Supply Chain Now Radio Episode 211

Supply Chain Now Radio, Episode 211
Learn More about MODEX 2020: 


“Everything is about timing.”

  • George Prest, CEO of MHI


George Prest has been the CEO of MHI, the nation’s largest material handling, logistics, and supply chain association, for the last 8 years. As he prepares to transition out of that role to an appointed successor, he joined Supply Chain Now Radio host Scott Luton to share the lessons he’s learned about success and leadership over the course of his career.


Despite the fact that automation now plays a bigger role than it did when he got started, George maintains his positive outlook for business in general and the members of the workforce in particular. Jobs may change and even be eliminated, but with a creative approach and a strong work ethic, there is no reason for change to lead to the end of anyone’s opportunities.


Some of the highlights of George’s advice include:

  • Needing to know yourself, surround yourself with good people and trust them to do their jobs – even (especially) when it is hard
  • The importance of building and carrying out a forward-looking vision, and knowing when it is time for the next leader to step in
  • Finding ways to align someone’s passion with their natural strengths. As George used to tell his children when they were younger, “Shaq may have wanted to be a jockey, but it just wasn’t going to happen.”

[00:00:05] It’s time for Supply Chain Now Radio. Broadcasting live from the Supply chain capital of the country, Atlanta, Georgia. Supply Chain Now Radio spotlights the best in all things supply chain the people, the technology’s the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.


[00:00:29] Hey, good afternoon. Scott Luton here with you live. Supply Chain Now Radio. Welcome back to the show. So in this episode, we’re gonna be speaking and speaking with one of the senior leaders at MHR, the nation’s largest material handling Logistics and Supply chain Association in MAGiS, also the organization that powers to the largest industry trade shows in North America that serve really the manufacturing and the End to end Supply chain industries. You may have heard a pro Matt and Madox, of course. So looking forward to a great interview. Quick programing note. Like all of our series on Supply Chain Now Radio, you can find our replays on a wide variety of channels Apple podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube, wherever else you find your podcasts. And as always, we’d love to have you subscribe to your messy thing. So with all that said on a welcome in our feature guest today, Mr. George Prest, how you doing, sir? I’m doing great, Scott. Thanks for having me. You bet. CEO at MHR.


[00:01:22] We’re really pleased to be partnering with the Mode X event coming up in March 2020. But I know ya. You’ve got a lot of different things going on, right? You’re coming out of a series of meetings as you’ve got meetings going on right now.


[00:01:36] And one more international trip to go this year. The last one of 14. So now it’s you know, we’re getting toward the end of the year, which is always a fun time.


[00:01:49] We you know, we’re still talking about in the pre-interview warm up. I served on the executive committee with the George Logistics Summit, which was co-located with the moat with Madox 2018 and really had a chance to rub elbows with many members of your team and got a good mutex for the first time and really was impressed. And that’s one of reasons why we’re back here. And I’m I’m Technical Bill to sit down and and pick your brain a little bit.


[00:02:14] Well, thank you. We’re really blessed to have a partnership with you. And yeah, Moto X was started the first Moto X was 2012 and it was, you know, a brand new show started with with the help of all the great people in Atlanta. There was incredible support on that end to help us make it a successful event and going from a fledgling show. 2012 is now one of the top 50 fastest growing shows in North America. So we’re really proud of that.


[00:02:44] It really is. And you’re planning for about 35000 of our closest friends or neighbors. Absolutely. Yeah, we’re looking forward to that. So we’ll we’ll kind of wrap up the interview at the end. We’ll talk more about what folks should consider coming out the Moto X 2020. But before we get there, I really want to take a minute and let our listeners kind of get a better feel for who you are and your professional journey and kind of what led you to be in here. So with all that said, let’s talk about where you’re from and where you grew up.


[00:03:13] Sure, I’d be glad to. I was born and raised in Minnesota and the Twin Cities small town called Stillwater, Minnesota, right outside of about 12 miles from downtown St. Paul on the Minnesota Wisconsin border. In fact, my front yard was the St. Croix River. So. So I was a river rat growing up. And ultimately, if there’s worse things to be. Yeah, absolutely. While living on a river ultimately ended up going to school at the University of Arizona. Right. And graduated from there in 77.


[00:03:47] And actually, my father was in the material handling business. He also owned a construction company. And what he would do is he would build warehouses. He’s sort of a pioneer of turnkey projects.


[00:04:02] And so he would build the warehouse and they would supply everything that went in it. So as a youngster, I spent a lot of time working for my dad, 50 cents an hour, putting up putting up racks and installing equipment and competitive wages. Right. So when I when I left to go to Arizona, I was never going to have anything to do with the business. But I guess it gets in your your blood. It didn’t work like that. Right.


