Veteran and World Leader
Larry Yeager, recently retired, former VP of Alpha High
Building World Class Teams - The Key to His Success
By Gus Downing
Publisher & Editor
All industries are comprised of two groups. The actual
practitioners and the solution providers who support and
help drive the performance and results of the industry
itself by providing products and services the practitioners
can use to accomplish their goals.
Often times undervalued and jokingly (at times) referred to
as the 'dark side', solution providers have over the years
helped to contribute the vast majority of product
innovations and answers to the retailer's most difficult
problems. Some would even go so far as to say that the
industry's continued shrinkage reduction trend in the face
of reducing payrolls is in large part as a direct result of
the innovations created by these teams.
Many years ago one of the most quietly influential
practitioners and industry leader, Fred Wilson, pointed out
that his "industry partners", the solution providers, were
critical members of his team and that he relied heavily on
the leadership of those teams to help resolve and answer his
problems and challenges.
Understanding their significance and the role they play, one
must also realize that solution providers too are driven by
the same principles that successful retailers measure, such
as innovation in your space and excellence in customer
service. For solution providers, these principles take the
form of the products and solutions they offer, the
leadership team that guides them and the team that supports
their offerings to the market.
Given those principles and adding the requisite of over 25+
years of success at building world class teams and
developing innovative solutions, Larry Yeager, the recently
retired and former VP and leader of Alpha High Theft
Solutions, qualifies and exceeds what anyone would define as
a world wide industry leader.
Learning and developing his leadership skills with two tours
in Vietnam in the U.S. Navy and spending nine years with
AT&T's Western Electric as a quality control engineer, he
learned early on the value of teamwork, communications, and
Entering the retail Loss Prevention industry in 1976 with
Checkmate, an EAS provider, and quickly progressing to the
role of President & CEO within three years is testimony
enough to the lessons learned and more importantly to his
ability to use his knowledge to successfully drive that
business to a very profitable sale in 1986. Just six short
years after assuming the leadership role.
Simultaneously of this, in 1983 Larry actually led the
start-up of Trident Security. A company whose success in
electronic display security led to its sale to Protex in
Joining Alpha in 1993, Larry quickly realized the industry
need for this highly specialized organization. He went on to
build a team that grew the company four fold by 1999 and
expanded the company internationally in Latin America and
Asia. With team work, developing retail partnerships, and
new product development as his mantras, Larry built the
company into a great acquisition for Checkpoint Systems in
2007. He remained as VP and General Manager for the
division, and five quick years later and on the exact day
they joined Checkpoint, November 2, Larry Yeager now finds
himself in the enviable position of hitting golf balls into
the ocean (and into trees, and lakes, and bunkers).
Having managed and steered three successful organizations to
sale, all of which were driven by his ability to lead and
produce value for the retail Loss Prevention industry, is an
accomplishment few can claim. Reluctant himself to claim any
of it, Larry very humbly points out that he would not be
where he is today if it were not for the people he had on
his team. As he quickly says he may not be the smartest guy
but he was good at assembling people who were the best at
what they did. A trait that's rather evident when
considering the scope of his accomplishments because as we
all know it takes a team to be highly successful.
Over the last few years the leadership team at Alpha have
all spoke to Larry's abilities as a leader and almost in
sync with each other they mirror his communicative abilities
and messages as though they're speaking from the same book.
A quality and uniformity that's rare and impressive.
The continuity in their message and their ability to keep it
in front of them, pushing them in the same direction is an
engrained culture that transcends one leader and has led to
Alpha's strength in the market. Larry knew full well what he
was developing and in his opinion "Alpha's senior leadership
team is at the top of their game", and therefore it was the
perfect time for him to move aside and allow the team to
continue to drive solutions for their retail partners.
It's not often that solutions providers are singled out for
their industry contributions and accomplishments. But in
this case being able to successfully drive three
organizations whose sole purpose is to drive value to the
Loss Prevention industry, is an accomplishment worth noting
and one that will undoubtedly continue at Alpha based on the
culture and leaders Larry left behind.
So the next time you meet with a solution provider don't be
so quick to call it the 'dark side' because you never know,
you may be meeting with another game changer just like
Larry. Because over at Alpha they have a few of them who
learned from the best.