Off & Running | Convenience Store News

“Team first” is his motto and he’s quick to point out that although the Retailer Executive of the Year award has his name on it, the honor is really all about the work his team has done. Haugh’s goal is to nourish that sense of teamwork and get beyond just working well with one another to a place where there is a genuine sense of care and affection embedded across the team.

“My focus as a leader has always been to get people to be in a position to maximize their best talents. But it also takes a lot of coaching and mentoring to get people to recognize those strengths and weaknesses in themselves, and then also in their teammates. So, they can see how the pieces fit together and get the most out of each other,” he explained. “The impact and increase in productivity and outcomes, and just what you’re able to even try to do, it really changes people’s perspectives. Now, they’re aiming for the stars because they have so much confidence in the person to their left and the person to their right. If you can get that done, sky’s the limit.” 

A Skilled Apprentice 

Haugh came to his current role with more than 25 years of experience working in the energy and technology fields. He previously served as president and chief strategy officer for Mansfield Energy Corp. in Gainesville, Ga., and was the co-founder of FuelQuest Inc., an enterprise cloud/SaaS provider with more than 750 clients in the retail and energy industries. 

Although he’s been part of the industry for more than two decades, Haugh considers himself “still a bit of an apprentice in this business” and as such, he says being selected by his peers to receive the Retailer Executive of the Year award is a “humbling recognition” from an incredibly talented group of leaders that he looks up to. 

Making the jump from serving retailers to being a retailer himself has been a big change, but one that he’s enjoying. “I’ve always been in the middle of retail, but it’s very different as an operator. It’s a lot of fun to have your hands in the actual store,” he said. 

When Haugh began this journey in the fall of 2017, Parkland USA was a small subsidiary of Calgary, Canada-based Parkland Corp., the largest independent supplier and marketer of fuel and petroleum products in Canada and the Caribbean and a leading c-store operator there.  

At the time, the U.S. business for Parkland was a small outpost operating as Farstad Oil in North Dakota with about 20 company-operated stores, a good dealer business, and three branches serving commercial customers with diesel and lubricants. 

“Parkland had put a toe in the water in the U.S. to try to understand the market and figure out if it could be a growth frontier for them,” Haugh recalled. “We had a great local team with a strong competitive position in a small market, operated by long-term employees with a great connection to their local communities. We needed to improve safety, grow a professional sales team and improve the offering in the stores, but the foundation was solid and most of that team remains with Parkland, and many have progressed to senior roles as we have scaled up the company.”

Under Haugh’s leadership, Parkland USA has grown from 150 team members to nearly 3,000; from 20 company-operated stores to 212; and from three commercial branches to 52. Today, Parkland USA employs team members across 15 states in the retail c-store, commercial fuels, wholesale fuels, industrial fuels, propane, lubricants and marine businesses.

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