Carl Singleton has had a whirlwind career, rising through the ranks at Worsley Operating Corp. His colleagues describe him as a “force to be reckoned with” who has made a positive impact on his company since joining the team in 2006.
Singleton embarked on his career in the c-store industry 14 years ago, beginning as a store manager for The Pantry Inc., headquartered in Stanford, N.C. There he quickly progressed to the role of training manager and then to the acquisitions team before he was promoted to district manager.
“I took a step back then—and I think everyone does that at some point in their career—and said, do I really want to be in this business,” Singleton said.
It didn’t take him long to determine the c-store industry was where he belonged. “This was my passion. I knew I needed to be in the business and to mingle with people at every level,” he added.
With renewed passion for his career, Singleton changed companies, joining Worsley in 2006 as a sales associate. The company operates more than 200 c-stores in the Carolinas under the Scotchman, Young’s, S&E Food Marts and Lil’ Cricket brands, as well as two truck stops.
The company quickly recognized his talent. Within a couple of weeks he was promoted to assistant manager and then to store manager a few months later. After about seven months he was promoted again to the roll of district manager.
In this capacity, Singleton oversaw nine locations and was responsible for training and developing the management team, recruiting, day-to-day operations for things like gasoline pricing and protocol, and teaching managers to take ownership of their stores. Singleton held the position for about three years and also had the distinction of being the only African American c-store district manager in the region.
Today, Singleton holds the role of division director trainee, a new position created to prepare him with the training to become a regional manager or division director in the future. As division director trainee, he gets an intimate view of all aspects of the company.
“I spend time training with every single department, whether it be the gasoline department, human resources, marketing, IT, payroll or administration, so I can learn that department inside and out,” he explained. His goal is to eventually be a regional director for Worsley.
During his career, Singleton admits he absorbed quite a bit from his colleagues. “As you go along, you pick up things from people and learn from their ideas and input. It’s what has molded me into who I am today, and I continue to learn something new everyday,” he said. “My immediate supervisor, my mentor, Hamed Makky, has been instrumental and laid out a path for me to follow to reach my goals.”
Singleton works to create a people-focused environment. “I’ve made that one of my priorities and passed that idealism onto the people who work for me, so they understand employees are vital to our success and train them accordingly.” He also believes consequences inspire employees to work hard, including rewards for good work—such as gift cards, dinners and monetary increases.
“The greatest reward I have given a knowledge-craving employee is more development, training and personalized face-to-face recognition for a job well done,” he added.
Singleton advises others to educate employees and surround themselves with great people. “Those who are successful in this business long-term, hire and surround themselves with people that can be developed,” he said. “It helps to have a passion for what you do,” he added.