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Our Consultants

The principal b2b Solutions consulting partners include:

Steven Montgomery: President

Steven MontgomerySteve has over 35 years of experience that spans top management positions in both entrepreneurial and large corporate business environments. He has served as President and Member of the Board of Directors for Dairy Mart Corporation, and as General Manager for Convenience Stores and Manager of Convenience Retail Strategies and Programs for Amoco Oil Company. Mr. Montgomery is the only person to have been elected to the Retailer Board and Supplier Board of Directors of NACS. Steve is a regular contributor to articles on the convenience retail / petroleum marketing channel and is a frequent speaker at industry functions. He has worked with NACS as a Program Director and Program Moderator on topics ranging from Foodservice to Non-Traditional Competitors. Steve is a member of RetailWire's BrainTrust, Expert 360, GLG Research Council, and the Convenience Retailing University Advisory Council. He is a former member of the Convenience Store Education Council and served for several years as a member of International Business Advisory Board of Western New England University. He holds a BS Degree in Agricultural and Food Economics from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA in Marketing from Western New England University.

  • For additional information on Steven Montgomery's business history click here
  • Click here to read Steve's RetailWire blog
  • Click here to email Steven Montgomery.

Steve Brady: Consulting Partner

Steve BradySteve Brady has experience and progressive expertise spanning 30 years in the Grocery Distribution business. Steve has been responsible for managing McLane Grocery Distribution’s overall New Business Development process through his team of sales professionals supporting over 12 Billion in annual sales from 20 of the McLane Distribution facilities covering all of the United States, in addition to the development of third party logistical relationships.

The following progressively more responsible positions have been held by Steve as he moved forward in his career: Various Sales and Marketing positions with Regional Wholesalers for nine years; with McLane: Corporate National Account Manager, Division Vice President of Sales; in several geographically dispersed McLane Divisions, Director Of Business development for McLane Grocery Distribution, Vice President of Sales, Convenience & Military, and most recently Vice President Of Business Development.

Steve is highly connected within the retail food class of trade, petroleum marketers, CPG supplier community, and an active supplier board member of the National Association of Convenience Stores, a member of the Convenience Retailing University Advisory Council, and Strategic Partner & Member Ambassador, SIGMA.

Steve and his wife Lori reside in Belton Texas.

  • For additional information on Steve Brady's business history click here.
  • Click here to email Steve Brady.

Ed Collupy: Consulting Partner

Ed CollupyEd has more more than 30 years of retail systems experience in the convenience store and grocery retail channels. Most recently as The Pantry’s Vice President of Information Technology. Ed led The Pantry’s technology plans through their rapid growth from 400 stores to over 1500 stores. He implemented several successful large project initiatives including Point of Sale (POS), Back Office Reporting and Accounting, Workforce Management, and Fuel Pricing systems. Ed has served the industry as Chairman of the Board of Advisors of Conexxus and continues to be a member of their Board of Directors. He has also been a member of VeriFone’s Petroleum Advisory Council, Retalix’ Executive Advisory Board, and in advisory roles on the NACS Technology Council and Conference Education Committee. He is a past recipient of Convenience Store News Top IT Exec of the year recognition. As an active participant in organizations outside the industry, Ed co-founded and is currently the Chairperson of Share The Blessings, Inc., a non-profit with a charter to provide education and clean water with a focus on Ugandan villages.

  • For additional information on Ed Collupy's business history click here.
  • Click here to email Ed Collupy.

Katia Chiporukha: Consulting Partner

Katia ChiporukhaKatia has gained her broad retail and marketing expertise during 14 years in public and private sector companies. She started her career in Marriott in Moscow, Russia in the marketing department, and later moved to the US. Her knowledge of strategic marketing planning and execution gained at Marriott was further bolstered after joining BP/ARCO/ampm, a 1,200 store national convenience retailer. A true appreciation for and understanding of the multi-faceted challenges retailers and suppliers face was gained as she quickly progressed through the ranks from Store Manager to Marketing Analyst and then Category Manager. Through her comprehensive approach to performance analytics, operations, budgeting and financial planning, she developed highly successful programs to address assortment pricing, placement, promotion strategies and vendor management. Brands such as Coke, Pepsi, Red Bull, and Arizona Beverage Co. experienced improvements as a result of her initiatives.

After BP, Katia gained additional experience in CPG consulting, sales and brand representation through a National Account Manager role at a brand representation consulting start-up Coast Brands Group, LLC. At Coast, she worked extensively in the areas of business development, creating effective distributor partnerships, pricing and trade consulting, production and sales forecasting, product placement ROIs and sales performance analysis. Additionally, Katia represented numerous new beverage manufacturers, negotiated contracts and secured new item authorizations in large national convenience chains.

Katia holds a Marketing Degree from City University of New York, Baruch College and attends Graham School of Continuing Professional Studies at University of Chicago.

