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Our History

Clipper Petroleum, Inc. originally started as an Amoco Oil Distributor based in Gainesville, Georgia serving the North Georgia area. W. F. Homeyer founded W. F. Homeyer Oil Company in 1933. Several years later, Mr. Homeyer took an around the world trip in the famed Pan Am Clipper airplane. He was so impressed by that famous airplane that upon returning to Georgia he renamed his small oil company Clipper Petroleum.

During the mid-1900's, Clipper served service stations, country stores, farms, and industries in North Georgia. Mr. Homeyer incorporated as Clipper Petroleum, Inc. in January of 1958. He retired in 1969, and turned the operation of the business over to his right hand man, Curtis Hudgins. Mr. Hudgins continued to operate the company from the site adjacent to the railroad tracks off of Myrtle Street in Gainesville.

On May 1, 1974, Tom Bower and Robert Braff purchased Clipper Petroleum. Mr. Bower and Mr. Braff had been employed with Amoco Oil Company and saw this as an opportunity to be in business for themselves. Clipper Petroleum was selling approximately 300,000 gallons of petroleum products per month. In 1977, Mr. Bower's son, Tom Bower III, joined the company.

The company started the Circle M Food Shop convenience stores in early 1977. The first store was located in Gainesville off of Green St. Circle. The original store was called Circle Amoco because of the street name, Green Street Circle. In the late 70's, the store became Circle Mart. And, in the 80's, the "art" in Mart was dropped to form the name of Circle M.

The first store built from the ground up was Circle M #4 in Cumming in 1981. Stores have continued to be added over the years to give Circle M excellent market recognition in North Georgia.

In 1994, Mr. Bower and his son bought out Mr. Braff's holdings. Clipper Petroleum continued to grow the Amoco brand (now BP) at its own Circle M stores and at independently operated dealer stores. Mr. Bower and his son were proponents of the major oil brand. In order to maintain the fuels growth they wanted to achieve, Clipper Petroleum became an ExxonMobil Distributor in 2000. Shortly thereafter, Clipper purchased 16 locations from ExxonMobil, immediately expanding Clipper's presence into Metro Atlanta. Over the next few years, Clipper also became Distributors of Shell, Citgo, Chevron, Texaco, and 76  branded fuels.

Clipper Petroleum has had a similar growth focus on the convenience store side. After the purchase of the ExxonMobil sites, some of those locations were retained as Circle M stores. Clipper has added many new-to-industry sites in the last 10 years. In 2009, Clipper purchased 18 stores from BP in Metro Atlanta, solidifying Clipper's market share in the Atlanta market.

Today, Clipper operates retail stores and restaurants throughout Metro Atlanta, North Georgia, and South Carolina and Clipper Petroleum is recognized as one of the largest petroleum Distributors in the Southeast.

OUR CUSTOMERS AND TEAM MEMBERS ARE THE CORNERSTONES TO ALL THAT WE DO

C Committed to caring for our customers and team members
L Laugh every day
I Invest in our communities
P Provide a safe environment
P Pursue a life in which you act ethically and with integrity
E Exceed expectations
R Respect our customers, team members, and vendors

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MANAGEMENT TEAM

Tom Bower

Tom Bower

President and CEO

Tom Bower III started working with Clipper Petroleum in 1977, joining his late father Tom II in the business. Throughout his 40 years at Clipper, Tom has worked in various fields including service station attendant, service station manager, convenience store manager, convenience store supervisor, fuel truck driver, and tires/batteries/accessories sales representative. In 2004, Tom became the President of Clipper Petroleum. As President and CEO of Clipper, Tom is responsible for total company operations.

Tom graduated from Roswell High School in 1969. He completed his college undergraduate degree at Wofford College in 1974 where he played football and is a member of the Wofford College Hall of Fame. Tom also earned a J.D. degree at the University of Georgia School of Law in 1977. Tom currently serves on the Georgia Oilmen's Association Board of Directors and the United Community Bank of Gainesville Advisory Board. He is also President of the Clipper Petroleum Foundation. In the past, Tom has been a youth basketball/softball coach, President of the Georgia Oilmen's Association, President of the North Hall Softball Booster Club for 5 years, Member of the Hall County Humane Society Board of Directors, and Member of the Wofford College Terrier Club Board.

Tom and his wife, Maria, have three daughters, Haley, Caroline, and Anna. In his free time, Tom enjoys spending time with his wife and girls, going to Wofford football games, and hanging out with his four dogs.

