The lifelong adventure of solving problems. Re-imagining #customer service. Leading in a time of crisis. Uplifting communities. Any one of these elements would make for an exciting career — and GE Appliances VP of Distribution Marcia Brey has experienced them all. Join Scott and Enrique as they follow Marcia’s journey from her grandfather’s mentorship to a bold career in #engineering, reinventing customer service and throwing out the old playbook in the face of modern challenges like #COVID. And don’t miss her sage advice for aspiring supply chain leaders!
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Scott Luton (00:32):
Hey, good morning, everybody. Scott Luton and Enrique Alvarez with you here on supply chain. Now, welcome to today’s show Enrique, how you doing?
Enrique Alvarez (00:40):
I’m doing great Scott, super happy and, uh, excited to, to, to be with you. And then also to talk to our great guest today.
Scott Luton (00:46):
I’m with you. Uh, I, I love that you’re back with us. I know you’re, you’re traveling the world as we’re all getting back into, into, into real life. I R L as which I hear is a thing these days <laugh>, but this, this conversation is gonna be a good one. We’re gonna be talking with a supply chain leader that has risen through the ranks from an appliance design engineer through to a role as a manufacturing plant manager, all points between, and now in the executive position where she leads all facets for the us distribution network of a very well known brand. So stay tuned for a wonderful and intriguing conversation. Enrique should be a good one. Huh?
Enrique Alvarez (01:20):
It should be a good one. Yes, for sure. 29 years. I think it’s, uh, her experience with this organization. That’s, uh, that’s a long time.
Scott Luton (01:28):
Agreed. She’s got stories and books to write undoubtedly. So Hey, with no further due, let’s welcome in Marsha bra, vice president of distribution with GE appliances Marsha, how you doing?
Marcia Brey (01:39):
Hi. I’m great. How are you, Scott?
Scott Luton (01:41):
We’re doing wonderful. Uh, we love, I mean, this is, we love doing, doing this every day. So being able to meet a new, uh, supply chain leader and kind of, uh, get know you better and also get your, your point of view on what’s going on across the industry. Uh, this is, Hey, this is what we do so great to see you again and where we wanna start Enrique and Marsha. Wanna get to know you better. Uh, Marsha. So, uh, that opening question that we always start with is, Hey, tell us where you grew up and give us some anecdotes or two about your upbringing.
Marcia Brey (02:10):
Okay. Yeah. Thank you. Thanks for having me on, um, I’m excited to share my story with you. Um, so I’m a hometown girl. Um, I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, which is our headquarters here for GE appliances actually right down the street, um, from where we’re located really? Uh, I did. Yeah. And, um, you know, geo appliances is interesting. We’re actually, um, in Louisville, Kentucky, which is a large city, but we’re in the middle of a neighborhood <laugh> and so you wouldn’t necessarily even know you’re coming up on appliance park and, um, we’re very, very large organization. We have our own zip code, um, you know, um, but growing up right down the street, I really didn’t even know this was here. So it’s interesting, you know, how life works out. Um, you grow up, you know, 20 years and then realize, Hey, I’m gonna spend 30 years of my life, um, going forward here.
Marcia Brey (02:58):
But I, um, you know, my, uh, childhood and, and growing up and, you know, going to high school, um, I never imagined that this is where I would be. Um, and my journey has really just had a lot of twists and turns and, um, it’s been something I never could have scripted, but I wouldn’t change one thing. Um, I love it. Um, so maybe just a couple stories growing up. Um, I come from a modest family. Um, didn’t have a lot of money. My, uh, parents, um, were, um, my mom’s a, a teacher and, uh, my dad’s a insurance adjuster. So engineering and, you know, being in the corporate world was really nothing that I had grown up or experienced. Um, my mom went back to school, uh, well went after she had me, um, to get her teaching certifi. So I spent a lot of time with my grandparents.
Marcia Brey (03:46):
Um, my grandfather was a, a welder, um, blue collared, welder, welder, and, uh, lived on a farm. And so, you know, uh, I loved my grandfather because early on, I was never a girly girl. My, my mom, you know, bought me dolls and dresses, and I preferred, you know, barefoot and <laugh> dolls apart. My grandfather realized this and, um, you know, he had me in a welding hood and weld, um, you know, being on a farm there’s something always broken. And, um, so I would follow him around, we would fix things together. He would show me how to use tools. Um, we would go to neighbor’s houses if they had problems, you know, maybe they needed something fixed. My grandfather was like, the guy you caught in the neighborhood. So took me around. And, and I, I found a love for building things, you know, using tools. I wasn’t intimidated by ’em because I, I grew up, you know, my life like that. And, uh, so anyway, so I,
Scott Luton (04:41):
I, let me ask you a question really quick, Marsha, uh, your grandfather’s name, what’s his name? What was his name?
Marcia Brey (04:48):
Scott Luton (04:49):
Ray Castella. And what, so it sounds like he had a heart forgiving and helping others. It sounds like
Marcia Brey (04:56):
Scott Luton (04:56):
He did. And we’re gonna, we’re gonna, it seems like that’s part of your DNA and we’re gonna touch about on that later, but, uh, how it, I could just almost picture y’all walking through and, and taking the calls and fixing stuff, whether it’s on his farm or neighbors or whatever that clearly has been experiences that, that, that, you know, continue to impact your journey in, in terms of the leader you are today, is that right?
