In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Dwight Moore, CEO of TradePort, a leading eCommerce discusses Amazon reverse logistics and shares his life’s journey into eCommerce.
As an e-commerce business owner, you may have a company that offers particular products to consumers. As you know, one of the main pain points on your year-end balance sheet might be your returned stock. Stock that you have sitting in a warehouse somewhere losing value by the day. Yoni Mazor of PrimeTalk discusses the concept of reverse logistics and how it can be done in a way that is more environmentally friendly in order to protect our planet for generations to come.
In today’s episode, PrimeTalk has teamed up with Dwight Moore, the CEO of Tradeport, an innovative company that offers a multitude of services to its customers such as asset recovery, third-party logistics, consumer electronics test and repair, manufacturer warranty negotiation, internet marketing, and resale, and reverse logistics support. Their expertise is in what they refer to as “Reverse Synergistics” because they provide synergy to their partners to deliver excellence.
Dwight Moore talks today about his incredible journey from aerospace manufacturing to being bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. So if you’re an e-commerce business owner with an interest in improving your ROIs, then this episode is for you!
Visit TradePort for more information.
Learn about GETIDA’s Amazon FBA reimbursement solutions.
Find the Full Transcript Below
Yoni Mazor 0:06
Good morning, everybody. Welcome to another PrimeTalk episode. Today I’m really excited to have a special guest. I’m having Dwight Moore. He’s the CEO of Tradeport, which is a leading e-commerce reverse logistics company. He’s going to share with us more about it, but Dwight, welcome to the show!
Dwight Moore 0:23
Yoni Mazor 0:25
Good morning. Good morning. How’s everything?
Dwight Moore 0:28
Everything’s great. Thank you.
Yoni Mazor 0:31
Thank you for coming. Thank you for your time. So you’re based out of, correct me if I’m wrong, in New Hampshire?
Dwight Moore 0:36
Yes, our facility is in Dover, New Hampshire, right over the border from Massachusetts.
Yoni Mazor 0:41
Beautiful, I hope to come to visit as soon as possible. I hear many great things about Tradeport. And we actually work together. So it’s fun to work with your team. But today’s episode is really gonna be all about you. It’s gonna be the story of Dwight Moore. And you’re going to share with us you know, your background, who you are, where you’re from, where’d you grow up? Where do you go to school? How did you begin your professional career? And we’re going to walk station by station until we get to nowadays. So without further ado, let’s jump right into it.
Dwight Moore 1:09
Okay, okay. So yeah, today I am CEO of Tradeport, but I’m also president of a small private equity company called Echelon Partners. Echelon Partners owns Tradeport as one of the portfolio holdings. But about me, I grew up in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, in a great little town, right on the water, Narragansett Bay.
Yoni Mazor 1:39
Narragansett Bay. Narragansett is really nice. Okay.
Dwight Moore 1:44
Narragansett. Yep, great little place to grow up, a great school system, grew up sailing. My dad was a big-time sailor so learned that at an early age, got really into sports and athletics through the different programs there. And had a great upbringing there in Rhode Island, but moved away when I was 18 essentially when I went to college (bad connection) and undergraduate degree at USC.
Yoni Mazor 2:18
Sorry, what’d you say? We got cut off a little bit, cut off. So where did you go to school? Which college?
Dwight Moore 2:22
There I went to (bad connection) in Schenectady, New York.
Yoni Mazor 2:29
One more time, there in New York, what was the name of it? The connection isn’t great. Union?
Dwight Moore 2:36
Oh, sorry. Union College.
Yoni Mazor 2:37
Oh, yeah. Union College in New York. Got it.
Dwight Moore 2:39
Yeah, yeah. One of the reasons I ended up there was that my grandfather was the mayor of Schenectady. And both parents on both sides grew up in Schenectady, New York. So it was kind of a natural place to go. So I ended up at Union, went through an engineering curriculum there. Graduated with a mechanical engineering undergraduate degree.
Yoni Mazor 3:08
If I may ask, what year did you graduate?
Dwight Moore 3:11
Yoni Mazor 3:15
Oh nice, that’s the year I was born, full disclosure.
Dwight Moore 3:19
Good. Yeah. So it’s interesting. Yeah. How do you get started, you know, in, in your career, and for me, you know, what I did is I attended those interviews that you do on campus, and I ended up connecting with this one guy, that was really, that we just kind of hit it off. And, you know, prior to meeting this guy, I was being recruited into the nuclear navy to be a captain of a submarine. And, and I was kind of heading in that direction. But I ended up meeting this other guy. And, he convinced me to join General Electric. GE, at the time, had this or in which in some ways, just like being in the military. The way it worked is they may give you six-month assignments over a two-year period at different locations, and they basically throw you into all of these different manufacturing assignments to get to know the General Electric Company as quickly as possible.
