Brian Clark PicState Executive Profile
Brian Clark, Kentucky Petroleum Marketers Association

Brian Clark’s first job was a twice-a-week stint as a disc jockey at a Danville, KY radio station. And like a lot of high school kids, he did it to earn money to buy a car. In a “small-world” twist, the person who ended up selling him that car was Tom Ensslin, who was then president of Kentucky Petroleum Marketers Association (KPMA), the organization that Clark now heads as its Executive Director.

Founded in 1926, KPMA currently serves 144 marketer members in all areas of Kentucky as well as c-store, supplier and associate members who provide services to marketers. As with many nonprofit professional associations, KPMA executives report to a Board of Directors. But in 2012, the KPMA board elected to contract operations to Associations International, a firm that provides management services to a roster of professional and trade associations. KPMA’s former offices in Frankfort were sold, operations were transferred to AI headquarters in Lexington, and Clark was brought aboard to helm the association.  The setup allows Clark and his staff (all three of them are AI employees working exclusively for KPMA) to focus on projects, members and industry issues while utilizing AI’s shared services division for backshop operations such as accounting and finances, data processing, registration and membership services.

“It’s proving to be a very good, efficient model,” says Clark, who was hired by Associations International specifically to direct KPMA. “AI provides the resources to handle day-to-day operations, and that frees our KPMA-dedicated staff to work on education, lobbying and service initiatives that really help our organization serve marketers in Kentucky.”

For example, Clark points to the relatively recent launch of KPMA Press, a publishing imprint division tasked with producing printed information resources for the petroleum marketing industry. One of its first products was the Kentucky TOOLS Reference Handbook, a companion guide to the state’s online operator training program for those seeking to become Underground Storage Tank Designated Compliance Managers in Kentucky. “Because there is a federal mandate that any facility operating USTs must have trained DCMs, we saw an opportunity to be of real service to our marketer members by making this education resource available,” says Clark.  The TOOLS book was preceded by The Marketer’s Legal Handbook (featured in this issue’s lead story).

Clark, who grew up in Kentucky, was a natural for this sort of thing, having gotten his undergraduate and graduate degrees in communications, English and journalism. He began his career in the publishing industry, gravitating toward the marketing side of things before transitioning to marketing and communications at Valvoline in Lexington, KY. He also worked in public relations and as a creative agency consultant, and honed his association management skills while working as director of marketing and membership at the Asphalt Institute.

KPMA logo“I love what I do,” Clark states. “It’s a real pleasure to work for our members. We love big ideas and it’s fun dreaming up new and creative ways to serve KPMA’s membership.”