IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
Accurate Tank Technologies
North Aurora, Ill.
Most PEI distributors and
contractors are regional or local in
scope. My business is no exception.
However, the connections I have
made through PEI have given my
small company the opportunity to participate in national
projects. In essence, we have become the “Chicago Guy”
that colleagues call on to provide service to their national
accounts in this part of the country. The experience we
gain in that work then equips us to offer wider service and
services to customers headquartered in our coverage area.
The just-completed year was a good one, and I
see that trend continuing into 2015. One big reason is
that both commercial and retail construction remain very
active. In our local market, this cautious optimism is tempered by a concern about the extent to which Illinois’ fiscal
problems will slow growth for public and private projects.
Jimmy Newberry of
Memphis, Tenn., and Fred G.
Coffield, Jr., of South Bend, Ind.,
were the founders of what is now
known as PEI. Both men felt an
urgent need for a national organization that would enable
owners of similar companies to exchange ideas and
improve their management skills. Newberry, in particular,
repeatedly insisted that the purpose of the association was
“to make us all better businessmen.” What the association
strove to offer its members back in 1951 is no different
today. In everything we do, PEI always has Jimmy Newberry’s
purpose in mind.
I expect that 2015 will be much like 2014 for most
members—steady and profitable without steep spikes or
deep valleys. The major effects of the new underground tank
rules (not yet released at the time of this submission) and
EMV migration will not be felt until 2016 at the earliest. If the
economy stays steady and the cost of money remains low,
new projects on both the retail and commercial sides of the
industry will keep construction and equipment sales strong.
Kubat Equipment & Service Co.
Over the course of my
career, I have often stated that
none of us can know everything, so
we must surround ourselves with
people of high integrity who can
help mentor us toward success. Through participation in
PEI’s Pioneer 10-Group, our company has been fortunate
to be connected with business owners of unquestioned
integrity who are willing to share their wisdom and
experience. That input has proven essential to our success.
In the past decade, PEI members have been impacted by mandated upgrades involving USTs, ASTs, Stage II
vapor recovery and PCI compliance. Each mandate has had
both positive and negative impacts. So will the coming
EMV upgrades. Big EMV sales may lead to short-term
growth but, ironically, could cripple companies that are
not positioned to manage that growth after the required
work comes to an end. We owe it to our customers to focus
on current needs such as EMV, but we can’t lose sight of
what will be required for the long-term success of our own
companies. The bottom line? This should be a strong year
for PEI members serving the retail gas station market; but
as with the recent PCI upgrades, EMV could lead to the
long-term challenge of holding healthy profit margins.
Double Check Company
Kansas City, Mo.
PEI has helped me
tremendously as an individual
because it is such a respected
and knowledgeable organization.
Whenever I face an issue or dilemma
I cannot resolve on my own, I ask myself, “Is this something
that PEI has already addressed?” Quite often, the answer is
“Yes,” and through PEI I can get a resource, an expert or at
least an informed opinion I can use to resolve the problem.
I remain optimistic about 2015—for many of the
same reasons that I expressed a year ago. EMV and new
payment technology systems will provide opportunity
for PEI members that deal with forecourt equipment.
Members involved with compliance testing will see the
new federal regulations lead to additional services for
existing customers. I also believe that the period before
the 2016 elections will be favorable economically. Low-
interest rates and the availability of capital will make
borrowing affordable for those looking to expand their
business or obtain new equipment.