“Retail is the largest private sector employer in the United States, representing close to 52 million workers. About one in four U.S. workers work in retail or touch retail in some form or fashion.”

Jonathan Gold, Vice President of Supply Chain and Customs Policy at the National Retail Federation


Most people are very familiar with the retail industry: we all shop in grocery stores, clothing stores, home improvement warehouses, etc. Despite how much we think we know, what we see when we go to the store – like the cashier and other associates – they are just the tip of the iceberg in what are complex, sophisticated, and, in some cases, global enterprises that have to be supported by equally robust supply chain operations.

Jonathan Gold is the Vice President of Supply Chain and Customs policy at the National Retail Federation. Although he has decades of retail industry and trade-related experience, the extreme business conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic have still been a challenge.

In this podcast interview, Jonathan tells Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton about:

· How the USMCA brings the goals associated with NAFTA into the modern era by reflecting the impact of newer developments like eCommerce, data protections, and digital commerce

· The significant retail industry innovations that have been driven by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and how the resulting shutdowns have impacted consumer demand and behaviors

· How the government affairs team at the National Retail Federation works with elected officials to help everyone understand the operational implications of regulatory changes

· The trends and planning changes being monitored by retailers as they try to figure out how to handle the financially critical holiday shopping season

Amanda Luton (00:00:05):

It’s time for supply chain. Now broadcasting live from the supply chain capital of the country. Atlanta, Georgia heard around the world. Supply chain. Now spotlights the best in all things. Supply chain, the people, the technologies, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.

Scott Luton (00:00:28):

Hey, good afternoon, everybody. Scott Luton and Greg white with you here on supply chain. Now. Welcome to today’s show. Hey Greg. Good afternoon. How are you doing? I’m doing well every time you say afternoon, I look at my watch and I wonder what time of day people will be watching this, right? Don’t worry the afternoon people. That’s right. I got your back too. I got you covered. Always. Got you covered. That’s all right. Hey, on today’s show, we’re really excited, not just about a repeat guest, which always gets our juices go on, but we’re very pleased to be featuring a prominent voice in really the retail, the supply chain space. So stay tuned as we’re going to work really hard. Greg, Greg and I always do to raise your market intelligence Accu more on that in just a moment. Hey, am I, it might be a thing who knows.

Scott Luton (00:01:16):

There you go. I like it quick. Programming it before we get started today, if you enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to check us out and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. So you don’t miss a single thing, including episodes like today, where we have Greg with this drum roll, please. Uh, Jonathan gold, vice president supply chain and customs policy with the national retail Federation NRF as everyone and their brother certainly has heard, uh, John think good afternoon. How are you doing? Good. How are you guys doing good. Good, welcome aboard. Good day back. Yeah. Glad, good to see you guys. It’s been a while. It has we’re. So in appreciate, we are reminiscent a bit about at least one of Greg and I’s favorite conferences we were at before the world changed. And that was in Vegas with the reverse logistics association, um, expo and, and kinda like annual expo and conference.

Scott Luton (00:02:09):

Uh, we had the great fortune of sitting down with you. Then you had a lot of, we got a lot of feedback on, uh, the wealth of knowledge abroad. So to be able to have you back is a special treat, not just for Greg and I, but for our listeners. So, um, but real quick before we kind of refresh everyone’s memory of, of who you are, where you’re from and then dive into, uh, some business. How have you been, and, and, uh, what six months since then hasn’t been that long, you know, I, I think everyone else I’ve lost track of time with, you know, the work from home. It just it’s, it’s certainly has changed how, how we, we work and Liz, um, you know, we’ve been on work from home since the end of March when the DC area started with their lockdown, essentially stayed home. Um, and you know, we’re not expected

Jon Gold (00:03:00):

To be back in the office until maybe mid September and that, that could change. So, you know, trying to do the work life balance with two little ones, uh, certainly has been, been interesting, um, you know, loved the opportunity to be home and see them grow, you know, don’t miss out on the daily activities, but, uh, trying to, you know, do your work while you’re doing that is a, is a bit of a challenge.

Scott Luton (00:03:22):

You’re not holding a baby and a bottle at this moment though, right?

Jon Gold (00:03:26):

No, thankfully my daughter is, my daughter is napping. My son is downstairs watching some Sesame street with my wife and, um, hopefully you’ll, you know, they’ll remain silent throughout the interview. So

Scott Luton (00:03:37):

I think we’ll be forgiven if they don’t,

Jon Gold (00:03:41):

My door is locked, so my son will be running in. So we’re, we’re okay with that.

Scott Luton (00:03:45):

Well, great to have you back and great to, we’re going to be touching momentarily on some of the cool things that NRF is doing to help us all get through this, this uniquely challenging year. So we appreciate your industry leadership there, but for starters, uh, now that we’ve kind of put our finger on the pulse and gotten our, our John gold update, um, let’s refresh our listeners’ memory. So tell us, you know, on the front end of the personal side, uh, where are you from and give us something most, a lot of folks may not know about your upbringing.

Jon Gold (00:04:14):

Sure. So I grew up in, on long Island in New York. Um, been down here in DC, the DC area guy going on, came down 1990 for college and just never left. So with 30 years now, one of the half of my life has been in this area. So it’s a, I love the DC area it’s, uh, you know, never intended to go back to New York and just, uh, it’s just to see how things grow and change here has been, uh, it’s been interesting, um, you know, fell into the, the, the politics thing with, with the lobbying, you know, had no intention of getting into, into politics. When I went to school, granted, you know, I went to Washington DC for college, but, you know, politics, wasn’t what I was studying or studying international business and just kind of fell into the lobbying. One on the policy, kind of got the bug when I was, I guess, a junior in college, I interned for a trade association back in 1993. Um, and it was the kind of the summer of NAFTA. So that kinda got me into the policy arena and loves watching, uh, what was going on the congressional hearings, participation, the lobbying aspect going up and, you know, talking to members of Congress and trying to tell your story and then the education. Um, so it’s just kind of fell into it and been doing it ever since. And it really kind of enjoyed it.

Scott Luton (00:05:33):

Would you say that you were, you know, back in 1993, obviously we certainly had a global economy. We’ve got a much bigger global economy now. It seems like the world has gotten smaller. Were you an early adopter and, and did you connect those dots, would you say before? A lot of folks did, which may, may have led to how, you know, this path, this, this, this, um, international business path. I mean, I always had

Jon Gold (00:05:58):

An interest international business just was always interesting to me. Um, and just seeing it from the policy side really kind of opened my eyes where I hadn’t seen that before, didn’t know how kind of laws were made and things like that. And just kind of seeing it from the inside really gave me some, uh, you know, really peaked my interest and said, you know, something that I want to do and tell, tell the story. Um, and I think that’s, you know, one of the things out, you know, you hear so much negativity about, you know, a lobbyist and what lobbyists do, but you know, really we’re, we’re storytellers. We’re trying to educate members of Congress, the administration, and the public, um, about the benefits of, of we’re policy. We’re trying to push. And obviously for me, it’s trade and supply chain and how important they are, not just for the us economy, but for the global economy, you know, Scott, as you mentioned, you know, the, the world is so small right now, we can’t go through and shut our doors.