Yoni Mazor 4:29
Okay, so you started GE, I think you mentioned that you essentially started working in Florida, you moved to Florida?
Dwight Moore 4:36
Yeah. Prior to that I was at an aircraft instruments department where we were making different products that went to the cockpits of both military and commercial airplanes. And another facility, it was called Drive Systems Operations, and we made anything from tabletop PLC systems to control rooms for sawmills and things like that.
Yoni Mazor 5:03
So what was your component? You were actually designing the product? Or you’re refining it? What was your, your components?
Dwight Moore 5:09
Well, GE had a, you know, fully vertically integrated program. So, you know, we basically did all the design, development, you know, all the fabrication. My role in those years again, was in this manufacturing area, to learn all the aspects of World Class manufacturing concepts. And you’re right, when you’re at GE, you were either number one or number two, you know, in that industry, or, you know, Jack had these, there was a Venn diagram, three, three circles, and, and if you were within those circles, you’re okay, but you know, if you found your business unit outside the circle at anytime you knew you’re going to be sold off shortly.
Yoni Mazor 5:55
So you guys know, you got…it was such a structure where you, everybody has visibility in your performance and in the circles, and if you know, if you’re staying away, it’s just a matter of time until General Electric will, you know, release that company away?
Dwight Moore 6:07
Yeah, and both at the business level, and at the individual level, you know, Jack was a believer, you know, in both and, you know, we as employees were also graded. And, you know, you probably read in the book that if you are graded in the lower, you know, 10% each year, you were let go. So, we as program members were typically designated high potentials within the company, and we really had access to some really great opportunities within the company. So, you know, I like I said, it was very, very difficult. Not only was the job difficult, the expectations were high, but during this program, they loaded you up with a lot of extracurricular work, and you would be faced with the simulations of real-life experiences. So, it was probably one of the best training experiences that anyone could, could go through.
Yoni Mazor 7:04
Yeah, an unbelievable opportunity for you straight out of college. So how long did you stay in GE? Wow. So in 1984 to 92?
Dwight Moore 7:14
Yeah, yeah. And then after that, I was at that time I was in middle management, with GE, kind of progressing the ranks. And there was a decision point that I had to make. And I had an opportunity to go work for a company called Martin Marietta. And during my stint at Martin Marietta…
Yoni Mazor 7:36
If you could share a little bit about this company. Well, what do you guys do or what you guys did?
Dwight Moore 7:41
Yeah. Martin Marietta was also an aerospace company. It was soon after I arrived, it was acquired by Lockheed. So Lockheed Martin. So I ended up working at Lockheed Martin for another few years. Again, in various aspects of
Yoni Mazor 7:59
So when you got in in 1992, Lockheed Martin bought it right away or took a few years? What was the progression?
Dwight Moore 8:04
It was about…I’m trying to recall it so long ago, probably about two years in Lockheed’s…
Yoni Mazor 8:12
So around 1994. Do you know why? What was the trigger for them to buy it out?
Dwight Moore 8:16
Well, there was a lot of consolidation in the aerospace industry as a whole. So it wasn’t just isolated to Lockheed and Martin Marietta.
Yoni Mazor 8:24
And what was triggering that in the aerospace industry, as far as you can recall?
Dwight Moore 8:28
Well, there’s a lot of competitive pressures around the world and in the aerospace industry, you know, it’s really down to, you know, Boeing and Aerospace, you know, as the two majors and you know, back in those days, you know, that’s really what was happening, and they were trying to consolidate the supply base to get efficiencies of scale, that kind of thing.
Yoni Mazor 8:49
Got it. So 1996 you’re officially wearing the Lockheed Martin badge. And what was your experience there and how long did it last?
Dwight Moore 8:55
Yeah, again, I had a variety of assignments in manufacturing and I virtually had every job you can imagine within manufacturing, which really kind of rounded out my manufacturing experience. It’s really kind of prepared me for my next assignment because I was ready for something new because I had been in the aerospace and defense industry for a while and wanted to get into the commercial world so I took a job leading the manufacturing company for NCR Corporation down in Duluth, Georgia.
Yoni Mazor 9:31
National Cash Registers?
Dwight Moore 9:33
NCR That’s right.
Yoni Mazor 9:34
All the ATMs and all these automated machines. Yeah?
Dwight Moore 9:38
Yep. All the point of sale systems which are essentially you know, computers with a cash register slapped on them.
Yoni Mazor 9:47
You know, computerized wallets. Um, but tell me so what year did you get in there? At NCR?
Dwight Moore 9:53
Yeah, so I was running their manufacturing facility down in Duluth, Georgia.
Yoni Mazor 9:59
So you relocated? And you were in Florida all these years with GE and Lockheed or…?
Dwight Moore 10:06
No, I was up and down the eastern seaboard. I was in…because again, they were moving us around a lot…I was in the Boston area, I was in Virginia. Roanoke, Virginia. I was in Florida and then ended up, found myself in Atlanta.
