, like supply and demand is a fickle, simple concept that bottom line is that if there’s space is sitting available for a nine to 12-month period for a merchant developer, they’re going to start to figure out a way to monetize that, whether that’s splitting it up or dropping their lease rate, that then makes other buildings that are competitive.

Brandon Page (19:01):

So, I don’t see it. Again, for this year, we’ve obviously got a lot going on with the economy, and potential slowdown, and just the change in potential cash that people have to spend on goods that that’s somewhat of a gray area in the future. I mean, we’ve all been saying for 18 months, because nobody can really see further beyond that, but it is still hard to believe sitting here today that there’s something out there borrowing like a big black swan event that changes the demand for consumption to goods. And then, you layer on e-commerce and the tailwinds that this industry has that’s still trying to catch up from the COVID screw up, it’s certainly opportunity.

Matt McGregor (19:45):

That’s right. And, Brandon, I know I’m seeing a lot of landlords across the country favoring shorter-term deals, and as opposed to 10-year deals, maybe doing five-year deals, just because of that inflation that you touched on and that kind of rent growth. Obviously, you’re not going to contract 10 or 15% annual bumps. Are you guys more motivated to shorten those terms a little bit?

Brandon Page (20:09):

Absolutely. I think there used to be a discount for longer term and a premium for shorter, and I think you’ve seen the inverse in that. There’s absolutely a premium for locking in rates for an extended period of time. Again, there are certain assets where you’re happy with the term, but at the end of the day, like we want market rents, we want to have market rents in our buildings. We’re willing to take the risk that market is going to continue to rise. So, by nature, for high-quality, infill, well-located, high-demand buildings, we are going to want to try to get close to market on a regular basis possible, which leads us to doing short-term deals.

Matt McGregor (20:46):

And, Nick, talk to us a little bit about how that rent growth is impacting the capital markets. We’ve obviously got some other things going on now with interest rates inflation, but talk to us about the US kind of top 10 markets and how you guys are dealing with that rent growth and underwriting? And where are we going with this? What’s the temperature out there?

Nick Pell (21:12):

We’re constantly in the capital markets. And the only thing I can say conclusively across the board is it was really challenging underwriting for everyone, whether you were buying, selling, whether you were us or our competitors, and keeping up with the rate of change for these rents across the country, and it was most pronounced in the highest growth markets, has been a challenge. I mean, I’m not sure anyone saw this coming, and we were very active acquirers, we bought about $16 billion of industrial last year, but the rent growth that we’ve seen on the stuff that we’ve bought has far outpaced our expectations. And so, I think we continue to be really focused on what’s going on in our portfolio. We have a lot of data points and a lot of leases.

Nick Pell (22:02):

I think we’ve got about 9,000 leases across the country, maybe a little bit more at this point. And so, we’re constantly looking about what we’re seeing in our own portfolio and translating that back into our view of the capital markets, but again, it’s been a challenge for all of us to keep up with it. I will say that people have started to be a lot more aggressive, because they realize that we were all a little bit too conservative as this growth cycle happened. And so, people, at the start of the year, have been very aggressive in capital markets in forecasting growth, both rent curves, starting rents, picking up the last sort of rumor deal that’s happening, and using that in a model, and so forth.

Nick Pell (22:49):

So, I think that dynamic continues to play out. Certainly, the gateway markets, Seattle, Northern California, Southern California, New York, New Jersey, and South Florida, you’ll continue to see just this really outsized growth, but it’s the phenomenon that happened in underwriting across the country. And then, you mentioned the interest rate environment, I think over the last 45 to 60 days where we’ve seen base rates and spreads both move against us, I think everyone’s still digesting what that means for returns. And as we’ve just laid out, there doesn’t seem to be a slowing up on the demand. We all have very good visibility on the supply in all these markets, given how much longer and more difficult the development process is really across the country now, so you end up having much greater supply visibility. And so, with sort of an insatiable amount of demand, I think that supports our bullish view on rents that Brandon described, and so that stays as an input as you think about the market, and then it’s really just digesting the higher borrowing cost if you’re a levered—a star.