Jon Gold (00:06:49):

That’s just not the way we, we can do things. And especially now as we’re going through this global pandemic, I mean, now is the time we need to be working with our allies, not closing our doors and trying to figure out the best path forward and not, you know, again, shutting doors for our own benefit when it doesn’t benefit us. Um, so it’s just, it’s just one of those things where it makes things difficult with kind of where some of the politics are right now and some of the things that we’re, that we’re hearing. But I think, you know, I hate to say I’m a true believer, but, you know, I, I believe in, in trade and trade works and trade benefits, uh, folks across the globe,

Scott Luton (00:07:24):

It’s a different perspective when it’s an association like NRF, right? The national retail Federation that represents virtually every retailer in the country. And in some cases internationally, you have some North American.

Jon Gold (00:07:40):

We do, we do numbers as well, right? I mean, we have some global global members, um, global retailers, obviously those that we represent when talking politics, it’s, it’s a U S brands and retailers. Um, you know, I think, you know, I’ve been doing work in the retail industry now for 20 plus years, uh, of my career. And just not understanding before I got into this job, what retail was and how integral it is to us economy and all the different jobs that are associated with it. And now understanding that it’s really amazing. Um, I mean, you look at pretty much any issue that we’re talking about a capital is talking about we’re involved with in some form or fashion. It touches retail. I mean, retail is, is the world’s bar, or we are the largest private sector employer in the United States representing close to 52 million workers. It’s about one in four, uh, U S workers that work in retail or touch retail in some form or fashion.

Scott Luton (00:08:35):

So, yeah, so we mentioned going back a little bit, we mentioned NAFTA, obviously in, in, in the early nineties and, you know, we’ve been diving in a little bit with a couple of different trade, um, representatives, uh, here recently with the U S MCA. Uh, in fact, we’re going to be having, uh, Greg probably the time that this episode publishes the Canadian consulate general to Atlanta on to kind of give her thoughts on the passage and what it means. Um, so, you know, by all accounts, it seems if I, if I had to make a mass generalization, they all check me here, but, but that should spur. I should bring a lot of good news, uh, to trade and especially to the partnership between the, um, you know, Mexico, us and Canada, even though here recently in the last week or so, um, I’ve seen some Canadian U S um, trade issues pop up, but still are you, uh, uh, and this was kind of going off the, um, right turn here, but what’s your quick reader digest view of the U S MCA.

Jon Gold (00:09:46):

I mean, first and foremost, I think we’re, we are pleased to see the U S MTA pass and it’s now being implemented. I think the biggest concern, you know, have been the ongoing threats that we were going to withdraw from NAFTA, which would have been horrendous to be honest, the negative impacts from withdrawing, from, you know, a trade agreement with our closest trading partners. Gus just didn’t make sense. Um, you know, U S MCA retained a lot of what is in the original NAFTA. There certainly are some, some updates that were made, um, you know, things like rules of origin, obviously that impacts the auto sector more than, than anybody. Um, but you know, adding in a chapter on digital commerce, which didn’t exist when after this first negotiated is, is critical. And I think that serves as potentially a template for future FTAs free trade agreements that we might negotiate with other countries.

Jon Gold (00:10:34):

And obviously that digital commerce piece is going to be so critical in future FTAs. Cause that’s kind of where the world is moving. Um, in fact, that hadn’t been part of the agreement, obviously, you know, e-commerce, wasn’t around, back in the early nineties as it is today, but with the growth we’ve seen, um, you know, B to B, B to C, um, it’s so important that that is included. So I think for us, that’s probably one of the biggest benefits that we’ve seen, um, that we see in U S MCA is inclusion of that chapter. And some of the provisions associated with data protection, um, you know, data force, data localization, not allowing that and things like that, uh, is, is so important. So, you know, we just coming into force, um, and we’re going to see how, how that all works out. And as you noted the dustup with Canada over the aluminum tariffs, um, probably not the best way to start the agreement, um, you know, but, you know, hopefully we’ll, we’ll get past that. Right.

Scott Luton (00:11:35):

Well, we’re optimistic, we’re optimistic.

Jon Gold (00:11:37):

I want to remain optimistic, but, uh it’s. Yeah.

Scott Luton (00:11:41):

So, all right. So before I want to take one more personal term, but Greg weigh in real quick on your end, cause we’ve talked a good bit about your SMCA here lately, quick commentary, and we might be the ones besides

Greg White (00:11:54):

You, John, um, who were talking about USM. We actually interviewed, uh, the consul general to Atlanta from Mexico, uh, Javier D S who is an obviously unbelievably knowledgeable who’s worked in the States for I think, three decades and, uh, knows the us economy as well as the Mexican economy and is a fantastic advocate. You know, one of the things that he talked about was creating less friction in terms of movement of goods back and forth. Right. Um, and I think that’s an important part of it. It it’s got, it’s got its downsides potentially with the there’s no standardized documentation, John, as you know, right. As there was before, but now it’s not government documentation. So that makes it a bit easier to manage. Um, but I think that’s an important thing. And I think it, as you said, we would be crazy not to have the only three countries on our continent as trading partners. And I think it’s a huge benefit also considering what’s going on with COVID and the potential for near shoring and reassuring and, and, and alternate shoring. Right? So, um, having those, those countries who we know are friendly, right. And, um, and having them so nearby, I think is, is gonna benefit the supply chain and retail and distribution and manufacturing that’s right now, without a doubt, significant

Scott Luton (00:13:26):

The leverage. I mean, it’s such as we talked about earlier, uh, the uniqueness of the North American, um, trade market and these, these three countries and the, the opportunity that exists to create a strong Alliance that can serve as, as counter leverage for other battles or trade Wars. Cause, you know, everyone seems to be losing to some degree with, with the flare up between the U S and China, but do you use that as counter leverage to further, uh, other, um, uh, trade efforts we have globally? I think a huge, tremendous opportunity. So looking forward to kind of seeing how this plays out and streamlines Greg, as you put it reduces friction by streamlining the trade between Canada, the U S and Mexico. So, all right. So John and Greg, we dove right into the heavy stuff on the front end and frankly that’s my best, my fault,

Greg White (00:14:15):

But it’s okay. I mean, this look, I think, I think people should recognize that this is what John does, right? Not only a supply chain advocate, but an advocate for retail and these types of policies for thousands of retailers to the U S government. I mean, I think it’s a, it’s a noble cause really

Scott Luton (00:14:38):

Agreed. All right. So one quick personal aside, cause we were talking NFL football before coming on. And of course Greg is our resident chief Kenzie chiefs fan and Jonathan, to my knowledge, through 420 something episodes, you are only public admitting Miami dolphins fan that we’ve had on the show. And that’s one more, one more, but I’m not sure he admitted it on the show, Mike Mills from blue Ridge. That is right. But I’m not sure he said so on the show. So that is right. I remember us talking about the Marx brothers with Mike that’s. Right. Um, uh, and that’s Mark duper and Mark Clayton lighten. That’s right. Yeah. Alright. So really quick. So you’re a big dolphins fan. Um, where did that give us, you know, before we dive more into business, where did that come from?

