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Convenience Store News' 2023 Technology Leader of the Year Is...

The honoree is a company embracing the future of mobility.
Melissa Kress
Logo for BP

CHICAGO — It's no secret that BP has been making a big splash in the convenience store industry over the past few years.

In 2019, the energy company and its joint venture partner ArcLight Capital acquired Thorntons, the more than 200-store chain based in Louisville, Ky. Then, in late summer 2021, BP ramped up its presence when it bought out ArcLight Capital to become the sole owner of Thorntons — giving it a solid foothold outside of its existing five-state footprint along the Pacific Coast.

Six months later, in March 2022, Convenience Store News was invited to meet BP's leadership at the BP Amoco Marketers Association Convention and Business Expo. It became apparent at that meeting that the company was ready to go full steam ahead with its commitment to the convenience channel. As Greg Franks, the company's senior vice president of mobility and convenience, Americas, told CSNews, BP will always sell fuel, but the company also wants to grow its convenience store network and embrace the coming changes in the mobility landscape as it looks to diversify its business.

[Read more: BP Leans Into Convenience Retailing Following Thorntons Deal]

Not even a year later, BP announced plans to invest $1 billion in electric vehicle (EV) charge points across the United States. EV charging is one of BP's five strategic transition growth engines, where the company expects to significantly grow investment through this decade. The other growth engines are bioenergy, hydrogen, convenience, and renewables and power.

Around the same time, the company further strengthened its commitment to convenience when it closed on a $1.3 billion acquisition of Westlake, Ohio-based TravelCenters of America (TA) on May 15, 2023. With this transaction, 280-plus locations were added to BP's network, complementing its off-highway convenience and mobility business. 

By 2030, BP aims for around half of its annual investment to go into the five transition growth engines. And from 2023 to 2030, the company's aim is for roughly half of its cumulative $55 billion to $65 billion growth-engine investment to go into convenience, bioenergy and EV charging.

For its embrace of the future of mobility, CSNews has selected BP as the 2023 Technology Leader of the Year. This annual award goes to a technology leader (individual or company) that not only contributes to the success of their organization, but also to the advancement and growth of the convenience store industry as a whole.

BP will receive the award at the 2023 CSNews Technology Leadership Roundtable & Dinner, being held Oct. 3 in Atlanta against the backdrop of the 2023 NACS Show. Franks will be joined by Debi Boffa, CEO-designate of TravelCenters of America, and Lisa Blalock, vice president, U.S. convenience, to accept the honor. 

The event will also feature a fireside chat with Mike Rodgers, executive vice president, chief technology officer of Pilot Flying J, on the role technology is playing in Pilot Co.'s $1 billion New Horizons initiative. In addition, up to 20 convenience and fuel industry retailers are expected to participate in discussions around the industry's most pressing tech issues.

The Technology Leadership Roundtable & Dinner is sponsored by Altria Group Distribution Co., PayiQ and Stuzo, and the Technology Leader of the Year award is sponsored by Paytronix. 

Retailers interested in attending should contact CSNews Editor-in-Chief Linda Lisanti at [email protected].

For sponsorship information, contact Paula Lashinsky, senior vice president and group publisher, US Grocery & Convenience Group, at [email protected].

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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