Oct 05, 2023 | 2 min read

Resiliency and Innovation in Challenging Times with Ronald Blahnik

By: Patrick Emmons


For retail businesses, being able to provide real-time, precise inventory is key to exceeding customer expectations. Ronald Blahnik, Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Strategy, Innovation, Customer Experience, and Retail Analytics of Hibbett Sports, knows that providing customers with what they want, when they want it, has been essential to Hibbett’s growth over the last six years.

In this episode, Ronald Blahnik provides insight into Hibbett’s expansive network of relationships with customers, associates, and vendors (who are also direct-to-consumer). He shares the strategies that led to expanding business during the COVID-19 pandemic, including avoiding major supply chain issues, managing team communication, and maintaining agility. 

Navigating transformation during a period that demanded change, Ronald Blahnik sheds light on his approach to problem-solving, operating within a larger ecosystem, and his expectations for AI-driven innovation.

  • (03:06) – Hibbett Sports
  • (06:00) – Delivering the last mile
  • (09:43) – Getting on the same page daily
  • (13:05) – Ten Keys of Customer Service
  • (15:44) – Understanding your customer
  • (18:58) – On the ground and in the store
  • (23:48) – The value of AI

About Our Guest

Ronald Blahnik is the Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Strategy, Innovation, Customer Experience, and Retail Analytics at Hibbett Sports. An experienced technology executive, he has held roles at The Home Depot, Hudson's Bay Company, and Lowe's Companies. Ronald is a highly decorated Senior Warrant Officer, having served over twenty years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve before his retirement as Chief Warrant Officer in 2004.

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About Patrick Emmons

If you can’t appreciate a good sports analogy, movie quote, or military reference, you may not want to work with him, but if you value honesty, integrity, and commitment to improvement, Patrick can certainly help take your business or your career to the next level. “Good enough,” is simply not in his vernacular. Pat’s passion is for relentlessly pushing himself and others to achieve full potential. Patrick Emmons is a graduate of St. Norbert College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. Patrick co-founded Adage Technologies in 2001 and in 2015, founded DragonSpears as a spin-off dedicated to developing custom applications that improve speed, compliance and scalability of clients’ internal and customer-facing workflow processes. When he is not learning about new technology, running a better business, or becoming a stronger leader, he can be found coaching his kids’ (FIVE of them) baseball and lacrosse teams and praising his ever-so-patient wife for all her support.

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