Gene Smith, LPC
Smith is president of The Loss Prevention Foundation, the not-for-profit organization charged with the responsibility of managing certification. He was formerly president oft he industry’s largest executive search and consulting firm. During the past fifteen-plus years, Smith has provided career counseling for thousands of industry professionals nationwide. He can be reached at 704-837-2521 or via email at email@example.com.
Two recent articles from LP Magazine, "Why Your New LP Career Is Going Nowhere and How to Fix It" by Brandon Brown and "Invest in Yourself: Add Value to You" by Walter Grassl, were excellent. Having spent a number of years as a LP career advisor, I enjoyed reading them and felt they were spot on, especially Grassl's section on "Investing in Yourself Helps You."
After reading them I asked myself if there was something I could add and believe the discussion below adds to the conversation.
In many organizations there are valued members of a team performing roles uniquely suited to their strengths, lending to success and profit. If you look at an organizational chart, most of the specialists are at that level, doing what they do best—investigators doing investigations and auditors doing audits, and so forth. Organizations functions well when people do well at what they are paid to do. However, if you want to move beyond that pay grade, then you need to know more about conducting the entire orchestra than playing one instrument really well. As you climb the corporate ladder, you realize you are actually a part of a larger organization that has a need for its leaders to understand a breadth of business principles.
While it is true that most of us were attracted to this industry because of the thrill of the chase, as we grow and develop we learn very quickly that this business is much more than apprehending shoplifters and dishonest employees. But why do so many stay focused on the reactive side? Why do some think that if they become an accomplished investigator or interrogator that will get them promoted to the top?
You might be surprised to hear that, in fact, many of our top LP executives were not very good at catching shoplifters or dishonest employees. It has been my experience that those who stay too focused on the "thrill of the chase" quickly get left in the dust by their wiser peers who embrace the belief that retail LP is a business-first profession.
We work in a profession where senior retail executives who ultimately control our destinies serve as the ultimate judges as to whether they think you are capable of going up the career ladder. They determine "how you will be measured." It is their opinion that ultimatly decides how far you go. Anyone who believes that just because one's LP manager thinks he or she is talented that they don't need to "brand" themselves with other non-LP executives is simply either naive or misinformed.
We all like a good case, but as I recall one of my retail presidents say, "Anyone who thinks they can apprehend their way to good shortage results is simply not a retail executive; they are just an investigator." He went on to add, "Our shareholders will not give beans about how many apprehensions and admissions we had if our shortage number goes up because we missed an inventory issue, a pricing glitch, or missed markdowns."
While I agree that it is important to make sure you identify your niche as Brandon Brown suggested, it is also important not to become so much of a specialist that you are trapped and "branded" as nothing but an investigator or a safety person or an auditor. I have had too many very talented LP professionals call me in frustration because they applied for positions and were not even granted interviews because they knew they had spent too much time in "investigations." Their resumes literally screamed out "cases," "apprehensions," "admission dollars," "recoveries," and now the latest craze "ORC."
Your resume is your portrait, and it will be used to make a judgment as to where someone who has never met you thinks you are capable of going. How does your resume look? Are you too focused on one area? What happens if you are downsized and there are no "specialist" jobs open? What happens if you just need to make a move because of a new supervisor, a merger, or family situation? That is often when everyone wants to enroll in a college class or become LPQ or LPC certified. While it is never too late to invest in yourself, you should be investing in yourself constantly throughout your career even while you are developing a specialty.
Putting all of your eggs in one basket can negatively impact your career options. Throughout your career you should be taking college classes as a refresher or to finish your degree. You should be seriously considering the LPQ or the LPC certifications, which are incredible opportunities to learn and validate your LP and business knowledge. Professional certification is also an excellent way to send a message to a perspective employer that you have an attitude toward learning. It is a statement that you are much more than an investigator or an auditor. Adding the LPQ or LPC designation to your name is the "ultimate branding" that simply says it all up front and is not buried in your resume.
There are numerous other things you can do to expand your brand, such as writing an article, volunteering for a non-LP corporate project, or joining a professional association. These are all great non-"thrill of the chase" items to add to your resume so you can create a brand that will maximize your long-term career options. Put yourself on a path of continued education throughout your career because it really is the best way to establish career durability. It is like making an investment in insurance for your career.
Following are individuals who recently earned there LPC and LPQ certifications.
Recent LPC Recipients
Eric Glofka, LPC, Lowe's
Greg Houting, LPC, Dick's Sporting Goods
Sharon Howard, LPC
Andrew King, LPC
Mark Leuschner, LPC, Rite Aid
Gary Locust, LPC, Safeway
Jenny Ly, LPC, Banfield Pet Hospital
Serafin Martinez, LPC
Paul Michaels, LPC
Kevin Morrison, LPC, Belk Department Stores
Jan Myers, LPC, Rite Aid
Carlos Oviedo, LPC, CVS Caremark
Lee Pernice, LPC
Jaime Saenz, LPC, Walgreens
Brittney Vachon, LPC
Yvette Weems, LPC, Walgreens
April White, LPC, AT&T
Recent LPQ Recipients
Gabrielle Albino, LPQ, Hermes of Paris
Hawken Averett, LPQ, eBay
Mike Bertha, LPQ, 7-Eleven
Sabrina Bryan, LPQ, Mississippi College
Stony Burke, LPQ, eBay
Charles Drain, LPQ
Allison Ernst, LPQ, Genesco
Blake Hajek, LPQ
Christian Hardman, LPQ, eBay
Michael Interlandi, LPQ, Ralph Lauren Marlon Jones, LPQ
Latasha Locke, LPQ, Bed Bath and Beyond
Stoney Mathis, LPQ
Craig Perkins, LPQ
Willard Wells, LPQ
Ryan-Dale Witte, LPQ, Big Lots
This is the time of the year that most of us think about giving thanks for our health, our families, and friends and maybe even our 2013 successes and accomplishments. I know I am very grateful for these things. I also know that if it weren’t for having good health, support of my family and friends, I would not have accomplished as much. Not even close.
Being thankful requires time for reflection. I recently took the opportunity to do some early year-end reflection after our October board of directors meeting. In that fall board meeting, which is one of two annual meetings that we are required to conduct, we did a year-to-date status review of what we had accomplished and what is planned for 2014. This was a four-hour meeting where the Loss Prevention Foundation (LPF) staff and committee chairs reported to the board, which is comprised of thirty retail vice presidents and senior executives from several leading solution providers.
- Four new board members were added to the board, including
- Tim Gorman, DVP, Loss Prevention, Asset Protection, and Business Continuity, Walgreens,
- Mike Keenan, CPP, CFI, VP Loss Prevention, Gap Inc.,
- Mark Mellor, DVP, Loss Prevention and Global Business Continuity, Family Dollar, and
- Mark Stinde, VP Asset Protection, 7-Eleven.
