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People on the Move: Shell, BW Gas & Convenience, Core-Mark & Growth Energy

NATIONAL REPORT — Retailers, wholesalers and suppliers in the convenience store industry are only as good as their management teams and employees. In this special roundup, Convenience Store News runs down the most recent executive changes, new hires, promotions and people achievements happening in the industry. 

AdvancePierre Foods

AdvancePierre Foods (APF) appointed Celeste A. Clark to its board of directors. As the recently retired senior vice president of global public policy and external relations for Kellogg Co., Clark brings to the APF board expertise in global communications, nutrition science, regulatory affairs, corporate social responsibility and board governance across the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

In addition to functioning as Kellogg's worldwide liaison for professional associations, government agencies and trade associations on nutrition, health policy and advertising practices, Clark oversaw the Global Nutrition Team's work and served as the company's chief sustainability officer and president of the Kellogg Corporate Citizen Fund.


Alto-Shaam welcomed several new team members to its sales, product development and service teams.

As vice president of national accounts, foodservice, Leslie Hoffman is responsible for the strategic development for chain account growth within the foodservice market segment. Ryan Johnson was hired as national account specialist and supports Alto-Shaam's inside sales efforts while focusing his attention on national chain accounts.

Jeff McMahon joined the company as director of product development. He is responsible for the development and release of product improvements, specifically with the Halo Heat product line. As regional service manager Jerry Polka manages all authorized service providers in his territory in the Midwest.

Blanc Display Group

Blanc Display Group promoted Gaines Chamberlain to sales manager. In addition to his business development role, Chamberlain will be responsible for the management and expansion of Blanc Display Group's sales force, while spearheading its go-to-market strategy. Prior to joining the company in 2013, Chamberlain had more than 20 years of service and experience in product displays, merchandising and the development of training protocols with Food Lion, a subsidiary of Delhaize Group, America.

BW Gas & Convenience Holdings LLC

Brookwood Financial Partners LLC announced that Darrin Samaha has joined the firm as vice president and brand manager for affiliate BW Gas & Convenience Holdings LLC, which owns and operates gas stations with convenience stores in select regions of the United States.

Samaha's primary responsibility will be to lead the development of BW Gas & Convenience's convenience store brand across all channels, including the development of digital and social media marketing strategies and working collaboratively with third-party agencies and vendors to create targeted advertising campaigns. Prior to joining the company, he was chief creative officer and founder of Blue Coda. 

In addition, Dennis P. Darveau joined BW Gas & Convenience as vice president of construction and maintenance. He will direct all interior and exterior remodeling projects and other related capital improvements for the firm's portfolio of gas stations and c-stores. In this capacity, he will prepare, review and oversee construction plans and review contracts with architects, engineers and third-party building contractors. He will also assemble a team of local building contractors, participate in all project designs and develop pro-forma cost estimates and budgets. Darveau was previously director of construction services and capital planning for Gulf Oil LP.

Celsius Holdings Inc.

Celsius Holdings named Vanessa Walker as executive vice president of sales and marketing. She joins Celsius from National Beverage Corp., where she managed all aspects of the LaCroix Sparkling Water brand, serving as executive vice president of sales and marketing. At Celsius, she will lead its sales and marketing efforts, as well as the development and execution of the corporate strategy. She will also coordinate the efforts of the vice president of sales and the vice president of marketing.

Clif Bar & Co.

Kristin Oehlke joined Clif Bar & Co. as senior customer manager, Central Region, for the convenience channel. Most recently, she held the position of director of sales, convenience channel, at US Nutrition. Her prior experience was also with Abbott Nutrition as a customer business manager for convenience, where she called on national accounts. 

Core-Mark Holding Co. Inc.

Stacy Loretz-Congdon, senior vice president and chief financial officer, will retire from Core-Mark on Dec. 31. Christopher Miller, who currently serves as vice president and chief accounting officer, will move to the CFO role effective May 1.