Matt McGregor (24:05):

I think you said it perfectly, you got that aggression out there, wanting to be aggressive to be able to acquire some stuff, but you got this very analytical pause to digest these new challenges out there. What are your predictions kind of over the next 24 months, either one of you, related with maybe right into it, where are we going with cap rates? Do you see interest rates tapping out? Kind of what are your predictions based on your knowledge of what’s going on out there?

Nick Pell (24:38):

I think interest rates, I mean, they’re going up. I mean, the feds said they’re going up, and I think the hard part at this moment is that spreads have also widened, so all in borrowing costs are getting double-hit right now. And so, at this moment in time, I think, again, levered buyers are struggling with how to price deals and what kind of cushion, and I think we’re all looking for a little bit more normalized financing markets and a little relief from our lending partners out there, even at higher roll in borrowing costs, where we can at least know the world is. Sp, I think that said, the rank growth dynamics and the secular trends still make it a very attractive environment, so there is a ton of equity capital stacked up to invest in the space.

 

Nick Pell (25:33):

Being able to have pricing power on your buildings that outpaces inflation is a relatively attractive asset class, and so I think it’ll continue to attract capital as it has over the last several years disproportionately, I think. And so, at some point, I do think like what ends up happening is sort of returns come down, right? If your borrowing costs go up and there’s a lot of equity there, your returns come down. And so, function of how much rank growth sort of ultimately yields in terms of returns, but I don’t know, I mean, it’s exciting times out there, I will say, so every new data point is very interesting. So, we’re watching it closely.

Scott Luton (26:24):

So, we got to ask you a question, Nick, that we were talking pre-show. Is industrial still the darling then?

Nick Pell (26:30):

Look, I think it is. I mean, I think we have a lot of very positive fundamentals. Um, we have customers that are pressed to retain more inventory and buffer themselves from supply chain shocks, as we’ve all witnessed. We’ve got the onshoring we talked about. We have the e-commerce trend, which continues. We have yield barriers to supply. In particular, in the most infill locations, the densest pockets of these major cities in the US, where entitlements continue to be more and more challenging every day, yet customers are demanding this value proposition from the folks that they ordered goods from to get goods to them quickly and in massive quantities. So, I do think there’s a ton of fundamentals that have real legs here, and it continues to be one of Blackstone’s highest conviction investment themes, and we’re just dealing with the noise of interest rates, and figuring out some of these supply chain issues and the impact timing on building in the development cycle, but we’re still really happy with our portfolio and very convicted on the space.

Scott Luton (27:51):

So, I’m writing it down, still the darling. So, thank you there, Nick. I appreciate that. Okay. So, we’re going to change gears a little bit here. Really, real estate isn’t my thing, right? So, I’m learning a ton here from Nick, and Brandon, and Matt. It’s fascinating. It’s clearly a fascinating time to be a guru in the real estate and infrastructure business. But quick aside, Brandon, you mentioned the baseball analogy, and if y’all can’t tell, I’m a big Atlanta Braves fan. No one saw the World Series thing coming last year, and it blew us away. Are all three of y’all—and we’ll stick with Nick for a second. Are you a baseball fan? Who’s your team?

Nick Pell (28:29):

I grew up a Red Sox fan, and I’m raising some Yankees fans here, so you can imagine what goes on in my house, but I didn’t play baseball, but I do like to sport and my son seems to really like it.

Scott Luton (28:44):

Love it. I love that. A really fun rivalry there, of course. Okay. Brandon, same question. Are you a baseball fan? It’s back, and thankfully. Are you a fan? Who’s your team?

Brandon Page (28:54):

Yeah, absolutely. I actually played baseball through college, so spent a lot of my youth on the baseball field, so 100%. I grew up a Mariner fan with the Ken Griffey age and Jay Buhner, really been tough to be a Mariner fan for the last, I don’t know, 20 years. So, it’s like when I lived in New York, we kind of picked up the Yankees, went to a ton of games. And so, I still definitely root for the Yankees.

Scott Luton (29:17):

Love it. Of course, the kid, Griffey Jr. won of the sweetest swings in all of baseball, and Buhner had an incredible arm, hit a bunch of home runs, but he had an arm from the right field, I believe, Brandon. And hopefully, Seattle will be back. Those are some really good teams back in the ‘90s and 2000s. Okay. Matt, final question, you a baseball fan, who’s your team?

