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ATLANTA -- Carl Bolch Jr., chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based RaceTrac Petroleum, and Greg Gilkerson, president of Temple, Texas-based Professional Datasolutions Inc. (PDI), were inducted into the Convenience Industry Hall of Fame at a gala reception and dinner last week in Atlanta.
In a moving acceptance speech, the usually taciturn Bolch credited the leaders and associates at RaceTrac as being a powerful reason for the company's success.
Bolch received his Doctor of Laws degree from Duke University Law School in 1967 before joining his family's 100-store, independent gasoline business that his father started 75 years ago. Today, RaceTrac Petroleum is one of the largest privately held companies in the nation with 545 stores in 12 southern states generating in excess of $12 billion in annual sales.
More than 65 RaceTrac associates, previous Hall of Famers, special retailer guests and suppliers attended the ceremonies, held at the Atlanta Fish Market restaurant in Buckhead, Ga. Bolch also received congratulations from NACS president and CEO Hank Armour and CSNews editor-in-chief Don Longo.
On the supplier side, Gilkerson was described by Longo as being a pioneer in bringing convenience store retailers the technological tools needed to "scan products and use data to make sound marketing and operational decisions."
Gilkerson began his career in retailing, serving as controller/treasurer for Colonial Food Store. While at Colonial, he oversaw the development of a new retail system that significantly improved Colonial's overall cost structures and access to key management information.
Upon the sale of Colonial, Gilkerson and a team of former Colonial employees obtained the rights to the software developed by Colonial and founded Professional Datasolutions Inc. (PDI) June 1, 1983. Serving as president since its inception, Gilkerson helped guide PDI to be the dominant software solution for the convenience store industry. Gilkerson has served on the NACS Technology Committee, the founding board of PCATS and the NACStech Technology Council during that time.
Sponsors of this year's Hall of Fame dinner were BIC Consumer Products, The Hershey Company, McLane Co. and Children's Miracle Network.
The Hall of Fame was launched in 1987 by Convenience Store News with the induction of Chester Cadieux of QuikTrip Corp. Since then, the Hall of Fame has recognized convenience store industry pioneers and innovators from companies of all sizes, including James Keyes of 7-Eleven Inc., John MacDougall of Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes Inc., Dick Wood of Wawa Inc., and Steve Sheetz of Sheetz Inc. Supplier inductees have included Michael Irish of Philip Morris USA, Jerry Rose of McLane Co. and Joe Burke of Coca-Cola Enterprises.
Last year's inductees were Bill Douglass of Douglass Distributing Co. and Steve Wolke of PepsiCo.
The Convenience Store News Hall of Fame's roster of retailer inductees:
2008: Bill Douglass, Douglass Distributing Co.
2007: Alain Bouchard, Alimentation Couche-Tard
2006: William Krause, Kum & Go
2005: James Keyes, 7-Eleven Inc.
2004: Henry O. "Hank" Armour, founder of West Star Corp. and current president of NACS
2003: John MacDougall, Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes Inc.
2002: John Hansan, Sterling Stores LLC
2001: Bob Robertson, White Hen Pantry
2000: Don Lamberti, Casey's General Stores Inc.
1999: Fred M. Higgins, Minit Mart Foods Inc.
1998: Chris Girard, Plaid Pantries Inc.
1997: Jim Yates, E-Z Mart Stores Inc.
1996: Dick Wood, Wawa Inc.
1995: Steve Sheetz, Sheetz Inc.
1994: Richard Jensen, SuperAmerica Group
1993: E.L. "Steve" Stephens, Town & Country Food Stores Inc.
1992: Erich Wendl, Maverick Markets Inc.
1991: John and Jere Thompson, The Southland Corp.
1990: C. Alan Marsh, Marsh Village Pantries
1989: Robert Seng, Busy Bee Food Stores Inc.
1988: Charlie Nirenberg, Dairy Mart Convenience Stores Inc.
1987: Chester Cadieux, QuikTrip Corp.
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