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CHICAGO -- Tom Robinson, president of San Jose, California-based Robinson Oil Co., shared with a packed house at yesterday's closing general session of the 2011 NACS Show the three factors that have most affected his business and career: being from a family business, being from California and being engaged in associations. Robinson was named the 2011-2012 chairman of the NACS board.
"I believe that family businesses are the backbone of our national economy and certainly our industry," said Robinson prior to introducing closing speaker, ex-TV newsman Tom Brokaw. "Family businesses create challenges to both the family and business, but they also provide much opportunity."
Robinson, a third-generation retailer whose children are actively engaged in the business, said that much of the foundation of his understanding of business and the industry came just by being around it, whether as a kid spending the day on the job with his father and grandparents or as a teen operating a station that sold a paltry 200 gallons per day.
"I love family businesses; they can be the best and the worst. They're all dysfunctional," he joked, "some just more so."
There is no industry with deeper roots to family businesses, noted Robinson. Today, there are more than 90,000 single-store operators in the convenience and fuels retailing industry.
"Many of these businesses will become second-, third- and fourth-generation businesses, much like ours," said Robinson. "It's pretty impressive."
Robinson is only the second NACS chairman to hail from California. The first was Henry Boney, who served as NACS' first chairman. "Back in 1961 when Henry was chairman, California was known as the place for marketing innovation," said Robinson. "People came to California to see what was new," whether self-serve fueling or stamp programs that were precursors to today's loyalty programs.
But California slowly changed. In the 1970s, California evolved from an innovative marketing state to a legislative and regulatory haven.
Robinson said that retailers can learn from his experience in California and be prepared to communicate the industry's voice as regulations are being considered, whether on the local, state or national level.
Robinson also chairs the NACS Executive Committee, which provides strategic direction and financial oversight to the association.
Also named to the NACS Executive Committee were the following NACS retail members:
• NACS Vice Chairman-Treasurer: Dave Carpenter, president and CEO of West Des Moines-based J.D. Carpenter Companies Inc.;
• NACS Vice Chairman of Technology: Patrick Lewis, partner of Twin Falls, Idaho-based Oasis Stop 'N Go Convenience Stores;
• NACS Vice Chairman of Government Relations: Brad Call, general counsel and executive vice president of adventure culture of North Salt Lake, Utah-based Maverik Inc.;
• NACS Vice Chairman of Member Services: Jack Kofdarali, president of Corona, California-based J&T Management Inc.;
• NACS Vice Chairman of Research: Fran Duskiewicz, senior executive vice president for Canastota, New York-based Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes Inc.;
• NACS Vice Chairman of Convention: Steve Loehr, vice president of operations support for LaCrosse, Wisconsin-based Kwik Trip Inc.; and
• NACS Vice Chairman of NACSPAC, Peter Tedeschi, president & CEO of Rockland, Massachusetts-based Tedeschi Food Shops.
Also on the NACS Executive Committee are 2010-11 NACS Chairman Jeff Miller, president of Miller Oil Co. Inc., (Norfolk, VA), and 2009-10 NACS Chairman Jay Ricker, chairman of Ricker Oil Co. (Anderson, Ind.).
NACS released biographies of the newly elected NACS Executive Committee members:
Tom Robinson: NACS Chairman
Tom Robinson is president of Santa Clara, California-based Robinson Oil Corp.
Robinson has been a member of the NACS Board of Directors since 2006. Most recently, he served as the NACS vice chairman-treasurer, overseeing the association's financial plan. Before that, he served as NACS vice chairman of government relations.
Robinson Oil Corporation operates 34 Rotten Robbie stores throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area and markets fuel to commercial customers through the Pacific Pride and CFN commercial fueling networks. Robinson has been with the company since 1974. The fourth-generation company was founded in the 1930s and has been operating under the Rotten Robbie brand since 1973.
Robinson earned a B.S. in economics from Santa Clara University. He is past president of the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) and is active in the California Independent Oil Marketers Association. He also is a life member of the 25 Year Club of the Petroleum Industry.
Dave Carpenter: NACS Vice Chairman-Treasurer
Dave Carpenter is president and CEO of West Des Moines, Iowa-based J.D. Carpenter Companies Inc.
As the NACS treasurer, Carpenter is responsible for overseeing the association's financial plan. He had previously served as NACS vice chairman of convention. Carpenter has been a member of the NACS Board of Directors since 2002, and previously served as a member of its Member Services Board Committee and Research & Development Committee.
J.D. Carpenter Companies was founded by Carpenter's grandfather in 1935. The company has been involved in many facets of the industry ranging from retail stores in Michigan and Iowa to multiple bulk fuel and propane plants to a petroleum terminal on the Mississippi River.
Carpenter began his career by opening Prolube Oil Change Centers in the early 1990s. He also started a small chain of high-volume ShortStop convenience stores, which were sold in 2010. Today, Carpenter is developing and directly operating 7-Eleven stores in Colorado.
Carpenter is active in a number of state and community organizations, serving as former chairman of the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa and as national chairman of the ConocoPhillips National Advisory Council for two years. He currently is a member of the NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council. Carpenter earned a degree in business from the University of Iowa.
Patrick Lewis: NACS Vice Chairman, Technology
Patrick J. Lewis is partner of Twin Falls, Idaho-based Oasis Stop 'N Go Convenience Stores.