Many mentioned after the meeting that it was the best ever. That was great to hear, but the celebration was short-lived because we went right back to planning and working diligently to do even better. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t share some of the highlights. The Foundation now has:
- 6,588 members in our group.
- 5,000 worldwide locations in 165 counties that offer the LPQ and LPC exams.
- 1,400 exam locations in the U.S.
- 1,000 certified professionals.
- 452 companies have either LPQ or LPC-certified or certification-seeking employees.
- 279 companies have someone certified.
- One company has 193 certification participants.
- 140 companies have LPC credentialed employees.
- 139 companies have LPQ credentialed employees.
- 78 vice presidents and directors are LPC certified.
- 74 companies now hold LPQ or LPC as a preferred requirement for employment.
- 5 countries have LPC certified individuals.
- LPC credential holders now hold positions in nine of the top ten U.S. retailers.
- The LP Memorial Fund distributed two gifts of $2,000 each to surviving families who lost loved ones from the LP industry.
- New certificates for membership and certification were created.
- LPF was rebranded with a new website, conference booth displays, and a merchandise store.
- A fully automated CRM system was implemented.
- A recertification program for LPC-certified professionals was launched.
- Academic credit for completing the LPQ or LPC requirements was granted at American Military University, Eastern Kentucky University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Mississippi College.
- The LPF led fundraising efforts to raise enough donations for approximately 100 new bicycles (over $10,000) to students at Devonshire Elementary School in Charlotte, NC. The school was recognized on the Today show for their efforts toward improving attendance and academic achievements of their students; 87 percent of the 576 children live in poverty and most have never owned a bike.
These accomplishments are due primarily to the efforts of the thousands of supporters who have helped in the efforts to elevate our profession. We cannot even begin to thank each individual, company, or group. It has been so inspiring to see the engagement of our board, our members, and our volunteers. We look forward to delivering on some really great 2014 goals that will further support our mission.
Personal Career Plan
The Foundation is focused on professional development. With that in mind, we offer you this challenge—formalize a personal plan to add to your professional skills and knowledge to further advance your career in 2014.
Most of you are committed to building a plan for shrinkage reduction or reaching your job performance goals, but often fall short on developing the same type of plan for professional development. It is amazing that when we speak at various events, LP executives can recite their top high loss locations and can articulate without hesitation exactly what the strategy is to improve results. But when we ask them about their career goals, they struggle with verbalizing what they need to do to reach those goals. Most of them have failed to formalize a plan.
We would like to encourage you to consider putting yourself on a path of continuing education. Invest some time in yourself and make a plan. Identify one or two areas in which you want to seek further education and go for it. While the thrill of the chase and the pursuit of dishonest individuals is one of the main reasons many of you were attracted to this profession, it is not the most important area to master.
Decide what you want your personal branding to be. If you do nothing but focus on investigations, do not wonder later in your career why you do not get interviews for higher positions that require you to manage the entire scope of loss prevention. If your resume speaks too much about investigations, ORC, interrogations, and not enough about the business, then guess what your brand is?
You must invest in yourself. Enroll in the LPQ or LPC and obtain valuable information that you can use immediately in your current position. Learn firsthand how easy it is to learn online. Join the Foundation as a member and add it to your credentials. Break the stereotype of being too focused on cases.
Commit to finishing your degree or taking a course at one of our great academic partners—American Military University, American Public University, Eastern Kentucky University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, or Mississippi College. The time to increase your desirability for a promotion or career opportunity isn’t tomorrow when you need it, but rather today, before you need it. The truly successful industry leaders pursue continued education in advance of when they need it. You should, too.
Following are individuals who recently earned there LPC and LPQ certifications.
Recent LPC Recipients
Chris Barber, LPC, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana
Jay Bonnell, LPC, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana
Shannon Bueno, LPC, Walgreens
John Calhoun, LPC, Walgreens
William Colby, LPC, Coles Express
Kyle Davidson, LPC
Charles Delgado, LPC, Meijer
Stuart Deske, LPC, Redbox Automated Retail
Susan Factor, LPC, Walgreens
Jason Foshee, LPC, Cash America International
Richard Fuehrer, LPC
Amber Gilmore, LPC, Cabela’s
Peter Green, LPC, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana
Nathan Guta, LPC, Walgreens
Crystal Hancock, LPC, Big 5 Sporting Goods
Charles Kostyk, LPC
Joseph Laufenberg, LPC, Festival Foods
Pascual Machado, LPC, TJX
Karlye Maloney, LPC, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana
Mark McInaney, LPC, Walgreens
Sonya Medlock, LPC Rite Aid
Charles Moore, LPC Walgreens
Nicole Pappas, LPC, Redbox Automated Retail
Matthew Pearsey, LPC, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana
Camio Robinson, LPC
Saud Sanady, LPC
Chris Schkade, LPC, Walgreens
Ethan Stephens, LPC
Nicole Strange, LPC, Publix Super Markets
David Strom, LPC
Randall Thomas, LPC, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana
Bryan Venza, LPC, TJX
Laurie Zaccaro, LPC, Walgreens
Recent LPQ Recipients
Mariah Angelo, LPQ, Rack Room Shoes
Eric Bosko, LPQ
Roy Bredahl, LPQ, Walmart
Linda Bredeson, LPQ, Publix Super Markets
Seirra Brown, LPQ, IOBSE
Kelly Cybulski, LPQ, RILA
Shaunte Davis, LPQ, T.J.Maxx
Camille Decker, LPQ, Weis Markets
Charles Dincol, LPQ, Home Depot
Walter Edwards, LPQ
Kelli Gasswint, LPQ, Rite Aid
Ginny Gomez, LPQ, Macys Logistics and Operations
Peter Leary, LPQ, Allied Barton Security Services
Gregory McDermitt, LPQ, Walmart
Trevor Monroe, LPQ, Rack Room Shoes
Toyce Newsome, LPQ, T-Mobile USA
Rudi Robinson, LPQ, Sears Holdings
Alicja Smardz, LPQ, eBay
The Loss Prevention Foundation (LPF) recently attended the Retail Council of Canada Loss Prevention Conference in Toronto and participated on a panel discussing the importance of continued education and the value of professional certification. It was a privilege to participate with the other distinguished speakers. But I must admit, I experienced something that was even more moving and meaningful than our session. It was the opening remarks by Diane Brisebois, President & CEO.
Diane proceeded to acknowledge the presence of the attendees from the United States and referenced that it was indeed September 11th. She proceeded with remarks about what September 11th really symbolized and how much that date impacted the United States and Canada. It was clear that her comments were heartfelt and sincere and had to be appreciated by everyone attending from the US.
Later, when I was crossing the border, I recalled what border crossings were like before September 11th and what it was like now. But what really consumed my thoughts was how grateful I was to have such wonderful friends and neighbors as we do in Canada. I imagined how much worst it could be if we had an unfriendly neighbor. Can you imagine if Canada was not the wonderful neighbor that they have been? Can you imagine how different things would be for us? I know one thing, we are lucky to have Canada right where it is!
