In this age of cut-throat competition, fewchains are able to rise above theacrimony to stand out as a model corporate citizen. Valero Energy Corp. isat the top of that list, and that’s why itwas no surprise that more than 300retailers and suppliers turned out tohonor Valero as Convenience StoreDecisions‘ 2006 Chain of the Year.
“This is an honor that Valero proudlyshares with everyone in the company,”said Gary Arthur, Valero’s senior vicepresident of retail and specialty products marketing, while accepting theaward. “It’s our employees that makeour company so successful, and thisaward is an indication of how hard theywork.”
Valero’s reputation as a top marketer and employer spread rapidlythroughout the industry in a very shorttime, but it reached new heights in2005 when hurricanes Katrina and Ritaslammed into the Southeast.
Once it became obvious the stormswere going to put employees at its St.Charles refinery in danger, Bill Greehey,Valero’s chairman and chief executive,called a meeting with his top management and said, “I don’t care what itcosts the company financially, we aregoing to take care of all the needs ofour employees.”
The company had mobile homes on-site within days and quickly moved families to safety. From its company-owneddistribution center in Texas, trucks dailydelivered fresh food, water and supplies, along with generators to power the mobile homes, and cooks to prepare three squares a day. When refinery employees reported for work, eachwas immediately given $500 in cashbecause the banks were closed, noquestions asked.
For any damage to the employees’homes, Valero hired on-site adjusterswho doled out up to $10,000 freemoney on the spot for repairs. Plus, thecompany gave employees, residents ofthe surrounding communities and emergency personnel, all the free gas theyneeded to begin their massive rescueefforts.
“From its commitment to employeesto its heroic domestic efforts, Valerohas consistently shown a propensity tostand with its employees and embraceadversity rather than run and hide” saidCSD‘s Editor-in-Chief John Lofstock inpresenting the award to Valero. “Thecompany’s actions during hurricanesKatrina and Rita not only helped restoreand rebuild communities, they savedlives. Its efforts have raised the bar onwhat it means to be a good corporatecitizen.”
And perhaps the biggest indicationof Valero’s impact in the market is therespect it garners from its industrypeers.
“The Chain of the Year dinner was alovely event honoring a very deservingcompany,” said Cassandra Bailey, director of foodservice and food safety forCalfee Co. of Dalton Inc. (Dalton, Ga.).”Valero is a strong brand that’s neverlost its focus on the things that matter,like its people and the communities itservices.”