TUCSON, Ariz. -- This year's three inductees into the Petroleum Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards (PCATS) Hall of Fame have changed so many lives in the convenience store industry that PCATS Executive Director Gray Taylor said he felt introducing them himself would be an injustice. And so, at a special reception last night during the 2014 PCATS Annual Conference, Taylor invited their industry peers to induct the newest Hall of Famers.
The first to be honored was Jenny Bullard, chief information officer for Flash Foods Inc., a 172-store convenience retailer based in Georgia. Bullard has served Flash Foods parent company The Jones Co. for the past 42 years.
“Jenny is everything PCATS stands for,” said Margaret Atkins, business analyst for Pilot Travel Centers LLC. “She has always made all of us feel like friends.”
During her acceptance speech, Bullard acknowledged all of the PCATS Hall of Famers who preceded her. “It’s [also] an honor to be inducted with two friends,” she said of her fellow honorees Henry "Hank" Armour, president and CEO of NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing; and Loring Perez, president of Chattahoochee Oil Co.
In addition, Bullard expressed appreciation for her employer, and offered a special thank you to Bob Johnson, president of The Pinnacle Corp. “I wouldn’t be here without Bob,” she said.
Coincidentally, Johnson had the honor of introducing Armour. “We wouldn’t be here tonight without Hank,” he said. “NACS considered pulling its funding for PCATS in the ‘90s, but Hank led the charge to convince NACS how important PCATS was.”
Upon accepting his award, Armour recalled his conversations with NACS Executive Committee members during that effort to save funding for PCATS. His dedication to the cause led to the committee voting 8-1 in favor of keeping funding for the organization.
“That’s the first initiative NACS ever committed to for more than $1 million,” Armour said, adding that he is proud of what NACS and the industry has achieved since that defining moment many years ago. “I don’t think there’s a stronger community than the technology community.”
Honored last, but certainly not least, was Perez, whose company Chattahoochee Oil is a branded jobber that serves more than 225 retailers in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.
“Loring was always considered a no-nonsense guy,” said Michael Davis, vice president of member services for NACS, who introduced Perez. “He always understood the financial implications [if we did] not have technology standards.”
During his acceptance speech, Perez said he was honored by PCATS’ gesture to put him into its Hall of Fame. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I remember years ago when I had my own “I had a dream” speech about what we needed in the technology industry. It’s great to see all of the efforts that have been made [since]. A lot of my dreams have come true,” he added.
The 2014 PCATS Annual Conference continues through Thursday, May 1 at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson.