Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 48

cover story

explaining that while some people
think of the territory sales manager
role as an entry-level position, many
make an entire career out of it.
"It's a fantastic position with a
lot of room for development and
growth on both professional and
personal levels," Benefiel said. "For
me, I found it very fulfilling to hit the
streets every day and be in the stores
representing the great brands of our
2016 Hall of Famer Bob Johnson of Pinnacle Corp. (left) helped CSNews induct Benefiel into the
tobacco companies. To this day, I
supplier wing of the Hall of Fame.
occasionally hear from the territory
sales managers in my old territory and they tell me the
that there are open lines of communication with our
store owners still ask about me."
state and trade partners."
In 2003, he became a unit manager, where his primary role was to oversee a team of territory sales man- INDUSTRY CHAMPION
agers. This marked his first time in a leadership role.
Having worked within the convenience store industry
Altria has a "360-degree review process" and many of
for the past 17 years, Benefiel also uses his experihis reviews were very positive, but he recalls receiving
ence to contribute to various industry associations.
feedback that he needed to be more open to different
His involvement and roles with the associations have
ways of accomplishing in-store tasks. Looking back,
changed along with his career.
this was a valuable learning experience.
One of his primary duties as AGDC director of
"Essentially, my team was asking for more flexibility
trade and state relations is to "engage with various
in how they approached their work," he said. "At first,
associations that are representative of the industries
the feedback was hard to hear, but ultimately it was a
in which Altria and its operating companies operate,"
great learning experience for me. To this day, I consishe explained.
tently work to find the right balance between providing
Over the past few years, he has worked closely
direction and allowing for autonomy for my team memwith NACS, the Association for the Convenience &
bers. I think all leaders have this moment in their careers, Fuel Retailing; Conexxus; Convenience Distribution
and I'm glad mine happened early in my tenure."
Association (CDA); National Association of Tobacco
Benefiel continued to grow within Altria, becomOutlets; and countless other state and regional assoing a senior account manager in 2005 and holding a
ciations. He currently sits on the boards of NACS,
number of other positions of increasing responsibility
Conexxus and CDA.
before assuming his current role in 2014. In the posi"I have committed a lot of time to committee work
tion of director of trade and state relations, he is now
for these groups and others to help the industry move
responsible for customer engagement, state relations,
forward," he said. "I have had the opportunity to take
AGDC regulatory compliance, and the business manmy industry knowledge to the next level through my
agement of select legislative issues.
interactions and relationships with the leaders and
His role also includes overseeing the development
members of these organizations, and have found the
and execution of various engagement systems within
experience to be instrumental in the development my
the company to enhance alignment with the trade for
business expertise, general knowledge of the industry,
the wholesale and retail levels, as well as facilitating
and leadership skills."
state-level engagement.
Overall, both the tobacco and convenience store
"The key focus for my team is developing relaindustries are complex environments to work in,
tionships based on trust, respect and integrity. Our
and can be difficult at times, Benefiel acknowledged.
tobacco companies work hard to align with their trade However, he finds that because the people working in
partners and to work within the boundaries of very
these industries "place respect and trust at the center
complex federal and state laws," he noted. "As part
of their relationships, it is an incredibly encouraging
of these efforts, it is my team's responsibility to ensure
and motivating environment to work in."

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


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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
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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
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Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 36
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 37
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Convenience Store News - December 2017 - 40
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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
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Convenience Store News - December 2017 - Cover3
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - Cover4
Convenience Store News - December 2017 - U1
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