Through the simple details—a fresh cup of coffee, savings at the gas pump, a satisfying snack—MAPCO Express believes in the power of “making things good.” After all, any of these things can define the quality of a journey, whether it’s a daily commute to work or a cross-country road trip. As the convenience store and gas station chain was expanding its outreach in the late 2010s, it brought on senior construction project manager Jerrod Herron to join the fleet.
Herron joined MAPCO in the fall of 2019, by way of Pilot Flying J, where he designed and managed projects for more than 10 years. The previous role offered him experience in retail construction, maintaining budgets, energy upgrades, and brand reimaging rollouts. Since coming to MAPCO, Herron has focused on managing the current construction processes and implementing some of his own.
He’s also sure to keep relationships—both internal and external—at the forefront of everything that he does. His outside connections have facilitated ongoing expansion efforts, including MAPCO’s rollout of elevated c-stores that distinguish the company from the competition. He’s thankful for his teammates and the support they provide during each project, which he says had made his job both easier and enjoyable.
When MAPCO first approached him about coming on board, Herron recognized an opportunity to build out not only new facilities but also new standard operating procedures for the department—a challenge that he met head-on. “I put together a process to turn out projects competitively and broaden our base with contractors and vendors. It’s probably the most important thing that I’ve tackled because we wouldn’t be able to do what we’re doing now if those steps hadn’t been taken first,” he elaborates.
Herron helped establish a fair and thorough bidding process to help manage project cost increases for improved store designs and higher quality finishes. But funding this growth is part of MAPCO’s mission to “make a better break” for customers and employees alike, by crafting best-in-class retail experiences.
In April 2021, MAPCO opened a location in Birmingham, Alabama, that Herron says fully embodies that mission. “It’s unlike any other kind of c-store in the country, in that the finishes are very high-end, warm, and inviting,” Herron says. “When you drive by it, whether the gas canopy or the landscaping or the building itself, it really is a showstopper. It is a very inviting space.”
The sense of awe only continues inside the c-store. Customers step into an expansive, thoughtfully laid out space bedecked with greenery, imported tiles and fixtures, sleek wood trim, and top-shelf technology and equipment. As Herron adds, the numerous food and beverage options available match the building in terms of quality.
“We have four bean-to-cup coffee brewers that roast the beans right as the coffee comes into your cup,” he offers as an example. “It’s a higher-end take on a traditional gas station with more unique offerings than you would get at an average stop.”
MAPCO takes its role in the local community seriously. Around the time that the new location opened, Alabama was impacted by tornados. Through MAPCO’s Giveback program, the company donated $5,000 to the American Red Cross of Alabama and Mississippi. The program allows the company to support community programs and nonprofits in the various markets that it serves.
From his years of experience in the industry, Herron can look to an extensive network when identifying additional talent. He’s sure to nurture past relationships by checking in on suppliers and vendors that the MAPCO has used in the past.
“I wanted to honor existing relationships and do my due diligence to dig into those relationships, see how they were working, and determine whether they were still beneficial for MAPCO and for the contractors,” he says.
Herron is also helping MAPCO put time and money back into older sites to align those locations with the style of new builds. No matter what the project, he hopes to continue doing the company—and himself—proud.
“It’s important to take pride in what you do, and that goes hand in hand with ownership. If someone tasks me with leading a team or building a new store or putting in processes, I’m going to take the utmost responsibility and try to make that as successful as possible,” says Herron. “I want people to see what we do, to see the stores that we build, and to say ‘wow.’”