Supply Chain Now Radio Episode 86

Supply Chain Now Radio, Episode 86
“SCNR Live from Birmingham, AL: Part One”
Broadcast Live from the University of Alabama at Birmingham

LaVada Varner serves as Center Director for the Birmingham and Sumiton Centers Region with Alabama Technology Network (ATN). These two centers are hosted by Jefferson State Community College (Birmingham), Lawson State Community College (Birmingham), Bevill State Community College (Sumiton), and Shelton State Community College (Sumiton) respectively. During the 13 years with ATN, she has been Center Director for seven years and six years as Project Engineer. As the Center Director, LaVada collaborates and grows partnerships with the stakeholders in its educational systems, businesses, and industries for Central Six Regional Workforce Council (Region 4) and West Alabama Workforce Regional Workforce Council (Region 3).  In addition to growing the ATN brand & services as part of Alabama Community College System (ACCS), she has developed and coordinated processes for The Alabama Manufacturer Of The Year and Automotive Supplier of The Year Awards. LaVada is an advocate for the ongoing awareness of MFG DAY, Alabama Literacy Alliance, Central Alabama Literacy Council, and Collaborative Environmental Network of Alabama (C.E.N.A).  Combined with 20 years of experience from the automotive industry, she has numerous certificates from Lean/Production Systems, ISO Quality Management Systems, Energy, and Green Enterprise Development. LaVada is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt; she has earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Alabama, and she has a MBA in Global Management from the University of Phoenix. Learn more about the Alabama Technology Network here:

Alan Hill is the Executive Director for the Alabama Productivity Center, a part of the Culverhouse College of Commerce and the University of Alabama. Alan earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters of Engineering Degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Upon completing his bachelor’s degree in 1988 he accepted a Project Engineering position with Boeing Aerospace and Engineering in Huntsville, Alabama working on the Space Station program. Then in 1991 Alan joined Zurn Air Systems Division in Birmingham, Alabama as a Project and Technical Sales Engineer in their Custom Industrial Fan Department. During this time he worked extensively with many manufacturing organizations throughout the United States and abroad. After seven years with Zurn he joined the Alabama Technology Network (ATN). During his 14 years with this organization he served as Project Engineer, Program Manager and Center Director providing innovative and sustainable solutions to Alabama business and industry. This experienced prepared him for his current position as Executive Director of the University of Alabama’s Alabama Productivity Center. He has worked on many productivity improvement projects with a variety of industries including healthcare, automotive, aerospace, metal, and chemical. He is a Lean-Six Sigma Black Belt and holds certifications in a variety of quality management systems, environmental management systems, health and safety management systems, and lean manufacturing. In addition to supporting the state’s economic development initiatives and leading a team of highly talented staff; Alan uses his years of industry experience to support University student internships that provide valuable experiential leaning opportunities to the next generation of industry leaders. In his spare time, Alan likes to restore cars with his son. Learn more about the Alabama Productivity Center here:

Desland Robinson is a seasoned career professional serving as the UAB School of Engineering Career Center Director who believes in training our students like an engineer! ‘Train Like an Engineer’ has become her motto in every touch point Desland has with students at UAB School of Engineering. Through various professional development sessions, the goal is to prepare students in designing a career for themselves by the time they graduate. Desland leads several workshops, career chats, and events on campus to introduce the importance of students marketing and branding themselves through the resumes, interviewing skills, networking, mock interviews, etc. Desland also helps to build and maintain relationships with small to large organizations through employer outreach within the Birmingham and surrounding area. She is not limited to just Birmingham as she has travelled as far as D.C. to learn more about the culture and environment of a partnering employer in the central intelligence industry. The belief in building strong relationships with industry has led to providing several opportunities within the power industry, automotive manufacturing, automation, electrical design, aerospace, etc. Desland graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Management. This degree opened up to her a world of opportunities about how to connect with people! Her desire was to work in human resources, which she did as a recruiter and generalist for companies like Protective Life Insurance Co. and Daxko. Those experiences led her to further fulfilling a passion in helping to impact the development skills sets needed to be prepared for opportunities within industry. Her work in the higher education sector for both for-profit and traditional university has led to a very fulfilling career. Her greatest satisfaction is hearing from students and graduates who have successfully landed an internship, co-op, research or full-time position within the engineering industry. When not trying to fill the skills gap one UAB Engineering graduate at a time, Desland likes to spend time with her husband, Everett, by binging on Netflix after their 5 year old daughter and 2 year old son have been tucked in for the night. Connect with Desland Robinson on LinkedIn and learn more about UAB here:

Barika McNeal Hamilton is a Productivity Engineer with the University of Alabama Productivity Center. The APC is a non-profit organization, housed within the Culverhouse School of Business, that enhances economic and workforce development. Barika has 17 years of logistics and business leadership experience, mostly in the automotive industry. Barika is a proud Alabama A&M University graduate and has an MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

Prior to joining APC, Barika was a Group Logistics Manager for Ryder System Inc. and worked with the company for 14 years. While at Ryder, Barika led multiple teams that provided inbound transportation and crossdocking solutions to Honda Manufacturing of America and Otis Elevator. In her current role, Barika is a consultant to industry providing business, coaching and training assistance. Barika holds the APICS Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) credential and teaches Supply Chain Management 101 to Birmingham area high school students enrolled in the Ready to Work Program.  When she is not working, Barika enjoys spending time with her husband Ronald Sr., son RJ and daughter Justise-Monroe. Connect with Barika McNeal Hamilton on LinkedIn and learn more about the Alabama Productivity Center here:

Scott W. Luton is the founder 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 currently serves as Executive Vice President of APICS Atlanta and was recently named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive. 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 serves on the advisory board for the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. He also serves as an advisor with TalentStream, a leading recruiting & staffing firm based in the Southeast. Connect with Scott Luton on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter at @ScottWLuton.

Upcoming Events & Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Learn more about the University of Alabama at Birmingham:
Learn more about Women in Trucking Accelerate! Conference: click here
Learn more about the Association for Supply Chain Management:
SCNR’s Scott Luton at Verusen event on “Digital Innovation & Intelligence”: click here
APICS Atlanta CSCP and CLTD Boot Camps at Georgia Tech: click here
Georgia Manufacturing Summit on October 9th:
Learn more about Supply Chain 101:
Check out SCNR on YouTube: click here
EFT 3PL & Supply Chain Summit: click here