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    Love's Jim Xenos, K&G Petroleum to Receive 2012 CSNews Tech Awards

    These convenience industry tech leaders will be honored at this year's NACStech in Nashville.

    JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Jim Xenos, vice president and CIO for Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores' more than 280 convenience stores and travel centers in 39 states, and K&G Petroleum, the Denver, Colo.-based ConocoPhillips marketer that operates 140 branded c-stores and gas stations, have been chosen as the 2012 Convenience Store News Technology Leadership Awards winners.

    The ninth annual Technology Leadership Awards recognize industry excellence in technology and promote the industry's continued advancement and use of technology tools and applications to further business success.

    Xenos is this year's recipient of the Top Tech Executive Award. He has provided vision and leadership in developing and implementing information technology initiatives for Oklahoma City-based Love's for the past 14 years. As an active participant in industry technology initiatives, including NACStech and PCATS, Xenos is lauded by his colleagues for his broad understanding of industry technology trends and their business applications in the convenience store industry.

    Speaking at last year's NACS/CSNews CIO Roundtable, Xenos championed the importance of aligning technology resources with the growing demands of the business. "As our business continues to grow, the workload demand on technology resources has been more than anyone predicted," he said. "We've started a large initiative to add and reorganize technology resources to align with the business needs of the organization."

    Receiving this year's Outstanding Technology Implementation Award is K&G Petroleum for its implementation of Hughes Network Systems' LinkSafe Broadband technology in its 140 branded c-stores and gas stations. The implementation, under the direction of Chief Technology Officer Basudev Dahal, consolidated K&G's stores onto a single network, thus eliminating the need for multiple dial-up lines at each store dedicated to individual functions. The project enabled K&G to modernize operations, gain real-time visibility into each store's performance and run new applications that couldn't be run over its previous dial-up connections.

    K&G's convenience stores, called Jenny's Market, chose LinkSafe, a broadband program provided by Hughes Network Systems to all ConocoPhillips branded locations, or locations that use the ConocoPhillips network to process credit/debit cards. The LinkSafe network has improved the customer experience in stores, eliminating long waiting times through faster credit/debit card processing. Also, as customer data breaches can severely damage a retailer's reputation, the LinkSafe network's strong security mechanisms enabled K&G to upgrade its Sapphire point-of-sale (POS) system, which had previously stored customers' credit card information on site, to a new cloud-based system that removes the local storage vulnerability and meets the more rigid security compliance requirements of Visa and ConocoPhillips. The network also provides firewalls at each store to protect POS and back-office information.

    "Before we implemented the LinkSafe network, we were in a dial-up environment," said Dahal. "Once the implementation was completed, we established a wide-area network to connect all of our stores to the home office. Equipment such as TMS [Tank Monitoring System] went live. The implementation made it easier to upload and download big files such as pricebooks and different software patches to various locations faster and more efficiently."

    Both awards will be presented at this year's NACStech during the PCATS/CSNews 2nd Annual Technology Leadership Awards Reception on Tuesday, May 22, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville. In addition, the PCATS/CSNews Technology Hall of Fame will induct its newest members, Greg Gilkerson of PDI Inc., Robert Johnson of The Pinnacle Corp. and Brad McGuinness of VeriFone Systems Inc.

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