Logistics with Purpose
Episode 58

Our vision is a world filled with music lovers inspired and enabled by Yamaha. And our philosophy is about sharing passion and performance. And our primary purpose is to empower expression, right? Because, you know, we're not all robots, we're all different unique individuals, and we all have a different voice.

-Eric Aparicio

Episode Summary

Early in his career, Eric Aparicio realized he wanted to work at a company with a deeper purpose, and that’s exactly what he found at Yahama. Now, as the senior director of strategic marketing, he gets to share the Yamaha story with a growing audience. In this episode, Eric joins cohosts Kristi and Monica to discuss how Yahama empowers expression through music, the company’s reverse logistics and community outreach efforts, the evolution of its marketing approach and more.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:02):

Welcome to logistics with purpose presented by vector global logistics in partnership with supply chain. Now we spotlight and celebrate organizations who are dedicated to creating a positive impact. Join us for this behind the scenes glimpse of the origin stories, change making progress and future plans of organizations who are actively making a difference. Our goal isn’t just to entertain you, but to inspire you to go out and change the world. And now here’s today’s episode of logistics with purpose.

Kristi Porter (00:34):

Hi, and thanks so much for joining us for another episode of logistics, with purpose presented by vector global logistics and supply chain. Now, we are delighted to have another amazing conversation for you today with someone else doing good in the world and who has a fascinating, personal story that you’ll love hearing. Um, but before we get to him, let me introduce my fearless co-host today. Monica Roche money. How are you?

Monica Roesch (00:56):

Hi, Christy. So happy to be here. How about you?

Kristi Porter (01:00):

I’m delighted that you’re here with me. It’s been a while since we co-hosted together. So I’m glad to be, um, back in the saddle with you, and we’ve already had such an amazing pre-conversation with our guests today. So I know it’s gonna be a good one for listeners.

Monica Roesch (01:13):

Definitely. So now we’re gonna welcome Eric Aparicio. Uh, he’s a senior director and strategic marketing at de Maha corporation of America. So welcome Eric. Thanks for being here. Hello,

Eric Aparicio (01:25):

Good morning. And thank you for having me.

Kristi Porter (01:27):

Yes, absolutely. We’re thrilled to have you joining us. We’re of course, excited to know more about Yamaha and perhaps some things that we weren’t aware of, um, for such a well recognized company. But before we talk about that, um, tell us a little bit about your childhood and where you grew up. I know from our pre-conversation, before we started recording, you were very interested in family history and legacy and preservation. So tell us more about you and, um, how you got your start in life.

Eric Aparicio (01:56):

Well, um, I was, I was born in east LA and, uh, my, my parents when I was very young, uh, they bought their first home in a suburb on the outskirts of LA county called Lak. And that’s where I grew up. It was, uh, it was a nice working class neighborhood. And, um, you know, I, I don’t know that I have any particular stories about that, that I can share that shaped who I am, but I would have to say that, you know, my, my parents specifically, my father dramatically shaped who I am and, and, and my childhood, you know, I was, uh, very fortunate to grow up with great parents. And, uh, they instilled with me, both of them, a very strong work ethic, you know, and, uh, growing up in the, in the sixties and the seventies, you know, you, you know, times were different. And so you, you grew up with a lot of resilience and a lot of grit. And, uh, in my, in my father’s home, there was no given up and there was no backing up. There’s only one direction and it’s forward.

Monica Roesch (02:53):

Wow. That’s great. And <laugh>, it’s very interesting to know that about you, you and your father. And, uh, you just mention that there’s not a specific, a specific story about, um, your childhood that you could share, but maybe while you were growing up, there was another person that was like a mentor for you, or that helped you to develop your career. Uh, what would be that person?

Eric Aparicio (03:17):

That person would be my maternal grandmother. Uh, my, uh, her husband, uh, died be before I was born and she had nine children. And I, I just, as a, as a middle aged man now, I, I, you know, the, the idea of a parent, any parent raising a family that large alone, I think, oh my God, what, what kind of strength and grit and sacrifice does that take? And so my, my grandmother was, she was a tough woman, you know, and, uh, and she definitely made me tough going over to grandma’s house. Wasn’t funny games. She always put me to work. Every time I came over, there was something that always needed to be done, you know, and, uh, she was a very powerful influence on my life.

