Supply Chain Now
Episode 852

People really love our story. We raised awareness by doing interviews like this and just letting people know that there was a problem, that military members were having huge cell phone bills and that we needed help support them.

-Rob Bergquist

Episode Summary

There are many dedicated Veterans’ advocates out there, and we’ve had the opportunity to interview many here on Veteran Voices, but very few of them made national news for their efforts at age 12.

Rob Bergquist is the Co-Founder and Director at Cell Phones For Soldiers, a nonprofit that provides cost-free communication tools to active-duty military members and low-income veterans via responsibly recycling cell phones and other electronic devices. He and his sister, who was only 13 at the time, were featured in a story on CBS Nightly News in 2004. They seized the momentum and never looked back – until the Department of Defense called and told them to ‘cease and desist.’

Rob joined Veteran Voices host Scott Luton to share the Cellphones For Soldiers backstory and mission:

  • How he went from the Pentagon sending him back to square one to providing over 400 million minutes’ worth of airtime to service members
  • The shift in need they are seeing with less service members deployed internationally, and how they are evolving in response
  • What Rob and his team observed about giving during the pandemic

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:03):

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

Scott Luton (00:32):

Hey, good morning by Scott Luton with supply chain now. Welcome to today’s show. We are continuing our cov coverage here at the 18th annual versus just association, conference and expo. It is, uh, right here in Vegas, a center of the universe for all things, returns management, reverse logistics, and a whole bunch more. And I’m here with my new best friend, a wonderful feature guest here, Rob Bergquist a a co-founder with a powerful dynamic nonprofit called cell phones for soldiers, Rob, how you doing?

Rob Bergquist (01:01):

Doing good, Scott. Thanks for having me on.

Scott Luton (01:03):

Great to see you. Yeah. Great to see you. I love what you do and looking forward to diving into it, uh, a lot more and sharing with our listeners as we were chatting a second ago, we have, we missed each other kind of two ships tonight and a couple years ago when we were here blast. So it’s good to find, be able to feature all the good work you are doing at cell phones for.

Rob Bergquist (01:22):

Absolutely. I appreciate you, uh, continuing to try to get me on. I’m glad we could finally connect. This is great.

Scott Luton (01:27):

It’s got tough agent. We have tough

Rob Bergquist (01:28):

Agent.

Scott Luton (01:30):

Um, right, so let’s start Rob by getting know you a little better, right? Um, so a couple of quick hidden questions I’m gonna lead off with. Hey, where did you grow up?

Rob Bergquist (01:39):

I grew up in Norwell, Massachusetts Norwell, Massachusetts. I, gosh, you said it was a long day earlier. It’s been a long day for me too Massachusetts. Right?

Scott Luton (01:47):

Last time I was here. Yeah. Last time I was here, I got my own last name wrong. So yes. Days are long in Las Vegas for sure. Norwell, Massachusetts, correct?

Rob Bergquist (01:55):

Yeah. It’s on the south shores, uh, towards Cape Cod. And uh, we’re talking about the distance between Norwell and Shrewsbury and right. It’s about 45 minutes. I, I think between those two locations, so,

Scott Luton (02:05):

And Shrewsbury folks is home to the world, famous Kelly Barner who leads our dial P for procurement. We have to get you connected with Kelly and she’s a huge veteran’s advocate. Yeah. So maybe it would definitely get y’all connected. Great. Even, even though really Rob, you grew up Massachusetts Norwell, but you live in Metro Atlanta, right?

Rob Bergquist (02:23):

Yes. I live in Alpharetta. So just north of Atlanta. And uh, I’ve been down there for about seven years now. Oh, you’re a native. I’m a native. Yeah. Well see my, I, I went to UMass Amherst and my, our football team is really bad. So I’m a Georgia bulldog, you know, I’m a, I’m a Georgia boy. Now anybody that, uh, you know, wins the national championship. I I’m a, I’m a Georgia boy now,

Scott Luton (02:42):

Man, what a year? The bull dog. Um, What, so Norwell, gimme one thing that, that town is known for one thing that maybe folks don’t know about Norwell

Rob Bergquist (02:52):

