Monday, February 19th

Great Ideas

Travel Center New Builds and Remodels Pre-Event Workshop

9:00 am – 11:30 am

Provided in Partnership With

RJP Logo

Investing in a travel center new build or remodel starts long before ground is broken.

It starts with a site investigation, feasibility study and deep due diligence. This new workshop will cover:

  • How to identify sites to build on;
  • What a feasibility study is, what it should cover and what questions you should be sure it answers; and
  • What due diligence should you do before you begin the project.

In addition, Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president, membership, will bring his expertise to the workshop. Schulte is well known for his observational analysis about the travel center industry. He knows what a successful travel center will look like in five years and will help guide the discussion with his crystal ball in hand.

Perhaps most importantly, the workshop will include time to network, allowing attendees to grow their professional network of operators who are also performing new builds. Gather the info on their great architect, hear that one mistake they regret from their last project and gather inspiration from their great ideas for future builds.

Attendees will also walk away with a toolkit full of resources and checklists to complete their projects. (Space is limited and an additional fee of $150 is required.)

Featured Speakers

Robert Peppelman

Robert Peppelman

CEO – RJP Consulting Group

Mark Devlin Photo

Mark Devlin

Senior Client and Program Manager – RJP Consulting Group

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Vice President, Membership – NATSO

Travel Center Speed Networking

1:00 pm – 2:15 pm

New! Make new contacts full of ideas to meet your challenges on Monday by participating in the new Travel Center Speed Networking. Bring your business cards and prepare to grow your professional network through facilitated networking. Closed to press.

Great Ideas! Workshop

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

NATSO’s annual Great Ideas! Workshop is dedicated time for truck stop and travel center operators to share great ideas that have helped their business and hear about the great ideas their peers have implemented. This year’s session will feature opportunities for idea sharing as well as inspiring ideas from a NATSO study by FranData on how truck stops and travel centers can grow their business with franchise partners.

As always, the session will also include dedicated time for operators to share great ideas that have helped their business and hear about the great ideas their peers have implemented. Do you have a great idea that has helped your business? Wouldn’t you like to hear the great ideas your peers have implemented? The annual NATSO Connect favorite is sure to provide new and fresh ideas. Closed to press.

Generously Sponsored By:


(Participation is limited to truck stop and travel center attendees and the Great Ideas! Workshop sponsors.)

Featured Speakers

Christina Niu Portrait

Christina Niu

Director of Research – FranData

Amy Toner Portrait

Amy Toner

Executive Director – NATSO Foundation

NATSO Connect Opening KeynoteA New Era for Fuel Retailers 

4:30 pm – 5:45 pm

A rapidly evolving refueling landscape coupled with technological advancements and changing customer habits presents fuel retailers with an opportunity to reimagine their operations and usher in a new era.  

A report from the Boston Consulting Group found that the industry’s abundance of assets, including established networks, real estate, transaction volume, data as well as customer touch points and loyalty programs, is affording travel centers a crucial gateway to diversification. 

Whether it’s growing non-fuel revenues or pursuing sustainability objectives, these developments point to the need for fuel retailers to reorient themselves: “toward alternatives and away from the vehicle and toward the customer,” Boston Consulting Group said in its latest report on the travel center industry.   

After a warm NATSO Connect welcome from Joe Zietlow, NATSO’s 2024 Chairman of the Board, and Lisa Mullings, NATSO’s President and CEO, Tony Portera, managing director and partner with Boston Consulting Group, will share Boston Consulting Groups’ guidance on how fuel retailers should transform their businesses given these disruptions. 

Portera’s analysis of the powerful forces changing the fuel retailing market is a must-listen for everyone planning a company’s future in highway fuel retail – a can’t-miss to kick off NATSO Connect!

Featured Speakers

Lisa Mullings

Lisa Mullings

President & CEO – NATSO

Tony Portera

Tony Portera

Managing Director and Partner – Boston Consulting Group

Joe Zietlow Portrait

Joe Zietlow

Industry and Trade Assc. Manager – Kwik Trip

Tuesday, February 20th

NATSO Connect

Building the Travel Center of the Future…Today!: NATSO Connect Keynote and Breakfast

9:30 am – 10:30 am

Polly Flinn, founder and principal of Flinnstone Strategies, is an industry expert in creating customer-focused, convenience formats that make their numbers. Travel centers have the opportunity to increase share by creating a compelling and consistent brand experience to grow traffic, loyalty, sales, and profit. For this new keynote, Flinn will share new insights into the future of travel center retail, offering her expertise on customer segments, brand experience, and retail offers.

