Speakers

2018 Speakers

Greg Buzek

Founder & President, IHL Group

Greg Buzek is the Founder and President of IHL Group and one of the Founders of the Retail Orphan Initiative (www.retailROI.org), a charitable foundation that seeks to help the 400 million orphaned and vulnerable children around the world. In eight years, RetailROI has been involved in 80 projects in 24 countries helping an estimated 224,000 children through clean water, education, computers, language training and care. Noted by RIS News as one of the “25 Most Influential People in Retail” and the National Retail Federation as one of “The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future,” Buzek has a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from The Ohio State University, and 25 years of experience in retail market analysis, business planning, product development and consulting with Fortune 500 companies.

Greg Buzek

Founder & President, IHL Group

Greg Buzek is the Founder and President of IHL Group and one of the Founders of the Retail Orphan Initiative (www.retailROI.org), a charitable foundation that seeks to help the 400 million orphaned and vulnerable children around the world. In eight years, RetailROI has been involved in 80 projects in 24 countries helping an estimated 224,000 children through clean water, education, computers, language training and care. Noted by RIS News as one of the “25 Most Influential People in Retail” and the National Retail Federation as one of “The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future,” Buzek has a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from The Ohio State University, and 25 years of experience in retail market analysis, business planning, product development and consulting with Fortune 500 companies.


Chris Delusky

Head of Store Development, Shinola

Chris Delusky is a credentialed program leader with more than 20 years experience in international project delivery and design management for retail, restaurant, hospitality and residential construction programs. As the Head of Store Development for Shinola, his team is responsible for driving the real estate acquisition, store design, budgeting, procurement, construction and ongoing facility management for the entire Shinola store portfolio, as well as the retail store rollout for Shinola’s sister brand, Filson.

Chris Delusky

Head of Store Development, Shinola

Chris Delusky is a credentialed program leader with more than 20 years experience in international project delivery and design management for retail, restaurant, hospitality and residential construction programs. As the Head of Store Development for Shinola, his team is responsible for driving the real estate acquisition, store design, budgeting, procurement, construction and ongoing facility management for the entire Shinola store portfolio, as well as the retail store rollout for Shinola’s sister brand, Filson.


Ignaz Gorischek

Vice President, CallisonRTKL

Ignaz Gorischek is an award-winning designer who brings a unique blend of retail experience to CallisonRTKL’s Dallas team. Over the past four decades working for some of the most distinguished retailers in the industry, he has established a reputation for his innovative design philosophy, marked by holistic design solutions and his “modern luxury” style. Gorischek’s background in striking visual merchandising, store planning and design, graphics, art curation and collection, as well as an innovative application of technologies, has made him one of the most recognized figures in retail design.

Ignaz Gorischek

Vice President, CallisonRTKL

Ignaz Gorischek is an award-winning designer who brings a unique blend of retail experience to CallisonRTKL’s Dallas team. Over the past four decades working for some of the most distinguished retailers in the industry, he has established a reputation for his innovative design philosophy, marked by holistic design solutions and his “modern luxury” style. Gorischek’s background in striking visual merchandising, store planning and design, graphics, art curation and collection, as well as an innovative application of technologies, has made him one of the most recognized figures in retail design.


Tom Lewand

CEO, Shinola

Detroit-area native Tom Lewand joined Shinola as CEO in 2016, where he helps guide the strategic direction and business operations of the company. Prior to Shinola, Lewand was President of the NFL’s Detroit Lions, where he held various roles for more than 20 years. Lewand is active in the community, acting as Past Chairman of the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau and serving on the Boards of Directors of the Detroit Zoological Society, the Downtown Detroit Partnership, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the Parade Company. Lewand also is on the Corporate Advisory Board for the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and the Detroit Mayor’s Workforce Development Board.

Tom Lewand

CEO, Shinola

Detroit-area native Tom Lewand joined Shinola as CEO in 2016, where he helps guide the strategic direction and business operations of the company. Prior to Shinola, Lewand was President of the NFL’s Detroit Lions, where he held various roles for more than 20 years. Lewand is active in the community, acting as Past Chairman of the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau and serving on the Boards of Directors of the Detroit Zoological Society, the Downtown Detroit Partnership, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the Parade Company. Lewand also is on the Corporate Advisory Board for the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and the Detroit Mayor’s Workforce Development Board.