Jon Gold (00:15:30):

Um, so it’s the Marx brothers and Dan Marino, um, you know, growing up back in the eighties, just loved watching Marino play with, uh, the Marx brothers. I’ve just been a, been a fan ever since. Um, you know, I just, I wasn’t in New York football fan just for some reason just couldn’t get into, into them. And just again, love watching Marina when the Marx brothers played it just that something caught my eye and been a fan ever since through the ups and downs. Um, cause he’s like more downs than ups these days, but, um, you know, eventually things will turn around

Scott Luton (00:16:00):

Strong and I want to thank you for that.

Jon Gold (00:16:02):

If I could turn it off for the chiefs, I can turn off the dolphin.

Scott Luton (00:16:06):

No, those are some, those are some fun times. Of course, Dan Marino threw one of the prettiest balls ever in history of the game, quick release as everyone knows. And, and to have those two threads on either side, it, it could make for a really fast paced, exciting athletic games to watch. So I was, I was kind of a bandwagon. Uh, I’ll call it dolphin span back in the eighties too well. And it’s prescient for a new Yorker to become a Miami fan because eventually don’t new Yorker. Most of you.

Jon Gold (00:16:37):

Yeah. Usually they’re not in Miami, usually it’s the, uh, you know, the Fort Lauderdale, um, Palm beach area where there are a lot of new Yorkers in depth. Um, I probably won’t end up down there,

Scott Luton (00:16:48):

I think, right. At least you’re not a Jacksonville fan. That’s good. All right. So back to business, uh, you, you were alluding as this next segment before we dive more into the NRF and, and some of the things you’re seeing there. Um, so in the work yard, great work you are doing there. Um, you were alluded to your, your, uh, professional journey and, and the time spent in industry, if you could just elaborate a little bit more, so that folks get a sense of kind of what shaped your worldview and, and, you know, and, and kind of the prism you look at industry through. So tell us more about kinda your background leading up to your current role.

Jon Gold (00:17:25):

Sure. So I’ve been with NRF now, 13, 14 years in October. It’ll be 14 years. It’s been that long. Um, prior to that was with a us customs and border protection for about a year and a half in their policy office. And, uh, went in, in 2006. So right around the time when, uh, the safe port act, the big maritime security was being worked on and passed by Congress, I’d actually been working on the outside on that bill, um, and came in for the mutation, doing a lot of work on CT pad, uh, continued security initiative and other other issues, uh, through CBP. And then, um, uh, 10 years prior to that from 96 Oh six was with another, uh, trade association focused on retail. Um, and you know, again kind of fell into, into the world, uh, started kind of on the ground floor is just kind of a government affairs, uh, assistant.

Jon Gold (00:18:19):

And within six months was kind of thrown into doing lobbying work on China, P and T R a, which was a big issue back in the mid to late nineties. They’re currently on a trade relations status, most of our nation status for China. So, you know, ever since then been involved in, as I said, trade has been an interest of mine. Um, and then there was kind of a natural intersection between the trade and transportation and supply chain piece of this. And that really all came into focus. I hate to say it, but, you know, on nine 11 when the world changed, um, that really kind of put that emphasis on there and where my portfolio picked up more on the kind of supply chain side and the kind of looking at the end to end and, you know, during all the different disruptions, whether it’s trade disputes or COVID, uh, you know, everything impacts the movement of goods.

Jon Gold (00:19:04):

And I think, you know, for, for my members and for other other important explorers as well, you know, any disruption impacts your ability to operate. So, you know, I’m trying to address some of those issues, um, has always been an interest in mind. Again, I’ve got a strong passion and belief in trade and in the supply chain and the good work that it does and the good work that these companies do, um, as part of that. So we’re trying to tell that story. I think it’s incredibly important and make sure that folks understand that, you know, trade is good, um, imports, not a bad word. You know, when you hear that from some folks, the importance help drive exports and help drive the economy. Uh, again, we’ve got to keep our doors open and trade with the world, and if we don’t import, we can’t export.

Speaker 5 (00:19:46):

So you’ve said that a couple of times, John, do you get a lot of pushback on trade and on import? I mean, you definitely do. I mean,

Jon Gold (00:19:55):

I mean, just look at some of the messaging out of the administration, not just this administration, but prior administrations where the sole focus is on how do we grow exports, um, which is fine. Cause you know, exports are good and that sports create jobs, but you look at the role of the global supply chain in ports as well, and all the different jobs that are associated with that, that people might not think about. Um, you know, when people look at a retail store as an example, they only think about the, the people they see working in the store itself, whether it’s the, the cashier, um, you know, others, other associates in the store, but think about all the jobs that help make that job possible. The sourcing, the customs, logistics, the auditing, and all the jobs that are associated with that from the carriers, ocean carriers, trucking rail, uh, brokers, all that that is so associated with that, that people just don’t associate with being good, uh, good U S jobs. And there are millions of those jobs that are with it. So just because we don’t make something in a factory here doesn’t mean there aren’t good jobs that are associated with, with that product just because a label says made, made in country X doesn’t mean there weren’t thousands of jobs associated with the importation of that product that brought it to the store shop.

Greg White (00:21:05):

It’s really surprising to me that that’s still the case because the reason that there were a couple of reasons that the work that has been off shored for the most part has been work that people don’t want to do at least don’t want to do today. And it’s so commoditized as the pay as for the pay to be very, very low. And it’s much better to have these skilled jobs like driving the truck or working in a warehouse or in the store or, you know, whatever role you might take then to be saddled with a job that makes 10,000 or $11,000 a year. Like a lot of people in the apparel industry do in China. So, um, I think that that’s a really good point and it’s also a good point to point out. So how many jobs there are that you don’t see, we’ve been a manufacturing society for so long, and I can see why people are struggling to make the transition, but it’s much, much more a service society now, which doesn’t mean necessarily waiting tables or running a register. It’s all of that, which by the way, I’ve done both. And I think there are noble pursuits. Um, but it’s also all of those things you talked about behind the scenes. It is supply chain and transportation and, you know, whatever accounting, right. Every store has back office people,

Jon Gold (00:22:26):

All the tech. I mean, all the tech that’s involved in this. I mean, it’s, you know, the amount of tech that goes into retail operations now. I mean, we kind of joke that we’ve got more, it professionals in Silicon Valley that helping run on retail. Um, you know, we might get into this a little bit later, but you know, COBIT certainly has changed the retail landscape now and how companies are operating. Um, you know, the innovation that we’ve seen in the past six months, uh, you know, we were joking early on that. We’ve see more innovation in the first three months of COBIT than we’ve seen in the last three years. And that’s, and that’s going to continue just because of how things, how quickly things are changing in his environment. But, you know, just Greg back to your question about, you know, folks pushing back, you know, you hear a lot of people talking about, well, we’re gonna bring all these jobs back here to the United States.