To all of the Retail Council of Canada, to our Canadian loss prevention professionals and solution providers, thank you for being YOU!
What are the things aspiring loss prevention professionals can do to increase their chances of reaching their true potential? What are the career secrets that our most successful industry leaders all have in common? These are a couple of questions that all of us ask ourselves sometime during our careers. I have been asked these questions many times and, most recently, by someone who suggested I write an article on my thoughts addressing these questions.
With over 25 years of my LP career focused on personal, professional, and career development, I have been fortunate to discuss the career success topic with many successful retail executives, not just LP and asset protection professionals. Here is what they say.
Able and Willing. Each person must have the basic skills, knowledge, and desire to be successful. Skills and knowledge are different, and you must have both. Learn the difference. If you have the necessary skills for LP and gain the knowledge, you still need to have the desire to apply it. That means putting in the time to do what it takes to achieve each step in the career ladder. Look for extra assignments to do so you do a little more than your peers.
“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.” Peter F. Drucker
Attitude toward Continued Learning. You must accept that you and only you are responsible for your own personal development and not your company. Look for opportunities to learn on your own, whether it is college courses, professional certifications, industry conferences, seminars, or company-sponsored training. Some great sources include the LPQ and LPC courses.
“The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past....We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude....I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.” Charles Swindoll
Commitment to Improvement. You must be open to identifying areas in which to improve and seek out resources to help you. Routinely “check your own oil and take your temperature.” Look in the mirror and be honest with yourself. Pick one or two things to work on every six months—not six or eight—just one or two.
Career Plan. It is amazing when I ask someone about their plan to reduce shrink or improve the P&L, they know exactly what needs to be done. But when I ask what their career plan is, they don’t really know. Ladies and gentlemen, please sit down and outline where you want to be and how you want to get there. Establish a formal career plan.
Mentorship. Seek out a mentor who has a sincere desire to help you grow and develop. Not everyone makes a good mentor. Find one who you synergize with and copy their style, their philosophies, and apply them. Learn how to give back and become a mentor yourself because it can really serve as a great reinforcement.
Be a Risk Taker. Take calculated career risks with the philosophy that the greater the risk, the greater the reward. Those who keep waiting for the perfect opportunity are the ones who get left in the dust. Taking on an internal project that no one else wants to take on can often impress the right people. Asking to be assigned to the most challenging stores will separate you from your peers in a good way.
Understand Your Customer. Know what your business customer expects from you and deliver that plus a little more. Understand what your superior expects and deliver that plus a little more. Learn what your retail partners need and deliver that plus a little more.
Read, Read, and Read Some More. Those who are always reading and staying current on industry trends acquire knowledge and information that support success. Do you really take time to read LP Magazine cover to cover each issue? Do you subscribe to the weekly LP Insider e-newsletter sent from the magazine?
Network. Connect with other professionals and use them as resources. Do not try to do everything on your own. Don’t wait to network when you need to find a new job. Ask for help and be willing to give back in return. The Loss Prevention Foundation LinkedIn Group, one of the largest networking groups, can assist you in this area.
Intelligence Is Overrated. You do not have to be an Ivy League graduate to reach the top of your career if you master the above points. Mastering these points can allow average people to do extraordinary things. Believe me, I know.
Personal Responsibility. It has amused me how some really intelligent, gifted executives fall short of their true potentials. Invariably, when I have asked them for their thoughts on why they have fallen short, they have a list of excuses a mile long. The reality is they have failed to follow the blueprint above and failed to accept personal accountability for their own success or failures. They always want to blame something or someone for their lack of progression.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are responsible ourselves for our successes and failures—no one else. If you want to reach your true potential, then make a plan. I have seen many average people accomplish some extraordinary things because they believed in themselves and made a plan, worked the plan, readjusted the plan, and reached for the stars.
Following are individuals who recently earned their LPC and LPQ certifications.
Recent LPC Recipients
Deanna Bandru, LPC, Rite Aid
Tim Bartkowiak, LPC, Spartan Stores
Andrew Beno, LPC
Brian Brewer, LPC, Sobeys
Byron Burnett, LPC, Harris Teeter Supermarkets
Joe Camp, LPC, Walgreens
John Davis, LPC, Walgreens
Ken Fiori, LPC, Office Depot
Amber Gerendash, LPC, Walgreens
Michelle Goodrich, LPC, Ocean State Job Lot
Robert Hough, LPC, CFI, Dunham’s Sports
Patricia Johnson, LPC, Office Depot
Naomi Maharaj, LPC, Bell Canada
Remi Maillet, LPC, Sobeys
Garett Mayer, LPC, Best Buy Canada
Paul McGinley, LPC, Dollar Financial Group
Warren Najarian, LPC, CFI, Rush Enterprises
Rich Pitts, LPC, Rite Aid
Richard Reid, LPC, Ollies Bargain Outlet
Michael St. Clair, LPC, Staples
David Ternus, LPC, Walgreens
Kevin Winters, LPC, Walmart
Recent LPQ Recipients
Anson Aflague, LPQ, Genesco
Russell Brewer, LPQ, HomeGoods
Russell Brockett, LPQ
Sarah Cable, LPQ, Redbox Automated Retail
Zuzana Crawford, LPQ, eBay
Julio Cuba, LPQ, TJX
Allyse Dempsey, LPQ, Publix Super Markets
Paulo Drebeque, LPQ, HomeGoods
John Flynn, LPQ, Publix Super Markets
Ronald Gillenberg, LPQ, CFI, NEXCOM
Rikki Graham, LPQ, HomeGoods
Gary Grudzielanek, LPQ, Genesco
Keith Landschoot, LPQ, Genesco
Dennis LeTendre, LPQ
Jackson Luna, LPQ, American Eagle Outfitters
Jeffrey Mauricio, LPQ
Curtis Mitchell, LPQ, Michaels Stores
Donnell Murphy, LPQ, Home Depot
Michael Parson, LPQ, Walmart
Kenneth Richardson, LPQ, Lowe’s
Charles Salazar, LPQ, IKEA North America Services
Hunter Shaw, LPQ, Universal Orlando Resort
Elijah Smalls, LPQ, Goodwill Industries of Seattle
Holly Urfer, LPQ, Publix Super Markets
Andrew Vantassel, LPQ
Many of us remember when we only had the National Retail Security Survey, produced by Dr. Richard Hollinger of the University of Florida, and the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP) as professional resources. It wasn't long ago that our industry had no LP-specific magazine, with only broad security magazines that occasionally mentioned the term loss prevention in an article. We had no academically accredited research, such as what Dr. Read Hayes and the LPRC have provided in recent years. We were still transitioning from retail security to loss prevention and still very focused on apprehensions and investigations.