Chris Librie

Head of Impact & Giving, eBay

Chris Librie is Head of Impact & Giving at eBay, responsible for activating and communicating the company’s purpose to drive an inclusive economy and better commerce. In this role, he leads a global team that creates and oversees programs and initiatives like Retail Revival, a 12-month pilot initiative with the city of Akron, Ohio. With this program, eBay aims to advance existing economic development efforts by harnessing the power of technology and eBay’s global marketplace to support and grow the local business community. Librie’s team also directs eBay for Charity, which enables members of the eBay community to support their favorite charities every time they buy or sell. The program has raised more than $810 million since 2003 and aims to raise $1 billion by 2020. Librie and his team established the Everyday Heroes program, which celebrates and promotes via social media the extraordinary impact eBay buyers, sellers and employees have on people, communities and the world. He oversees the work of the eBay Foundation, which supports inclusive entrepreneurship to build economically vibrant and sustainable communities. This includes inspiring and engaging eBay’s global employees to drive eBay’s purpose through volunteering and giving programs with Kiva, Ashoka, GriffinWorx and others. In addition, he and his team are responsible for CSR reporting, including tracking the company’s environmental footprint. Prior to joining eBay, Librie worked in corporate social responsibility, marketing and general management for a number of major companies, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Hewlett-Packard Co., SC Johnson, Diageo and Unilever. Originally from New York, Librie has lived and worked in the U.K., Sweden, the Netherlands, and many parts of the U.S. Today, he and wife, Suzanne, call the Bay Area home.

Chris Librie

Head of Impact & Giving, eBay

Chris Librie is Head of Impact & Giving at eBay, responsible for activating and communicating the company’s purpose to drive an inclusive economy and better commerce. In this role, he leads a global team that creates and oversees programs and initiatives like Retail Revival, a 12-month pilot initiative with the city of Akron, Ohio. With this program, eBay aims to advance existing economic development efforts by harnessing the power of technology and eBay’s global marketplace to support and grow the local business community. Librie’s team also directs eBay for Charity, which enables members of the eBay community to support their favorite charities every time they buy or sell. The program has raised more than $810 million since 2003 and aims to raise $1 billion by 2020. Librie and his team established the Everyday Heroes program, which celebrates and promotes via social media the extraordinary impact eBay buyers, sellers and employees have on people, communities and the world. He oversees the work of the eBay Foundation, which supports inclusive entrepreneurship to build economically vibrant and sustainable communities. This includes inspiring and engaging eBay’s global employees to drive eBay’s purpose through volunteering and giving programs with Kiva, Ashoka, GriffinWorx and others. In addition, he and his team are responsible for CSR reporting, including tracking the company’s environmental footprint. Prior to joining eBay, Librie worked in corporate social responsibility, marketing and general management for a number of major companies, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Hewlett-Packard Co., SC Johnson, Diageo and Unilever. Originally from New York, Librie has lived and worked in the U.K., Sweden, the Netherlands, and many parts of the U.S. Today, he and wife, Suzanne, call the Bay Area home.


Alison Embrey Medina

Editor in Chief/Associate Publisher, design:retail

Alison Embrey Medina is the editor in chief/associate publisher of design:retail magazine, an award-winning trade publication serving the retail design industry. In her 15-plus years in the magazine industry, she has been solely focused on covering retail, and rigorously studies trends and consumer nuances affecting the art and science of store design and merchandising. She regularly shares her perspective via trend talks at various events across the globe, most recently traveling to China, Hong Kong, Brazil, France, Germany, Turkey, Canada and Mexico. She holds a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from The University of Georgia’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and was named one of Folio: magazine’s Top Women in Media for 2016.

Alison Embrey Medina

Editor in Chief/Associate Publisher, design:retail

Alison Embrey Medina is the editor in chief/associate publisher of design:retail magazine, an award-winning trade publication serving the retail design industry. In her 15-plus years in the magazine industry, she has been solely focused on covering retail, and rigorously studies trends and consumer nuances affecting the art and science of store design and merchandising. She regularly shares her perspective via trend talks at various events across the globe, most recently traveling to China, Hong Kong, Brazil, France, Germany, Turkey, Canada and Mexico. She holds a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from The University of Georgia’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and was named one of Folio: magazine’s Top Women in Media for 2016.