Jon Gold (00:23:14):

And that is one of the talking points from the administration, you know, prior to coven, we were at almost near full employment. So where are these jobs going to come from? And the, the right and the, and the one talking point was that, you know, manufacturing has declined over the years while manufacturing jobs might have declined. We become more productive and more efficient over the years because of technology and automation. So if any jobs are coming back to the U S it’s gonna be those high skilled, you know, it type jobs that can help drive manufacturing and other industries. So, uh, you know, we’ve got to make sure that going forward, we actually have the skillset to meet the needs that are required for, for future employment.

Scott Luton (00:23:54):

I think in a D what goes parallel with a lot of what you’re both talking about. And Greg, we’ve talked about this a good bit, uh, despite a lot of the, the, uh, boisterous calls for reassuring everything, Hey, look, everybody wants to expand the markets that are here and, and create jobs and opportunity and, and economic success. However, certain things, certain items are best suited to be produced overseas. Otherwise, for example, you’ll pay 10 times more if, if you pull everything here. And I think for a tee shirt, t-shirt wants to pay 75 bucks for a tee shirt, right? Uh, far, even though there’s a big push to, to reshore some, some pharmaceutical stuff, some, some of it’s best suited to be overseas. So lots of tradeoffs, uh, what I like about the conversation that three of us are having, and John about what you bring to the table is let’s get all the facts out, let’s get all the perspectives out and, and, you know, let’s really understand the story behind the story behind the story.

Scott Luton (00:24:57):

And then let’s get into some policy and decision making and really give everyone a sense of clarity, which is so important in 2020 when there’s so much noise out there. So, um, one more question, before I turn over to Greg and we’ll take a deeper dive in the NRF, and that is I’ve already, uh, based on what you’ve already shared. John, I think I made a little short list of seven guesses at this, your answer here, but what’s one Eureka moment you had in this journey, you know, whether it’s in the last 13 years at NRF or prior that you point to, and it was, it was a big learning for you.

Jon Gold (00:25:36):

I don’t know if I want it, I hate to say it, but I think, you know, looking at nine 11 and the impact that has had on kind of the, the, the global economy and the realization of how connected we are and how important that connection is and why these trade relationships are so critical going forward. So, you know, all the work there it’s in that intersection of trade in and supply chain and what disruptions, you know, me too, that I think is kind of, you know, where I look, obviously a lot of other pieces are, you know, always interested in looking at different trade policy, but kind of seeing that comp what lasting effect that has had, um, and understanding what companies go through now, um, to ensure that they are doing, you know, work with the right vendors, um, and, and things like that, and the processes they put in place to ensure security throughout their supply chain, um, that changed everything for everybody.

Jon Gold (00:26:25):

Um, I mean, I remember, you know, not based here in DC and when we first saw, you know, the, the, you know, the first plane hit in the morning, uh, was on a conference call. And, you know, I think I had CNN up on the TV and kind of saw that and just thought, Oh my God, what, you know, it’s just an accident. And then had to go up to Hill for a meeting. And by the time I got out of the Metro, um, to the cannon house office building, so everybody running out of the buildings and I ran into a friend of mine saying, you know, turn around, look, it’s like, it’s that, Oh, crap moment. And at that point, it’s like, you know, you see the train stop and all these transportation mode stops. Like this is going to change the world from here on out. Um, and that’s why they got so engaged on things like the port security issues, which I thought were fascinating to me involved with and help drive some of those issues, uh, going forward. Uh, I thought that was just to me, just kind of blew my mind. It was like, okay, this is, you know, really kind of puts it all together for me.

Scott Luton (00:27:21):

Yeah. Um, all right. So, uh, on that note, let’s move to a much lighter note. Um, you know, I really think if you look back, I mean, with that in mind, we look at the last six months, and even though Greg and I both know that a lot of the reason we’re seeing some of the shelves like we are, is because we’re seeing this historic levels of demand. We’d like, w like reminding folks of that, right, Greg. Um, but I’ll tell you, um, I know our gratitude levels in our household, not just for, at John, you paint a great picture of the supply chains behind everything, especially that that’s kind of on our service level, but then even the folks that are checking the out to the grocery stores and retail stores, I mean, we’re, we’re much more grateful. I want to give all those folks a big hug, uh, cause the, for so long, they did not get any, any recognition.

Scott Luton (00:28:13):

Um, and you know, they’re the ones that have protect our psyche to keep product on the shelves and, and to keep, you know, some sense of normalcy today, this crazy time. So I appreciate what you shared there about nine 11. Cause there was, there’s a lot, I think there’s a lot of transfer there between those two points of time in our country’s history. All right, Greg, now I’m gonna get you probably to introduce people to NRF and, and outside of yeah. Of policy. Um, what, what else? And of course, the big show. So I’d love for you to share a little bit about that. Um, what, what does the NRF do aside from your role

Jon Gold (00:28:53):

NRF national retail Federation? We are the world’s largest retail trade association. We represent everybody from the small single store operator up to the large format, big box store, everybody in between online chain restaurants, you know, pretty much anywhere you’re going to go shop. You know, we will, hopefully they are a member of NRA.

Scott Luton (00:29:10):

Yeah. If there’s a checkout, you’re there.

Jon Gold (00:29:13):

Well, the checkout of your book or if you’re buying well. Yeah. Cause you want online checkout as well. So yes,

Scott Luton (00:29:18):

I’ve been, I can be taught. That’s why I didn’t register John to be trained to say checkout.

Jon Gold (00:29:25):

Um, so our, you know, we, we serve a couple of different purposes as a, as a trade association, obviously. Um, kind of government affairs public policy is one of our main goals is to make sure we’re telling that retail story, um, to our elected officials, um, media and just the public in general. Um, you know, one of the major campaigns we had, uh, early on was to dispel the myths about retail being that kind of, you know, a dead end job. It’s only the, you know, the checkout person, the greeter when you walk into the store. So by telling that story of all the different jobs, millions of jobs that are, that are associated with that kind of retail across America, um, you know, we are part of the community and, you know, I, you know, Scott, you were talking about, you know, the faculty this for, you know, when you see the workers now and certainly encourage folks when you go to the store and say, thank you.

Jon Gold (00:30:10):

You know, it means a lot it’s folks that are on the front lines because it really has been retailers and on the front lines for all these necessities that are needed right now. Um, so in addition to all the advocacy, obviously we do a lot of education and content. Um, you know, the big show is probably what we are best known for. It’s our big annual convention, uh, typically held in January, mid January in New York city. Um, we have announced though that, uh, due to COVID, we are postponing the big show for next year, uh, to next June. Um, again, just not knowing what the situation is going to be. We want to be err on the side of caution. So we’ll be doing big show in early June in 2021, but we will be hosting some virtual, uh, kind of virtual big show, uh, in January.

