Class of 2018
Kennith Fries has always valued home, and despite his intense dislike for traveling — mainly flying — he has achieved remarkable national success. Born March 13, 1959, in Myrtle Beach, SC, Kennith’s father, Harvey, served in the Air Force with two tours in Vietnam, which meant his mother, Carolyn, was often left to manage the household and raise Kennith and his younger sister, Teresa. Kennith’s favorite memories were when his Dad would return home and they would all spend time in Greenville, SC, with extended family, especially his grandparents.
After his high school graduation in 1977, Kennith joined the Southland Corp. (7-Eleven), where he says you could advance from night clerk to store manager and beyond as long as you were willing to work hard, learn from others and accept challenges and opportunities as they came along. As an example, he worked in numerous positions before directly managing the confectionery category in 1992 and later supervising the snacking and confectionery category managers.
Kennith met his wife, Janice, at a 7-Eleven store when she was a management trainee and he was an area sales manager. Apparently he asked if he could use the store phone and, not realizing who he was, she said no and gave him change to use a pay phone. Married on September 9, 1990, in San Antonio, TX, they have two daughters, Victoria Gebhardtsbauer, a major in the U.S. Army, and Kristina Abbassi, a nurse, They also have two grandchildren, Teddy and Kenny.
Kennith attributes his success to Janice, who he describes as his partner, coach, advocate and friend.
At 7-Eleven, Kennith was instrumental in changing how the company displayed and sold confectionery, oversaw the limited time offering strategy, and was awarded Supervisor of the Year and Market Manager of the Year.
In 2003, he successfully transitioned from a large corporate environment to a smaller private company, brokerage TNT Marketing, Inc. As the president, he grew the business and sold it to CROSSMARK in 2010 where he is currently vice-president, c-stores, emerging markets. Recognizing his work at the company, Kennith was awarded Achieving Excellence awards with CROSSMARK in 2011 and 2012.
Believing it is critical to be involved in the industry, Kennith served on various NACS committees from 2002 to 2009 and as a NACS Supplier Board Member from 2009 to 2013. For the NCA, he served as a Board Member from 2014 to 2016, on the Broker Advisory Committee for six years and the State of the Industry Conference Committee.
Kennith has also served on the boards of several nonprofits including Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, and contributed time and energy to the Muscular Dystrophy Association March of Dimes and the NAACP. He loves to golf, attend car shows and is an avid basketball fan.