Marcie Merriman

Americas Cultural Insights & Customer Strategy Leader, EY

Marcie Merriman is an internationally recognized leader in cultural anthropology and retail strategy, having her work frequently featured in publications, such as The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal and Forbes. She has spent 25 years working with teams to anticipate disruption and propel growth through human-centric strategies. Within EY, Merriman leads a practice focused on helping organizations understand the nuances of human behaviors and the organizational implications that can be addressed through improved experiences, including the deployment of digital technologies. Prior to joining EY, Merriman was an executive with Victoria’s Secret, and a successful business leader and entrepreneur: First, as a partner in global retail design firm Big Red Rooster (acquired by JLL), then as founder of experience strategy firm PrimalGrowth (acquired by EY). Merriman speaks globally on topics related to changing consumer behaviors and corporate strategic response. Recent keynotes include: Dubai Global Economic Summit, Forbes CMO Summit and ICSC NEXUS. 

Marcie Merriman

Americas Cultural Insights & Customer Strategy Leader, EY

Marcie Merriman is an internationally recognized leader in cultural anthropology and retail strategy, having her work frequently featured in publications, such as The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal and Forbes. She has spent 25 years working with teams to anticipate disruption and propel growth through human-centric strategies. Within EY, Merriman leads a practice focused on helping organizations understand the nuances of human behaviors and the organizational implications that can be addressed through improved experiences, including the deployment of digital technologies. Prior to joining EY, Merriman was an executive with Victoria’s Secret, and a successful business leader and entrepreneur: First, as a partner in global retail design firm Big Red Rooster (acquired by JLL), then as founder of experience strategy firm PrimalGrowth (acquired by EY). Merriman speaks globally on topics related to changing consumer behaviors and corporate strategic response. Recent keynotes include: Dubai Global Economic Summit, Forbes CMO Summit and ICSC NEXUS. 


Ken Nisch

Chairman, JGA

As the Chairman of JGA, Ken Nisch has focused his efforts developing branded environments and consumer strategies, working with clients including Blue Nile, Sundance, Hershey’s Chocolate World, Sleep Number, Disney, McCormick, Allen Edmonds, H&M, Museum of Arts and Design, The North Face, James Avery, Whole Foods Market; and internationally for Big Bazaar, Westside, LP Jeans, Linen Club, Future Group, Cacau Show, Grupo Cortefiel and Fantasy World. JGA creates inspired environments and does so across a variety of venues including entertainment, attraction, and of course, traditional retail. Chairman of JGA since 1995, his responsibilities include project strategy and serving as client liaison. Nisch’s knowledge and entrepreneurial insights into the consumer are integrated into conceptual development and strategic image positioning for retail operators, manufacturers and brand marketers. Nisch has been inducted into the Retail Design Institute Legion of Honor, recognizing his outstanding career achievement in the field of retail design. He has also been named as a “Retail Luminary” by design:retail magazine, considered to have demonstrated “unparalleled creative excellence.”  Nisch was recently presented with the Retail Leadership Award at the Asia Retail Congress in Mumbai.

Ken Nisch

Chairman, JGA

As the Chairman of JGA, Ken Nisch has focused his efforts developing branded environments and consumer strategies, working with clients including Blue Nile, Sundance, Hershey’s Chocolate World, Sleep Number, Disney, McCormick, Allen Edmonds, H&M, Museum of Arts and Design, The North Face, James Avery, Whole Foods Market; and internationally for Big Bazaar, Westside, LP Jeans, Linen Club, Future Group, Cacau Show, Grupo Cortefiel and Fantasy World. JGA creates inspired environments and does so across a variety of venues including entertainment, attraction, and of course, traditional retail. Chairman of JGA since 1995, his responsibilities include project strategy and serving as client liaison. Nisch’s knowledge and entrepreneurial insights into the consumer are integrated into conceptual development and strategic image positioning for retail operators, manufacturers and brand marketers. Nisch has been inducted into the Retail Design Institute Legion of Honor, recognizing his outstanding career achievement in the field of retail design. He has also been named as a “Retail Luminary” by design:retail magazine, considered to have demonstrated “unparalleled creative excellence.”  Nisch was recently presented with the Retail Leadership Award at the Asia Retail Congress in Mumbai.


