The Peter Jowett Scholarship winners Pete Robson (Z Energy) and Alex Tuala (British American Tobacco) competed at the NACS Show in Las Vegas in October 2014 and although not successful in bringing home the international title, they both found the experience well worth it. For the first NZACS Chairman and CSB Group/Red Circle CEO Roger Bull attended the NACS Show and supported our two New Zealand winners. Here follows what they had to say:

Roger Bull (NZACS Chairman)
The NACS show in Las Vegas was attended by a small delegation from New Zealand who accompanied the Australian Contingent.

For those who haven’t attended a NACS Show, you should think about registering for the 2015 show also to be held in Las Vegas between 11th and 14th October 2015. AACS also holds a study tour directly following the NACS Show. This year’s Tour visited Korea and Japan looking at Convenience Store offers in those countries.

The NACS Show, which was attended by 30,000 delegates also has great educational sessions, excellent market presentations, and an extremely large exhibition area covering around 5 acres, displaying products, foods, equipment, and a wide range of convenience necessities.

A major high light is the Global Scholarship presentations. New Zealand was represented by Pete Robson from ‘Z’ and Alex Tuala from BAT. Both had great topics and presented well but were unfortunately beaten by the Australians. Callum MacKay from 7-Eleven won the Global Scholarship in the Retailer Category and Kathryn Newiss from Phillip Morris won the Supplier category Award.

The Peter Jowett Scholarship will be held again in 2015. The New Year’s topic will be advertised shortly so get your staff interested in competing. The Best Supplier and the Best Retail presentation win the trip to the NACS Show and get to compete against candidates from around the world.

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Pete Robson (Z Energy)
The NACS conference in Las Vegas was a great experience, and from it I learned lots – both about how our industry operates in a global sense, and my own skills at giving presentations.

On day 1 was the Peter Jowett scholarship competition presentations where the Kiwi contingent represented NZ very well in but we were again beaten out by the Australians who won both the Retailer and Supplier awards. Despite reminding them who currently held the Bledisloe Cup, they were deserved winners and gave a couple of great presentations. For future NZ competitors in 2015, my advice would be that it mightn’t be the best idea to take a selfie at the start of a timed presentation, or if you do ensure that there is a countdown timer visible so that you don’t go over the time limit – which unfortunately was one of my mistakes. I guess you live and learn and we were still awarded with commemorative plaques.

The conference itself carried on for a few more days, and was simply huge in size and scale. From working carwashes, petrol pumps and every fresh food vending machine conceivable, it was a lot to take in.  There were hundreds of supplier booths to talk to about their ideas for the NZ market, and what their product could do. Looking at it from a Retailer perspective, it was interesting to consider if and when the new products on display might come to our market. There was a lot of info and samples that I brought back to our NZ team.

I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to attend the NACS conference, and I would recommend anyone considering it for next year to definitely give the Peter Jowett scholarship a crack. You learn heaps about your presentation style and the industry that you work in, plus you get to travel to a great location – and I got to meet Twinkie the Kid!

Alex Tuala (British American Tobacco)

"WOW! What an experience this trip was. From presenting, to educational sessions, to the trade show, an amazing experience with huge opportunities to learn, gain insights and perspective into the convenience industry from all around the globe.
It was a privilege to present in front of an audience who are interested in the New Zealand market and have come to listen to my unique ideas and concepts.
The Trade Show was incredible. The size of 24 Rugby fields! two storey stalls, car wash prototypes, monster trucks and dine-in setups, this was truly mind-blowing.
It was also very interesting to see the direction of where the convenience industry is heading - Mobil Convenience trucks, Gas Pump Alternatives/additions and the focus on food service. Although I didn't win the competition, the experience gained from such an opportunity provided by NZACS was invaluable. I would like to thank NZACS for the opportunity and British American Tobacco (NZ) for the support and all the help along the way. Thank you!

The Peter Jowett Scholarship presentations from our 6 finalists on 21st August 2014 are on the Members Only section of the website. We will also be loading the presentations we have been allowed to for the Convenience Leaders Summit when we receive them.

Kind regards
Kathy Faulkner