Veteran Voices
Episode 15

Episode Summary

“So the military told us what we were going to do. They told us how we were gonna do it, and they told us when were we going to do it. So you had this command and control. Well, you know, as a military member, you get out, you’re a veteran, you exit the military. There’s no longer that command control because it’s just you. And so many veterans get out and, and they’re so disconnected from a bigger sense of mission. And what I try to tell them is, look, the mission is now you and your family, your spouse, that’s your mission.”

In this episode of the newly re-launched Veteran Voices series, Scott welcomes USAF veteran Don Long to the podcast.

Episode Transcript

Scott Luton (00:00:05):

Welcome to veteran voices, a podcast dedicated to giving a voice to those that have served in our country’s armed forces on this series, which is part of the supply chain. Now family of programming, we sit down with a wide variety of veterans and veteran advocates to gain their insights, perspective, and experiences. We’ll talk with many individuals about their challenging transition from active duty to the private sector, and we’ll discuss some of the most vital issues facing veterans today. Join us for this episode of veteran voices. Hey, good afternoon, Scott. Lutin with you here on veteran voices. Thanks for joining us here today. So today’s show, we’ve gotten the opportunity to talk with a veteran. That’s up to a lot of big things, consulting, writing, speaking, and perhaps most importantly, helping others, which really resonates with me to stay tuned as we learn a lot more.

Scott Luton (00:01:07):

Hey, on a quick programming note, before we get started, if you enjoy today’s episode, you can find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from simply search for veteran voices, and we publish on a weekly basis targeting every Saturday morning with a new episode with a great veteran or veteran advocate like we have here today. So with no further ado, let’s bring in our featured guests here today, Don Edward Long, not only a published author, but founder and president at long insights, LLC. Don good afternoon. Good afternoon, Scott. It’s been a very, very long time since you and I’ve been able to have a dialogue. Of course it was in the studio. In fact, that’s right. We still physically meet each other instead of being miles apart. But here we are here we are. But you know, there are brighter days ahead. Uh, here in Georgia, we’ve kind of had our work cut out for us and some extra heavy lifts and go at scenes, but Hey, we’re going to break through it all.

Scott Luton (00:02:03):

And I really appreciate as busy as you are. Cause you’ve had some big news here in recent weeks, including this week. We’ll touch more on that, but I appreciate you carving some time out and really sharing your story. I’ve enjoyed our collaboration and the opportunity to rub elbows and really delighted to be able to share the Don long story with our audience here at veteran voices. So, but before we get there, I really want to on the front end, I really like to dive in with our guests and really kind of get a sense of who they are, where they’re from and their personality and whatnot. So tell us, Don, where are you from? Well, I came from a small textile town called Bessemer city, not to be confused with Bessemer, Alabama, but from our city North Carolina. And when I was growing up again, it was, it was all about textiles. You know, along the railroad track, you had all the different various meals from the mill that took the raw cotton and spun it into threads. And then it would go a little bit down the tracks

Don Long (00:03:00):

And it would be a thread will be a died and then it would go from there and that would be stitched into some kind of material somewhere. And then it would move down the track and it would be made into clothing or bedsheets or whatever it was. So, you know, you had the whole textile operation and that’s what really kept the town going. As I was growing up all those decades ago,

Scott Luton (00:03:21):

You really paint a nice picture of like textile supply chain in a nutshell, I love that. And you know, we love our supply chain stories around here. The other thing that’s, that’s really neat as big as textiles were kinda, especially across the Southeast, you know, NC state and Clemson university, the textile ball, whenever those two teams met on the Gridiron and played football. And that was really, those were two well-known schools that did it, that sent a lot of talent into the textile industry. When you look back at your growing up and best city North Carolina, is that right? That’s right. So what was, um, beyond textiles? Uh, what else, what do you look back on growing up in Bessemer city that you really look back fondly and, and wish more folks had certain experiences?

Don Long (00:04:05):

Oh, you know, it’s a small town life. Uh, it was one of those where it was, it was a real community, uh, where it was safe enough. You didn’t have to lock your doors even at night, right? I mean, you could just, you just want to have a little latch on your screen door and leave the door open to let some fresh air and you could do it was that kind of environment, uh, as kids, you know, we weren’t restricted to really where we could go. The rule was either you got home before the porch light got turned on, or you went to the Hickory Bush and got a Hickory. So you could get your, get your come up up for not getting home on time. So, you know, and it was a great environment and an environment where if you also, if you messed up and then neighborhood, the neighborhood, parents could whip ya and then they would call your parents and tell you what you did wrong. So your parents are with you when they got home. So

Scott Luton (00:04:57):

There’s something to be said for clarity, clarity of your decisions.

Don Long (00:05:01):

So, so, you know, the structure and discipline we had growing up, made the transition or made the move into the military a little bit easier, I will say.

Scott Luton (00:05:11):

So let’s, let’s, we’re gonna talk about your why for joining the military here in just a moment, but what were you in Bessemer city up until you joined the air force?

Don Long (00:05:20):

How did that work? Yeah, yeah, right, right up into high end high school. I, you know, growing up and again, growing up, we weren’t poor, but we also learn and develop a work ethic early on. I mean, our parents, again, we never went without, but if we wanted that comic book, if we wanted that, you know, barbecue sandwich, if we wanted that extra malt, something like that, we had to go work for it. So as kids, we would go collect, pop bottles for the, for the deposit, we would cut grass. We would rake the leaves. We did whatever we had to do to make some extra money and whatnot. So I kind of loved that environment that we had, uh, to, to really develop that work ethic and being responsible and kind of earning our way as we went. So

Scott Luton (00:06:04):

Sounds like it, it certainly has stuck with you as you’ve moved into what you’re doing even now.

Don Long (00:06:10):

Yeah. Yeah. And it has. And I think a lot of what happens with us in our childhood, I think that helps form the, the dynamic of who we become eventually. I mean, we, we obviously it’s built upon over time as we get exposed to new environments and new people and, you know, we have different people that speak into our lives and mentors and whatnot, but there’s that foundational piece that I think goes back to your roots of your roots of your upbringing, wherever you come from.

Scott Luton (00:06:40):

All right. Good stuff there. Let’s talk about what was your, why for joining cause you didn’t join a different branch. You were in the air force throughout your service, right? Well, yeah.

Don Long (00:06:51):

You know, I kind of got off tangent. You’re working in small town working in textile and I will say, you know, we did a lot of chores. My father and my grandfather were both roofers. And so I got weaned on roofing real early. And you know, once you go up there and you have to carry a bundle of shingles up, or you get up there doing some hot mop roofing, when it’s 102 degrees outside in the summertime, you think there’s gotta be a better way to make a living. Right. And, and so it was doing that from about 12 to 16. At 16, I did spend my last year in high school working textile mill, but work in textile mill. I saw all these really old guys and I have to be careful cause I have to remember, I am an old guy now. Right.

