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Execs at Kroger, Giant Eagle and Wakefern Headline GroceryTech Panel on Recruitment and Retention

Trio joins Progressive Grocer's Gina Acosta to map out technologies for creating and maintaining talent
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer


Thursday, July 13, 2023, 4:10 PM - 4:40 PM

This panel session will examine topics such as labor of the future, robotics and automation, recruiting tactics, and engaging associates for better retention.


Although the labor market remains tight, grocers can deploy technologies throughout the recruitment and retention processes to keep their operations well and rightly staffed. Indeed, with unemployment levels still hovering around 3.4% and with workers considering their options, such tools are increasingly essential in helping retailers remain competitive as employers.

The hot topic of tech-enabled talent will be explored during the inaugural GroceryTech event, co-produced by Progressive Grocer and RIS News. Cross-functional experts in HR, operations, and health and safety will join Progressive Grocer editor-in-chief Gina Acosta in a panel discussion on “Automation, Talent and Recruiting for a Fruitful Future.” They will share how they are navigating the ongoing and often formidable challenges in attracting and maintaining workforces through innovative thinking and digital resources.

Rana Schiff

Rana Schiff

Senior Director, HR Business Partner, Technology & Digital, The Kroger Co.

Supporting Kroger Technology and Digital (KTD), 84.51° and Alternative Profit for The Kroger Co., Schiff leads all direct HR functions to support over 4,000 associates. In addition, she is the key liaison for HR centers of excellence, ensuring KTD, 84.51° and Alternative Profit teams receive appropriate training while also overseeing staffing and recruitment efforts.

Schiff joined Kroger in 2011 as a senior risk manager for Kroger Personal Finance (KPF). Since then, she has held numerous leadership roles at Kroger including senior risk and anti-money laundering compliance manager for senior business partners, retail operations and merchandising, where she was the key HR liaison supporting major retail strategies and initiatives. In 2019, she served as director of administration of new business development, overseeing the strategic relationship with Walgreens. She was then named human resources leader supporting Kroger Health, Kroger Specialty Pharmacy and The Little Clinic until she was promoted into her current position. Prior to Kroger, Schiff held roles at Axcess Financial where she worked in risk management and became a Certified Fraud Examiner. She began her career at Fifth Third Bank.


Michael Criscuolo

VP, Infrastructure and Operations, Wakefern Food Corp.

As the son of two longtime grocers, Criscuolo has long had an affinity for the grocery industry. His first job was in a supermarket, and now at Wakefern, he and his team of nearly 150 associates focus on key issues facing grocers today, including cybersecurity, stability, and support.

In his 10 years at Wakefern, Criscuolo has spearheaded the technology powering Wakefern’s digital presence that has made Wakefern a key player in online shopping. Additionally, he was instrumental in the development of a multiyear cybersecurity roadmap and the modernization of key communications systems, replacing legacy systems and introducing newer, smarter ways of working across the Wakefern cooperative, its 50 member/owners and 350-plus stores operating as ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway.

Prior to Wakefern, Criscuolo spent 10 years at Gristedes/Red Apple Group as director, managing the organization’s marketing, financial reporting and technology.

GroceryTech Headshot

Victor Vercammen

VP of Enterprise Safety & Healthcare Compliance, Giant Eagle

Vercammen leads the protection of guests, team members, assets, and products across all operations at Giant Eagle. Having held leadership positions at a number of large retailers and supply chain enterprises, Victor is a recognized risk and compliance leader with expertise in healthcare logistics, pharmacy inventory management, FDA and DEA compliance, retail healthcare operations, and environmental regulation. He holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Illinois Chicago.


Gina Acosta

Editor-in-Chief, Progressive Grocer

PG's editor-in-chief has covered the retail and CPG industries for various business publications since 2014. Previously she was a writer and editor for the Tampa Bay Times. She served on the editorial board of the Washington Post and as an assistant editor there for more than 13 years. She has also worked for the Hartford Courant, Tallahassee Democrat and Miami Herald. In 2006, she was awarded the Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard University, where she spent more than a year studying retail, agribusiness and teaching journalism. In 2010 she was awarded the Wharton Fellowship for Business Journalists, allowing her to study and earn business journalism certification from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Acosta has received the Hispanic Media 100 Award, Women in Communications Leadership Award, Tallahassee Democrat Award for Newsroom Excellence, Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Intern Award and Hearst Journalism Award. She has also been selected as a fellow by Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Poynter Institute, the Maynard Media Academy and American Society of Newspaper Editors.

Acosta has worked on Progressive Grocer for over three years. 

About GroceryTech

July 12-14 in Cincinnati

GroceryTech aims to answer the question, “How can grocers replicate the ‘small neighborhood grocery store on the corner’ concept, while still operating profitably at scale?” The event will bring together the combined PG and RIS community of business and technology grocery execs who are on the journey to modernize their technology infrastructure to support innovation.

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