[00:04:28] So, you know, crystal balls are never a hundred percent guaranteed accurate. And you’re kind of foreshadowing a little bit there because I believe press rack, which you spent 30 years and. Right. That what an incredible journey. But that was tell it. Tell us more about that.


[00:04:45] Sheer. Well, as I mentioned, as I matured in college, as I got to my senior year, I realized I was going to have to get a job and figure out how to make a living and.


[00:04:59] I went home at Christmas before I graduated and I asked my dad, I said, would there be an opportunity for me to be involved? He said, sure, I’ll put you in sales. And so I graduated on May 5th in June 1st. I started to have pressed equipment company in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I was selling forklift trucks and racks and conveyors and things. And just through a series of events was too long to talk about. But ultimately, I mentioned that my father also was in construction and we had a he had a project that he was building and the supplier of the racks that were supposed to go into the facility. He had gone on strike. And so they couldn’t make the delivery. And I was a 27 year old kid that didn’t know what he didn’t know.


[00:05:48] And we just had a conversation over dinner, talked about what what if, what Sciarrotta possible. And so ultimately, that’s how we got into the rack business, why we built the plant. And Brookings, South Dakota, and I went out there, oversaw the blearily the construction of the facility. And I was blessed to to have been able to build a nice company over 30 years. And wow, it was a great experience.


[00:06:20] You never know what scenario you’re going to encounter with that’s going to kind of change the whole rest of that particular chapter in your life. And it sounds like that that strike led to much bigger things.


[00:06:33] Absolutely. Well, the thing that really intrigued me about it was that I enjoyed sales and I enjoyed doing that. But I I really like making things. And I liked the idea of being able to produce something and actually create something.


[00:06:50] And obviously, that’s what we did. We. We would design storage systems. And the other wonderful thing about our industry. But, you know, just getting off and talking about that here is that we literally touch everything. And I talk to we have an education foundation here and I talk to young people every year. And I tell them, you know, we did everything from rendering plants to Tiffany’s and everything in between. And it’s just it’s a fascinating industry.


[00:07:18] It really is. And and I think there’s no arguably there’s not a more exciting time to ever be in in in supply chain in some way, shape or form. What the transportation manufacturing material movement Logistics, you name it. It’s just such a neat time. So let’s talk let’s fast forward. I can dove into your of stories for several hours and I’m sure you’ve got plenty. So could I. But we don’t really. So let’s talk about when you joined, when and why you joined the MHR team here. I think it was 2010. Tell us a little more about kind of what was going on then and then and what led you here?


[00:07:54] Well, I think I’ll start from the beginning on that. So because it ties into what we were just talking about when when I started the manufacturing plant, as I mentioned, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And one of the things that I wanted to do is I wanted to find out, OK, what are the standards in the industry? What what are what are the benchmarks and how should we be doing this? And so I found I well, I knew about MHR. So I looked in name Ajai M.H. I had a group called The Rack Manufacturers. So I joined M.H. I and became a member of RMI. Okay, which is R-AK Manufacturer’s Institute. And what RMI does is they work on standards and statistics and safety for for the industry. So that was my entree to MH High. And then I just got involved in the organization over the years, I became a member of the roundtable. And then I was actually on the board of governors for MHRA for 14 years. And ultimately, I was the chairman of the board when we were looking for a new CEO. Okay. And which would have been in about two thousand eight nine in that era. And we had this strategic plan in terms of succession and we’re going to look for somebody.


[00:09:14] And I was approached and my first because I had just sold the company. Right. And I pressed repressed. I just sold in 2007, end of 2007, December 2007. So I was approached and my first response was absolutely not. And here I am seven years later. But it was a it was through that involvement that I got. And I was looking for something to do that I could do to give back. Right. And I didn’t know what that was. I was I had no intention of retiring when I sold the company. It was just an opportunity. And quite frankly, my kids had their own desires on what they wanted to do, which was not. Did not include rack manufacturing company. So. So anyway.


[00:10:05] So, you know, it was interesting. What a great gain for the MHR team. Because given your just how well rounded your experience is. I mean, you’ve been there and done it in so many different ways of industry. The MHR serves and and more importantly than that, that you did it. But you’re willing it seems like when I’m kind of picking up boners, you enjoyed the different areas of responsibilities that you were doing as as an entrepreneur for 30 years at Press Rack. And so how huge win for the MHR to be able to tap a leader like that and bring them into what an organization in a in a time where growth and and there’s such a hungry there’s such a hunger and demand for how to do things and best practices and fighting through some of the challenges, old and new.