Don Long (00:07:30):

So I would see these people that just basically lived work and died in the same little town. And I thought there’s gotta be something more. So few weeks after I was thinking that we had a whole lot of recruiters that came to our high school and they had their desks set up their head, their table set up in the gymnasium. So I went one by one and I, you know, Marines the army, the Navy air force. It’s pretty cool. I love that, man. I love it. I love the logo. I love the colors. I love the uniform. It’s great. Put me in coach, put me in coach. So signed up and delayed, you know, the, what is it? They had the date delayed enlistment at the time. So I signed up and three months after graduating high school, after I spent some time with, with family and friends took that bus trip down to Lackland air force base, Texas. And that’s when life really changed

Scott Luton (00:08:24):

Hot, hot San Antonio. Do you remember, uh, what time of year did you go through basic? I went through basic August 2nd, 1977

Don Long (00:08:34):

Through September 23rd. I think I got that right. mid-September uh, of that year. And it was hot, hot and combination of skunks and hot does not work very well because we had our sheriffs drunks that liked mine as well.

Scott Luton (00:08:53):

You could get away hot mopping, which I bet is also extremely hot and hard labor. Right.

Don Long (00:09:01):

And so get away from hot mopping to getting up at five 30 in the morning, doing calisthenics, running five miles and doing all this stuff that can maybe the whole small town didn’t look so bad. Right.

Scott Luton (00:09:15):

You know, after he graduated from basic and you got to tech school, what was your, what was your role in the air force? What was your, your, um, what we’ll call AFSE? We’re calling it right?

Don Long (00:09:23):

Yeah. Mine was a structural repair technician. Um, working, working air frame, sheet metal, work, 10 vendors, you name it. They had all kinds of names for us, but you know what to Chanute air force base for my technical training, of course the new it’s one of those bases that don’t exist anymore. It’s been converted to some other civilian, uh, resource, but I went there and I spent my first duty station at shower force base, which wound up being just 126 miles from my home town. So, you know, they say enlist and see the world. And it’s like I listed and saw South Carolina.

Scott Luton (00:10:01):

Well, you know, Don, this is interesting because we didn’t talk about this in any of our, really our dedicated conversations prior. I also, I was from Aiken, South Carolina when I joined the air force and my first duty station was SAU air force base, which was about an hour and 20 minutes from home, which is unbelievable. Right. So we both served in Sumter, South Carolina. That’s really interesting. I didn’t realize that.

Don Long (00:10:24):

Yeah. Yeah, of course. I think I serve quite a bit earlier than you did Scott. So, you know, we still have [inaudible] and uh, [inaudible] I think later they converted to F 16, not quite sure what they’ve got there now, but it was great little bit base. Interesting. Had a lot of different aircraft. It wasn’t just have fours. She had the, the old OB 10 Blanca, which 20, 20 millimeter guns. They had the a is the assessment of push pull the OTU. They call them the ends that would carry the phosphorus froglets and paint the targets. They are Newbury. Remember the target range in Newberry, South Carolina. And so they would paint the targets for the air force to come in on their strafing runs and all that. So it’s really cool to do that maintenance and see all these aircraft and how that interacted, right. How these support aircraft work together. So,

Scott Luton (00:11:18):

Yeah, I really, I don’t know about Shia. I miss seeing the aircraft, um, and, and where we live in Atlanta, you know, we see of course, Hartsfield Jackson, traffic, non military traffic, but every so often we get over on a Marietta side and you see all the, the Naval, uh, boy, you see different military traffic there. But what I enjoy Don is when I’m maybe headed to Charleston or maybe headed up through Charlotte and every so often, you’ll see a couple of [inaudible] that probably hit the range they’re coming back or their head. And, and that, that is that always just takes him back. So what if I understand your role, your AFSE, were you working on, um, components for the aircraft, like as it became damaged or upgrades or stuff like that?

Don Long (00:12:04):

Well, the thing about the structural repair technicians, we worked on everything. I mean, we worked on, uh, certain avionics components, some hydraulic components, we did control cables and we didn’t just, and we also worked on the airframe. If you had a damaged panels, if you had damaged structure, then you would have to take and manufacture replacement pieces and splice those into the aircraft. And, uh, so it was very interesting, uh, doing a lot of stuff. You know, we have aircraft, like air force would come back after a bird strike and you’d have a bird that got ingested by an engine and you’d have to go in and assess the damage to the intake. So you’d put on your bunny suit and make sure he didn’t have anything loose. You’d take it on your bunny suit. And you’d send me up by the very ramp and go down the intake. And of course it’s still smelling like burnt bird and you’re crawling in there to assess the damage and figuring out what you gotta do to repair it and wow. All that kind of stuff so

Scott Luton (00:13:03):

Much like the private sector. Um, I would, this is just my opinion here. I’d love to get your take, you know, the folks that keep aircraft going to folks that keep fleets going, you know, the, the maintenance or the, the engine technicians or the structural components, like you’re describing your role. That is one of the thankless pools of professionals probably around whether it’s in the military or on the private sector. It would, you, would you tend to agree with that?

Don Long (00:13:30):

Yeah. What I mean, there, there’s a lot of difficult, challenging roles for people that are, uh, maintaining, uh, aircraft these days. And, and, you know, again, it’s not a very glamorous job at all. And, and yet, um, there are things that they have to do cause the, the, the folks that are working on aircraft again, people’s lives are at stake. It’s not, you know, it’s not like you’re going to burn somebody’s burger and they’re going to send it back to the kitchen or something like that. So, so it’s a very, very structured, very disciplined community. And, uh, no, we haven’t gotten to that part yet. And we’re going to talk about transition a little bit, but I think it’s, it’s one of the things, one of the fields that I think is probably one of the easiest for our transitioning nocere today is to go into aviation because that similarity between structure and discipline the military structure and discipline in that, that particular environment. So

Scott Luton (00:14:24):

Well put, you know, and, you know, looking at the private sector and, and especially all that talented expertise that keeps, you know, our freight moving, uh, tractor trailers and the fleets there, whether they’re on the engine or other, other aspects, or as you mentioned that the, um, air freight fleets. So the ton of that talent that keeps global supply chain moving. All right. So let’s switch gears a bit. I’m looking forward to picking your brain on your transition here in a little bit, but let’s talk about some of your favorite leaders that either you worked with, or maybe they work for you or, or folks you worked for who, when you think back at your time in the air force, who are some of those folks that really made an impact in your career?

Don Long (00:15:04):

Well, I’ll tell you, I think that the guy that made the first impact, I wish I could remember his name, but I can tell you that he was a Lieutenant Colonel in the air force. And, and I’ll tell you what, he impressed me on the most. When my first week at Chanute air force base, it was a, there was an air show taking place in Ram tool, which was the city right outside of the base. And so, so we were in charge of cleaning up a missile display for a, for a static display as part of the air show. So I remember this Lieutenant Colonel grabbing me and I’m four, four or five other guys and took us out and told us what we had to do, gave us our assignment. And for me, I was kind of like slim pickings. Here’s this missile on this platform about a 45 degree angle.

