AgendaEducation and Schedule

You Spoke. We Listened.

Business Solutions readers have made it clear: they want real-world education that will grow their business. At Retail IT VAR Of The Future, attendees will receive actionable information from peers and leading channel experts, not glorified vendor sales pitches. 

2017 Speakers

VARs and ISVs interested in speaking on a panel at Retail IT VAR Of The Future should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jim Thompson, CFO, Cavender's Western Outfitter

  • Oversees budget planning for Cavender’s 80+ locations
  • 30+ years of financial professional experience in both public and private sectors
  • Editorial board member for BSM’s sister publication Innovative Retail Technologies

Mike Nicholson, Principal/COO, POSitive Technology

  • Leads an 8-office nationwide solutions provider in custom software applications,  hardware platforms, networks, payment processing, and security solutions
  • Serves retail and hospitality clients in all 50 states, including brands such as Anheuser-Busch, L’Oreal, Goodwill, Sony Pictures, Lovesac, and several professional sports franchises
  • POSitive Technology was awarded the prestigious Partner of the Year award by Microsoft for four consecutive years
  • Spoke at the 2015 Retail IT VAR Of The Future conference on payment security

Brooke Ybarra, Senior Manager, Merchant Acquiring, First Annapolis Consulting

  • Partners with acquirers, software developers, VARs, financial sponsors, and banks on projects covering strategic planning, distribution strategies, and research initiatives
  • Routinely supports mergers and acquisitions engagements on both the buy- and sell-side
  • Four years of experience with the Central Intelligence Agency as a Program Manager prior to First Annapolis
  • Earned her MBA from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, where she was valedictorian of her class

Brad Jarrett, CEO, Alert POS

  • Developing innovative software technology with gunshot detection and notification integrated with a POS system that utilizes drones, 3D, and wearable technology as an ISV executive
  • Featured in the cover story of the June 2016 issue of BSM, “Security Starts At The POS”
  • Earned the prestigious 2016 RSPA Pacesetter Award at RetailNOW, presented by the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) and Business Solutions

Chris Rumpf, President, Flyght POS

  • VAR-turned-MSP who was featured on the November 2013 cover of BSM, “Give Your Company A Managed Service Makeover”
  • 15+ year veteran of the tech industry, focusing on hospitality since 2007
  • Dinerware Partner Excellence award and Dinerware Partner of the Year award recipient
  • Retail Solutions Providers Association board member

Silka Gonzalez, Founder & President, Enterprise Risk Management

  • 30+ years of experience in the field of cyber security
  • Since 1998, ERM has provided cyber security, computer forensics, and technical compliance services to 250+ recurrent clients in 17 different industries worldwide, including the retail and hospitality verticals
  • Completed an Entrepreneurial Master’s Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Professional certifications include: Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Systems Manager (CISM), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), and Payment Card Industry Qualified Security Assessor (PCI-QSA)

Gary Power, Co-Founder/Director of Client Services, Power Consulting Group

  • 25+ years of experience as an IT professional since founding Power Consulting, including roles as a trainer, engineer, consultant, and director
  • Developed consulting programs for MSP business process improvement that focus on maximizing ROI, profitability and client retention
  • Active in a number of civic organizations including Big Brothers of America, Fresh Air Fund, Association for Computing Machinery, Center for Technology in Learning and Education, and the International Society for Technology in Education

Tom Clancy Jr., President, Valiant Technology

Erick Wilson, President & CEO, TEC  Works

  • Named Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce IT Council’s Small Business Leader and 904 Magazine’s Tech Innovator and Influencer in 2013
  • Provides managed support, backup and recovery, VoIP, and network security solutions to the legal, non-profit, healthcare, financial, and retail/hospitality verticals as an MSP
  • Sales expert with experience in innovative employee incentive and training programs

Michael Tash, Co-Founder, Co-Owner, & VP, Essential Systems Solutions

  • 25+ years of experience in the POS business as an installer, service manager, VP of Administration, VP of Customer Relations
  • Grew from a small, local solutions provider to a nationally-recognized VAR
  • Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member

Paul Daigle, Partner, US IT Systems

  • Technology Chair of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Philanthropist, founder, and administrator of
  • Provides C-level business coaching to MSPs within the POS, telecom, computer networking, and copier industries

Ken Johnson, CEO, US IT Systems

  • 20+ years of experience as a POS VAR
  • Transitioned 100% of clients to a managed services model in the past five years
  • Featured on the cover of the December 2008 issue of Business Solutions magazine on 30% growth during the 2008-2009 recession

Joe Creegan, President & General Manager, CardPayment Services

  • 35+ years of POS, payment systems, and sales experience
  • Manages a team of 60+ sales reps across the U.S.
  • First national dealer sales manager for Aloha

Kelly Funk, President & CEO, Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA)

  • Leader of the only association 100% dedicated to the retail IT channel
  • Faculty member at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business
  • Instructor of executive-level change management educational course
Jason R. Firment, Director of POS and VARCOM,  BlueStar
  • Oversees BlueStar’s go to market strategy and the ISV relationships as it relates to the POS vertical. 
  • Manages BlueStar’s VARCOM program, an award winning marketing service designed specifically for resellers.  
  • 20+ years of experience in distribution, business development and partner management.

