Innovation Summit Speakers

  • Jason Smith - Managing Director USA, Shopper Intelligence


    Title: Shopper Led Decision Making

    Historically CPG manufacturers have focused the majority of their time on "what" shoppers are doing but when they try to discover how/why shoppers make choices it becomes too expensive to update and limited to just their categories at their biggest retail partners. This narrow focus causes manufacturer recommendations to have very little context to the rest of the store and limits the relevance to only a few retailers. Also, too often the "consumer" is driving the strategy for the manufactures while the "shopper" is only used tactically and so the retailer needs become just an afterthought. Understanding how/why shoppers do what they do is more important than ever. If we don’t understand them then how can we drive Shopper Satisfaction/Loyalty? Learn how best in class global manufacturers and retailers are focusing on the voice of their shopper in order to prioritize/optimize their strategies/tactics.


    Jason was head of category management capability in North American at dunnhumby and previously Vice President of Customer Success at InContext Solutions, following a successful career in sales and category management at Hormel Foods and Colgate-Palmolive. He leads our USA team and specializes in helping clients figure our how this data drives far closer to the “so what” in their business, to engage retailers better, bringing the direct voice of the shopper into the dialogue

    Shopper Intelligence

    At Shopper Intelligence, we run the largest syndicated shopper survey in the world. In 2018, we surveyed about 300,000 US shoppers across 125 categories and over 30+ retailers. Through our data we are able to benchmark retailers, departments, categories, brands and segments across dozens of different shopper metrics. Our database makes it possible to compare and benchmark everything from an individual retailer category role and shopper satisfaction levels all the way to understanding shoppers path to purchase. It truly gives retailers and manufacturers a powerful “Voice of the Shopper” tool that helps put the shopper at the center of their strategies and tactics.

  • Jack Li - Haiku Master, Datassential



    As much of the food industry is still catching up to figure out "customization", today’s consumer already wants something more – not just customized, but personalized. Datassential’s Jack Li shares a data-driven look at the new personalization paradigm and its implications across the dimensions of personal health, personal tastes, and personal values. This session features a look at emerging food trends and consumer behaviors that will drive innovation for years to come.


    Jack Li joins us from Datassential, a leading food & beverage insights agency. During his tenure at Datassential, Jack has pioneered the use of menu data to predict flavor trends with impressive accuracy. In 1999, Jack and his team developed the Menu Adoption Cycle – a trend framework used broadly by hundreds of food companies today. Today, Jack leads Datassential's Haiku™ division, with the mission of improving insights through artificial intelligence. Jack is a featured speaker at several food industry conferences throughout the year, and joins us to share Datassential's perspective on the latest trends we all need to know.


    Datassential is the food industry’s leading knowledge agency, providing a data-centric approach to understanding flavor trends, consumer behavior, and more. Datassential’s SNAP insights platform is used by hundreds of leading food and beverage companies to drive intelligent innovation, optimize the selling process, and strategize around the future of food.

  • Neil Stern – Senior Partner, McMillanDoolittle


    Title: How to Maintain Relevancy and Positioning for Growth in a Changing Retail Landscape

    The retail environment is rapidly changing, driven by new competitors, changing consumer wants and needs, and a series of societal and macro trends, ranging from technology and transparency to holistic well-being and convenience. The changing landscape is prompting an explosion of new formats, and market shares are shifting from traditional grocers to alternative channels. Understand the underlying drivers of change, the retail reaction to change and the tools necessary to survive and thrive in the new marketplace.​

    Neil Z. Stern specializes in strategic planning and the development of new retail concepts. He prides himself on long-standing relationships and repeat engagements with valued clients, many extending over ten years. Neil leads the McMillanDoolittle’s food retail and due diligence sectors.


    During his career at McMillanDoolittle, Neil has developed strategies and new concepts for a diverse variety of clients across the retail industry. Key clients have included an impressive mix of retailers, including Kroger, Harris Teeter, CVS, Wawa, Casey’s General Stores, Mall of America, McDonald’s, and Publix. Neil’s work has also extended to numerous International engagements and he has worked around the world.

    Along with his consulting work, Neil is also recognized as a key thought leader in the retail arena. Neil is a sought-after speaker concerning retail trends both in the U.S. and Internationally. Neil is a frequent contributor to Forbes and is currently Chairman of The Ebeltoft Group, an international consortium of retail consultants.

    He has authored two books, Winning at Retail and Greentailing and Other Revolutions in Retail. Neil is an honors graduate of Columbia University and has attended Northwestern’s Kellogg MBA program.

Panel Speakers

  • Frank Curci – Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Tops Markets, LLC

    Tops Markets LLC, is headquartered in Williamsville, NY and operates 163 full-service supermarkets – 158 company-owned and five franchise locations under the Tops banner. With over 14,000 associates, Tops is a leading full-service grocery retailer in upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont.

    Frank Curci has served as Chief Executive Officer and Director of Tops Markets, LLC since December 2007 and as Chairman of the Board since December 1, 2013.

    Mr. Curci has more than 40 years of experience in the supermarket industry. From April 2005 to September 2006, he served as Chief Operating Officer for Alabama-based Southern Family Markets, a subsidiary of C&S, where he led the start-up of two chains emphasizing the neighborhood grocery store format. From June 2004 to March 2005, he served as Senior Vice President of Operations at Farmer Jack, a supermarket chain based in Michigan. While at Koninklijke Ahold N.V. from 1995 to 2003, Mr. Curci was Chief Executive Officer of Tops Markets, LLC and held senior leadership positions at the Bi-Lo chain in South Carolina and Edwards Super Food stores on the East Coast. Mr. Curci also spent nine years from 1987 to 1995 at Mayfair Supermarkets, which operated as Foodtown in New Jersey.