Kristi Porter (04:01):

And before we started recording you and I were talking about money was kind of asking questions as well. I’d love for you to also share on the record here. <laugh> just about the researching of your family history and finding out that you had a crest and talking to your younger family members and what that means and kind of how to tie your past to your, to your future. I love the, you’ve certainly done a lot more research than I have on it, but I’m curious just to, I would love to have our listeners hear your perspective on that.

Eric Aparicio (04:28):

Well, you know, I think it’s, um, important to always understand where you’ve been so that it can help you determine where you want to go, you know, and I think it’s so important in life for all of us to be our true, authentic selves, whatever that is, you know? Um, and so for the idea of researching my family name and where we came from to, to get to this point, I felt was important to leave a story behind for my children, my nieces, my nephews, my other cousins, my second cousins, just to understand that there’s a path and when you know where you start, well, then you can, you can feel good about where, where you are, and maybe it also, you know, creates some, some inspiration to, to drive, to get to a point, you know, to, to pass the, the Baton a little bit further than where you got it from. And I think that’s a, that’s a fundamental concept for, for parents and for grandparents.

Kristi Porter (05:28):

Yeah, I agree. Um, thank you for sharing that. And speaking of looking back, uh, before we jump into your career, I’m also curious, you’ve been with Yamaha for a long time, which we’ll talk about now. And so as you kind of started your career and looking back on that, um, what would you tell your 21 year old self or, or yourself who’s just getting started in their professional career? What, what valuable lessons have you learned in the last couple of decades that you would want that person to know?

Eric Aparicio (05:55):

Wow, <laugh>, I don’t know what I would would think talking to a 20 year old version of myself <laugh>, but I would, the first thought that comes to mind is focus, right? Focus, focus on what’s most important to you and keep that focus until you attain what, what you want, what you were striving for, you know, cuz um, so much about life is that singular focus mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, and when you, when, when you don’t have a plan, well then you have to take whatever life gives you. But when you have a plan, you’re you, you’re more likely to get what you want outta life.

Kristi Porter (06:26):

Yeah, for sure. I would agree. That makes perfect sense.

Eric Aparicio (06:29):

And I didn’t really get as focused as I am now until, until I got married, which is that 25. So, uh, 21 year old Eric was, was still kind of a knucklehead

Monica Roesch (06:41):

<laugh> well I’m 27 and I can still get that advice like yes. Yeah. Focus. And I think it’s a great advice. No matter what old people are, it’s something that in mind, like always.

Kristi Porter (06:55):

Yeah, absolutely. Um, well let’s speaking of, let’s talk about your professional career a little bit, which has been almost exclusively at Yamaha, which is amazing in and of itself when so many people change careers these days. So tell us more about your experience and career path within the company.

Eric Aparicio (07:12):

Um, well, well let me start about with my employer before going to Yamaha, let’s do it. Um, I used to work for a small retailer in orange county and um, I think about them with nostalgia because it’s where I cut my teeth and what’s, and it’s where I, I, I learned so much about business, but yet as I look back on that experience, I don’t think that I could ever work there again or any place like it because you know, our only mission was to make the owners more money. I mean, we didn’t have a vision, a purpose company values. And when I came to Yamaha, I mean, that’s, that’s what drives Yamaha and, and the company’s, you know, vision and values and, and philosophy very much aligned with my own. Yeah. And so, you know, generally speaking, most people have to work to support ourselves and work is good for us, but when, when you can derive satisfaction and be content with the work that you’re producing and that you feel that it adds value to, to others or, or to society at large, your work becomes more meaningful and, and, and much less stressful.

Eric Aparicio (08:22):

And it becomes something that, that adds balance to your life. And that’s what I have found at Yamaha. And it’s, it’s a big reason why I’m still there.

