Supply Chain Management
track speakers

The conference runs from 7:00 am to 4:45 pm.

After the Opening Keynote, Networking Break and Strategic Briefings, the Supply Chain Management Track offers an exceptional group of speakers:

10:20–10:25 am
Wayne Thompson

Track Introduction

Wayne Thompson
Practice Director, UWEBC

10:25–11:00 am
Balika Sonthalia A.T. Kearney

The Tables Have Turned.
Are You Their Customer of Choice?

Balika Sonthalia
Vice President, A.T. Kearney

In 2017, we warned everyone of the uncertainty before us in the logistics market. Since then, companies continued to accelerate with growth plans and now with an upbeat economy supply markets have become tighter, as a result, we see a very steep grade ahead of us in the US logistics market. So with this recent turbulence in the market, how are companies meeting their customer expectations in the current capacity crisis? Join this session to hear from the experts.

Balika Sonthalia is sponsored by WMEP.

About Balika »

Balika Sonthalia is Vice President with A.T. Kearney based in Chicago and has been with the firm since 2010. She is a thought leader with a track record of 10 years of creating sustainable operational and financial impact at organizations. She specializes in supply chain and logistics working with Fortune 100 clients on enterprise-wise supply chain and cost transformations in most B2B and B2C industries including chemicals, automotive, retail, consumer products, medical devices and telco.

At A.T. Kearney, Balika is a co-leader of the analytics practice, which is a group of more than 300 specialists that are disrupting the traditional consulting model.

Balika holds a B.Tech. in electronics and communication from the University of Mumbai and an MBA from the Carnegie Mellon University. Balika has a passion for helping her clients and her firm. In 2016, the Consulting Magazine recognized her with the prestigious Future Women's Leader Award in North America.

11:05–11:40 am
Gene Seroka Port of LA

Leveraging Technology to Optimize Our Complex Supply Chain

Gene Seroka
Executive Director, Port of Los Angeles

As containerized trade rapidly evolves, ocean carriers are merging or creating strategic alliances to survive and achieve greater scales of economy. In turn, major ports are investing billions of dollars in landside infrastructure and equipment to accommodate a new generation of ultra-efficient massive ships and achieve higher levels of efficiency across the supply chain. Investment in “digital infrastructure” is also an emerging necessity. In this session, Gene will discuss how ports and supply chain providers are leveraging the industrial Internet of Things, big data technology, next-gen analytics and machine learning in order to achieve new levels of efficient, origin-to-destination trade flow. As this era of 21st Century technology unfolds, we must develop solutions to secure data and protect the technology underpinnings of our supply chain.

About Gene »

Gene Seroka is the Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles, the busiest container port in North America. As Executive Director, Gene is responsible for managing a budget of more than $1 billion, advancing major capital projects, growing trade volumes and promoting innovative, sustainable practices that strengthen the region’s economy. His duties involve interacting with a wide range of stakeholders, including Port customers around the globe, industry partners, elected and appointed officials at all levels, harbor area residents and business leaders.

Gene brings more than 28 years of experience in shipping, global logistics and executive management. After several key overseas positions for American President Lines (APL) Limited, he returned to the U.S. in 2010 to become President – Americas for the shipping line. Throughout his career, he played a key role in global marketing and corporate strategies for APL.

Over the years, Gene has held various positions in sales and management with increasing responsibility and high-level assignments all over the world. Gene has an MBA and bachelor of science in marketing from the University of New Orleans.

11:45 am–12:10 pm
Kristen Daihes Opex Analytics

What Supply Chain Leaders Need to Know About Analytics and Artificial Intelligence

Kristen Daihes
Partner, Opex Analytics

What is analytics? What is machine learning? What is artificial intelligence? This session will answer these questions and outline what business leaders need to know. We will walk through practical use cases to spark possibilities for you to consider in your organization and share recommendations on how to compete in the world of AI.

About Kristen »

Kristen Daihes is a Partner with Opex Analytics, LLC, an advanced analytics company. She provides firm leadership and solves complex business problems for her clients using innovative algorithms to transform operations. She is a subject matter expert in supply chain strategy and planning. Throughout her career, Kristen has been responsible for leading focused transformation initiatives to develop capabilities and infrastructure to create value across enterprises, enabling growth while driving improvement in customer service and inventory.

Previously, as Vice President of Global Supply Chain for SC Johnson, Kristen had direct responsibility for planning in more than 20 factories and hundreds of third party manufacturers, as well as operations of over 100 warehouses globally. Prior to SC Johnson, she led global supply chain sourcing and capacity activities to support Wrigley, a subsidiary of Mars. She also held strategic planning, innovation and engineering roles in Unilever and Procter & Gamble. Kristen earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University.