Marcia Brey (05:20):
Absolutely. You know, that empathy of, for people, my, my grandfather taught me, um, everyone, you have a chance to learn something from everyone you meet mm-hmm <affirmative>, and it doesn’t matter who they are, what walk of life they come from. Um, you treat people with respect and I saw him do it. Um, I followed him and emulated what he did, and I feel it today. You know, it doesn’t matter where you are in, in the organization, there are problems to solve, and there are people out there who understand and see that problem from different perspectives. And the more you can understand more, you can go see, you know, using lean. Now, now that I know more <laugh> right, how corporate world tends to put things together, but, um, the more you can make relat have relationships with people that they feel comfortable bringing problems, um, and they feel comfortable showing you, you can solve a lot of things really fast, and you can do it in a way that brings people closer together. And that, you know, you’re right. I guess I never thought of it like that, Scott, but that is something that’s fundamental. It’s important to me as a leader. Um, and it’s something that I strive to continue to grow. Um,
Scott Luton (06:29):
In my, it comes across, it’s like emanating. Uh, it really does really quick Enrique. I bet this resonates with you. And before, cause I, I got a quick follow up question about Louisville. I want to ask Marsha, I don’t wanna change gears just yet. Enrique, speak to what Marsha was just sharing there.
Enrique Alvarez (06:44):
Well, at the end of the day, I think she’s right. And the quote that I even read was, uh, you have a chance to learn something from everyone you meet, right. Regardless of, kind of the personality, the background, the culture, the religion. And I think that’s something that’s not only incredibly powerful, but I think that it’s something that that’s somewhat, or it feels like it’s somewhat missing these days, right. With all this different sides of things and the way that we’re trying to PLA polarize, uh, society. I think that’s, uh, that’s a great quote. And it sounds like your father was an amazing person.
Marcia Brey (07:14):
Yeah, my, my grandfather, he, he was, uh, he was absolutely an amazing person and, um, you know, and I appreciate the time he spent with me and it’s something I hope to pass on to my kids and, um, you know, and the people that I work with too, to, to give them that respect that my grandfather did, you know, to a young girl who very impressionable, but it really made a difference.
Scott Luton (07:33):
Love that Ray Cabel. Is that right?
Marcia Brey (07:35):
Ray Cabel yes, sir.
Scott Luton (07:36):
Okay. All right. Wonderful. So really quick before, we’re gonna talk about engineering more in a moment. Uh, but food, we love talking food, uh, here at supply chain. Now what’s one dish that is inseparable from your upbringing in Louisville.
Marcia Brey (07:51):
Oh. Uh, inseparable from my upbringing would have to be my, uh, grandmother’s, uh, pot roast, um, and city chicken. I don’t know if, I dunno if people know city chicken, but in Louisville, if you go to the butcher and you ask for city chicken, it’s all the leftover meat that they put on a skewer and Sunday night either got <inaudible> or we got city chicken and I love city chicken nights. So
Scott Luton (08:12):
<laugh> love that. That’s
Marcia Brey (08:13):
My thing. City chicken Louisville, you can ask for city chicken. Of course. Hot Browns are really big here in Louisville, Kentucky too. But, um, but my family’s city chicken.
Scott Luton (08:22):
I love it. Okay, wonderful. Now that you’ve made us starving for city chicken, hot roast and hot Browns. Uh, let’s talk about engineering. Uh, so what, uh, if, uh, I don’t wanna answer the question. I think part of what you’ve already shared might partially answer this question, but what got you interested in engineering, and then we’re gonna talk about your degrees here in a second.
Marcia Brey (08:42):
Yeah. So certainly love for building things. And, um, you know, my, I, I really give a lot of credit to my mom and dad. Um, again, not knowing engineer. I remember when the word engineering first came up, I looked it up in the encyclopedia cuz back then we didn’t have the, look it up in a book. And, and I was like, and at first I’m like, no, it’s not the railroad it’s it’s. And um, you know, I, I, I knew I wanted to solve problems. I love building things. And my mom kept saying, you need to be an engineer. You need to be an engineer. And I’ll tell you an interesting story. I, in high school, you know, you, at least at the time you took tests, you know, the kinda like where aptitude test, where would you fit in? And for whatever reason, I never did test well, by the way, early in school.
Marcia Brey (09:24):
Um, but I, um, I came back and my counselor told me, I said, Hey, you know, she’s where do you wanna be? And I was like, I wanna be an engineer. And she was like, mm, no, I don’t think that’s a good stick for you. <laugh> you need to be a teacher. So what she told, so I come home, you know, and I’m like, Hey mom, look what happened? Oh, she was furious. <laugh> she’s like, you are not gonna be a teacher. You are gonna be a phenomenal engineer. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. And, um, so I did. And so I, uh, I applied to engineering school and got in here at U of L university of Louisville speed school. And I actually ended up doing incredibly well. And I found my passion, you know, I, I love the labs and, um, I loved working in teams and I loved solving problems and I love the technical aspect of the job. Although you’ll you’ll know, you know, my career, I didn’t spend, I’ve spent probably about third of my career, very technical, but, um, but the fundamental foundation of what I do on a day to day basis for 29 years is solving problems and using that engineering mindset of how to do that, um, has been key for me.
Scott Luton (10:29):
And so you’re like almost an engineer’s engineer because you didn’t stop with a, a bachelor’s, you’ve got an advanced degree, um, a master’s I believe, uh, Marsha and engineering as well. Um, so how does that beyond what you’ve shared, how does all of that education and experience at formal education and, and experience, how does that impact your approach to solving business or even supply chain challenges?
Marcia Brey (10:54):
Yeah, sure. Actually I have two masters in engineering <laugh>
Enrique Alvarez (10:58):
Oh, wow. <laugh> wow.
Marcia Brey (11:00):
You know, so some I’ll tell you, I have, my personality has changed a lot, but when I was younger, um, I love making plans. I had, my life was on a spreadsheet and I said, here’s what I’m gonna do. And I, I really did fall in love with solving technical problems. And I said, Hey, I love to learn. I got my master’s in mechanical engineering. And then started working here at geo appliances and realized in order to continue to grow as an engineer, I thought, well, Hey, I’ll go. I wanna keep going to school. So I would, I went to school part-time and got a second master’s in quality and reliability engineering from the university of Arizona long distance. It was one of the first long distance programs they had. Um, of course long distance is, is normal now, right. For everybody. But wasn’t then.
