Hstoday NRF to Honor Leaders in Asset Protection and Cybersecurity at 2024 PROTECT Awards | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has announced the recipients of the 2024 NRF PROTECT Awards, one of the highest honors in asset protection and cybersecurity within the retail industry. This year’s prestigious awards will be presented on June 5 during the annual NRF PROTECT conference, held at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California.

The Ring of Excellence Award, which recognizes distinguished professionals who have made significant impacts on the loss prevention industry throughout their careers, will honor five veteran loss prevention professionals:

  • Gary Johnson – With over 40 years of experience in loss prevention, Johnson retired as Director of Asset Protection & Safety for Guitar Center Inc., where he oversaw 600 stores nationwide. His leadership roles have also included positions at The Vitamin Shoppe, A&P Supermarkets, Barnes & Noble, and Osco Drug Stores. Johnson served two terms as Chair of the NRF Loss Prevention Advisory Council and was a founding member of the Loss Prevention Research Council.
  • Mike Lamb, LPC – An industry expert with more than four decades in asset protection, loss prevention, and safety, Lamb retired as Vice President of Asset Protection & Safety with the Kroger Company in February 2024. He previously held leadership roles at Walmart U.S. and The Home Depot. Lamb continues to contribute to the industry as a member of the Executive Committee for the LP Foundation, a senior advisor for Innovate LPRC, and a board member of Good2Go.
  • Walter Palmer – Palmer has been a leader in loss prevention as a practitioner, consultant, and industry partner. He co-founded LP Magazine and has served on numerous boards and associations, providing strategic guidance to many of the world’s leading retail brands. Palmer has been involved with NRF’s loss prevention conference for over 30 years.
  • John Velke – Beginning his career in 1977 at Lord & Taylor, Velke’s extensive career includes roles with Fred Meyer, Parisian, Proffitt’s, and McRae’s stores, before retiring from Total Wine & More in 2022. Velke has been a staunch advocate for the AP/LP industry, serving on the Illinois Attorney General’s task force on computer crime and as a governor-appointed board member to Oregon’s Police Academy.

“The Ring of Excellence Award honors exemplary leaders in asset protection and loss prevention,” said David Johnston, NRF Vice President of Asset Protection and Retail Operations. “These recipients have profoundly impacted the retail industry, dedicating their careers to safeguarding their colleagues, customers, and retail stores across the country.”

The NRF Retail Cybersecurity Leadership Award, recognizing an individual’s cumulative contributions to advancing cybersecurity within the retail industry, will be presented to:

  • Rich Agostino – As Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Target, Agostino has been a driving force in career development programs within Target and the broader security community. He serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Retail & Hospitality ISAC (RH-ISAC) and is a member of the PCI Security Standards Council Board of Advisors and Google’s CISO Advisory Board.

“Rich Agostino has been a leader in the retail cybersecurity community, working to strengthen information sharing and collaboration on cybersecurity and fraud threats,” said Christian Beckner, NRF Vice President of Retail Technology and Cybersecurity and Executive Director, Center for Digital Risk & Innovation. “He has been instrumental in raising consumer awareness about cybersecurity risks and inspiring the next generation of cyber professionals. We are honored to recognize his contributions across the sector.”

As the leading authority and voice for the retail industry, NRF will present these awards with retail security executives from across the country at NRF PROTECT, which will take place from June 4-6 at the Long Beach Convention Center in California.

Matt Seldon, BSc., is an Editorial Associate with HSToday. He has over 20 years of experience in writing, social media, and analytics. Matt has a degree in Computer Studies from the University of South Wales in the UK. His diverse work experience includes positions at the Department for Work and Pensions and various responsibilities for a wide variety of companies in the private sector. He has been writing and editing various blogs and online content for promotional and educational purposes in his job roles since first entering the workplace. Matt has run various social media campaigns over his career on platforms including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and LinkedIn on topics surrounding promotion and education. His educational campaigns have been on topics including charity volunteering in the public sector and personal finance goals.


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