Jon Gold (00:30:54):

So more to come on that we made an announcement about that a couple weeks ago. Um, and that’s certainly has been interesting. Um, obviously the switch from these in person meetings to, to virtual, uh, you know, we have had a couple of conferences that we did have planned that, you know, unfortunate were impacted as a result of the coronavirus. Um, but we’re not switching to online content. Um, and that’s getting a lot of positive response for what we’re doing. Um, it allows us to be more flexible and more nimble and get in more folks than would have been at these conferences in person. And I think folks are driving are getting a lot of benefit from that. Um, we just had, uh, we’ll have, uh, our next online conference coming up in the end of September, October, it’s our loss prevention conference protect, um, that was slated for an in person, uh, the summer that we pushed it back again to be more online.

Jon Gold (00:31:44):

Um, we had an it one recently as well, and we’re getting a lot of good positive response for that, um, research, uh, you know, we tell again the story of retail. So the holiday sales, uh, you know, annual sales, uh, all the different benchmarking you’re seeing, um, you know, what we look at on, you know, for eCommerce, not that were talked last time, we talked about, you know, the growth of eCommerce things like buy online pickup in store and focus. So we’ve got some research on that, um, as well as other other categories. So we are really kind of a full service trade association, uh, and helps provide the connections for our members, um, do a lot of benchmarking surveys so they can talk to each other and understand what’s happening and how others are addressing situations. Um, and that’s been one of the best things we’ve done throughout the COVID experience, uh, bring our members together and let them talk to each other and identify issues. Uh, who’s having what kinds of issues, how they’re addressing it and how we as interact can help them to address that as well. So, um, it was kind of a little bit about, uh, what we do.

Greg White (00:32:43):

That’s, you know, it’s such a powerful organization. I mean, the, the retail numbers that I apply credibility to are the NRF numbers. Nobody else has enough reach into the marketplace to really, to really have as valid an analysis and research program, as you all do, including, you know, organizations, which with considerable capabilities like Gardner, but you are the industry. And, um, it does, it creates a tremendous amount of value. I think, um, you know, the, the big show, I don’t know how many people show up for that it’s 70,000 plus or something like that. Is it more than that?

Jon Gold (00:33:27):

We had? Um, I think last thing, I mean, thankfully we had a big show before, you know, COBIT hit, it was right before that. I think, uh, this past year we had just over 35,000 in attendance at the Javits center, but I mean, we’re, we’re maxed out at the job, you know, there’s, I mean, there’s no more room there, so

Greg White (00:33:42):

You’re on both floors upstairs and down the entire building. Right. And it wasn’t, it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that you had just opened the lower floor. Right. Um, but it’s a great opportunity for retailers to get together and share ideas, get access to service companies that can help them get access to all of the knowledge and the leaders in the industry who speak at your shows as well. So that’s incredibly valuable stuff. So I feel like we’ve talked a bit about what you do, what your role is and in the organization, but I’m interested in how you interact with the folks that I typically see. You’re one of those behind the scenes jobs, aren’t you, John. But, um, the folks that I typically see at NRF, or that are associating, um, with the membership and, and that sort of thing, how do you interact with the membership and with the,

Jon Gold (00:34:41):

So I, you know, I, I’m on the government affairs side of the house over at NRF. And, you know, with that, we run a number of different policy related committees, and I decide minor about kind of policy and operational. So I’ve got our strategic supply chain council that is looking to address all the different supply chain transportation related issues. I’ve got a committee that focuses on trade, our national trade advisory committee. That’s been focusing on all the different trades related issues, whether it’s free trade agreements, tariffs, what have you trade disputes? Um, a lot with our product safety committee that works on CPSC related issues and the approximated issues. So we have members who join those committees and councils. Um, and then we do, I hate to say about a flood them with memos kind of on a daily basis, just so much going on, trying to make sure we’re communicating and keeping our members abreast of the latest and greatest, um, seeking their feedback on different issues.

Jon Gold (00:35:35):

Um, you know, for me, it’s an it’s, it’s integral that I, to my job that I hear from our members about the impact of what’s happening, um, whether, you know, pro or con, you know, we need to be able to weigh in with elected officials on different, uh, legislation regulations. And they’ll tell that story. So I really lean heavily on our members to have those conversations and figure out what does this actually mean for you? How’s this going to impact your operation? What does it mean for the consumer at the end of the day? Because again, everything that we tell does impacts the consumer, um, so want to make sure we can get the product as quickly as efficiently as possible and as safely as possible to the end consumer. Um, so, you know, it’s not just me, but I have my, my colleagues as well.

Jon Gold (00:36:20):

They all run different committees and counselors with issues. They focus in on whether it’s tax labor, um, healthcare, we’ve got again, loss prevention, our CIO council. I mean, you name any kind of area of retail. We’ve got a committee council that’s, uh, dealing with that and all are constantly talking, uh, benchmarking surveys, conference calls, uh, to find out what’s going on. Again, our, our main job is to connect, uh, our industry partners. They can talk to each other, uh, provide that networking because they’re all sharing some of these same, same issues. So how do we collectively work together to, to address them and make sure we’re doing it in a way that not only benefits the industry, but benefits the, you know, the retail workers and the consumers.

Greg White (00:37:01):

So we can’t talk about retail, um, without talking about a couple of things, one recently, uh, your organization predicted that, um, peak season. So that period between Thanksgiving and the end of the year is going to be down about 14% due to largely due to COVID-19 and this seismic societal disruption that’s followed. But, so that has me thinking about, and we ask this of a lot of people as I’m sure, you know, at this time, how your organization is coping and how your organization is helping, um, you know, in this environment. So can you tell us a little bit about that? How you’re

Jon Gold (00:37:45):

Yeah, I mean, obviously, you know, NRF, we are a trade association and we rely heavily on our members for, for how we operate. Um, you know, obviously like everybody else, you know, where everybody’s tightening their purses. So, you know, that’s part of what we’re doing. And obviously the work from home certainly has changed a lot of that. I mean, you know, it said it’d be my day, I’d be, you know, up in meetings, up on Capitol Hill or around DC meeting with other folks. And now I’m kind of held up in my bedroom doing zoom calls all day. So it certainly has, has changed the, the environment, um, whether it’s zoom or teams or whatever, it’s, you know, seems like I’m kind of tied to the computer on the phone all day. Um, but you know, we, early on, we, we knew we had to be a resource and a gathering place for the industry to address these, these issues.

Jon Gold (00:38:34):

Um, we early on doing daily alerts for our members, um, trying to address some of the key issues that were happening in the different steps that administration were taking different, uh, requirements and regulations that are going into place, um, working on issues within Congress, obviously things like the cares act, the paycheck protection program, um, all those different pieces, making sure that retail was a part of the consideration for some of these relief packages. So that’s been kind of a big, big piece of this. Um, but I think most importantly, again, it’s been that bringing of NRF members together to talk through the different issues. We created our call, our operation open doors program early on, where we went to focus on a couple of key areas to bring members together, to have, um, conversations. So, you know, the health and safety of the workers and the consumers, logistics and operations, um, looking at some the liability issues that are, that are out there, um, in social distancing.

