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Session & Speakers

This page will be updated on an ongoing basis.

Download the Schedule at a Glance.

Riding the Wave of Disruption in the Fuels & Convenience Retail Industry, Brian D. Gray

The PEI Virtual Convention will kick off with a special session led by Brian D. Gray, managing director and North American retail fuels and convenience lead for Accenture, the largest consulting firm in the world. "There are few events in modern history that have a profound impact on our lives; we find ourselves in the middle of such an event now with the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic," says Gray. He notes that our experiences as consumers are being forever altered--with changes to how we buy (frictionless, contactless), what we buy and where we buy. He will take the audience on an exploration of the experiences that consumers are now expecting--and how the fuels and convenience retail industry will need to evolve to meet these ever-changing demands. Gray will discuss how players in this industry can take advantage of the disruption and innovate to thrive.

Gray has more than 14 years of experience working with oil and gas clients supporting their downstream fuels and convenience retail business. He helps drive innovation throughout the business and positions clients to capitalize on future trends. His experience in fuels retail stretches across customer experience, loyalty, retail site systems, payments, retail divestments and large-scale, complex deployments. 

 Industry Update, Rick Long

PEI EVP Rick Long will present his always-anticipated State of the Industry address on Wednesday, November 18. Long will bring insight specific to what PEI members are facing--and thinking. He bases his data on surveys of the PEI membership, along with numerous one-on-one conversations. 


Economic Foresight in the COVID-19 Era, Alan Beaulieu

The COVID-19 pandemic. Social unrest. An election year. Any one of these things could muddy the economic outlook. Combined, they seem nothing short of a catastrophe. But, as Beaulieu says, data talks, and it does not have spin, emotion or an agenda. In this session, Beaulieu, president and principal of ITR Economics, will discuss how to separate the wheat from the political chaff and what his post-COVID-19 outlook is as we reopen the economy—and what it means to wholesaler-distributors.  He will share what the data tells us about the recent past and what that same data can teach us about the future.  

Regulatory Update & Q&A, EPA OUST Team

Mark Barolo, acting director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST), Ryan Haerer, Release Prevention Division, EPA OUST, and Tim Smith, environmental protection specialist, US EPA OUST, will provide up-to-the-minute updates on regulatory matters that you face every day. Topics will include:

  • An update on national regulatory implementation, including compliance deadlines in different states and an update on State Program Approval and what it means.
  • Highlights regarding compatibility, including the latest EPA resources and information, and solutions in the marketplace.
  • Information on technical challenges, including emergency generators, field-constructed tanks, airport hydrant systems and thorny regulatory Q&As
  • Outline some recently updated national standards that do and do not meet EPA UST regulations.

Forecourt modernization: Taking EMV a Step Further, Jayme Leonard, David McMichael, Jay Ruth & moderator Scott Boorse

In this session, the panel will talk about helping retailers double-down on the investment in upgrading the forecourt while installing EMV. Panelists include PEI members Jayme Leonard, Red Leonard Associates; David McMichael, Guardian Fueling Solutions; Jay Ruth, PumpTex. They will discuss ways to digitize and modernize the fuel forecourt from the installer and equipment perspectives. You will learn how to upgrade the whole end-user experience from dispensers and lighting upgrades to fresh paint and new signage. If your forecourt is going to be down anyway, it doesn't cost (incrementally) that much more to do other upgrades. PEI Director of Technical Programs & Industry Affairs Scott Boorse will moderate the discussion. 

Beyond Liquid Fueling: Is EV Right for Your Business?
Patrick Fiedler, Bo Sasnett, Justin Spence & moderator John Eichberger

What does a PEI member need to know to get involved in EV? Does EV fit into your business model? How can you create a business model to make money installing charging stations. In this panel session, which will be moderated by Fuels Institute Executive Director John Eichberger, we will discuss these questions and more. Getting into EV can be a great way to diversity beyond c-stores. It can broaden your service and installation portfolio to restaurants, coffee shops and other non-fuel focused businesses. Topics covered include site design strategies; energy infrastructure and how to partner with a utility to make things happen; ROI; and costs and challenges to implement EV. Panelists include PEI members Patrick Fiedler, Fiedler Group; Justin Spence, Oscar W. Larson; and Bo Sasnett, D&H United Fueling Solutions.

Safety Issues in a Post-COVID World 

COVID Prevention Playbook from a Risk Manager's Perspective, Blake Hess

Blake Hess,  director of Environmental, Health & Safety at W. Oscar Larson, Co., will begin the COVID-19 Safety Panel with a presentation on the Prevention Playbook from a Risk Manager's Perspective. Hess will cover why having a COVID prevention protocol and safety measures in place is so important for safety reasons and also to avoid fines (and potentially litigation). He'll talk about how to avoid the dreaded word "allowed," as in "The employer allowed workers to ..." The best way to avoid "allowed" scenarios is by having a written plan in place, backed up by training. 

Conundrum of Sanitizing Dispensers & Hanging Hardware, Steve Baynham

Many operators are dealing with challenges in properly sanitizing dispensers and handing hardware without damaging the materials. Most cleansing solutions contain some form of bleach, which will literally eat away aluminum (causing nozzle failures). Similar issues--with different causes--have occurred with touch screens and the plastic buttons on dispensers.  While contact with contaminated surfaces may now be second to the dangers of aerosolized droplets as a priority in combatting the COVID19 virus, people still need to feel that "something" is being done to keep things clean. Steve Baynham, metallurgist and quality manager, Husky, will talk about the challenges of sanitization at the pump. The nozzle and touchscreen are the two major points of access that patrons use. Baynham will talk about what he has witnessed with corrosion buildup on nozzles and how that creates safety issues (e.g., continue pumping gas). He also will discuss damage to touchscreens and other surfaces. And he will talk about EPA list N chemicals for COVID-19, such as low-chlorinated or high-alcohol or oxygenated chemicals, and how they can react in the environment (an example is the impact of evaporation). 