[00:10:52] Right. Well, it you know, everything is about timing and. And as it turned out, after I. Well, as we went down the past, the Maureen people talk to me more about potentially being the CEO. I started thinking about, OK, what could I do? What could I bring to the table? And we were coming. We were heading into or we were in in the Great Recession at the time. And but there were all kinds of new tech, technological things that were coming that I could that I was aware of. And I really was excited about that opportunity. And what? And then transforming the organization. John Narf Singer, who is the previous CEO, did a wonderful job. He was here for 25, 26 years. Really did a fantastic job. But it was it was time we needed to change the organization in order to be in step with the times. And that intrigued me because I’ve always my skill sets have always been strategic and vision. And so I started looking at that and I got excited about what I felt we could do to take the organization to the next level.


[00:12:16] Such an exciting opportunity. Right. Because you’re here. Is that what I’m hearing, your ear able to build off a legacy of success. But but have but join the organization that’s willing to identify the opportunities in the step in the same areas that, you know, growth is always getting out of your comfort zone a little bit, right?


[00:12:33] Oh, yeah. Maybe a lot. Yeah. It’s awful.


[00:12:36] It’s not it’s you know, they use the term. It’s like making sausage. Right. It’s not. It’s not. And it’s a circuitous route. It’s never you know, the first thing we did was put together a business plan and there’s never been a business plan for the organization before. So we put a business plan together and we said, OK, where are we now? Where are we? Where do we want to be in 2020? And this, again, was in beginning at 2011. And 2020 was cute because 20/20 vision. And then the other thing is, I had signed a deal through 2020. Because that was my thing. I felt it was important that there be a beginning and an end. Again. Yeah. Exactly. And so I signed up for for 10 years.


[00:13:23] And, you know, because my thinking was if if I hadn’t gotten it done by then, then I shouldn’t be here anymore anyway. And the other thing is, if we we at that point, we should be at the point where it’s time for the next leader. I’m a big believer that, you know, change is good. And so you got to live that to your own part.


[00:13:45] No. Very interesting. And I also imagine I think you maybe use different words, but add a little sense of urgency to accomplishing not just for you, but to the team, because they knew kind of that the clock was running. Right. Based on on on how long you were going to be here and what you want to get accomplished, what the team want to get accomplished. So but yeah, you don’t hear too many leaders bring in their own set a book in timeframes. That’s pretty interesting.


[00:14:12] Well, one of the things that’s really important to me is not be a hypocrite. I yell was by design. It is by design. Right. And it’s you know, it really is the right thing to do.


[00:14:26] We have an incredible team now. You know, as as you might guess, the process, there were some painful points and always is. That’s just part of the deal. But we have an incredibly strong team right now. And we’ve got a my successor has been chosen and he is the perfect next guy. John Paxton, I think you’re going to be talking to him some. We sure are looking forward to that. Yeah. And he brings a he brings a different skill set. He is all about execution and that’s. Where we’re at in the lifecycle of the organization now. Now it’s time to take advantage of all those things that we’ve done. The platform that we’ve built.


[00:15:08] Wow. OK. So before we touch on kind of how you’ve seen industry evolve since you joined MHR in 2010, one ask just a question around the around leadership. What is it? There’s so many different traits and some of different attributes of successful leadership. And we could be here for all afternoon talking about it. But is there one specific trait that you in particular hang your hat on? And it’s what what do you feel is the most important trait that makes a successful leader?


[00:15:43] One is recognizing what your skillset is. And I think I think the biggest thing for me is, has been when I had my own company, I think I mentioned I didn’t know anything about manufacturing and I was blessed with the ability to understand that I couldn’t do it all and that I needed to build a team. And so I built a team of people. Bill, I don’t know, manufacturing. So I got I got some good manufacturing people, right. I didn’t know really purchasing. So I got good purchasing people. And just that whole thing surrounding yourself with the right folks are smart and Lu sometime.


[00:16:23] Absolutely. They’re all smart for sure. I know. I know.


[00:16:28] And I’m I mean, that in all sincerity is surrounding yourself with good people. And then and then letting them and letting them perform, trusting them to do their job. And sometimes that’s harder than it sounds. And but I just. It’s all about the people and and being able to get that trust and belief in your vision. And then also believing in them and letting them do the job well.


[00:17:04] Okay. Good stuff. And I’d Marsan, you know, you pick up on passion quick and clearly, you know, sit down with it with a passionate leader that that resonates, I think, with so many folks, because it it it communicates conviction about what you’re believing. This is not you know, we’ve interviewed a wide variety of folks. And sometimes, you know, you run a positive across people and they offer lip service. And then sometimes you sit down with someone that very passionate about what they’re sharing. And that’s kind of what I’m picking up here. George Okay. So let’s talk about the industry and kind of, you know, a lot has taken place since 2010. What if. Yeah. Is there one or two things that you feel has changed the most since you joined?