Marcia Brey (11:41):
And, uh, because that’s what I thought I’d be. And, and I wanted to go to the best school for quality and reliability. Um, university of Arizona does a lot with NASA, you know, uh, there in Tucson, Arizona. So that’s what I did. Um, now looking back on my career, I will tell you that if I had known where my, my life would lead me in my spreadsheet, wasn’t really accurate. Um, an MBA would’ve served me a lot better, but, um, you know, to your question, it’s all about having different tools to solve problems. And what university of Arizona taught me was around probabilistic design prob you know, mechanical design. So, you know, there’s certainly factual you input, you know, X, X plus Y equal Z inputs, equal outputs. But my continuing education taught me about probabilities and it taught me about, you know, there’s a boundary of, of success. There’s not a point answer. There’s, you know, you, you can find it in this range and you need to be able to keep an open mind about what really are you trying to solve? What risk are you willing to tolerate? Um, and so it’s, like I said, it’s all about problem solving and, uh, has served me really well.
Scott Luton (12:45):
Well, so I’m the oddball here. So Enrique I’m gonna pass Baton, but before you jump into GE appliances Nique, I believe you are a degreed engineer. So.
Enrique Alvarez (12:55):
chemical engineer as well, I can relate to the math and engineering part of it, for sure, but don’t Hey,
Scott Luton (13:00):
Since y’all two masterminds, let’s not talk any math or, or any high level, uh, highfalutin. <laugh>
Marcia Brey (13:07):
No linear algebra.
Scott Luton (13:08):
Yeah. Thank you. Thank you, Enrique. Where are we going next with Marcia Brey.
Enrique Alvarez (13:14):
Marsha? Thank you so much. I can totally relate with your engineering background and, uh, of course, uh, having lived with your grandfather, building things, fixing things to, uh, GE appliances, that seems like a very natural path, a very natural career selection. Could you tell us a little more how, how it happened after you graduated?
Marcia Brey (13:35):
Sure, sure. So, um, you know, I, it, it does really fit well, uh, wanting to solve problems, wanting to build things, um, and wanting to solve, you know, work work and make life a little bit better for others. Right? How do you do that? And that’s really, you know, when you think about G appliances, now we’re a company, um, that designs builds services appliances for the home and every day, every one of us in subway are interfacing with your appliances, whether it’s in the kitchen, it’s in the laundry air conditioning, um, water products, um, that’s what we do. And so, um, and, and you probably don’t think of appliances as being very technical. Let me tell you, um, there are more electronic boards and a refrigerator than there are in, in most computers or other things that you have in your home. Um, the technology that we have today and how we design appliances for consumers, um, is, is really top of the line.
Marcia Brey (14:32):
And so being able to be part of an organization that doesn’t just build millions of appliances a year, we design and are thinking about what’s new, you know, how can we use technology, uh, to, to create something consumers can make their lives easier to make it easier to cook, to make it easier to clean your dishes, to make it simpler for the activities you don’t wanna think about every day, like laundry, for me specifically, <laugh> we can make that simple, um, and, uh, and be able to do that. So, so it was a natural fit for me, um, you know, to think about geo appliances and, and where I started my career, I started designing washer, transmissions, um, and that was my wow, uh, job. And I loved it. I absolutely loved the technical side of, uh, that design element. And we build, you know, washer right here in Louisville.
Marcia Brey (15:21):
Um, and so being able to be at the factory, we have, uh, five full, you know, million square foot factories here at appliance park. So there’s a lot of variety as well. Um, you know, that, that you could get involved with. So, so that was, that was, um, you know, the reason that I picked, um, to work here at GE appliances. Um, but I’ll tell you too, you know, the reason I stay for 29 years I have learned is really about the people, um, and the people I work with every day. Um, not only challenge me to learn more, um, they, they have my back. They’re good people. Um, they, the, you know, I, they have helped me grow as a human, um, here and to be a better person. I, you know, like I said, my spreadsheet had unknowingly boundaries and limits on it, of what I thought I’d do in my career.
Marcia Brey (16:11):
And working at G appliances has provided a place where those boundaries were broken and people were able to help me envision much, much bigger aspirations. Um, you know, I went from a design engineer to sales and marketing and <laugh>, you know, my, well, my resume might not traditionally say I was qualified for those roles. People trusted me and, and having ambition and, and, uh, the drive that I could, I could do more than just be an engineer. Not that that’s bad, um, but I could get involved in the bigger aspect of the company. And that’s really where I found my passion is how can I lead at a bigger level? How can I be more involved to drive this company that I love, um, and to help build it and grow it on a bigger scale in order to do that, I needed to understand more than just the design engineering, technical side of it. And I’ve been able to do that. And I feel very fortunate, um, that my path led me here to geo appliances.
Enrique Alvarez (17:10):
No, it sounds like an amazing, uh, organization with a great, uh, culture. Um, and now if you could tell us a bit more about your current role as a VP of distribution, cuz you went from the technical aspects, Dew it to the culture, being important on the people to somehow you landed in our industry, supply chain logistics. Yeah. Which is another big shift, right? Probably not on your original, uh, Excel spreadsheet.
Marcia Brey (17:33):
Uh, no, well kind of, I mean I love the technical side, right. And I think there’s a lot of similarities of being in a design engineering role and then working in manufacturing quality, um, and distribution, all of which I have spent probably two thirds of my career in that space. So I would, I definitely classify myself as supply chain. Uh, that is my love. Um, it’s my passion and it’s, you know, it’s something that encompasses all, I mean, you have to know the commercial sales side, you have to know your customer, um, of what they want and then I’m in distribution at the end of the value stream. And so I have to be able to deliver what we promised. Um, and so having that broader aspect and understanding I think is really important. Um, I think to understand distribution makes to understand a little bit about our company.