Many of us also remember when the only certification remotely related to the private sector was the certified protection professional (CPP), a broad security-focused one. Then, finally, Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates created the certified forensic investigator (CFI) certification that addressed a very important skill set—interviewing and interrogation.
It was not that long ago that most companies seldom asked for a college degree as a preferred requirement. If they did ask, it was likely a criminal-justice degree; never a business or finance degree.
Those of us who have studied the educational needs of our profession for years have admired and respected two types of executives. There are those executives who have ascended to the highest levels without a formal college degree. However, after you interview them, you see they clearly have a degree from the "College of Hard Knocks," which is very valuable. Equally impressive are the many senior executives running large loss prevention organizations who go back to college to finish a degree or seek a higher one. Despite how busy LP executives are, they find the time for university study because it is that important to them.
While I have spoken passionately over the years for the need to embrace higher education, I have always respected anyone who has climbed the career ladder without it. Some of our most successful industry-leading professionals have no degree. However, those who don't still recommend that others should get one, and I can assure you they all have encouraged their kids to get one. Why?
Educational Resources in LP
Most would agree that our industry has changed and evolved for the better. We now have professional resources, such as LP Magazine, LP Foundation, and LPRC, that other professions have had for years. We now have degrees that are industry-specific from several universities. And certification, once just a vision by a handful of forward-looking LP executives, is fast becoming a standard in loss prevention like other professions.
Human resources and internal audit have had certification for years. Teachers must have degrees as well as certification as do financial planners, insurance agents, realtors, accountants, fraud investigators, and safety and risk professionals. Why, after receiving a bachelor's degree and often a master's degree, do these professionals still have to be certified?
Certification is not a substitute for a degree, and a degree is not a substitute for professional certification. There is a reason why most reputable professions embrace both. They truly complement each other.
If we want to continue to elevate our profession to the level of our peer professions, we must embrace the common place of college graduates entering our profession in higher numbers than in the past. We must support professional certifications like the LPQ, LPC, CFI, and CFE. We must encourage our working professionals to enroll in traditional college or convenient online courses.
Attitudes toward educational degrees and professional certifications have changed rapidly in recent years. The LP Foundation has worked with several institutions who have launched or are about to launch industry-specific programs. Most recently the LPQ and LPC certifications have been granted academic credit toward a degree with one of the largest online universities in the world—the American Military University. This accomplishment would not be possible unless the developmental process was solid, the course content of high quality, and the exam psychometrically sound.
Loss prevention certification has made tremendous progress since its inception. Consider these statistics:
■ 223 different companies now have at least one employee certified.
■ 134 companies have LPC-credentialed employees.
■ 134 companies have LPQ-credentialed employees.
■ 429 companies have employees working on LPQ or LPC certification.
■ 75 companies now hold LPQ or LPC as a preferred requirement.
■ 8 of retail's top ten companies have LPC
■ 21 VPs and 56 directors are LPC certified.
■ 1,400 U.S. and 5,000 worldwide locations offer the LPQ and LPC exam.
■American Military University, Eastern Kentucky University, and Fairleigh Dickinson offer credits for LPQ and LPC certification.
The Gift of Education
Personally, I always believed one of the greatest gifts any parent could give their children was a good education. As a working adult, one of the greatest gifts you could give yourself was the gift of continued education. That education is best when obtained from both an accredited college and from the "College of Hard Knocks." Professional certification is just another quality educational resource that not only confirms the understanding of core competencies, but also provides industry-specific information that professionals can apply to their present positions.
A vice president of LP once told me he was concerned about paying for certification or a college degree for his people because he was afraid his people would leave him and go to another company after they were educated. I told him something I had read once—the only thing worse than paying for their education and having them leave, was not paying for their education and having them stay.
Following are individuals who recently earned their LPC and LPQ certifications.
Recent LPC Recipients
Leo Anguiano, LPC, Rite Aid
Daniel Barnes, LPC, Streamwood Police Department
Deb Brown, LPC, 7-Eleven
LaRoy Carff, LPC, DICK's Sporting Goods
Doug Carter, LPC, easyhome
Jih-Hao Jim Cheng, LPC, DICK's Sporting Goods
James Deese, LPC, Rite Aid
Paul Feiner, LPC, City Market, Onion River Co-op
Tim Flowers, LPC, Best Buy
Jennifer Fogarty, LPC, Walgreens
Kevin Foote, LPC, Staples
Charlotte Gandon, LPC, Majid Al Futtaim Retail
James Hawkins, LPC, Sears Holdings
Chris Hawthorne, LPC, Brookshire's Food Stores
Tony Hentges, LPC, T-Mobile USA
Sandra Hinson, LPC, Lowe's
Mike Kimbrough, LPC, DICK's Sporting Goods
Darrell Kingore, LPC, Walgreens
Tyrone Macon, LPC, TJX
Justin Maiorana, LPC, Harris Teeter
Michael Mann, LPC, Macy's Logistics and Operations
Kenneth Matheson, LPC, BJ's Wholesale Club
Patricia McDonald, LPC, Big Y
Thomas Nelson, LPC, Nelson Investigations and Loss Control
James Nelson, LPC, Office Depot
Jack Pendergast, LPC
Daniel Reeves, LPC, TJX
Daniel Rhatigan, LPC, The Home Depot
Kenneth Ridolfi, LPC, Walgreens
David Roberts, LPC, Lowe's
Chris Scheutzow, LPC, Bed, Bath & Beyond
Howard Schwartz, LPC, Staples
Micah Seal, LPC, Brookshire's Food Stores
Thomas Sevcik, LPC, Rite Aid
Tony Sheppard, LPC, CVS Caremark
Rick St. James, LPC, Wegmans
Eric Stahmann, LPC, Walgreens
Matt Taylor, LPC, Walgreens
Paul Templeman, LPC, Z Gallery
William Van Hoose, LPC, Walgreens
Erik Van Wagner, LPC, Kroger's
Annette Wall, LPC, REI
Angela Wilkerson, LPC, Beall's
Dustin Hudgins, LPC, CFI, Rent-A-Center
Michael Korso, LPC, CFI, Ascena Retail Group
Jose Lopez, LPC, CFI, T-Mobile USA
Recent LPQ Recipients
Cami Beckerdite, LPQ, Orchard Supply Hardware
Miguel Bonilla-Roman, LPQ, U.S. Navy
Matthew Boyle, LPQ, Michaels Stores
Vicki Burnette, LPQ, MRCO, LLC
Casey Carroll, LPQ, Cabela's
Ian Garrett, LPQ, Sports Authority
Andrew Gourley, LPQ, Walmart
Katherine Houston, LPQ, Contact
Justin Kemp, LPQ, Contact
Bryan Knepper, LPQ, Vector Security Services
Rory MacDonald, LPQ, Walmart
Amber Manion, LPQ, Ascena Retail Group
Ryan Mason, LPQ, Shelburne Museum
Jason Maurice, LPQ, Kraft Foods
Wade Moeller, LPQ, Publix Super Markets
Roger Moore, LPQ, Weis Markets
Julie Morris, LPQ, Lowe's
Joseph O'Brien Jr., LPQ, Target
Dalida Omerovic, LPQ, lululemon athletica
Michael Osborne, LPQ, The Northwest Company
Brian Palmer, LPQ, Genesco
Trevor Pfeifer, LPQ, Federated Co-operatives Limited
Cynthia Ramos, LPQ, Michaels Stores
Joshua Salthouse, LPQ, Walmart
Antonio Salzedo, LPQ, AT&T
Kevin Shultz, LPQ, Publix Super Markets
Amber Virgillo, LPQ, Contact
Ryan West, LPQ, The Home Depot
Christopher Whitton, LPQ, Cabela's
Laura Zane, LPQ, Rite Aid
Santo Zenone, LPQ, Gap
Luis Jhon prepared for work that Saturday just like he always did. He put on his socks, shoes, pants, and that now famous blue-striped shirt. He kissed his wife, grabbed a bite of food, took a final approving glance in the mirror, and went out the door. The kids were playing as he started up the car, drove five minutes, navigating the traffic into his favorite parking spot at the Margate Walmart on West Atlantic Boulevard in Coral Springs, Florida. There he greeted his fellow employees, looked at all the things he needed to do that day, and at some point on September 22, 2012, he probably sat down at his work station to survey who was in the store.