Norwell, it’s a pretty forgettable town, honestly. It’s, uh, it’s the it’s, it’s one of the only towns on the south shore that isn’t, uh, directly on, on the water. Okay. Um, so I guess

Scott Luton (03:05):

No beach,

Rob Bergquist (03:06):

No beach. We’re surrounded by towns with beaches, but Norville doesn’t have a beach. So there’s Noel’s uh, Jeff Corwin. You remember Jeff cor she’s the, uh, the animal? Uh, yeah, guy. The

Scott Luton (03:18):

Russ

Rob Bergquist (03:19):

Not animal wrestler. Oh. But he was, uh, I don’t know. He was good with animal chef corn. He was on like animal. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. He’s from Norwell. He’s from

Scott Luton (03:27):

Nor wrestler. Is he really? Yeah. Yeah.

Rob Bergquist (03:29):

I think he might be the most famous person from Norwell.

Scott Luton (03:31):

Crikey. No, no, no, not like, yeah,

Rob Bergquist (03:34):

Maybe. Am I saying the wrong? No, maybe not chef corn. I don’t know.

Scott Luton (03:38):

But the animal

Rob Bergquist (03:40):

Yeah.

Scott Luton (03:41):

Animal handle

Rob Bergquist (03:42):

Handler from Norwell. Um, maybe it wasn’t Jeff Corwin, but,

Scott Luton (03:45):

Well, we’ll look it up. I forget his name. Maybe, uh, maybe our online researcher right now. Maybe Amanda can look that up. Animal

Rob Bergquist (03:53):

A handler in Norwell, Massachusetts

Scott Luton (03:55):

Famous animal handler from Norwell, Massachusetts. Okay. Okay. So from Norwell yes. To Alpharetta. Yep. Right? Two, uh, cell phones for soldiers in just a second, but a couple quick hitters. Favorite sports team of all time,

Rob Bergquist (04:09):

New England Patriots,

Scott Luton (04:10):

New England Patriots for pats. Life’s been good as a pats fan.

Rob Bergquist (04:14):

Life has been great as a pats fan.

Scott Luton (04:16):

Well, uh, how many? Seven super bowls.

Rob Bergquist (04:18):

Six super bowls.

Scott Luton (04:19):

Six

Rob Bergquist (04:20):

With Tom Brady. Tom Brady.

Scott Luton (04:22):

Yeah. And, and he’s retiring.

Rob Bergquist (04:23):

He’s retiring. Uh,

Scott Luton (04:26):

But Pat’s nation still has gotta love Tom, even though he gotta love

Rob Bergquist (04:28):

Him. Yeah. Gotta love him. I hope he wins the MVP this year. You know, that’s such a better story to have, uh, a 44 year old riding out on top, winning the super bowl other than, you know, Aaron Rogers who, you know, didn’t go get, you know, he lied by out his COVID vaccination. What’s a better story, Tom Brady, 44 years old riding off into the sun. Sunset. Yes. Um, so hopefully he wins the MVP at, we, we all cheer for him still in past nation.

Scott Luton (04:51):

I would, gosh. Yeah. Six, six, my gosh. He

Rob Bergquist (04:53):

Gave

Scott Luton (04:54):

Us everything. No kidding. Uh, incredible. And, and, and he kept, um, I 46 or something

Rob Bergquist (05:02):

44,

Scott Luton (05:02):

I think 44, but in his forties playing MVP caliber football. Yep.

Rob Bergquist (05:07):

So he’s

Scott Luton (05:08):

A legend. He is a legend. Uh, all right. So let’s talk about your favorite, a favorite movie or book.

Rob Bergquist (05:15):

Yeah, I was thinking about this and I think it’s gotta be dark night,

Scott Luton (05:18):

Dark night,

Rob Bergquist (05:19):

Batman

Scott Luton (05:19):

Is that, uh, um,

Rob Bergquist (05:22):

That’s with, uh, Christian bale and, uh, I who plays the joker Keith

Scott Luton (05:29):

Ledger. Keith heat ledger. He’s

Rob Bergquist (05:30):

Ledger. Yeah.