Marcia Brey (18:19):
Um, it has been 29 years has been amazing. The last five years have been phenomenal. Um, you know, appliances is typically a really thin margin business. Um, and so, you know, the first part of my career, a lot on cost out, how do we maintain? But it was pretty much you grow at GDP. You know, it’s not, it, it, this year’s kind of like last year, right. And that’s kinda way it went the last five years. I mean, COVID of course, top of it, but, but the last five years have been an amazing growth for GE appliances. And, um, you know, we had a new strategy brought in that we will be the number one appliance company in the United States, which means we will grow and pretty much double our company. That’s pretty amazing when you think we were pretty big to begin with, um, and a new philosophy of zero distance.
Marcia Brey (19:07):
Um, and what I mean by that of the thought of how do we shrink this big organization of a company to be as close to the consumer as possible every day, what the consumer wants, how they’re thinking, how things change enables us to have more nimbleness and flexibility to respond to the cus to that customer, to the consumer. And so, um, you know, over the last five years, we’ve invest invested 2 billion in our, uh, business to grow. Um, and that’s a new products, new factories, new warehouses, new distribution centers. Um, we’ve created 4,000 more jobs, um, across our company, which is pretty amazing. And, um, and you know, the, the last thing I’ll sh I’ll share as I’ll talk about distribution is we flipped our culture and our organization. I should say, upside down. We were very traditionally five years ago, just like most corporate companies, you have your CEO, your CFO, they make the decisions of how we’re gonna spend money.
Marcia Brey (20:07):
What our goals are, financial goals were the number one thing we had to hit. Then you have your functional leaders in their, your sales, your marketing, manufacturing, sourcing distribution. Then you have the product teams, refrigeration, dishwasher, and so forth. And so it was very high RPL five years ago when we made this zero distance, we said, it’s not gonna work. If we don’t flip, if we’re gonna be zero, if we’re gonna be zero distance for our consumer and our customer, the product has to come first. That’s what they care about. They don’t care about our financial goals. They don’t care about, you know, all these other things, you know, things that this manufacturing team is doing. So they care about the product and how do we make the product first? Um, and so we created a micro, we call it microenterprise structure where a micro enterprise leg company, our CEO would even tell you his job is to support the microenterprises a microenterprise is the dishwasher team, the refrigeration team, the laundry team.
Marcia Brey (20:59):
I’m a platform leader. I support my microenterprise team on a matrix standpoint. So my job, um, with all of that said is I am responsible for moving finished good product from the factories or from our suppliers that we source from all the way through our distribution centers throughout the United States, we have 11 of them to our customers. And then we also offer, um, so transportation, uh, is in there. We also offer final mile delivery. So if a customer would like for us, uh, to install appliances, um, my team is responsible for knocking on Mrs. Jones door. I have your full kitchen set here, ready. We will unhook and remove your appliances and we will do full installation, white glove service for our consumers as well. So that’s my job and distribution. Um, I have the great honor of touching our consumers every day. My team does, I should say, and making sure that we deliver a great experience on time damage free, um, and providing the right service for our consumers
Scott Luton (22:02):
In our zero distance, zero distance oh, installed, right? Yeah.
Enrique Alvarez (22:04):
That’s amazing Scott. Right. And how it should goes. And the team goes from manufacturing to, uh, I guess having water coming out of the refrigerator or whatever it might be. Right. <laugh> right. It’s incredible.
Scott Luton (22:17):
I love that. Um, so let’s, I wanna shift gears a bit. Uh, you touched on a lot of things, uh, and it’s fascinating to hear from a, uh, organizational standpoint, uh, because you’re right. You’re right. And perhaps more so in the appliances industry than many others, right? Because we touch these things every day to your point. So I love how it’s consumer centric as product centric. Are we building the products that consumers are raving fans over? And that’s kind of some of the things I’m, I’m picking up here. And of course, frankly, I’ve had GE appliances. We’ve got some in our house right now and we’re raving fans. It’s very, we should
Marcia Brey (22:54):
Give a consumer of ours.
Scott Luton (22:56):
Definitely<laugh> part of the thing. Thank you. You bet. So I wanna shift gears shift gears though, because beyond everything you’re doing with GE appliances, you’re also deeply, uh, immersed in the greater industry. I’ll call it. So you chair Marsha, uh, GEs women’s network. So if you could tell us what that is and why more, perhaps more importantly, why is this really the service work important to you?
Marcia Brey (23:21):
Yeah. Um, so I am very honored to, I co-chair our, I’m the executive sponsor of our women’s network, um, with a great friend and coworker of mine, Christie setoff. Um, and so the women’s network is one of eight affinity groups that we have at GE appliances. Um, and the purpose of our affinity groups is to have purposeful representation of all demographics, all different thinking, um, to be able to help our company grow and to help more importantly, our employees have, have a place, have a space that they have a voice and can be part of our, our business, cuz sometimes you get lost in the just day to day business, you know, running. Um, how do we make sure that we see and respect people for who they are, where they are in this moment, right. Of their life. And so I have the honor of, um, being the executive sponsor of our women’s network, um, which represents, uh, our women, um, population.
Marcia Brey (24:17):
Um, our goal of our women’s network is equity. Um, I, I tell folks all the time, you know, I, I am here, um, on behalf of our membership to help support the views, the concerns, the problems of women, um, with the goal of ensuring that we have equitable opportunities, um, for all. And my belief is if we can help those issues and concerns of our women be known and we can take action on them, it will help all people, men and women yeah. And will make our company stronger. Um, it probably goes back, I guess, you know, we’re talking all the way to my grandfather of that idea of empathy and everyone matters every person counts. Um, and for the women’s network, that’s what we strive to do, um, for that. And I’m really, you know, proud to say our company, isn’t one that just has a group over here that meets every now and then.
Marcia Brey (25:08):
I mean our CEO, our executive team, um, we pull in and in fact I was on a call yesterday of, Hey, what does the women’s network think about this? And it was a benefit change that they were so, you know, we could get the team together and we could give them our, our input. Mm we’ve also driven initiatives in our company. Um, our women’s network, um, runs and supports our mentoring program for all people. Um, uh, but with a focus on women and sometimes we’ll have a special team that looks at women’s issues, maybe working moms for example, will, um, get together. We have men and women who are mentors. We have men and women who are mentees, you know, in this program. Um, one thing I’m, I’m really proud of accomplishment that we made, um, several years ago was a change in our gender neutral paid parental leave.
