The Big Questions: Don Rhoads, 2022-23 NACS Chairman

What’s next for Don Rhoads after his term as NACS chairman?

October 20, 2023

(This article first appeared in NACS Magazine’s October issue.)

First, I’m not going anywhere. I’m still on the NACS Board and Executive Committee. And I’m still passionate about the industry and what we can do together to make a difference in the communities we serve.

It’s important to note that the chairman of NACS does not set the agenda for the year. We focus much further out, looking at what the industry needs three to five years out, and building initiatives and programs to meet future needs.

Right now, NACS has several multiyear initiatives in play, all designed to address emerging issues that our members have told us are important. We have TruAge, which is taking us into the future with age verification. We have THRIVR, designed to move the industry forward in the digital world. We have several projects looking at the future of mobility, whether related to EVs or traditional fueling. And, of course, there are plenty of legislative and regulatory initiatives, especially in pushing forward credit card swipe fee reform.

What NACS chairmen—or any board member, for that matter—can do is to elevate issues of importance that we feel are of great significance to the industry.

I have two issues that I am passionate about—our communities and our people—and the great news is that both are already part of broader NACS initiatives.

At last year’s NACS Show I stressed the importance of being actively engaged in our communities. It’s good for the community, and it’s good for business. Whether it’s your customers or your employees, purpose matters. They want to know what you believe in—and how you support those beliefs. NACS has working relationships with groups that address food- and nutrition-related issues (Partnership for a Healthier America, Feeding America), disaster relief (American Red Cross) and beautifying our neighborhoods (Keep America Beautiful), as well as other groups that focus on helping those in need.

Over the past year I have also stressed the importance of our people.

We ask a lot of them—whether it’s policies and procedures or implementing increasingly complex systems—and they deliver. I was so gratified to have discussions with our frontline workers during a series of road trips this past year. They are not just the face of our industry, they are our heart.

NACS also has resources that can grow our people, whether the education sessions at the NACS Show or at the annual Human Resources Forum, which I attended for the first time this year. And we’ve also developed relationships with best-in-class organizations to take you further, including a partnership with the Good Jobs Institute.

Finally, there is one more topic I am passionate about: Engaging and growing our smaller operator community.

NACS has created a task force focused on the unique challenges of the smaller operators in the industry. We’re involving suppliers, who are equally committed to the success of these operators. I am excited about the transformational change that is possible here.

So, what’s next for me? I’m going to continue to focus on my passions and how I can use my platform—whether as a community business or a NACS leader—to make us better. And that never has a term limit associated with it.

To see what else is happening in the industry this month, take a look at the latest issue of NACS Magazine, available here.