Still behind on EMV? Using Equipment Financing to Help Late Adopters Achieve EMV compliance, Chris Santy

With the fuel dispenser EMV liability shift occurring in April 2021, the topic of compliance is hot among many equipment distributors. Chris Santy, managing director and president, Patriot Capital, will discuss how distributors can help their customers see the value of using equipment financing to achieve EMV compliance. He will explain how the financing process works, and how simple and fast the process can be. He will also cover possible tax benefits associated with equipment purchasing and provide real-world examples, including monthly payments to help customers evaluate their options. Santy will share financing structures that help buyers manage around seasonal cash flow, ways for them to “grow into” their payments, and key talking points to elevate the discussion from “this is why you need to upgrade” to “this is how you can do it now.”

In the choice between providing the equipment to your customers, building in your supply contract, or allowing your customers to take the responsibilities of upgrading the equipment themselves, what are the financial implications and potential risks involved?
What can equipment distributors do to offer as many alternatives as possible to their customers in order to maximize the number of sites that are compliant while minimizing equipment distributor’s contribution?
What are the financial tools available in today’s market to help dealers get EMV compliant? (Equipment financing, bank/SBA loans, friends/family money, equipment distributor investment).

Patriot Capital has been serving the equipment distributor and dealer community for more than 20 years. We have the largest portfolio of single site and distributor’s equipment related financing with more than 6,000 sites financed nationwide.

Your People, the Next 2 Years: The Biggest Innovations for Finding & Motivating Your Very Best People, Gene Marks

One of the biggest challenges faced by business owners today is attracting and retaining great people. In this session, Gene Marks, owner and operator of the Marks Group PC, will touch on some of the most important employee-related issues in your company, including: how trends and regulations in minimum wage, paid time off and overtime will impact your ability to find and motivate employees; key issues that need to be addressed in your employee handbook; innovative perks and benefits the big companies offer that you can, too; the benefits, cost, risks and rewards of outsourcing, including the latest technology tools to manage your outsourced contractors; the newest and innovative cloud-based technologies that are helping companies of all sizes recruit, manage, compensate and make them more attractive to work for; a review of the most recent legislation regarding retirement plans; the latest developments in healthcare reform and how smart employers are controlling their healthcare costs while continuing to be competitive in the job market. 

Who Comes Next? Leadership Succession Planning Made Easy, Mary Kelly, Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy (ret)

75 million baby boomers are reaching retirement age in the next several years. Whether you are one of them or one of the many leaders who will be navigating the changes, it is imperative that you have a plan. Join economist and leadership expert, Mary Kelly, Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy (ret), as she explains how the right succession plan will attract top talent, develop leadership skills and guarantee success for the next decade and beyond. Get out of panic mode and into a culture of continuous leadership development.

    • Understand what a comprehensive succession plan is, and why it’s a must-have for your business.
    • Gain the knowledge needed to compete in today’s marketplace.
    • Challenge your beliefs of what true leadership means.
    • Learn to share your experience to create a legacy.
    • Prepare a customized succession plan ready for immediate implementation.


10-Groups Keynote: Leadership Through Change, Randy Disharoon (All are welcome to attend!)

Change is a constant and yet it is unnatural for many of us. Therefore, we resist it. We find ways not to participate. Blockbuster resisted change. Sears did too. So did Blackberry. When is the last time you rented a movie from Blockbuster, shopped at Sears or purchased a Blackberry phone? What would happen if your company failed to embrace change? What would happen if you failed to embrace change? This session will challenge you to do just that but will also give you the tools necessary to be the change you need to be successful – at home, at work and in life!

Learning Objectives:
• Brainstorm ways in which the industry has changed over the last 2-3 years
• Create a mindset that seeks market trends on which to capitalize
• Identify needs that your customers don’t even know they have
• Carve out your niche in your workplace and/or your life

PEI Women Keynote: Communication, Collaboration & Leadership, Ellen Schnur with Jim Mecir

Whether you want to develop leadership skills or already lead a team, you'll enjoy this interactive session featuring Ellen Schnur, a 25year corporate management and training veteran. Along with her business background, Schnur is equipped with formal improv training from the acclaimed Second City, IO. She discovered the magic of improvisational tools for work and life, and she founded ImprovTalk. Joining Schnur is former MLB pitcher and New York Hall of Famer Jim Mecir, who learned the value of good leadership to create championship teams. Together they will focus on the skills that improvisers learn and practice to be better communicators, collaborators and leaders. In this session, we will explore:

  • Simple tools to create connection and trust with your co-workers and teams, even in this virtual world.
  • Creating psychological safety that empowers people to speak up and makes the team more successful.
  • Status and its dynamic nature (hint, it is not about who you are).
  • The key ingredient missing from candid conversations.
  • Experience staying inside a difficult conversation where people want to listen and respond.

PEI Young Executives Kickoff: 5 Big Tech Trends Affecting Your Business, Gene Marks

Join Forbes and Inc. Magazine technology columnist Gene Marks for a review of the hottest technologies that smart business leaders are investing in today...and preparing their businesses for tomorrow. Marks will discuss how the most successful businesses in your industry are using these technologies to:

✓ increase their sales ✓ control their finances ✓ expand their online presence ✓ find/manage/compensate their people and ✓ service their customers.

Gene will take a forward look at up-and-coming technologies — cyber-security, AI, robotics, augmented reality — that will affect your industry, and your target audience, over the next decade. Bring your notepad and make sure your batteries are charged!

YE Breakouts:

Doing it All
YE Winter Conference 2021
Resume MVPs
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