The Benefits of Certification for College Graduates

Marcy Smith, LPQ, is the asset protection operations specialist for Weis Markets. She took this role in 2014 after graduating from the University of Louisville (Kentucky) with a bachelor’s degree in justice administration. Smith oversees the daily functions at Weis’ store support center in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, managing physical security programs relating to alarms, CCTV, and access control. She also coordinates the AP internship program as well as the training awareness program for all store associates.

Marcy Smith, LPQ

This is another in a series of interviews with working LP professionals who have earned their LPQ or LPC certifications from the Loss Prevention Foundation (LPF) to hear in their own words why they pursued certification and how it benefited their careers. This interview speaks to the importance of certification for pending or recent university graduates.

Why did you decide to pursue certification? Was there something specific that influenced your decision?
I completed the LPQ certification to learn more about the industry. My position at Weis Markets focuses more on the corporate side of retail, rather than store experiences, and I wanted to develop my knowledge in all areas. My boss, Mike Limauro, vice president of asset protection, introduced me to the Loss Prevention Foundation and explained the importance of the LPQ and LPC certifications and how vital continuing education is for our careers. Once I learned about how the LPQ would benefit me early on in my professional career, I was extremely motivated to get busy.

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Looking at your own personal development, what information within the course helped you the most?
When taking this job right out of college, I didn’t have any LP experience and had very little knowledge of the field. I had the college degree to get me in the door, but no experience. Right away I had to soak up as much as information as quickly as I could. Once I began studying for the LPQ, things just began to click, and I would have those “ah-ha” moments on a regular basis. Terms like “restitution and civil demand” or “gross margin and net profit,” all terms used daily, became clearer.

The LPQ helped boost my confidence and reminded me of how continuing to learn always creates room for personal and professional growth. Taking the LPQ exam became less about getting a certification to set me apart from others and more about my personal growth.

What was the most eye-opening information that was part of the curriculum?
The entire process has been eye-opening for me. In college, our coursework focused mainly on criminal justice and rarely on loss prevention. It’s unfortunate that young professionals don’t get a clear understanding of this field and how much opportunity lies within. Taking the course has helped me with my business and financial acumen. It has also placed me on a level playing field with others in our industry who have taken the course.

What benefits have you seen from taking the course?
The main benefit this course has offered me is the development of my confidence. I feel better educated, open for discussions, and more eager to teach others things I have learned. I manage our internship program here, and after completing my LPQ, I feel more qualified to help our interns understand more about our industry and what we do. I know my boss and others who I work with on a daily basis have seen benefits from my certification as well.

If you could offer one key takeaway to someone currently considering getting certified, what would it be?
One key factor I have learned from my boss and our director of AP, Chris Harris, is the most effective way to move up in our industry is to work hard, excel at what you do, and take every opportunity to learn new things. Having a certification such as LPQ or LPC is one way to help propel yourself.

Do you think getting certified will help make you a better LP professional?
Having the LPQ certification will definitely make me a better AP professional. In the beginning, I had to strategize a plan and become organized to stay on task with the coursework and quizzes. Once I completed the course work, I had to prioritize my responsibilities and focus on studying and committing myself to learning the materials. Once I felt confident, I signed up for the exam and became certified. Looking back, the certification process itself helped develop basic organizational and time management skills. I can’t wait to see how it affects my career in the future.

How has certification changed your expectations of loss prevention as a career, for yourself and for others?
The LPQ certification has reinforced my expectations of LP as a career. Mainly it helped broaden my perspective on the opportunities available in our field for my future. People who complete these certifications are passionate about learning, motived by the fast-paced industry, and strive for self-development. I now feel confident I can achieve my personal goals of becoming a business professional while focusing on all aspects of the retail business.

Would you recommend certification to others?
I would absolutely recommend this certification to others. In fact, our last intern from Penn State is currently completing her LPQ during her last semester of school. The course work helps prepare you for your exam, and the certification itself reminds you that with hard work and dedication you can succeed and compete in our industry. The LPQ is a great resource to help with personal and professional growth.

What advice would you give to current young professionals hoping to transition into the LP industry as a career field?
I would tell them to take advantage of the great resources out there such as LP Magazine, the LPF website, LPjobs.com, Linkedin, and most importantly, the LPQ certification. Job searching is stressful and can seem to take forever, but by using these resources, eventually I landed a great job with Weis Markets. I took a job nine hours away from my home in Louisville knowing that this opportunity was one I couldn’t pass up. I recommend taking the LPQ to get ahead of the game and develop imperative skills early on in the job search. This will get you noticed.

Newly Certified

Following are individuals who recently earned their certifications.

Recent LPC Recipients
Mark Broda, LPC
Samuel Charles, LPC, Lowe’s
Dennis Davis, LPC, Walmart Stores
Heather Depalma, LPC, Goodwill of Southwestern PA
Frank Devlin, LPC
Navtej Duggal, LPC, TJX Canada
Kevin Eikenberry, LPC, Goodwill
Industries of Greater Grand Rapids
Mark Headley, LPC, Lowe’s
Ronald Horn, LPC, Sears Holdings
Jaclyn Johnson, LPC, Festival Foods
Marc Marraccini, LPC, TJX
Henry Mortelliti, LPC, CVS Health
Rui Rodrigues, LPC, C&R
Timothy Rout, LPC, Lowe’s
Tina Sellers, LPC, Delhaize America
Monika Shah, LPC
Ryan Shedd, LPC , SpartanNash
Claude Taybi, LPC, Sterling Jewelers
Ryan Themm, LPC, Meijer

Recent LPQ Recipients
Nakhshab Arshad, LPQ, Vector Security
Leanne L. Blais, LPQ, L.L.Bean
Melissa Bowers, LPQ, Dollar Financial Group
Logan Britton, LPQ, University of Indianapolis
Kathleen Budd, LPQ, University of Indianapolis
Rodney Corley, LPQ
Julie Droppa, LPQ
Stephen Elley, LPQ, Wild Rose Co-op
Sarah Graber, LPQ, TransAlarm
Lucia Grande, LPQ, Starbucks Coffee
David Guerrero, LPQ, AT&T/Cricket Communications
Jason Guiste, LPQ, Lowe’s
Marcus Guzman, LPQ, Goodwill Industries of Suncoast
James Harvey, LPQ, Publix Super Markets
John Hasnauer, LPQ, Harris Teeter Supermarkets
Jeffery Haubrich, LPQ, Borderland Co-operatives Ltd
Jodie Hurst, LPQ, University of Indianapolis
Hannah Johnson, LPQ, University of Indianapolis
Scott Kirsch, LPQ, Penske Logistics
Arturo Marquez, LPQ, Ross Stores
Ravi Patel, LPQ, Whitbread Plc
Debbie Peterson, LPQ, Swan Valley Co-op
Scott Petty, LPQ
David Plaster, LPQ
Shyam Ramballi, LPQ, American Eagle Outfitters
Kirsty Sellers, LPQ, Starbucks Coffee
Joshua Sheese, LPQ, Walmart Stores
Kaci Tompkins, LPQ, University of Indianapolis
Erin Wolfe, LPQ, Penske Logistics
Andrew Zahorsky, LPQ, Pacific Sunwear
of California

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