Retail Smarter 2017


Meet the Featured Presenters

  • Read Hayes

    Research Scientist
    University of Florida

    Read has more than 30 years of experience in retail loss prevention and has worked with the world's top retail organizations.

    He is a Director of the industry group Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC), which was founded by 10 major retail chains in 2000 to help them improve their loss prevention results using scientific research. Today, the LPRC includes over 95 major corporate members (45 retail chains) working together with scientists in 11 working groups on significant crime and loss control issues.

    Read co-founded the University of Florida's globally-used National Retail Security Survey in 1989 and has conducted over 85 crime control research projects. He is the author of more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, 150 magazine articles, and four top-selling books.

  • Marlin Hutchins

    Marlin Hutchens

    CEO, ISOD Corporation
    EVP, SMI Corporation

    Hutchens began his career with Walgreen Drug Stores in 1972 as a clerk. During his 43-year career at Walgreens, he held 15 different job titles and supervised multiple store operations in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Alabama, Georgia, Puerto Rico and Florida. His last assignment was overseeing a $3+ billion operation based out of Orlando until his retirement in February of 2016.

    In March of 2016, Hutchens was named CEO of ISOD Corporation and EVP of SMI Corporation.

    Hutchens is a native of St. Cloud, Minn., and currently resides in Orlando, Fla. He received his AA degree in Business from St. Cloud State University and later received his BA in Business Administration from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich. He has a MM in Retailing from St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minn. Hutchens also holds a Certificate of Strategic Planning and Management from Babson College in Wellesley MA.

  • Photo: Crecelius Kohl

    Kohl Crecelius

    Co-founder and CEO
    KK intl

    KK intl. (Krochet Kids intl.) is an innovative non-profit and lifestyle brand working to empower communities to rise above poverty. Founded in 2007, the organization works in Uganda and Peru providing life-changing jobs, educational curriculum and mentoring programs to vulnerable women and their families. KK intl. products are distributed internationally through their website and retailers such as Nordstrom and Whole Foods.

    Kohl is a husband, father, surfer and passionate communicator who has worked for a decade to encourage and inspire a new generation of socially-minded businesses.

  • James Lewis

    Founder and CEO
    Enhanced Retail Solutions LLC

    Recognizing a trend in 2002 that retailers were increasing their expectations of the supplier base, Jim founded ERS to help improve the retail business acumen of suppliers. Over the last decade, ERS has vastly improved the decision-making capability of retailers, suppliers and licensors, enabling them to increase their sales, profit and inventory productivity.

    As a former Buyer at JCPenney, he managed or bought key categories in men's, children's and home textiles throughout his 15-year career. He was honored several times with executive-level projects and sat on varying key company initiative task forces. Jim has been featured in apparel, home textiles and licensing publications, including License!, and has conducted seminars at industry associations and trade shows, including NEECOM, VCF, The Licensing Show and MAGIC.

  • Ray Newkirk

    SMI Corporation

    Working at the highest levels of business and government, Dr. Newkirk led significant initiatives in the Middle East for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in the Far East for the Office of the President, Republic of the Philippines. Dr. Newkirk has also led operational engagements for Southwest Bell, Bank of America and Dell Computers where his projects contributed to Dell's growth in revenues from $1 billion dollars to more than $18 billion in three years.

    In 1992, the Chairman of the CNN World Business Development Congress in Washington D.C. invited Dr. Newkirk as a VIP Priority Guest. He has been invited to participate in other international development conferences in Cairo, Egypt and Oxford, England.

    For Technology Transfer, Rome, I.B.C. London & Amsterdam & S.I.B.C. Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, he conducted seminars and workshops throughout Europe and Saudi Arabia focusing on productivity and performance improvement, leadership, quality, I/T management, and workplace diversity.

Concurrent Session Speakers

Samantha Padgett, General Counsel, Florida Retail Federation

Samantha serves as chief legal counsel to the Florida Retail Federation and its brand divisions. She advises the Board of Directors and Executive Staff on legal matters pertaining to the Federation, including compliance with federal and state regulations. Samantha advocates on behalf of FRF and its members in front of Florida's legislative and executive branches of government. She serves as the Brand Manager for the Beauty Industry Council. Samantha oversees the Sustainability Council and the FRF Emergency Preparedness Network and serves on the Board of Managers for FRF Benefits, LLC.

Prior to joining the FRF Team in 2007, Samantha was a member of the Florida Attorney General's Honors Program. During this two-year program, she practiced in the areas of civil appeals, antitrust, child support and administrative law. She graduated cum laude from the University of Florida College of Law in 2005 and received her BA from Emory University in 2001.

Samantha lives in Tallahassee with her husband Ryan, son Grayson, and daughter Bradley.

Kristen Vargas, Regional Vice President, Pharmacy and Retail Operations, Walgreens

Kristen is a regional vice president for Walgreen Co., the nationwide drugstore chain headquartered in Deerfield, IL. She is responsible for leading Walgreens pharmacy and retail operations for over 300 locations representing 8,500+ team members in the mid-South region, including stores in Georgia, South Carolina and northern Florida.

Kristen began her career at Walgreens in 1996 as an hourly team member in Joplin, Missouri. She worked as a management trainee, executive assistant manager, and was promoted to store manager in a Springfield, Missouri store in 2000. In 2006, she was promoted to district manager of the Austin East district and became district manager of the Chicago Central district in 2011.

In 2012, Kristen was promoted to Director of Drug Store Systems at Walgreens corporate office in Deerfield. In 2013, Kristen was promoted to Senior Director, Retail Renewal, and acted as the department liaison for a transformational supply chain and store inventory systems and process initiative.