You've been there, right? Someone walks into a department, no bag in their hands, looking around, and suddenly you get that feeling that something is about to happen. You see them conceal an item, and you call for assistance so continuous observation is maintained. The next thing you know, your heart starts racing, you are running out of the control room, and you find yourself talking to someone you've never met before, trying to convince them they need to stay and have a little chat, as they start wanting to leave more now than ever.
The vast majority of us have our quick chat with the subject. We call the police. They come, ask a few questions, and write an appearance ticket. We write up a detailed report about what we saw, heard, and did, then clock out and go home. Most of us get to look back, tell stories about our stops, log the apprehension, and share how we accomplished all of the required steps prior to the stop. This did not happen to Luis Jhon. He did not get to look back nor move on without much thought to the next day. In fact, his family will remember September 22 for the rest of their lives.
Alexandra Jhon didn't have her husband come home that day. The Jhon family was and is still not complete. Luis Jhon died because someone shot him, trying to avoid that inevitable chat about suspected unpaid items...in this case $16 worth of t-shirts. We sadly wonder "What could be in that store that is worth taking an innocent life over?" "Why did this happen to Luis and not to me on one of my routine stops?" Those questions may never be answered, but if you are wondering how you can help, then you have focused in on a question that does have an answer.
We can work together to help one of our own. As I write this, Luis's family can't pay the bills because the investigation into his death isn't complete. Here is an opportunity to show the Jhon family that we care. As loss prevention professionals, as an industry, let us demonstrate our hearts and not move on to another day, another stop, without looking back and paying respect.
The Loss Prevention Foundation has established the Loss Prevention Memorial Fund to help the Luis Jhon family pay their necessary bills in this difficult time. Sadly, we know that there will be more hurting families of LP professionals killed doing their jobs, so the memorial fund is established for more. We pray that the "more" is not you or your family, but we know we can't control the future.
We suggest that those who read this article give $10 (or more) to the Loss Prevention Memorial fund to help the Luis Jhon family and any future family in our industry who suffers the death of an LP brother or sister while in the line of duty. Please go to www.losspreventionfoundation.org and click on the yellow "Donate" button located on the lower left part of the page and send a gift. The Foundation will send a check for 100 percent of the donations on your behalf to this family in need.
Foundation Board Adds New Members
The Loss Prevention Foundation board of directors held their fall meeting October 24 – 25 at the Trump National Golf Club just north of Charlotte, North Carolina, in conjunction with the LP Magazine editorial board and vendor advisory board meetings.
Among the business conducted was the nomination and approval of two new board members:
■ Charles Delgado, Vice President of Asset Protection, BJ's Wholesale Club and
■ Sonya Hostetler, Vice President Asset Protection and Safety,Walmart Stores.
Each of these new board members has clearly demonstrated their support for industry-specific loss prevention certification. They have either personally enrolled in the LPC course or support their companies' approving the LPQ and LPC as a preferred requirement for all job postings. It is clear that each of them has a passion for improving our professional perception as an industry and that they feel professional certification is a critical step in achieving that goal.
Also, reconfirmed for another three-year term were the following individuals:
■ Kevin Valentine, LPC, Vice President, Internal Audit and Risk Management, Signet Group Services (Sterling Jewelers) and
■ Stan Welch, LPC, Vice President Loss Prevention, jcpenney.
The Foundation continues to strive for a broad range of industry perspectives so it can serve the loss prevention industry in an informed and comprehensive manner. These leaders have proven that they have tremendous industry vision and have clearly demonstrated their commitment to improving the loss prevention industry through supporting education.
"The Foundation continues to amass strong retail support for its mission—educating the loss prevention industry by providing challenging and convenient resources such as our LPQ and LPC certification programs," said Frank Johns, LPC, Foundation chairman. "Each of these professionals brings a unique perspective as a result of their extensive expertise in loss prevention and store operations."
The board also approved Marcus Felson, Ph.D., of Texas State University to a position on the Academic Committee. Dr. Felson had previously served on the committee while he was at Rutgers University.
Following are individuals who recently earned their LPC and LPQ certifications.
