News Briefs

  • 10/26/2022

    Etsy Names Chief Technology Officer


    Etsy, Inc. has named Rachana Kumar, Etsy’s vice president of engineering, the retailer's chief technology officer, effective January 1, 2023.

    Mike Fisher, Etsy’s current CTO, has decided to leave to spend more time with his family and pursue other interests. Mike will stay in his current position until December 31, 2022 and then remain with Etsy in an advisory capacity through April 2023. 

    “I am excited to congratulate Rachana on this well-deserved promotion, which is a testament to her leadership, her outstanding track record of accomplishments, and to the followership she’s earned throughout Etsy; and reflects our strong bench of talent," said Etsy CEO Josh Silverman commented. "Rachana has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to lead complex projects, leverage new technologies that improve our velocity and performance, and serve as a coach and mentor to her colleagues. I also want to thank Mike – affectionately known internally as ‘Fish’ – for helping lead Etsy through a period of transformation and growth over the last five years. He is a remarkable leader, and his impact has extended far beyond scaling our technology infrastructure and building a world-class team. He has nurtured a culture of innovation and inclusion, led with optimism, and served as a trusted thought partner to me and leaders across Etsy.”

    Rachana has been with Etsy for more than eight years and currently serves as Vice President of Engineering. Over the course of her tenure, she has played a leading role in critical initiatives, such as launching Etsy’s product development principles, driving mobile and app penetration, and buyer growth. Most recently, Rachana expanded her role to include launching Etsy’s regional office in Mexico City, building that team to nearly 130 employees in just 18 months. 

    “When I joined in 2014 there were fewer than 20 million active buyers in the Etsy marketplace – today, there are over 88 million," said Kumar. "Supporting that growth has required us to expand our teams, scale our systems, and leverage cutting-edge machine learning to improve the user experience. I am excited to continue on this journey as we use technology to create economic empowerment opportunities for our sellers and nurture our vibrant, global community.”

    Mike Fisher added, “I could not be prouder to have been a part of everything the Etsy team has accomplished over the past five years. I am confident that Rachana and the Etsy team will not miss a beat as they execute on our ambitious strategy and advance our mission of keeping commerce human.”

    Rachana, who will be based out of Etsy’s Brooklyn, NY headquarters, will report to Etsy CEO Josh Silverman and will join Etsy’s executive team. 

  • 10/23/2022

    Puttshack Opens Fourth U.S. Location


    Puttshack, an upscale tech-infused mini golf experience with food and beverage, has opened its fourth U.S. location at Brickell City Centre in Miami, FL.

    Puttshack Miami occupies 27,000 square feet, including an expansive outdoor terrace with seating capacity for up to 96 people that overlooks the Miami cityscape. It features three nine-hole competitive mini golf courses complemented by food and beverage offerings and event space.

    "Miami is known as a city to see and be seen and that perfectly aligns with the Puttshack brand," said Chris Rockwood, COO of Puttshack. "We know Puttshack will become a premier destination at Brickell City Centre and be the go-to destination for happy hours with friends and colleagues, date nights and late nights, company outings, and for families of all ages to enjoy exceptional food and hand-crafted drinks. All of this is part of the Puttshack experience with our one-of-a-kind high-tech mini golf paired with an energetic and exciting experience you won't find anywhere else."

    From the co-founders of Topgolf, Flight Club and AceBounce, Puttshack combines its patented technology with an immersive social environment to elevate the game of mini golf. The brand's patented Trackaball technology is integrated throughout the entire game experience, including automated scoring, bonus points opportunities, interactive games at each hole, and more. The game play is also matched by a globally inspired dining menu and full cocktail bar, as well as a high-energy, upscale nightclub vibe featuring local DJs.

    Puttshack is committed to giving back to its local community by supporting Girls Make Beats, a nonprofit organization that empowers girls by expanding the female presence of music producers, DJs, and audio engineers. As part of its give-back program, Puttshack Miami is pledging $1.00 for every purchase of the "Miami Tailpipe," a locally inspired sharable spring roll dish.