Don Long (00:15:49):

So what do I do? I climb up there. I share me up to the nose of this thing. Cause I figured, Hey, if I’m going to clean this thing, I’m gonna clean it from the nose down. Right? So I’m sitting up there. I liked slim pickings and in the movie, right. And I’m cleaning this thing and I looked down on the ground and there’s this Lieutenant Colonel, who’s got his sleeves rolled up. He’s got his hand going down in the bucket with a sponge and he’s washing the wheels. And I thought, wait a minute, here’s this Lieutenant Colonel, I’m just not an airman, nothing right along with the other airman, nothings that are there. And, and he could have just told us, Hey guys, get this cleaned up. I’ll come back and get you. But he impressed me because it, it was here’s this officer knowing that we had this objective and he was willing to go.

Don Long (00:16:37):

And even in his, I mean, it wasn’t full dress blues, but you know, they wore the, the light blue shirt and the blue slacks and core Graham shoes. But he’s down there working with us now. It’s all, wow. That’s not servant leadership. Right. And so that’s one of the first guys that really impacted me. I couldn’t cover all of them, but I will fast forward to another guy. Another guy that really impressed me. Um, if you don’t mind, I’ll mention the name. I touch, I’ve lost touch with him. He was master Sergeant Joe, Eric Grenache. And he became my supervisor. When I, when I moved from my permanent station air force base to Travis air force base. When I, when I left Shaw, I had worked really hard to develop my skills and I’ve gotten up to, to my seven level. I had gotten my, my EFI stripes.

Don Long (00:17:25):

And one of the things I wanted to do when I got my five stripes was moved to a different base. Because, you know, as you grow, as you work alongside with individual and you get promoted, then sometimes you have that, that buddy buddy thing they think, well, I don’t have to listen to you because you were just a senior airman last year. Right? So I thought it was better from a leadership position to go to somewhere new, where they had known me. But before I, the base, because I had honed my skill so much, you know, we had our after six 23, which was our training record. And we always got our airman performance reports every year. Remember those. So mine at Shaw air force base, every everything was nine, nine, nine, nine, nine, nine, top of the top of the line. I thought I’m hot stuff.

Don Long (00:18:08):

Right? I get out to Travis air force base. I’m out there for about six months. It’s time for my first valuation. And all of a sudden, I get my evaluation back from Joe, Eric Grenache. And he he’s, uh, he’s given me seven and eight and I’m like, you jerk, what are you doing? You need to call the people at Shaw because people are so I’ll said, I’m perfect. I was young man. And, and, uh, got a little bit out of shape. So I just, uh, I, I went to Columbine and I said, Hey, what is this? What is this? He said, look, he said, you’re one of the best technicians I’ve got. But he said, I would be doing you a disservice. If I didn’t let constantly let you know those things that you need to work on. And those things you need to be better.

Don Long (00:18:52):

Cause none of us are perfect. And we all have things. He says, he says, these guys that just basically pencil whipped your record and gave you nines. Didn’t give you any feedback for improvement. And so when he sat down, he explained that to me and he said, I want you to be the best you absolutely can be, but you can’t be that if I don’t help coach you in those areas, you need to work on. So that really resonated with me. And in fact, I carry that forward. When you know, I was in a position of having to manage a department and having to supervise individuals and think about, you know, our responsibility to help coach teach, train, because none of us are perfect because we’re all evolving. We’re all learning, we’re all growing. So, so Joe astronaut was, was really great that he really took the time to invest in me, carried me through this day to remember that we all have some growing today, no matter where we’re at in life, we always have growing to do

Scott Luton (00:19:52):

That. Sounds really powerful. And I bet you’ve applied that to countless folks that have worked for you since that time. I bet.

Don Long (00:19:59):

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I’ve always, you know, attempted to encourage people. And I think one of the, one of the problems is leaders. Sometimes when we work with individuals, there’s, you know, they’re individuals, right? And every individual has unique gifts and skills. And, and I I’ve learned over the years that if you have all types of people, right, you’re going to have the people that are widget makers. And so if they’re widget makers, you don’t necessarily want to make those people supervisors of widget makers. If they don’t have those personal skill sets or they don’t have the empathetic skills to be able to, to work with and coach people. So because there are times where people in those kinds of roles, they get promoted in the supervisor roles, next thing you know, they’re failing and they feel like they’re a failure because it didn’t survive. So, so I think having that ability to be able to just assess people and make the best of what they are and Kurt encourage and coach them according to their inherent traits and skill sets is very important for a leader.

Scott Luton (00:21:02):

Let’s talk about when you look back on your career in the military, when the air force, some of those accomplishments that you still kind of stir something today, and what do you look back and what are you most proud of while you serve?

Don Long (00:21:17):

Well, again, I, I think that having one, having just some great coaches, some great trainers and great supervisors that, that really drove and inspired, uh, that was very important. Um, you know, as a result of, of getting a number of different awards, I was able to experience things that some people couldn’t, for instance, before leaving char air force base, uh, just a few weeks before leaving there, I actually got a, what was at the time, the longest check ride in the backseat of an [inaudible] really? So, yeah, they had an awards program that if you were voted, what they called airman of the quarter, you would get a ride around the flagpole as it used to be called. And so typically what they would do is take guys up and they would literally fly around the base one time and land again. But this one particular mission I went on, in fact, I still still have the mission record.

Don Long (00:22:15):

Uh, major castle was the, was the pilot that flew us. But of course you went through all the egress training and everything cause you had to learn to operate radios and operate the ejection seats and all that. So here we go, week before Christmas, 1981, I’m sitting in the backseat of this F four and, and uh, we taxied out and close the canopy up. The, uh, the pilot lit those two J 79 after burners and away we went, so we spent two hours, two hours flying around. We went over South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, just covering a lot of territory.

Scott Luton (00:22:50):

Wow. What an experience those are, uh, when I was in, I think they call those incentive rides and I only got one in a KC, one 35, we refueled a, B two, or I’d be one rather now that that’s, that’s really cool to see that level of orchestration and, um, just the immense attention to detail to have these two aircraft going, whatever speed, you know, easily conservatively, 300 miles an hour, uh, and to have them dance so they can transfer of course, just jet fuel and all this jet fuel Ali, you know, and, and just that, it’s amazing there there’s, there’s a level of grace to it. So, but I would have as much as I enjoyed that, the ride in the back of an F four Phantom two for two hours and explore the Southeast and that has to, that’s gotta be one of those memories you’ll you’ll always have.

Don Long (00:23:41):

Yeah. Oh yeah. That best aircraft ride ever. And did

Scott Luton (00:23:46):

The pilot that you said major Kiesel, is that what you said, major case who was the pilot? He didn’t try to get you sick then

Don Long (00:23:53):

Actually he did. And, and, uh, I had a good buddy of mine that had flown a couple of weeks for me. Again, he literally just flew around the flagpole, used both of his, both of his bags and still let the bed bit of a mess in the cockpit. But yeah, you know, he tried to do a few, a few banks, few turns, but you know, I had learned early on you just gotta, sometimes you just gotta go with the flow, go with the ride, just relax in the seat, right. And go with the aircraft. So he actually let me fly for about 10 minutes to

Scott Luton (00:24:23):

