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Brent Cotten from Hershey Co., Dough Haugh from Parkland USA, and Brian Hannasch from Alimentation Couche-Tard

Brian Hannasch & Brent Cotten Take Their Place in the Convenience Store News Hall of Fame

The 36th annual event also recognized Doug Haugh as Retailer Executive of the Year.
Melissa Kress
Sign welcoming attendees to the 2022 CSNews Hall of Fame

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As 2022 winds down and a new year prepares to dawn, the convenience store industry gathered to recognize accomplished leaders from both sides of the channel at the 36th annual Convenience Store News Hall of Fame awards gala, held in Charlotte.

This year's Hall of Fame retailer inductee was Brian Hannasch, president and CEO of Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., and the supplier inductee was Brent Cotten, vice president of customer and industry affairs at The Hershey Co.

Over the past 35 years, the CSNews Hall of Fame has recognized c-store industry pioneers and innovators from retailer and supplier companies of all sizes. Hall of Famers are selected by an 80-member blue-ribbon panel of convenience store industry executives that includes past retailer and supplier Hall of Fame inductees.

Doug Haugh was also honored at the Nov. 21 event as the Retailer Executive of the Year for his achievements as president of Parkland USA.

A Rewarding Journey

Couche-Tard's founder and chairman Alain Bouchard, who was inducted into the CSNews Hall of Fame in 2007, took to the stage to help recognize Hannasch. "I stand before you tonight with tremendous pride as we celebrate and recognize a great leader in our industry," he said.

According to Bouchard, Couche-Tard's four founders built the company around its people, and Hannasch has carried on that legacy of putting people first and creating a culture where team members can thrive and Couche-Tard's mission can be realized. "Our goal was to find someone better than ourselves to lead the company, and this has been one of our greatest accomplishments," Bouchard said.

Noting during his acceptance speech that it's been 40 years since he got his start in the convenience retail business, Hannasch reflected on how the industry has come a long way and is a viable place for so many consumer needs today.

"I never dreamt to stay in the industry, but looking back I don’t regret one minute of it," he said. "I thought, why? It's people, it's a people business. We talk about what we sell and what we do. We're convenience and fuel, but we are so people focused. We are one of the few industries that sells time back to people and helps them have an easier day.

"I think about all the people I've met over that long journey and how important they have been in my life. Certainly, my immediate family, but the Circle K/Couche-Tard family has made this journey so rewarding over the years," Hannasch said as he accepted the award on behalf of the company's associates working in the stores every day.

Thankful for the Relationships 

Last year's supplier Hall of Fame inductee Vito Maurici, senior vice president of sales and trade relations for McLane Co. Inc., helped welcome Cotten into the supplier wing of the CSNews Hall of Fame. He noted that one of Cotten's most impactful roles at Hershey was as director of national accounts in convenience, where he "became the face of Hershey" in the channel. 

"When I think about Brent Cotten, I think about loyalty, perseverance, customers, company and, most importantly, family," said Maurici. "The industry is a better place because of you. We are all enriched for being around you."

Congratulating his fellow honorees at the event, Cotten said he was honored to share the stage with Hannasch and Haugh and go down together in history as the class of 2022.

"I am very proud to receive this personal recognition tonight, but I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the great team at The Hershey Co. Our leadership team is one of the most collaborative and purpose-driven teams that I have ever been a part of," he said.

"Receiving this award in convenience is so special to me because of the many retailers and distributors I've had the privilege to work with. I will always treasure the relationships and the business that we've had over the years. You have helped us grow our business so much and we would not be where we are in convenience stores if it weren't for so many of you," Cotten continued. "Many of you started out as customers and now I'm so blessed to call so many of you friends, so thank you for your relationships and thank you for all you have done for me."

Making an Impact

In addition to inducting Hannasch and Cotten into the Hall of Fame, CSNews recognized Haugh as a retailer executive who exemplifies leadership, business acumen, dedication to the convenience channel and commitment to community service. 

Haugh joined Parkland USA, a subsidiary of Calgary, Canada-based Parkland Corp., in 2017 and helped grow the business from 150 team members to nearly 3,000, from 20 company-operated stores to 212, and from three commercial branches to 52.

Bob Espey, president and CEO of Parkland Corp., helped present the Retailer Executive of the Year award to Haugh. "It is an honor for me to recognize Doug for his contribution to Parkland and to the industry," he said. "It didn't take long for Doug to make his presence felt when he joined us five years ago. This team has done an amazing job under Doug's leadership. I am grateful for the achievements they have had and the success we have had in the U.S."

Upon accepting his award, Haugh reflected on how he joined Exxon after graduating college, but despite always being around the retail side of the business, he didn't join the operations side until his parents bought a convenience store about 18 years ago.

"It's been amazing these last few years to get into the store and work in a business that I had customers in for years and thought I knew, but until you're really in the store, that's where the money is made, that is where the people are, that's where the customers are and that's where a lot of the fun is," he said, thanking Parkland's senior leadership team for welcoming the "only American" onto their team, taking a risk and building a business in the United States.

The 36th annual Convenience Store News Hall of Fame was sponsored by 22nd Century Group, Altria Group Distribution Co., BIC, The Hershey Co., McLane Co. Inc., Mondelez International and Reynolds Marketing Services Co. 

About the Author

Melissa Kress

Melissa Kress

Melissa Kress is Executive Editor of Convenience Store News. She joined the brand in 2010. Melissa handles much of CSNews’ hard news coverage, such as mergers and acquisitions and company financial reports, and the technology beat. She is also one of the industry’s leading media experts on the tobacco category.

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