Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 46

cover story

RISING Through

the RANKS

From territory sales manager to director of trade and state relations at Altria Group
Distribution Co., Blake Benefiel has made his mark on the c-store industry
By Tammy Mastroberte

I

n his last year of college at Ball State University
in Muncie, Ind., nearing graduation with a bachelor's degree in science, Blake Benefiel took a
course on how to prepare for interviews in order
to secure a job with a great company. One of the key
takeaways was the importance of doing a few practice
interviews first so that he could show up composed
and perform well in important interviews in the future.
Knowing Philip Morris was a leader in its industry,
Benefiel decided to sign up for an interview with parent company Altria when the opportunity presented
itself - even though he didn't do any practice interviews beforehand.
"I ignored the instructions from my class and
signed up for an interview without practicing and I
can tell you now, I'm glad I followed my instincts,"
he told Convenience Store News. "I remember walkBenefiel draws on his
years of experience
and knowledge gained
to contribute to various
industry associations.

46 Convenience Store News | DECEMBER 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM

ing away from the interview impressed not only with
the company's business successes, but also inspired by
the people I had just met. They were intelligent and
focused people and, of equal importance, they were
kind and easy to talk to. After my interview, I knew
I wanted to work for the company and as the years
ahead would reaffirm time and again, I'm glad I followed my instincts. I was hired and haven't looked
back since."
Seventeen years later, Benefiel - who was inducted
into the supplier wing of the CSNews Hall of Fame in
November - has found himself a professional home
at Altria and in the convenience store industry. He currently serves as the director of trade and state relations
for Altria Group Distribution Co. (AGDC), a role he
rose to after initially joining the company in 2000 as
a territory sales manager. He has been working in the
convenience store industry since day one at Altria.
"I can honestly tell you there is no other place that
I would want to work. Over the last 17 years, I have
had the opportunity to visit hundreds, if not thousands,
of locations and I have found those in our industry -
whether they are a single-store owner or CEO of a large
chain - to be down-to-earth, authentic and focused on
building trusting relationships," he said.
Starting his career as a territory sales manager provided Benefiel with a lot of experience and prepared
him for the leadership roles he would later take on
at AGDC. And that is exactly the way the company
designs it.
"One of the best things about Altria is when you
join our sales and distribution function, every employee starts out at the same level as a territory sales manager," he explained. "This provides our employees an
opportunity to see the day-to-day operations of the
business at the wholesale and retail levels, and to really understand how the business and industry work."
In his initial role, he had the opportunity to call
on approximately 150 stores in Toledo, Ohio, on a
monthly basis and build relationships with the people
who owned and/or worked in the stores, he recalled,


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Convenience Store News - December 2017

Contents
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - Cover1
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - Cover2
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 3
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 4
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 5
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - Contents
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 7
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 8
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 9
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 10
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 11
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 12
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 13
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 14
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 15
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 16
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 17
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 18
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 19
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 20
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 21
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 22
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 23
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 24
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 25
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 26
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 27
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 28
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 29
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 30
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 31
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 32
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 33
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 34
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 35
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 36
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 37
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 38
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 39
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 40
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 41
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 42
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 43
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 44
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 45
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 46
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 47
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 48
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 49
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 50
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 51
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 52
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 53
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 54
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 55
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 56
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 57
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 58
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 59
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 60
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 61
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 62
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 63
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 64
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 65
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 66
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 67
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 68
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 69
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 70
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 71
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 72
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Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 81
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Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 90
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - Cover3
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - Cover4
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - U1
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