Interview with Troy Harding, LPC
Harding has worked in the retail industry with The Kroger Co. for 28 years and has been the director of asset protection for the past two. Previous roles with the company have included store manager, district coordinator (front end, merchandising, and operations), district manager, and division retail operations manager.
Why did you decide to pursue your LPC certification?
I have had the unique experience of working as a leader within asset protection but did not come from a loss prevention background. At Kroger, we have transitioned to a total AP model that combines traditional loss prevention with shrink management. My experiences have provided me with a very strong knowledge base of managing shrink efforts, but I don’t have much experience on the LP side. This certification provided an opportunity to bridge that gap and allowed me to leverage this educational opportunity to learn more about loss prevention from end to end and through many lenses.
Talk about the process of going through the coursework and taking the exam.
I took a very methodical approach to complete the coursework. I know how I learn best and retain, and for me, spending too much time on a single day would not have been the best approach. I dedicated thirty to forty-five minutes every morning, Monday through Friday, to read the material and one hour each weekend. I found this to be an approach that worked well for me in the sense that I was always chipping away at it and found it never cut into my regular work or personal time. I also took quality notes along the way. Once I finished the reading, I went back and retook each of the quizzes until I could score 95 percent on all of them, and I took the same approach on the practice test. Once I felt I could confidently pass the tests, I quickly scheduled the final exam and took it while the content was fresh for me.
Looking at your own personal background and knowledge, what information in the course helped you the most?
For me, I found the most value in the areas that my past work experiences did not provide as much exposure to, which was the organized retail crime, theft, and product protection strategies, as well as warehousing and logistics.
What was the most eye-opening information that was part of the curriculum?
The sections that addressed ways to curb theft—approaches, devices, technology, and so forth. I don’t have as much experience with this from a strategy standpoint, so this helped me understand that if there is a problem, how to go about solving it from start to finish.
What benefits have you seen from taking the course?
I have a much broader view of our asset protection industry and have a heightened awareness of the approaches and solutions that are available to help proactively identify gaps and solve issues. It also helped with my confidence in managing elements of AP that I may not have had exposure to previously. This certification also reflects my commitment to my continued education and helps with credibility among my peers and other stakeholders.
If you could offer one key takeaway to someone currently considering getting certified, what would it be?
Make a structured plan, write it down, stay super dedicated to that plan, and have a backup plan if anything gets in your way, so you can ensure that progress is being made. Set weekly and monthly goals and pivot if you need to. Aggressively go after successful completion with the same intensity you’d have with delivering results at work. Take great notes and check your knowledge and retention by regularly taking quizzes from previously read chapters. Finish strong, the same way you started—with excitement and energy.
How would you compare the foundation certifications to other educational courses that you’ve taken?
This LPC certification was perfect in the sense that it was just the right length of time. It didn’t take as long as my college education, but it was longer and more in-depth than week-long leadership opportunities I have attended. It was also focused on a more holistic view of our industry rather than a deep dive into one element.
How has certification changed your expectations of loss prevention as a career, for yourself and for others?
Our industry is evolving, so we need to take a different approach to loss prevention. Many retailers have taken a broader approach to LP and tackled loss and shrink in multiple ways by curbing theft and getting involved in partnerships and collaboration focused on operational rigor such as ordering, organization, processes, and production, all of which, when not done right, can create shrink headwinds. We must stay heavily involved and have a seat at every table where possible. This certification supports that approach of being educated and understanding the ways that loss occurs and broadens our knowledge and understanding of our industry, which will help us make a bigger difference.
Would you recommend certification to others?
Absolutely, I highly recommend it. Take this opportunity to learn and grow and use it to make a difference. Don’t wait. The sooner you start, the sooner you can finish, and the faster you can help make positive change and impact your company.
Following are individuals who recently earned their certifications.
Recent LPC Recipients
Brian Andrews, LPC, Amazon
Brent Cohen, LPC, Amazon
Hugo Cortez, LPC, McDonald’s
Steve DePestel, LPC, Lowe’s
Jaki Dodson, LPC, REI
Kenneth Douglas, LPC, Amazon
Samuel Gann, LPC, Amazon
James Giebler, LPC, Kroger
Michael Guminski, LPC, Lowe’s
Justin Hoffman, LPC, Lowe’s
Justin Kabitzke, LPC, Lowe’s
Anthony Lavdis, LPC, Dollar General
James Layne, LPC, Home Depot
Nguyen Le, LPC, Amazon
Chantal McMillen, LPC
Michael O’Brien, LPC, Lowe’s
George Plaster, LPC, Amazon
Aaron Safrit, LPC, Retail Business Services, an Ahold-Delhaize company
Harjot Sahota, LPC, Otter Farm & Home Co-operative
Omar Salman, LPC, Shoppers Drug Mart
Benjamin Schwartz, LPC, Home Depot
Megan Smith, LPC, TJX
Katie Stevens, LPC, Amazon
Patrick Stilen, LPC, Lowe’s
Karen Torres Zenil, LPC, Amazon
Jennifer Underwood, LPC, Amazon
Amber Warner, LPC, John Lewis
Recent LPQ Recipients
Anthony Colbert, LPQ
Ashley Cork, LPQ, Walmart
Hezekiah Cuffy, CFI, LPQ, Army & Air Force Exchange Service
Jayden Day, LPQ
Veeanna Edwards, LPQ
Shelly Ferguson, LPQ, Discovery Cooperative Ltd.
Jason Froatz, LPQ, TJX
Kenneth Gray, LPQ, Rite Aid
Johnson Jean, LPQ, IOBSE
Denise Olmstead, LPQ, TJX
Michel Rivera Hernandez, LPQ, TJX
John Sheppard, LPQ, Home Depot
David Strother, LPQ, Pennsylvania Dept. of State
David Swehla, LPQ, Lowe’s
Randolph Williams, LPQ, TJX
Stefanie Wodtke, LPQ