Scott Luton (05:31):

Yeah. Not his cousin. Keith ledger, not

Rob Bergquist (05:32):

His cousin, Keith, but heat ledger. Yes. That

Scott Luton (05:35):

Was, that was a classic

Rob Bergquist (05:36):

Classic movie. You know, some of the scenes in that are, are just incredible. So agreed. I’ve watched that know probably 10 or 15 times

Scott Luton (05:44):

Christian Bell is one heck of a Batman too. He

Rob Bergquist (05:46):

Sure is the bat.

Scott Luton (05:48):

Jeff cor you were right. Jeff cor Jeff

Rob Bergquist (05:50):

Corwin. Yeah. Right.

Scott Luton (05:51):

You was right. Jeff Corwin. Yeah. We just got it confirmed. Okay. Malcolm who leads our research? Uh, Jeff Corwin is from Norwell, Massachusetts. Okay. So dark Knight, favorite movie. So we’ve got a outstanding veterans advocate with us and you come from a history of a family, uh, with a history, a proven service. Tell us more about

Rob Bergquist (06:10):

That. Yeah. So my grandfather served in the Marines and, uh, so he was my, you know, first, you know, true hero. And so, you know, I always had, uh, an appreciation and an affiliation with, with the military and my, uh, two cousins, uh, were active duty, uh, when I first started cell phones for soldiers. Um, so it was just a natural progression for, for us to want to support the military. And, you know, I’ll tell you about how cell phones for soldiers start, but really our, our inspiration was our, our cousins who were active duty at the time when we first started it. So, um, I come from a long line of, of, of service members. And so I just have a huge appreciation for the, for the military. Love

Scott Luton (06:49):

That. All right. So I’m gonna ask you about a key Eureka Eureka moment, but I wanna ask you, I think for context, I’m gonna circle back to that question. So for now let’s talk more about what the nonprofit does, cell phones for soldiers. So how does it work?

Rob Bergquist (07:04):

Yeah, so, uh, cell phones for soldiers initially started back in 2004. Uh, I was 12 years old. My sister Britney was 13 years old. We were getting ready for school one morning. And, uh, we had the, the news on, and there was a story of a soldier with an eighth thousand dollars cell phone bill, uh, calling home from Afghanistan. And, uh, so again, my, my cousins were active duty at the time we hadn’t heard for, from them, uh, for a couple weeks. And that was just kind of the status quo that, uh, you, you often didn’t hear from the military members back in 2004. Uh, and if you did hear from them, it was very brief. It was usually in the middle of the night. Um, there wasn’t a lot of infrastructure over there, right. Uh, for, for calling home. So when we saw the story, uh, of the, of the soldier with the $8,000 bill, we were like, this is ridiculous.

Rob Bergquist (07:49):

He’s protecting our freedom. Uh, he shouldn’t have to pay such a large cell phone bill just to, to want to talk to his family. Right. So we started, uh, with car washes and bake sales in our hometown at normal Massachusetts and, uh, whatever it took, whatever it took. Yeah. We were just trying to, you know, just do whatever we could to, to help him pay off that bill. So we were successful in doing so, uh, and we were very lucky to be covered by CBS nightly news. So we got some great national media recognition really because, you know, we’re a 12 and 13 year old, uh, brother and sister, we weren’t fighting, we weren’t playing video games and we were, you know, supporting the military. And it was just a, a, a story that, um, I think, you know, really struck a chord with a lot of, uh, of America at that time back in 2004, when we had tens of thousands of military members who were deployed.

Rob Bergquist (08:34):

Um, and so, you know, building off of that momentum, we, we got a lot of inquiries about, um, you know, donating to, to our program, but also, uh, you know, we had inquiries from military members saying, you know, I have a $15,000 cell phone bill. So $8,000, wasn’t even the largest bill that we paid off. Um, but we, we realized that it was a systemic problem that military members, uh, across the board were having difficulty calling home. Um, and, and that they were coming up with huge cell phone bills. So we decided that we would generate, uh, uh, a program call it cell phones for soldiers. Uh, so people, uh, associated cell phones for soldiers with their old cell phones. So people, we started donating, um, their cell phones, right. So we were like, all right, well, you know, we’ll, we’ll put minutes on these phones and we’ll send them overseas.

Rob Bergquist (09:22):

So we went on to CNN and, uh, we explained our story, right. And, uh, a few hours after that interview, we got a call from the department of defense okay. Saying that it was a security hazard and that we had to cease and Des oh, wow. So my dad got a phone call from a general at the, at the Pentagon and literally got, and, and we literally had to stop what we were doing. So if we were back to the drawing board, what are we gonna do with all these cell phones? Uh, and we decided that we would, uh, recycle the devices in order to generate revenue, uh, to purchase prepaid calling cards, which we would send overseas. Uh, and those prepaid calling cards are used with a landline. Um, so it’s a secure line, right? So all you gotta do is just, you dial a one 800 number, you scratch off the pin and you can connect to anywhere in the world for 60 minutes. Um, so fast forward to, uh, 2022, and we’ve sent over 20 million of those prepaid calling cards. 20 million bridge is, uh, over 400 million minutes worth of air time that service members have, uh, used those calling cards to connect with family. Uh, you know, they, whatever you do on the phone, you know, just connect and it bridges the, it bridges the gap, uh, the communication gap and hopefully bridges, um, the gap, you know, between, uh, uh, between service members and their families

Scott Luton (10:39):

Man, 400 million minutes. Yeah. You know, one of our favorite sayings around here, Rob, we like to share with folks and challenge folks is deeds not worse. Right, man. Y’all are getting it done. Yeah. Taking action since 2004, 400 million minutes. That’s that blows me away. What you mentioned, um, a sister. Yes. So who is, did you found co-found it together?

Rob Bergquist (11:03):

Yeah, co-found it together? I mean that morning, it literally was. We, we ran upstairs together at the same time and we both bought, brought down our piggy bank money. Wow. So it started with $14 of our piggy bank money. We went to school that day. We got another $7. So $21 that we had accumulated on that first day with my sister. And we went to the bank, we opened up a bank account, the bank donated $500 to open up our account. We were like, wow. You know, we’re, we’re off to a great start brand. So people, uh, really love the story. And my sister was a huge part of it. Um, and, and we really raised awareness, uh, together, you know, doing interviews like this and just letting people know that it was a, there was a problem, you know, that military members were having huge cell phone bills and that we needed help to, to, to support them. And so, um, Brit was alongside me all through middle school, through high school, through college. She went off to, to work in Massachusetts and, and she’s still up in Massachusetts. Yeah. And I decided that I to, she is not in nor she’s in Pembroke now. Uh, but, uh, she’s still on the south shore. Yeah. And, um, yeah, she’s Brit great Brit Brittany.

Scott Luton (12:08):

Well, Brittany, if you’re listening big, thanks to what you and Rob are doing. This is, this is, is wonderful stuff. Yeah. So let’s, um, we’re gonna make sure folks know how to support cell phones for soldiers. We’ll do that in a minute, but let’s, let’s look at 2021. Yep. Right now that we kind of, we got a better idea of the story and what you do and, and the problems you are solving for our dear, uh, military members, 2021 key Eureka moment. What did last year teach you?

Rob Bergquist (12:34):

Yeah, there’s a couple things I think, you know, in, in regards to cell phones for soldiers, uh, we we’ve really seen the mission kind of change because our phone cards aren’t being requested as much as, as they previously were. And that’s for a couple reasons, there’s, you know, there’s less men and women that are, are deployed. Right. Um, and there’s more access for, for deployed service members to, to voiceover IP systems, to wifi capabilities like zoom and like Skype. And so our calling cards aren’t needed as much as they used to be. And that’s almost like mission accomplished for cell phones for soldiers, but the phone cards. And so, you know, in 2021, we really pivoted our mission to start supporting a lot of veterans that were returning from overseas that might have fallen into a little bit of trouble financially that that just needed support, uh, with, with their phone service, uh, back here domestically.

