Honoring Leadership, Education

10 c-store employees receive Jim Yates Scholarships

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) recently announced the10 recipients of the 2005 NACS Jim Yates Scholarships. The Yates Scholarship program annually recognizes employees in the c-store industry based on their dedication to achieving excellence in retailing, strong leadership skills at the store level and persistence in the pursuit of education.

The Yates Scholarship is distributed by NACS in honor of the late Jim Yates, founder of E-Z Mart Stores Inc. Each winner receives a $3,000 for costs of career education [image-nocss] and complimentary registration and travel to the NACS Show.

NACS is pleased to be able to award scholarships to truly outstanding individuals who are working hard to achieve excellence in retailing while persistently pursuing their education, said Jay Ricker, president of Ricker Oil Co. and administrator for the Convenience Store Foundation for Education & Research, which oversees the Yates Scholarship Program.

The convenience store industry offers a compelling employment opportunity. It is full of examples of individuals who developed their skills and rose from sales associate to vice president of the company. These scholarships can help recognize excellence in the industry and assist valued employees in advancing, said Carolyn Schnare, Yates Scholarship program administrator.

The 2005 Jim Yates Scholarship winners are:

Zachary Bluestone is a store associate at the Country Club Carwash in O'Fallon, Mo. A veteran of the industry having been involved the family business since age 5, Bluestone is now a freshman at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Catalina Cavazos is district manager of financial services at Texas Star Investments Inc., Corpus Christi, Texas. She has been with the company for six years and in her new position, a recent promotion, she oversees Qwik Cash, a check-cashing station owned and operated by Texas Star Investments. She is in her second year at Del Mar College majoring in business administration. Carol Churchill works in the accounts payable department for Sullivan Oil Co., Baton Rouge, La., and is in her final year at Louisiana State University, where she will earn a degree in business management. She has worked in the c-store industry for 16 years. Sharon L. Elliott. Sharon Elliott is a junior accountant with GasAmerica Services Inc., Greenfield, Ind. Elliott is finishing her last year at Indiana Wesleyan University and will earn a bachelor's degree in business accounting. Lindsey Gustafson is an assistant store manager at Honey Farms Inc., Charlton, Mass., where she started three years ago as a part-time sales associate. This fall Gustafson transferred to Worcester State College and entered her sophomore year majoring in business management. Vicki Harris works as an assistant manager for Grace Energy Corp./Fastrip, Springfield, Mo. In her second year at Missouri State University, Harris is pursuing a degree in human resource management. Eric Hoeft is a team leader at Bobby and Steve's Auto World, Minneapolis. He attends the University of Minnesota Twin Cities full-time and majors in political science. Gail Ladd is training manager for General Equities (dba Foodbag), Colchester, Conn. After 21 years with the company, Ladd has decided to use this scholarship to begin school at Three Rivers Community College this fall and is studying business. Ryan Williams is a store manager for E-Z Mart Stores Inc., Little Rock, Ark. In his last year at University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Williams is earning his degree in business management. Connie Gaines, E-Z Mart Stores district manager, said, Ryan is a very dedicated, dependable and energetic employee. James Wisniewski is a customer service leader with Wawa Inc., Wawa, Pa. Wisniewski is in his first year at Rider University and is majoring in business management.

To qualify for the scholarships, applicants had to be employed and nominated by a c-store company that is a NACS member. More than 40 nominations were received for the 2005 scholarship program.

The Yates scholarship program was established in 1999 to memorialize Jim Yates. Yates, a past chairman of the board of NACS and CEO of E-Z Mart Stores Inc., died in a plane crash in December 1998.