Steve Hall

Steve Hall

General Manager & Senior Vice President

Steve Hall joined Clipper Petroleum in 2001, following a 29 year career with Atlanta based petroleum jobber W. H. Ferguson & Sons. As General Manager of Clipper, Steve is responsible for directing the executive team, operations, finance, marketing, and real estate activities. 

Steve attended the University of Georgia and Georgia State University and has served as past Director of the Gwinnett Rotary Club, Member of the Peachtree Corners Kiwanis Club, and President of the Peachtree Corners Executive Association.  Steve is also Treasurer of the Clipper Petroleum Foundation. 

Steve and his wife Joy have two children, Katherine and Brad. In his free time, Steve enjoys hunting and spending time at his farm in Elberton, GA.

Mark R. Cole

Mark R. Cole

Chief Financial Officer

Mark Cole began working for Clipper Petroleum as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in 2014.  He is a CPA who graduated from Texas A&M University with a BBA-Accounting degree and started his work history in Houston, TX with Touche Ross & Co. (now Deloitte LLP) working for a variety of audit clients.  Mark then spent 7 years with Houston-based National Convenience Stores Incorporated and 11 years with Coastal Mart, Inc. managing their accounting departments.  Immediately prior to joining Clipper, Mark worked for 11 years as CFO of Tri Star Services, LLC (a c-store operator and fuel wholesaler based in Nashville, TN).

In his capacity as Clipper’s CFO, Mark has responsibility for managing the Accounting and Finance functions of the Company.

Mark and his wife Cindy have two sons – Jeff and Andrew.  Mark enjoys golf and travel and has been involved as an active member of his church and as a leader of the international Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) organization since 2004.

Bo Bearden

Bo Bearden

Director of Wholesale Sales and Operations

After completing his undergraduate studies at The University of Alabama and receiving a B.S. in Business Administration with a major in Marketing, Bo began his business career in 1979 with a wholesale grocery company.   In 1985, as the convenience/petroleum store industry took on a new and different direction, Bo was involved in restructuring the grocery wholesaler’s product lines and operational processes to meet the demands of this new channel of trade.  

From the retail convenience grocery wholesale business, Bo went to work in 1994 with a petroleum wholesale jobber in south Alabama.  As a marketing sales representative responsible for petroleum wholesale growth through the dealer network, the company experienced double digit growth during his first five years.  Developing knowledge of the supplier branded programs was an important part of the growth strategy and results.  Flying the BP, Shell, Texaco, Citgo, Conoco and ExxonMobil flags created a great opportunity to learn and understand both the petroleum wholesale distributor business and retail dealer business.  Bo continued to develop both operational and management skills in the petroleum business until taking a position with Mansfield Oil in February 2006.  

Bo also purchased and operated 3 convenience retail locations from 1995 – 2006.  The knowledge he obtained from ownership through operational and management functions has been valuable as he learned from experience the daily challenges facing his customers.

Through Bo’s 35 years in the c-store petroleum business, he appreciates firsthand the business and personal relationships he has established that are and remain critical to success in a highly competitive industry.  Bo feels the keys to success lie within these supplier, vendor and customer relationships. 

Bo currently lives in Cumming, GA.  He enjoys playing golf (especially with his youngest daughter Samantha) and spending time at the beach or lake with his family. He and his wife, Susan, have three daughters and they all enjoy spending time together with family and friends.

Ed Hong

Ed Hong

Vice President of Retail Operations

Ed Hong began working for Clipper Petroleum in 2010. Prior to joining Clipper, Ed worked 15 years with ExxonMobil, holding various operations and marketing positions within their U.S. Fuels Marketing division. After his tenure at ExxonMobil, Ed worked for FleetCor Technologies for 3 years where he initially served as Vice President of Marketing of its Mannatec division and later became the General Manager of Mannatec. As Vice President of Retail Operations, Ed is responsible for managing the Circle M Food Shops division, which includes 29 convenience stores, 5 Subway restaurants, and 1 Bojangles' restaurant in Georgia and South Carolina. 

Ed earned a degree in Economics and Psychology from Vanderbilt University. He serves as an Officer for The Georgia Association of Convenience Stores (GACS) and Secretary of the Clipper Petroleum Foundation. Ed is also a youth softball, baseball and basketball coach.

In his spare time, Ed enjoys playing tennis and golf, following his beloved Boston Red Sox, volunteering at his church and spending time with his family.