[00:17:50] Mhr Well, first of all, as I mentioned earlier, our industry touches everything. And so literally everything everything that you’re wearing has been touched by MHR. The chairs that we were sitting in. You know, the building, everything. So it’s a it’s a fascinating industry. And and there are cycles and all the different parts of the industry, the economic cycles are different. And one of the things I love about the industry is the fact that, you know, you can you can you’re you’re always if you’re. A student of what’s going on.


[00:18:33] You can always find where to be, so to speak. Where the money is. Where were the opportunity opportunities there?


[00:18:43] All those intersections. Right.


[00:18:44] And so the biggest changes that I’ve seen since I got to M.H. High and in the forty two years that I’ve been in the industry is that there’s much more awareness of of who we are because of the fact that people want it better, faster, cheaper. And. And that has driven technology. Because the only way to do to get it there, better, faster, cheaper is with the technological advances that we’ve got. You know, I can give you all the buzz words I write to E blockchain, all those things. But the key is, is those are all tools that are all used by our industry. But it’s putting the right tools together for the right applications. And and that’s been the thing that’s been most exciting to me. And, you know, the whole shift in from retail, for example, on my end when I own press Drac, the big spurt in the 90s, late 80s, 90s, early 2000 now was going to big box.


[00:19:55] Right. And all those places her racks in a grew up go into them. All right. Right. That’s where you spent your weekend. Going to the malls and doing all this stuff. And now you’ve seen a complete shift where people are shopping from home minutes.


[00:20:08] It’s growing exponentially. Really? But and that has driven the technological changes. And the shift now has been the automation. The only way to be able to make that same day delivery or next day delivery is through technology. And those are the tools that are being applied in our industry now. And I you know, I happen to have a son that’s on the peripheries in the software side of the world. And I just got I wish I was your age again, because, you know, I’ve seen a lot in my and my career. If I may, I’ll tell one played or Ely’s story of stories with the best about technology. When I had a Drac, we. I I thought this was real. We try. We were the first ones in the industry to have an automated quote program. And we did we did a lot of really unique things that we had to because we’re new and we’re going up against the big boys and people that had been around a long time. So fax machines came out right the like eighty four. Eighty five. Somewhere in there. And I remember the great, great technological thing I did. We had dealers all around the country at about 100 dealers around the country. And we bought what I did is I bought fax machines for all of our dealers so they could fax their court requests.


[00:21:32] Cutting edge at the time it was their cutting edge and like three years later, it was.


[00:21:37] So that’s the technology we know that we started out with and AutoCAD and those things. And, you know, but if you look at the last five years, the technological changes have exceeded.


[00:21:49] Right history. Right. And the rate of change getting faster and faster, which is is is also equally challenging. This despite all the gains and opportunities and what it offers us consumers and as industry professionals, you know, because because many these tools are make while it while, you know, it might make your day a lot more challenging, the more complicated you might to learn some new new skills more regularly. Still, you can get things done more efficiently. Right. And faster as you were speaking to earlier. I must say on the fax machine. And you shared a couple weeks ago, I was in church with my three kids. My oldest asked me as she was drawing up the new member or the sign in sheet. Of course, it was fax fax number on there. And she asked me what a fax machine was. And I failed miserably trying to relay what that was to her. Southwest are going to forget that. Don’t get an OK, get it. All right. So let’s please.


[00:22:49] Well, there was what you touched on something I wanted to make sure that we talked about a little bit. And that’s the workforce and this change. There’s fear and change. It’s it’s natural. Human nature is a fear of change and an automation. I get I get calls regularly from reporters and stuff like share stories. And they’ll ask me about, well, you’re you’re eliminating jobs. And the fact of the matter is, is that were the jobs that were that are quote unquote, being eliminated are the dirty, dangerous, demeaning drabs. The other part of it is, is that we’re creating jobs. Right. We were creating high. Your standard of living jobs and we just did in there and just put out an economic material handling economic report just last week at our annual conference in California. But in California, done by Oxford Economics and I just want to touch on that, please. Our industry is $173 billion dollar industry in terms of GDP impact GDP. In turn, if you’d put that, compare that to a city, we’d be the 21st largest city in the United States rate between Charlotte, who’s at 20 and Portland News at coast-to-coast.


[00:24:02] Right.


[00:24:03] So but but more importantly, we also create or impact 1.6 million jobs and the average wage is seventy three thousand nine hundred dollars. So those jobs that we’re creating, that’s that’s the standard. I mean, the national mean is fifty seven. Right. Right. So they’re good paying jobs. And that’s one of the words we want to get out. And those are a lot of those jobs weren’t around. Right. 15 years ago. They’re higher paying jobs because. Because of the technology. And I’ll I’ll get one more please story that I like to.