Matt McGregor (29:41):

Well, if I’m a baseball fan, it’s Seattle Mariners, but I’m definitely a football guy, go Hawks.

Scott Luton (29:48):

Okay. Alright. Good stuff. Hey, really, I’m just glad baseball’s back. We need that departure with all that’s going on in the world right now. And regardless, we’ll see what happens with the Mariners, and the Red Sox, and the Yankees for your son there, Nick, and of course, the Braves. I want to shift gears here. Infrastructure, there’s been a ton of cliches in the recent years. We’ve heard a lot about infrastructure, whether if you’re in industry, of course, because it is a big part of supply chain, or on the policy side, the governmental side, we know big bills have been working their way through our government, but I want to talk about it mainly from a spec building, and construction, and supply chain point of view. And, Nick, I want to stick with you here. Let’s talk about development in the US on the industrial side. Let me give you a three-part question and you can pick wherever you want to start. Are we going to continue—we talked a lot about demand in the first half of this interview. Are we going to keep seeing demand outpace construction? Where’s the hot markets? And what’s Link built?

Nick Pell (30:57):

So, first of all, what we’re building, so we’ve got about, approaching a 50-million-square-foot development portfolio, about $9 billion across the country. So, very active, very ambitious development effort here. I think it’s over 150 different buildings going, with half of them in Southern California, South Florida, and the New York, New Jersey Metro area. And this really focused on these dense locations where it’s difficult to deliver product. That’s where our customers need the new product the most and where vacancy is the lowest. It’s also the most challenging place to build. From an entitlement standpoint, you’re normally tearing something down, dealing with environmental problems, various challenges to be able to deliver the new building. And then, on top of that, if that weren’t difficult enough and the timelines weren’t pushed out on all that, obviously, the hard cost inflation that we’ve seen across the country compounded with the land price appreciation as rents have grown has caused the replacement cost to deliver new buildings to those markets and the gateway markets just to have phenomenal growth over the last several years.

Nick Pell (32:18):

And I mentioned earlier, the visibility into the supply pipeline has probably never been better for all of us in the marketplace, just because it takes longer to deliver, but it’s also harder for everyone to forecast cost appropriately and to be able to deal with the timeline challenges. And so, we did see some supply chain improvements into the end of last year with steel prices coming down and some availability of some of the key resources in delivering our new builds, but you add what happened geopolitically in the first quarter this year and it continues to skyrocket.

 

Nick Pell (33:02):

And so, we’re seeing 20% increases in costs of hard costs over a six-month period. In some cases, different parts of the country, varies a little bit, but again, very difficult to underwrite and predict, and all just goes into what you’re delivering at the end to our customers is it’s a knife fight to get up a really high-quality building in these great locations. But we’re committed to it, and we’ve got a great team, and it’s a growing team, because it’s roll up your sleeves and get into it kind of work.

Scott Luton (33:45):

Well, and clearly, you’re making big, bold moves such as the Austin expansion you mentioned earlier in the interview, but it’s not for the faint of heart and there certainly is no shortage of demand. Brandon, I’ll give you a chance to kind of weigh in on what you heard Nick share there when it comes to hot markets, what Link’s doing, and certainly demand outpacing construction.

Brandon Page (34:05):

Yeah. I guess I want to point out, too, we’re not building a brand new building out in the next wheat field. Most of these are infield. There’s a lot of entitlement that needs to be done. I would say location is becoming—location’s always been the most important attribute, it’s now more and more important. And so, finding key infill locations, we hear constantly from our customers that they will take a Class A location over a Class A building that’s in an inferior location. So, to the extent that we’re buying land, buying development opportunities and key infill locations that are going to drive the most amount of demand, I sleep better at night knowing we have that strategy versus owning, like you said, the next cornfield out on the exit that, today, doesn’t exist.

Scott Luton (34:51):

And, Matt, I will give you a chance to weigh in here on what Brandon and Nick both said. Square with some of the things you’re seeing out there.

