It isn’t often you come upon those people whose enthusiasm for their work and industry is so outright contagious. But if you know Ron Bowers, Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc.’s Senior VP of Retail Technology Business Development and a long-time thought leader in the point of purchase industry, you know exactly what I mean when describing his infectious optimism for all things technology and display-related.
I knew the moment I walked in to Ron’s office my first week at Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc. that he’d be a wealth of knowledge. And as a new employee with limited education in this field, I found myself scribbling notes at lightning speed about topics ranging from retail’s new horizon to how the Internet of Things will help brands and retailers offer the personalized experiences consumers crave.
I left Ron’s office feeling inspired to research as much as I could and often referred to him with questions as I started writing more blogs and white papers for the company. He always cheerfully obliged, providing important insight on topics based not only on his many years of experience, but also because he is diligent at keeping up-to-date on all the latest news pertaining to our business.
If you need to understand the latest technology, he’s the guy to find. (In fact, I often tell him he’s a better millennial than those of us who can technically claim the title.)
So, when Ron recently announced he would be retiring at the end of July, the news was met with countless congratulations as well as a tinge of sadness from the many who will miss discussions with Ron on the trade show circuit and beyond.
Consequently, it only seemed appropriate to dedicate our July blog to the man behind an era. I sat down with him to discuss his history in our industry as well as what he foresees for the future.
Q: Tell me a little about your history here at Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc.
A: I’ve been here for 35 years, starting in December of 1983 as a sales coordinator and moving into an account executive position the following August. In 2005, I was promoted to Senior Vice President of Retail Technology Business Development and have gotten to use my experience and networking skills to generate new opportunities for Frank Mayer and Associates.
Q: What clients have you worked with over your time here?
A: I’ve worked with countless clients. The long list includes: Lucky Eagle Foods, Kroger, Miller Brewing, Pabst Brewing, Olympia Brewing, IBM, Lexitech, Aviotex, Media Port, Nicklaus Golf, MacGregor Golf, Arnold Palmer Golf, Nancy Lopez Golf, Allstate Insurance, AM General/HUMMER, Kohler, Garmin, John Deere, Kelloggs Cereal, Leupold, Cabela’s, Medicine Shoppe, Int., Solo Health, Starbucks, Unicru/Kronos/SureID, Irving Oil, Agilysys Systems, Big Lots, Briggs & Stratton, Dave & Busters, Seven-up/Dr. Pepper, OkiData, Familymeds, Giant Eagle, KEO, Go Charge, Intellectual Technology, Kraft Foods, LeapFrog, and Master Lock.
Q: Any favorites?
A: I really enjoyed working with John Deere and was lucky enough to see our work win a Display of the Year award from the POPAI organization in 1992 for the company’s shop-in-shop program. I’d also include Miller Race Car and Nicklaus Golf as favorites.
Q: What has been your favorite aspect of working in the point of purchase industry?
A: I truly enjoy helping a new product make an impact at retail, thus leading to client success. And truth be told, it never gets old seeing my displays at retail locations when I take my wife, kids and grandkids shopping.
Q: How have you witnessed the industry change over the years?
A: Back when self-service was in its infancy, display and kiosk programs often sought to offer convenience and novelty to retail. Now, retailers and brands are really capitalizing on the interactive and omnichannel experience. Consumers are starting their buying journey online and continuing it into the store and at the point of purchase. Marketers must now offer kiosk solutions and design around a total experience to make sure they’re meeting these customers’ desires.
Q: What do you see for the future of point of purchase?
A: I’m optimistic about the future of point of purchase and self-service. It will be all about the connected consumer and personalizing the experience to each person’s very specific personal preferences. Technology innovations will further evolve in order for this to continue.
Q: What’s on the horizon for retirement?
A: I’d like to spend more time with my wife, children and grandchildren, of course. Golfing and reading also make the short list, and because I can’t let go that easily, I plan to also continue writing about retail technology.
Congratulations, Ron – you will be missed!