[00:24:43] This is what you’re sharing. There are so many mis conceptions out there related to automation and technology and innovation. And what you just Sheer think is really powerful, something that is a common thread through a lot of our episodes. You know, we focus on end to end supply chain technology dominates all those conversations. And what we always share and it usually is consensus is if you’re willing to raise your hand and learn a new skill and get out your comfort zone and volunteer and take on new projects and learn new things, then you should be very excited about where we’re going. On the flip side, and we’re very frank about this, if you don’t want to do any of those things and want to do the same thing hour by hour as if it were 1987, then yeah, your cheese will be moved. There’s gonna be some things, some challenging times from for plenty of folks. So it is exciting for those that really are, you know, our learners and are willing to step through those doors and and take on new challenges.


[00:25:43] Yes, absolutely. And one of that one of the other examples I give because I just read this recently and it it just struck me as a good way to to show an example when when I was growing up. I’m a lot older than you are.


[00:25:59] You may remember a telephone operator. Oh, yeah. There you see there used to be telephone thousand or one for information. You got you got a person on the line and there’s a typically female. And even before that, you had to call and you talk the operator and she would connect you. That’s how old I am.


[00:26:18] But my point is, is that I read a statistic just recently where if there virtually are no telephone operators anymore. Right. If there were telephone operators, it would take twenty six million telephone operators to handle the calls in the United States today. Based on the amount of calls. But look at the jobs that have been. So the operators gone. Right. Right. But look at the jobs that have been that have been created in telecommunications. And they’re higher paying jobs and they’re still in their higher standard of living job.


[00:26:53] So it’s interesting. A quick sidebar. We’re in New Orleans a couple weeks ago and we saw a payphone. And my wife instantly took a picture to send it back to one of my kids. Explain. This is what it used to be like.


[00:27:06] But kidding aside, it still got him in. By the way, just to take the photo in the red box. Yeah. There’s not a phone in there, but. Oh, gosh.


[00:27:15] Well, you know, there was a manufacturer. Atlanta brought in a new mature automated material handling system not too long ago. We sat down, got a tour there at their plant probably six months ago or so. And when they implementing it implemented the technology, there were some some concerns around what this would do. However, as it turned out, the facility ended up upskilling its maintenance team so that now they knew how to program robotics that required wages for all those maintainers that go up. And no one. No one. This was a big implementation. No. Not one single person lost her job. So on the whole, the team got new skill sets. So they’re arguing that they’re more horrible. Yeah, well, if if whatever comes next and they’re making more money, it create it.


[00:28:04] It increases product. Absolutely. I’ll give you one more story, if I may. When I had pressed Rack, we when we bought our first robot, we bought a robot to do some welding. And there was angst. Right. Sherkin, you know, was it because the welders were like, you know, you’re trying to take our jobs away?


[00:28:20] And ultimately, you know, seven or eight years later, we had a bunch of automation in welding. We had really more people operating, those at a higher standard of living wage. And nobody lost their job. They actually got paid more. It made them more productive, which allowed us to pay more.


[00:28:44] And that’s really, you know, I think once folks start peeling the layer layers of the onion back and doing their homework and really getting beyond the headlines, oftentimes there’s that there’s a there is a hype out there that, you know, not to cast stones. But folks that may not take a deeper dove in industry and have been on plant floors or different facilities and kind of understand why these investments are made and what it really means for the rest. The workforce I saw. Appreciate your stories. Keep them coming. So right before we talk and kind of wrap up the interview on some some of the reasons why we think folks should come out and and attend Mode X, let’s let’s talk about one. What other is there one other industry topic or issue or trend that is taking place globally across your industry image as an industry that really you’re more fascinated by than others right now?


[00:29:43] Well, the one that we’ve been touching on a little bit and you know, but it really is key and critical is workforce. One of the one of the things that came out in the study that wasn’t there. You know, there’s good stuff. And then there’s also stuff that illustrates opportunity. Right. Our industry is, quite frankly, old white males. And we’ve got a high percentage that baby boomers are aging out and stuff. If we we need to get the word out that this is a dynamic industry. And there are opportunities there. And we need to be focused on creating the opportunities for young people to come from all areas of life, all walks of life. And that will just happen naturally. If we if we get young people aware of what what’s out there, our our nation, our country is becoming more diverse. That’s just that’s a demographic fact. So if we can get our are get younger people in the demographics are going to take care of themselves. I yell in, you know, you would think natural Sheer Sheer.


