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    Second Annual Tech Awards Presented

    Convenience Store News honors ExxonMobil and Art Whetstone of Calfee Co. of Dalton Inc. at NACStech.

    By Tammy Mastroberte

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- At a cocktail reception held last night at the NACStech show in Nashville, Tenn., Convenience Store News magazine presented its Second Annual Technology Leadership Awards.

    ExxonMobil was presented with the award for Outstanding Technology Implementation, and Art Whetstone, CIO of Calfee Co. of Dalton Inc., operating 130 Favorite Markets stores, received the Top Tech Executive Award. The event, sponsored by PerformanceRetail and FKI Security Group, drew a crowd of more than 100 retailer attendees.

    CSNews accepted nominations from both retailers and technology vendors for each award, which were judged by a panel of experts, including Joe Tarnowski, technology editor for Progressive Grocer magazine; Alan Slothower, principal consultant at Impact 21 Group, David Hogan, CIO of the National Retail Federation (NRF), and staff editors of Convenience Store News.

    ExxonMobil received its award for the implementation of an integrated solution controlling HVAC, refrigeration and lighting from Emerson Climate Technologies called E2 Facility Management System. The company's goal was to reduce energy consumption in all of its stores as well as lower its operating costs. The system was rolled out to 480 U.S. locations in 10 months as well as more than 30 sites in Central America, 12 sites in Europe and six sites in Canada.

    By the end of 2004, approximately a year after the implementation process began, the company had reduced energy costs by 10 to 15 percent, equaling more than $1.5 million dollars in savings. They also decreased their maintenance costs at an annual rate of approximately $1,000 per site.

    Whetstone was honored for his leadership in the industry as well as his own company. He has served on the PCATS board of directors to develop and maintain standards for network and system integration and electronic document exchange. He has also chaired workshop tracks at NACStech conferences over the years and established the PDI Southeast Users Group, which gathers PDI users for specific regions to discuss common industry and technology issues.

    At his own company, Whetstone has used NAXML standards to transfer safe deposit totals to the back-office PC, automating the end-of-shift deposit procedures for 25 stores. He also initiated the integration between AT Systems and PDI to save time completing daily store-level tasks by eliminating a lot of manual labor, and he added significant custom extensions to the packaged enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to reduce labor costs and shrink in the store as well as the headquarters.

    Whetstone also implemented a wide-area-network at Favorite Markets in more than 130 stores to streamline electronic communication between stores and the corporate headquarters, which opened the avenue for other advanced technology solutions.

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