Where’s Willie?
#20 Understanding the Real Value and Role of E-commerce with Ken Ott, Co-Founder of Metacake

#20 Understanding the Real Value and Role of E-commerce with Ken Ott, Co-Founder of Metacake

July 23, 2020

Today Willie's digital travels take him Nashville, Tennessee to chat with author, speaker, and co-founder of Metacake, Ken Ott! Metacake is an e-commerce growth team who have helped many influential brands all over the world to achieve healthy growth in online sales. The company provides coaching, one-on-one services, as well as guides and courses for businesses of all sizes. In addition to this, Ken is also the host of the Agency Exposed Podcast, where he talks all about his business strategies and philosophies with a variety of guests. In our conversation today, Ken lays out his 'anything can happen' approach to business and we talk about how the e-commerce side of things can fit into a holistic perspective for any business. Ken unpacks exactly what Metacake does with their clients and how much this can aid their bottom line and sustainability. This conversation falls in the current climate of the pandemic, which underlines the value of what Metacake does and Ken reminds us that all businesses need to be flexible and ready for upheavals of this sort. Ken talks about the coaching they do, what this role means to him, and the buy-in that is needed in order to fully adopt an e-commerce platform. At the end of our chat, Ken also shares some great online resources from Metacake and directs listeners on how they begin their journey and get in contact with the company!

#19 Helping Manufacturers Save More Money with Brian Nunes of APS Payments

#19 Helping Manufacturers Save More Money with Brian Nunes of APS Payments

July 22, 2020

Stopping off in Mesa, Arizona for today's chat, Willie hosts Brian Nunes of APS Payments to talk about the amazing ways the company can save money for manufacturing companies! Brian has more than 20 years of e-commerce experience, and we get to hear all about how he brings that expertise into his work at APS. Our guest breaks down Level 3 rates and the issue of ignorance around them, explaining how they apply directly to the manufacturing sector. Brian also shares his special guarantee offer for a payout from APS if they are not able to save you money! That part of the conversation is worth the price of admission alone! We also get into the markets that APS service and the limits of their reach, we talk about PCI compliance, the future of e-commerce and what it means for manufacturing companies to bounce back from the current downturn. Brian does an amazing job of walking us through what he does with his customers, and just how much this can improve customer experience on the other side. Listeners can expect to learn a great deal and have more than one reason to call up Brian and APS after this episode!

#18 From Veteran to Business-owner with VETtoCEO

#18 From Veteran to Business-owner with VETtoCEO

June 25, 2020

Today, we’re talking with the veterans of VETtoCEO, a nonprofit organization that supports veterans and transitioning military members to succeed in business ownership. We meet the co-founders, Michael Horn and John Panaccione, the First Executive Director, Monty Heath, and current Executive Director, Rob Campbell. Michael served as an Airborne Ranger for 21 years in the US Army, and also owns Brothers Body and Equipment, a specialty vehicle manufacturer in Galion, Ohio. John served 6 years on active duty as a US Army Officer, mostly as a Paratrooper and Jumpmaster in the 82nd airborne division. John is also the co-founder and CEO of LogicBay, working with leading companies to develop and implement strategies for scaling indirect sales channels, using a combination of services and technologies. Monty, the first Executive Director of VETtoCEO in 2017, is a veteran who served as a US Navy SEAL for over 10 years. Rob, VETtoCEO's current Executive Director, began his career in the Army as an Infantry Officer in 1990. He served in a variety of command and staff positions in a career spanning over 27 years. Rob has since written two books – At Ease and It’s Personal, Not Personnel – and found his calling as a business consultant. In this episode, we discuss VETtoCEO’s purpose and mission, advice for transitioning from military to entrepreneurial life, and the mindset shift necessary, as well as why manufacturing is sexy. Michael, John, Monty, and Rob highlight the importance of passion and share the opportunities and struggles with starting a veteran-owned business. They also outline some of their ideas for the future of the VETtoCEO curriculum, and tell listeners and potential investors how to support their cause, even in ways that aren’t monetary. Tune in to find out more about going from veteran to CEO!

