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DALLAS – Scott Hartman, president and CEO of Rutter’s Farm Stores, and Gene Gerke, president of Gerke & Associates Inc., were inducted last night as the third class of the PCATS Technology Hall of Fame.
"It’s quite an honor to be inducted in the Hall of Fame. I started in this industry at the age of 12 and have been here for 42 years," Hartman said upon accepting his award during an evening banquet at THE Tech Event. “I always thought you needed to have dreams and chase those dreams. I have had so much fun chasing my dreams with my wife Cathy, who is here tonight, and my son who is also in the convenience store industry chasing his dreams."
|(left to right) Gene Gerke, Gray Taylor and Scott Hartman|
Hartman’s ties to technology run deep. The head of York, Pa.-based Rutter’s has been active in the tech segment of the c-store industry since 1995, when he got involved with the NACS Technology Standards Project, which ultimately led to the creation of the Petroleum Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards (PCATS) in 2004. Hartman was also the 2005-2006 NACS chairman and served two terms as PCATS chairman.
"It’s amazing to consider where we are today after we had our first technology standards meeting in 1995," he recalled. "I remember first telling NACS in 1991 that if it didn’t take the lead in technology, who would? I even remember going to [NACS] board meetings trying to get any loose change they could spare to go toward this effort."
Like Hartman, Gerke was also an original member of the Technology Standards Project team. He co-founded CSX LLC, the largest, purpose-built, online database of financial and operating data in the c-store industry. NACS acquired CSX in 2007. Today, Gerke is president of his Columbia, Mo.-based advisory firm.
"This is a tremendous honor," he said at last night’s induction. "To be recognized for this is awesome."
Gerke noted that he and Hartman have a connection. He recounted how the convenience store and petroleum industry was considered the “technology laggard” in the mid-1990s until Hartman wrote a letter asking to hold a standards meeting at an airport Hilton hotel in November 1995. “We’d see who would show up. Shock of all shocks, 100 people showed up to talk about technology standards in the industry,” Gerke said. “Within two years, we had over 100 companies and 250 people involved in this process.”
The PCATS Technology Hall of Fame was founded in 2011 to honor how far the convenience store industry has come, according to PCATS Executive Director Gray Taylor, who presided over yesterday’s event.
"We are the technology leader in the retail space," he said. "When you talk about contactless payment, we invented it. You take a look at [Mobil] Speedpass, introduced in the late 90s and still used today. It is still the most successful contactless program ever done."
Hartman was previously honored as the 2009 Convenience Store News Top Tech Executive for his commitment to technology.