  • For additional information on Katia Chiporukha's business history click here.
  • Click here to email Katia Chiporukha.

Avry Davidovich, Ph.D.: Consulting Partner

Avery Davidovich, Ph.D.Avry has 30 years experience in the convenience retailing / petroleum marketing industry. As a retailer, he has held positions ranging from store manager through the president and C.E.O. In addition to his extensive retail experience, he led NRC Financial Advisers M&A practice. In this area, Avry performed evaluations of over 5,200 retail locations including over 20 chains ranging in size from 20 sites to some of the largest chains in the industry with over a dozen chains of 100 locations or more. Avry started his career with Marathon Oil and fulfilled a variety of management positions including Special Assistant to the President. In 1992, he founded Davidovich Oil Company, which he subsequently sold to F.F.P. Partners, a publicly traded company with over 400 stores. He joined that organization as Executive Vice President and served as a member of its board of directors. Avry then founded Vista Stores in Dallas, Texas where he held the titles of President and C.E.O. Vista grew to 120 convenience stores operated in five states under his leadership. He has developed a keen understanding of operations, and acquisitions and mergers of convenience stores and petroleum marketing companies.

  • For additional information on Avry Davidovich's business history click here.
  • Click here to learn more about b2b Solutions evaluation and merger and acquisition experience.
  • Click here to email Avry Davidovich.

Dean Dirks: Consulting Partner

Dean DirksDean has had a long career in foodservice and c-stores that began in his father's grocery stores at age eight (8). He worked his way through college at Safeway. After graduating from Washington State University in 1983, Dean accepted a position in retail foodservice with Marriott. In this role, he supervised branded concepts including Starbucks, Dominoes Pizza, Godfather's and Little Caesars as well as proprietary food service. In 1996, Dean joined West Star as V.P. of Operations. His responsibilities included supervising thirty Shell branded convenience stores and 20 restaurants including Subway, Taco Bell, A&W, Winchell's Donuts, Seattle Best Coffee and a number of proprietary foodservice concepts. After WestStar was sold Dean accepted a position with Balmar Petroleum as the Senior Category Manager, overseeing all categories, including foodservice. In 2006, Dean formed Dirks & Associates focusing on convenience store foodservice. Dean has worked with Arby's, Church's Chicken, Qdoba's as well as many proprietary foodservice concepts.

  • Click here to learn more about how b2b Solutions branded foodservice capabilities.
  • For additional information on Dean Dirks' business history click here.
  • Click here to email Dean Dirks.

Doug Hecker: Consulting Partner

Doug HeckerDoug has over 27 years experience including top management positions within the convenience store industry and entrepreneurial enterprises. As the owner of BAN Marketing he established a successful enterprise providing consultation and management services to food service and equipment leasing clients. As Vice President of Marketing at Circle K Stores, he directed corporate and field marketing functions for over 2,000 convenience stores. Doug was a key management stakeholder in introducing store level scanning and fact based category management, which resulted in lower store inventories due to SKU rationalization, better in stock on top selling items, and instant sales feedback on newly placed and promotional items. As Arizona Region Vice President he oversaw the daily operation of 500 Arizona and Nevada Circle K stores with responsibility for profit and loss, including expense management and sales and gross profit budgets, store operations, field marketing, human resources, and loss prevention. He spearheaded the opening of the Arizona Region Circle K Distribution Center, which provided a regional distribution solution. At 7-Eleven Stores, Doug held the positions of Field Representative, Sales Manager, District Manager, and Sales and Promotions Manager where he oversaw the execution of operations and developed marketing communications for over 200 franchised stores.

  • For additional information on Doug Hecker's business history click here.
  • Click here to email Doug Hecker.

Deborah Holand: Consulting Partner

Deborah HolandDeborah has over 20 years food industry experience, with specialized expertise in new concept development and turn-around/revitalization situations. She has served in a number of key positions in the foodservice industry, including Steak And Ale Restaurant Concept Management for the Metro Media Group; The New Concept Development Team Eatzi's while at Brinker International; National Director Of Food-Service Operations for Whole Foods Market, Inc.; Director Of Meal Solutions Departments for The Tops Markets Division of Ahold USA Inc.; and President and Founder of Food Sense. Deborah has diverse experience concentrated in business growth strategies, project planning and analysis, menu engineering, labor optimization, cost management, high-impact marketing and visual merchandising. She possesses regional and national experience across all major markets from premier restaurant and specialty gourmet retailers to conventional supermarkets and convenience stores.

  • For additional information on Deborah Holand's business history click here.
  • Click here to learn more about how b2b Solutions can help you improve your foodservice category results.
  • Click here to email Deborah Holand.

Greg Jones: Consulting Partner

Greg JonesGreg has over 40 years of c-store management experience with specialized expertise in developing "Best Practice Process" for all facets of convenience retailing. As President of Retail for Kellam Distributing, he led the growth of a retail start up that resulted in the Shore Stop/Auto Plus chain. He has had profit and loss responsibility at several levels of multi-unit operations including Vice President of Operations at Mini Mart, Inc and Zone Manager for 7-Eleven. His marketing leadership has included Vice President of Merchandising for the 2,500 store Circle K chain, with additional assignments as Director of Business Development and Director of Advertising. At Circle K, in his role as Vice President of Strategic Marketing, he worked closely with Accenture in developing process integration for decision support and category management software. In addition, he was responsible for supply chain management and new concepts, including the development work for self distribution. While Vice President of Marketing at SSP Circle K, his brand experience included the creation of the Stripes Convenience Store brand and the development of The Laredo Taco Company foodservice brand. As a recognized process expert, Greg is a faculty member at CSP's Convenience Retailing University.

  • For additional information on Greg Jones' business history click here.
  • Click here to email Greg Jones.

Lou Maiellano: Consulting Partner

Lou MaiellanoLou Maiellano has 25 years experience and is a broadly experienced marketing/sales manager with significant credentials in the convenience store and tobacco business. Most recently he was National Category Manager for Sunoco Inc. where he created and managed strategy and profitability for the $395 million tobacco category. Lou has also held operational positions at Sunoco, Mobil, Macaroni Grill and Wawa. He directed the management of staffing, training, sales and marketing programs, financial management and both corporate and vendor relationships. Lou has operated many successful food related programs including Burger King, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Vie DeFrance, Parlor Pizza, Country Chicken, City Deli and Gulliver's Coffee. He has been recognized a Convenience Store Industry Leader for Program by CSP Magazine. He is an active "Convenience Retailer Conference Advisory Council" member and Chairs the Tobacco Subcommittee.

  • For additional information on Lou Maiellano business history click here.
  • Click here to learn more about how b2b Solutions can help you improve your tobacco category results.
  • Click here to email Lou Maiellano.

Terry McKennaTerry McKenna: Consulting Partner

Terry has over 30 years' experience in the convenience retail / petroleum marketing industry. He began his career in 1979 with Mobil Oil Corporation, U.S Marketing Division where he held numerous field and headquarters positions in marketing, training, advertising, and planning, working with all classes-of-trades. Terry led the development and implementation of a Mobil's retail national customer service strategy, in addition to leading the achievement of ISO-9002 certification for customer service for convenience stores for Mobil's Singapore marketing affiliate

Terry writes a monthly column for National Petroleum News (NPN) and Tobacco Retailer and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, as well as the Harvard Business School corporate training video, Benchmarking Outside The Box. Terry is the facilitator of the NACS HR Forum, as well as the several CEO and operations Study Groups.

In 1997 Terry co-founded Convenience Store Coaches (CSC), a division of Employee Performance Strategies, Inc. (EPS). CSC helps c-store organizations achieve greater financial results by optimizing employee job performance.

  • For additional information on Terry McKenna's business history click here.
  • Click here to email Terry McKenna.

Linda McKenna-WelchLinda McKenna-Welch: Consulting Partner

For the last four years Linda has been facilitating the Convenience Store Leadership Academy to clients large and small across the United States. This industry specific customized offering is transforming managers and supervisors to leaders and coaches. Linda's been a top rated and requested speaker at NACS and CSP events as well as various state associations.

In 1997 Linda co-founded Convenience Store Coaches (CSC), a division of Employee Performance Strategies, Inc. (EPS). CSC helps c-store organizations achieve greater financial results by optimizing employee job performance.

Prior to CSC, in 1988 Linda started her career with Mobil Oil Corporation, U.S Marketing Division where she held numerous field and headquarters positions in marketing, pricing, training, planning, and financial analysis, working with all classes-of-trades. Linda played an instrumental role on Mobil's retail national customer service strategy which ultimately led to her passion to help other organizations differentiate their brand through people and service.

Linda's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, as well as the Harvard Business School corporate training video, Benchmarking Outside The Box.

  • For additional information on Linda McKenna-Welch's business history click here.
  • Click here to email Linda McKenna-Welch.

Robert O'Rear: Consulting Partner

Robert O'RearBob has almost 50 years experience that encompasses positions ranging from Territory Sales and Field Marketing Manager to President and Owner. After holding a series of ever going more responsibly sales positions with the Lever Brothers Company, Bob joined Gallo Wineries as the Field Marketing Manager for all chain accounts headquartered in the Southeast. He subsequently began working with Anheuser-Busch wholesalers in Columbia and Greenville, SC. He spent five years as Sales Manager in Columbia and 17 years as Vice President and General Manager in Greenville. Bob worked his last 13 years in the wholesale beer business as Owner and President of Classic City Beverages in Athens, GA, a multi-branded, primary Coors house. Since selling his business, Bob has consulted with beer distributors on both Mergers and Acquisitions and Category Management with both convenience and grocery chains.

