OPINION: NEC to provide insight, opportunities for retailers

By Robert White, vice president of industry relations, Renewable Fuels Association | February 02, 2022

In a few weeks, the National Ethanol Conference will welcome hundreds of ethanol industry leaders and professionals to New Orleans, providing not just an array of educational panels and keen insights, but multiple networking opportunities for all those involved.

On Tues., Feb. 22, I will host a panel discussion on the future of retailing, along with Paige Anderson of the National Association of Convenience Stores, Eric Fobes of Pilot Travel Centers, and Glenn Hasken of Molo Companies. These three speakers together represent the top organizations representing fuel retailers: NACS, SIGMA, NATSO and EMA.

In this panel, we’re going to look at how fuel retailers, facing limited resources and real estate, are navigating a future of competing fuels and technologies, and we’ll discuss the evolution of fuel markets and personal transportation, including trends with electric vehicles and charging stations, as well as ethanol’s role moving forward.

Among the other panel discussions are:

    •A look at how RFA’s members are working to achieve a net-zero-emissions future

    •A dialogue with leaders from related industries, such as fuel producers, agriculture, automakers, and environmental leaders

    •A review of new uses for ethanol and its coproducts, such as sustainable aviation fuel

    •A discussion on how to build the next generation of industry leaders from the young professionals working around us

This year’s conference offers a heavy, forward-thinking stress on the future of liquid fuels—something today’s fuel retailers need to monitor closely. Among our featured speakers are Pablo Di Si,  who as President & CEO at Volkswagen Latin America will provide an automaker’s perspective, as well as energy expert Robert McNally, in a session on how the marketplace is responding to the pandemic, new energy and climate policies, and emerging automobile technologies.

Being a leader in one’s industry requires us to make the time to step back and take a look at the big picture, to know what events—like the pandemic or the Ukraine situation—can affect our industry overall, and our operation on the ground. For more than a quarter century, the National Ethanol Conference has provided that opportunity to anyone who wants to play an active, leading role in their industry, and I strongly encourage you to take advantage of it. Here’s where you can register.