Startup Culture in the Established Enterprise - Introducing Lean Innovation to a 60-year-old business


For the past several years Aaron's development teams have transformed the way we solve business problems.  At the core is the way we have used successful techniques mostly attributed to startups around Lean Innovation Management.  Our story speaks to the way we have transformed the thinking and processes of other business units into the same approach.Often this is not something seen in long established companies, but we believe it is specific to our innovative culture.  We feel excited to share this and more with you as we meet with several members of our e-commerce team including developers, managers and other business sponsors speaking about their parts of the journey and some of their transformations as well.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Aaron's Studio, 500 Chastain Center Blvd, Suite 555, Kennesaw, GA 30144


John Trainor, CIO and SVP of Omni Channel

John Trainor is CIO and SVP of Omni Channel at Aaron's, Inc. Since 1999, he has helped lead technology and innovation efforts at the Atlanta-based specialty retailer in various roles. He has an Electrical Engineering degree from Georgia Tech and worked at The Southern Company, the United States Senate, Battle Foods as a bag boy, and Zoo Atlanta selling ice cream.John currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Technology Association of Georgia. He's on the Board of Directors for Power My Learning Atlanta. He's a member of the advisory boards for the Georgia CIO Leadership Association and ATP. He and his wife volunteer and raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Georgia.John lives in Roswell with his wife Heather and his sons, Jack, William, and Phillip. He the biggest guy you know who does triathlons and he knows more about rap music than you do.

Cory Voglesonger, Vice President, Technology Strategy & Innovation, Aaron’s

Cory Voglesonger is a proven technology strategist and leader, with a career built on leading and launching enterprise scale transformation efforts.Since Joining Aaron's, Inc. in 2007, Cory has been a central driving force in Aaron's transformation from a "technology is a non-strategic cost center" company, to a "technology is a central business strategy driver" company.  In his current role as VP, Technology Strategy & Innovation at Aaron's, Inc., Cory is ultimately responsible for the full life-cycle delivery of the entire portfolio of business applications at Aaron's.Cory leads a multi-disciplinary team including product management, enterprise architecture, software development, quality assurance, production support, and system administration.  He has been instrumental in scaling the technology organization at Aaron's over the last five years, growing his solution delivery organizations from 35 members in 2011 to over 100 members presently.Cory is currently leading the effort to establish a new revenue channel called Retail Referral, which allows Aaron’s to partner with other retailers to originate an Aaron's lease agreement from within the partner retailer's locations. Prior to this Cory led major efforts at Aaron's to launch a brand new e-commerce revenue channel and retire a 25+ year old legacy store system. Cory graduated from the University of Georgia in 2000 with a degree in Management Information Systems.

Jim Krall, Director of Omni Channel Strategy

Jim Krall is the Director of Omni Channel Strategy at Aaron’s with extensive experience in retail operations, ecommerce, digital marketing and Agile project management. Most recently, his specific areas of expertise include ecommerce, retail affiliate programs, and customer contact center operations. He is credited with helping Aaron’s establish a robust social media presence.Jim’s career at Aaron’s includes Director of Business Development, Corporate Trainer, Divisional Sales Manager and Field Management. He has also logged a plethora of accomplishments such as creating and operating a successful ecommerce and digital marketing consulting agency; and co-founding and selling a mobile software and BI startup.Throughout his career, Jim has always been known for being a dynamic leader who can successfully motivate teams to accomplish goals.Jim attended Saint Louis University where he studied Business Administration. He is a board member of the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association (AiMA) and former board member of the Atlanta E-Commerce Forum (AECF). He is also a National iMedia Advocate Contributor for the Interactive Marketing Association Alliance (IMAA) and member of the Project Management Institute (PMI).In his spare time Jim enjoys fishing, camping, playing tennis, watching sports and spending time with his family. He is also an avid do-it-yourself fan and spends time building things. Jim lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife Mary and their daughter Emily.

Lori Servies, Senior Product Manager

Lori Servies is the Senior Product Manager, Ecommerce and Sales Solutions at Aaron’s.  She has worked at Aaron’s since 2004 and started her career in Operational Audit.  After spending almost four years on the road, she moved into an Audit Analyst Manager position that allowed her to remain at home more frequently.  Her knowledge of Aaron’s allowed her to easily transition into an IT Business Analyst role and help bridge the gap between IT (“us”) and Operations (“them”).Lori graduated from Purdue University where she studied Retail Management.  She frequently wishes she were still a college student and only required to attend class a few hours per day, watch soap operas and drink beer.In her downtime and as a stress reliever, Lori enjoys cooking and entertaining guests.  She also enjoys rolling up her sleeves and working with Habitat for Humanity on the weekends.She would like for her professional title to be Chief GSD Officer!

Trent Kammerer, Technical Lead, E-Commerce Platform

Trent Kammerer is the Technical Lead for the e-commerce platform at Aaron’s. He joined Aaron’s in 2012 immediately after graduating from Georgia College & State University with a degree in Computer Science. His first contributions were to retiring the Legacy POS. Since the successful roll of the new POS he transitioned to the e-commerce platform where he has focused the majority of his efforts of the last 2 years.While at Aaron's, Trent has demonstrated a unique passion for building forward thinking systems that quickly and quantitatively achieve ever increasing business outcomes. Through the application of DevOps style delivery practices, he has helped the team scale to over 5 production deploys per day. Trent believes moving fast and learning about our customer’s behaviors and preferences even faster is the key to enabling Aaron’s to effectively compete in a growing marketplace.As a key differentiator, Trent prides himself in building strong meaningful relationships with key business stakeholders. This is in an effort to foster a high trust environment that gives his team the ability to stay ahead of the business need. This tactic allows the team to be more forward thinking, as opposed to reactionary, which in turn increases our capability to deliver business enabling technology solutions.In his spare time, Trent enjoys running, doing anything with his Fearless Weimaraner Duke and wrenching on his cars.

NewsAECF Marketing