Man. That’s awesome. Incredible. Alright. So now let’s talk about the transition. Um, you know, you and I both have had no shortage of conversations and, and I mean, ever since I left, you know, cause, um, you know, I didn’t have the easiest transition. I didn’t have a lot of strikes against me that a lot of folks, you know, after, you know, eight, 18, 19 years of war have, you know, combat vets coming back that have PTSD and they don’t have, they may not have degrees. And you know, they’ve got all these challenges. I didn’t have any of that. And I struggled back in Oh two with my transition and I’ve heard countless stories about folks that I’m just not pointing any fingers to, to any, whether the military or them. It’s just, you struggle with that transition. So tell us, let’s talk about your transition and how it went. And then I’d love to kind of also hear about what you’ve gathered as you’ve heard other transition, uh, from other veterans and what you’ve shared with them to kind of coach them

Don Long (00:25:26):

All right. For me when I got, again, my, my last duty station was Travis air force base. And I remembered when I was getting out and I was exiting at the time we call them the consolidated based personnel office. So she BPO. So I remember going in the CBP office and this is probably about six months before I was going to exit. And I said, look, I’m, you know, I don’t think I’m going to wrap this, go around. Um, I’m gonna take an early out at nine years, two months active duty. I was going to get out. And I said, uh, I said, you know, what do I need to do? And so I remember a person sitting behind the desk and he pointed to the bulletin board and they said, well, there’s a bunch of index cards and flyers up there, go make some calls and good luck.

Don Long (00:26:09):

And that was it. That was what I was told. I went over there and I started scoping around what was on the bulletin board and happened to see a flyer for Eastern airlines. And so, okay, here we go. So the next thing I know over the next couple of months, I’m flying first class from California to, to Miami, Florida on a Miami airlines flight, uh, out of San Francisco. Um, they actually flew me on two separate occasions. Did the interviews, I’ll shorten story up. Eventually I wound up going to work for Eastern, uh, after a couple of a couple of, uh, opportunities they put up there me, but, uh, I went to work for them and I actually going to work from the military and aviation really wasn’t a lot different because in the military, obviously there’s that rank structure. There’s the structure, the discipline, the sense of mission.

Don Long (00:27:01):

It’s very critical. Uh, everything that you’re doing is very important. And so going into commercial aviation, it really wasn’t a lot different because you had the same kind of requirement for structure and discipline and FAA regulations and all this. And so I found going into aviation, even though Eastern only lasted about another five years finally closed its doors in 91. And then after that, I went to another aviation working for a jet engine overhaul facility for about 12 and a half years, but all through all in all, going from there into that, those commercial entities like that, or that to that type of work was really no hiccups. I didn’t start realizing the hiccups until, and the problems were transition that I know vets are experiencing today until about 19 years later, after getting out, when I started going into other industries, other industries, not related to aviation, what I was used to.

Don Long (00:27:59):

So going to work for manufacturing companies, uh, print shops, uh, eventually healthcare companies and whatnot. And, and what I started seeing was a totally different culture, totally different dynamic, totally different work ethic. And so for the next 12 years or so, I would notice all of the, all the differences, all the Delta, right, between what I was used to between military and aviation history and what was going on in all these others. And I started seeing a real disconnect and a misunderstanding that those of us who have served in the military and those that currently work in aviation, they understand the importance of structure and discipline, but it seemed like a lot of other businesses lack that they lack that foundational piece because they see it as being, uh, too rigid. And, and, and so I’ve got, you know, I’ve got some analogies I’ve given about having to have a foundation in how you build on top of foundation.

Don Long (00:29:01):

I won’t get into it now, but, but basically, um, I started really having those transitional problems. Once I got into other industries that somewhat mimic what I hear our veterans going through today. And that’s why I feel of like, taking that experience that I’ve gone through and say, okay, how do I use this knowledge, this experience that I’ve gone through and how can I help look at, at seeding information in the right space and the right arm within the military and civilian and veteran community to help them avoid some of those things I experienced. Yep. So that’s basically where we’re at now. All right. So

Scott Luton (00:29:42):

Really interesting perspective, especially, uh, cause you were saying way back at the beginning of this interview about how it really helped your transition, given the skill sets you were learning in the air force and how much, uh, applicability that I think that’s the right word. There was in the private sector and, and, and, and, um, got, that’d be some, that’d be a great advantage despite the other, other components of transition that, that, you know, outside of skillset that could, that can still be challenging. You know, when you, when you talk to, um, veterans, these days here in 2020 that are maybe their own terminal leave, or maybe, maybe they’ve already separated and they’re still looking for a job or whatever, wherever they are in their transitional stage, what are some of the things, what are some of the ways that you advise them and coach them?

Don Long (00:30:31):

Well, one thing is I try to try to get them to think, and in military terms to think strategically and tactically about what they’re going to do and where they’re going to do it, uh, as, as I present, if you think back to our military experience, you know, our mission was what ever our service branch told us our mission was. So the military told us what we were going to do. They told us how we were gonna do it. And they told us when were we going to do it? Right? So you had this command and control. Well, you know, as a military member, you get out, you’re a veteran, you exit the military. There’s no longer that command control because it’s just you. And so many veterans get out and, and they’re so disconnected from, from a bigger sense of mission. And what I try to tell them is, look, the mission is now you and your family, your spouse, and your family, that’s your mission.

Don Long (00:31:26):

So you have to create what that new mission looks like for you and your family. And as you create that mission for you and your family, you have to think strategically and tactically about what are the things that I need to do to put in place, to be able to provide the needs and the, and fill the gaps where their educational gaps and especially with relational gaps for you to be able to take and, and be successful at your new mission that you’ve created for yourself. So try to get, get them to think in military, uh, with a military mind,

Scott Luton (00:32:03):

I really liked that I liked the, uh, the customization element to that to kind of building your, your, your new mission plan. Um, it’s so important as I’ve learned, and when it comes to transition, you know, kind of determining what you want to do or what company, or what type of role, or what, you know, kind of a combination of things, and then working backwards to figure out how to get there and what resources you need or what you need to learn along the way. They were really reminds me a lot, Don, a professional certification. Now we get a lot, we get asked a lot about, you know, what certifications should we go after? And, and it’s, you know, it, for me, it’s always reverse engineering is the easiest way to figure that out. It’s not easy, but it’s the easiest way, right? It really helps before we switch over to what you’re up to now and some of your big news, anything else when it comes to transition that folks should really understand whether they’re, you know, in the military listening to this conversation, or if they’re civilian employers, you know, and, and they don’t want, they don’t know what they don’t know.

Scott Luton (00:32:59):

Anything else you’d like to add.

Don Long (00:33:01):

I think we need to, you know, the word transition has really been overused. And I prefer to use the term civilian reintegration, because think about it. You and I weren’t born military. We were civilian to start with. Right. We just decided, because, and again, it goes back to the character of the individuals that are going to enlist in the military. It’s people with a servant’s heart, right? So, you know, those of us that chose to go into military to stay whatever length of time we stayed, whether it’s a tour or whether it’s a 20 or 30 years, it’s only a portion of our overall career life. And so, so what I call it, when I do these presentations, I call it civilian reintegration in essence, instead of thinking in the terms of transition and, and, you know, we’ll talk a little bit more, I may talk a little bit more about some of the other programs and veterans service organizations that are out there to help.