    Since opening its first location in 2018, Puttshack now has four locations in the U.S. and four in the U.K. Puttshack Miami follows the recent grand opening of Puttshack Boston, and a new location in St. Louis will open this winter. Dallas, Denver, Houston, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scottsdale and a second location in Atlanta are all slated to open through 2023. 

    Puttshack continues its strategic expansion plans with the company's newly announced growth capital round of $150 million from funds managed by BlackRock, Inc. The new capital will allow Puttshack to continue securing unique and desirable real estate opportunities as it expands into more top markets across the U.S., as well as invest in new technologies to enhance overall guest experience. The recent growth capital follows a $60 million funding round from Promethean Investments in 2021.

  • 10/23/2022

    Red Wing Shoe Company Names Allison Gettings New CEO

    red wing teaser

    Red Wing Shoe Company has named current president Allison Gettings as their new chief executive officer, effective January 1st, 2023. Gettings will be the first woman to head up Red Wing Shoe Company since it was founded in 1905.

    Gettings is the great-granddaughter of J.R. Sweasy – who served as Red Wing president and CEO from 1921-1949 – making her the first fourth-generation family member to head up the company. With this latest appointment, Gettings will take over from Mark Urdahl who has served as CEO since 2016 and now plans to retire at the end of the year. 

    [See Also: RIS Parent EnsembleIQ Showcases Brands That Celebrate Women Leaders

    Over the course of a 14-year career at the footwear company, Gettings has spearheaded a variety of key initiatives. Most recently, Gettings oversaw the development of Red Wing’s first dedicated corporate social responsibility department, designed to facilitate a greater commitment to sustainability efforts across the company. 

    Red Wing’s Chairman of the Board, Bill Sweasy, praised Gettings’ “deep understanding of the company's business, customers and values,” and “strategic thinking and ability to bring people together,” adding that he was “confident that she's prepared to guide Red Wing Shoe Company as it enters its next chapter.”

    “I am honored to have the opportunity to lead Red Wing Shoe Company and excited about what the future holds,” Gettings said. “Over the past 117 years, we have garnered incredible customer 'brand love' across our portfolio of purpose-driven brands, and we have an awesome opportunity to build on that foundation. I am so grateful for the support and guidance Mark has provided me, and I look forward to working with the high-performing teams he has built as we accelerate our growth.” 


  • 10/23/2022

    EV Charging Coming to Phillips 66 Fuel Stations

    Phillips 66 gas station

    Phillips 66 fuel stations are getting supercharged. The company will first be installing electric-vehicle chargers at its station near Houston headquarters — marking the first ultrafast EV charging station at a convenience fuel station in the city. 

    This is part of a larger plan announced earlier this year to deploy faster, battery-integrated charging tech across 7,000 Phillips 66, Conoco, and 76 branded U.S. locations. The company is partnering with FreeWire for its EV charging needs. 

    The technology connects to Phillips 66’s existing infrastructure, cutting down on installation costs and permitting challenges. The batteries will charge at off-peak times when power is cheaper in order to reduce operational costs across the sites. 

    [Read more: IKEA U.S. Launching Public and Fleet Charging Across 25 Locations]

    “The installation of the first FreeWire EV chargers at our Phillips 66 flagship fuel station represents an important step in our EV charging journey as well as our commitment to pursue lower-carbon solutions,” said Rod Palmer, vice president of U.S. marketing at Phillips 66. “FreeWire’s charger offers consumers the fast-charging experience they’re looking for, and Phillips 66’s branded network of fueling locations places the chargers at existing, strategically located sites.”

    Arcady Sosinov, FreeWire’s founder and CEO, said charging demand continues to survey, and the battery-integrated EV chargers “offer the streamlined, shovel-ready solution that many entering the EV charging space are looking for.”