Matt McGregor (34:59):

Yeah. I’m just seeing continued demand. I will tell you, representing large tenants can be extremely frustrating in markets with construction prices going up, demand have been so high, rents doubling as Nick and Brandon have outlined, and more. And just in some markets you’re going in, you just don’t have an option. Right now, in Seattle, if a tenant were in Seattle and they needed something over 250, 300,000 feet, there are no standing structures available. So, it can be tough finding product and tough representing your clients, when you got this great deal and you don’t have a building for it, it can be frustrating, for sure.

Scott Luton (35:43):

Okay. So, I want to ask you all this question, and Nick, I’m going to come back to you, because we’re going to get a little more specific around construction, and I’m going to ask you some things I know nothing about. Real estate and construction’s not my thing, Nick. So, shell building specs, what changes there? Clear height, floor slab, dimensions, all that stuff, tell us what’s changing.

Nick Pell (36:07):

Yeah. Look, I think everything’s on the table as customers are evaluating what to do in the space and how to adapt to their and customers’ needs, right? And so, what I mean by that specifically is, in particular, in these locations that are distribution facilities to service rooftops, the return on investment on automation is very, very high. To increase throughput in a building for these customers is very important. And when you start talking about the number 1 issue being labor for customers, being able to increase throughput in the same building through automation is a really key attribute to be able to deal with their customers. And then, rising rents on them on a per-square-foot basis only exasperates that right from their standpoint.

Nick Pell (37:02):

So, the implication of that, I think, is higher and higher cube in infill locations, so we are certainly considering those on a speculative basis, and then talking to customers about that for more customized buildings, and then that has implications for the slab, and floors, and everything else. So, that would be sort of one general theme. I think power and access to power capabilities is certainly front of mind. And then, I think it extends also to, as we think about keeping the facility to have maximum optionality around electronic vehicle charging and other changes that we anticipate in the business, but are still in a relatively nascent stages from a use standpoint. When you’re spending all this money and time delivering a state of the art product, you want to make sure it’s going to have staying power and have flexibility to adapt as the customers adapt their needs.

Nick Pell (38:07):

So, dialogue with our customers that in the effort that Brandon leads for us, their representation, folks like Matt in the Colliers team and his colleagues across the country, and all of the agents. And so, I think everyone’s figuring this out real time, and the customers are, too. And our goal is just to be able to be a resource to help them figure it out, help provide the solutions, and I think be able to deliver this space to them where they want to be.

Scott Luton (38:42):

For the long haul, too, is one of the things you’re making sure.

Nick Pell (38:46):

For the long haul, yeah. It’s a lot of money, they got to invest a lot of money.

Scott Luton (38:49):

Yeah. Brandon, I give you a chance to add to what we heard Nick share there.

Brandon Page (38:53):

Yeah. I think like the robotics piece is interesting. These are conversations that we have on a regular basis, and like not in the sense that automation is going to take away from employees, it’s really productivity, potentially a better work, quality of life. So, like when you walk into these super high-cube, dense automated facilities that Amazon’s got a 10-plus year head start on, it’s not less people that are being utilized in there, it’s really more efficiency. So, like you’re seeing massive lots for car parking to accommodate those people. And even as Amazon steps back and looks at adding, how do we add more automation to become more efficient? It’s really not in place of people. So, finding, again, the location ties to the labor side, and it’s the number 1 factor when these guys do surveys is like, where can we put the building? First of all, that needs to be a big enough site. You got to be able to get it through entitlements, but you’ve got to have the parking for it, and have the staff and the labor to support the increased output in the facility.

Scott Luton (39:56):

Brandon, let me ask you a follow-up question, because I bet a lot of our listeners probably aren’t experts in the construction and the real estate side of things. When you say entitlements, because I’ve heard you reference that a couple times, what does that mean when it comes to construction?

Brandon Page (40:13):

It’s basically getting the city to allow the use that you want, to basically sign off on the development. A lot of times, there’s a change of use permit that requires them to actually change the zoning for a specific site to build a warehouse building. And as we’ve seen, some cities don’t like it, some cities don’t want to have more cars and more trucks going through their neighborhood, which makes it a little bit more prohibitive, where you could go, wow, that’s a fantastic place, and a super location for a warehouse facility, and the cities won’t allow you to do it. So, it’s kinda a combination of, one, finding a land that’s big enough, and two, a city and a jurisdiction that allow you to develop it.