Don Long (00:33:56):

I think military, what we need to do is we need to start earlier in the process with our military members, and it’s not an either or right career development needs to be happening in parallel with the military service, whether it’s four years or 30 years, and constantly doing things to improve ourselves, to, you know, to increase our knowledge, get certain certifications, build relationships, not just in the military, but outside the military and do this in parallel. And I think, you know, I tell people 18 months before they get out is really when they need to start making their strategic plans. The reason I say 18 months, the first two, two and a half years in military service needs to be getting proficient. And your MOS getting used to that military work ethic, you know, all the team team, building the leadership, all of those dynamics.

Don Long (00:34:55):

And once that’s ingrained in you, and you’re now this military member of whatever branch you’re in, then there needs to be something done within the within house, within the military to start thinking about, look, even if you’re here 30 years, you’re, you know, you’re going to get out, you’re going to be late forties, right? If you stay in 30 years, you’ve still got another 20, 30 years to do something, whatever that something is. So why not be building yourself to be prepared throughout your length of service so that you don’t have the transitional problems we have right now.

Scott Luton (00:35:32):

So we’ll put a, we’ll put an and you know, from what I’ve heard in talking to different folks, the, well, I’ve probably heard the most about the Army’s change when it comes to, uh, that soldier for life program, some of the tweaks they’ve made the enhancements they’ve made. Um, I’m hoping that the other branches are following suit and, and focusing on the post service timeframe as much as they, you know, or at least to a certain degree, as much as they focus on, uh, while that military members serving in uniform. But we’ll see, you know, it’s it continuous improvement. You never arrive. Right. It’s always a journey. All right. So let’s talk about, um, what you’re up to now. There’s a couple of big projects that I’m aware of and we’ll touch on those here momentarily, uh, your big broadcast last night, and of course the book, but what, you know, before we talk about those things, what, what do you do? How, how do you, how are you helping organizations right now?

Don Long (00:36:22):

We have a big communication disconnect and you, you were alluding to this earlier. There’s things to be taught on both sides. You know, it’s not just one sided with the veteran and military communities, but we also need to be talking a lot more to our businesses, especially in light of what’s happened in 2020. I mean, we we’ve been faced with more challenges this year than we have probably over the last decade. But I think part of the communication problem that I, that I believe in is that sometimes on the military side, we paint a picture that hurts us more than helps us. And I’m going to get back to something you said earlier about the PTSD issue. Again, PTSD is, is sometimes often seen as only a military disorder and it’s not just a military disorder. And they also have to understand that not a hundred percent of people that are in the military or in combat situations.

Don Long (00:37:21):

And so therefore a hundred percent of the military people don’t suffer from PTSD, but I think sometimes the narrative is military members have PTSD, which might make a business owner think, do I want to take a chance with damaged goods? Am I going to have to worry about the stability of this individual that I’m going to bring into my workplace? So we’ve got to make sure that when we’re talking to those business owners, as business owners understand two things, one small percentage of military people suffer from PTSD. And fortunately we’ve got a number of great programs that do help with those individuals that have, that have suffered from that disorder that have helped them get on the other side of that disorder. And therefore has made these people more resilient and able to identify and deal with challenging situations, which makes them a tremendous asset for businesses today that are so suffering from things like the COVID-19 and the impact on business, the social unrest and its impact on business. And these military members that have gone through that have learned to overcome there, the best thing businesses could have right now. And so I think we have to make sure that businesses understand the full dynamic of the PTSD and not painted as a, you know, this is everybody’s damaged kind of thing.

Scott Luton (00:38:46):

Yep. Those are really important clarifying remarks. And, um, I’m hoping that we I’m hoping, you know, based on what I’ve seen and, and early anecdotal, it’s really tough to, to, to, um, really study this, uh, as an outsider, but it seems like organizations, um, especially the, I think a Starbucks that have made huge commitments to hire veterans. I think of, uh, other other organizations out there, it seems like we’re making progress in and to speak military ease or veteran ease so that you have less language barriers. And you’ve got little more better understanding of some of the things you brought up. Um, but we’ve got a long way to go. And we’ve got so many folks, whether it’s just the veterans or whether it’s the veterans themselves, but also their spouses and their significant others that we’ve got to make sure are, are horrible and, and have opportunities so many way. I love some of the things you touched on there, and it really appreciate your, your view own your transition, others, but also what others are experiencing now. So let’s talk about this, uh, the veteran transition experience. I did not have the opportunity to check it out live yesterday. Uh, so tell us about what this project is and, and, and, and why it’s important to you

Don Long (00:40:06):

Again, in this VTE, as we call it, everybody in the military loves their acronyms. And so, uh, so we, we call it veteran transitioning experience. And again, it’s, it’s, it’s really a misnomer because like I said, we were civilian and military and civilian against. So it’s really every integration, basically, Scott, over the last couple of years, listening to all of these different veterans stories and hearing, you know, hearing all these veterans saying that a certain program let them down, or they felt like they didn’t get anything out of the program or they were struggling. They weren’t able to find, they weren’t able to connect. They weren’t able to, you know, figure out really what it was. They wanted to do so many veterans coming out and going to colleges and getting a degree and then working is something totally unrelated to their degree. And you look at some of the statistics we see today, we see 10% of veterans homeless.

Don Long (00:40:58):

Somebody served their country. And again, it’s not often from necessarily job loss, unfortunately, of some other things that create that add to the homeless thing. But it’s, it’s ridiculous that we have 10% of our veterans getting out and not having a home to go to. We’ve got 22 veteran suicides happening every day. And we know we’ve got that dynamic going on. And a number of those happened because of financial struggles and the pressures that people that can’t handle it on the outside. They’re not prepared to deal with the nuances of civilian life outside of the military. You’ve got a recently, there was a report, 50% of military members felt like they and their spouses, they in their families did not have support enough support in their transition process, which is ridiculous. Considering we have almost 40,000 veteran service organizations across the country to help them.

Don Long (00:41:51):

And so that didn’t make sense. And then the other part of the dynamic was you’ve got 70% of veterans that once they do transition out, they do get into a job within about two years. They’re leaving that job. The cost are dissatisfied and disgruntled. And I want to go back something if I’m going to back up a little bit, something you said earlier about the business side, I think what we have to teach businesses. And one of the things I tell business leaders is if you, as a business are hiring veterans and are planning to bring veterans in and you want them to blend into your culture, that’s a death sentence for you. And I’ll tell you why, because you have a culture that is complacent, that is not advancing. That’s not growing, that’s not learning. That’s not expanding that culture dynamic. Then what’s happening.

Don Long (00:42:41):

I think a lot of these military members that go into a business that bring in that stronger work ethic, that sense of team, that sense of mission and everything else it’s being drowned out because many businesses just want them to go with the status quo, just blend into the culture rather than taking full advantage of these military traits and these military skills that can help basically move the chains and help evolve the business culture to what it needs to be with the times. And so I, again, I encourage any business. You hire a veteran when you onboard a vet, don’t, don’t just let them get lost in the mix, take full advantage of what they bring to disable because they will help your business grow in ways that you can not imagine.

Scott Luton (00:43:31):

The veteran transition experience is a program that you’ll continue to be leading. Should we go further about how folks can plug in there?