Recent LPC Recipients
Chris Carmody, LPC, Reg. LP Mgr, Office Depot
Steven Crenshaw, LPC, Dist LP Mgr, TJX
Mark Crumpton, LPC, Reg. Investigations Mgr, Office Depot
Chris Girone, LPC, CFI, LP Dist Mgr, Office Depot
Luis Gonzalez, LPC, LP Investigator, Michaels Stores
Tyler Hail, LPC, AP Mgr, Cabela's
Jodi Harkness, LPC, Dept Mgr LP, Lowe's
Chad Huntsinger, LPC, AP Coordinator, Brookshire's Grocery
Chris Kellett, LPC, Reg. Investigations Mgr, Office Depot
Michael Lamb, LPC, VP of AP, (formerly) The Home Depot
Douglas Lemmons, LPC, Div. LP Dir, Walgreens
Theodore Louis, LPC, Reg. LP Mgr, Office Depot
Diana Lukash, LPC, Dist LP Mgr, Office Depot
Edward Lyle, LPC, Dist AP Mgr, Weis Markets
Michael Nelson, LPC, Reg. Dir of LP, Bed Bath & Beyond
Terry Nichols, LPC, Sr Dir of LP/Safety, Retail Stores, Office Depot
Neil Parke, LPC, CFI, Dist LP Mgr, Nike
Rich Pinkerton, LPC, Dist LP/Safety Mgr, Office Depot
Marc Ringuette, LPC, LP Mgr, Rite Aid
Brian Smith, LPC, Dist LP Mgr, Walgreens
William Soop, LPC, Reg. Investigations Mgr, Office Depot
Jeff Teator, LPC, Reg. LP Mgr, Urban Outfitters
Stan Welch, LPC, VP of LP, jcpenney
Brian Young, LPC, LP Analyst, Agilence
Recent LPQ Recipients
Chad Alexander, LPQ
Justin Anthony, LPQ
Wayne Blough, LPQ, Penske
Michelle Brown, LPQ, C Spire Wireless
Brandon Brumley, LPQ, Murphy Oil USA
Michael Cavallo, LPQ, Barnes & Noble
Jacob Densley, LPQ, Cabela's
Lisa Kelleher, LPQ, Best Buy
Taylor Kozielski, LPQ, C Spire Wireless
Ryan Mast, LPQ
Michael Molthen, LPQ, Genesco
Kevin Smith, LPQ, C Spire Wireless
Kevin Turnbull, LPQ, Army & Air Force Exchange Service
Derrik Welsh, LPQ, Hastings Entertainment
In the last several months, a number of the Loss Prevention Foundation's corporate supporters have awarded scholarships to individuals in the industry interested in obtaining either LPC or LPQ certification. Following are the scholarship winners presented by Vector Security and other winners presented at the recent National Retail Federation LP conference.
Vector Security 2012 Scholarship Winners
LPQ Scholarship Recipients
Hart Brown, Rent-A-Center
Julio Cuba, HomeGoods
Charles Garretson, T.J.Maxx
Andrew Gourley, Walmart
Tyler Hail, Cabela's
Hector Hernandez, Retired Law Enforcement Officer
Tyrone Macon, Marmaxx
Julie Morris, Lowe's
Matt Strope, Dick's Sporting Goods
LPC Scholarship Recipients
Angela Busby, Bealls
Kevin Foote, Staples
Stephan Kimbrough, Dick's Sporting Goods
Brian LeClair, Cabela's
Paul McGinley, Dollar Financial Group
Chris Scheutzow, Bed Bath & Beyond
Ryan Sobieski, Cabela's
Jeff Troszak, Cabela's
Marshandala Wilson, Fossil
Canadian LPQ Scholarship Recipients
Navtej Duggal, Winners
Luis Maio, A.S.A.P.
Stephanie Paraskevopulos, Toronto Police Service
Santo Zenone, Gap
Canadian LPC Scholarship Recipients
Doug Carter, easyhome
Stephen Kennedy, The Source
Douglas Smith, Sephora
NRF LP Conference Scholarship Recipients
Ron Calton, Pyramid Foods, from Vangent
Phyllis Holland, Marshalls, from LP Foundation
Matthew Houchen, Summit Racing Equipment, from Vangent
Bob Hough, Dunham's Sports, from Vangent
Deborah Kliethermes, REI, from InstaKey
Mike Korso, CFI, Tween Brands, from LexisNexis
Vanessa Llama, Navarro Discount Pharmacy, from Asset Protection Associates
Falisha Mohammed, CFE, Lids Sports Group, from eBay
Al Robinette, Charming Shoppes, from The Zellman Group
Nesha Smith, H-E-B, from LexisNexis
Jeremy Woodtke, Limited Brands, from InstaKey
It is important to the industry that those professionals who have studied and passed their certification exams should be recognized for their achievement.
Recent LPC Recipients
Able Alvidrez, LPC, Reg. LP Mgr, Office Depot
Anthony Arnold, LPC
Richard Baxley, LPC, Dist LP Mgr, Rite Aid
David Broom, LPC, CFI, Div. LP Mgr, T-Mobile USA
Christopher Byham, LPC, LP Team Lead, Best Buy Canada
Alecia Camps, LPC, CFI, Dist LP Mgr, Big Lots
Christopher Chapman, LPC, CFI, Dist LP Mgr, Rite Aid
Brian Eaton, LPC, Dist LP Mgr, Office Depot, Inc.
Mike Esterak, LPC, Dist LP Mgr, Rite Aid
Laura Guerry, LPC, AP Field Investigator, Walmart
John Hassard, LPC, Vice Chairman, ASIS
Sandra Hughes, LPC, CFI, LP Systems Analyst, HMSHost
Keith Hunter, LPC, Reg. Dir of LP, Dick's Sporting Goods
Mark Jackson, LPC, CFI, Dist LP Mgr, Big Lots
David Joyce, LPC, LP & Safety Mgr, Office Depot
Dave Leinfelder, LPC, Mgr of Investigations, Best Buy
Thomas O'Donnell, LPC, Reg Ops Support Mgr, Bass Pro Shops
Mark Rainey, LPC, Dir of Inventory & LP, Murphy Oil
John Reid, LPC, LP Agent, Walmart
David Sacramone, LPC, Reg Mgr of LP & Safety Supply
Chain, Office Depot
Michael Sanders, LPC, Senior LP Mgr, jcpenney
Lynn Schiess, LPC, LP Auditor, Lacoste
James Scott, LPC, Sr Mgr Supply Chain, jcpenney
Louis Senecal, LPC, LP Analyst, The Zellman Group
Tim Shipman, LPC, Dir of Corp. Investigations & Crisis Mgmt, Delhaize America
Amy Stephens, LPC, Dist Dir of LP, Macy's
Duane Stewart, LPC, Ops Mgr, Dollar General
Bryan Treat, LPC, CFI, Dist LP Mgr, Big Lots
Scott Udulutch, LPC, Multi-Unit LP Mgr, Macy's
Steve Walker, LPC, CFI, LP Supervisor, Walgreens
John Watson, LPC, Dist AP Mgr, Home Depot
Keith Weiner, LPC, President, Prevention Resources
Jonathan Williams, LPC, CFI, Dist LP Mgr, Big Lots
Recent LPQ Recipients
Casey Alexander, LPQ, Gordmans
Deborah Bunch, LPQ, Haynes Furniture
Raychelle Burwell, LPQ, Old Navy
Christopher Conforti, LPQ, Ocean State Jobbers
Thomas Courtney, LPQ, LifeWay Christian Stores
David Crill, LPQ, Archangle Investigations
Ricardo Diaz, LPQ, Kmart
Melissa Elson, LPQ, Shopbop.com
Gregory Enfinger, LPQ, Student
Andrew Field, LPQ, Goodwill
Blake Hampton, LPQ, Goodwill
Darren Jackson, LPQ, Home Depot
Charlyne Lagudi, LPQ, Pep Boys
Brandon Mathews, LPQ, Corrections Corporation of America
Philippe Meca, LPQ, El Rancho
Jose Mendoza, LPQ, Michaels
Milan Nelson, LPQ, Michaels
James Nguyen, LPQ, Pep Boys
William Pond, LPQ
Michael Rusk, LPQ, Walmart
Kristen Schrader, LPQ, Apple
Jerry Sisson, LPQ, Pep Boys
Shannon Speelman, LPQ, Rite Aid
Edward Turner, LPQ, Staples
While earning one's certification is certianly self-satisfying to the individual who has taken the iniative to test themselves against the benchmark established by our industry, the board of directors at the Loss Prevention Foundation also believe those earning their LPQ or LPC certifications should be recognized by their peers. Following are both LP executives as well as young professionals who have recently earned certification.