[00:30:58] So workforce is certainly a friend of mine. And I think that’s that’s the case for a lot of a lot of leaders, a lot of hiring managers. Certainly a lot of the companies that we sit down with, you know, although I had some great counter arguments to this, this cliche war for talent, because that that can be a prevailing opinion. But I had one expert talent acquisition professional that that does it day in and day out in the manufacturing space really told me that if you get really creative and really challenge the norms and industry in terms of how you find talent, then it really she she posed this question, is it really a war for talent? You know, and it was really it was a breath of fresh air.


[00:31:44] I I just like it. Please. I. It’s not a war for talent. We have to earn it. We have to earn. And that’s what I was trying to say. You just you just probably said it better for me. It’s a it’s it’s about we need to earn it. And we’ve got to show them. We’ve got to be creative and not take the traditional paths and figure out how to get the word out. Because if we I believe if we get them exposed, our industry, they’ll get excited and the rest will take care of itself. So but we have to earn them. We can’t. Right.


[00:32:18] I mean, can’t take him for granted. Right. Exactly. Folks are still going to be walking through the door, applying and interested in industry. I think there’s a lot of awareness enrichment activities that we’re seeing more organizations invest, more time and dollars and resources into doing just that, because that is a big challenge, too, because there’s a lot of, you know. Kamer which which accounting group have put out a study a couple years ago, but it it spoke to not necessarily what students thought of certain industries, but more importantly, what their parents thought. Right. And of course, the parents are there, senior consultant grown up. Right. I guess dairy in certain directions. So our work is cut out for sure.


[00:33:02] Right. Well, that is our challenge. That is the challenge, because if you the parents when I graduated, the old guy talking again, when I graduated from high school, only 5 percent of the population had an undergraduate degree. And, you know, I grew up in a town actually where it happens to be where Anderson Windows is still is still what the water minister Andersson’s is in Bayport, which is literally a mile below. Gotcha. Still water, but. Graduated from a class of five hundred and fifty kids normally and a half of a home on a week later. We’re working at what we affectionately called Andys. Yeah, and they they retired there. Right. And they. But but that will all we. My generation told all our kids that you had to go to college. You had to do this. And you had did you know you had to get a degree? And we had I think in a way we’ve done a disservice to some of them, because the real thing is you have to understand what your skill sets are. Once you know what your skill sets are, you follow that path and that becomes your passion. You become good at it and you’re happy.


[00:34:14] Georgia, I want to take you back home to Atlanta and sit down with my wife, because we had that conversation a lot about our three children. And I’m a big advocate for let’s figure out what their passions are and let’s let’s let them chase after and be the best supporters. We can’t. And you know, I love you, Amanda. Amanda feels a lot more about making sure they go to college and kind of have some of these some of these traditional experiences that that that can ensure give them the best likelihood of success. There’s not there’s not a right or wrong answer per say.


[00:34:50] But I’m a you know, passion is just you want to expose them. You need to expose them to to all of it. And and the key is I’ll just one little tweak to winter saying is the skill set and what’s there what’s what are they good at? And it may not be I we have five kids and they’re all grown, known, gainfully employed, which is great.


[00:35:18] I have a plan. But the thing is, what what I would say, you know, you may have a passion, but, you know, they had passion for sports. Right. But their skill set might not have been married. So not intersect. Yeah. So, you know, and so when I used to tell the kids, I’d say, you know, Shaq may have wanted to be a jockey, but it just wasn’t going to happen. You know, and Willie Shoemaker may have wanted to be a basketball player, but it was going to happen.


[00:35:45] So I think if you if if you can help them define what they’re good at comes their passion because they have success at it. And it will create a happy and, you know, I believe they’ll be much happier in life.


[00:36:03] We know our conversations really come full circle because at the front in this conversation, George, you spoke about how important it is to kind of be honest with yourself about what you’re good and what you what you aren’t good at. As a business leader. Right. Right. And now we’ve kind of come full circle where as folks are coming through and making those early career choices being the importance of being honest with yourself again. Right. You know, I’d love to be a professional golfer, but my skill set does not enable me to do that. Okay. So let’s change gears as we kind of wrap up this interview. We’re talking with George Prest CEO of MHR. And we’ve got a big event. I mean, they’ll have no shortage of events. Pretty much year round and globally. But the big event on our radar since we’re going to be there is mutex 2020 in our neck and woods in Atlanta, Georgia. So if you had to put together a top three list or just rattle off some of the top reasons that that you believe folks should come out in the 10 MADOX, what would that be?


