Excellence at Work Episode 259 Modernization Isn’t Magic: A Frank Discussion on Modernizing Learning

Speakers: Bob Szostak, Director of Customer Solutions, VPS; and Anthony W. Gagliardo, Vice President of Nuclear, Technical & Enterprise Learning at Xcel Energy

Bob Szostak has been a part of the VPS for 27 years, starting as an Instructional System Designer, then moving through Project and Program Management into his current role as Director of Customer Solutions. In this role, he is responsible for connecting Learning leaders across the commercial and government markets with VPS services and offerings that help solve business challenges.

Working with scalable transformation projects as a contributor, leader and partner across multiple domains has provided Bob with the experience and perspective to listen to challenges, diagnose key areas of concern and work with organizations to devise solutions that work within their technical infrastructure, learning ecosystem and budget. Bob works closely with VPS Business Development, Operations, Technology and Program teams, as well as Learning Industry Analysts and Providers, to ensure VPS is able to create best-value solutions for clients.

Dr. Anthony W. Gagliardo specializes in helping organizations deliver excellence through operational and learning enhancement. Throughout his professional journey, he has played a transformative role in global enterprises, reshaping their operational and cost capabilities to develop and support skilled workforces. By crafting forward-thinking talent roadmaps, revamping technology solutions and revolutionizing learning and development approaches, Anthony has consistently driven organizational success. In his top-level executive role, he oversees multimillion-dollar training center operations across the United States, ensuring the ongoing training and certification of personnel.

Currently serving as the Vice President of Nuclear, Technical & Enterprise Learning at Xcel Energy, Dr. Gagliardo has earned national acclaim for his groundbreaking work in modernizing the World Association of Nuclear Operators’ teaching and learning efforts. Gagliardo has also been chosen to assist the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO,) with advancing the Nuclear Industries approach to teaching and learning.

Dr. Gagliardo holds a Doctorate (Ed.D.) in Organizational Management from Brandman University and both a Master’s Degree in Management of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Management from American Public University. He has also acquired advanced certifications in organizational, executive, and individual coaching from the International Coaching Federation, Change Management Training from Prosci and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute.

Host: Michael Rochelle, Chief Strategy Officer and Principal HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group™

Michael Rochelle is Chief Strategy Officer and Principal HCM Analyst at Brandon Hall Group™. Michael leads a wide range of advisory support and strategic engagements for Fortune 1000 and small- to medium-sized organizations as well as leading and emerging solution providers across the HCM industry. Michael has more than 30 years’ experience in HR, IT, sales, marketing, business development, and strategic and financial planning in Fortune 500 and venture-backed start-up organizations.

Company Bio: VPS

VPS’s Value Proposition for their clients is simple and rooted in the understanding that, while there are commonalities between organizations and challenges, there is no “one right thing” that serves as a panacea to these challenges. Working with 90+ clients each year across a dozen commercial industries, the government and the military, they cross-pollinate best practices and create enduring learning solutions within a client’s ecosystem, infrastructure and budget to solve real business challenges. VPS’s solutions accelerate performance within a changing world. Their approach is summarized under the three pillars of Consult, Engage and Deliver. These pillars ensure that clients get the right outcomes appropriate to their needs — regardless of the size or scope of engagement.


Learning has likely been undergoing modernization since the day after the very first thing was ever taught. But two recent phenomena have increased the focus — and fear — on this subject: the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant shift to remote work; and the increasing acceleration and proliferation of technology.

Join Dr. Anthony Gagliardo, the AVP of Enterprise and Technical Learning at Xcel Energy, and Bob Szostak, Director of Customer Solutions at VPS, and Michael Rochelle, Chief Strategy Officer and Principal HCM Analyst at Brandon Hall Group™, for a candid discussion on this modernization in the context of their organizations and experience, and what learning leaders can do today to ensure they are taking the right steps for their constituents.

Topics include:

  • What is modernizing learning and how is playing out in the Learning market?
  • What are the biggest misconceptions about modernization?
  • What’s the best way for organizations to approach modernization from the learner and organizational perspectives?
  • Where is the greatest ROI in terms of addressing content modernization?
  • Insights from Dr. Anthony’s and Bob’s journeys.
  • And more!

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