  • 10/18/2022

    Kroger Expands Fulfillment Network With New Michigan Facility

    kroger teaser image

    Kroger has expanded their fulfillment network with the addition of a new customer fulfillment center in Romulus, Michigan. 

    Powered by Ocado Group technology, the new delivery center's services will employ a suite of technology, including advanced robotics, temperature-controlled vans and delivery trucks guided by machine learning algorithms. 

    The 135,000-square-foot Romulus facility will deliver to customers located up to 90 minutes away, and will eventually employ more than 700 associates as Kroger continues their Michigan expansion, the company said.

    [See Also: Kroger Revamps Loyalty Program Following Successful Expansion Pilot]

    Kroger has served customers in the state of Michigan for more than a century and we are thrilled to bring Kroger Delivery to greater Detroit,” said Bill Bennett, Kroger vice president, and head of e-commerce. “We are passionate about delivering a fresh, convenient customer shopping experience with zero compromise on quality, selection, and affordability.” 

    Other Retailers Expanding Fulfillment Capabilities 

    Kroger is not the first retailer to channel money into growing their fulfillment footprint.  In June, Walmart  laid out plans to build four next-generation fulfillment centers over the next three years. These four facilities alone could reportedly supply 75% of the U.S. population with next- or two-day shipping and, once built, will collectively employ more than 4,000 people. More recently, Walmart invested in a new high-tech consolidation center in Pennsylvania, designed to support all 42 of Walmart’s regional distribution centers. Once complete, this 400,000 square-foot facility will reportedly create close to 1,000 new jobs. 

    Target also recently outlined a comprehensive list of priorities for modernizing their distribution centers. According to the store, the goal is to keep their network operating at or below 85% capacity to reduce costs and operational challenges. To do so, the retailer plans to build additional upstream capacity, expand the number of sortation centers across the U.S., and automate processes wherever possible across inventory management.

  • 10/16/2022

    Rite Aid Gives the Pharmacy Experience a Modern Upgrade

    Rite Aid storefront

    Rite Aid is looking to elevate the pharmacy experience, modernizing its vision by implementing improved insights, increased agility, and overall better customer experiences. 

    The retail pharmacy has entered into a multi-year agreement with Google Cloud, migrating key applications to Anthos, the software’s platform for application deployment. The technology will provide Rite Aid’s 2,350 pharmacies with cloud computing capabilities on-site. 

    Through the upgrade, Rite Aid can ensure elevated care even through volatile events such as natural disasters, ensuring robust patient information, advanced prescription management, and continued recommendations without having to connect to a centralized, legacy mainframe. 

    [Read more: Rite Aid Opens New Modern Headquarters in Philadelphia]

    As part of the partnership, Rite Aid will migrate its enterprise data to Google Cloud using BigQuery, allowing the pharmacy to improve visibility into its finances, inventory, and customer information. 

    Rite Aid customers will experience an improved search functionality, providing more precise results on the e-commerce site and mobile app. In the back-end, Rite Aid will have a better understanding of customer intent. 

    Additionally, Rite Aid will update its current pharmacy benefits management application suite to a cloud-first experience with artificial intelligence- and machine learning-driven capabilities. This will help the pharmacy benefits manager better manage prescription benefits on behalf of health insurers.

    "The power of pharmacies, and the important role pharmacists play in the health of their communities, greatly expanded during COVID. Realizing that potential means making strategic investments in technology that can truly help our customers and maximize the capabilities of our pharmacists," said Justin Mennen, executive vice president and chief digital and technology officer at Rite Aid. "Google Cloud's solutions are uniquely positioned to run at each pharmacy location to allow our store teams to help our customers to achieve whole health for life."

    "As a healthcare company with a retail footprint, Rite Aid is at the intersection of two quickly evolving industries and making strategic technology investments to meet rising customer expectations," said Carrie Tharp, vice president of retail and consumer solutions, Google Cloud. "Through these innovations, Rite Aid is defining the modern pharmacy."

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