Monica Roesch (08:29):

Thanks for sharing that with us. And it’s very nice that you really care for what the company does and that it aligns with your personal values, because like you mentioned, it’s what keeps you there, but I’m also curious about what drew you to Yamaha in the first place. Like, I understand why you are there now, why you’re keeping there, but why Yamaha in first of all,

Eric Aparicio (08:52):

Well, you know, there’s, there’s, um, a, a lot of people that work at Yamaha that have really cool stories because they, they were into music and mm-hmm, <affirmative>, you know, they, they absolutely wanted to work at Yamaha, but mine is not like that. Um, the, uh, the, the company that I was working for began to run into some, some challenges and I thought it was time to make a change. And so, um, I had a mentor at, at that time, his name was Brian Jilian and, uh, Brian had just, um, switched to, to work at Yamaha. And, uh, Brian knew that I was looking to make a change and I trusted him very, very much. And so he asked me to come work for him at Yamaha, which I did. And so that’s how I ended up at Yamaha.

Kristi Porter (09:35):

The best jobs always come through friends, um, and people absolutely as well.

Eric Aparicio (09:40):

Yeah, absolutely.

Kristi Porter (09:41):

And so what have been some of the roles that you’ve held within Yamaha during, uh, your time with them?

Eric Aparicio (09:46):

Well, um, uh, Yaha used to be structured, um, with a process driven type of divisional structure where you had these semi-autonomous business units, which all contained, uh, duplicative functions, like order entry, tech support, marketing sales inventory. And so, uh, I was the, uh, administration director for those, and I was responsible for managing, uh, those, those departments within that sales and marketing division. And, um, I was fortunate enough to, uh, move into multiple divisions so that, you know, I had a much better grasp and understanding of, of what Yamaha is, uh, from multiple product perspectives, uh, multiple product lines and different types of industries and business channels. And it really gave me a very broad view of the value of the Yamaha name and brand

Kristi Porter (10:41):

Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so is the process, you mentioned that they used to have a, the, a process of how they were structured. How did that change?

Eric Aparicio (10:48):

Uh, it changed, uh, a couple years ago. Uh, our president, uh, Tom Sumner, um, restructured our, our company to be a functional driven company. So instead of having these, uh, semi-autonomous business units, that really didn’t collaborate a ton, um, all of those divisions were, were eliminated and instead we created functional groups. Mm. So now we have one massive marketing group, one massive sales group, one massive inventory group, and it sort of basically aligned, uh, positions and SU subject matter expertise by function.

Monica Roesch (11:28):

It’s very interesting. So since you have been there, like for around two decades now, and you have seen the industry in general change a lot, not only inside the company, but also around it. So what are other of the, of the ships that you have experienced in the industry? Not only inside the company, but outside, what have, what can you tell us about that?

Eric Aparicio (11:51):

I think the industry has become much better at storytelling mm-hmm <affirmative> and in a nutshell, that’s what we aim to do in marketing. Um, and it’s one of the areas where Yamaha has struggled. We tend to be a very product centric company. And so we, we talk a lot about, about features and specifications and, you know, that only goes so far. Right. And, um, you know, I, I wanna reference one of my favorite Ted talks. I, I, I love Ted talks. <laugh> love them too. And my favorite is the golden circle by Simon Sinick yes. Where he talks about the why, right. People don’t buy what you do, people buy, why you do it. And within Yamaha, um, as a result of this, of this new structural organization, driven by function, our marketing teams are now better. They’re, they’re in a much better position to engage in storytelling and engage in storytelling across the organization. Mm-hmm <affirmative> instead of focusing so much on, on very product centric marketing. And so that’s one of the biggest changes that I can see in, in a positive way for Yamaha and for the industry is that we’ve become much better at storytelling.

Monica Roesch (13:12):

And that’s just great. Uh, I wanna say something, uh, not exactly about Yamaha, but about what you were telling. Uh, Chris is her head of marketing and sales, and she’s very into storytelling too. And she has shared that with me, actually, I, I knew who Simon Sinai was because of her. And I’ve seen some, some Ted talks because of her and, and you are right. I think storytelling is impacting a lot different industries worldwide. It’s a great way to show people what you care about, what you do, why you do, what, what you do. So it’s amazing to find that not only maybe in logistics, but also in music and in other industries. So it, it’s just amazing to, to hear you say that.