Jon Gold (00:39:30):

And, uh, you know, we’ve had these four different workstreams that we’ve been been going on now for six months, better part of six months now. Um, a lot of that was weekly conference calls with members to, to address some of the key issues, lots of benchmarking on different issues, getting questions in advance. Um, we’re still doing some of that with some of the key groups, you know, a lot of questions about, you know, face coverings and how folks are dealing with that. Um, testing for workers, uh, how that all companies are all dealing with that common issues. Yes.

Scott Luton (00:40:00):

So we’re hoping lights, I’m hoping one of the silver linings of the, of the pandemic age in 2020 will be some of these areas that while it’s gotten attention and, and years and decades pass, it’s getting a lot more attention to this year. You met you, you just mentioned a LA a lot of issues, namely for, for us, that worker safety, you know, supply chain work, uh, all workers safety, but, you know, retail and supply chain worker safety, for sure. Do you think that there’s some of your efforts that once we get into the post pandemic, that it’ll help, uh, create more stickiness and more sustained visibility on these big issues that maybe didn’t get all the attention we’d like for them to get in recent years?

Jon Gold (00:40:45):

Know, we certainly hope so. I mean, obviously for retail, their job number one is, is to protect the employee and the consumers. I think that is, you know, is going to continue. Um, obviously the supply chain had always been considered kind of that back office operation. You know, folks said, you know, Hey, we bought the good, just get it to where it needs to go. And, you know, nobody really thought about it until there was some kind of emergency. Um, but now it’s it’s front and center. Um, you know, again, going back, you know, when Scott, you know, he gets thrust into the spotlight when you’ve got things like a port strike and, you know, you can’t get your, you have your cargo, but now it’s so different because it was looking at, you know, this started in January in China and you had obviously factories in China where it was shut down and to go off and to get back up and running.

Jon Gold (00:41:29):

Obviously you had limited new years, they will shut down anyway, but that in folks taking a look at what does this mean? And as the, you know, the virus kind of starts spreading, you know, across the globe and then folks really understood the, the overall impact, um, that supply chain is such a, such a key piece of this to make sure that the wheels continue. Um, and, you know, as you noted early on some of the you’re out of stock, things that, that we saw and close to understand why, why were they out of stock? And how do we address that? Um, you know, we’ve talked previously about, you know, all the issues surrounding China and kind of the sourcing in China. Again, can talk shipped out of China while, you know, there’s been a push over the past couple of years because of the ongoing trade war.

Jon Gold (00:42:12):

Um, you know, this is going to speed up some folks to re-examine their, their supply chains and see where they can shift some of the product again, to have that, that supply chain diversification, uh, you know, we always talk about making sure you don’t have all your eggs in one basket, and this is really proving why, why you can’t have that. You’ve got, gotta be able to move in and be quick to pick up the Slack. And, you know, part of this too, is making sure that your partners are, you know, I was involved in this process as well. You know, you’ve got to make sure you talk, you’re not just internally within your company, that all of you are all aligned, but making sure that your, your vendors, your transportation partners are all on the same page with you as well. When you’ve got to react quickly, uh, to make that shift,

Greg White (00:42:53):

As you said, supply chain is I’m paraphrasing is in the forefront. Like it’s never been before. And not just from a, when you’re, when you’re overstocked, it’s your fault when you’re out of stock, it’s your fault. And if anything happens to go right, thank goodness to the sales team kind of way, it’s also, it’s also a valuable part of a company’s brand identity, right? I mean, we talk about an in the news lately has been the Jinjiang province and all of the bad deeds going on in China and India with human slavery and, and, um, all of that sort of thing. And that along with sustainability and other fair trade issues, those are impacting retailers, identities, and, and brands, identities, and the supply chain is the key link for accountability and action on those things. So it’s interesting how supply chain has come to the fore.

Greg White (00:43:51):

And now, as you said, not just a back office thing, it’s right up there in the front with selling and marketing and store operations. And I think the more, the companies that really recognize that will be the ones that are successful. So I just wanted to get one, you’ve shared a lot of observations for, you know, over the last year and that sort of thing. So it makes me curious to ask this question is what do you feel are maybe one or two of the biggest learnings, aha moments, Eureka moments that you’ve had about retail in 2020? I mean, I think that one

Jon Gold (00:44:32):

Of the biggest ones is that things are constantly changing. There’s, there’s no ability to kind of rest on your laurels. You’ve got to be able to grow and learn as quickly as possible because things are changing on a daily basis. And those that aren’t willing to change and change quickly are going to get left by the wayside. Unfortunately, I think you’re seeing that.

Greg White (00:44:50):

Yeah, it’s, it’s happening, isn’t it? Yeah.

Jon Gold (00:44:53):

Yeah. And I think you’ve seen some, the way companies adapted early along, you know, especially those that were deemed essential and how quickly they were able to move and keep their, their supply chains moving, um, has, has been important. And hopefully folks can, can learn from some of that. I think one of the, you know, the biggest challenge we had early on was that distinction between central versus non essential businesses. Um, you know, I think one of the messages is we’re trying to put out there as well, is that as long as you are a business that is operating safely and ensuring you’ve got the right protection, protective measures in place for your, your workers and your consumers, you know, we’ve gotta be careful how these, these shutdowns move forward because they are putting businesses out of business because of that. Um, you know, for a lot of companies that were shut down.

Jon Gold (00:45:42):

Yeah. They had online sales that grew significantly, but it doesn’t make up for that real, you know, the in store retail experience, which is such a key part of this. And I think that that’s still going to change going forward because whatever company Institute now is with the social distancing, I think it’s going to continue for, for awhile. And I think we all know that, you know, pay down at planning has been part of that planning in the past. You know, when you look at things like the avian flu and things like that that had hit, uh, you know, prior, but nothing like this, I think now, uh, you know, Penn dental clinics would be a big part of that supply chain planning as well, and that all hazards approach, uh, going forward. So it’s, I mean, a lot of lessons learned going forward on how to operate and how to deal with the consumer expectation going forward. I think a lot of consumers are itching to get back into, into stores, but they wanna make sure it’s done in a, in a safe manner that they’re, they feel protected and that the employees is protected as well.

Greg White (00:46:42):

You know, interestingly we had, um, we just had a law pass here in our state, um, excluding, um, service org stores, basically from obligation, if someone can tracks COVID in the store, um, or con or, um, exposes it, whatever somebody’s minority protections. Right. Right. Um, and I wonder if, do you think something like that is coming for the States overall or retail in general?

