The Power of Knowledge


I am a firm believer in the power of knowledge, and I feel we all owe it to ourselves and our businesses to learn something new each day. Gathering information and then sharing it with each other keeps us moving toward a future that is full of promise. As an industry, we can collaborate with each other and share ideas that spur the innovation that will take us into tomorrow.

NATSO’s diverse membership—truckstop and travel plaza operators and industry suppliers and service providers—lends itself to the broad base of information that will uncover a multitude of opportunities. How we use that information is key, and it is up to us to grasp the opportunities we uncover.

If you aren’t already taking part in all NATSO has to offer, I encourage you to discover the ever-evolving variety of resources the association makes available. The NATSO Show in February was an ideal time to learn from industry experts and cement relationships that will last for years, but NATSO also creates learning opportunities throughout the year. From webinars and blog posts to in-personal educational experiences, there is something for everyone. 

NATSO thrives on the action and input of its members, and I guarantee you that when you invest your time in NATSO, you will get something in return. We are all individuals, and our core strength comes from the successes we each achieve in our own operations. Yet we reinforce that core when we come together for the good of the industry.

I hope you will make plans now to attend NATSO’s Day on Capitol Hill event May 6-8 (see related Stop Watch story on Day on Capitol Hill). The November election means we have 97 newly elected lawmakers—13 in the Senate and 84 in the House—to meet with and share information on the importance of our industry not only to interstate commerce, but also to the nation and the communities in which we operate. During the Day on the Hill event, you will meet face-to-face with lawmakers and Hill staff to share your first-hand knowledge about our industry and how potential regulatory and legislative actions will affect our operations. NATSO staff will prepare you for your meetings, providing you with information on the issues to be discussed, such as tolling and rest area commercialization, and some helpful hints on how to conduct a successful meeting. Not only will you learn something new, you will be able to share your knowledge and make your mark on the legislative process.

By working together, we can do more than any of us could do individually. Let’s tap into the wide range of expertise we all bring to the table as we look for new ways to attract and serve our customers and protect our industry’s interests. I look forward to working with you during my time as chairman.

Photo Credit: Jowdy Photography/NATSO



This article originally ran in Stop Watch magazineStop Watch provides in-depth content to assist NATSO members in improving their travel plaza business operations and provides context on trends and news affecting the industry.

The magazine is mailed to NATSO members bimonthly. If you are a member and not receiving Stop Watchsubmit a request to be added to the mailing list. Not a memberJoin today or submit a request to receive additional information.

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Tom Heinz

Tom Heinz is President of Heinz, Inc. and Coffee Cup Fuel Stops & Convenience Stores, Inc. Tom’s thirty-seven year business career has been in different segments of the petroleum industry. Tom’s primary business and day job began 31 years ago as co-founder/owner of Coffee Cup Fuel Stops Tom received the following degrees: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Master of Science in Human Resources, and Master of Business Administration from Beacom School of Business at the University of South Dakota. Presently, Tom serves on the University of South Dakota Foundation Board of Directors, Vermillion, South Dakota, NATSO Foundation Board of Directors, Alexandria, VA, Dakota Hospital Board of Directors, Vermillion, SD., and is a member of David Nelson Petroleum Marketers 300 Study Group.More
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