Don Long (00:43:38):

Yeah. Basically with the veteran trenches experience, my, my objective is to grow this and get this to the point that we can start making this maybe an add on to some of the existing programs that the military is doing and really want to get to the military community so we can help tap soldier for life or whatever, and just take this content, take this information. And again, we’re not, I’m not out there. This is not a new veteran service organization. It’s not a new nonprofit. This is just strictly a, you know what I say, what I’ve seen, what I’ve heard, what I’ve experienced, I see a way to close some of those communication gaps and some of those seminars, you know, some of those things we need to fill in, in communication to make it better for vets

Scott Luton (00:44:25):

To supplement what’s what’s out there and, and make it more effective is what I’m hearing, especially based on your, your, um, your background, both being a veteran and a business leader, you know, you, it sounds like, and this is just my interpretation. You’re seeing these gaps. You’re seeing, seeing these phases or spaces of the transition experience that can be improved. And it sounds like you’re offering some really neat tools to supplement and enhance and optimize this critical part of a veteran’s journey.

Don Long (00:44:57):

Right? And, and as you mentioned earlier, now, I want to make sure that people understand this is not just about the military member, because we don’t want to forget the spouses in order to get the kids. And especially those that might have older children, older children that have been, uh, you know, military brats, whatever they call them these days. But you have gone through that military experience. You can’t disconnect the family from the military member. We want to treat not just a military member, but the family as a whole unit. So we offer this up to anybody, military spouse, you know, um, individuals that are old enough to start thinking about career development and planning, you know, 16, 17, 18 years old, uh, uh, as a military family member, Hey, we, we want to have you participate in this. We want to help you. We want to make sure you’ve got the right resources that you’re connected. You’re plugged in and doing the things you need to do as part of your lifelong learning.

Scott Luton (00:45:53):

Love it. All right. So before we talk about the book, how can folks, will you be doing this digitally? And then in person, as we, as we get back to whatever this, this new normal we’re getting into, how will, how can folks plug into it?

Don Long (00:46:06):

Well, ultimately, obviously, because of COVID, we have to do this virtual for a while. So we’re looking at the next couple of months of doing this virtually. So it’s a studio through zoom, and we can gather a few people in the studio, but we’re very limited in that regard. The hope is eventually take this content, take this program and do a train the trainer with it. We’ve got a lot of great people out there, coaching and mentoring with a number of organizations. So we can give them this as a tool, if they can take this tool and go out and engage members of the military community bases all over the country, and they can start doing that. Or if somebody’s existing military programs that are out there, soldier for life taps or whatever, if they want to have us, you know, give them what we’re giving is content material to add to that at an earlier stage, this is all being given away for free.

Don Long (00:46:56):

So, so this is just more of a philanthropic effort to take that experience. Cause again, one of the, some of the feedback I’ve gotten is military members are being told by other military members how to prep for civilian life. So how can somebody in the military who doesn’t have civilian experience, tell another military member how to prep for civilian life. So I think it’s incumbent upon us that have those decades or years of experience to go back and say, here’s what I’ve discovered so that you don’t have these problems here’s you can do so that when you get to the point I got to, when I got out, you don’t have those struggles, you don’t have those challenges. And that’s what we want to do. We need to go back, we need to plant those seeds. We need to help those individuals out.

Scott Luton (00:47:42):

I love it. I love deeds, not words, you know, uh, one of my good old buddy John Phillips, he’s really ingrained that in my ears. And I’m not, I always attributed back to John. I’m sure there’s different versions of that, but it’s just such a beautiful cuts through all the noise and, and Don you’re doing it. I mean, it takes action. It takes a lot of hard work and heavy lifting, but there’s such a huge need. And I appreciate your approach for that program. Okay. Let’s talk about this book. I’m going to get 10 copies on my way. I haven’t read it yet and that’s shame on me, but I will, because I know you’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from folks that have gotten a lot out of it from the inside out plotting the course of our personal and professional life, which is available on Amazon, by the way, I found it there. Tell us about what called you to write this book and what’s it about?

Don Long (00:48:28):

Well, yeah, it started ag actually, this is a very old writing, old, very old manuscript. I actually started writing this about 15, 16 years ago. And, and what inspired me to do that as I, as I, again, got out of that transition from working in aviation and started seeing some of these other business IMAX. And I started thinking about my own personal struggles and things and things that didn’t work and things that did work and started reflecting about how much is inside of us, right. That there are things that happen outside of us that we can allow to let them affect us in a negative way. Or we can look internally and say, okay, how can I take and look at this a different way, look at different perspectives. For instance, one of the, one of the things that I, I mentioned talk about is that it’s how we choose to deal with the situation.

Don Long (00:49:34):

We ultimately have the decision making power as to let it stop us or to find a way to work around it. And so, um, as I put these thoughts in there, I thought, okay, let me start jotting down. So I just started writing some, you know, more like diary notes, and then that went to memoirs. And then next thing you know, I’m writing an outline for chapters. And I thought, well, I, you know, I’d want this to just be a quick, read, a quick reflective, you know, look in the mirror, look at yourself, look at who you are, think about how you can be in the driver’s seat. You have the ability to either be in a driver’s seat or let somebody else drive for you. And so I’m hoping that with this book that it’ll give people an opportunity to, to put them in the driver’s seat, to really look at things from somebody else’s perspective.

Don Long (00:50:25):

And, you know, two of the things that I, I love, I love Steve Covey, what he said, you know, begin with the end in mind and, uh, seek first to understand, right? So too many times. And I think this is what happens with our social culture is we, we really don’t think enough about putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes. We all, we’re in this, we’re in this battle because people are talking in absolutes. And so that those, those, the discussion of absolutes is keeping us polarized. But if we took the time to just miss it and think about what if I could put myself in effort and what I’m not going to see it from their perspective, if I saw it from their perspective and look back at myself, then I would realize that, Hey, I’m the one that needs to make the change. I’m the one that needs to be different. I need to change my thought patterns. And so I’m hopeful that this book will do that for a number of people,

Scott Luton (00:51:22):

Uh, for one thing you’re absolutely right. And about this polar opposites. And, you know, I had a buddy of mine that I served in and that was, had made a big impact on my life. Uh, Troy Boozer, he’s now in a ministry doing big things, doing, literally doing the Lord’s work. And we were talking here in recent months, given these crazy, these, these challenging times we live in and he made it real, you know, it’s not us versus them. You know, there, there are so many people involved. It’s not just two sides of the table and there’s some nuance nuances to any argument. It’s not an alpha and Bravo is not just, just, you know, binary and stuff. I really believe that’s an important comment you were just making there, because I think if we realize that and embrace that and try to find that common ground that exists, oftentimes even with the two polar opposite individuals, they can still find some common ground, especially if they just apply a little bit of empathy, which, you know, we all need a lot more of that these days, but great commentary. I think it’s, it’s gotta be a great read. You’ve gotten a lot of feedback from folks that have read it and it’s made a, made a Mark in their, in their journeys, right?