Scott Luton (40:47):

I appreciate you sharing that. I think everyone can really relate to that. And I think I saw it put in one Wall Street Journal article, that as consumers, all of us want that same day or next day delivery as long as it’s being fulfilled by a center in another town, right? But to meet that demand that all you’re speaking, that we’re all speaking to and the expected service levels, that requires a lot of infrastructure that everyone here, the panel here is speaking to. So, Matt, I’ll get you to weigh in here, I want to make sure, Nick and Brandon both have been speaking to some of the change and the innovations they’re seeing when it comes to construction plans, but, Matt, anything else that you want to add when it comes to these ever-changing building specs?

Matt McGregor (41:38):

Yeah, certainly. I mean, as always, we’re seeing buildings being constructed with taller and taller clear heights for cubic storage capacity. And certainly, that requires a better slab, a thicker slab that can take more weight, so we’re seeing those changes. I think most of the technology that we’re seeing is not improvements necessarily on the cell, but inside the box. Certainly, Amazon, as mentioned, has been an innovator and a leader in that automation inside the shell, but I walked in just a simple distribution building the other day with a local firm, that there was a drone flying around the building taking inventory. So, we’re seeing that, we’re seeing the Google Glass, the inventory glasses that as you look at the inventory, they’re recording it, and seeing things in even simple one-off companies technology changing that. So, I think it’s important to stay up on those trends to be able to advise on that with your clients, but we’re seeing a lot, I would say more innovation inside the box certainly than the box itself.

Scott Luton (42:50):

Well, it’s a great segue. Brandon, I will come back to you here, and we’ll talk about innovations related to efficiencies or technology, as Matt mentions. What are some things you’re seeing there, Brandon?

Brandon Page (43:01):

I’ll go back to the robotics thing, because I think that we’ve mentioned a few times, but it’s also the number 1 topic. I feel like we’re seeing a new automation robotics company born every day. We, at Link, we spend a lot of time trying to figure out how we can leverage our economies of scale and our platform to help our customers, and part of that vision is to figure out what’s the right group on the automation side to partner with. And take Amazon aside, but say you have a small microfulfillment company that’s trying to compete with Amazon, they don’t have the upfront capital to spend, so like is there a way for us to ultimately finance some of that, be a partner with them? There’s a software component. There’s the actual physical robot or robotic unit that’s being used. So, like there’s multiple, and I’m learning about different acronyms that I didn’t know three months ago in a lot of the discussions, and it’s evolving daily, but this is definitely not something that’s going to go away. I do think there’s a real need for it, and I think Link, we’re in a really unique position to partner with our customers and help them and their business by figuring out a way to do this for them.

Scott Luton (44:10):

And, Nick, I want to circle back to you. When we talk about innovation, and we talk about, it sounds like to me, Link is really closely aligned, in lockstep with your customers or what you need, and then going to work to finding it and building it. What else would you add from an innovation standpoint, Nick?

Nick Pell (44:30):

Thanks. I mean, look, we’re constantly trying to innovate new deliveries for our customers in terms of just thinking from the ESG front, we’re delivering all our, almost 15 million feet will be lead-certified and delivering LED lighting to allow our customer customers to meet their own design, it’s the pressures they’re under to adhere to ESG standards. We have a very ambitious, probably the largest solar installation program going across the country right now. We have a lot of rooftops out there as I mentioned earlier. So, just trying to take advantage of that, make a difference, add some value, save some money for our customers, and hopefully change the world a little bit, too. And so, that’s just one area, but all the technology stuff that Brandon mentioned, these are fast-moving, emerging companies that we’re trying to stay ahead of. Being plugged into the Blackstone ecosystem, and their growth business, life science business, private equity business just allows us to stay front and center in all these things for our customers as well.

Scott Luton (45:40):

Outstanding, because they’re demanding it right, as you’re alluding to, and investors are demanding it, and it does make the world for a better place, so I appreciate that, Nick. Fascinating. I feel like I’ve just put my finger on the pulse, and you’re just scraping the top of the iceberg here, Matt, with everything that’s going on in the industrial rental space, right?

