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Walgreens to open ‘WAG U,’ a top-of-the-line learning center for Walgreens employees

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Friday will open the doors to "Wag U," an internal education center replete with technology-enhanced classrooms, a mock drug store and video-conferencing capabilities. The new learning center will be the base of operations for employee educational programs offered online and in regional locations nationwide. 

"Investing in your professional development is good for you and good for Walgreens," Walgreens’ chief executive Greg Wasson states in the opening letter of the 2013 course catalog. "Several years in the making, Wag U is the result of thorough analysis, research and planning on the part of its board of governors, the Human Resources learning and development team and countless others across our organization who have developed and planned course offerings and learning experiences specific to Walgreen core competencies."

The Walgreens learning and development team will be led by Warren Lindley, divisional VP organizational design and effectiveness. Bruce Bryant, Walgreens SVP, will serve as dean of Walgreens University. "Over my 42-plus-year career at Walgreens, I’ve seen how learning is a real game-changer," noted Bryant in his opening remarks to students. "Wag U’s curriculum is designed to help each of us stay on top of our game—no matter where we work in our organization."

With the opening of Walgreens University, the company is doubling its annual investment in employee education and development. More than 100 courses will be available through one of the few corporate training programs to offer college credit for certain classes, including pharmacy technician training and management and retail fundamentals. U. S. companies overall increased spending on training and development 12% last year, the highest growth rate in eight years, Walgreens noted citing Bersin by Deloitte, a human resources consulting firm. That’s a reverse of recession-year spending in 2008 and 2009, when such investments dropped by 11% both years.

“To meet our company goals, we need a workforce that learns and grows every day through opportunities available when, where and how each individual needs it,” stated Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, chief human resources officer. “We aim to be the best in our industry for employee education and training, and among the best of all major American corporations."

Education providers to Walgreens University include Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, offering a customized MBA program; University of Maryland University College; Webster University; the University of Phoenix; and DeVry University, Keller Graduate School of Management. Tuition discounts of 10% to 25% will be available to many Walgreens team members, and UMUC’s 25% discount will also be available to employee spouses and dependents. Team members will also have access to non-credit management courses offered online from Harvard Business Publishing, a subsidiary of Harvard University. 

Weather permitting — snowfalls may total as many as 7-inches overnight in Chicago — Wasson and Wilson-Thompson plan to be on hand for the inaugural ribbon cutting of the center Friday morning. 

 

 

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Albertsons appoints division presidents; Justin Dye to head pharmacy

BY Alaric DeArment

BOISE, Idaho — Albertsons named the division presidents who will lead the 877 stores it will acquire from Supervalu after the purchase agreement closes next month, the company said. The two companies agreed to the purchase in January.

In an internal memo, the company said Bob Butler, currently EVP operations, will be named COO with responsibility for all Albertsons banner stores. Justin Dye, currently chief strategy officer, will be COO with responsibility for the Acme, Jewel and Shaws & Star Markets banners, and the total company pharmacy operation, operated by New Albertsons Inc., or NAI. AB Acquisition will head Albertsons LLC and NAI, with CEO Bob Miller at the lead. CFO Rick Navarro, general counsel Paul Rowan, EVP human resources and public affairs Andrew Scoggin and chief information officer Mark Bates will oversee their respective functions at Albertsons LLC and NAI.

Albertsons also announced that it would form a new Northwest division office, based in Portland, Ore., which will manage operations for stores in Oregon, Washington and northern Idaho. All of the new division presidents previously worked for Albertsons or are currently employed there, the company said.

Jim Perkins, formerly VP operations for Albertsons and director of operations for its southern division, is returning to the company after working as regional VP for Giant-Landover, owned by Ahold, to serve as president of Acme Markets.

William Emmons will head Jewel Osco. Emmons was formerly president of the southern division and is returning to the company following his 2010 retirement. He began working at Albertsons in 1971.

Shane Sampson will head Shaws & Star Markets. Sampson was formerly VP marketing and merchandising for the southern division and began working at Albertsons in 1983. Sampson is returning to the company after serving as SVP operations for Giant-Landover.

Dennis Bassler will head the Northwest division. Bassler is currently a district manager in the company’s southern division and was formerly SVP marketing and merchandising for Albertsons, having started there in 1981.

Susan Morris will head the intermountain division. Morris is currently VP marketing and merchandising for the Southwest division and began her career with Albertsons in Denver in 1985.

Wayne Denningham will head the southern California division. Denningham is currently president for the southern division and began working at Albertsons in 1977.

Shane Dorcheus will head the Southwest division, of which he was already president, having started at Albertsons in 1980.

The original article stated Dennis Bassler’s name incorrectly and Wayne Denningham’s current position within the company. These corrections have been made. We apologize for the errors.

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Jackery releases powerful, rechargeable external batteries for mobile devices

BY Rebecca Haughey

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Jackery, a provider of premium rechargeable battery products for mobile devices, announced on Thursday the launch of the Jackery Bar and Jackery Mini batteries.

With 120 hours of extra operation time and a weight of only 5.4 oz., the Jackery Bar is the world’s smallest power bank with 2.1A output operating at 5600 mAh. The bar is fast-charging, and ideal for users that need a powerful and compact mobile charging solution. It retails for $39.95 on Amazon.com.

The 2600 mAh Jackery Mini weighs less than three oz. and is currently the smallest external device battery in the world. Measuring only 3.7 by 0.9 in., the Mini fits easily into a pocket or purse, and offers up to 50 extra hours of operational time for device users. The Mini is capable of fully charging an iPhone 5 on one full cycle and currently retails for $29.95

Each Jackery device features a durable aluminum case, which can sustain the rigors of frequent travel. The products hold their charge for up to six months due to the company’s unique power lock technology, which allows the batteries to operate in a standby mode for up to six months.

"The Bar and Mini are powerful and fast-charging external batteries that give users on the go the peace of mind to know their devices can remain operable for extended periods," said Julie Wang, COO of Jackery. "With our products, users get an immediate power boost that does not require scrambling to find an outlet."

In addition to iOS and Android devices, Jackery’s products are also compatible with Windows phones, various smartphone and tablet platforms, multiple gaming devices and MP3 players.

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