Mark Linkesh

Mark Linkesh

Director of Real Estate

Mark Linkesh joined Clipper Petroleum in 2007. Prior to joining Clipper, Mark worked as a real estate broker/developer for 17 years. During his time as a broker/developer, Mark was involved in over $100 million of real estate developments, including over 25 CVS Pharmacy developments. As Director of Real Estate, Mark is responsible for managing the real estate owned by Clipper and its related entities. He is also responsible for seeking out new locations for Clipper and its dealer network. 

Mark completed his degree at Furman University where he played basketball. 

Mark and his wife Nancy reside in Gainesville, Georgia. In his free time, Mark enjoys hunting and farming.

Brad Hall

Brad Hall

Director of Maintenance

Brad Hall began working full time with Clipper Petroleum in 2010. Starting in 2006, Brad worked part-time with Clipper during summer and winter breaks while attending college.  He began his current role as Director of Maintenance in 2011. As Director of Maintenance, Brad manages all Clipper assets, as well as equipment service and environmental compliance for all Circle M Food Shops and Clipper Dealer locations. 

Brad earned his degree in Business Management at the University of North Georgia where he was a member of the Varsity Baseball team and Sigma Chi fraternity.

In April of 2014, Brad celebrated the marriage to his new bride, Jessica. In his free time, Brad enjoys running, cycling, hunting, and beekeeping.

Brittany Poole

Brittany Poole

General Counsel

Brittany Poole joined the Clipper family as General Counsel in December, 2016. She studied political science at North Georgia College and State University and received her Juris Doctorate from Mercer University in 2013. She first entered the energy industry through Mansfield Oil Company where she specialized in corporate governance, contract drafting, and wholesale petroleum supply transactions. Through her joining us, Brittany has formed Clipper’s first in-house legal department and is enthusiastic about supporting Clipper in all facets of its business.

In her free time, Brittany loves spending time on her small farm in north Hall County with her two children, Colton and Kennedy and her husband, Blake. She also enjoys working out, horseback riding and playing with her dog, Chancellor. 

Lynn Cleveland

Lynn Cleveland

Director of Marketing

Lynn Cleveland has worked for Clipper Petroleum since 1988. Throughout her 29 years at Clipper, Lynn has worked as an internal auditor, buyer & merchandiser, Director of Retail Operations, Human Resources Manager, and now she works at her current position as Director of Marketing.  

Lynn earned a degree from the University of Georgia. She is a Member of the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores (GACS), National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), and an active Member of Chestnut Mountain Church. In the past, Lynn has worked as the PTSO Secretary, a high school girls youth leader, and a youth baseball coach. 

Lynn and her husband Mike have two children, Dustin and Cason. In her free time, Lynn enjoys going to the lake, snow skiing and shopping, and spending time with her 2 grandchildren.

Shaukat Gilkar

Shaukat Gilkar

Director of Retail Operations

Shaukat Gilkar has worked for Clipper Petroleum since 2009 and currently serves as the Director of Retail Operations. As the Director of Retail Operations, Shaukat is responsible for the operation of Clipper's 29 company-operated c-stores and 5 Subway restaurants.

Shaukat earned his undergraduate degree in Commerce at the University of Kashmir (India) in 1981.  He was introduced to the world of convenience stores as an owner/operator of two Sunoco convenience stores in upstate New York.  Shaukat moved from being an entrepreneur to the corporate world and worked at BP as a Compliance Consultant and Change Coach.

Shaukat and his wife Rubina reside in Suwanee.  In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf and gardening.

 

Albernie Ferguson

Albernie Ferguson

Director of Human Resources

Albernie “Albie” Ferguson has worked for Clipper Petroleum since January 2018. She has almost 9 years of human resources experience in the retail, service and manufacturing industries.  Her first jobs were in food service and legal offices.

Albie loves laughter and appreciates every day of life she’s afforded. She likes to say you’ll most likely hear her before you see her. In her free time, Albie enjoys spending time with the love of her life, her mother, and her friends.

Tom Bower

Tom Bower

President and CEO

Tom Bower III started working with Clipper Petroleum in 1977, joining his late father Tom II in the business. Throughout his 40 years at Clipper, Tom has worked in various fields including service station attendant, service station manager, convenience store manager, convenience store supervisor, fuel truck driver, and tires/batteries/accessories sales representative. In 2004, Tom became the President of Clipper Petroleum. As President and CEO of Clipper, Tom is responsible for total company operations.

Tom graduated from Roswell High School in 1969. He completed his college undergraduate degree at Wofford College in 1974 where he played football and is a member of the Wofford College Hall of Fame. Tom also earned a J.D. degree at the University of Georgia School of Law in 1977. Tom currently serves on the Georgia Oilmen's Association Board of Directors and the United Community Bank of Gainesville Advisory Board. He is also President of the Clipper Petroleum Foundation. In the past, Tom has been a youth basketball/softball coach, President of the Georgia Oilmen's Association, President of the North Hall Softball Booster Club for 5 years, Member of the Hall County Humane Society Board of Directors, and Member of the Wofford College Terrier Club Board.

Tom and his wife, Maria, have three daughters, Haley, Caroline, and Anna. In his free time, Tom enjoys spending time with his wife and girls, going to Wofford football games, and hanging out with his four dogs.

Steve Hall

Steve Hall

General Manager & Senior Vice President

Steve Hall joined Clipper Petroleum in 2001, following a 29 year career with Atlanta based petroleum jobber W. H. Ferguson & Sons. As General Manager of Clipper, Steve is responsible for directing the executive team, operations, finance, marketing, and real estate activities. 

Steve attended the University of Georgia and Georgia State University and has served as past Director of the Gwinnett Rotary Club, Member of the Peachtree Corners Kiwanis Club, and President of the Peachtree Corners Executive Association.  Steve is also Treasurer of the Clipper Petroleum Foundation. 

Steve and his wife Joy have two children, Katherine and Brad. In his free time, Steve enjoys hunting and spending time at his farm in Elberton, GA.

Mark R. Cole

Mark R. Cole

Chief Financial Officer

Mark Cole began working for Clipper Petroleum as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in 2014.  He is a CPA who graduated from Texas A&M University with a BBA-Accounting degree and started his work history in Houston, TX with Touche Ross & Co. (now Deloitte LLP) working for a variety of audit clients.  Mark then spent 7 years with Houston-based National Convenience Stores Incorporated and 11 years with Coastal Mart, Inc. managing their accounting departments.  Immediately prior to joining Clipper, Mark worked for 11 years as CFO of Tri Star Services, LLC (a c-store operator and fuel wholesaler based in Nashville, TN).

In his capacity as Clipper’s CFO, Mark has responsibility for managing the Accounting and Finance functions of the Company.

Mark and his wife Cindy have two sons – Jeff and Andrew.  Mark enjoys golf and travel and has been involved as an active member of his church and as a leader of the international Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) organization since 2004.

Bo Bearden

Bo Bearden

Director of Wholesale Sales and Operations

After completing his undergraduate studies at The University of Alabama and receiving a B.S. in Business Administration with a major in Marketing, Bo began his business career in 1979 with a wholesale grocery company.   In 1985, as the convenience/petroleum store industry took on a new and different direction, Bo was involved in restructuring the grocery wholesaler’s product lines and operational processes to meet the demands of this new channel of trade.  

From the retail convenience grocery wholesale business, Bo went to work in 1994 with a petroleum wholesale jobber in south Alabama.  As a marketing sales representative responsible for petroleum wholesale growth through the dealer network, the company experienced double digit growth during his first five years.  Developing knowledge of the supplier branded programs was an important part of the growth strategy and results.  Flying the BP, Shell, Texaco, Citgo, Conoco and ExxonMobil flags created a great opportunity to learn and understand both the petroleum wholesale distributor business and retail dealer business.  Bo continued to develop both operational and management skills in the petroleum business until taking a position with Mansfield Oil in February 2006.  

Bo also purchased and operated 3 convenience retail locations from 1995 – 2006.  The knowledge he obtained from ownership through operational and management functions has been valuable as he learned from experience the daily challenges facing his customers.

Through Bo’s 35 years in the c-store petroleum business, he appreciates firsthand the business and personal relationships he has established that are and remain critical to success in a highly competitive industry.  Bo feels the keys to success lie within these supplier, vendor and customer relationships. 

Bo currently lives in Cumming, GA.  He enjoys playing golf (especially with his youngest daughter Samantha) and spending time at the beach or lake with his family. He and his wife, Susan, have three daughters and they all enjoy spending time together with family and friends.

Ed Hong

Ed Hong

Vice President of Retail Operations

Ed Hong began working for Clipper Petroleum in 2010. Prior to joining Clipper, Ed worked 15 years with ExxonMobil, holding various operations and marketing positions within their U.S. Fuels Marketing division. After his tenure at ExxonMobil, Ed worked for FleetCor Technologies for 3 years where he initially served as Vice President of Marketing of its Mannatec division and later became the General Manager of Mannatec. As Vice President of Retail Operations, Ed is responsible for managing the Circle M Food Shops division, which includes 29 convenience stores, 5 Subway restaurants, and 1 Bojangles' restaurant in Georgia and South Carolina. 

Ed earned a degree in Economics and Psychology from Vanderbilt University. He serves as an Officer for The Georgia Association of Convenience Stores (GACS) and Secretary of the Clipper Petroleum Foundation. Ed is also a youth softball, baseball and basketball coach.

In his spare time, Ed enjoys playing tennis and golf, following his beloved Boston Red Sox, volunteering at his church and spending time with his family.

Mark Linkesh

Mark Linkesh

Director of Real Estate

Mark Linkesh joined Clipper Petroleum in 2007. Prior to joining Clipper, Mark worked as a real estate broker/developer for 17 years. During his time as a broker/developer, Mark was involved in over $100 million of real estate developments, including over 25 CVS Pharmacy developments. As Director of Real Estate, Mark is responsible for managing the real estate owned by Clipper and its related entities. He is also responsible for seeking out new locations for Clipper and its dealer network. 

Mark completed his degree at Furman University where he played basketball. 

Mark and his wife Nancy reside in Gainesville, Georgia. In his free time, Mark enjoys hunting and farming.

Brad Hall

Brad Hall

Director of Maintenance

Brad Hall began working full time with Clipper Petroleum in 2010. Starting in 2006, Brad worked part-time with Clipper during summer and winter breaks while attending college.  He began his current role as Director of Maintenance in 2011. As Director of Maintenance, Brad manages all Clipper assets, as well as equipment service and environmental compliance for all Circle M Food Shops and Clipper Dealer locations. 

Brad earned his degree in Business Management at the University of North Georgia where he was a member of the Varsity Baseball team and Sigma Chi fraternity.

In April of 2014, Brad celebrated the marriage to his new bride, Jessica. In his free time, Brad enjoys running, cycling, hunting, and beekeeping.

Brittany Poole

Brittany Poole

General Counsel

Brittany Poole joined the Clipper family as General Counsel in December, 2016. She studied political science at North Georgia College and State University and received her Juris Doctorate from Mercer University in 2013. She first entered the energy industry through Mansfield Oil Company where she specialized in corporate governance, contract drafting, and wholesale petroleum supply transactions. Through her joining us, Brittany has formed Clipper’s first in-house legal department and is enthusiastic about supporting Clipper in all facets of its business.

In her free time, Brittany loves spending time on her small farm in north Hall County with her two children, Colton and Kennedy and her husband, Blake. She also enjoys working out, horseback riding and playing with her dog, Chancellor. 

Lynn Cleveland

Lynn Cleveland

Director of Marketing

Lynn Cleveland has worked for Clipper Petroleum since 1988. Throughout her 29 years at Clipper, Lynn has worked as an internal auditor, buyer & merchandiser, Director of Retail Operations, Human Resources Manager, and now she works at her current position as Director of Marketing.  

Lynn earned a degree from the University of Georgia. She is a Member of the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores (GACS), National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), and an active Member of Chestnut Mountain Church. In the past, Lynn has worked as the PTSO Secretary, a high school girls youth leader, and a youth baseball coach. 

Lynn and her husband Mike have two children, Dustin and Cason. In her free time, Lynn enjoys going to the lake, snow skiing and shopping, and spending time with her 2 grandchildren.

Shaukat Gilkar

Shaukat Gilkar

Director of Retail Operations

Shaukat Gilkar has worked for Clipper Petroleum since 2009 and currently serves as the Director of Retail Operations. As the Director of Retail Operations, Shaukat is responsible for the operation of Clipper's 29 company-operated c-stores and 5 Subway restaurants.

Shaukat earned his undergraduate degree in Commerce at the University of Kashmir (India) in 1981.  He was introduced to the world of convenience stores as an owner/operator of two Sunoco convenience stores in upstate New York.  Shaukat moved from being an entrepreneur to the corporate world and worked at BP as a Compliance Consultant and Change Coach.

Shaukat and his wife Rubina reside in Suwanee.  In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf and gardening.

 

Albernie Ferguson

Albernie Ferguson

Director of Human Resources

Albernie “Albie” Ferguson has worked for Clipper Petroleum since January 2018. She has almost 9 years of human resources experience in the retail, service and manufacturing industries.  Her first jobs were in food service and legal offices.

Albie loves laughter and appreciates every day of life she’s afforded. She likes to say you’ll most likely hear her before you see her. In her free time, Albie enjoys spending time with the love of her life, her mother, and her friends.