Regulation & Legislation

NATSO, SIGMA Forge Strategic Alliance on Federal Initiatives

Retailer trade groups leverage shared advocacy interests, mutual legislative goals
natso sigma

ALEXANDRIA, Va. —NATSO, representing the nation’s truckstops and travel plazas, and SIGMA, representing America’s leading fuel marketers, have forged a strategic alliance on federal legislative priorities and advocacy initiatives that enhances the government relations capabilities for their members.

Working with the SIGMA board of directors and Legislative Committee, NATSO will manage SIGMA’s government affairs program, advocating on issues related to fuels, energy and transportation, among others. NATSO will implement SIGMA’s legislative priorities as determined by the SIGMA board.

“The NATSO-SIGMA partnership is a powerful strategic alliance,” said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. “SIGMA and NATSO have long shared advocacy interests and worked to achieve mutual legislative goals on behalf of our members. Both organizations will greatly benefit from NATSO’s strong advocacy program, enhancing our ability to meet the growing needs of members and ultimately driving the future success of truckstops, travel plazas and fuel marketers nationwide. We are excited to partner with SIGMA so that the entire fuel retailing network will benefit.”

Through NATSO’s government affairs team, NATSO and SIGMA have formed an advocacy “powerhouse” for the entire transportation fuels sector, they said.

“By formalizing this strategic alliance with NATSO, we will enhance SIGMA’s ability to deliver exceptional value to our members,” said SIGMA CEO Ryan McNutt. “SIGMA is pleased that its advocacy efforts will be seamlessly maintained through this new partnership with a team of legislative professionals with whom we have long worked.”

The joint announcement between NATSO and SIGMA comes at a key time for the nation’s retail fuels sector, the groups said. Congress is currently negotiating broad infrastructure legislation, and truckstops, travel plazas and fuel retailers continue to invest in alternative fuels. Among the industry’s top legislative priorities is ensuring that Congress adopts a policy framework that encourages these investments.

NATSO and SIGMA represent approximately 90% of the retail sales of motor fuel in the United States and represent a nationwide network of hundreds of thousands of fueling locations. Fuel retailers today are best positioned to provide alternative sources of transportation energy while achieving Congressional objectives of lowering the transportation sector’s carbon footprint and increasing consumer adoption of alternative fuel vehicles, the associations said.

In related news, NATSO has hired LeeAnn Goheen and Jessica Frend, two experienced government affairs professionals, to join its staff and promoted David Fialkov to executive vice president of government affairs.

Goheen is joining NATSO as director of government affairs. She will implement NATSO’s legislative and political agenda in Washington and direct the association’s political engagement efforts. She will serve as the liaison with NATSO’s Government Affairs Committee and represent NATSO before Congress and officials in the executive branch on matters relating to the truckstop and travel plaza industry, including transportation, energy, financial services, environmental and labor issues.

Jessica Frend will be senior policy advisor to the entire government affairs team. She will be responsible for helping to shape and advance NATSO’s advocacy agenda on Capitol Hill. Her years of experience working with the industry combined with a focus on energy and transportation matters on Capitol Hill will enhance NATSO’s efforts to expand and strengthen its reach in Washington.

Previously, both were government affairs professionals at the law firm of Steptoe and Johnson, where they represented NATSO and other trade associations.

Fialkov has spent the last five years as NATSO’s vice president of government affairs, where he has implemented NATSO’s political and policy strategy.

NATSO, founded in 1960 as the National Association of Truckstop Operators, and SIGMA, founded in 1958 as the Society of Independent Gasoline marketers of America, are both based in Alexandria, Va.

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