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RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Four of the convenience store industry’s most venerable retailers were on hand to accept awards for outstanding achievement in both the fuels and technology spaces during the 2015 Convenience Store News Fuels & Tech Summit, held Dec. 7-8 at the Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa here.
At the event's opening dinner, Phil Schwartz, manager of I/S credit card systems, POS app support for Valero Payment Services Co., was recognized as the 2015 Technology Executive of the Year. In addition to his work at Valero, Schwartz, who plans to retire in March, was honored for his contributions to technology trade association Conexxus, formerly known as PCATS.
Brian Berk, managing editor of CSNews, presented Schwartz with his award and harkened back to 1995 when Schwartz was retired from the military, but decided to go back to work following a comment from his wife that he needed to either clean the house or pay someone to do so.
“Phil almost wasn’t here today, but we are so happy he made the decision he did. He can now pay for a housekeeper for the rest of his life,” joked Berk.
Joining Schwartz in receiving technology accolades was 7-Eleven Inc., which was presented the 2015 Technology Implementation of the Year award. The retailer was recognized for its mobile-first strategy including its widely successful 7Rewards loyalty program, which has led to incredible results.
Steve Holland, senior vice president and chief information officer for 7-Eleven, accepted the award on behalf of the company.
On the fuels side, CSNews Editorial Director Don Longo led the festivities, first by awarding Michael Lorenz, executive vice president of petroleum supply for Sheetz Inc., with the 2015 Alternative Fuels Leader of the Year award. Lorenz was honored for his decision to offer E15, a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, at 60 North Carolina Sheetz stores by spring 2016.
Sunoco LP, last but certainly not least, accepted the 2015 Fuels Innovator of the Year award. The company was celebrated for its reopened APlus convenience store near Pittsburgh International Airport that features three compressed natural gas (CNG) pumps, one single-sided liquid propane pump, and three electric charging stations — the first Sunoco location to offer three alternative fuels.
Matthew Baum, senior engineer for Sunoco LP, accepted the award on the company’s behalf.
The 2015 Convenience Store News Fuels & Tech Summit was sponsored by Growth Energy, Warren Rogers and ZipLine.