Matt McGregor (46:05):

That’s right. There’s a ton of innovation going on both inside and outside the box. And one thing we didn’t touch on was it’s interesting, with COVID changing the work-at-home environment, and then we’ve touched on labor, you’re seeing industrial companies, and I’m sure Link is included in this, changing the way office is structured. I’d say my whole career, industrial office was just kind of very cookie cutter. There wasn’t a lot of bells and whistles to it. And now, it’s being created in very innovative ways, with bringing in natural light, and relight, and open office, and shared workspace, less private office, more collaborative workspaces, plug and play workspaces, so people can have a work-life balance, and work from home, and plug into offices as opposed to the old-school, dense office buildout. So, we’re seeing that change inside the box as well.

Scott Luton (47:02):

So, it’s just gotten harder and harder. So, folks, if you’re listening, you want to be a part of this industry, remember, it’s not for the faint of heart, the get stuff done, as Nick put it earlier, but it is just fascinating. So, I want to do this here as we come around the final stretch here, I want to make sure our listeners know how to connect with Link Logistics and both of y’all. And, Nick, I wanna start with you. By the way, if folks are visiting New York, put you on spot here, what’s one restaurant that they got, if they can get in, they got to get in and eat something good?

Nick Pell (47:37):

So, there are so many great restaurants. It depends on your palate, but what my favorite fine dining restaurant, I think, would be Maria on Central Park South. And then, there’s a more casual version of it called Osteria Morini in Soho, which is also equally good, but more casual and accessible. And so, I highly recommend those if you like Italian food. And if you don’t, I really don’t understand why, but I guess there’s something going on if you don’t like Italian food.

Scott Luton (48:08):

Nick, I love it, and thank you for letting me put you on a spot there. So, there are some great places to eat in New York city. But how can folks connect with you and Link?

Nick Pell (48:16):

So, I think the easiest way is probably just on our website, linklogistics.com. We’re all up there and our regional contacts are all available. We’re both on LinkedIn as well, so we’re available there, and we’re active posters as a company, and both of us are on LinkedIn as well.

Scott Luton (48:37):

Just that easy. And Brandon, I’ll give you a chance, I got to ask you a question. I didn’t close-loop with you on baseball. What position did you play, Brandon?

Brandon Page (48:46):

I was a pitcher. Yeah. I played at the University of Utah all four years and have the scar from the surgery to prove it.

Scott Luton (48:54):

What was your best pitch?

Brandon Page (48:56):

It was a good run. Slider was by far my out pitch, was a plus pitch, for sure, also probably helped lead to the arm surgery.

Scott Luton (49:06):

So, Brandon, we’re going to invite you back, and maybe Nick, too, we do a show every once in a while called Supply Chain Nerds Talk Sports, and it’s all sports, whether it’s baseball, football, or whatever. I bet you’ve got some stories there, but regardless, Brandon, same place, find you on social and at the link webpage, right?

Brandon Page (49:24):

Yeah, through LinkedIn and through linklogistics.com is the best way to get hold of us.

Scott Luton (49:28):

Perfect. Great. Well, I very much appreciate y’all taking time out of your busy schedule. I can’t imagine what the rest of your day looks like based on some of what we heard here today, but we’ve been talking with Nick Pell, President and Chief Investment Officer with Link Logistics, and his colleague, Brandon Page, Executive Vice President and Head of Leasing. Thank you, Nick. Thank you, Brandon. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Brandon Page (49:51):

Thank you. Appreciate it.

Nick Pell (49:53):

Thanks, Matt.

Matt McGregor (49:54):

Thanks, guys.

Scott Luton (49:56):

Matt, man. Holy cow. I just felt like I took a sneak peek into your world, and Nick’s and Brandon’s, and maybe my heart is very faint. Maybe it’s not for me. There’s a ton of stuff y’all have to work through to give global supply chain what they need from an infrastructure standpoint, huh?

Matt McGregor (50:14):

That’s right. It’s been crazy couple years and I think we’re in for a crazy couple more. I mean, as you know, supply chain has been the buzzword for the last couple years, and certainly, just is getting more and more complicated, but certainly fun. It’s fun to learn how to be innovative in it and find ways to improve it, and I think that’s what companies like Link and Colliers are doing.

