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CSP’s Retail Leader of the Year 2022: Ken Parent

Executive was instrumental in propelling Pilot to become the largest travel-center network in North America
Ken Parent and Shameek Konar of Pilot Co.
Photograph by Jonathan Mouer

CHICAGO — Winsight and CSP are pleased to honor a 37-year veteran of the convenience and fuel retailing industry as its 2022 Retail Leader of the Year: Ken Parent, senior advisor and past president of Pilot Co.

With an easygoing and mild-mannered demeanor, the Pilot Flying J executive has proven himself as competitive in the board room or on the golf course as he is a trusted leader and confidant.

Recognizing Parent (pictured above center at CSP's Outlook Leadership Conference) as the 2022 Retail Leader of the Year, CSP celebrates Ken’s incredible leadership at Pilot for more than a quarter century in times of both great opportunity and tremendous challenges, such as the Great Recession and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parent was instrumental in propelling Pilot to become the largest travel-center network in North America, growing to more than 650 locations nationally and employing more than 28,000 employees. Since last year, Parent has continued to bring his leadership and expertise to Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot and the industry while transitioning from president to special advisor.

This transition is aided by one of Parent’s great skills, placing the right talent into the right positions and allowing new leaders to flourish.

“We’re extremely excited to honor Ken Parent for his role in growing Pilot to once unimaginable status as a leader in the travel-center, convenience and fueling industry,” said Steve Holtz, editor-in-chief of CSP. “Ken has been a calm and influential force at Pilot and the industry, driving innovation and variety in technology, fueling, foodservice and more. We wish him congratulations on his accomplishments and continued success into the future.”

In addition to a passion for golf, Parent is dedicated to his community and giving back to causes that are close to his heart. He and his wife, Leslie, serve as board chairs for the American Heart Association, where their fundraising determination is met with the same passion and commitment as nailing a winning putt on the 18th hole. An animal lover, Parent also serves on the board of the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley in Knoxville.

In August, Parent was appointed to the board of directors of loyalty technology company Stuzo, Philadelphia.

CSP’s Retail Leader of the Year (RLOY) award has an 19-year legacy for recognizing convenience-retailing executives for their excellence in leadership, innovation and perseverance within his or her company, positively transforming the organization to new and higher levels. Past honorees include Brian Hannasch, Alimentation Couche-Tard, Chet Cadieux, QuikTrip; Kyle Krause, Kum & Go; Ari Haseotes, Cumberland Farms; Bob Myers of Casey’s General Stores; Tony Kenney, Speedway; Sam L. Susser, Susser Petroleum Partners; John MacDougall, Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes; Don Zietlow, Kwik Trip; and Joe DePinto, 7-Eleven Inc., among others.

On Oct. 2, CSP, Parent’s family and friends, and Pilot Co. team members will celebrate his leadership and achievements at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas with a formal dinner and award presentation. Click here for more information.

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