Yoni Mazor 10:25
So it seems like you really went through the manufacturing hubs, you know, the manufacturing experience of America. And, you know, during the 90s, which is, it’s more advanced, you know, I think the glory days of the manufacturing at its peak, at its highest, and which included not just aerospace and more sophisticated stuff, we had also, you know, what we call the Jewish people, the schemata business, which is the clothing and the fashion business, that was over the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and started to go into, you know, Asia. So in the 90s, you got a real taste of what’s going on with manufacturing, which is still a very strong power that the United States economy has, which it’s very easy to forget, because, you know, when we think manufacturing, we think more like in clothing, toys, stuff like that. But do you when you make one Boeing airplane or one Lockheed Martin, you know, plane hundreds of millions or hundred, or, or a few billion, and that’s worth like, I don’t know, hundreds of factories overseas. So people tend to forget how powerful it, you know, the manufacturing, there still is happening in the United States because it’s based on a lot of knowledge, a lot of precision, a lot of craftsmanship. And it seems like you got a real deep dive in it throughout the years. So you’re in Georgia, this was what year you’re with NCR again? This year is important to me, so we could get to today’s you know?
Dwight Moore 11:42
Yup, yup, that was in the late 90s.
Yoni Mazor 11:44
Got it? Got it. So you moved to Georgia? And what was that? What was it like over there? In the South, the first taste?
Dwight Moore 11:51
Yeah, it was, it was great. You know, moving from Florida to Georgia, you know, so it was still in the south, but, but it was a wonderful experience for me. NCR was a very progressive company at the time, it was essentially a final assembly facility for these ATMs, or point of sale systems. And we, it was all about managing the supply chain, and we had just in time manufacturing, and just in time delivery, you know, we would deliver point of sale systems to say at Home Depot in Ohio. And the way that worked is you would ship the system in and you’d have the deployment team there, you know, at night when the store closed, and you deploy all night long, and then yeah, and then you’re up and running. So everything is down to, you know, to the minute you know? And this and when you have a just in time manufacturing, you know, you’re not carrying a lot of inventory on, you know, on-site. So again, it’s about managing that supply chain, and a lot of our supply chain was, you know, in Asia and overseas. So when you had you know, something as simple as a bracket, you know, with the holes didn’t line up, you know, you had to be all over that, on top of that, get that corrected right away, to keep that production line going and meet your deliveries.
Yoni Mazor 13:12
So you’re saying that lean model, you know, the lean business model, even though it’s in large magnitude, it’s in the billions of revenue, it puts a lot of pressure to always, you know, perform at the highest level. So if any tweak happens, you got to be a few steps out of that tweak and make sure you know, shut it down. So that’s a powerful experience. So ninety…you know, end of the 90s, you’re at NCR, and what was the next station?
Dwight Moore 13:36
So, um, what had happened is my wife was having some health problems during those days and for personal reasons, she wanted to move back to Florida…to get some care. So there are some previous business relationships, I got connected with a services company and they wanted to hire me because I had helped them do some things in the previous time frame. And anyway accepted a job and everyone thought I was absolutely out of my mind to do this. There are a lot of forks in the road of life and this was it was a major one so
Yoni Mazor 14:21
And why was it such a shocker for your surroundings?
Dwight Moore 14:24
Well, my friends would say, Look Dwight why are you taking this flyer on this job? Because I was now in the executive ranks at NCR Corporation, a very progressive company. Lots of potentials, lots of earnings, growth possibility.
Yoni Mazor 14:40
And it was a public company, correct me if I’m wrong?
Dwight Moore 14:42
Yes, it was. Yes, it was. So I took a job for what I call a very small company. At the time, it was about 45 million in sales, a services company. They did environmental simulation testing, a company called NTS and they wanted to open up a facility in Florida, so they asked me to do it. So I took the third cut in pay with, essentially no, not much in the way of bonuses to take this, take this job to do a startup business, which is within this company. And…
Yoni Mazor 15:21
So once again, you deflated your own income by a third, to join a much smaller outfit that you know, and then the one you’re accustomed to. But what compelled you to do so? I mean, what was the trigger? What was the motivation? What was the passion that fired you up for that position?
Dwight Moore 15:36
Yeah, you know, well, again, on the personal side, you know, my wife and the family situation was, you know, obviously, most important, so I had to take care of that. But also, this was an opportunity to do a startup and this company was, was very, was owned by two Jewish guys, you know, out of, grew up in Brooklyn, and they had moved out to LA. And they got to know me, and they knew that they had taken their company about as far as it could go, and they wanted to bring in some professional management.
Yoni Mazor 16:12
So you had a friendly relationship with the owners?