Jon Gold (00:47:19):

Yeah. I mean, we, we certainly hope that there’s gonna be some kind of limited viability it’s included in the next, uh, Corona, uh, Kobe bill that it’s being debated in Congress. And it’s been talked about, you know, we certainly feel that there needs to be limited liability protection for those companies that are doing the right thing. Um, and trying to make sure that they’ve got, you know, social distancing in place, cleaning in place, the requirement, the way that, you know, face coverings, if those companies are doing the right thing, you know, they want to make sure they can open it and doing the safe manner. And if there’s that, you know, a threat for some litigation, you know, it’s going to be a problem for folks. So again, we want to make sure that just, you know, the bad actors aren’t covered as part of this, you know, but if you’re doing the right thing and following the CDC guidelines and other local and state requirements, you know, you should be able to open up the fear of retribution, but, you know, it’s a, it’s a highly debated issue. Um, you know, we certainly are supportive of something, again, limited my ability that’s included in a package going forward.

Scott Luton (00:48:21):

So will this apply? Do you think these kinds of measures will apply to other illnesses like pneumonia, which even this year has killed far more?

Jon Gold (00:48:30):

I, you know, I unclear, um,

Scott Luton (00:48:33):

It’s interesting, isn’t it? It’s this

Jon Gold (00:48:36):

Illness. Yeah. Um, you know, honestly I’m not a health expert, so I can’t, you know, talk about the differences between, you know, my COVID-19 and, you know, pneumonia, pneumonia, and the flu is so different and why they’ve been treated differently. But, um, you know, I think, you know, part of the issue though with COBIT is it’s still the unknown of the longterm impacts that it can have on you, you might recover, but you’re going to have definitely have longterm impacts

Scott Luton (00:49:04):

So much unknown about it, I guess, maybe that’s why we singled it out. Cause you know what I wonder about, and frankly, I’m a little bit fearful of is that this will apply to things like pneumonia or the flu or, or something like that, the common cold, right. I mean, if this becomes a ubiquitous, you better not go out in public. If you’re sick thing, I could see that having a significant impact on commerce.

Jon Gold (00:49:30):

Oh. Without a doubt, without a doubt, but not just commerce, but just, you know, business operations as a whole now. Yeah. Yeah. And I think, you know, things, things are certainly going to change going forward. I think again, all the unknowns and not knowing how this is all gonna kind of shake out. Um, yeah.

Scott Luton (00:49:49):

Let me ask you a question, sidebar question and just get you to, uh, chime in a bit based on your experiences and a lot of the thought leadership conversations that the committees that you were describing are having whatnot. Um, there’s been some, uh, know 20, 20 it’s been a challenging year for, for any sector. Right. Retail certainly has had, uh, um, is, is no, um, is not hardest hit. Yeah, exactly. So, you know, we were, we were, Greg and I were, were diving into a really neat article within the last couple of weeks, uh, that was talking about how, you know, uh, as you see the, the ups and the downs, the ebbs and flows in every sector, there was a time when department stores, right, that had, had all the goodies, they had all the buzz and the cache and you couldn’t get things, but there, and it just, there had this magnetic magnetism that, um, you know, they really enjoy it.

Scott Luton (00:50:48):

It’s good times. And then as consumer behaviors change, as internet comes around, as, as other, you know, you name it on a shortage of faculty at discount retailers, the number of factors, um, you know, successful retailers are having to get creative, uh, to, to say the least about their approach. Um, do y’all is that one of the roles that the NRF has is, is helping regardless of the size, right? Everyone can’t be the dominant global, uh, you know, Walmart, right. Um, but everyone almost to a, um, to a T has to figure out a new approach to be, to be relevant in 2020, and really beyond, it’s not even about 2020 anymore. It’s about next year, next five years. Is that one of the, one of the roles that you all have in RF to really help drive those, those innovative conversations?

Jon Gold (00:51:44):

Yeah. Without a doubt. And that’s all part of the conferences and programming and content that we do is, is a lot of that, you know, what’s working now and what’s working in the future and, you know, the, the show floor, you know, you look at the big show, you know, years ago, you know, it used to be, you know, how to sell your goods to, in a retail store. It’s not that kind of product show anymore. It’s an, it’s a tech show, to be honest, it’s all about retail operations. And how do you make yourself, you know, go in the future now and in the future? Um, you know, I think the one thing about retail is that we tell is always evolving. Uh, you know, I think we talked last time about the retail apocalypse that our Lee keeps keeps talking about. I’ll scare to say that John.

Jon Gold (00:52:25):

Yeah. But you know, just like every industry it’s, you know, retail is going through an evolution and obviously, you know, Kobe has really impacted that evolution. And, you know, again, retailers are changing to meet that consumer demand. I think those that are able to shift and change quickly, um, you know, I’m going to be in a better position than me. There’s a lot of talk now about, you know, all kind of automation and kind of AI that’s coming into play and how that’s being utilized. Um, so it’s, yeah, I mean, that’s one of the things that we do through the different, again, meetings that we do, the committees and councils, um, uh, benchmarking is providing that opportunity for retailers to learn from each other and learn from others on what’s happening in the market and you know, how they can meet the customer need, but now, and in the future.

Scott Luton (00:53:11):

Hmm. Yeah. That Greg, that has gotta be one, one of the most valuable components of the mission. You know, we think about all the, on the hardcore supply chain side, if, if we’re, if we’re kind of parsing things, we know how often leaders, regardless of how successful they are or what sector they’re in, or what node of the, of the Indian supply chain they’re in, they’re constantly looking for new ways of overcoming old and new challenges. And of course you’ve got the same, same, uh, challenges, leadership challenges in retail, too. Yeah. I mean, I think associations are our three things. Somebody wants called ACE to me right there. Uh, they are, um, advocacy, they are community and their education. And, and when you come, when you create a collective of those things, it uplifts the, the organizations that are members there and, you know, it really is true. And I’ve seen it firsthand with NRF particularly, really is true that the more you put into it, and I don’t necessarily mean money, sorry, John. But the more, the more you put into it in terms of, in terms of activity with the organization, the more you get out of it. So

Jon Gold (00:54:25):

Well, that’s, that’s absolutely right. I mean, we, you know, we encourage all of our members. I mean, we are a company based trade association, you know, we’re not individual memberships for the folks. So we certainly encourage when the company’s joined, they get all their key leaders, uh, involved in the organization because there’s so many different paths you can take and learnings and different groups participate in to help you do your job. Um, so we think it’s integral that we, you know, reaches as why to the community as possible.

Scott Luton (00:54:53):

All right. So you, you mentioned the, uh, so the big show, 35,000 people, gosh, John normous, uh, rescheduled for June, 2021, that’s, that’s always exciting. Uh that’s that keeps NRF on folks’ radar beyond all of the great things you’re doing, but the next big event, I think you mentioned just, just make sure our listeners, um, understand the opportunity, his own like cyber security,

Jon Gold (00:55:18):

NRF protect, which is our big loss prevention and cybersecurity, uh, conference. Um, you know, loss prevention is a huge, huge issue for the retail industry. Um, you know, protecting the, the store, the worker and the brand, uh, is critical to that. So it’s not always interesting, uh, a fun conference to go to a lot of learnings there on, you know, how to make sure you’re protecting all of your assets, uh, within the retail retail environment. So, uh, obviously cyber over the past couple of years has really grown, um, as a major threat. And obviously, you know, now with, you know, as e-commerce continues to grow, uh, all the challenges that, that, that, that brings, you know, we tell shrink continues to be a major issue. Um, you know, we tell theft, uh, organized retail crime. It needs to be a, you know, almost a billion dollar issue, um, you know, product being stolen from the store and we sold other, you know, online or somewhere else. Um, so all these different challenges that companies are facing, and obviously the challenges from, from Kobe, how you’re protecting the store and, you know, we’ve all seen the articles and the clips of, you know, those who don’t want to wear a mask. Um, and some are becoming the violence or how do you deescalate, um, those kinds of situations?

