After more than seven years leading the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association (ACAPMA), Nic Moulis is stepping down from the role to return to the operator side of the industry.  On his last day in the role association members, media and industry leaders and ministers have expressed their thanks.  They have described an executive who has led the association through its most rapid period of change and expansion, redefined the membership offering and created unprecedented Government and media engagement on behalf of the industry, laying the foundation for a strong, successful, nimble and effective association into the future.

1083_7499With change comes the opportunity for growth and development. During his time at the helm of the Association Nic has effected change at every turn.  This has manifested itself as a paradigm shift in the way the association defines itself, the way it communicates to and services members as well as a concerted change to the way the association represents the industry in the media and political spheres.  This shift has produced results.  A proactive and forward thinking focus has ensured that with every change and adjustment ACAPMA has been leading not just the industry, but modelling what an active modern association should be.

As CEO Nic has midwifed this change personally, taking a role in everything from driving the bus, website coding, high level political advocacy, and almost everything in between.  The individual project successes have been lauded as they were achieved, but as the Association and industry says thank you we look to the high level contributions Nic has made, the architecture that has be constructed to ensure that the Association will continue on its path of strength, growth, credibility and relevance into the future.

Nic was responsible for executing a strategic broadening of membership to include petrol convenience retailers, industry trade partners and most recently petroleum contractors through the absorption of the sister association APICSA.  Bringing together of industry players, from major oil suppliers, to transport and storage companies, to retailers and all of the dedicated, specialised and varied companies that supply, support and maintain these businesses has created a network of industry parties that is closer and more connected than ever before.  This connected industry approach has facilitated the most effect networking and engagement events such as the series of acclaimed ACAPMA Conferences, as well as allowed for unprecedented industry led compliance, regulation and safety initiatives such as the Fuel Industry Safety Forums and the APICSA Council.

Internally, under Nic’s leadership, members have experienced a rapid and continuing expansion of offerings, in the key areas of communication, employment, training, compliance and events.  This expanded offering including the production of the industry magazine ACAPMAg, the expansion of the employment relations offering and representations, the development of industry best practice training and ACAPMA leadership in national safety compliance and regulatory forums has been delivered to members at the highest standard, while maintaining tight cost control that constitutes value to the members now, and sustainable service into the future.  “ACAPMA is the only association brave enough to go on the line.

ACAPMA looks forward while the rest of the industry drives by looking in the rear view mirrors”, says one industry stakeholder.

These changes were not made in isolation, nor were they made piecemeal.  The various ACAPMA Boards over the years have engaged to develop strategic plans with Nic and have ensured that the support required to execute them is available.  Throughout his tenure Nic has headed a small, energetic and slowly growing team of dedicated staff.  ACAPMA Member, Jeff Griffiths, notes that in addition to being an industry leader Nic has also demonstrated that he is an excellent manager; “What is often overlooked is Nics’ achievement in putting a great team together.  He gets them to see the organisation goals.  The results that ACAPMA has produced have been through their commitment”.  ACAPMA Trade Member Stuart Ramsey concurs “His ability to engage others has obviously meant he has been able to achieve the vision”.

The internal growth and change has been mirrored by an equally impressive broadening of the external face of the Association.  Over the past seven years Nic has executed a detailed communication and engagement strategy that has effectively positioned ACAPMA as The Voice of Petrol Convenience in media and advocacy areas.

From humble beginnings the industry magazine ACAPMAg is now sent directly to over 11,000 subscribers, including political and regulatory decision makers.  The commitment to substantive, balanced content has led to ACAPMAg been recognised as the source of quality information on the industry.  This commitment was mirrored with mainstream news interaction.  The success of which is summed up by the reccurring comment from members “saw Nic again on TV last night”.