#17 Carrying on Through the Pandemic with Mark McClure, from International Plastics

#17 Carrying on Through the Pandemic with Mark McClure, from International Plastics

June 18, 2020

Willie touches down in Greenville, South Carolina today to chat to Mark McClure, Vice President of International Plastics! The company is a second-generation family business and Mark has an immense 36 years of experience in the flexible packaging industry with an extensive resume of knowledge in the field. We get to hear about the history of the company, how it was started by Mark's father, the way it grew, and its current response to the pandemic and the instability of the industry, that is so prevalent. International Plastics has managed to continue to provide value to clients and stay open and functioning through this difficult time and Mark comments on the usefulness of tariffs in bolstering the domestic sector. We talk about the services that the company has provided this year and the plastics they have made to transport PPE during the health crisis. Mark also comments on tricky issues in the supply chain, the company's marketing strategy, approach to new business, and how all of this fits into their general mission statement. The last part of our conversation focusses on the future; Mark talks about the possibilities offered by digital printing and some exciting new products they are currently bringing out. So for all of this and a whole lot more, listen in today!

#16 Improving the Manufacturing Sector’s Marketing Strategies with James Soto

#16 Improving the Manufacturing Sector’s Marketing Strategies with James Soto

May 28, 2020

Today Willie's podcasting travels take to him Nashville, Tennessee, where we find James Soto, the CEO of Industrial Strength Marketing. James and his company fulfill a vital role that is often neglected and underplayed in the manufacturing sector - making sure that your company is marketing itself to its full potential! We discovered James on YouTube and instantly reached out to have him on the show because of the desperate need for more attention to this part of the manufacturing business. James' reputation speaks for itself. He has helped a huge number of companies get on track with their marketing and a lot of these are familiar to us here at Koganei! We hear from James about why there is such a dearth of expertise in this area and the issues that contribute to bad marketing. James shares some thoughts on how to become a leader in your space and upping the service that you offer to a sector of the market. For James, it is not about reaching everybody but instead making sure that you reach who you should be capturing! He aims to help companies improve communication, become more engaging and provide them with useful and actionable steps to grow their business. James is also dedicated to creating a cohesive community within the industry in a larger sense. Our guest underlines the power of analytics and just how much they can help marketers and the leaders of organizations in their endeavors. For all this very useful and necessary info from an industry powerhouse, be sure to join us!

#15 The Complete Toolbox for Selling to Distribution Channels with John Panaccione

#15 The Complete Toolbox for Selling to Distribution Channels with John Panaccione

May 21, 2020

Today Willie’s travels take him to Wilmington, North Carolina where he talks to John Panaccione, the CEO of LogicBay. John has over 18 years of experience, leading teams that focus on using technology to improve corporate performance. They help companies develop and implement strategies for scaling indirect sales channels using a combination of services and technologies offered by LogicBay. Before founding the company in 2003, John has led sales and marketing at Cognitive Arts, an innovative leader in high-end workplace simulation software. In this episode, John discusses the what, why, and how of their software solution, describing their product as a complete toolbox for manufacturers to sell to their distribution channels. But far from focusing only on the technological prowess of the LogicBay solution, he stresses the importance of correct implementation and integration with all other systems. Over the last few decades, the sales landscape has transitioned from a push to a pull strategy, and manufacturers need to gear themselves toward these changes and start thinking differently about their engagement with end customers—all of which take precedence in the LogicBay solution. In the sea of confusing software options, LogicBay sets itself apart through its transparency and clear communication around what manufacturing customers can and cannot expect from their offering. Be sure to tune in to learn more!

#14 Being Future-Ready with Jennifer Deamud, ED of the Manufacturing Growth Alliance

#14 Being Future-Ready with Jennifer Deamud, ED of the Manufacturing Growth Alliance

May 14, 2020

In this episode, Willie’s travels take him to Benton Harbour, Michigan, to talk with Jennifer Deamud – the executive director of the Manufacturing Growth Alliance (MGA). Jennifer has over twenty years’ experience leading teams, establishing strategic direction, and achieving operational excellence. Respected for helping organizations innovate, thrive, and grow, and known for optimizing resources to achieve core mission while satisfying stakeholders, Jennifer has a successful track record as a forward-thinking leader who has a passion to serve others. Jennifer earned a master’s degree in Public Administration and a second master’s degree in Communications from Grand Valley State University (GSVU). She participates on a number of national, state and community boards and, in her spare time, Jennifer is also a Girl Scout troop leader and mentor to women exiting jail through the New Beginnings program at the Women’s Resource Center. A very impressive portfolio! Today’s episode covers how Jennifer Deamud’s organization, the Manufacturing Growth Alliance (MGA), seeks to nurture and support second stage manufacturers in the state of Michigan – helping them get ‘future-ready’ by attracting both women and young people to the industry, even partnering with the education sector to ensure that training is provided for future talent! Jennifer also defines ‘opportunity zones’ in the state of Michigan and how attractive they are to manufacturing businesses. Finally, Willie and Jennifer discuss how the MGA helps small and second stage manufacturers, particularly those with 100 employees or less, through the various phases of their development, as well as six key areas that small manufacturers should consider in order to remain competitive. Tune in to this great episode today!

