Engaging and supporting veterans and the overall military community is an important goal of the Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee, which is one of the reasons a new initiative was launched this year for the Summit. The idea was to present the opportunity for veterans to participate in the Summit, particularly veterans looking to gain jobs in the end-to-end supply chain industry or are business owners here.
To that end, the Georgia Logistics Summit (which is co-locating with MODEX 2018) had a special reduced registration rate of $75 for veteran participants and complimentary admission for around 100 veterans or current service members. It was called the "Veterans Initiative."
Summit Executive Committee member Scott Luton, who headed up this initiative, gave a little insight into how this initiative got started, its goals and how it is a win-win for everyone involved:
Tell us a little about the initiative and how the idea came about?
The Veterans Initiative was created to more effectively engage and support the veteran and military community, especially those individuals with a desire to grow their network, find job leads and gather market intelligence in the end-to-end supply chain space. According to some studies, Georgia ranks #9 in the U.S. in veteran population by state.
As a USAF veteran, serving the veteran and military community is a passion of mine. Unfortunately, I’ve heard hundreds of stories in recent years that all shared a common thread: Veterans were struggling to successfully transition into the private sector. While a wide variety of factors contributed to these struggles, one common cause was a lack of a sufficient private sector network in their chosen industry. An event like the Georgia Logistics Summit and MODEX is a perfect avenue for veterans and military members to address this gap, while also uncovering a trove of other useful information and resources.
After proposing the idea for the Veterans Initiative to the Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee, GCOI leadership and fellow EC members were extraordinarily receptive and supportive. Our goal was to offer 100 veterans and military members a free seat to the Summit. We hit 101. And I view this first year initiative as just a starting point.
Who did you reach out to, as far as finding veterans who might be interested in attending/participating?
We felt that the experience would be MOST useful for those individuals that were looking to enter the supply chain space or grow their networks/understanding of the space. We also understood that going into this first year initiative (which was launched only two months prior to the actual event), we’d have a challenge in reaching out to the veteran and military member community to effectively educate them of this huge opportunity.
While we had no shortage of individuals that helped us get the word out, one organization in particular that really bent over backward was VETLANTA. More info on this organization here: https://www.vetlanta.org/. VETLANTA President and fellow USAF Veteran Lloyd Knight is speaking on the "Challenges in the Logistics Workforce" panel session on April 11 at the Summit, where he’ll be addressing some of the issues that veterans face in transitioning. Lloyd was also recently recognized with the UPS Jim Casey Community Service Award for all the good work he’s leading with the VETLANTA organization.
As to veterans’ background in logistics or supply chain - - while many may not have a formal background in these industries, many would argue that if you’ve served in the military, you exit with extensive background and experience in logistics and supply chain management. The USN, USA and USAF are all global operations with extraordinary needs to move people, vehicles, resources, operations, etc. across the world at the drop of a hat. Problem-solving and overcoming unforeseen curveballs within incredibly tight timeframes and conditions are inherent to accomplishing this mission. Managing risk, working with local and remote teams, and making sound decisions in a fast-paced and ever-evolving environment is a big component of military service that also translates very nicely into the logistics and end-to-end supply chain space.
How could potentially interested companies connect to these veterans?
Of course, one of our goals with this Veterans Initiative is to connect our participants with companies looking to hire veterans and military members. At least this year, we thought it’d be best to protect the participant’s contact information, while presenting them with the option of connecting and visiting with veteran-friendly organizations. If anyone would like to reach out to our group of 101 participants, please send a note to Scott Luton, email@example.com or 678.296.5268, chair of the Veterans Initiative and member of the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee.