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About Me

My Story...

 

Ok, let's start with this. . .I don't like writing about myself and I have never been good at the "30 second elevator speech".  But if you'd to know more about my background and what drives me, read on...

Part of my bio reads, "Rich has an extensive history of developing and executing long term strategic growth plans, creating impactful marketing campaigns, developing new products & brands, leading cultural change, and building world class teams." It makes me sounds like I am a pretty big deal! Trust me, I am anything but.

 

My future was mapped out - serve in the US Navy as a career JAG Corps Officer.  Post Navy, I imagined my journey continuing by joining or opening up a law practice, eventually running for office, perhaps the US Senate.  I applied for ROTC, was diverted into considering Military Intelligence, but ultimately I failed my physical as a result of an accident in sixth grade.  No, I did not have a "PLAN B".

After years of work, classes, work, I stumbled into the retail industry. I found a passion, was lucky enough to have good mentors, and "stupid" enough to take jobs not based on title, but rather on the opportunity to learn. The result, I have held positions of increasing responsibility in merchandising, brand development & marketing, product development & sourcing, and new business development, with companies large and small, in retail and wholesale. Throughout my accidental career, I've benefited from having passionate mentors, great teams, and a personal willingness to take a risk or two.

Currently, I serve as the EVP, Global Chief Merchandising & Marketing Officer for the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM). I serve in a couple of unique roles, leading merchandising for a $2B+ global retailer with stores ranging from a 180 square foot micro-market to a 180,000 square foot flagship store, as well as a web store. Overseeing marketing & branding for the entire command which includes not only the retail division of the Navy Exchange, but also our Food, Auto & Services businesses, our NEXCOM Hospitality Group which manages two brands with over 18,000 rooms, as well as our Ships Stores, Uniform Office, and Telecommunications Program Office. If you don't know much about the Navy Exchange - ask me, I'd love to tell you about what we do! Fun facts about working for a Navy command? In addition to getting to do a job that I love for patrons that are the most deserving in the world, I hold a "Top Secret" clearance (am I allowed to say that?), I have taken terrorist training (duck and cover!), and I hold the civilian rank of a flag officer.  Which sounds really cool...until a real flag officer enters the room. Respect.

Prior to joining NEXCOM, I founded PDB Advisory Group where I served in an executive advisory capacity to CEO’s and senior executives leading brands seeking to develop their strategic marketing efforts, “purpose driven” branding, consumer insights & engagement, and organizational excellence. I was inspired to start this endeavor after reading “The Purpose Driven Economy” by Aaron Hurst. During this time, I also founded the Brand (Co) Lab, working directly with innovative start-up brands and emerging non-profits, connecting the dots between innovative leaders and creative talent to bring great ideas to life.  With clients literally on both sides of the country and around the world, while the travel was demanding, this experience recharged my love for innovation, showed the need for agility, the importance of understanding the customer journey, and the art of possible.

Before venturing out on my own, I served as the SVP of Marketing, Licensing & E-Commerce for Haggar Clothing Co where we spearheaded the initial growth of Haggar's online business and led a major corporate brand “re-fresh”, highlighted by the innovative “Slacks are Back” campaign. The effort earned me a nomination in 2013 for “CMO of the Year” in DFW.  I'll admit it was a cool moment for me and my team, and I'm ok that I lost to Sheryl Adkins-Green of Mary Kay. Really, I am!

 

We originally made our way to Texas from New York / New Jersey so I could work for JC Penney, starting as a Brand Director and ultimately serving as the VP for Men’s & Kid’s Private Brands, leading the design, product development & trend teams that drove JCP’s private label brands with an annual sales volume of over $2.7 billion. I did this during the transitional eras between Mike Ullman and Ron Johnson, both of whom I learned a considerable amount from.  Imagine that.

I earned my MBA from William & Mary's Mason School of Business - a decision heavily influenced by my wife and a back stage conversation with Garth Brooks. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing with a Minor in Communications from Southern New Hampshire University.  I graduated with honors from both programs - and I am not kidding about the conversation with Garth Brooks!

 

I have been named a REThink Retail "Top Retail Influencer", a "Top 100 Marketer" by my peers through OnCon Conferences and I am a proud member of The CMO Club. I've been honored with the CMO Innovation Award,  a finalist the CMO Social Responsibility Award, and most recently, I was awarded the CMO Content Engagement Award.  During one of the most memorable awards ceremonies, I had the opportunity to bring my then 12-year-old daughter with me to NYC as my "plus one" where she thought I was a pretty big deal, that is until she met the CMO of Global Chocolate for Mars. THAT was a pretty big deal!

I have a passion for youth leadership, diversity, and mentoring and have honored those by serving on the boards of the Digital Retailing School at the University of North Texas and the Fashion Merchandising School at TCU, and for several years as a national board of trustee for HOBY, a youth leadership organization for high school sophomores, one that I was fortunate enough to attend when I was in high school thanks to an amazing teacher, Ms. Rita Smith. Today I spend my time working on a couple of non-profit projects that my daughter started, and working with several colleges and universities as a mentor, always on the lookout for diverse talent!
 

Did I mention that I married my high school sweetheart? I did and we've renewed our vows in Las Vegas and more recently in Negril. We have an amazing daughter who is in college exploring Global Studies, Psychology, and (sniff, sniff), ...Marketing!  
 

Today you can find me adjusting to life as an empty nester with my wife, traveling to as many new countries as possible, trying to get rid of "stuff" and lead a more simple life, read a bit more, explore my writing, and perhaps even working on a college course and/or book.  

How did I do?  Still here?
 If you are, stay tuned because I am still a work in progress....

One of my favorite nights - the CMO Club Awards with my daughter | Future Marketer!

Back in 2002, the Brooks Brothers launch of the new Premier US Navy Dress Blues

Another Brand(Co)Lab project,

Ace Motor Co, one that

lives on today...
Simply #badass!

A great design project with one of my favorite teams. . .the new H26 by Haggar Co exclusively for Target!

Aloe Blacc and Vintage Trouble at the Slacks Lounge

I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best teams in the world! This is at JC Penney, during our holiday volunteer project at the Salvation Army.

An opportunity to speak at the Private Brand VELOCITY conference in Charlotte, NC

This quote pretty much sums up what I believe...

While it is an honor being invited to speak at conferences, it really is the interaction with passionate individuals that I enjoy the most

One of my favorite photos...

My wife, childhood sweetheart and our daughter, now in college. A badass Command Master Chief, two fellow executives, a social media guru, author, innovator, and an Army Veteran and Paraolympic Athlete!  Consider the glass SHATTERED!

Yes, I met Garth Brooks, twice. And yes, he helped convince me to go back to school and earn my MBA...
FOR ME

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