Kristi Porter (14:03):

Yes. Yeah. Start with wise required reading for our marketing department. <laugh>

Eric Aparicio (14:07):

Yep. That’s an

Kristi Porter (14:08):

Excellent book. And if you don’t have enough time for the book, then yes. Watch the Ted talk,

Eric Aparicio (14:12):

Start with the Ted talk, but yeah. Read the book for sure.

Kristi Porter (14:15):

Yes. Yeah. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and I’m also curious from your perspective and knowing Yamaha so well and going through all the changes with them. Yes. Perfect. Yeah. Amazing. Have

Monica Roesch (14:25):

That too.

Kristi Porter (14:26):

Um, and tell us a little bit more about, we’ve talked about the instruments, the music people have seen the label everywhere, but you also were very clear in talking about the mission and vision and values of Yamaha. So how would you describe the mission? And is there anything about Yamaha that maybe you wish more people would know that they don’t know?

Eric Aparicio (14:46):

Well, our vision is a world filled with music, lovers inspired and enabled by Yamaha. And, uh, our philosophy is about sharing passion and performance. And our, our, our primary purpose is to empower expression, right? Because, you know, we’re not all robots, we’re all different unique individuals, and we all have, you know, a different voice. And so certainly one way that we can express ourselves is through our music in the way that we play the, what, what we listen to. I mean, it, it’s, music is just such a great, wonderful thing. Even if you don’t play, you can still value music. And, you know, so many people can, can identify points in their lives by the music that they were listening to at a certain moment, or the, the music that you were listening to in college, or, you know, your first dance or that kind of thing. And so music is such a powerful thing. And yeah. So the idea of helping others empower expression is, is a wonderful thing.

Kristi Porter (15:52):

Yeah. I love that. I love the empowering expression. Um, that’s fantastic. And very repeatable <laugh> as well. Yes. Yeah. So I’m also one of the things you’re also passionate about within Yamaha is reverse logistics. So for those who may be unfamiliar with the term, would you define it and explain its importance in supply chain?

Eric Aparicio (16:14):

Sure. Uh, reverse logistics is, is essentially the process. Whenever a consumer wants to return a product, whether you’re returning it to the re to the retailer or to the manufacturer and whatever your reason for returning it, whether it’s defective or you just don’t want it anymore. Reverse logistics is all about getting that product out of the consumer’s hands and back to the manufacturer. And once it gets to the manufacturer, there’s a significant decision matrix about what to do with that return when, when you get it back mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, in the worst case scenario, we have some manufacturers that simply dispose of all of their products and they put ’em in a landfill. Uh, but, uh, I, I firmly believe that a strong reverse logistics process is the backbone to any type of support a company wants to provide, uh, for sustainability mm-hmm <affirmative>.

Eric Aparicio (17:13):

So the idea that when we take back those, those returns, if we say, Hey, you know, there’s an opportunity to reuse this product and let’s refurbish it, let’s refurbish it. And so it makes that product available for a second life, as long as it’s made well enough so that it, it can be used to basically help somebody else that, that may not either want, may not have the money for that product when it was brand new, or they may be, be able to utilize that technology and not need the latest and greatest of everything. And, um, and certainly being able to reuse things as well. So we have a, um, we used to have a colleague or I used to have a colleague that worked with us and he’s since retired, same as Dave jewel and Dave jewel began working with his company who would upcycle guitars.

Eric Aparicio (18:04):

So rather than discard some of those guitars that were damaged and broken and beyond repair Dave would work with this company, um, that where he would basically donate these damage broken guitars, and this company would, would deliver them to artists. And the artist would basically modify, you know, the, this damaged guitar anyway, that they wanted to paint it, restructure it, and they would create a piece of art. And so the piece of art would then be auctioned off and the proceeds would go to help whatever their local charity was. Oh, cool. And, uh, if, uh, if any of your listeners wanna check it out, all you have to do is Google, Yamaha cares upcycle. And, uh, the, uh, program was picked up on, on several local news stations here, cuz it’s such a great idea.