[00:36:59] Well, I’ll start from the beginning because Moto X is actually a relatively new show. We we started the Mourdoch show in 2012. That was the inaugural show. And from a fledgling show to what it’s going to be in two thousand twenty is absolutely, really remarkable. And how we came to decide on Atlanta and how we decided on the show was we did a lot of research. We had a show previously that we decided we what was we just decided to end it and kind of go to the whiteboard and and develop a new show. And while all the research told us was the demographics of the United States were going to the southeast and the Panama Canal expansion was going to have an impact on supply chains and distribution and all those things. And we looked at all the various places we could have a show and we all ultimately ended up in Terminus. Yeah, absolutely. Atlanta.


[00:38:05] That’s right. That’s right. And many folks will well, may or may not know that that was the Kennedy original name. It was what has become known as Vetlanta Vetlanta.


[00:38:15] So at any rate, we are. So we chose Atlanta and then we wanted to develop an End to end Supply chain show.


[00:38:23] And now we have we’re we’re proud to announce it 2020. It’s gonna be a record show. It will be as large and actually larger than our 2015 pro-Mitt show. And to put that in perspective. pro-Mitt has been around since 9th. While the name promo has been around since 1985, but the show has been around since 1948. So. Okay. Or for it to have grown that fast tells you first of all, that the research was right and there was a demand and that people find value. And this year’s show. The convention center has. We all grew. The original C hall. Then we run into the B hall. Then we all grew that. And so last year we tried early in 18, we did B and C, and the Georgia World Congress Center has since then connected B and C. So it’s a big horseshoe crab type thing and looks like one big hall, which is gonna make it that much more appealing and has allowed us to do software better experienced. Right. Absolutely.


[00:39:38] Yeah. All right. Let’s let’s talk about a couple of keynotes here. MBBS Ambassador Nikki Haley is one of the keynotes. Tansley is one of the keynotes, which is founder and CEO of Emotive E M O T V. You’re gonna be offering up a state of the state.


[00:39:59] It’s our annual industry report. We every year we do an annual industry report. So we go out in conjunction in partnership actually with Deloitte and we go out we interview over a thousand, almost eleven hundred CEOs, sea level people. And we basically are asking them what’s keeping you up at night? What are the trends? What’s going on? And so then we will give that report. We we roll out the pro report every year at the shows. I love that.


[00:40:32] I love that. I mean, that really being able to put your finger on the pulse of what these business leaders are thinking is so valuable from a number of different fronts. And then kind of a fun factor. Peyton and his father, Archie, man and will be keynotes as well.


[00:40:47] Right. Are they gonna share the stage together? They are going to share the stage together.


[00:40:51] And that that’s on Wednesday afternoon. We over the years, what we’ve tried to do is have have a fun afternoon that happens also be during student days. So the students will get after they speak to the audience. Excuse me on the keynote. Then they will go see the kids. And that’s always a always a fun thing for them. And the student days is all about is going. The reason we do that we’ve been promoting that is, again, trying to expose young people to our industry. And they go into that show and they see all that technology. It’s exciting. There’s it’s an electric literally for days and that, you know, that hate to go backwards.


[00:41:36] But that is is one of the big misconceptions is that a lot of folks don’t understand just the degree of which technology has infiltrated industry in India and Supply chain. And that really that does pull a bunch people in industry. But a lot of folks seem to have that. You know, I usually pick on someone year in 80s that Pickel 1982 that, you know, that snapshot of what industry was back then rather than where we are today, where you’ve got a global technology fueled industry that has a seat at the table, arguably unlike ever before, and that that gets a lot of people in. But more people need to hear the message, right.


[00:42:15] Well, and you know, tying into what we were talking about before with regard to perceptions and you just illustrate my my manufacturing flaw in 1980 versus what it is today. I mean, it’s more like a surgical room now. Back then, it was here to, you know, walls are smoke and grease. That’s riot and all that stuff more traditional. Right. The more traditional thought today, it’s it’s more like an operating room.


[00:42:43] It is amazing to see just how far we’ve come and how, again, the rate of change continues to fuel Ford. So, Ivan, you really enjoyed our conversation. And you know what? George, we have done bad on time. I would love to pull a few more stories out and I hope we run into each other at my desk so I can get a few more stories from you. But there is beyond the keynotes and beyond educational sessions, the networking will be second and On2. And that’s what we have seen as being a longtime ally in being a longtime industry association volunteer leader. There has been a surge in interest in networking. You know, I remember 15, 20 years ago when I first began volunteering at different associations how folks did not want to go to dinner meeting. And exchange business cards and meet people and connect on social media. Course or what much. So show me that. But now that seems to be one of the biggest reasons folks do make the effort of getting out in person. Right.