Marcia Brey (25:54):
Um, and so this was, um, you know, a topic that came up several times and, uh, through a lot of benchmarking and discussion, uh, we made a huge change to that benefit for all employees. Again, gender neutral, uh, where before we had maternity leave for four to six weeks, right? Depending on for women maternity. So the, the woman who gave birth, um, could take time off, but you know, the fact that we’re able to push now through and offer 12 weeks of paid gender neutral parental leave means that moms and dads, um, can take time off to bond with their kids. And, and it’s a, it’s a really important, I have three boys. I went through the maternity leave piece of it. And it’s, it’s not just making sure that, you know, new moms, new dads have opportunities to be with their kids is the fact that it’s the moms and the dads.
Marcia Brey (26:48):
We are not sending a message as a company to say, well, moms are the ones who should stay home. Maternity leave implies. We believe in the family as a company, it’s part of our culture. We believe in our employees taking time, be with your family. It’s a, it’s, it’s important to you. It’s important to us as a company. You have that time. So anyway, as something I’m, I’m really proud of it, it puts us now in the top echelon of companies, um, worldwide, uh, when you look at pay parental leave. And, um, but, but that’s an example outside, right? Women’s network has done
Scott Luton (27:17):
12 weeks, holy cow, uh, really quick. I wanna get your follow up thought here, but I wanna go back to something that Marsha shared, you know, we can learn so much from the Ray ellas of the world, you know, as you described him as I think, use your words, a blue collar welder, right. Folks that did it, they do the work. You know, I love the phrase of going to the gemba, you know, sitting down and learning from the folks that are masters and experts in what they do. And it’s not just in the, in the, what I’ll call the tactical operations, it’s their POV on life and the journey and, and their leadership. You know, we learned so much there cause everybody truly does matter. Enrique. What else did you hear there from Marsha that really sticks out to you?
Enrique Alvarez (27:59):
Well, like incredibly caring culture that not only believes in, uh, maximizing profits, but it feels like they go beyond what the financial gains of a company are, which is incredible. I think it’s something that’s probably going to be attracting a lot of talent, like the new generations, uh, Marsha. And I would love to hear your take on this really value companies like GE appliances, uh, that are that stand for more than just making money or just making great products. And I think this is, this is great. It’s a great example,
Marcia Brey (28:31):
Soke, if I could expand on that, um, it’s a great point. You know, I, I definitely see the next generation of leaders, employees coming into our company, um, expecting something different from their employer versus, you know, when I came in to work, um, 29 years ago, I, you know, kind of patterning off of my parents. I’m used to, you know, you come in, you put your work in, you put your 40, 50, 60 hours in and then you go home and that, that’s what you need to do to, to raise a family. But now, you know, there, there’s a higher expectation of companies of, if employees are gonna come in and spend that kind of time of their life with a company, it has to have meaning. Um, and they have to feel that their company stands for something that’s important to them. And the time that they’re putting in is valuable and will make a difference in the world.
Marcia Brey (29:20):
And, and one thing that geo appliances, um, has always done and has definitely putting more emphasis on is our involvement in the community. Um, you know, for me personally, uh, I have the great honor of representing GE appliances on the board for the American red cross Kentucky chapter. And, you know, when, when the opportunity came up for me to do that, I remember my parents always volunteered in the community and my kids got older and I said, yeah, you know, this is something I wanna do. And I, I always thought it’s me giving to them. I have. And I thought it would be, it was a three year commitment. It’s now 11 years. I’m still with the red cross. I have definitely gotten more out of that, um, relationship with the red cross than I have given. Um, and it has made me a better leader.
Marcia Brey (30:07):
And I totally understand, you know, this, this generation wanting, wanting to do more and wanting to be more, um, we are stronger as a company. If we can reach out into the community, which as a consumer product business, what better way to connect with the, the people who are potential customers of yours than to understand where they are. It also helps put things in perspective. Um, you know, we make appliances, there are life and death decisions and things that are happening out in our communities that as a company, we have the resources, the people, the knowledge that we can make our communities better and stronger. And we do have an obligation as a company to do that. And so I a applaud this generation coming in of saying it’s important. And I applaud our company for continuing to evolve those expectations to make sure that we’re delivering, not just for our employees, but because it’s good for our company, it’s good for our communities, um, to make that connection
Scott Luton (31:05):
Wholeheartedly agree. And, you know, I appreciate it. It takes, uh, these, these organizations like the American cross need volunteer, uh, volunteer leadership bandwidth. They need resources. They need the 11 years of, of service. You know, when I was in air force and based at McConnell air force base in Wichita, Kansas, uh, a tornado came through hoing to Kansas. It’s a tiny little town middle of the night, which is, was, is a bit rare for tornadoes. So we took a contingent there and, and volunteered with someone to clean up. And the very first folks on site, I’ll never forget it was this red cross red cross bus providing some comfort, little, little pieces of comfort, like coffee and, and a breakfast sandwich, you know, when folks have nothing. And the last thing on their mind is, you know, how can I make breakfast? So it’s, it’s amazing.
Scott Luton (31:49):
I appreciate what y’all do. And I appreciate GE appliances allowing, uh, their leaders and investing in, in these service initiatives. Um, so let’s, I wanna, before I flip, uh, flip it back to it, Enrique, you started kind of talking about, uh, what the now generations we call it here is looking for in employers and, and, you know, some of the things I’ve, I’ve learned Robin elbows with, with brilliant students, uh, from the college of Charleston, to the, uh, Arkansas university of Arkansas, to Texas Christian university, you name it, um, you know, they all also want to move into, you know, make an impact and, and move into the, uh, the, the senior executive levels. So what’s a piece of advice that you offer any of our listeners that want to be that next Marsha bra.