Linda Sudderth, North America Sales Manager, Business Systems, Epson

  • Responsible for the strategy and direction of the OEM, VAR, and ISV Channels for the business systems division focused on retail, hospitality, and financial markets in North America
  • 25+ years of manufacturing and solution sales experience in the retail and hospitality industries

Jim Roddy, Reseller & ISV Business Advisor, Vantiv

  • 18+ years of experience educating channel executives, including as the former president of Business Solutions
  • Assists resellers and ISVs in the retail, hospitality and grocery verticals with their employee management, leadership development, change management, succession planning, and shifting to the recurring revenue business model
  • Hiring expert and author of Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer
  • Past chairman of the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA)

PJ Tierney, Director of Channel Sales, Cayan

  • Develops and manages Cayan’s VAR channel strategy
  • Has cultivated 2,000+ POS software developer and VAR payment partnerships nationwide
  • Certified payments professional with 15+ years of experience
  • Knowledge in partner marketing has generated substantial revenue growth year after year

Suzanne Davis, Director, Reseller Channel, Harbortouch

  • Recruited out of the restaurant industry over 15 years ago Suzanne has worked with three of the most successful payment processors in the industry.
  • As a subject matter expert in Retention Suzanne helps resellers train on industry trends and how to identify at-risk merchants.
  • Helping payment professionals make the most recurring revenue through innovative Point of Sale systems and payment technology.

Matt Pillar, Chief Editor, Business Solutions Magazine

  • Has covered retail IT for 17+ years and has authored more than 2,000 columns and feature articles on retail technology implementation and trends
  • Author of annual Retail Tech Spending Report, a summary of a wide-ranging end-user survey revealing the technologies that will drive retail purchasing decisions
  • Former chief editor with Innovative Retail Technologies, an end-user sister publication to BSM

Abby Sorensen, Associate Editor, Business Solutions Magazine

  • Launched the Retail IT VAR Of The Future conference in 2015 as a project manager with BSM
  • Helped create ISV IQ Live!, the channel’s first conference exclusively for software developer executives
  • Member of the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) W2W and Education & Certification Committees

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100% of attendees at our 2015 & 2016 conferences said they were Very Satisfied/Satisfied with the overall education sessions.

“It was most extremely useful when the moderators pressed the speakers with sensitive, business-personal questions and the speakers honestly seemed to speak their mind. This was extremely informative.”

– 2016 VAR attendee

“I know I have 2 to 3 pages of notes to go back and see if we can do things differently.”

– 2016 ISV attendee

“The future of our profession was laid out in great detail. Thank you for caring and digging deep to find the leaders and producing this event. I very much liked the format you chose. It was the correct one.”

–  2015 VAR Attendee

“I really liked the format of a presentation followed by a VAR/IT panel. It definitely helped to provide alternate viewpoints on each of the topics. The BSM team did a great job of facilitating these panels.”

–  2015 VAR Attendee

“Found several new products / vendors in the exhibit hall that we will be exploring further. Also hearing some 'real world' experiences and interacting with VAR's from different verticals than ours provided insight into things that we could potentially use to enhance our own offerings.”

–  2015 VAR Attendee

Speakers At Retail IT VAR Of The Future


Day 1 – Tuesday, April 4:

8:00-9:15AM – Continental breakfast & networking (exhibit floor open)

9:15-9:30AM – Opening remarks

9:30-10:15AM – How To Influence Retail Decision Makers: An Interview With Jim Thompson, CFO of Cavender’s Boot City

10:20-10:45AM –Retail Tech Spending Trends For 2017

11:15AM-12:00PM – Strategies & Comp Models: Expert Solutions Providers Tell All

12:00-12:15PM – Lunch served

12:15-1:15PM – Profit Boosting Lightning Round Breakout Sessions

· 12:15-12:30:  BlueStar & Harbortouch

· 12:35-12:50: Epson & Vantiv

· 12:55-1:10: Cayan & Michael Tash “Innovative Case Study”

1:15-2:15PM –Networking (exhibit floor open)

2:15-3:00PM – Meet The POS Competitors You Didn’t Know You Had

3:00-4:00PM – KPIs Every Solutions Provider Should Know

4:00-5:00PM – Networking happy hour on exhibit floor


Day 2 – Wednesday, April 5

8:00-9:00AM – Continental breakfast & networking (exhibit floor open)

9:00-9:30AM – The State Of The POS Channel

9:35-10:30AM – M&A Fundamentals For VARs (Brooke Ybarra, First Annapolis Consulting)       

10:30-10:45AM – Stretch & laugh break

10:45-11:30AM – Growing Pains Of Scaling To A Nationwide Solutions Provider

11:30AM-12:00PM – Lunch served

12:00-12:20PM – Connecting The Point Of Sale Ecosystem

12:20-1:45PM – Networking on exhibit floor

1:45-2:30PM  – Solving The Security Puzzle While Boosting Profits

2:30-3:15PM – How An Old School POS VAR Made The Jump To Managed Services

3:15-3:30PM– Closing remarks/prize giveaways

IT VAR Popup

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Febraury 26th, 2015 at 1:00pm EST.

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