SPEAKERS

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

EJ Kritz

Director of Training | ath Power Consulting

EJ Kritz is a seasoned keynote speaker, trainer, and strategist with extensive experience working for some of the finest brands in retail, call center, financial services, franchising, and media. As the director of ath Power Consulting’s training practice, EJ supports organizations of all sizes and various industries to deliver world-class training focused on such critical topics as leadership, management, needs-based sales, employee engagement, customer experience, problem resolution, and more. For more than 15 years, EJ has held various senior positions for some of the top companies in the country.

PANELISTS & MODERATORS

Faris Alqadah

Senior Director of Data Science Innovation | Ulta Beauty

Faris Alqadah leads all data science innovation initiatives at Ulta Beauty leveraging artificial intelligence to understand and engage guests through differentiated, relevant and personalized experiences. Ulta Beauty is the largest specialty beauty retailer in the United States and the only one to provide guests prestige, mass and salon products and services all under one roof. Prior to Ulta Beauty, Faris was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of QM Scientific – a Silicon Valley-based startup that built an AI-powered customer engagement platform for retailers; QM Scientific was acquired by Ulta Beauty in 2018. From 2012-2014 Faris was a senior data scientist at PayPal.

Andrew Anastas

Owner | Abbondanza Vending

Speaker bio coming soon!

Jeremy Neal Blowers

Executive Director | The Ontario Regiment RCAC Museum

Speaker bio coming soon!

Ruth Crowley

VP of Merchandise & Brand Strategy | The Hudson Group

Speaker bio coming soon!

Bart DeCanne

Founder & CEO | Sophatar Inc.

Bart DeCanne founded Sophatar with a vision to create a truly novel experience at physical venues by leveraging the various mobile, sensor, video and audio technologies he worked on for 20+ years at chip and OEM electronics companies. Before founding Sophatar, Bart was VP Product Marketing at NASDAQ-listed Audience (since then acquired by Knowles), a leading supplier of voice and audio processors for mobile handsets. Before that, in reverse order, he was business director for Cypress Semiconductor’s touchscreen product line, executive director of business management at Maxim Integrated Products for multiple product lines, product line manager at Silicon Labs for video products, and WW marketing manager for mixed-signal video products at Texas Instruments.

Jared Detwiler

VP of Operations | One Source Office Refreshments

Speaker bio coming soon!

David Drain

SVP, Events | Networld Media Group

David Drain has more than 20 years of experience in association management, event planning, writing and speaking. He has served as executive director of the Digital Signage Association (a group he co-founded), the Self-Service & Kiosk Association and the merged organization, Digital Screenmedia Association. Previously he was EVP for the Foodservice Consultants Society International. He currently oversees five summits for Networld Media Group ranging from mobile, interactive customer experience, bank CX, restaurant franchising and fast casual restaurants.

Chris Georgalas

Co-Owner | Daddy’s Chicken Shack

Speaker bio coming soon!

Albert Gonzalez

Area Supervisor & Sales Manager | Best Office Coffee Service

Speaker bio coming soon!

Joe Hessling

Founder & CEO | 365 Retail Markets

Joe Hessling is the founder and CEO of 365 Retail Markets, the global leader in self-checkout workplace technology. 365 Retail Markets offers the best-in-class platform for micro markets, vending, foodservice and hospitality. Under Joe’s leadership the company has been pioneering innovation since 2009. A serial entrepreneur, Joe has founded, owned and operated several companies in the past 25 years in areas ranging from distribution, managed services, restaurants and other investments. Joe is a member of the National Automatic Merchandising Association Board of Directors.

Jim Kruper

President & Co-Founder | KioWare Kiosk System Software

Jim Kruper is President and co-founder of KioWare Kiosk System Software. KioWare has a wealth of experience across many industries and has been providing kiosk software solutions since 2004 for sectors such as education, utility, entertainment, financial, government, health & fitness, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, real estate, retail, transportation, tourism, plus many more.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix

President | Shikatani Lacroix Design

Jean-Pierre Lacroix is president of immersive experience design firm Shikatani Lacroix Design. A visionary design thinker, author and speaker, JP is driven to produce measurable results through strategic insights. He is committed to transforming the customer experience by designing immersive experiences that compel consumers to buy at the moment of purchase. JP is continually sought after by top brands, industry associations, conferences and publications for his insights on leading packaging, retail, banking and digital trends. His client list includes Cineplex Entertainment, Regions Bank, Toronto Blue Jays, PepsiCo Canada, CZ Bank, The Source and TD Bank Group.

Eric Lavinder

VP, Franchise Development | Saladworks

Speaker bio coming soon!

Ray Ledford

Owner | Lêberry Bakery

Speaker bio coming soon!

Lawrence Lerner

Head of Product | Avanti Markets

Lawrence Lerner is a pioneer in Digital Payments with a history of success in innovation, both within large corporate and startup structures. During his career, he has worked across industries in multiple roles (executive, lead technologist, public board director) to enable digital transformation, scaling up businesses using edge technologies and processes creating $100Ms in new revenue. Lawrence has worked across Retail driving innovation to Costco, HEB, Wal-mart, Safeway Stores and many others to improve the in-store and back office experience. Today Lawrence heads the Product team for Avanti Markets. With his peers he is helping Avanti become the leader in unattended Retail and retail software.

Matt Levin

SVP/Chief Financial & Technology Officer | Pawtucket Red Sox

Matthew Levin currently serves as the Controller and Chief Technology Officer for the Pawtucket Red Sox. He has been with the club since January 2016 and has taken an active role in running the day-to-day operations of the Finance Department as well as developing the technology strategy for the team. A 2014 summa cum laude graudate of Boston University School of Management with a BSBA in Accounting and Management Information Systems, Matthew was hired full-time as a Business Analyst upon graduation with the Boston Red Sox. For the Boston Red Sox, Matthew focused on developing a Customer Relationship Management platform and aided in developing technologies to simplify financial processes.

Michael Mack

VP, Global Service Solution Development & Innovation | Pitney Bowes

Michael Mack is Vice President for Pitney Bowes Global Services & Support. Michael is a senior business leader who has over 31 years of managed services experience with Pitney Bowes leading a broad range of business development, operational and consulting initiatives. Mike has built his career around providing comprehensive, strategic and flexible service, delivery and support solutions to grow a client’s business. Utilizing Pitney Bowes’ global technology enabled infrastructure, experienced management and service delivery team all focused on delivering optimal service outcomes and accelerated growth for clients.

Todd Madlener

President & COO | Coolgreens

Todd Madlener is an industry veteran with over 25 years of leadership experience building passionate teams and brand culture that drives quality and growth. At Coolgreens, Todd is leading the brand into its next phase of growth with culture-first programs like “coolstories” and an enhanced training program. He’s also leading key initiatives for the brand including a new prototype, catering program, and updated technologies all aimed at enabling restaurant teams to elevate the guest experience. Todd previously served as Vice President of Operations at MAD Greens and Senior Director of Operations for Red Robin where he spent over 20 years.

Ava Manson

Social Media Director | Lêberry Bakery

Ava Manson is a college student pursuing a degree in Journalism from New York University. Currently living in Los Angeles, she works at Leberry Bakery as a Social Media Director.

Elliot Maras

Editor | Kiosk Marketplace & Vending Times

Elliot Maras brings a background covering the retail, foodservice and payments industries, having served as the editor of Automatic Merchandiser Magazine for 20 years and as the founding editor of VendingMarketWatch.com. He is a graduate of the National Automatic Merchandising Association/Michigan State University Executive Development Program, a former board member of the International Foodservice Editors Council, and a winner of the Journalism Award of the Office Refreshment Development Foundation.

Chris Rodriguez

Owner | Del Norte Snacks

Speaker bio coming soon!

Stuart Rogers

CEO | Agora Brands Group

Stuart Rogers is CEO of Agora Brands Group, a 2019 startup that combines art-infused technologies with artificial intelligence into avatars that promote human-like customer service interaction. Our avatar designs deploy AI-driven technologies along with the latest developments in the language technologies of Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and Natural Language Processing (NLP). Avatars will be in the forefront of delivering a satisfying interactive customer service experience in the decades to come. Agora Brands Group is developing Avatars as a Service to fill the growing gap in demand for quality customer service support, and to help firms adapt to a world of and after COVID-19 in the food services, retail, eldercare, healthcare and travel and hospitality industries.