Monica Roesch (18:55):

Yeah. And this is, this is just amazing. And it actually brings us to our next question, which is, as you just mentioned, we know the Yamaha is involved in a lot of different social impact efforts. Uh, would you tell us about some of them and what effect they’ve had on both the company and your customers?

Eric Aparicio (19:15):

Sure. Yama has, has continually engaged in advocacy for music education at, in, in public schools. We have on UMMA almost every year, whenever, uh, we’ve been invited to attend. Uh, we send a representative to Washington DC. Mm-hmm <affirmative> to basically advocate for music and the arts as being an integral part of, of the education in a K through 12. And it’s something that is really important because that, that, that idea of artistic and creative expression it’s really important to the life of a child. And the, the impact on society is, is probably August. When we think about music in the arts. But beyond that, um, Yamaha does more than, than, than talk to talk. We, we put our money where our mouth is. And so Yamaha supports a number of different, uh, music programs throughout the us, which create the opportunity for music at the high school and, and junior high level.

Monica Roesch (20:27):

Mm.

Eric Aparicio (20:28):

So, um, in addition to supporting music programs, these organizations give, uh, children in music programs in school, an opportunity to compete and to play music. And the, the, the focus is less on competition as opposed to winner and loser. The idea of the competition is, is that everybody wants to put their best foot forward. You know, and it’s not individual music competitions where, you know, you have a lead trumpeter or somebody else like that. It’s think about high school band and the idea of bringing kids together to make music together. And, uh, a number of these programs throughout the country, Yamaha is, is their primary sponsor. And we do that because we want, we, we want kids to have a place to play music outside of, you know, football games and that kind of thing. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so Yamaha supports this at the educational level, which also supports our dealers and the industry as a whole.

Kristi Porter (21:35):

Well, before we, um, wrap up, I can’t let you out of the conversation as a fellow marketing professional without talking about marketing. So I’d love to hear, you’ve talked about storytelling. Um, you’ve talked about maybe not talking about sustainability enough, but I’m curious from your perspective how the marketing message of Yamaha has evolved and you know, what are your challenges and solutions to those challenges for such an established company?

Eric Aparicio (22:02):

Uh, our, our marketing message is in the process of evolving, so it’s not done yet. Yeah. Um, but as I mentioned, uh, creating, getting rid of these divisions and creating functional groups has really enabled us to think about, um, a, a unifying message, a a, a cohesive branding message that, that goes out across all of our products. And it’s, um, it’s, it’s quite difficult. Even, even having all the marketing under one roof, it’s quite difficult because of the breadth of Yamaha’s products and the number of industries in which we, we compete the mm-hmm <affirmative> the developing singular messaging is very difficult when you make as many products as we do. And it’s certainly a challenge that we’re working through. Uh, but I think, I, I think the best changes have been, um, our focus away from focusing on specifications and features, and really talking about the impact of products and really, really beginning to come out of our shell and, and talk about who we are as a brand, what our personality is and what our philosophy is and how we view the world. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, once again, it goes back to an emphasis on focusing on the why, instead of the what? Yeah,

Kristi Porter (23:23):

Absolutely.

Monica Roesch (23:24):

Sorry. Right before we go, uh, I would like to ask you just one more question, cuz the other day we were talking about the phone over the phone, sorry. And you mentioned this huge event that you love, that it’s called NA and I’ve never heard about that one before, and it was just great to learn that it exists and, and you were like transmitting a lot of passion for that event. So if you could just share this with the audience, that would be awesome too.

Eric Aparicio (23:54):

Sure. It’s um, Nam stands for the national association of music merchants, and it’s the largest trade show for the musical instrument industry. And it’s, uh, it’s really more than a trade show it’s um, you have to, you have to think about some of the fundamentals of music. So growing up, I was very athletic. My family valued, you know, athleticism, but in, in sports, generally speaking sports are inherently exclusive. It’s a zero sum game, you know, for me to win, you have to lose mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, and it’s exclusive. I I’m, I’m not, we’re not collaborating together because I wanna win. And you don’t. Um, whereas music is, is so different fundamentally because it’s, it’s inclusive, it’s all inclusive. I mean, when, when, when musicians are playing their instrument, they wanna collaborate. They wanna play their instruments with other people and they wanna know what’s going on and what new things you you’re doing.