  • For additional information on Robert O'Rear's business history click here.
  • Click here to learn more about how b2b Solutions can help you improve your beer category results.
  • Click here to email Robert O'Rear.

Mick Parker: Consulting Partner

Mick ParkerMick has held a variety of positions in his 30 years in his convenience store career. He began his career as a store manager for 7-Eleven and progressed to division manager. Mick then joined Circle K Corporation in 1987 as a division manager and held positions of division merchandise manager, region manager, division president Louisiana Division, and Vice President and General Manager of Company Operations for over 2,400 Circle K stores. Upon the acquisition of Circle K by Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., he assumed the responsibility of Operations Vice President for the Florida/Gulf Coast Region responsible for over 650 company operated stores and 50 dealer operations. In May 2007, Mick left Circle K and assumed the position of President and CEO of Village Pantry, LLC a 189-store chain located in Indianapolis, IN. After successfully leading the integration of Village Pantry and Worsley Operating Company, he became President and COO for VPS Convenience Store Group.

  • For additional information on Mick Parker's business history click here
  • Click here to email Mick Parker.

Patrick Raycroft: Consulting Partner

Patrick RaycroftPatrick has 22 years of IT experience in the manufacturing and convenience retail / petroleum marketing industries. He has extensive experience as part of senior management teams at BP and Amoco. He directed the development and implementation of IT consolidation and integration efforts required to support two successive multi-billion dollar mergers. He managed the design and implementation of Amoco's retail systems including their site networking and card processing platforms. Patrick has also led retail site architecture work, technical due diligence activities for e-business investment opportunities, developed vendor strategies for connecting retail sites globally and executed RFP processes for large network procurement and hosting deals. Currently, he is a managing partner of the W. Capra Consulting Group, focusing on retail technology. Patrick holds a Bachelor of Science degree, Mathematics / Computer Science from Purdue University and a Master of Science Degree, Operations Research from DePaul University.

Bill Ritter: Consulting Partner

Bill RitterBill Ritter is a native of Toledo, Ohio where after graduating from high school he served in the United States Air Force. After receiving an honorable discharge in 1972 Bill returned to Toledo and attended the University of Toledo majoring in Criminal Justice. In 1974, Bill attended Gormac Polygraph School, Pasadena, California and after graduation began Ritter & Associates. Bill's career has been devoted exclusively to retail loss prevention and specific loss investigations for the convenience store industry. During his 27-year career he has conducted in excess of 8,000 investigations and interviewed over 40,000 employees for various convenience store companies. These investigations and interviews have led to successful prosecutions and well over $4,000,000 in restitution. Bill is a nationally recognized speaker and work shop leader, specializing in the area of convenience store loss prevention and consults with companies, both large and small, regarding all areas of loss prevention.

Brian Sibila: Consulting Partner

Brian SibilaBrian has several years of experience in the financial analysis of businesses in the convenience retailing and petroleum marketing industry from both an operational and valuation standpoint. Formerly a Manager of Business Development with NRC Realty and Capital Advisors, he has been involved with sales of over 1,500 convenience stores and gas stations representing clients ranging from major oil companies like Sunoco and BP to regional distributors. Brian has participated in the valuation of businesses over $2B. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and holds a Real Estate Broker's License in Illinois.

Al Smith: Consulting Partner

Al SmithAl Smith has over 35 years of experience in both the petroleum industry specializing in marketing, operations, acquisitions, mergers, consolidations and divestments. He served as Chief Operating Officer for Getty Petroleum. In that position he was responsible for over 2,000 retail locations as well as the product supply to meet their 70,000 barrels a day requirements. His other duties included oversight for Getty's wholesale marketing, terminals, transportation, fleet fueling, engineering, construction, maintenance, environmental, real estate and retail home heating. Al's pro-active, hands on, results oriented approach has shown demonstrated results in cost effective solutions.

Frank Wirth: Consulting Partner

Frank WirthMarketing and communications leader with over twenty-five years of broad based integrated marketing communications experience in retail, packaged goods and food manufacturing. Frank has served as General Manager of the Hospital Products Division at Schering Plough and Group Product Manager for OTC products where he launched several new patented products. In addition he held several positions with 7-Eleven including Promotions Manager, Marketing Director New Products Electronic Services and Group Product Manager Core Products. Frank also held two positions with Amoco Oil the later being General Manager Convenience Retail Strategies Planning and Programs before leaving to join Roundtree Capital as Chief Marketing Officer. Frank has extensive experience in developing effective long term strategic plans and operational plans for major packaged goods companies and retail organizations. He teaches advertising and promotion courses at Loyola University in Chicago.

  • For additional information on Frank Wirth's business history click here.
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