Do the math: It’s been the mantra for Speedway for years, and no one lives it more than Glenn Plumby, who became head of operations in 2010 and has been with the company for more than three decades. In that time, Speedway has more than doubled in size to 2,730 stores in 21 states, thanks in part to its 2014 acquisition of Hess’ retail assets. Plumby’s team rebranded more than 1,200 former Hess sites—and finished the mammoth effort ahead of schedule.

It is critical for Speedway, the retail business of refiner Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC), Findlay, Ohio, to prove its worth through generating sales and controlling expenses—and, in the process, identifying where future profits will come from.

“That’s how we maintain our edge,” Plumby told CSP in 2010, shortly after being named vice president of operations. “The math at the category level is what’s important, and math at the store level is important, and [it is] profitability per square foot.”

In 2017, Speedway’s value to MPC was confirmed when the refiner decided to hold onto its retail assets after an activist investor encouraged a spinoff. Part of the decision hinged on Speedway’s role as a reliable outlet for MPC fuel. Another reason was the chain’s continued strong performance. Third-quarter 2017 showcased one of Speedway’s best quarters ever, with solid fuel and merchandise margins.

It’s a sign, too, that employees from the former Hess sites—or “Speedway East”—are adopting the company value system. This includes charitable giving, such as Speedway’s sponsorship of the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN). In 2017, the chain raised a record-breaking $2.5 million for the charity.

15 months—Approximate time it took for the more than 1,200 former Hess sites to be rebranded to Speedway, vs. the original 36-month estimate