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Meet The Biz Brief’s New Editor Roger Cole

Posted in: Industry Trends & News

RogerColeevalutatingSingers.jpg

Editor’s note: Yesterday, we got to learn about the NATSO Foundation’s newest publication, Biz Brief, from the Biz Brief’s editor Roger Cole is his Letter from the Editor. Today we’re sitting down to learn more about the man behind the Biz Brief. - AT

Q: How long have you been involved in the truckstop industry? Tell us a bit about your career.
A: This marks my fifth decade in our industry. Following my college graduation I entered the business and have been involved ever since. I have had the pleasure of working with numerous great companies and great individuals (TA, Travelports, Petro and Pilot Flying J) as well as competing as an independent operator (Patriot Farms).

Q: Looking back at your career as a truckstop operator, what are you most proud of?
A: The opportunity to introduce new people to our business and observe their growth and successes is, by far, the most rewarding aspect of my years in the business.

Q: I believe your father was in the industry too. What did he do?
A: He was a partner in a small three truckstop company based in northeastern Ohio.  I had the unique opportunity of growing up within earshot of our first truckstop which was built in 1957.

Q: I know you are very involved in politics and transportation funding in Virginia? Tell us about the positions you hold.
A: In 2011, I was appointed to the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board which oversees all transportation spending in the state.  This represents a budget of $30B every six years.  Additionally, I am the Vice Chairman of the Richmond Metropolitan Authority, which owns and operates two downtown expressways, numerous parking garages and a minor league baseball stadium.  I also serve on the NFIB Virginia Leadership Council.

Q: What did you think were the best and worst aspects of owning/running truckstops?
A: The people that comprised our teams and the people that we served were clearly the most positive and memorable aspects of our business.  Countless personal relationships have developed that started as mere business interactions.  The most difficult facet of operating truckstops was the amount of influence that government entities could exert on the business.  A simple legislative change in a state could totally impact the market dynamics and the future of the company.

Q: What motivated you to become the Editor of the Biz Brief?
A: Over the past 5-10 years we have experienced an accelerated expansion of communication technologies and with it an explosion in available information.  Our industry is such a multi-faceted business (petroleum reseller, merchandise retailer, restaurateur, truck repair operator, etc.) that the applicable news available can be overwhelming.  I now have the time at hand to scan hundreds of news sources each day and select those most important to today’s truckstop operator.  Additionally, it will enable me to remain engaged in the news and information that has been such an important part of my past 40 years.

Q: How would you recommend readers use Biz Brief?
A: While we will soon be publishing a Biz Brief Tip Sheet that speaks to some thoughts on that, I believe that each member uses information differently and will develop means to utilize the insights provided each day.

Q: What is your favorite news source?
A: I suppose the politically correct answer would be Stop Watch.  While there are many excellent new sources available, my top three choices are Bloomberg Businessweek, Wall Street Journal and the Economist in both electronic and print forms.

Q: Besides scouring the news for business intelligence for the Biz Brief, what are your hobbies?
A: One of the things that you tend to sacrifice when you run a 24 hour/7 day business is hobbies. I am now, however, finding much more time for fly fishing and grandchildren but not in that order.

Q: Is your wife tired of hearing about the great news you’ve found for the Biz Brief?
A: She tired of hearing most things that I had to say a long time ago.  But seriously, I have been blessed to have as a partner someone who takes an active interest in all that I do and provides total support whether I am deserving or not.

Photo Credit: NATSO, The NATSO Show 2005

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About the Author

Amy Toner

Amy Toner

Toner markets NATSO products, services and meetings. She is the content editor of NATSO's core websites, Stop Watch magazine and Highway Business Matters biweekly articles. In addition, she provides creative services across all departments. Toner joined NATSO in 2006. Prior to joining the association, she served as director of membership services at an association for ambulatory surgery centers. Toner lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and son.

Where To Find Me

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