Most recently serving as Executive Vice President and President for the GetGo Cafe+Market banner in the supermarket chain Giant Eagle, Flinn has brought innovation and success to companies such as BP, Walmart, Castrol, Arco ampm and Giant Eagle/GetGo. Flinn is an innovator and a doer.  For years, she held c-suite roles at these retailers while focusing on building new concepts, rebranding, delivering strategic solutions to help them grow while challenging the status quo.

In other words, when it comes to travel centers that stand out, excel operationally, and are customer-focused, Flinn knows her stuff. Wish you could hire to Flinn revamp your business model? Attendees of NATSO Connect will hear from Flinn on the following topics:

  • How customer segments are evolving and what their needs will be in 2030.
  • Who is winning and who is losing – how travel center brands can become more of a destination beyond their real estate position.
  • What can we learn from others, and who is challenging the status quo to win customer share in retail outside of the travel centers sector.
  • What you should consider to challenge the status quo in your offer.

Following her remarks, a panel of industry innovators will join Flinn for an engaging and thought-provoking discussion on how travel centers might stir things up in their sector before new entrants do. 

Featured Speaker

Cameron Cordova Head Shot

Cameron Cordova

VP of Sales – PWM Electronic Price Signs

Dale Elks Head Shot

Dale Elks

Regional Sales Manager – DAS Companies, Inc.

Polly Flinn Head Shot

Polly Flinn

Founder & Principal – Flinnstone Consulting

Jessica Williams Portrait

Jessica Williams

Founder & CEO – Food Forward Thinking, LLC

Generously Sponsored By:

PWM Logo

Victron Energy Dares to Be Different: NATSO Connect Keynote and Lunch

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Victron Energy is a family-owned fuel distributor that creates individualized travel center experiences. Famous for its delicious barbecue and manufacturing its own quality jerky, fudge, and popcorn, the company began in the mid-1980s with a single convenience store and has expanded to today’s Texas powerhouse. Mohamed Sharaf, principal and CEO of Victron Energy, will walk attendees through their approach to being different. Whether it is a Texas Best Smokehouse, a 0ne-9, or a Hispanic-themed location, Victron builds stores that match the area’s customers. The Victron recipe of partnering, unique offerings, and quality food is a business model everyone will learn from.

Featured Speaker

Mohamed Sharaf

Mohamed Sharaf

Principal and CEO – Victron Energy

Food and Beverage Generously Sponsored By:

Marcus & Millichap Logo

Tank Talks

2:00 pm – 2:45 pm

Similar in concept to a popular network TV show, sponsors will have the opportunity to pitch their product or idea in front of an audience and live on stage. In each 5-minute presentation, the audience will vote on products or services sure to improve the travel center wallet share. (Vendors can learn more about how to participate in a Tank Talks here.)

Opportunities to Grow Wallet Share Workshop

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

New Workshop! A 2023 NATSO Services research study found that there are significant opportunities to boost sales at truck stops and travel centers. A panel of travel center experts and operators will lead an interactive workshop on ways to get more customers inside making more purchases more often.

The panel will provide tactical ideas to grow wallet sharing by looking at:

  • Loyalty
  • Speed of service
  • Convenience

Featured Speakers

Harman Aulakh Photo

Harman Aulakh

Vice President – Marketing – Onvo

David Prevost Profile

David Prevost

Director Operations South Florida – Wawa Inc.

Peter Rasmussen

Peter Rasmussen

Founder & CEO – Convenience & Energy Advisors

Carolyn Schnare

Carolyn Schnare

CEO – Acuity, LLC

Wednesday, February 21st

What's New in Washington

Washington Watch: The Changing Advocacy and Political Engagement Landscape: NATSO Connect Keynote and Breakfast

9:30 am – 10:30 am

NATSO’s government affairs team will explore the current political environment in Washington and its impact on how the travel center and the off-highway fuel retailing industry advocates. Having worked closely with policymakers on energy and transportation issues, NATSO’s government affairs team has observed a shift in how policy is crafted and how NATSO members can engage their lawmakers.  

