Retail Security Event Provides an Intimate Setting for Retailer-Vendor Collaboration

“This is more like a business retreat than a conference,” Nancy Largay told the attendees at the Security100Summits Retail event in Scottsdale, Arizona. Largay is general manager of Focus Media Events. The audience included twenty retailers and twelve solutions providers brought together for educational presentations, small group discussions, one-2-one conversations, and networking functions.

The opening panel discussion featured Mike Smith, senior vice president of loss prevention for Finish Line; Tom Meehan, corporate manager of data, systems, and central investigations for Bloomingdale’s; and Johnny Custer, director of analytics for Sears Holdings. Moderated by Jack Trlica from LP Magazine, the panel discussed the evolution of the LP function focusing on how data and technology are driving changes in the retail environment and the effects on the LP organization.

A second panel focused on organized retail crime (ORC). Curt Crum, special service manager in the criminal investigations division of the Boise (ID) Police Department and president of the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail (CLEAR), opened the discussion reviewing the evolution of CLEAR and its upcoming annual meeting October 12–15 in Baltimore. Eric Bieghler, an investigator for 7-Eleven, presented examples of ORC investigations at the convenience store chain. John Clark, former director of corporate asset protection at The Sports Authority and now principal at PCI Services, discussed current ORC challenges for retailers and future trends.

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Day two opened with a panel discussing the growth of restorative justice programs as an alternative for first-time petty shoplifting offenders. David Levenberg, president of Center Security Services, moderated the panel that featured Lohra Miller, CEO of Turning Point Justice, who explained the restorative justice process. Erica Koarki, former LP director at Sears Holdings, offered her experience from the retail perspective, and Scott Morrill, special investigator in the Hillsborough County (FL) Sheriff’s Office, provided the law enforcement perspective.
The rest of the morning consisted of a series of boardroom presentations by each of the solutions providers to give retailers an overview of their services. The afternoon was spent in one-2-one meetings between the vendors and retailers.

The day ended with a keynote presentation by Justin Crump, CEO of Sibylline Ltd, a global intelligence, risk analysis, and consulting firm, on how retailers should embrace social media monitoring to gain insights into risks to brand and store operations.

The third day began with a panel that addressed what loss prevention might look like in 25 years. Hedgie Bartol from Axis Communications led the discussion. Panelists included Robert Gibson, CFI, asset protection manager for Under Armour; as well as James Stark, director of LP, and Christian Romero, director of security intelligence, both from Neiman Marcus. The remainder of the day was spent in more one-2-one meetings before attendees departed after lunch.

In addition to the presentations and meetings, attendees enjoyed two evenings of cocktails and dinners with games, scotch tastings, and ample opportunity for networking.

“From my perspective, the conference allowed us in a more intimate setting to have open dialogue around issues we are all facing whether they be brick-and-mortar or omnichannel,” said Jim Mires, vice president of LP for DSW. “The event also enabled us to collaborate to at a higher level with our solution providers.”

Under Armour’s Gibson concurred with Mires. “The event provided a unique experience in that it brought together technology leaders and retail asset protection leaders in an intimate setting not typically found at larger trade shows,” he said. “The format provided a roundtable-type environment that facilitated conversation around the future of asset protection and the technology that will be needed to service the industry. I think the technology partners learned just as much from the retail leaders as we did from them.”

Axis Communications’ Bartol reinforced those opinions. “The Security100Summits Retail was a great event for vendors and retailers to come together and discuss needs and solutions in a one-on-one setting without the pressure and distractions of larger conferences. It provided a great environment for collaboration and open discussion.”

Patrick O’Leary, vice president and general manager of North America retail for Nadap Retail, said, “The event’s format was extremely conducive in identifying retailers’ needs and possible solutions my company could immediately provide.”

The conference was presented by Focus Media Events, LLC, who produces similar security events in K12 education and campus. For more information about their events, visit security100summits.com.

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