2:10–2:45 pm
Eric Johnson Journal of Commerce

A Global View of Supply Chain Risk

Eric Johnson
Senior Editor, Technology, Journal of Commerce

Global shippers are accustomed to a certain level of chaos and disruption, but even hardened vets are scratching their heads these days. Tariff wars, economic uncertainty, new disruptive technology startups, and the ever-present threat in the background – Amazon. They all weigh heavily on importers’ and exporters’ minds, alongside the usual worries, like freight rates, capacity, and other periodic logistics disruptions. So how are these shippers supposed to manage all this risk? This session will examine how shippers should prepare their organizations from an internal and external perspective to cope with environments that are only getting more complex. Often, the answer is to turn technologies that are aiming to improve every facet of supply chain, but it often starts with an internal focus on improving data quality. Using JOC data and our experience speaking to a wide array of freight transportation stakeholders, this session will focus on how to better manage the risk that isn’t going away.

About Eric »

Eric Johnson is Senior Editor, Technology at the Journal of Commerce (JOC), where he leads coverage and analysis of technology’s impact on global logistics and trade. Eric regularly reports on how shippers, carriers across all modes and logistics companies use software, as well as new concepts impacting core freight transportation processes like procurement, execution, visibility and payment. Johnson is a regular presenter and moderator at industry events and webinars. Prior to joining the JOC, Eric spent 13 years with American Shipper in a variety of roles, most recently covering the logistics tech landscape and leading the production of a series of benchmark studies on the logistics industry.

Eric has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in international business from the University of Leeds, UK. He has lived and worked in Southern California, the UK and India, and now resides in the Washington, DC area.

2:50–3:25 pm
Mike Perrotti Lands' End

Reducing Lead Times From Product Inception to Final Delivery, Lands’ End’s Journey

Mike Perrotti
Vice President, Strategic Operations and Sourcing, Lands' End

With customer expectations and competitors bringing product to market more quickly, lead times are ever shrinking. This has always been true in seasonal goods, especially in the fashion arena. Mike will take us through the processes reducing Lands’ End’s lead time. Their journey started with acquiring better market intelligence, high-quality prototypes and holding fewer, more effective meetings. Once that was in place, he will discuss how they focused their product, allowed ideas to come in early and brought together innovative and coherent product lines. Mike will then talk about some core principles they put in place to ensure success, clarity and consistency momentum, all while tackling increasing complexity. Finally, he will bring it full circle and demonstrate what the Lands’ End team needed to bring to the table: support from all levels, discipline and accountability.

About Mike »

Mike Perrotti is a seasoned global supply chain executive with more than 18 years of experience in the apparel industry who delivers rapid, measurable and sustainable results that improve total supply chain performance and strategy. He brings a wealth of experience with particular strengths in sourcing, new product development, manufacturing, continuous improvement and operational excellence.

Mike has led various supply chain, production/sourcing and inventory teams with a proven track record of achieving significant company and departmental goals and objectives. His teams have also delivered multi-million-dollar savings and reduced overall product lifecycle times by more than 25 percent.

When not working, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife, golfing, hunting, riding his Harley-Davidson and visiting his four children who live all across the U.S. Mike graduated from Edinboro University and is a proud U.S. Army Veteran.


The Supply Chain Management Track is sponsored :



Steering Committee members provide guidance on track content, topic suggestions and speaker selection. Thank you to the 2018 Supply Chain Management Track Steering Committee:

Jim KathsihtisJim Katsihtis
Director of Logistics
Sub-Zero Group, Inc.

Tom MoenThomas Moen
Senior Sourcing Manager
J.J. Keller & Associates

Michael NasifMichael Nasif
Director – Logistics Kitchen/Bath Americas & Corporate Transportation
Kohler Co.

Wayne ThompsonWayne Thompson
Supply Chain Management Practice Director


Download the UWEBC Annual Conference app for all of the details you need to know to prepare for the day, including personalizing your own agenda with the track sessions that you don't want to miss.

The Day At a Glance

Your day at the Business Best Practices & Emerging Technologies Conference is packed with content:

7:00-8:00 am Registration and Networking
8:00-9:30 am Opening Session and Keynote featuring Rich Karlgaard
9:30-10:20 am Networking Break & Strategic Briefings
(Strategic Briefings are from 9:45 to 10:10 am)
10:20 am -12:20 pm Track Sessions in Lecture Hall
12:20-1:20 pm Lunch & Table Topics
1:30-2:05 pm Networking Break & Strategic Briefings
(Strategic Briefings are from 1:30-1:55 pm)
2:05-3:25 pm Track Sessions in Lecture Hall
3:35-4:35 pm Closing Keynote featuring Noelle Pikus Pace
4:35-4:45 pm Raffle and Conference closes

Sponsors Banner
American Family Insurance logo

CUNA Mutual Group
EDCi  logo


Mediasite by Sonic Foundry

Video On Demand Partner

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Center for Professional and Executive Development

Kohl's Center for Retailing

Engineering Professional Development

Office of Business Engagement

Interested in sponsoring?

Contact Lori Wilson, Marketing and Communications Director | 608-890-2449