Marcia Brey (32:35):
Yeah, sure. So, you know, I, I come from to that question from a different perspective, because I did not think I would make it here. I mean, I’m just a small town, small town, you know, but on the outskirts of a large town girl who grew up, um, in a modest family, um, who, you know, really just, just wanted to help people just wanted to continue to learn and grow. And I, um, like I said, I’m so appreciative of where I am and the opportunities that I’ve had, what I would tell other folks is don’t be afraid of dream big. Um, you know, you, you don’t limit yourself by your spreadsheet, you know, on the first pass that you have and think that, well, that’s the way my life is gonna be. I, um, like I said, I’ve had a lot of mentors, uh, um, a lot of coaches, people who have helped me see more of what I could be than I could see myself.
Marcia Brey (33:23):
And so you gotta put yourself out there, you gotta take some risk. Um, you have to, you have to deliver, um, and you gotta put the work in, um, for sure. Um, you know, at the same time I really have valued, um, input. I, I call ’em my truth tellers. So, you know, it’s one thing to have coaches and mentors that you like and people that, you know, are gonna pump you up and, and, and cheer you on. Um, I so value the people who will give me the blunt truth. Um, I think I did a great job in that meeting. I think that project was great. And they’ll come in and say, you know, this came across a little run. Did you mean for a come across this way? You know, maybe you could have, you could have done this and really be humble and listen to that feedback.
Marcia Brey (34:05):
And I can’t tell you how much I’ve grown because of people willing. It’s hard, it’s hard to give constructive feedback, or it’s hard to hear it, you know, at times you keep your brain, you know, kinda open to it. Um, I, I constantly do that. And even where I am now, I mean, it’s, you know, being a vice president of a phenomenal company, um, is something every day I tell myself, you know, it’s not the title. I am not the title. I sit in the seat. I have, I have the privilege of sitting in the seat right now. Um, but every day it’s my job to keep getting better and to, to humble myself and to keep learning from others. And so I am still on the track, I would say, um, of what advice I would give to other folks, um, to be able to continue to grow,
Scott Luton (34:49):
Love that and to our listeners, you know, part of Marsha’s answers there, I think is so we all need to take it to heart cause we’ve gotta practice and be willing to learn how to effectively give constructive feedback as well as take it, both of those sides of the corner. So important Enrique so much here. Uh, this could easily be a four hour episode because I, I got so many questions I want to pose to Marsha, but for the second time, we’ll keep moving forward. Enrique, where are we going next with Marsha bra?
Enrique Alvarez (35:16):
Yeah. We’ll uh, switch gears a little bit here, but, uh, before that, I just wouldn’t say that I, yes, it’s inspiring everything you said, and it’s absolutely, uh, great to be talking to you, Marsha. I’m pretty sure that you’re, you’re gonna be a great, uh, example for many of our listeners out there.
Enrique Alvarez (35:30):
So, uh, yeah. Put the work, be humble. Listen. Great, great advice. Dream big. I’ve been, been taking lots of notes, so yeah, don’t limit yourself. Um, so changing gears a bit here, um, with all the experience you’ve had with the years that we’ve had last couple in particular being so challenging in many different ways, especially for supply chains and, uh, organizations like GE appliances, uh, what is, what are the things that you kind of, uh, keep a closer, uh, closer look at? What, what are your, your indicators, uh, that you consider important with this kind of changing economies that we’re living?
Marcia Brey (36:07):
Yeah, so, um, you know, having a world view of what’s happening, um, is so critical to being a supply chain leader, you know, nowadays, um, in the past, uh, we would rely on what happened last year, last month to predict the future, and that’s not true anymore. Um, and so there’s a lot of nebulous. There’s a lot of unknowns. And, um, so it is, it is critical. Um, you know, for us being a global company, I watch, um, what’s happening over in Asia, um, a lot with the ports, how transportation is flowing, obviously the war in Ukraine and the impact that that is having, um, into the United States. And of course, you know, right now the, um, union ports are in negotiation and how that could possibly impact, uh, things, um, the lack of labor, um, and, uh, the, the constraints of transportation, um, and warehousing, uh, you know, all, all the same thing.
Marcia Brey (37:06):
And then our customers, and probably that’s where I would start is our customer expectation is changing as fast as the world around us and the supply chain factors are changing. And, you know, and if you don’t keep your eye on both sides of the coin with that customer being first, you can sit there and think, well, Hey, I have all these risk abatements and I have flexibility and I have options, but my customer just moved in terms of what they consider to be good. It does not matter that your supply chain is working for yesterday’s problem. It has to work for today’s problem. And, and so I have more of a voice towards our customers, our microenterprises leaders, the way my company is, is, um, you know, organized to make sure what is most important to them and to our customers is the main problem and what I’m focusing on.
Marcia Brey (37:54):
Um, we change our, I hate to say we change our strategy because I would’ve said like five years ago, whoa. That person’s like all over the place. Well, now, if you think you’re gonna lock in a strategy and you know, I, I, yeah, we used to plan five years and lock it in a year and lock it in. It’s good to plan. You need a plan, which you gotta be willing to move off that plan and pivot and stop working on some things and start working on others. So, right. That’s where I am focused every day. Um, and every week, how do I make sure I’m delivering for my customers and what my CU, what I think is success. My customer also thinks is success.
Scott Luton (38:29):
Uh, I love that have a plan, but keep the window open.
Marcia Brey (38:32):
Scott Luton (38:33):
<laugh> when you gotta throw it out. Uh, so <laugh>, let’s, uh, um, so much, uh, there, I think a natural follow up question, Marsha is the Eureka moment, clearly, just from your answer to Enrique’s question, uh, there’s so much that you have learned organization has learned. We as, as supply chain professionals have learned over the last few years, um, what’s one Eureka moment that that is a gift that keeps on given for you. What, what’s your, a strong Eureka moment you’ve had in recent years?