Vice Presidents and Directors
- Kevin Ach, LPC, Sr Dir, Pricing Compliance and Ops, Office Depot
- Ken Amos, LPC, DVP of LP, Walgreens
- Lee Bland, LPC, Dir of LP, Stage Stores
- David Brandt, LPC, Dir of LP, Walgreens
- Mark Gaudette, CPP, LPC, Dir of LP, Big Y Foods
- David George, LPC, CFI, VP of AP, Harris Teeter
- Keith Harmon, LPC, Dir of LP, Rite Aid
- Richard Holter, LPC, Dir of LP, Heartland Automotive Services
- Octavio Jara, LPC, Dir of LP, McDonald's
- Frank Johns, LPC, Chairman of the Board, LP Foundation
- Henry Johnson, LPC, CFI, Dir of LP, Family Dollar Stores
- Paul Jones, LPC, Global Dir AP, eBay
- Patrick Kerby, LPC, Dir of LP, Advance Auto
- David Lund, LPC, CFI, VP of LP, Dick's Sporting Goods
- Kevin Lynch, LPC, Exec. Dir, Bus. Dev., ADT Security Services
- Michael Mays, LPC, Dir of LP, Cub Foods
- Wayne McBrian, LPC, Dir of LP, Brookstone
- Christopher McCray, LPC, Dir Field AP, Best Buy
- Michael Miller, LPC, Dir of LP, Walgreens
- Mark Mnich, LPC, Dir of LP, Giant Eagle
- Walter Mulhall, LPC, PHR, CHS, Dir of LP, Austaco LTD Taco Bell
- Mark Neapolitan, LPC, CFI, Dir of LP, Sterling Jewelers
- Andrew Palmer, LPC, Sr Dir, Pharmacy LP, Rite Aid
- Steven Palumbo, LPC, CFI, Dir of Ops-Security, Tiffany & Co.
- Adam Parker, LPC, CFE, CPP, Dir of LP, Lamps Plus
- Dan Provost, LPC, VP of LP, Staples
- Libby Rabun, LPC, VP of LP, AutoZone
- Robert Sinning, LPC, Div. LP Mgr, Cub Foods
- Thomas Stein, LPC, Sr Dir of AP and Risk Mgmt, Ollie's Bargin Centers
- Paul Stone, LPC, VP of LP, Best Buy
- William Turner, LPC, Sr Dir Retail Ops, Nike/Cole Haan
- Kevin Valentine, LPC, CFI, VP of LP, Sterling Jewelers
Recent LPC Recipients
- William Alford, LPC, CFE, Pres., International Lighthouse Group
- Anthony Berger, LPC, LP Manager, Rite Aid
- Paul Borosavage, LPC, AP Dist Mgr, Rite Aid
- Paul Braun, LPC, CFI, Reg. LP Mgr, Sterling Jewelers
- Johnny Custer, LPC, CFI, Dir Crime DataShares, Verisk Crime Analytics
- Joe Davis, LPC, CFI, Sr Mgr, LP South, T-Mobile USA
- Jennifer Dayss, LPC, CFI, Reg. LP Mgr, Sterling Jewelers
- Albert DiLorenzo, LPC, Reg. LP Mgr, Coast Guard Exchange System
- Gayle Divis-Buck, LPC, LP Mgr, Kroger
- Robert Dworkin, LPC, LP Professional
- Brian Finnicum, LPC, Reg. LP Mgr, Sterling Jewelers
- Maureen Fuller, LPC, LP Field Mgr, Big Y Foods
- Anthony Hayes, LPC, LP Mgr, Rite Aid
- Lance Incitti, LPC, Sr Search Consultant, Retail Placement Solutions
- Shawn Jenkins, LPC, Reg. Dir of LP, Rite Aid
- Carl Johnson, LPC, CFI, Reg. LP Mgr, Big Lots
- Darren Jackson, LPC, Dist Ops Mgr, Home Depot
- Kelley Jones, LPC, Reg. LP Mgr, T-Mobile USA
- Joe Kertis, LPC, CFI, Reg. LP Mgr, Finish Line
- Darcy Layman, LPC, Idaho LP Mgr, SUPERVALU
- Paul Leasum, LPC, CFI, Reg. LP Mgr, Sterling Jewelers
- Jeffrey Levitt, LPC, CPP, Sr Mgr AP, Panera Bread
- Jason Locklier, LPC, LP Manager, Rite Aid
- Petur Magnusson, LPC, Sec. Mgr, Norvik Hf.
- Laura Miller, LPC, LP Dist Mgr, Farm Fresh (SUPERVALU)
- James Morris, Jr, LPC, LP Dist Mgr, Rite Aid
- Thomas Nystrom, LPC, LP Dist Mgr, Rite Aid
- Farrah Parrott, LPC, CFI, LP Mgr, Rite Aid
- Rick Pfeifer, LPC, LP Sr Mgr, Ascena Retail Group
- Eric Pidgeon, LPC, CFI, Sr Mgr, Corp. LP, Tween Brands
- Tina-Marie Pilate, LPC, AP Div. Mgr, Wegmans Food Markets
- Timothy Rang, LPC, LP Mgr, Rite Aid
- Darren Short, LPC, LP Dist Mgr, Rite Aid
- Robert Simmons, LPC, LP Field Mgr, Western Reg., Columbia Sportswear
- Robert Sinning, LPC, Div. LP Mgr, Cub Foods
- Matthew Speidel, LPC, LP Professional
- Adrian Strayer, LPC, Reg. LP Mgr, Weis Markets
- Aaron Wichmann, LPC, CFI, Reg. LP Mgr, Sterling Jewelers
Recent LPQ Recipients
- Robert Balla, LPQ, Sprint
- Hedgie Bartol, LPQ, Axis Communications
- Amanda Blair, LPQ, Pep Boys
- Emile Boules, LPQ, CVS Caremark
- Deborah Giordano, LPQ, Pep Boys
- William Grider, LPQ, Ross Stores
- Joseph Harris, LPQ
- Marichelle Higashitani, LPQ, Best Buy Canada
- Carlos Johnson, LPQ, jcpenney
- David Kline, LPQ, Town Shoes & The Shoe Co.