    He is a certified public accountant and holds an M.B.A. and a B.A. from Rutgers University.

    In addition to his career, Mr. Curci serves on the boards of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, The Food Industry Alliance of New York State, the Food Marketing Institute, and is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kaleida Health. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Topco Holdings, Inc., a buying cooperative.

    Aside from business, his hobbies include running and golf. Frank resides in Clarence, NY with his wife, Robin. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.

  • Kurt Schertle – Chief Operating Officer, Weis Markets

    Kurt Schertle is Weis Markets Chief Operating Officer. Weis Markets is Mid-Atlantic food retailer operating 203 stores in seven states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, Delaware and Virginia.

    Mr. Schertle oversees and directs all aspects of his company’s marketing, merchandising, procurement, advertising, store operations and supply chain, including its distribution and transportation teams.

    Mr. Schertle has more than 30 years of food retailing experience. Earlier in his career, he worked for Shoppers Food and Pharmacy, which operates stores in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. During his career in food retailing, he has worked as a Store Manager, Director of Pricing, Director of Non-Foods, Vice President, Grocery and as Senior Vice President, Marketing and Merchandising.

    Mr. Schertle joined Weis Markets in 2009 as Vice President of Sales and Merchandising. He subsequently served as Senior Vice President of Sales and Merchandising and Executive Vice President. Prior to joining Weis Markets, he was President and Chief Operating Officer of Tree Top Kids, a specialty toy retailer.

    Mr. Schertle is a graduate of Towson University. He and his wife Gina have three children and reside in Hummel Wharf, PA. He sits on the boards of the Academy of Food Marketing, St. Joseph’s University and Believe in Tomorrow Foundation. He is also a member of the Children’s Cancer Foundation.

  • Mike DeCory – Vice President of Grocery, Dairy, Frozen, Wegmans Food Markets

    Mike has been with Wegmans Food Markets for 31 years and is currently the Vice President of Grocery, Dairy, Frozen.

    Mike started his career working part-time in the stores during high school and continued throughout college where he was a recipient of a Wegmans College Scholarship. Upon graduating from Nazareth College of Rochester in 1991 with a degree in Business Administration, Mike became a full-time employee and successfully held various store operations positions.

    In 1996, Mike moved to the Wegmans corporate offices where he worked in several capacities including buying, merchandising and information technology where he helped lead the initial UCC Net Electronic Commerce project. In addition, Mike held Category Management roles in both the Grocery and Bakery departments. Mike managed the Wegmans Private Brand program from 2004 to 2014, and assumed Center Store merchandising responsibilities in June of 2014.

  • Ian Prisuta - Chief Strategy Officer - Giant Eagle, Inc.

    Ian initially began his career within the supply chain organization of Giant Eagle. From March 2003 through 2008, he was responsible for the leadership and management of an internal consultancy. The group represented the in-house expertise for the application and facilitation of the Toyota Production system, Lean Manufacturer and Continuous Improvement. The groups consulting responsibilities covered businesses across the entire company and were core to driving Giant Eagle’s broader strategic planning and major initiatives.

    In 2009, Ian made a career shift and moved to merchandising and business management. He is responsible for all Grocery and Non-Perishable Merchandising functions, Private Brands, Direct Sourcing, and Procurement / Demand Planning for Giant Eagle. He also has total company responsibility for Loyalty, Pricing and CRM.

    Ian and his wife, Shelley along with daughters Loren and Sarah live in the Greater Pittsburgh area. He is an active supporter and board member for two charitable organizations that support troubled and underprivileged children. In his down time, he loves spending time with his family and various outdoor sporting activities. Ian is a graduate of Colgate University where was a quarterback and team captain of the football team.

  • Jim Dorey - President, Price Rite Marketplace

    Jim Dorey is the president of Price Rite Marketplace, a collection of supermarkets committed to providing the best value to customers at over 60 locations in the northeastern United States.

    Jim was named president in 2017. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company, including sales and advertising programs, retail store operations, and real estate and facilities management. In 2018, he led a successful reimagining of three Price Rite Marketplace locations in Pennsylvania, where he paired a new store design with quality products and deep discounts. The effort is part of a larger rebranding and redesign of Price Rite Marketplace stores.

    He first joined Wakefern Food Corp., the wholesale and distribution arm for ShopRite and Price Rite, in 2004, bringing with him more than 12 years of experience in sales and marketing in the New York metropolitan area. As a manager in the company’s Real Estate division, Jim worked on locating and negotiating new sites for both ShopRite and Price Rite.

    In 2009, he was promoted to director of Marketing for Price Rite. One year later, Jim was named vice president of Marketing and Merchandising. He was later promoted to executive vice president.

    Jim has represented Wakefern on a variety of industry boards and advisory councils throughout his career, including the FMI Senior Merchandising Executive Forum, the National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association and the Eastern Frosted Foods Association. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Montclair State University, completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School and has served as a guest lecturer at Montclair State University's Feliciano School of Business.


  • Jeff Metzger

    Jeff Metzger currently serves as president of Best-Met Publishing Co. and publisher of Food World, Food Trade News, and the Mid-Atlantic Grocery Industry Directory. He and his now retired business partner, Dick Bestany, founded the Columbia, MD-based company in 1978. All three publications primarily cover the retail food industry in the Northeast, but over the last decade have expanded their coverage to include parts of the Southeast. Best-Met Publishing also operates a website – foodtradenews.com

    Prior to co-founding Best-Met Publishing, he served as editor of The Griffin Report, the food industry newspaper which covers New England. Metzger was inducted into the Maryland Food Industry Hall of Fame in 2011.

    A native of New York, Metzger was graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. He currently resides in Marriottsville, MD.