Don Long (00:52:32):

Yeah. Yeah. It has. I’ve had people read it and tell me, you know, that, that they would think differently now about things that had impacted them one way and they held onto this certain belief. Um, it’s not in this book, I’ll give you a kind of a preview of coming attractions. But, uh, another work that a piece that I’m working on, I use the analogy of watching a movie all the way through and then seeing it for the second time, and then seeing a scene or hearing a dialogue that you didn’t hear the first time around. And it changes your perspective on the movie. Well, guess what? Our life has exact same way because we have a certain thing. But if we, once we introduce new information to that, they can take us back to 20, 30 years ago of something that happened, that changes our whole perspective on it.

Don Long (00:53:26):

Personal thing for me is my father. When my father passed, when I was very young, 70 years old, had a massive heart attack. I knew he hadn’t lived the perfect life. And I wanted to wondered about quite frankly, I’ve wondered about his salvation. I didn’t know, 20 years. I wondered what about my dad? I knew about his life and you know, it wasn’t, it wasn’t perfect, man. Never again, none of us are, but I love my father. But 20 years later, I found out that he, when he was found, he had a, he had a little pocket Bible in his, in his shirt pocket and he’d worked sure a pocket. And he had cross in my pocket and his wallet that he carried with him. And so it made me realize, Hey, my dad did believe he was a believer. And on it again, it didn’t change anything about him being perfect. But all of that, that I wondered over 20 years about my dad. Once I found out that new information, it totally changed the dynamic of, of, you know, missing, still missing my father, but just thinking of him in a different way. So that’s a

Scott Luton (00:54:28):

As a compelling way of putting it. And I was about to share an example, but I’m not going to after, after you shared that, it, it sounds tedious, uh, such a, uh, some powerful perspective there done. So what I heard you say is stay tuned because you’ve got more books coming out, more books, up other projects, up your sleeve. All right. So as we, before we wrap up here, make sure folks know how to get in touch with you. I want to kind of just go broader here. And when, so when you look at global business, we’ve talked about all kinds of things and this pretty wide ranging interview, all pretty much tie back to, to service and the veteran community and whatnot veteran journey. But when you look at the global business environment right now, what’s one thing that sticks out that really has got your attention

Don Long (00:55:11):

From a global perspective, I think, and again, you’ve seen this, you folks talk about this and supply chain a lot. You know, we have, we have gone businesses over the years. And one of the reasons textiles doesn’t exist in Vesper city, in North Carolina anymore is all the off shore, right? Let’s do it cheaper somewhere else. Let’s pay somebody, a buck a day to produce this rather than paying minimum wage here, unless offshore. And so a lot of businesses have left. And, and so you have supply chains that have, you know, businesses have gone to rely on a single source provider, the cheapest single source provider, boom COVID-19 hits areas of the globe, get cut off. Now you can no longer get those products. You can’t get those long goods. You can’t get those services, whatever it is, it’s shut off. And I think globally with what COVID has done for us this year has made us realize we can’t is the old adage goes, put all our eggs in one basket where you’ve got to develop multiple supply chains.

Don Long (00:56:10):

We have leverage our technology. We’ve got to change a lot of things, especially when you look at our infrastructure, our nation’s infrastructure is so outdated. Think about just the, just the nature of a tractor trailer, truck, and how we use tractor trailer trucks to move products across the country. And then fast forward, I’ve already been thinking about this. Elon Musk is one of those great visionaries, right? We already see what he’s done with space X over the next, uh, over the past 19 years, uh, you know, reuse reusable rockets. It looks like a 1950s, B movie Boca, Chica he’s Boca, Chica, Texas, uh, down there around Brownsville. He’s building a new space for it. You’ve got all those things going on. He’s got the Hyperloop. Okay. Think about the implications of the Hyperloop and how that could move goods across the country. Like the old bank thing, right? Ideal bank thing that used to use at a drop there at the bank. Imagine using those things instead of tractor trailer trucks to move goods and services across the country. So we’ve got that sort of thing. So I think that the, the, the introduction of new technology, I know Greg is big on robotics and stuff like this to help supplement the workforce because we don’t have 800 million workers like China does.

Scott Luton (00:57:21):

And just to clarify who Don is talking about Greg white cohost, extraordinary on supply chain now a related program here, but yeah,

Don Long (00:57:30):

Somewhere, but you know, Greg, Greg white talks about the robotics, but I think all of this other technology that we can bring to bear to help that supply chain and moving goods and services, especially when, you know, you have these disruption as he talks about, but that being able to change gears and switch gears and move product to, and from a lot faster than trucking, just really, but we rely on it so heavily, but it’s time for it to be upgraded, right. With the technology that we have. So, so I see a lot of changes happening in that regard, multiple, multiple sources for multiple pipelines for businesses. And now don’t rely on just one. Cause if one gets shut down, then it’s easier to go something to another supplier and just ramp up production there, those kinds of things going to change, how not displacing employees.

Don Long (00:58:23):

It’s great. And we have all the AI talk that we have in technology and robotics and stuff like that. But if we think that that the objective is to replace human workers, it should be to help enhance the human work experience. And so we have to get businesses to stop laying people off and think of ways to reemploy those same people in other parts of the business. And that’s another thing I try to talk about because once you create efficiencies and you start laying off people, you set up, you sat at the stage where people are no longer engaged in your business because they wonder I’m next. Right? They’re thinking I’m next. So

Scott Luton (00:59:03):

Going back the infrastructure, I think that’s a great point. I’m going to get this wrong and I’m probably going to hear about it, but it’s something like the American association of civil engineers is some kind of association like that and represent that profession. And they come out with a scorecard every couple of years, I think every two years that rates the U S is infrastructure. I think I’m almost positive. We’ve got a D plus on the last report card. And it really, and it’s such a, you know, the bridges and the water systems and, uh, some of the highways and byways that, that of course furthers supply chain, but, but just life here in the States, um, we’ve got some big challenges there. So that’s, um, great perspective there. And that’s a good note to kind of, uh, not necessarily an uplifting note to wrap up home, but a good one and an important one. Here’s a better note to wrap up on. So Don, I bet you’re going to find some folks that want to get in touch with you and plug in support some of the things you’re doing or check out, um, you know, your book or, or maybe even get some advice on their upcoming. Uh, what’d you call it civilian re and integration that civilian reintegration. Yeah. That’s a few extra, extra syllables are above my pay grade, but I’ll get it down next time we chat civilian reintegration. So how can folks get in touch with you Don?

Don Long (01:00:25):

Well, they can, they can either look me up on LinkedIn, Don Edward, long on LinkedIn. They can go to my website, or pick up the phone. It’s the best way to get ahold of me? Seven, seven Oh three seven seven four five 69.

Scott Luton (01:00:45):

Just, just that easy,

Don Long (01:00:47):

Just, just that easy, uh, you know, uh, uh, try to help wherever I can, however he can. I don’t know everything, but Hey, I can do a couple of things. Hey, we’re going to get you on the mountain hike to you and Greg,

Scott Luton (01:01:01):

I forgot to ask you about that. Cause I’ve really enjoyed that. And to our listeners, if you haven’t seen it, it’s just a, it’s just a hike.

