Casey’s pizza, Iowa Hawkeyes, electric cars: Rich Schappert at TechBrew AM

Each month the Technology Association of Iowa hosts a meet-up for the technology community of Iowa in different parts of the state known as, “TechBrew AM.”

“TechBrew AM” features the Technology Association of Iowa President Brian Waller interviewing a technology executive. A program is held in Central Iowa and then in another community around the state each month.

Rich Schappert, Casey’s General Store Vice President of Information Technology, was the featured guest at Fridays Tech Brew AM in Des Moines at West End Architectural Salvage.

He was interviewed for nearly 20 minutes and received a vinyl record of, “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen.

Schappert has been with Casey’s for 17 years and is a graduate of Des Moines East High School and the University of Iowa.

He said Casey’s is in 15 states and will open its 2,000th store in October. Of its annual revenue of $7.5 billion a year, roughly one billion comes from sales of pizza, doughnuts and other prepared foods, Schappert said.

Casey’s opened its first store in 1968 in Boone. It now has its headquarters in Ankeny.

But it’s the technological advances that Schappert talked about Friday morning.

“We’ve put in pointed sales that actually track the transactions so we actually know what was sold with what,” Schappert explained. “Before that we couldn’t tell what kind of candy bar was sold, we just knew it was a candy bar. This allowed us to be more efficient.”

Schappert mentioned Casey’s has developed a mobile app and introduced online ordering.

“There’s a lot of technology that the stores keep evolving with,” Schappert said.

Schappert said Casey’s started a cyber security team 18 months ago and the executive board cares deeply about cyber security.

“What they do is very important and is top of mind,” Schappert says. “Especially with all these viruses and malware out there. They have minds of their own and wonder where they want to wonder. So there are things out there we need to be conscious of and address.”

In 25 years, Schappert says Casey’s will look different because of how the company keeps up with technology.

“There are challenges right now with gasoline and the electronic cars, how will we be part of that and charge those cars efficiently and fast?” Schappert asks. “We will keep expanding our food service and then use the information we get to address the needs of our customers on an individualized basis.”