Scott Luton (00:56:31):

Well, does anyone really like wearing a mask? I gotta tell ya, I hate wearing a mask, but we, you know, we kinda, if we can’t, um, uh, socially distance, you kinda take one for the team. I, I hate it just like the next person does, you know, I can’t believe you said that’s getting violent. That’s really happening. I mean, I’ve seen some people going ape Dukey in sores before, but if they actually,

Jon Gold (00:56:57):

They have, they have, there are plenty of clips out there and it’s amazing. And again, you know, Scott, you talked early on about the gratitude for the retail worker. You know, these guys are just doing their job. And again, if you know the wearing the mask and it’s not for you, it’s for them protect them for doing their job, you have to be in a store for just five minutes, but where I’m asked to protect the workup, you know, they’re, they’re doing the service to make sure you’re getting what you need, you know, where the mass for that, it’s not fair for them wear it for yourself. Exactly, exactly.

Scott Luton (00:57:25):

Right. Cause you don’t know what anyone else right. Is carrying in the store. That’s right. I appreciate you, you coming back and ever the last hour kind of refreshing some of from an insider’s take and really from a broad scope takes, there’s so much going on in retail. Um, and of course you only get certain things and news cycles. I love the, uh, you know, really the true industry thought leadership, the NRF drives across everything that’s taking place at retail and NRF. And that we’re going to ask you, of course, John, um, where our listeners can connect with you and also learn more about NRF. Where were those, where would that be?

Jon Gold (00:58:05):

So obviously the best place to learn about NRF is our website, www.nrf.com. I’m obviously extremely active on social media as well. So on Twitter at, and at NRF news, um, LinkedIn, uh, national retail Federation, and then, you know, to, to contact me, my email address, uh, is, uh, gold j@nrf.com. So last name first initial@nrf.com and welcome, welcome any emails from any of your viewers out there.

Scott Luton (00:58:34):

Well, this has been really have enjoyed this. Uh, we’ve been chatting with Jonathan gold, vice president supply chain and customs policy with the national retail Federation NRF, uh, the, uh, the famous group behind the big show, which would be it’s scheduled for June, 2021. I’m sorry, John. I keep, I love saying that it’s, it’s the, it’s the eighties wrestling fan in me. I don’t. Um, but thanks so much for your time, Greg, what, I mean, I know we couldn’t get to everything with John today, but some of your key takeaways, um, well, first of all, I’m a big fan of this organization. I mean, this is, you know, Scott, how I generally feel about associations. This one is doing it right. Um, and, and for the right reasons and it, it was started

Greg White (00:59:22):

By retailers and, and, uh, you know, I’ve just admired what they’ve done for so many years. Having been to the big show so many times, I guess I thought it was 75,000 people, because it seems like it, John, when you’re trying to get a sandwich at the Javits, right. Or a cab out front, right. To get back to your hotel. Um, but I mean, think about the power of an organization that can get 35,000 people to come to New York city in January, right after the Christmas holiday. Right. I mean, when everyone is, would really like to just take a deep breath, they are getting back and getting intensive and, and, um, look an organization like this is particularly powerful. And what John does specifically in terms of customs policy is particularly pertinent right now, because there are inherent security issues and there are trade and trade war issues.

Greg White (01:00:20):

And, and there are dramatic changes going on right now. So this kind of advocacy is really important. I wanted to ask you John, from some of the things that you said, if you’re a lawyer, but I sense that you’re not, but you deal with laws all day long. So, so congratulations. Thank you. And I’m sorry, uh, you know, that you have to deal with laws and lawmakers all the time, but, uh, thanks for the advocacy for the retail organization. Really thank you for what NRF does to help uplift retail. Absolutely. Well put Greg as always. And, uh, John, thanks for your time listeners to connect with, with John gold, we’re going to have, uh, uh, the links in the show notes and make it really easy and convenient. And of course, uh, if, if, if you can’t wait, you can go to nrf.com and you can find whatever you’re looking for there, including these events that John spoke about. So really appreciate, uh, John Gold’s time with the NRF, Greg. Uh, thanks for co-hosting today’s show, um, to our listeners. Thanks for tuning in, you know, your why, w w why we do what we do. Um, you can find out more information about us, a lot more thought leadership, a lot more live streams and podcasts. [inaudible] radio.com on behalf of Greg white, Scott loot, and the whole team here, challenge our audience cycle. Challenge ourselves. Hey, do good. Give forward, be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see, next time here.

Would you rather watch the show in action?  Watch as Scott and Greg welcome Jon Gold to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.

Jonathan Gold is vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation. In this role, Gold is a primary spokesperson and is responsible for representing the retail industry before Congress and the administration on supply chain, international trade, product safety and customs-related issues impacting the retail industry. While with NRF, he has been a leading advocate of the value of trade and global value chains to the U.S. economy. Prior to joining NRF, Gold served as a policy analyst in the Office of Policy and Planning for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He joined CBP in May 2006 and was responsible for providing policy guidance on issues surrounding maritime cargo security and trade-related matters. Gold also worked on implementation issues surrounding the SAFE Port Act and other issues within the agency including CBP intelligence reform, pandemic flu and trade facilitation.

Before joining CBP, Gold spent nearly a decade with the Retail Industry Leaders Association holding several government relations positions including director and then vice president of international trade policy before being named vice president of global supply chain policy in January 2005. Gold currently serves on the Department of Commerce’s Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness. He has previously served on the Department of Homeland Security’s Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee and on the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Advisory Committee on Distribution Services. Gold holds a bachelor’s degree in international business with a concentration in finance from American University in Washington, D.C.

Greg White serves as Principal & Host at Supply Chain Now. Greg is a founder, CEO, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits. He recently joined Trefoil Advisory as a Partner to further their vision of stronger companies by delivering practical solutions to the highest-stakes challenges. Prior to Trefoil, Greg served as CEO at Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Greg is most known for founding Blue Ridge Solutions and served as President & CEO for the Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader of cloud-native supply chain applications that balance inventory with customer demand. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics, and E3 Corporation, where he pioneered their cloud supply chain offering in 1998. In addition to his work at Supply Chain Now and Trefoil, rapidly-growing companies leverage Greg as an independent board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies rapidly align vision, team, market, messaging, product, and intellectual property to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams to create breakthroughs that gain market exposure and momentum, and increase company esteem and valuation. Learn more about Trefoil Advisory: www.trefoiladvisory.com


Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now. 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. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about Supply Chain Now here: https://supplychainnowradio.com/


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