NAG to Honor Friend, Mentor Bill Kent

Building relationships is a fundamental principle for succeeding in business. The convenience store industry is certainly no exception.

Trust, appreciation, compassion and shared experiences are the backbone of countless industry friendships that span decades and, in some cases, generations of family leadership.

These relationships are extremely important to the National Advisory Group (NAG) and our members. NAG, a convenience store trade association focused on small, mid-sized and family-owned businesses has a long history of dedication to fostering relationships that help convenience store owners improve their operations.

Through the years, many individuals have selflessly dedicated their time and energy to ensuring NAG has succeeded in holding a special place with convenience store owners. As a result, NAG is delighted to recognize these individuals every year with the NAG Lifetime Award for Convenience Retailing.

I’m proud to report that Bill Kent, president and CEO of The Kent Cos. in Midland, Texas, will be honored as the 2017 recipient at the NAG Conference in Nashville this September. Kent is the third winner of award. He follows David Johnson, of Toot’n Totum and Bill Weigel, of Weigel’s Inc.

Bill Kent has been a friend, a mentor and so much more to NAG and to me personally. He has never failed to offer his leadership or a word of encouragement to keep us focused.

Ten years ago, when NAG was contemplating what its role would be in the hypercompetitive convenience store industry, Bill’s guidance was instrumental in identifying our mission and creating an inclusive strategy that resonates with convenience store retailers today.

It’s our pleasure to honor him with this distinguished award.

Kent Cos. History
The Kent Cos. has a long history in Texas. This year marks the company’s 60th anniversary in the convenience store industry. The company got its start after as the oil market began consolidating. During the 1950’s, Reed Oil Co. was a chain of gasoline service stations serving a major portion of West Texas.

In 1975, the company opened its first convenience store, when it remodeled one of its service stations in Odessa, Texas. This was the beginning of a new direction for the Kent Cos. The company’s management at that time consisted of Bill’s father, Buck Kent and his oldest son, Jim Kent. Together, they made the decision to expand into convenience store retailing by converting service stations to retail space.

Bill Kent joined the company full-time in 1978 after graduating from Arizona State University and continued the company’s push into the growing convenience store industry.

In November 1984, Bill Kent purchased 100% ownership of Kent Oil and Kent Distributors. The companies at that time operated 12 high volume convenience stores and a few service stations. Bill Kent also assumed majority ownership of Kent Lube, which was up to six locations, through this transaction. In December 1985, Kent Oil and Kent Distributors were combined into one entity, Kent Oil Inc.

The company has since expanded operations to include Avis Lube Fast Oil Change Centers, Mr. Payroll and two Kent Tire stores. It is also a franchisee of the Huddle House and Baskin Robbins brands.

Today, the company operates 43 convenience stores and has more than 1,000 employees throughout Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

Please join us in September as we honor Bill and his accomplishments at the NAG Conference.

NAG remains steadfast in our mission to provide industry leaders a peer-to-peer forum for the exchange of ideas to improve their business performance. The association is also committed to the industry’s next-generation leaders through the Young Executives Organization (YEO). YEO members are industry trailblazers focused on a career within the convenience store industry.

For information on NAG, YEO or attending the 2017 NAG Conference, visit www.nagconvenience.com or contact me at jlofstock@csdecisions.com.

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