Rob Bergquist (13:22):

Yep. So that’s really where we kind of transitioned our mission is to start supporting a lot of veterans cuz we get a lot of men and women that will reach out to us and say, Hey, you know, I really appreciate the phone cars when we were deployed. Um, are you doing anything here at home? And for the longest time, we, we really haven’t had a solution for them. Um, but we, we are in the process of developing, uh, low cost and affordable phone service and completely subsidized phone service for veterans that qualify. And we’re gonna be launching that here in 2022, but in 2021, we really saw, uh, our mission needs change. Uh, and so from, for, from a charity standpoint in 2021, that was, that was a huge pivot for us. We also noticed that that donations really increased during the pandemic. Uh, and that was because a lot of these, uh, corporations that we work with had end of life product that they couldn’t move off their shelves. And so, and it’s just because people were buying a lot less. Uh, and so we, we saw that our donations actually went up. So although the pandemic was, was tragic and terrible, I mean, it actually really was, uh, a boom for, for the charity in terms of our increase in donations. So, uh, 2021 was a really fascinating and, and, and big changing year for, for cell phones for soldiers.

Scott Luton (14:29):

So with this pivot. Yeah. Uh, and first of all, that’s great to hear. It’s great to hear that, uh, the, the original problem it’s starting to be, uh, to be addressed. That’s great, right. Modern technology. It’s also great to hear folks want to give and support such a great cause. Right? With this pivot, you’ll be able to serve more folks that are really in need. Right?

Rob Bergquist (14:49):

Absolutely. And it’s actually, it’s fascinating because what we were spending to, to purchase these calling cards for 60 minutes, we’ll be able to provide almost unlimited talk, text and data, uh, with a phone for just a few dollars more than, than what it costs just for a 60 minute phone card. Wow. So we’re actually, we’re creating a far more efficient, uh, phone service, uh, here, domestically that that is gonna help a, a ton of veterans. And so we’re very excited to get that up and launched.

Scott Luton (15:14):

Wonderful, wonderful. Uh, so let’s, let’s make sure as that comes to fruition, let’s connect and have you back and we’ll have an update. Definitely.

Rob Bergquist (15:22):

Okay.

Scott Luton (15:22):

Absolutely.

Rob Bergquist (15:23):

Uh,

Scott Luton (15:23):

Not CBS and CNN. That’s pretty impressive to be on those worldwide.

Rob Bergquist (15:28):

Uh, yeah. Well, I think, I think we got onto those because we, you know, I was, I was 14 years old. I was far cuter than I am now. You know what I mean? So we were getting, we were getting the big shows because love it, man. My sister was, was a beautiful, you know, young lady and I was

Scott Luton (15:42):

Purpose driven, purpose

Rob Bergquist (15:43):

Driven. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yep. And so I, I, we were just getting the big shows back then. I

Scott Luton (15:47):

Love it. I love it. Uh, all right. So let’s, uh, I wanna talk about what makes this work so rewarding. So you founded cell phones for soldiers in 2004 officially,

Rob Bergquist (15:59):

Officially,

Scott Luton (16:00):

Officially. So it’s gosh, almost 20 years.

Rob Bergquist (16:03):

Almost 20 years. Yeah. It’ll be 18 years in April,

Scott Luton (16:06):

18 years in April. Okay. So what makes the do something 18 years? What makes you tick? What, why do you find the so rewarding?

Rob Bergquist (16:13):

Yeah. You know, cell phones for soldiers is a really interesting organization because not only are we supporting the military, which I absolutely absolutely love, uh, we’re also keeping, you know, cell phones outta landfills and we’re responsibly recycling devices. And so I, I also have a passion for, um, you know, just sustainability and, uh, and for the greater good of the world, you know? And so the fact that we, we get people that reach out to us and say, you know, I didn’t really, I didn’t really know where to put my phone. So I’m really glad that you guys could take it off my hands. And so it’s way better than, than those ending up in landfills and just being thrown out. So, you know, there’s a lot of different aspects of cell phones for soldiers that I really love and that continues to drive me. Um, but you know, hearing from a lot of the, the military members, uh, and, and hearing what the phone calls meant to them, that the

Scott Luton (16:58):

Folks you’ve

Rob Bergquist (16:58):

Assisted, the folks have assisted. Yeah, yeah. That we’ve assisted, that continues to drive me daily hearing stories of, um, you know, gold star mothers who the last time they spoke to their, their child was with our phone cards. We, we get those, we still get those calls and, and we still get those emails, people that have opened up Christmas presents, uh, with our phone cards, people that have been sitting at Thanksgiving, you know, dinner, and they’ve just been on the phone with their family. And that’s because of our phone cards, we hear those stories. And, um, when, when you have those moments, you think about, you know, when, like, when I have those moments, when I’m, you know, having Thanksgiving and dinner, I think about those people that are deployed and that can’t be talking to their families. And I think about the impact that cell phones for soldiers has been able to have, uh, connecting families. And, uh, it just makes you, you know, very appreciative of, of all the blessings that you have. And so, you know, cell phones for soldiers reminds me daily, uh, of, of what I’m grateful for and, you know, the people that don’t always get the opportunity to experience the things that I, I so much enjoy and love.