Josh Rosenberg

President | Chemesis International

Josh Rosenberg, president of Chemesis International, is a 27-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, including experience working with major brands such as Coca-Cola and a number of its global brands and products. Josh has worked at all levels of the Coca-Cola organization, moving his way up from “street to suite” to become a leader in the CPG space. After spending 18 years with the company, he moved outside of CPG when he stepped into ownership at Accent Food Services, a multi-state convenience services company bringing fresh food, snacks, beverages, and convenience items the last mile.

Jeffrey N. Rosenthal

Partner | Blank Rome LLP

Jeffrey Rosenthal is a Partner with Blank Rome LLP, where he serves as Chair of the Firm’s Biometric Privacy Team. He concentrates his complex corporate litigation practice on consumer and privacy class action defense, consumer fraud, data privacy, biometrics, online/telephone marketing, false advertising, and e-commerce. Jeffrey and his team have achieved dozens of dismissals and defeated class certification for major manufacturers, retailers, media companies, healthcare providers, financial companies, sports franchise and technology companies for over ten years. He also counsels clients on biometric compliance. He currently serves as the Cyberlaw columnist for The Legal Intelligencer. Email: Rosenthal-j@BlankRome.com.

Arne Saupe

Director of Engineering | Farmer’s Fridge

Arne Saupe is the Director of Engineering at Farmer’s Fridge, where he is currently focused on having the team create scalable systems and the foundational architecture to allow Farmer’s Fridge to grow to the next level. Arne has over 25 years of experience as a leader and an engineer working in a wide variety of industries including Commodities, Retail and Insurance. He is passionate about removing the technical barriers and giving the business freedom to thrive. He has learned how to strike the balance between delivering solutions that scale without over engineering the solutions and maintaining the company’s ability to pivot.

Rich Stenseth

Director of Retail Vending | Swire Coca-Cola USA

Speaker bio coming soon!

Bill Stutzman

Vice President of Strategic Initiatives | Ventus

Bill Stutzman, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, is a networking industry change agent helping today’s Omnichannel Financial Institutions solve technology challenges and meet networking demand. Bill’s expertise in marketing and network services has allowed him to support FIs implementing the many transformational changes impacting the omnichannel branch and how it can positively enhance the customer experience. Bill holds an M.B.A from Columbia University and throughout his career, including senior roles at Time, Inc’s Fortune.com, Entertainment Weekly’s EW.com, and Sprint, he has demonstrated a talent for anticipating trends and capturing value at the right time.

William Swift

President | Business Travelers Services, Inc.

William Swift is an owner and the president of Business Traveler Services, Inc. (BTS), a minority-owned business and entertainment center development company that was founded in 1994. For more than twenty (20) years, BTS has operated at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport offering such brands as Zoom Systems (vending machines offering Apple; Sony; and, other electronic and business products), FedEx and UPS dropboxes; TracPhone vending machines; pre-paid phonecard dispensers; Travelex and, InMotion branded stores. BTS also has operated at LaGuardia International Airport, JFK International Airport, Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Kansas City International Airport, Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, and Augusta Regional Airport.

Renee Welsh

CEO | Embed and Booking Boss

Renee Welsh is the CEO of Embed and Booking Boss, which she founded as a start­ up in 2013 before its acquisition by Helix Leisure in 2017. One-part executive, one-part entrepreneur, Renee’s passion lies in building businesses and transforming industries. A natural innovator, she launched her first tech business when she was 27, and followed this up with stints at prominent start ups across the world, including lastminute.com, wotif, Monster and RedBaIloon. In 2013, Renee launched Booking Boss, an award-winning ticketing and booking management platform dedicated to attractions, tours and entertainment industries. When it was acquired by Helix Leisure in 2017, Renee was appointed CEO to both Booking Boss and sister-company Embed.

Brad Winslow

Former VP of Strategic Development | Elavon (payment processor of US-Bank)

With 20 years of experience at technology leaders in the payments eco-system, Brad Winslow advises Sophatar on the development of its payments-related roadmap and go-to market. Most recently Brad was VP of Strategic Partner Development at Elavon, the payment processor subsidiary of US-Bank. Elavon processes over $450B in sales transactions for more than 1M merchants annually. Earlier he was with Silicon Valley Bank, and with World Pay as Director of Sales. From 2008 through 2015 he was Director of Solutions Architecture, and later Director for Global eCommerce Sales, at First Data Corporation where he focused on key technology-driven markets such as digital content, games and mobile.