Invest in Yourself in 2018

Every new year brings a fresh start and new opportunity, and I hope you are as excited as I am for a promising year ahead.

One of my favorite ways to kick off the new year is at NATSO’s annual trade show. I am always struck by how many opportunities present themselves during the event, which has been re-formatted and relaunched this year as NATSO Connect. The show is one of the primary methods we as NATSO members have to come together to connect with each other, industry experts and our key suppliers.

NATSO Connect is the perfect time to learn about key trends shaping the industry and find the insights that will help us prepare for the future. On a personal level, I always find the show helps increase my excitement for the truckstop and travel plaza industry and the valuable work we do within our communities and along our nation’s roadways.

Connecting with other operators and discovering the new opportunities that NATSO has created is truly one of the highlights of the year. Even better is the fact that it is just one of several opportunities NATSO will offer throughout 2018.

Continued learning and professional development is a well-known key to success, and NATSO offers educational opportunities through study tours and webinars. In 2017, the association offered a behind-the-scenes look at successful travel plazas and restaurants as part of its Food and Fuel Study Tour in Chicago. NATSO also held several webinars addressing topics such as the renewable fuels standard, biodiesel, shrink and inventory management last year and will host several again this year.

In addition, members are always welcome at NATSO’s leadership meetings, and it is so valuable for the board of directors to hear from operators.

Vast amounts of knowledge are also featured regularly in our association’s publications, such as Stop Watch and Biz Brief. You can also stop by NATSO’s blog each week to learn from industry thought leaders or get a first-hand look at the great ideas your fellow operators have implemented.

As NATSO members, we have a fast pass to noteworthy news and developments within the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Staying up-to-date on industry news allows us to take advantage of changes or developments that may have otherwise passed us by. Even more importantly, we can act quickly if there are issues that threaten our industry and the overall success of truckstops and travel plazas.

As you’re crafting your New Year’s resolutions, I encourage you to prioritize learning and connecting with your peers. Even just one long-term connection you make this year can pay dividends for years to come on both a personal and professional level.

Visit to stay up to date on all of the learning opportunities available and chart a course for your ongoing development. Together we can pool our knowledge, take advantage of each other’s experiences and serve as a watchdog for the well-being of our industry as a whole.

Happy New Year, and thank-you for the opportunity to serve another year as the chairman of NATSO.

Don Quinn's photo

Don Quinn

Don Quinn is president of Sapp. Bros. He gained his initial first-hand experience with the truckstop and travel plaza as a truck driver. From there, he started working for Sapp Bros. pumping fuel on the fuel islands. That was 30 years ago, and he has held almost every job within the industry throughout his decades of experience at Sapp Bros. When not working, Quinn is involved in his church, serving in different ministries and on the endowment board. He has served on the Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries endowment board as well. Don has been married for nearly 37 years to his wife, Ava. He has two children—a son and a daughter—and two granddaughters.
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