Don Long (01:01:10):

It’s only a mountain. And I gotta tell you, I will not take credit for another man’s word. And I’ve got to tell you, when it comes to mentoring and coaching, you don’t necessarily have to have an older individual to help mentor or coach. You remember that younger people can coach us. I’ve got a great friend, Jason Smith, I’m going to put in a shameless plug for Jason Smith. He was the reason I got this published. He found out about my writing and he says, why didn’t you publish it? And I said, well, just got, I’m not, you know, I don’t know if it’s that good or he said, publish, just publish it, get it out there. You can do it. So he gave me a kick in the rear end, which is what I needed. And I got that published out there. So anyway, he and I also realized, look, you know, in the age of COVID and everybody sit in the home and packing on the extra pounds and not staying in good shape and everything cause small, the virtual stuff, Hey, let’s get out. Let’s go exercise and stuff like that. So we decided to do, uh, Kennesaw mountain. We get up there to the top on this one day and we’re feeling good. We’re feeling charged up. And Jason made the comment. He said, it’s the only mountain. And it’s like, yeah, that’s that’s right. It’s only mountain. And so his life, you know,

Scott Luton (01:02:17):

And it stuck. So like once a week. So it seems like you’ve got a big group. Some days that folks are joining your you’re kind of your Garland. You’re thrown down. And I love it. I love the vibe. I love the sense of community. Our, our dear friend, Cathy Mara Robertson has been up with at least once with us. She was worried about whether or not she was going to be able to keep up, but she’s got to understand. We, we took our time and we paced it according to the younger part. Now they’re always having to slow me down because I’m the guy that I like. I want to get to the top. Let’s get this over with. Anyway, nobody behind love it. I love all this other stuff you’re up to helps others and gets folks involved and, and, and helps build that sense of community.

Scott Luton (01:02:59):

So to our audience, be sure to check out, we’re going to make it really easy beyond what Don has shared here. We’re going to include in the show notes ways you can plug in and connect with Don separately. So big, thanks to Don Edward Long founder and president at long insights, LLC. We’ll be back in touch soon. Thanks Scott. You bet. All right. So to our audience, what a great conversation. I mean, I’m always partial, but I’ve really enjoyed Don’s perspective. He shared so many different takeaways, some different t-shirt isms. I think from this conversation that I’m going to be thinking about in the days to come from on behalf of the entire team here at veteran voices. And we invite you to find it since subscribe, wherever you get your podcasts from, you can also find us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn in particular. And if you’re a veteran with a special story to tell a reach out, let us know. We’ll try to get you on an upcoming show. In the meantime, the Scotland and wishing all of you, all of our listeners is nothing but the best. Hey, do good gift forward. Be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see you next time here on veteran voices. Thanks everybody.

Would you rather watch the show in action?

Watch as Scott introduces you to Don Long and Veteran Voices through our YouTube channel.

Featured Guests

Having always sought out new challenges beyond the confines of the small textile town in which he was raised, Don Long embarked on what would be nine years of service in the United States Air Force before transitioning into a civilian career. With experience in commercial aviation, healthcare, and manufacturing industries spanning more than thirty years working in a variety of operational roles, Don decided to leverage this rich history into  LONG INSIGHTS, LLC, and is dedicated to helping enhance your organization’s operational capabilities.  Learn more about Long Insights here:


Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

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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., 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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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.

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

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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Vicki White


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

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Katherine Hintz

Creative Director, Producer, Host

Katherine Hintz, MBA is a marketing professional 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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Kim Reuter

Host, The Freight Insider

From humble beginnings working the import docks, representing Fortune 500 giants, Ford, Michelin Tire, and Black & Decker; to Amazon technology patent holder and Nordstrom Change Leader, Kimberly Reuter has designed, implemented, and optimized best-in-class, highly scalable global logistics and retail operations all over the world. Kimberly’s ability to set strategic vision supported by bomb-proof processes, built on decades of hands-on experience, has elevated her to legendary status. Sought after by her peers and executives for her intellectual capital and keen insights, Kimberly is a thought leader in the retail logistics industry.

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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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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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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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Mary Kate Love

VP, Marketing

Mary Kate Love is currently the VP of marketing at Supply Chain Now focused on brand strategy and audience + revenue growth. Mary Kate’s career is a testament to her versatility and innovative spirit: she has experience in start-ups, venture capital, and building innovation initiatives from the ground up: she previously helped lead the build-out of the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific and before that, MxD (Manufacturing times Digital): the Department of Defense’s digital manufacturing innovation center. Mary Kate has a passion for taking complicated ideas and turning them into reality: she was one of the first team members at MxD and the first team member at the Supply Chain Innovation Center at Georgia-Pacific.

Mary Kate dedicates her extra time to education and mentorship: she was one of the founding Board Members for Women Influence Chicago and led an initiative for a city-wide job shadow day for young women across Chicago tech companies and was previously on the Board of Directors at St. Laurence High School in Chicago, Young Irish Fellowship Board and the UN Committee for Women. Mary Kate is the founder of National Supply Chain Day and enjoys co-hosting podcasts at Supply Chain Now. Mary Kate is from the south side of Chicago, a mom of two baby boys, and an avid 16-inch softball player. She holds a BS in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Adrian Purtill

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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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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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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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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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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

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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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Tandreia Bellamy

Host, Supply Chain Now

Tandreia Bellamy retired as the Vice President of Industrial Engineering for UPS Supply Chain Solutions which included the Global Logistics, Global Freight Forwarding and UPS Freight business units. She was responsible for operations strategy and planning, asset management, forecasting, and technology tool development to optimize sustainable efficiency while driving world class service.

Tandreia held similar positions at the business unit level for Global Logistics and Global Freight forwarding. As the leader of the Global Logistics engineering function, she directed all industrial engineering activies related to distribution, service parts logistics (post-sales support), and mail innovations (low cost, light weight shipping partnership with the USPS). Between these roles Tandreia helped to establish the Advanced Technology Group which was formed to research and develop cutting edge solutions focused on reducing reliance on manual labor.

Tandreia began her career in 1986 as a part-time hourly manual package handling employee. She spent the great majority of her career in the small package business unit which is responsible for the pick-up, sort, transport and delivery of packages domestically. She held various positions in Industrial Engineering, Marketing, Inside and On-road operations in Central Florida before transferring to Atlanta for a position in Corporate Product Development and Corporate Industrial Engineering. Tandreia later held IE leadership roles in Nebraska, Minnesota and Chicago. In her final role in small package she was an IE VP responsible for all aspects of IE, technology support and quality for the 25 states on the western half of the country.
Tandreia is currently a Director for the University of Central Florida (UCF) Foundation Board and also serves on their Dean’s Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Previously Tandreia served on the Executive Advisory Board for Virginia Tech’s IE Department and the Association for Supply Chain Management. She served on the Board of Trustees for ChildServ (a Chicago child and family services non-profit) and also served on the Texas A&M and Tuskegee Engineering Advisory Boards. In 2006 she was named Business Advisor of the Year by INROADS, in 2009 she was recognized as a Technology All-Star at the Women of Color in STEM conference and in 2019 she honored as a UCF Distinguished Aluma by the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems.

Tandreia holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Systems from UCF. Her greatest accomplishment, however, is being the proud mother of two college students, Ruby (24) and Anthony (22).

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. 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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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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Greg White

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

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

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

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

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

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

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Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.

When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Constantine Limberakis


Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research.Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

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Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.

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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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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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