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Education Highlights

Opening General Session
Monday, May 2
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

No Time to Buy
Dr. Anirban Basu, Sage Policy Group

Returning to SIGMA for a dive into the current economy, Dr. Anirban Basu, CEO and Chairman of Sage Policy Group, will present an in-depth analysis of the major factors shaping economic outcomes today, including elevated inflation, the lingering pandemic, worker shortages, war in Europe, rising interest rates, and stepped-up infrastructure spending. He will then turn toward a forecast for the year to come – is there more growth in our future or is another recession on the way?

Business Meeting and General Session
Wednesday, May 4
9:00 AM - 11:30 AM

A Morning with Maximo Alvarez 
Maximo Alvarez, Sunshine Gasoline Distributors

Born in Havana, Cuba, Maximo Alvarez immigrated to the United States as a child as part of Operation “Pedro Pan.” Raised in a children’s welfare home, Alvarez worked to graduate high school and receive both his bachelor’s and an MBA to begin his career in the oil industry in 1971.  After gaining experience working for CITGO and Mobil, he left to start his path as a business owner and entrepreneur, starting with Sunshine Citrus Corp and moving to purchasing just four gas stations that became the cornerstone of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors, Inc., a company that now operates over 250 locations and supplies another 250 branded retails facilities, making it one of the largest independent branded suppliers in the Southeastern United States.  His story from humble beginnings to one of the industry’s top advocates is one not to be missed!  

The Colonial Pipeline: Overview, Function, and How It Affects Your Business
Daniel Gordon, Colonial Pipeline Company

Colonial Pipeline is the largest refined products pipeline in the United States, transporting more than 100 million gallons of fuel daily to meet the energy needs of customers from Houston to the New York Harbor. Ever wonder how the pipeline operates? Curious as to what is involved in being a shipper on Colonial? Or interested to learn about how pipelines like Colonial prepare and operate during hurricanes? Join us for an overview of the pipeline and gain insights into the daily operations and processes involved with shipping on Colonial.

Breakfast Education Session
Tuesday, May 3
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

State of the Ethanol Industry
Robert White, Renewable Fuels Association
While today’s automotive buzz is all about EVs and their perceived reduction in carbon emissions, the U.S. ethanol industry has always been a low-carbon solution, now reaching nearly half the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of gasoline. And ethanol is available today—with room for growth—and plans to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner. Robert will discuss RFA’s net-zero pledge and the challenges and opportunities facing the ethanol industry at the state and federal levels. He will also discuss the role that fuel marketers will play in future fueling and the opportunities to offer higher blends of ethanol, from E15 to E85.

Lunch Education Session 
Tuesday, May 3
12:00 PM – 1:15 PM

Our EVolving Industry: Understanding Changing Consumer Demands
Jeff Hassman and Matthew Mossotti, PDI 

As we gain new insights into the evolution of EVs, alternative fuels, and sustainability in general, we know changes are coming. However, they won’t happen overnight. That means there’s still time for our industry to evolve as consumer demands change. In this session, PDI will discuss sustainability trends and how fuel marketers can achieve business results through innovative technologies and strategies.

Presentation and discussion will include: 

  • An overview of EV and its predicted adoption curve
  • The business implications of charging vs filling up
  • The importance of measurable and actionable sustainability initiatives
  • How to begin building a strategy for business longevity 
Legislative Hot Topic - Building Your Own Advocacy Plan 
Panel Discussion Moderated by Altria Group Distribution Company
Tuesday, May 3
9:00 AM - 9:50 AM

Join members of SIGMA’s “super advocates” for a discussion on devising an advocacy plan for anything, no matter the issue.  

Breakout Education Sessions

Tuesday, May 3 
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Pricing Efficiency and US Racks’ Market Development
Esa Ramasamy, Brandaen Van der Kloet, and Cate Gagliardo, S&P Global Commodity Insights

This session will discuss pricing efficiency, benchmark linkage and risk management. First, we will explore the concept of pricing efficiency and dive into the elements involved, plus why there is a need for pricing efficiency in your business. Moving to benchmark arbitrage - the need to link up the regional spot market to the racks market – the panel will discuss how it can enable market players to have greater visibility of arbitrage opportunities and predictability. Finally, risk management occurs as market structures mature.  Developing opportunities through risk management and secondary benchmarks can enhance your business’s ability to capture and lock in value for the future.