At the same time the Association embarked on a journey of investigation and discovery that started with understanding the industry and worked towards articulating the realities and unique pressures of the industry to government.  This has grown further into an active political and regulatory engagement platform that includes dedicated advocacy actions, staff and events, such as ACAPMA @ The House.
The success of the advocacy arm of the ACAPMA 2014 Conference & ExpoAssociation can be attributed to the focus on informing policy makers of industry realities from a point of credibility and articulating points of tension but then focusing on working cooperatively with regulators to suggest solutions and achieve compliance.

This collaborative, solutions based approach has seen ACAPMA recognised as an engaged industry leader and has resulted in policy makers increasingly seeking out the views of the Association on a range of diverse issues. One industry stakeholder simply states “Nic has been an incredible advocate for the industry and has worked tirelessly to make a difference, and succeeded”. Another stakeholder goes further by stating that  “It is clear that as an industry voice, draw on the Association as a trusted provider of feedback and expert commentary”.

When asked, ACAPMA Members have been clear with many echoing the thoughts of David ‘Crock’ Thomas “Seven years ago I was thinking of not renewing my membership as I felt the Association had lost its way and offered nothing real for members.  I had a phone call from Nic who asked for one more year to prove that he could change direction for the benefit of members.  The rest is history.  What I got to see was a CEO and Board who went into fight for members at all levels.  All thanks to Nic’s passion”.

Some members go even further, “ACAPMA has taken me forward in my business, by moving me into thoughts and ideas that I had not even contemplated in the past.  I used to be a member for HR support only – now I am a member because where ACAPMA is going I am headed too”.

ACAPMA Board President Philip Molineux reflects on the highlights of Nics tenure “As a Board Member himself Nic showed his commitment to the new direction the Board set for the Association when he put his hand up to take the CEO role.  The Board could not be more delighted with the progress that ACAPMA has made under Nic’s leadership.  He has built on the solid APADA platform of HR/IR to become a progressive industry association that has been recognised by industry, governments and the media as the voice of petroleum marketers in Australia and an association that members can be proud of.  On a personal note the Board wishes Nic every success in reentering the commercial side of the petroleum marketing industry.”

In the ACAPMA offices the reflection on the last seven years has resulted in celebration and more than a few laughs.  Elisha Radwanowski, Manager Association Business for ACAPMA explains “the whole Secretariat has enjoyed going on this journey of growth with Nic.  His passion and commitment to the industry, to defending and improving it, is infectious.  Nic has laid the foundations for success and we are all committed to continuing to build on those successes and grow the Association, offering, relevance and influence into the future.  After two weeks of working with our new CEO Mark McKenzie it is clear that the Association will be left in good hands and that the hard work Nic has done will be further developed by Mark into the future.  We are all a little sad but very excited”.

New ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie credited Nic’s leadership for major wins in respect of securing government concessions with respect to shopper dockets, regulations governing the sale of tobacco products, and a relaxation in the legislation surrounding the ethanol mandate in NSW. “These issues constituted major wins for the industry in recent years and, having been relatively close to these debates in a past role, my firm belief is that these wins can be attributed to Nic’s personal commitment to working positively with all stakeholders to broker a win for both industry the community on important issues – a philosophy that we will continue to carry forward. In short, Nic has worked effectively with successive boards to build a contemporary organisation and a talented and professional team at ACAPMA. It is a privilege to be able to take over the helm and continue to position the industry positively for the future”, Mark said.

At a time when the industry has been shrinking, regulation has been increasing, ownership and sales portfolios have been shifting and traditional associations have been pairing back their member services, ACAPMA has been growing, adapting and engaging, offering more to members and the industry.  This has been the result of a group effort of the membership, board and secretariat, but one that would look very different under any other CEO.  “Nic brought a passion to his position, always strived to provide the best result for members in informing and opening doors and doing an excellent job in government lobbying, which raised the bar for our industry.”  ACAPMA Member Peter Anderson.
As Nic steps down from leading the Association there is one overwhelming message coming from members and it is simple, “Thanks for all the hard work you have done for us”.