CITGO Petroleum Corp. Marketer Donald Saunders of Warren, Ill.-based Saunders Oil has been honored with the 2010 William R. Deutsch Bucketeer Award for 50 years of service in the petroleum industry.
The presentation by the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMA) was made at the IPMA Membership Meeting on Friday, April 30.
“CITGO is proud to partner with men like Donald, who symbolize the old fashioned values of hard work and customer service,” said Alan Flagg, general manager light oils marketing for CITGO “Saunders Oil is a great example of a family-owned business focused on supporting its friends and neighbors at every turn.”
Saunders began his long career in 1956 as the parts foreman and shop manager at Warren Auto Co., a local Ford dealership in Warren, Ill.. From there he became a commissioned agent for DX Oil and gained the knowledge and experience he needed to start Saunders Oil Co. Inc. in 1970. The company became a CITGO marketer in 1998.
Now truly a family business, Saunders’ son Brian, daughter-in-law Karlene, and grandsons Luke and Jeremy help run Saunders Oil. Over the past 40 years, the company has grown to more than 70 employees servicing five convenience stores, two bulk delivery trucks, bulk and packaged oil, and two transport trucks.
“It is because of men like Donald Saunders that the Bucketeer Award was created—men who don’t work because they want recognition, but because they appreciate the feeling of creating something from the ground up,” said Mark Bayley, president of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association/Illinois Association of Convenience Stores. “We are honored to present Donald with this award for his half century of supporting and growing the Illinois petroleum industry.”
Under Saunders’ guidance, Saunders Oil has actively supported the local communities through fundraising efforts and participation in organizations that help the Warren, Ill. Area. Saunders also helped start the local Chamber of Commerce and was a Legion Commander and volunteer fireman.
The generosity of the Saunders Oil team gained national recognition last year when the company was featured in an episode of the hit CBS television show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” With assistance from CITGO, the Saunders family donated fuel to local contractors who renovated the fire-damaged home of a local family, which was also dealing with a cancer diagnosis for one of the family members.
“I know my father is humble and will say he doesn’t deserve this award,” said Brian Saunders, president of Saunders Oil. “However, I’ve seen the heart and soul that he has put into running this business and supporting our community. I grew up with it and it’s amazing to watch the seeds he planted 50 years ago continue to grow.”
CITGO, in alignment with the principles of social development of its shareholder, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is dedicated to helping local businesses and communities, just like Saunders Oil and each of the nearly 6,500 CITGO stations across 27 states and the District of Columbia.
CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter, and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by PDV America Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.