Todd Sachse

CEO & Founder, Sachse Construction

Todd Sachse is CEO and Founder of Sachse Construction. He formed Sachse Construction in 1991 on the foundation of a systematic approach to project management, and the principles of doing the right thing and pursuing excellence by constantly raising the bar. For more than 25 years, he has developed a loyal clientele of high-end customers who require detailed expertise in design and construction. As a result, Sachse has driven the company to successfully complete millions of square feet of retail, commercial, multi-family, institutional and industrial projects throughout North America. Nationally, he has managed projects such as tenant coordination and landlord construction at International Market Place in Waikiki, Hawaii, The Mall of San Juan in Puerto Rico, and Beverly Center in Los Angeles. He has also lead the construction of several Nike and Gucci LEED-certified stores and is the general contractor for Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, Williams-Sonoma, Tumi, and Warby Parker.

Todd Sachse

CEO & Founder, Sachse Construction

Todd Sachse is CEO and Founder of Sachse Construction. He formed Sachse Construction in 1991 on the foundation of a systematic approach to project management, and the principles of doing the right thing and pursuing excellence by constantly raising the bar. For more than 25 years, he has developed a loyal clientele of high-end customers who require detailed expertise in design and construction. As a result, Sachse has driven the company to successfully complete millions of square feet of retail, commercial, multi-family, institutional and industrial projects throughout North America. Nationally, he has managed projects such as tenant coordination and landlord construction at International Market Place in Waikiki, Hawaii, The Mall of San Juan in Puerto Rico, and Beverly Center in Los Angeles. He has also lead the construction of several Nike and Gucci LEED-certified stores and is the general contractor for Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, Williams-Sonoma, Tumi, and Warby Parker.


Christine Sturch

Midwest Design Coordinator, Whole Foods Market

Christine Sturch is the Design and Décor Coordinator for the Midwest Region of Whole Foods Market, the world’s largest retailer of natural and organic foods with stores throughout North America and the United Kingdom. After graduating with Psychology and Fine Arts degrees, Sturch found herself working for an up-and-coming natural food retailer called Whole Foods Market. In her 20-plus years with Whole Foods, she has held multiple positions: Art Director, Creative Director, Décor Coordinator and currently leads the design team overseeing 62 locations in eight states plus Canada. Sturch has been the driving force in concepting and innovating retail space for 40 unique locations. Using her experience and knowledge, Sturch’s ability to create a retail environment filled with experiential shopping, innovative materials, impactful messaging and efficient equipment has had an impact on the greater design aesthetic used for Whole Foods Market.

Christine Sturch

Midwest Design Coordinator, Whole Foods Market

Christine Sturch is the Design and Décor Coordinator for the Midwest Region of Whole Foods Market, the world’s largest retailer of natural and organic foods with stores throughout North America and the United Kingdom. After graduating with Psychology and Fine Arts degrees, Sturch found herself working for an up-and-coming natural food retailer called Whole Foods Market. In her 20-plus years with Whole Foods, she has held multiple positions: Art Director, Creative Director, Décor Coordinator and currently leads the design team overseeing 62 locations in eight states plus Canada. Sturch has been the driving force in concepting and innovating retail space for 40 unique locations. Using her experience and knowledge, Sturch’s ability to create a retail environment filled with experiential shopping, innovative materials, impactful messaging and efficient equipment has had an impact on the greater design aesthetic used for Whole Foods Market.


Eric Yelsma

Founder, Detroit Denim Co.

Eric Yelsma is the founder of Detroit Denim Co. After having spent more than 15 years in corporate America, he opted to get his hands calloused and dirty by starting a jeans manufacturing business in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. Using only U.S.-sourced materials, Detroit Denim focuses on traditionally styled jeans and accessories that are designed and crafted to be worn often and hard. After starting the manufacturing business, Yelsma discovered an unmet need for denim retail in the city and developed a retail shop in the front of the manufacturing space. Detroit Denim focuses on providing an educational experience which connects the customer to the product and process. Despite being an excellent stitcher, Yelsma now spends most of his time on creative development and handling day-to-day administrative tasks.

Eric Yelsma

Founder, Detroit Denim Co.

Eric Yelsma is the founder of Detroit Denim Co. After having spent more than 15 years in corporate America, he opted to get his hands calloused and dirty by starting a jeans manufacturing business in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. Using only U.S.-sourced materials, Detroit Denim focuses on traditionally styled jeans and accessories that are designed and crafted to be worn often and hard. After starting the manufacturing business, Yelsma discovered an unmet need for denim retail in the city and developed a retail shop in the front of the manufacturing space. Detroit Denim focuses on providing an educational experience which connects the customer to the product and process. Despite being an excellent stitcher, Yelsma now spends most of his time on creative development and handling day-to-day administrative tasks.