Join us for a robust discussion of the national political landscape as well as the evolving approach to advocacy in Washington. Plan to attend and learn how operators and vendors can work together to advance our shared advocacy goals.  

Generously Sponsored By:

Federated Insurance Logo

Food and Beverage Generously Sponsored By:


Featured Speakers

David Fialkov

David Fialkov

Executive Vice President

of Government Affairs – NATSO

Jessi Frend

Jessica Frend

Senior Policy Advisor – NATSO

LeeAnn Goheen Head Shot

LeeAnn Goheen

Senior Director of

Government Affairs – NATSO

Role of Renewable Diesel in Reducing Trucking’s Carbon Footprint and What it Means for Travel Centers: NATSO Connect Keynote and Lunch

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Renewable diesel represents the best opportunity for reducing carbon emissions from the commercial trucking sector for the foreseeable future. The California Air Resources Board (CARB)’s recent announcement that renewable diesel and biodiesel replaced more than 50 percent of diesel fuel in the state for the first time coupled with Cummins Inc.’s approval of the use of renewable diesel across its entire line of diesel- powered engines serve as a testament to the longstanding contributions made by trucking fleets and their refueling partners in reducing carbon emissions from over-the-road transportation.

Join NATSO Vice President of Public Affairs Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman at NATSO Connect 2024 as she interviews a panel of industry stakeholders about the important role of renewable diesel in reducing trucking’s carbon footprint. Panelists include: Mark Jamieson, Business Development Director of Cummins Alternative Technologies; Dan Murray, Senior Vice President of the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), who will discuss ATRI’s newest white paper on renewable diesel; as well as Jim Mullen, Executive Director of the Clean Freight Coalition, a leading advocacy group urging EPA to adopt a more realistic proposal for transitioning commercial fleets to lower carbon technology that doesn’t overlook existing lower-carbon fuels.

Featured Speakers

Jim Mullen Head Shot

Jim Mullen

Executive Director – Clean Freight Coalition

Dan Murray

Dan Murray

Senior Vice President –American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI)

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman Headshot

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman

Vice President, Public Affairs – NATSO

Food and Beverage Generously Sponsored By:

Chevron Logo

Technology at the Fuel Island Tech Forum

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

The Travel Center Technology Forum is designed to facilitate interactive discussions among truck stops and travel center operators regarding their top technology priorities.

In 2024, the Tech Forum will explore technologies outside at the fuel island.

Technology to purchase fuel at the pump, allow users to pay for fuel and give them a seamless experience while at the diesel pump is exploding. In this working session, a panel of experts will explore these trends in fuel technology:

  • AI is changing fuel supply management and pricing;
  • The options to pay outside at the pump are exploding;
  • Innovative ways to improve professional drivers productivity while fueling are growing; and
  • Pump technology is advancing, allowing a seamless loyalty and food experience.

Operators should come prepared to hear about these trends, learn of vendors offering these technologies, and share at their table on their own fuel island technology experience.

Featured Speakers

Meghann Erhart Profile

Meghann Erhart

Executive Vice President – Relay Payments

Dan Harrell Headshot

Dan Harrell

Chief Innovation Officer for Invenco – Gilbarco Veeder-Root

Craig Jensen

Craig Jensen

Director of IT – Sapp Bros.

Wade Lowe Portrait

Wade Lowe

Executive Co-Founder & President – TRUEFILL

Christine Schoessler

Christine Schoessler


Thursday, February 22nd

QT Visit

NATSO Connect Retail Tour

10:15 am – 1:45 pm

NATSO retail tours allow NATSO members to tour best–in–class retail locations, gather great ideas from successful travel center operators, and network with other truck stop and travel center operators in attendance!

In 2024, attendees will tour a Wawa and Racetrac. (Participation is limited to truck stop and travel center attendees and Retail Tour sponsors. Space is limited, and RSVP is required.)