Over the past 26 years at Core-Mark, Loretz-Congdon held several roles in various accounting and finance functions, including her current position for the past nine years. She will work closely with Miller to transition her responsibilities and assist the company in an advisory capacity until her retirement .

Miller has served as vice president and chief accounting officer of Core-Mark since January 2007. Prior to joining the company, he was vice president and controller at Cost Plus World Market from 2002 until 2007.

Growth Energy

Growth Energy appointed Emily Skor as its next CEO, effective May 16. She succeeds Tom Buis, who assumed a new role as co-chairman of Growth Energy's board of directors in July.

Most recently, Skor served as vice president for communications of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) and executive director of the CHPA Educational Foundation.

"Since its inception, Growth Energy has been a champion for pro-biofuels policies and represented thousands of voices for the ethanol industry," Skor said. "The organization and its members are committed to advancing fuel technologies that are proven to be better for the environment and automobile engines. I am thrilled to be part of this effort to take Growth Energy to the next level. As more consumers and automakers alike embrace higher blends of ethanol and legislators continue to support its environmental benefits, we will protect our environment for future generations and give drivers choices at the pump." 


Kit D. Dietz assumed the role of president of InfoRhythm, a wholly owned subsidiary of InRhythm Inc. that provides convenience industry-focused solutions for distributors, retailers and manufacturers leveraging the InfoMetrics platform.

Dietz most recently operated his own private consulting firm, working with major consumer packaged goods manufacturers, distributors, retailers and trade associations in the convenience industry. He also previously served as senior vice president of Willard Bishop Consulting, chairman of Tripifoods Inc., president of Spartan Stores Inc., and board member of Lorillard Inc. until its sale to Reynolds American Inc. in 2015. 

Lykins Energy Solutions

Lykins Energy Solutions Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Bob Manning was awarded The William H. Over Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals who continually and consistently rise above the ordinary in order to serve the people and influence the growth of Clermont County, Ohio. Manning holds leadership roles with the Clermont County Chamber, Clermont County Senior Service Board, HealthSource of Ohio Foundation, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.

Mark VII Equipment Inc.

Mark VII Equipment, the North America subsidiary of WashTec AG of Germany, welcomed Rob Raskell as director of distribution. He has 18 years of experience in the car wash industry, including in operations management of retail car wash chains, sales for a car wash distributor, and distribution sales for a top-tier car wash chemicals manufacturer. He will be based in the Spokane, Wash., area.

The Pinnacle Corp.

Pinnacle promoted Drew Mize to the position of president. He brings 21 years of experience providing software technology solutions to the convenience retail and petroleum market. Most recently Mize served as Pinnacle's chief operating officer since 2012. Prior to that, he was vice president of product management and marketing. He joined Pinnacle as vice president of retail solutions in 2005.

Bob Johnson, Pinnacle's founder, president and CEO since 1990, will continue in the role of CEO and chairman of the board.

Royal Dutch Shell

Marvin Odum, unconventional resources director and U.S. country chair for Royal Dutch Shell, left the company. He joined Shell as an engineer in 1982. Concurrent with his departure, and in a move that will simplify Shell's structure, the Athabasca Oil Sands Project and the Scotford Upgrader in Canada will join the global Downstream organization under Downstream Director John Abbott.

In addition, the Shale Resources business will join the global Upstream organization under Upstream Director Andy Brown. As a result of these changes, the unconventional resources director position is eliminated.

Also with Odum's exit, Bruce Culpepper moved to U.S. country chair and president of Shell Oil Co. He previously served as executive vice president, human resources, unconventional resources and regional coordination.

Schwan's Food Service Inc.

Jeffrey Swinton joined Schwan's as senior director of sales, convenience stores and national accounts. The company recently created this role.

Swinton has more than 25 years of experience in the food industry. Since his initial role as a product development food scientist with Uncle Ben's, he has held senior positions in marketing and sales with Wendy's International, Coca-Cola Foods, Frito-Lay and PepsiCo. He was most recently senior director of sales for the Midwest region of Frito-Lay, working across multiple channels.

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