20 Questions with Casey’s Larry Carroll

Loss prevention is a lot of things. But, at its core, loss prevention is the people putting in the work and showing up to protect customers, employees, and product, every day.

In this exclusive series, LP Magazine takes a closer look at the people behind loss prevention, and what makes them tick. Where did they get their start? What are they most proud of? What’s their favorite food?

Here, we talk with Larry Carroll, vice president of asset protection at Casey’s General Stores.

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LPM: Tell us about yourself. 

Larry Carroll: I’m a complex yet keep-it-simple kind of guy who likes to have fun while being serious at the same time—that’s the complex part of me. I still love getting on the mat and rolling around or being thrown around (wrestling, MMA), but know your limits. I keep my skateboard in the car—that’s a must—and there’s nothing like jumping around on my pro style pogo stick.

I love and adore my family. My wife and I have been married for 31 years, and we are so very blessed with our daughter, who keeps us young. Truly, their commitment to moving around the country when great opportunities presented themselves has been incredible! Through the good times and the struggles of the demands of retail (way, way more good than bad), they have been there, and I would not be where I am today in my career had it not been for their unconditional love and support.

LPM: What was your first job? 

LC: My very first job was working in my grandfather’s field on a little farm in Mississippi. Most kids and many adults today have no idea about what it means to work before going to school. There was no currency pay (money), but the long-term pay benefits continue to be rewarding and excellent—you learned the values of physical labor, the importance of showing up ready to work, working as a team, and influencing the labor of your work (excellent crops, food on the table).

LPM: In your junior year of high school, what did you see as your career? 

LC: I literally saw myself being anything that I wanted to be! I was a big dreamer and I was always encouraged by my mom to go for it, but don’t come home crying if it does not happen at the first attempt—keep trying!

LPM: What are your favorite foods? 

LC: Pretty simple, just food.

LPM: What is your favorite TV show? 

LC: Any show that makes you work at solving or thinking through a process.

LPM: What are the top three items on your bucket list? 

LC: 1. A good retirement plan 2. Continue to take care of my family and friends 3. Refer back to #1, but add fun to it!

LPM: Favorite sports? 

LC: Football, MMA, and wrestling (not the WWF stuff).

LPM: How did you get into LP? 

LC: By accident! A friend on the college campus told me that his store was hiring undercover security agents and I thought that sounds really cool, and it would get me out of the security guard uniform that I was currently wearing at the time. I went in for an interview, and during the course of the interview, a security officer was calling for assistance and help. The manager interviewing me asked me if I was ready to go and I said yeah, not knowing what we were running into. We ran down the escalators, and I found myself having to literally help and step in and take a very combative shoplifter into custody. Obviously, today, the rules of engagement have changed. After the incident, I was hired on the spot, YAY!

LPM: Where do you see yourself four years from now? 

LC: Career wise, taking care of my Casey’s TEAM and serving them intentionally and wisely. Continuing to add value and making a difference professionally and personally. I see myself still learning more and more about this business and asset protection. You should always be challenging yourself to continue growing by learning and listening more, talking less, and doing a lot of reading.

LPM: What keeps you up at night?

LC: Barking dogs! Seriously, control what you can control, and get a good night’s sleep. Whatever a good night’s sleep looks like for you, do it. For me, it’s four to five hours. Generally, if something happens, I’m still up. It frustrates my team at times because I’m quick in my response time to events. Sorry TEAM for getting in the way at times, lol!

LPM: What would you change about your career if you had a magic wand? 

LC: Opportunity. It was a very limited workspace for people of color and women in loss prevention executive leadership back then and still is today. It’s a work in progress that has to continue to move forward. I’m very proud to be working for an organization that has made the concerted, intentional efforts to level set its board and its executive leadership with people of color and women. Casey’s was recently recognized by 50/50 Women on Boards for its gender-balanced board of directors for leading by example toward gender balance and diversity on corporate boards. This proud distinction makes Casey’s one of only 6 percent (just 173) Russell 3000 companies with a gender-balanced board.

LPM: What is your general leadership style? 

LC: Intentional servant—real, serious, appreciate you, fun, and fun equals my TEAM!

LPM: Tell us about a favorite boss. 

LC: I’ve had several in my career, but I will keep it general as to protect their identity and me from having to answer questions once this article is released. A favorite boss is one that will constantly challenge you respectfully; treat you with dignity and respect, because you own your work (or at least you should); and one that will recognize you for what you are constantly bringing to the table as wins or opportunities with solutions. It’s easy to say, “thank you” or “job well done.” Okay, I’ll name drop a few, but there are many, many more: Gary Arannis, Cynthia Russie, Tim Schwalm, Cornel Catuna, Jim Pucci, Eric Echols, Jan Maggio, Buvern Francisco Jr., Donna Robbins, Claude Verville, Terry Gray, Jason Kidd, Ena Williams, and Jay Soupene. Every one of these leaders mentioned have personally impacted and influenced my work career in powerful, meaningful ways. Always give honor to those whom the honor is due—thank you all!

LPM: What do you do to keep up with current events and retail trends? 

LC: Read, read, read, connect with peers inside and outside the AP/LP world, and keep very strong connections with cross functional team members. Attend conferences-in person and virtually. Ask a lot of questions. And of course, I read LPM!

LPM: What do you look for when hiring a candidate? 

LC: Passion, heart of a lion, compassion/empathy of a sheep, wisdom of an old soul (person with some scars, battle tested) and a “want to, get to” attitude. The reality of it all is that everyone who applies for a job wherever that may be, should feel confident that it’s a level playing field of opportunity.

LPM: If you didn’t do this, what would you be doing? 

LC: Full time ministry/pastor.

LPM: How do you measure your success? 

LC: Ask your customers how you are doing, backed up by the results/changes. We have 40K TEAM members here at Casey’s and it’s our job to ensure that they are taken care of and it all aligns with our Casey’s CARES values.

LPM: What are your thoughts on using mentors?

LC: Mentors are great as long as they put the time in to mentor you. Otherwise, move on—they are still into themselves and their personal brand. True mentors take you along for the journey; they listen, watch, ask questions, fuel you up, and they put up warning/caution signs in your life and career. Most importantly, they tell you the truth, even when you do not want to hear it.

LPM: What are the three most important things when building an LP program? 

LC: In no particular order, you need to understand your audience/organization with: 1. Real, active support from the senior leadership 2. An understanding that not everything you implement will fit perfectly or at all at times. It’s not about what you want, but what the organization needs immediately, 90 days from now, six months from now, and beyond.

LPM: What’s next for the loss prevention industry? 

LC: People are the greatest resource that we have, and will continue to be an opportunity for the foreseeable future. Social unrest will continue, company cultures will continue to change and be challenged. The supply chain challenges will continue to be a bottleneck situation for the industry—we have to solve for this one quickly! COVID-19 is here to stay in some format or another, and industry leaders have to continue to lean in on whatever comes their way.

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