Dwight Moore 16:15
Wonderful relationship. Yeah, became mentors, and just…
Yoni Mazor 16:23
So it was a combination of family, friends, and the opportunity to, you know, take a startup to the next level, which is something you probably haven’t practiced so far, but you at least had the confidence that once you take it to the top league, you have the experience, as you know, as of as executive in public companies, you know, running billions of dollars, so that was a good bet. I guess. It was a good bet.
Dwight Moore 16:45
Well, you know, as I said, Everyone thought I was absolutely out of my mind to do it. At the time, we had no facility, no employees, no customers, it was basically a startup. So, but…as I look back on it, it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Because it was a very entrepreneurial thing. And that’s where I kind of got entrepreneurial…
Yoni Mazor 17:09
Bug. Yeah, I call it the entrepreneur bug. Yeah, yeah. So what year was that when you came in there? It was 2000 and?
Dwight Moore 17:15
Yeah, about 2000 was when that all occurred.
Yoni Mazor 17:20
2000 you jump into NTS? And what was it like? Where did you start? And where did you finish? And what was the difference?
Dwight Moore 17:26
That was funny. So I took this job. And the CEO of the company, again, was this Jewish guy named Jack Lin, a great guy. And he goes, Dwight, I’ve been in this business for my whole life, it’s gonna take you two years to become profitable. Within three months, we had a staff, we had a facility, and we were already making money. Yeah, and it is noted, and but I had, you know, I slept, you know, in the facility at night, and you know, did what you know, to run in the jobs and doing, you know, all the things that you need to do when you start up a business. And it’s hard work, but I loved it. And got the bug, as I said, and…
Yoni Mazor 18:07
Essentially, you squeeze two years of work into 90 days with your passion when you drive and you made it much, much earlier. That’s great.
Dwight Moore 18:13
Probably put a three years worth of our hours into those 90 days
Yoni Mazor 18:17
You sleep in the office, I mean you slept at work. So you’re working while you’re sleeping.
Dwight Moore 18:23
Right. So, yeah, so I obviously got some notice. And, and so shortly after about a year and a half, you know, I moved up to the Boston area to take over all the eastern operations for this still a relatively small company, you know, at the time, again, probably by that time, it was maybe 50-55 million in annual sales.
Yoni Mazor 18:48
Is this still NTS or a different company?
Dwight Moore 18:49
NTS, the same company just got promoted to run the eastern operation. So I was running the half, half the company day-to-day operations, and I had a peer who was running the western operations. And yeah, we continue to really learn the business and understand it. And we ended up having really good success and growing all the business units that were assigned to me.
Yoni Mazor 19:18
In a nutshell, sauce, what was the core of the business? What was the business model? What was the core? What was the value?
Dwight Moore 19:23
Yeah, so we were a service company, and we did what’s called environmental simulation, testing, and certification. So if you were a company that you make a widget that has to go on an aircraft or a computer that you want to sell, you know, in Australia or a new type of telecom switch that needs to be sold into Verizon, we would do all of it. We would simulate the environment so that it would see. So we would simulate earthquakes, we would simulate, you know, rainstorms, we would simulate the vibration of transporting a package from your warehouse, all the way to say you’re shipping it to somewhere in China. We’d simulate all the environments, you know, on a plane taking off sitting in the back of a UPS truck, you know, going to altitude and maybe losing, you know, losing pressure. Going through the thermal extremes.
Yoni Mazor 20:29
So if I get this right that you were stress testing all these components for all these companies to make sure they’re, you know, quality is there. So it’s some sort of quality assurance, and all these types of environments, which is pretty unique. I never realized that there’s such a component for companies to do. So it’s, it’s brilliant.
Dwight Moore 20:44
When you get on an airplane, you know, I tested and my team tested virtually every system on that plane. So when you look out the window and see…
Yoni Mazor 20:53
Hundreds of thousands of components.
Dwight Moore 20:55
Going on, we tested all that stuff. The good part is, you know, I knew we’d tested it. The bad part is I saw those things fail in the tests…
Yoni Mazor 21:02
Yeah, it’s like you never want to go into the kitchen of your favorite restaurant. You don’t want to never want to go into the environment stressing, you know, activities of the companies who like NTS, who inspected the airplane.
Dwight Moore 21:16
Yeah, exactly. But we had, you know, facilities. I had facilities in Detroit. We did the whole automotive space.
Yoni Mazor 21:23
Do you remember where in Detroit? I happened to, I used to live there. That’s why I wanted
Dwight Moore 21:27
You did? Oh, yeah. We had a facility, not in a very good area. So hopefully you didn’t live there. It was right off of… No, no, no. It was right off of South–? What was the main drag there?
Yoni Mazor 21:41
Dwight Moore 21:42
Southfield! Right off of Southfield, probably about 10 miles north of the city there.
Yoni Mazor 21:49
Right. I used to be in Oak Park not too far from So