Marcia Brey (39:06):
Yeah. I’ll, I’ll share a story with you if that’s okay to answer that question. Um, so you could probably tell, you know, being an engineer with two master’s degrees that I love process and equations and things to fit into patterns, I like finding chaos and patterns and chaos and making that work. The job before this one, I, uh, was asked to lead our business continuity plan for COVID our, our COVID response. Um, I was very honored and very humbled. Um, I did not know a lot about pandemics as you would not expect an engineer perhaps to, but, um, every day was a, a day of learning. And I remember very early on, you know, our CEO. So I was working with him, gave us three key focus areas. And he said, look, he said, we, I don’t know. We don’t know what’s gonna happen. But first and foremost, we we’re gonna take care of our employees.
Marcia Brey (39:53):
Second, we’re gonna keep this business running the best we can and take care of customers. And third, we’re gonna get back to community. And I wrote, wrote that on the whiteboard. And so in my planning, I wanted to put a playbook together, right. Cause who, right. We’re gonna, okay. We don’t have a playbook on a pandemic. So let’s write one. And I went out and started researching and all of this and did a lot of work. And I had, I had a core team, you know, I was co-leading with a really good friend of mine. She’s our head of security, um, here in Lindsay. And, uh, we were like, Hey, this is where we wanna go. And I, three months into it, everything we put the playbook, nothing was relevant. I couldn’t, cause every day was something different. The CDC was changing the guidelines. Now we have this new variant, how is it transferable on product, you know, on paper?
Marcia Brey (40:34):
You know, is it airborne? Is it, I, I don’t know. Right? We, we, we didn’t know. And I’ll tell you my Eureka moment. There was you can’t plan for everything and not having a detailed plan to execute does not mean that you’re not a good leader. What’s more important is trusting yourself in the moment, trusting your team, going to see don’t waste your time, cuddling in a corner and trying to put all of the rules together of how you’re gonna operate. What’s more important is being there with the team. Who’s experiencing the pro problem in the moment, listen and see what’s going on. And trust that we work the problem in front of you and trust that your team will be able to come up with the solution there. You don’t have to then try to fail. Like I gotta go look it up in the book and say, oh yeah, there’s the problem you have. Now I’m gonna go find it in this playbook I put together. And here’s what we do. You’ll figure it out there. Cause you’re gonna waste a lot of time putting all these what ifs together that may or may not be true in this situation. And you gotta trust yourself and I’ll tell you it was like a burden lift off me. And although I, I would’ve said when the, when the vaccine comes, the pandemic will be done and we’ll go back to, to my, what I, I still love.
Marcia Brey (41:48):
I love that. It’s not, it’s not, there is no normal. There is no normal stop expecting Marsha that there is gonna be a normal and that you’re gonna be disappointed every day. So don’t, don’t do that live in the moment, work the problem in front of you have a plan. I’m not saying don’t have a plan, but, but allow yourself some grace that you’re not gonna know everything that’s gonna happen tomorrow. You can’t anticipate everything, but you can be great at solving that problem that comes up and you can pull the right people together. Cause we got great people here and those people can solve anything that’s in front of ’em and you gotta trust that. And I’ll tell you, like I said, it’s, um, it’s changed the way I think of leadership. It’s cha I’ve, I’m calmer. <laugh> I think I’m not as uptight and, and you don’t let things bother you AB I can absorb a lot more uncertainty now because of that mindset change that I had.
Scott Luton (42:41):
Wow. And, and Rick, I bet you’re chopping it a bit that speak to some of what she just shared.
Enrique Alvarez (42:46):
Well, incredibly powerful. Right. And so true. Just, um, having a good team then trusting the team. I feel like that’s part of the cultural organizational change that, uh, corporations will have to go through. Right. It’s uh, goes hand in hand with purpose and, and, uh, and having a higher purpose. So yeah, this is, this is great. It’s um, it’s been a, it’s been very challenging couple years for everyone. Uh that’s for sure. But, uh, trusting your team. That’s very powerful.
Scott Luton (43:13):
So two quick thoughts from what I heard Marsha shared there, uh, the first one is the guideposts, you know, three things that the CEO laid out there, uh, taking care of the employees, taking care of the customers and invested in community, you know, sometimes over the last couple years, fast as much of a plan as we’ve had.
Scott Luton (43:29):
And that’s okay is what I’m hearing, which is good because if you’ve got those guideposts, it’s gonna, you’re gonna find the right plan. You’re gonna find the right actions. Uh, you’re gonna find the right ways to support the team and, and to make an impact. And then secondly, Marsha kinda what you, uh, wrapped on there is we’ve gotta embrace our inner bounty. Y’all remember bounty, the quicker picker, upper, right. <laugh> absorption, you know, I’ve never thought about bounty as a leadership principle, right. Because Marsha you’re absolutely right. Perhaps more, more now than ever before we absorb so much because we’re constantly connected, right? Social networks, email, slack, you name it. We’re constantly getting bombarded. Uh, we all are regardless of where you, you know, where you are in organization. So we gotta lean in to that inner bounty moments and, and, um, the characteristics, I hate marsh. It sounds like you are a study in leadership. You’re a constant student leadership, real leadership, and we’re gonna have to have you back. Uh, but in, you know, as we start to wrap here, how can our listeners, how can folks out there that, that, that come across this conversation? How can they further connect with you and GE appliances?
Marcia Brey (44:40):
Yeah. Um, so, uh, of course I think I have, I work at a great company and would encourage, um, folks to check out, uh, www.ge appliances, co.com, which will give you more information about our company, what we believe in. Um, if you wanna learn more just about our principles and, and beliefs. Um, you know, for me, I’m on LinkedIn, um, I’m active there. And so you’re certainly welcome to, um, to search me, search me up there on LinkedIn.