Eric Aparicio (25:00):

And a different sound and music is inherently collaborative and inclusive. And, and because it’s collaborative and inclusive, there’s a vibe of, of, of connection and, and relationship and the, the Nam trade show because it attracts musicians for literally all over the world. It creates this really cool vibe that people are seeing long, lost friends and fellow collaborators in music. And it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s not like sports where someone’s gotta win and someone’s gotta lose. They, they just wanna get together and make music and they wanna talk about music and they wanna be immersed in it. And it’s, it’s such, it’s such a very cool vibe, especially if you’re a musician,

Kristi Porter (25:44):

That’s amazing. It’s a beautiful sentiment and a good, uh, takeaways for life lessons as well. <laugh>

Eric Aparicio (25:52):

Sure.

Kristi Porter (25:53):

Um, so how can our listeners connect with you and learn more about everything that Yamaha is up to, which sounds like a lot and, uh, has some great stories behind it as well.

Eric Aparicio (26:04):

Sure. Well, uh, to, to connect with me, uh, people can look at my profile on LinkedIn. That’s my preferred mode of, uh, social media. Uh, but, but as far as getting to know more about Yamaha, uh, Yamaha has a number of social media channels, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, most recently, uh, TikTok. Uh, and so, uh, basically connecting and following Yamaha on our social media cha channels is probably the best way to learn what’s going on at

Monica Roesch (26:31):

Yamaha. Wow. Well, thanks again, Eric, for being here today with us as always Christy, thanks for being the best host. And if you like to learn more about Eric or other similar stories like this, uh, make sure to listen to their next episode. Thank you. Thank you.

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Featured Guests

Eric Aparicio is the Senior Director of Strategic Marketing for Yamaha Corporation of America. Eric has been a marketing professional in the music industry for over 25 years. Eric is passionate about music and happy to work at a company like Yamaha, whose vision is a world filled with music lovers inspired to make music to enrich the lives of people around the world. Eric is also freakishly passionate about the environment and sustainability. He believes that a strong reverse logistics strategy is the backbone of sustainability and presents a unique marketing opportunity. The Reverse Logistics Association is a fantastic organization that truly understands the value of the circular economy. Eric has been a member of the RLA for many years. Connect with Eric on LinkedIn.

Monica Aurora Roesch Davila has a Bachelor’s degree in Management and International Business from Universidad Panamericana in Aguascalientes, Mexico. She has work experience in purchasing, logistics, and sales for automotive companies, and is currently working at Vector handling some non-profit accounts and helping them achieve their goals. She also develops new accounts and plans with them the better routes and strategies for them to have efficient and cost-effective operations.

Monica believes that everything we do matters and that we can make a difference and impact the world in a positive way with our daily actions, so she tries to do her best every day.

Hosts

Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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Allison Giddens

Host, Logistics with Purpose

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

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

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Greg White

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

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

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

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

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

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

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Karin Bursa

Host of TEKTOK

If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.

With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

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

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

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

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

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

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

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Jeff Miller

Host

Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business.  Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.

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Amanda Luton

Chief Marketing Officer

Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM.  When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.

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Billy Taylor

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.

An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.

A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.

A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning.  He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.

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Chantel King

Social Media Manager

My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.

Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.

Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.

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Katherine Hintz

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.

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Ben Harris

Host

Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.

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Page Siplon

Host, The Freight Insider

Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).

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Kristi Porter

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.

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Kevin Brown

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics.  He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.

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Demo Perez

Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol

Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.

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Kim Winter

Host, Supply Chain Now

The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.

He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.

A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).

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Nick Roemer

Host, Logistics with Purpose

Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.

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Alex Bramley

Sales Support Intern

Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.

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