#13 The Benefits of Good Lead Management Systems with Larry White, CEO of Interlynx

#13 The Benefits of Good Lead Management Systems with Larry White, CEO of Interlynx

April 23, 2020

As we are in the COVID-19 jungle and are unable to meet face-to-face, finding new technologies that can get your product to customers may be just what you’re looking for. Today’s guest on the Where's Willie Podcast is Larry White. As CEO of Interlynx Systems, he might be able to help with the new challenges brought to the manufacturing industry by COVID-19. Interlynx is a sales lead management system that provides beautifully crafted sales leads every month. Their primary goal is to foster a better relationship between the manufacturer and distributor when it comes to lead management and they do this by optimizing and automating communications between the two that usually cause tension. Specifically, Interlynx offers lead management systems that provide data to each party that helps them more effectively pursue sales leads. We kick things off today hearing about how Larry got into the business of sales lead systems and then hear about some context regarding the logistics behind manufacturing a product and then distributing it to clients. Larry talks about the roles of each party and he lists some of the reasons they might not synchronize and how this affects the service they provide to customers. He gets into the ways that his product intervenes at each step to resolve these issues and the benefits this provides. Finally, we look at the current crisis and consider how manufacturers using a distribution model could solve the problem of growing using Larry’s services in the coming months. This leads to the subject of charitable work and Larry touches on some of the awesome community work he has already been doing as well as how he plans to extend it at present. Tune in and hear all about the benefits of lead management software to manufacturers, distributors, and customers from somebody that knows the business inside out!

#12 An Innovative Response to the COVID-19 Crisis with Shawn Kitchell, President and CEO of Madico

#12 An Innovative Response to the COVID-19 Crisis with Shawn Kitchell, President and CEO of Madico

April 9, 2020

Today we touch down in Florida to explore Madico Inc., a manufacturing and distribution company specializing in a broad range of protective, functional and decorative material-based solutions. Their CEO, Shawn Kitchell, joins us on the Where's Willie podcast today to talk about how they have transformed the company in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are aiming to aid those whose lives have been impacted by the crisis. Shawn and his team quickly pivoted their production line of coatings and laminates to suit the shortage of protective materials used in the relief of the coronavirus. Shawn has worked in the industry for more than 25 years and his experience has been essential to the huge operation of responding to these unprecedented circumstances. Shawn recently purchased a large new facility for the company with an eye on the future and the growth of Madico and he tells us about his ideas of having the company serve more market segments. Having graduated with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Management, Shawn has gone on to apply both Six Sigma and lean manufacturing principles in his impressive career. We finish off our conversation with Shawn sharing his thoughts on what this pandemic has taught him and Madico, and the effect it will have on their future. Join us to hear it all!

#11 Serving Society Through Energetic Manufacturing with Ryan Mannion of Coghlin Companies

#11 Serving Society Through Energetic Manufacturing with Ryan Mannion of Coghlin Companies

March 13, 2020

The destination of today's episode is Westborough, Massachusetts where we are talking to Ryan Mannion from Coghlin Companies. Ryan and Willie met in Boston recently and immediately hit it off, so it only makes sense that he would make an appearance on the podcast! Ryan holds a degree in business management and now works at Coghlin, a fourth-generation family company that does $400 million in annual revenue! On top of that they are servicing some of the coolest technology that America has produced and if you don't believe us, just wait till you hear what Ryan has to say! In this conversation, we cover the sexy side of manufacturing, the one that is often forgotten and gets left out of the conversation. We also get into the role of America as a leader in the hardware technology space and the centrality of the people involved in manufacturing and how they make all the difference! Ryan also shares what is special to him about building equipment and what excites him most about his current position in the industry. Coghlin Companies relies almost solely on refer-ability and Ryan explains their decision to not pursue trade shows and similar events. To hear from a great young and enthusiastic contributor to the exciting field of manufacturing, make sure to tune in!

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