Scott Luton (45:06):
Wonderful. It’s just that easy Marsha bra really have enjoyed our time together. It went by just like we knew it would, but we’re gonna do a check in with you maybe as we get, uh, further into the rest, uh, rest of the year. And thank you so much, uh, for sharing your journey and, and, and your insights and experiences and expertise with our listeners here. Thanks so much, Marsha,
Marcia Brey (45:29):
Thank you for having
Scott Luton (45:30):
You bet, but don’t go anywhere. We’re gonna wrap. I’ve got, I’ve got a surprise question for Enrique, uh, Enrique doesn’t like surprise questions, but Marsha, we’re gonna surprise him with a quick question. <laugh> um, you bet. Well, you’re, you know, there’s a lot of humility here and Enrique is very humble, but, uh, Marsha, uh, Enrique and his organization vector global logistics won the champions of humanity award just yesterday when this is, you know, as we’re recording this just yesterday at the 2022 supply chain of procurement awards. Uh, and that was very richly deserved. One of the many initiatives. This is where y’all have a lot in common, I believe beyond engineering beyond kind of, um, kindred spirits and, and, and kind of that, that global view service, service service, real action and results, focus service, as what I’ve heard, both of y’all speak to one of your projects, Enrique you and your team is the leveraging logistics for Ukraine project, uh, supply chain.
Scott Luton (46:24):
Now we’re, we’re, we’re very, uh, honored to be, uh, your partners there. If you would just quick, quick blurb about what you, what you and the team are trying to do and how can folks get involved.
Enrique Alvarez (46:35):
Of course, of course. Well, we’re all trying to, uh, we’re all trying to help the millions and millions of people that have been impacted by this stupid war. I don’t have any other words to actually say it. So, uh, that’s kind of the way I feel about it. Uh, I think everyone at my company and, uh, around the world and many other organizations are angry and that this continues to happen. Um, and so we’re trying to help out there’s, uh, millions of refugees in Poland and Moldova in other countries around the Ukraine. So what we decided to do was, uh, have this every other week calls with different organizations and then help them not only sponsor freight into those communities and into that region, but they also tried to, uh, help in match making those connections.
Enrique Alvarez (47:22):
And we had amazing collaboration from, from different organizations in the us. So it’s been, uh, amazing to see how many people care about this. My, uh, and I would invite everyone to join us. Uh, you can go to, uh, our email@example.com, and there will be a window popping up for the Ukraine. You can sign up for the, uh, every other week, which there were weekly, but now there’s every two weeks, uh, calls that we’re having. And of course, if you have something that you need to ship to the Ukraine, but for whatever reason, you don’t have the resources to do so, send us an email at Ukraine, vector gl.com. We have a couple warehouses set up and we’ll ship that for you at no cost. Love that. And, and I, I would add, uh, as having been a part of those working sessions that are biweekly now, even if you, you’re not in position to donate, or if you’re not in position to, um, you know, offer, um, boots on ground market Intel, I’ll call it, Hey, come and learn because folks are in Ukraine and Poland, or they’re getting stuff there, humanitarian aid, and, and you can learn a ton from these, these weekly biweekly sessions.
Scott Luton (48:28):
So check out Dr. g.com. Thank you, Enrique for you and your team, what you do, Marsha bra, uh, for you and GE appliances. Thank you so much for all that you do. Uh, I’ve learned a ton and now I’m gonna go look at my appliances very differently, right? Yeah. Course, they’re basically smart devices these days. They’re uh, so Marsha bra really enjoyed your time here today. Vice president of distribution with GE appliances. Thank you, Marsha. Thank you. And thank you so much, Marsha. This was a pleasure. And thank you, Scott. Um, for inviting me to this very interesting conversation. I said a high bar for this conversation and Marsha leaped over it. Yeah. As if she was a Olympic, it was easy though. It really was. We didn’t really had to do much <laugh> so I’ll make it easy. <laugh> thank you, Marsha and Enrique en Enrique Avarez host of logistics with purpose and supply you out in a span.
Scott Luton (49:17):
Y’all y’all check that out. Wherever you get your podcasts from listeners. Hey man, there is like a, a playbook to, to use a, a term that Marsha shared with us today, a, a playbook full of takeaways from this conversation here today, different ways, big and small that you can act and, and be a stronger, more effective leader. I heard that from Marsha and Enrique here today. Um, so, but you’ve gotta take those steps, right? You’ve got to, uh, walk through that door. So as we wrap here today, Scott Luden and supply chain. Now team challenging you to, Hey, be like Marsha bra, be like Ray, Cabel be like, and Ricky Alvarez, do good. Give forward. Be the change that’s needed on that note. See next time, right back here on supply chain now. Thanks everybody.
Thanks for being a part of our supply chain. Now, community check out all of our firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure you subscribe to supply chain. Now anywhere you listen to podcasts and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on supply chain. Now.
Marcia Brey is the Vice President of Distribution for GE Appliances, a Haier company headquartered in Louisville, Ky. In this role, she leads all facets of delivering world-class service, quality and cost for our U.S. distribution network including warehouse, transportation, logistics, and delivery to millions of customers and consumers. Marcia is responsible for creating and operating distribution networks for new product verticals and new channels; implementing Smart Distribution ecosystems to achieve world class service levels; and optimizing finished good inventory flow throughout the supply chain. Marcia earned master’s degrees from both the University of Louisville in Mechanical Engineering and the University of Arizona in Quality and Reliability Engineering. Marcia began her 29-year career at GE Appliances on General Electric’s Edison Engineering Program and has worked across multiple product lines in design engineering, customer service, sales, marketing, distribution, quality and manufacturing. She most recently was the Lean Enterprise Leader for the company responsible for accelerating and implementing transformational processes, growing the capability of people and improving management systems at GE Appliances. Marcia is the past Chair of the Board for the American Red Cross – Kentucky Region and leads several committees at her church. Marcia and her husband have three boys and live in Louisville. Connect with Marcia on LinkedIn.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
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.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
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 Cisco, Microsoft, 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 University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier 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.
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.
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’.
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.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
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.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.