Conexxus Director Addresses Effect of Target Breach, EMV

Technology group formerly known as PCATS names board of advisors

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

Connexxus PCATS (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Calling the high-profile breach of customer credit-card data at department store giant Target "the day we woke up to a political football," the head of a convenience store technology group formerly known as the Petroleum Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards (PCATS) said the industry's destiny regarding a particular type of data-security method seemed all but sealed.

Speaking about the security method known as EMV (Europay MasterCard Visa), Gray Taylor, executive director of PCATS--now called "Conexxus"--said the major credit cards seemed to be considering the postponement of the deadlines it set for the industry to meet EMV compliance.

But the media hype earlier this year surrounding the data breach at Minneapolis-based Target forced the credit-card companies to dig in their heels, cementing EMV deadlines that for some retailers will go into effect as early as Oct. 2015.

Deadlines will force a "liability shift" if retailers fail to make what Taylor estimates to be $4 billion in upgrades to in-store and forecourt equipment to accept the newly issued cards. It's a devastating number to an industry that recorded $7 billion in total profits last year.

"Talk about capital problems," Taylor told about 40 conference attendees in the data security workshop. "Only 19% of our industry is in a chain with over 100 stores. The bottom two quartiles have only $10,000 to $15,000 a year in operating profit. How are they going to pay for equipment?"

The problem with spending on EMV equipment now is that no one is coming in with cards, leaving the equipment unused. In time, employee training and knowledge will fade and the equipment itself may need upgrades without having been fully used.

Concerning other changes brought on by the major credit cards tied to data security, Taylor said, "Triple-DES was cheap. PCI was more expensive. EMV is a big whammy."

New board of advisors

Margaret Akins, business analyst at Pilot Travel Centers LLC, Knoxville, Tenn., is chairman of Conexxus. Drew Mize, COO at The Pinnacle Corp., Arlington, Texas, is chairman of the Conexxus membership and marketing committee.

During the event in Tucson, Ariz., Conexxus announced the election of four new board of advisor members. The group named Rutter's director of fuels Gabe Olives as vice chair. It also named Jeff Toeppner as secretary, Bill Wade as chair of the technical advisory committee and Sue Chan as chair of standards quality assurance committee.

Olives is the director of fuels for York, Pa.-based Rutter's. Formerly with Turkey Hill Minit Markets and Impact21, he is a 30-year veteran of the c-store industry, serving in various capacities including operations, petroleum marketing, legislative affairs as well as his overall passion for technology. He is the current chairman of the Petroleum and Convenience Alliance SQA Committee and is a member of the board of directors and board of advisors. He is also active with the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association.

Toeppner is a 25-year Coca-Cola veteran who began his career as a merchandiser in Michigan. He joined Coca-Cola's Finance team and eventually managed multiple distribution centers. In 1996, he moved to Atlanta to work on projects that enabled the collection of sales across the Coca-Cola system, converted operations to night delivery and led the move to electronic commerce. In his most recent positions, he has held increasing levels of responsibility in electronic commerce/EDI, order to cash and other supply chain-related roles. He is currently leading a team of 40 professionals who automate business transactions and facilitate Coca-Cola's relationship with trading partners from an e-commerce perspective.

Wade joined PDI in 1989 as a software developer and has since served in a variety of roles, including integration services manager, PDI/RMS product development manager and vice president of customer service. He returned to development in 2006 to lead the point-of-sale (POS) integration development team for the PDI/Enterprise product suite. He previously served as vice chairman of the PCATS POS/backoffice technical committee.

Chan is a senior retail payment consultant for W. Capra Consulting. She has 20 years of experience in the implementation, management, testing and maintenance of retail technology and payment/loyalty transaction systems. She is an active participant in Conexxus committees and working groups and currently serves as chairman of the point-to-point encryption working group.

Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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