Bringing Reality and Understanding to the Electric Vehicle Discussion
Urs Furrer, Harriton & Furrer; Jeff Bernard, J. Bernard Associates; Mike Roman, CertainPoint Strategies; Justin Christensen, Christensen Inc.  

Join this session for a highlight of the current state of EV transportation technology including technical limitations, impediments, and realistic impact on market penetration timelines. We will start our discussion defining EV transportation transition in the context of co-existence with ICE fueling infrastructure and investment, and ultimately the impact on motorists. Further conversation from our panel will work to provide fuels marketers with simple and concise communication points to be used with customers and lawmakers.  The panel will also discuss the impact of ESG on investment decisions and the mutual benefits that can be derived for fuels marketers and their suppliers as the transition to EVs evolves, and the challenges ahead with emphasis on the support that existing fuels retailing infrastructure must continue to be able to provide for decades to come

2:45 PM – 3:45 PM

Shifting Market Dynamics and How They Impact Fuel Demand
John Keller, PriceAdvantage by Skyline Products and Steve Gloyd, DTN

Markets are anything but stable these days. We’ve always had markets grow and shrink based on changes in population and more fuel efficient vehicles on the road. But markets are even more dynamic now, with c-store chains constantly going through acquisitions, releasing rewards programs, introducing new food offerings. Add to all that, changing commuting patterns since more people are now working from home. It’s easy to see how your business is changing across these markets, but how do you compare to others in the markets in which you compete? You know how much volume you move with data from your internal inventory management and accounting systems — but those systems can’t tell you the overall market demand and volume.

We will discuss the insight gained when you compare visit count trends and wholesale rack demand across different markets over time. This insight reveals how brand strength directly impacts strategies around retail and wholesale fuel pricing. We will also discuss how analyzing shifts in foot traffic between market geographies can reveal fluctuations in fuel demand. The discussion will include how monitoring the delicate balance between supply and demand is one of the most important fundamental factors in today’s petroleum markets. Get a clear view of where, when, and how much fuel demand fluctuations will impact your business. 

Benefits Of Implementing a Safety Management System to Improve Safety and DOT Compliance  
Chantel Hinson, Antea Group

In a world where there is a hyper focus on compliance, how can your organization move beyond compliance to improve efficiency, employee morale, operations performance, safety and compliance? How will positive safety culture and compliance become just the way you do business? As we have seen in many industries, one of the best ways to shift beyond focusing on compliance alone is to implement a safety management system (SMS). In this session we will discuss the key steps to move from a compliance approach to an SMS approach to close common gaps in the integration of safety, risk management, and compliance.

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Optimizing Field Maintenance Using Forecourt Data
Hannah Jones, Warren Rogers

A properly designed field maintenance program can boost sales, minimize troubleshooting time onsite, and enhance the customer experience. This data is usually gathered by skilled maintenance techs, but those are in short supply and their job tasking needs to be targeted to use their skills efficiently. Forecourt equipment can be used for this targeted and predictive equipment maintenance, but this forecourt data must be properly curated to yield actionable results. This session will discuss examples of how this process can be used in your own businesses to maximize your results. 

Refining Data Creates a Crystal Ball
Malori Meyer, PROS 

Data is the new oil. Like oil, data is valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used. When data is “unrefined” and missing valuable “additives” it’s just a commodity. Imagine an industry that gathers all its “oil” resources together to provide new insights that can handle volatilities and unprecedented events.  By combining securely anonymized datasets the forecasting capabilities are limitless. Supplier prices and spot market data can be brought together to enable forecasts of rack positions and supplier price points. Come to learn about the powerful insight potential of global, industry metrics to price, plan and shift through market volatility; how to leverage these insights to enable intra-day forecasts of rack positions and supplier price points; and how the airline industry came together in this way to predict and expedite COVID-19 market recovery.