Scott Luton (50:38):

Agreed, agreed. GSD, getting stuff done. Alright. So, let’s talk about this upcoming—so maybe the nice version. Let’s talk about this upcoming event that we’re going to be at. I’m looking forward to sitting down with a couple other business leaders at, let’s see here, the Colliers Logistics and Transportation Solutions Group Supply Chain Conference, right? May 11th through the 13th in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. What is one thing you’re looking forward to, Matt?

Matt McGregor (51:06):

I would definitely say the networking and the speakers all around, understanding the dynamics of the supply chain moving forward, hitting on some of those geopolitical issues, and understanding how bringing manufacturing both onshore here in the US, in addition, nearshore in Mexico is impacting the industrial markets and supply chain. And I would say those are the biggest topics we’ll be hitting there. It’ll be a great conference.

Scott Luton (51:37):

It will be, with great food, a great backdrop, and great networking, and a lot to be learned. So, big thanks to our friends at Colliers. Hey, big, thanks to you today, Matt McGregor, for taking time out of your schedule as we interviewed Nick and Brandon. How can folks connect with you, Matt?

Matt McGregor (51:52):

Yeah, absolutely. You can find me on LinkedIn, Matt McGregor, or my team’s website, Industrial Advisors. That’s also a podcast. You can find Industrial Advisors on anywhere you podcast, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and all others.

Scott Luton (52:07):

Wonderful. Not to be missed. Well, Matt, a pleasure to collaborate with you. We’re looking forward to our upcoming episodes. Hey, listeners, hopefully, you enjoyed today’s episode and learned a ton as much as I did. Big thanks to our friends at Link Logistics. Again, Nick Pell and Brandon Page. Big thanks to Matt McGregor and our friends at Colliers for bringing this show here to you, our listener. And, hey, listeners, wherever you are, hopefully, you got 17 pages of notes like I did from today’s conversation, but Scott Luton and the Supply Chain Now team challenging you to do good to give forward and to be the change. And with that said, we’ll see you next time right back here on Supply Chain Now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (52:45):

Thanks for being a part of our Supply Chain Now community. Check out all of our programming at 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.

 

Featured Guests

Matt McGregor specializes in representing tenants across the United States and abroad. Having been involved in hundreds of transactions totaling more than 47 million square feet throughout his career, He has unparalleled corporate experience in industrial commercial real estate, including warehousing, fulfillment centers, distribution and manufacturing plants. Matt has a unique approach involving Supply Chain analytics, labor and logistics analytics, site selection and state and local incentives. Connect with Matt on LinkedIn.

Nick Pell, Prior to the formation of Link in 2019, Nick served as Chief Investment Officer at Gramercy Property Trust (previously NYSE: GPT), an investor and asset manager of industrial and office real estate. He played an integral role on the leadership team that grew the company from an enterprise value of approximately $200 million to over 80 million square feet of real estate before it was acquired by Blackstone for $7.6 billion in 2018. Nick has also served as a Director in the Investment Department at W. P. Carey & Co., as a Director of Business Development at Sony Pictures Entertainment and as an analyst at J.P. Morgan & Co. Nick received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Duke University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Nick is a National Association of Industrial and Office Properties and Urban Land Institute member, and he also serves on the board of the Newport Festivals Foundation, which produces both the Newport Folk and Newport Jazz Festivals. Connect with Nick on LinkedIn.

Brandon Page, Previously, Brandon served as Senior Vice President at Blackstone-backed Gateway Industrial Properties from its founding in 2017 until the formation of Link in 2019. At Gateway, he oversaw leasing and asset management nationwide. In 2013, Brandon joined Blackstone’s previous industrial real estate platform, IndCor Properties, where he served as Senior Vice President until IndCor’s eventual sale to GLP in 2015, after which he became Regional Director overseeing the Western US. Prior to IndCor, he served as Vice President, Market Officer of the San Francisco Bay Area for Prologis (NYSE:PLD). Brandon received his Bachelor of Arts in Finance from the University of Utah.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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Donna Krache

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Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys.  She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.

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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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