- Timothy Larson, LPQ, Sears Holdings
- Jenny Ly, LPQ, Banfield: The Pet Hospital
- Freddie Panen, LPQ, Philippine National Police
- Christopher Prejean, LPQ, Cabela's
- Wendy Rosasco, LPQ, Pep Boys
- David Scott, LPQ, Goodwill Industries of San Diego County
- Christopher Shea, LPQ
- Adam Smith, LPQ, Southern Wine and Spirits
- Felix Soto, LPQ, Coast Guard Exchange System
- Amanda Troxell, LPQ, Rite Aid
- Don Walker, LPQ, Academy Sports + Outdoors
The 30th Annual International Organization of Black Security Executives (IOBSE) Conference was held last week in Chicago at the Sears Holdings Corporation corporate offices. This year's conference theme was "Celebrating the Past, Embracing the Future." Under the dynamic leadership of Suni Shamapande, Vice President, Loss Prevention, Sears Stores, the three-day event was kicked off with a full day of career enhancing advice to a group of college students as part of the IOBSE student program to help them in "embracing the future."
This program is one that is superb in all aspects. One of the key components is the vetting process that each student goes through to become selected and to receive scholarships funds. They also received outstanding coaching and mentorship offered by attending LP professionals. The well-respected executive search firm of Heidrick & Struggles provided subject matter advice, which is rarely offered with other similar programs. One of the other program highlights was the awarding of 10 full LPQ certification scholarships and 45 annual memberships to the Loss Prevention Foundation. Both of these items are designed to enhance each student's industry knowledge and credentials. A student program such as this is clearly a model for all others to follow.
Celebrating the past was featured by conducting an inspirational and touching panel discussion with two of the original founders of IOBSE. The next two days included presentations from industry leaders such as Bill Titus, Vice President of Loss Prevention, Sears Holdings Corporation on the evolution of the LP industry and a thought-provoking session by ADT on the lightning speed of how industry technology is changing. Keeping in line with the conference theme, the conference finished with a black tie event and the guest speaker, Chris Carter, former NFL pro football player.
We would like to give special recognition to Will Baker from Ross Stores, Fanchon Barnes from Target, Venus Finley-Akins from GAP, Levell Hedgspeth from Cracker Barrel, Don Knox from Caterpillar, Michael Nelson from Kohl's, Courtney Record from Sears, and Mike Rock from Walmart for their dedicated efforts in mentoring the future leaders of tomorrow.
I'll never forget having dinner with a well-known industry leader just after the team at Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates launched the certified forensic interviewer (CFI) certification in 2002. It struck me how critical this individual was of the program. He voiced the belief that our industry didn't need another interview-and-interrogation class. He questioned why any seasoned professional in our business would need a certification, firmly believing that years of experience should simply speak for itself.
Value of Certification
This person had no understanding of the true value of certification, and the validation of knowledge that results when completing a professionally developed exam. He failed to realize that by only participating in seminars, conferences, and workshops, regardless of how good those programs might be, there is very little confirmation that the message is understood and the lessons learned. There is no constant standard that measures comprehension or successful application of the information.
Even our pillars of higher education can lack consistency. With each professor and each university interpreting and communicating information in their own way, it can be very difficult to ensure that students always learn the same lessons and share a common understanding. Certification not only offers a forum for learning, but a benchmark for consistency. Everyone must demonstrate that they understand the content by passing a validated exam.
That same person now embraces the CFI program. Why? He opened his mind and took time to evaluate it objectively. Ego and personal agendas were replaced by the heart of a leader. He realized that just because he wasn't involved in developing the program, it didn't mean that it wasn't a great thing for our industry. He also decided to welcome positive change and accept progress by taking a leadership role, for it takes vision and guts to be one of the first.
"A Waste of My Time"
I remember in 2006 when LP Magazine led discussions for creating a general industry certification. I had someone tell me that participating on a content-development committee was "a waste of my time." I remember others becoming defensive about the idea for many of the same reasons cited above.
Over the years since, I have had many conversations with senior LP executives regarding whether our profession needs professional certification. I've concluded that clearly those that did not express a positive attitude toward continued learning were often threatened by the idea of professional certifications. They were those who were unwilling to take the time for self-improvement; those who were skeptical and often resistant to the idea of something new.
How can anyone possibly believe that establishing industry educational standards and the creation of LP-specific degree programs could be anything but a positive reflection on the industry? Could it be the fear of finding out that, regardless of their years of experience, they might not actually know as much as they thought? Perhaps the fear that others might find out they failed an exam? These same executives resisted MBO plans and opportunities for self-discovery and improvement. They were the ones who hated to establish goals and objectives. They were often the ones who would prefer to be critical versus volunteering to help create. They were the ones who always seemed to criticize peers who took the time to speak at national conferences, but would never volunteer themselves.
Some Just Don't Get It
I have concluded that some people just don't get it, and others just don't want to get it for self-serving reasons. Some say they are career-motivated, global thinkers and want to advance, yet are not willing to invest time and energy into learning. They fail to see that it is their responsibility to educate themselves and not their company's responsibility to do it for them. They always offer the excuse that they are too busy. Deep down inside, I think they are afraid to push the envelope. Ultimately, they are followers, not leaders.
Why should we embrace certification for our teachers, financial planners, realtors, tax preparers, internal auditors, safety, and human resources, but not loss prevention? I think you know why. Just look at past actions and attitudes, and the reasons become crystal clear.
As 2012 starts, we want to thank the Wicklander-Zulawski team for having a vision to elevate our industry. And, thanks to the majority of LP executives for supporting the Foundation's efforts to further evolve this industry into a true profession.
- Kevin Ach, LPC
- Carson Altice, LPC
- Anthony Arnold, LPQ
- Wes Bank, LPC
- Lee Bland, LPC
- Mark Bunyan, LPC
- Jeffrey Cotterman, LPC
- Tom Counts, LPC
- Dereck Ethington, LPC
- Grady Fuller, LPQ
- Christopher Gibson, LPC
- Gina Guardamondo, LPC
- Jarod Gustafson, LPC
- Keith Harmon, LPC
- Tyrun Haynie, LPC
- Brent Holley, LPC
- Reginald Holliday, LPC
- Ronald Holliday, LPC
- Thaddeus Hugues, LPC
- Laura Kay, LPQ
- Patrick Kerby, LPC
- Jody Kershaw, LPC
- Jason Lutz, LPQ
- James McClory, LPQ
- Kevin McMenimen, LPC
- Dane Meaux, LPQ
- Michael Miller, LPC
- Mark Mnich, LPC
- Anthony Nelson, LPQ
- Thomas O'Mara, LPQ
- Andrew Palmer, LPC
- Dan Provost, LPC
- Danielle Pyle, LPQ
- Glenn Rowe, LPQ
- David Shaffer, LPC
- Nesha Smith, LPC
- Ron Taylor, LPC
- Renee Thomas, LPQ
- Joseph Throneberry, LPC
- Stephen Trefry, LPQ
- Daniel Tucker, LPC
- Kevin Valentine, LPC
- Melissa Van De Carr, LPC