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As an industry director, Tom Litchford is responsible for driving strategy, planning and execution in the distribution and services sector, as well as developing alliances with industry solution developers. Litchford plans and directs all aspects of Microsoft's policies, strategies, objectives, and initiatives for his assigned vertical industries where he is focused on market assessment and competitive analysis, industry solutions strategy, marketing and sales execution, coordination of product and service groups, and development of related programs such as Microsoft's Connected Experiences and Smarter initiatives. He supports independent software vendors (ISVs) in building solutions that take full advantage of the Microsoft .NET vision and technology platform for XML and Web Services, including the .NET Framework, Windows Server Family, and Microsoft Office System.

Litchford is a member of NRF's Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) board of directors, the Texas A&M Center for Retailing Studies advisory board, and the Fair Factories Clearinghouse (FFC) advisory board (a collaborative industry effort involving retail and consumer brands and retail trade associations to create a system for managing and sharing audit information). He has also served on the Associate Members Advisory Council for the NRF as well as the Food Marketing Institute's (FMI) education committee.

Litchford has more than 29 years of experience in systems engineering, sales, product management and marketing of technology business solutions for the retail and hospitality industries. Prior to assuming his current position in July of 2006, he has held other Microsoft industry positions including industry marketing manager, marketing and channel director, and most recently US industry manager for retail and hospitality in the subsidiary marketing, sales, and partner group. Prior to joining Microsoft in 1998, he was director of Business Impact Modeling for NCR's Retail Solutions Group in Atlanta, Georgia, where his team developed comprehensive return on investment (ROI) models to help retailers understand the business impact of implementing various technologies. He was instrumental in driving the development of the OPOS application program interface (API) set - now a defacto industry standard for point-of-sale application-to-peripheral connectivity. Working with organizations such as ARTS and NAFEM, he has also been influential in establishing XML messaging standards in the retail and foodservices sectors - critical for the evolution to service oriented architectures.

Litchford holds a bachelor of applied science degree in Computer Systems from Florida Atlantic University. A native of Louisiana, he is an avid pianist (although he can't play one), a backyard astronomist and enjoys white water rafting and gardening. He has been involved with numerous community services, including symphony board member, volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician, Red Cross instructor, and UMYF youth counselor. He recently completed his certification as a member of the Woodinville Fire & Life Safety's C.E.R.T. program (Community Emergency Response Team). He currently is a member of the board of directors for the Medic One Foundation and is active in church where he holds the chair of the Committee on Finance and is a member of the stewardship and endowment committees. He makes his home in Woodinville, Washington with his wife Ruthann and two girls.


Cathy Hotka, Principal, Hotka & Associates

"Tom Litchford is one of those rare individuals who has a deep knowledge of retail IT, strong and positive relationships with all the right people, and the longevity to leverage them. In addition to being a trusted colleague, he's a personal friend. His integrity is beyond reproach and he has the world's best sense of humor. I hope that you are lucky enough to work with him.”

Paula Rosenblum, Managing Partner, Retail Systems Research

“Tom is a market maker. Without Tom, there would BE no retail practice at Microsoft. He understands both technical and business value of technology. Tom's a good listener, a quick study, has a deep understanding of the retail industry overall, and a great all around guy.”

Des Martin, Director, Industry Best Practice, NCR

“Tom was instrumental in developing a Retail Technology Framework for NCR, which was the basis of Professional Services engagements. He also pioneered an ROI methodology and toolset around Retail Price Management, which later became the foundation for a whole team doing Business Value Assessments around other NCR technologies, such as self-service. Tom is creative, intelligent, articulate and hardworking with clear vision backed by strong determination.”

Brian Scott, Vice President, WW Industry, Microsoft

"Tom deserves as much credit as any one for the establishment of [Microsoft's retail] vertical. He has been instrumental in almost every aspect of our launch. His guidance on partner selection, product engagement, marketing plans, and customer selection has been key and always well thought out. He has extensive relationships at an executive level with BP's, Press, and many customers. An additional observation that I would have is that while I was at IBM, I had 7 marketing people working for me with a budget of $2.7m just for Store Systems. I honestly think that Tom has been as effective in creating brand, awareness, product adoption and partner loyalty as my team at IBM was."

Dave Hogan, SVP & CIO, National Retail Federation

“I have had the pleasure to work with Tom on several industry related initiatives over the past several years. Aside from his deep understanding of the retail industry, Tom possesses both strong technical and managerial skills that would be an asset to any organization.”