[00:43:41] Yeah, actually ill a trigger. One more story, if I may, because it ties into this. When I was on the board in the late 90s, the Internet came out and there was a fear on the board that shows were gonna go away. Sheer because of the Internet. And we actually invested a significant, significant amount of money as a Association into like trying to do a virtual show. It didn’t work out. Right. And but but the interesting thing is, is what has changed from then until now? The show the people that come to the shows, they use the Internet to get educated beforehand. Right. When they come to the show, they already know what they’re looking for. And they’re in it’s much higher quality of attendees. Say yes. And phone then. And to your point, the networking things are there’s a lot of networking opportunities. We actually have lounges and we have the Young Professionals Network reception one night to to to create that atmosphere for people.


[00:44:53] And those things are jammed. Absolutely. People eyeball to eyeball thing is still very important. It’s just were you know, we as showed producer had to make sure we were bringing value. Yes. And the the value is what’s new. People come to show to see what’s new. So.


[00:45:15] Well, looking forward to one the most successful, if not the most successful mutex Ryder on the corner. A march will be here before you know it. Want to make sure our listeners know how to find more information and register moto x show dot com MDX show dot com. And as we wrap up here, you know George and we’re talking with George Prest CEO with MHR. We’re really excited. The Arlanda contingent. Determinist contingent. Now, we also, by the way, you might hear this when you come down there. Supply chain City is something we’ve really kind of wrapped our heads around. That’s your tagline. Well, we follow our friends over at the chamber. Right. But yes, that s that we’re trying to make that a moniker. But we are excited to host our second annual Atlanta Supply chain awards at Moad X as kind of our backdrop there to Georgia World Congress Center. Really? Last year, a first year event and March twenty nineteen. We sold out a couple weeks before we recognized folks from across and in Supply chain in 14. I think different categories had an exceptional keynote. So we’ll try to go a little bigger and better. I couldn’t imagine a better group to partner with in our efforts to go bigger and better in year two. Our keynote at the 2020 Lana Supply chain awards is Christian Fisher, president and CEO at Georgia-Pacific Greene. So all there with the backdrop of Moad acts of not only will folks Bill to come out, take advantage and and and be a part of the 2020 plan supply chain awards, but then participate. mutex talk about a one two punch if you’re be in Atlanta. Okay. So any any final thoughts as we as we look to wrap up, especially from mode X standpoint, as you know, we we we are working hard to get the word out because as with everything else in the best resources, you still gotta get the word out. Magilla reaching folks. Right.


[00:47:09] And word of mouth and somehow. That’s right. So as the industry that makes supply chains work, we’re really happy to have you guys, as has a part of the event that week. And it is it is going to be a record event. There’s all the signs are already there. So in terms of hotel rooms, it’s gonna be a great week in Atlanta and eat with things changing as fast as they are. mosaic’s is the place to see what’s new.


[00:47:41] And that’s that’s a perfect note to wrap up the interview with because that’s that’s the challenge. Come out, see what’s now, see what’s new, see where we’re going and connect with those folks that are laying that path and are and are making it happen. So with all that said, big thanks to our guests there. George Prest CEO of MHR. Really enjoy. And hopefully you did as much as I did. Sit down and and kind of hear the story behind the story, so to speak. I loved hearing kind of your perspective and some of the stories that shape that perspective. And looking forward to mutex 20/20 in March and then again right around the corner, March 9th through the 20-20-20. Absolutely. Thank you, Scott. You bet. Modoc show dot com. So to our listeners, thanks for joining us here today. Be sure to check out all of our other interviews events. You name it. Supply Chain Now Radio Of course, like we mentioned, you can find us on Gnatpole podcast, SoundCloud, YouTube, whatever else you get your podcast from. And we hope that you’ll subscribe, subscribe so you’ll miss a thing. So on behalf of the entire Supply Chain Now Radio team, this is Scott Luton. Wish you a wonderful week ahead and we’ll see you next time on Supply Chain Now Radio. Thanks, everbody.


George Prest is the chief executive officer of MHI, the nation’s largest material handling, logistics, and supply chain association. In addition to promoting the industry, MHI also organizes the ProMat and MODEX trade shows. Prest has more than 30 years of experience in the material handling industry, including managing material handling companies and even running his own company. Before joining MHI, he was the CEO of Prest Rack Inc. He has also served as president of both the Rack Manufacturers Institute Inc. (RMI) and the Material Handling Education Foundation Inc. (MHEFI), as executive chairman of MHI, and as a member of the Manufacturers Board of Advisors (MBOA) of the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA). Prest is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a B.A. in public administration. He also participated in post-graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the University of Notre Dame. Learn more about MHI Here:

Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now Radio. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. He also serves as an advisor with TalentStream, a leading recruiting & staffing firm based in the Southeast. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about SCNR here:

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