Scott Luton (18:01):

Yeah. I can, I can only imagine hearing from these people, gosh, gold star families. Yeah. Uh, that’s gotta be the, some of the best part to this whole journey you’re on.

Rob Bergquist (18:09):

Yeah, it is. It is. It’s, uh, I never would’ve imagined that cell phones for soldiers, uh, would have grown into this organization years, 18 years. And I think we’ve been around 18 years because, uh, we’re, we’re not asking for, for a dollar, you know, everybody, everybody only has so many dollars in their pocket. Right. And we get to, we get to ask for something that, you know, other people may not want or need anymore, which is their old cell phone. And so we’re able to almost one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Right. And, uh, we’re able to create value out of something that would be obsolete for other people. And so I think that’s why, you know, for 18 years we we’ve been able to remain in the forefront of the military in this fashion. So,

Scott Luton (18:51):

So let’s talk about that, uh, for a minute, Rob, we’re here at the reverse logistics association conference and expo. Uh, we’ve got a field room, a big audience here. Right. Um, so that sustainability side of things, right. Talk about how long you’ve been collaborating with a cause y’all were here, as we talked about last time we were here as well. Um, talk about your partnership and, and what makes it so successful.

Rob Bergquist (19:15):

Yeah. So, uh, LA, uh, and, and with Tony, uh, we’ve been collaborating with them for a couple years now. Uh, our first, uh, time exhibiting here on the, on the floor was in 2019, right before the pandemic hit. And, uh, this is our, our second time in exhibiting. And, uh, it’s been great to, to be here with the RLA because they really put us on a, on a platform to be able to collaborate with, with industry professionals that, you know, cell phones for soldiers needs to work with in order to maximize, uh, the, the, the revenue and the profits for us to, to create value for, for our missions. So I I’ve had wonderful conversations with, of, uh, industry professionals that have access to the hardware and the devices that ultimately can be sent to cell phones for soldiers to, to generate value for our missions. So, you know, ha being able to come to a, a conference like this and have, have those people here that, that you can, um, you know, network and connect with, uh, is really valuable. And it really, you know, maximize is the time and the travel to, to be here and you get to see just so many great people. So, yes, it’s great to, you know, have this conference. I know that they had to postpone it a couple times, and it’s great to be able to just connect with people

Scott Luton (20:23):

Again. So yes. It’s like a big family here. Yeah. Yeah. Big family friendly neighbors. Yeah. For sure. Good friends, lots of support, especially for very worthy calls is like, y’all all right. So let’s talk for a second. As we start to wind down our interview, how can our listeners support what you do?

Rob Bergquist (20:40):

Yeah. So there, there’s several ways. If you, if you just wanna donate your cell phones, you can do that. You can go onto our website, uh, www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com and on our website, you can, uh, find dropoff locations. Again, we have over 3000 dropoff locations across street, across the country, small businesses, police stations, libraries, where you can go in, drop off your old phone. Um, and those drop off locations will phones on our behalf and send them to our facility. Uh, you can also go onto our website. You can ship the phones directly to our recycling facility. So if you want to make a donation, that’s a great way to do it. You can also sign up to become a drop off location. If, if there’s somebody listening that that has, uh, a lot of franchises or stores, you know, it’s a great way to get some unique foot traffic into your locations. It’s a great to connect with your community. And again, you’re asking for, you know, cell phones, you’re not necessarily asking for money. So

Scott Luton (21:32):

Everybody’s got one of those these days,

Rob Bergquist (21:34):

Everybody’s got an old phone, right. You know, so, uh, we’ll put you onto our website. You can plug in your zip code. People can find your location in the community, and then, you know, they’ll come in and drop off their phone. So you can sign up to become a drop off location. You can set up a, so if you wanted to just, you know, not become a drop off location, but just host a, a collection drive, maybe alongside some type of initiative that people already have going with their community. That’s another great way. And, uh, yeah, so there’s, there’s a lot of different ways.

Scott Luton (22:01):

Talk to us about, do folks have to clear, you know, wipe their phones before they donate, or do y’all do that? How’s that

Rob Bergquist (22:08):

We have a capability to do it, but we ask that the donor does that before, uh, they, they donate the device, uh, to cell phones for soldiers. It makes it, it makes it far easier. Yeah,

Scott Luton (22:17):

That’s right. Okay. Fascinating, man. Yeah. I, I love 18 years. So as a fellow startup, uh, entrepreneur, I love that aspect of it. I love since of purpose and mission and really the beauty of problem meat solution hammer now. And, and, and, you know, again, deed’s not words and, and that’s exactly what y’all done for 18 years now. Yeah. In April.

Rob Bergquist (22:40):

Yeah. Thanks. And you know, it really is, it, it was a lot of trial and error, you know, we didn’t, we didn’t have a business plan. We didn’t really set out to do this. It just, just kind of happened. And, uh, it’s, it’s really a Testament to the American people that believed in, in my family and, and what we were trying to accomplish. It’s helped a lot of people. And so we’re very proud of that

Scott Luton (22:59):

400 million minutes. And you, you said it well, folks that can’t spend the holidays with their family, uh, folks, unfortunately, you know, is your service to speak to their, um, military member that may no longer be with us, all, all of these folks in need and need that connection. You’re helping the power. So I really admire what y’all are doing. Cell phones for soldiers.com is a URL. Make sure y’all check that out, but how else can folks connect with you, Rob?

Rob Bergquist (23:26):

Yeah. So on LinkedIn, Rob, Berquist, that’s a great way to reach me, but also, you know, through our website, we have an info@cellphonesforsoldiers.com, email, just shoot an email there. You can always call our office and I’m happy to, to talk and, and connect that way.

Scott Luton (23:40):

It is just that easy, Rob, thank you very much for what you do.

Rob Bergquist (23:43):

Thank you. Scott.

Scott Luton (23:44):

Love cell phones for soldiers, folks. Hey, if you’re looking for a new nonprofit to support, this is a wonderful one. Uh, and now based in Metro Atlanta, right? Yes, sir. All right. Go dogs. Go. So, uh, big, thanks to Rob. Berquist a co-founder again with cell phones for soldiers, y’all make sure or you check that out. Cell phones for soldiers.com. Thanks for joining me. Uh, folks tuned in hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I have. I’ll tell ya. Rob has, has done incredible work, supporting our, our dearly beloved better in community. So make sure you find a way to support him, whatever you do. If you enjoy this conversation, Hey, make sure you take action deeds to out words, just like Rob’s leading by example, Scott Luton’s signing off for now. Stay tuned for more coverage here at the reverse logistics association conference expo. Hey, 18th annual uh, little, little, uh, same thing with yeah. Yeah. 18 years of a track record for helping others. Hey, Scott Luton challenging you do good. Give forward. Be the change that’s needed. And with that said, we’ll see next time. Right back here at supply chain now. Thanks everybody.

Intro/Outro (24:54):

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 pod cast and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on supply chain. Now.

Would you rather watch the show in action?

Featured Guests

Rob Bergquist co-Founded Cell Phones for Soldiers at the age of 12 years old. He continues to run the operation to collect used electronics to generate revenue to provide cost-free communication services to active duty military and Veterans. His passion is social entrepreneurship with a focus towards the military. Connect with Rob on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

You May Also Like

Click to view other episodes in this program

Additional Links & Resources

Learn more about Supply Chain Now

Subscribe to Supply Chain Now and all other Supply Chain Now programs

Learn more about RLA

Check out the 2022 Supply Chain and Procurement Awards

Download the U.S. Bank 2021 Q4 Freight Payment Index

Turvo's Logistics Success Playbook

The Tecsys “Warehouse Automation Education Series”

Meet with 6 River Systems at Modex

Join 6 River Systems' interactive site tour at Verte on March 30th

Check Out Our Sponsors

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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’.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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).

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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).

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :

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.

Connect on :