In the last sixty days, the LP industry had two senior executives announce their retirements. One was Karl Langhorst of Kroger. Jack Trlica and I had the privilege of visiting with Karl a few years ago in the Kroger offices in Cincinnati. We spent an evening and a day conducting an interview for the magazine.
Karl was as open and honest as anyone we had ever interviewed. We did the interview, walked a few stores with him, and listened to many on his staff make presentations to us on the internal strategies and programs in place at Kroger. We were treated with a special respect that was memorable.
Karl was a regular attendee at the magazines annual meeting and always had a smile on his face, kind words for others, and was always a contributor. He is a true gentleman and consummate professional.
The other retirement was Bob MacLea, senior vice president of loss prevention at TJMaxx. I have known Bob for over twenty-five years. It would be very easy to just say none finer, but he deserves a few call outs to give you a perspective on the man.
Bob cares about people. He has always wanted those in his organization to be successful and grow professionally as well as financially in the industry. He was a founding member of the magazines editorial board and a great supporter of education for LPs young people. He was also a founding member of the LP Foundation and sat on the executive committee.
As TJMaxx grew to the massive company it is today, Bob grew the internal structure of the LP team into a group committed and loyal to the brand. He built a premier organization of outstanding leaders and practitioners. And when not on the job, he was devoted to giving his time
and money to others through a myriad of charitable groupsalways trying to give others a hand up. He will be missed.
Heres a word to those who know these two individuals. If you care about good people, stay in touch with both of them. Tell them how much you appreciate their work as well as them as people. Lets not forget those who made sacrifices to help others. When you deserve it, you deserve it.
We recently celebrated out fifteenth year of publication in print and online. We are so grateful for your support. One group we just cant thank enough and often does not get as much credit as they deserve are our advertisers and sponsors. I did not use the term vendor purposely. Vendor is often a term that describes someone who is trying to sell you something. They are much more than that.
We have an advisory board that sponsors the magazine through their advertising and their presencepresence in the magazine, at our meetings, in the industry with LP professionals, and in the community. They truly represent this industry well and give more than they get back. Yes, they are in business to market products and services, but they do it with respect and honesty. When you deserve to have kind words written or spoken about you, you deserve it.
Lastly, I wish to thank Merek and Kevin for filling in for me by writing the Parting Words column in the last issue. I was proud to have been the featured interviewee in the fifteen-year anniversary issue. I received some nice comments on the interview. Thank you. Those who did not care much for it did not comment to me. Thank you for that as well.
There are a lot of items I want to comment on that we just do not have the space or time for here. Hopefully, we can approach those with articles in the futurethings like was it so much different thirty years ago? What has been lost or gained along the way. Where are we getting the young people today to become the leaders of tomorrow? How does LP continue to play a key role in driving profit for your company? Will data become so important that people are forgotten? How do we become experts in the other functional areas of the company? And the list goes on. When you deserve to hear some of these thoughts and answers, you deserve it.
NOTE: Just prior to press time, Karl announced he was engaged by the Latin American-based company ALTO to help it open operations in the US. We wish him the best.
Jim Lee, LPC