As the NACS vice chairman of technology, Lewis chairs the Technology Council, which oversees all NACS technology initiatives, including PCATS (Petroleum Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards), of which he also serves as chair.
Lewis began his career in the convenience store industry in 1987 with Circle K Corporation. In 1995, he became a partner of Oasis Stop 'N Go Convenience Stores, a company serving customers at 13 Twin Falls-area locations. He is also the CEO of KickBack Points LLC, a customer rewards program provider founded in 2000 that is built around the convenience store industry. Today, convenience retailers in 49 states and in Canada participate in the program.
In the community, Lewis is active with many local charities such as the Boys and Girls Club, Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He is also a member of National Association of Realtors and the Idaho State Board of Realtors.
Lewis, a resident of Twin Falls, graduated from George Fox University with a degree in management and organizational leadership.
Brad Call: NACS Vice Chairman, Government Relations
Brad Call is a member of Maverik Inc.'s Board of Directors and serves Maverik as general counsel and executive vice president of adventure culture, which includes human resources, leadership development and recruiting, public relations and marketing.
As the NACS vice chairman of government relations, Call oversees the association's Legislative Committee.
With 200 stores, Maverik is the largest independent chain of convenience stores in the inter-mountain west. Maverik was founded in 1928 by Call's grandfather. Call earned a B.S in accounting in 1990 from Brigham Young University and a J.D. in 1993 from the George Washington School of Law. He served as Republican President at both institutions. Prior to joining Maverik full time in 1998, Call was employed as corporate counsel and director of congressional affairs for Fluor Corporation in Washington, D.C. In addition to his NACS activities, Call currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Beehive Bank.
Jack Kofdarali: NACS Vice Chairman, Member Services
Jack Kofdarali is president of J&T Management Inc., which operates 26 stores in Southern California, all branded Arco ampm.
As the NACS vice chairman of member services, Kofdarali oversees the association's Member Services Committee, which sets the strategic direction for NACS with regard to retail-membership value.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Kofdarali came to the United States in 1980. He and his family's first business was a liquor store in Newport Beach, California. In 1990, they purchased their first gas station in Calimesa, Calif. In 2000, Kofdarali became sole owner of J&R Oil Co. and continued to grow the business. J&R Oil Co. became J&T Management as the business diversified. In addition to building and operating convenience stores, the company also develops commercial retail centers throughout Southern California, owns and manages apartment units in Texas and provides business operations oversight for convenience and fuel retailers. Kofdarali also is currently vice chair for the BP Franchise Advisory Council.
Fran Duskiewicz: NACS Vice Chairman, Research
Fran Duskiewicz is senior executive vice president for Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, Inc, an 85-store chain headquartered in upstate New York.
As the NACS vice chairman of research, Duskiewicz oversees the association's Research Committee, which directs the association's research and development initiatives and programs to promote the ongoing competitive viability of the channel. He also is the current chairman of the NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council.
Duskiewicz has worked for Nice N Easy since 1985 and has served in all capacities, including store manager, district manager, director of training and education, vice president of operations and chief financial officer.
Duskiewicz has previously served on the NACS Research Committee and the NACS Technology Committee. He has served on the NACS Operations Committee of the Joint Industry Project on Efficient Consumer Response, was a charter member of the NACS Category Management Task Force that authored the Six Step Process and the original 32 Product Categories and was vice president of Technical Policy for the Petroleum/Convenience Alliance for Technical Standards (PCATS). Duskiewicz has degrees in English and education from Colgate University; before joining Nice N Easy, he taught 7th- and 8th-grade English for eight years.
Steve Loehr: NACS Vice Chairman, Convention
Steve Loehr is vice president of operations support for Kwik Trip Inc., which operates about 375 Kwik Trip and Kwik Star convenience stores throughout three states.
As NACS Vice Chairman of convention, Loehr leads the activities of the NACS Convention Committee, which oversees the development and implementation of NACS events, including the NACS Show, one of the 50 largest annual tradeshows in the United States.
In addition to its corporate Support Center, which handles the administrative needs of stores, Kwik Trip owns a bakery, commissary, dairy, distribution warehouse and vehicle maintenance divisions. The fourth-generation, family-owned business opened its first store in 1965 in Eau Claire, Wis.
Prior to joining Kwik Trip 20 years ago, Loehr owned and operated a supermarket in the 1980s and worked for Gateway Foods of Pennsylvania, serving four years as its president. He is active in a number of industry groups, serving on the boards of the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association and Wisconsin Grocers Association, and is a member of the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA). Loehr also is a board member of Merchants Bank, Martin Luther College, Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance and Western Technical College. He earned a B.S. in political science from the University of Wisconsin -- Stevens Point.
Peter Tedeschi: NACS Vice Chairman, NACSPAC
Peter Tedeschi is president & CEO of Tedeschi Food Shops, which operates 190 stores and serves customers in four New England states.
As the NACS vice chairman of NACSPAC, Tedeschi oversees the efforts of NACSPAC, the convenience store industry's political action committee. Prior to joining the family business as its president and COO in 2008, Tedeschi was an entrepreneurial pioneer in the computer industry before becoming an executive in Boston's financial industry, where he was most recently senior vice president and director of operations for Putnam Investments. He attended Stonehill College, where he graduated as the president of his senior class with a degree in political science.
For much more on the 2011 NACS Show, go to www.csnewsbeyondtheshow.com. And check back often as new content is being added constantly to keep you abreast of all the latest show happenings.