…and got to talking about checking IDs. The retailer was frustrated because there is too much room for human error, and is tired of the penalties to the business and team from ever-changing legal and manufacturer requirements.
The manufacturer was angry his products keep getting banned because today’s carding approach isn’t enough to shut down social selling to minors. And the consumer was confused because everywhere she goes, the process is different and leaves questions about the privacy and security of their personal data.
Now, while this conversation didn’t specifically happen in a bar—it was an office, but that sounds a lot less fun—this was what led us to create TruAge®
A physical driver’s license was never meant to become the de facto way for a consumer to prove their age and so it wasn’t designed for it. Point-of-sale and payment systems existed to maintain inventory and exchange funds—they weren’t intended to be a gatekeeper to prevent sales of age-restricted items to those who are underage. Yet here we are.
We asked ourselves, “What if we could create a universal solution that addresses what retailers and manufacturers need AND that consumers want?”
The TruAge team, in partnership with industry leaders representing retail, manufacturers and technology brought the vision of TruAge to life—a digital age verification solution that works across all points of sale in all retail channels. It’s a faster, smarter, and more secure way to keep age-restricted products out of the hands of minors while protecting consumers’ privacy.
That’s why TruAge is free to retailers, consumers, and point-of-sale vendors. And to reinforce our mission, we established TruAge as a not-for-profit entity, whose operations are funded by the manufacturers of age-restricted products.
Proving your age should not cost money, data access or your right to privacy. TruAge is the only system to deliver a truly free service that protects retailers from egregious fees, while saving consumers from an unnecessary invasion of privacy.
Kyle McKeen, TruAge CEO
Kyle McKeen serves as the CEO for TruAge, responsible for successfully delivering this revolutionary new age-verification product to the market.
McKeen, a convenience industry veteran, brings decades of leadership experience in convenience and fuels retailing. Most recently, he served as president and CEO of Alon Brands, the organization created by Alon USA in 2008, with responsibility for the company’s branded wholesale and convenience retail businesses. McKeen previously served several roles at Alon USA, including director of marketing technology and vice president of marketing. He also served as president and COO of Carter Energy, an independent energy marketer based in Kansas.
McKeen earned a B.S. in marketing from the University of Wyoming. He resides in Texas with his wife and 20 longhorns.
ALEXANDRIA, Va.— Bryan Esser has joined TruAge® as its director of technology.
Esser has more than 30 years of experience in retail point-of-sale technology and retail operations. He previously was responsible for certification and integration of all POS platforms (Verifone, Gilbarco and NCR included) for Alon and Delek.
“Bryan’s extensive background in implementing new technologies like mobile payments, island vendors, RFID and self-checkout, in addition to his experience with start-up technologies, make him a great fit for the next stage of TruAge’s activation,” said TruAge CEO Kyle McKeen.
Lisa leads development of TruAge’s brand & marketing strategy across all channels for both B2B and B2C stakeholders to maximize product adoption. She is also responsible for identifying and leveraging key consumer insights to shape TruAge’s product design and pipeline prioritization, as well as retail execution. Rountree is also a member of the Executive Team, contributing to overall program strategy, cross-channel retail adoption, and partnerships/sponsorships. Lisa has been with TruAge since its inception in 2020. As a senior marketing executive with a successful history of strategic leadership building great brands, driving change and delivering sustainable growth, Lisa has worked across a wide range of consumer categories and brands in her 25+ years in marketing, holding leadership positions with The Walt Disney Company, The Hershey Company, and Capital One. She brings rich experience in general management, marketing strategy, global brand management, consumer relationship management, customer experience design, innovation, insights and business development.
Lisa received her BS in Journalism from Northwestern University, and her MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. She currently resides in Richmond, VA with her husband and daughter.
Stephanie leads the development of integrated marketing campaigns and executes strategies to effectively grow the organization’s global brand and advance convenience and fuel retailing. In marketing NACS programs, products and events, her focus is centered on educating, engaging stakeholders and activating supporters—as well as those who strive to influence social behaviors—to benefit the industry and the communities it serves.
Stephanie has been working in the Marketing and Communications field for nearly 20 years. Prior to NACS, Stephanie led consumer education campaigns around eyewear and eyecare for The Vision Council, and has experience across a variety of categories, from the City of Tallahassee, Florida, to Napier Outdoors and Creative Arts. She has been an active member of the American Marketing Association’s D.C. Chapter (AMADC)—the fourth largest chapter in the nation—having served as President in 2018-19.
Sikorski holds degrees in Business Administration and Marketing from Niagara College Canada, an honors B.A. in Communication and a concentration in Public Relations from George Mason University, and a Master’s degree from Georgetown University in Integrated Marketing Communications. She resides in Alexandria, VA.
Jeff Lenard oversees NACS’ industry-wide external communications campaigns to advance the role of convenience stores as positive economic, social and philanthropic contributors to the communities they serve. Lenard also serves as lead spokesperson and has conducted more than 6,000 media interviews about trends and innovations at the nation’s 148,000-plus convenience stores. In addition, he is the creator and host of the association’s award-winning weekly podcast, “Convenience Matters,” and oversees the long-running video series “Ideas 2 Go.”
Prior to joining NACS in 1999, Lenard served in communications and marketing functions for several energy-focused associations. He earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. in marketing from Syracuse University. Lenard currently serves on the Board of Directors of both the National Safe Place Network and In Our Backyard.
Patrick Abernathy manages the Quality Assurance and Technical Support teams to ensure the highest standards across the KRS organization. Abernathy’s leadership, expertise, and passion for technology significantly contribute to continued growth and success, demonstrating values of Customer Obsession and a High Bar for Quality and solidifying commitment to delivering exceptional software quality and technical support to KRS’s valued clients.
Before joining KRS, Abernathy accumulated over 36 years of experience in the technology sector, with more than 23 years specifically in the Convenience Store industry. He worked as the IT Manager at Sapp Bros Truck Stops, helped establish their initial IT department, and implemented PDI Retail systems. He worked for Jacksons Food Stores as their Director of IT and Director of Retail Technology, focusing on retail technology systems, including back-office PDI systems, EPOS, dispensers, DVRs, ATGs, data networks, fuel brand credit networks, device setup, and developing standards and policies. He also managed all related vendor relationships, contracts, system features, and future feature enhancements. Most recently, he worked at TruAge Solutions as their Head of Technology and Operations by communicating the importance of digital age verification to preserve existing and future category sales, culminating in retailers joining the program. Actively sought retail platform support of TruAge through enlistment in the developer program and worked with vendors to expeditiously integrate and release TruAge's capability in their products. Abernathy also participates on the executive team to establish aggressive adoption of TruAge by retailers through enrollment, platform adoption, state policy endorsements, and new retail segments outside of just the convenience retail stores. Currently, he is serving as the SIGMA IT Share Group moderator and, throughout the years, served on several advisory boards and support groups, such as the chair of Conexxus API Focus Group, the chair of the Verifone Petroleum Advisory Council, a steering committee member for PDI’s Retail and Wholesale Users groups, and the chair of the Client Advisory board for Acumera.
Gray literally grew up in the convenience store industry with the opening of the family’s first convenience store in 1963. Involved in the family business, comprised of 87 stores, he gained experience in all phases of convenience store and chain retail operations.
Gray has been involved on a variety of projects, including heading global product management for three of the world’s largest retail petroleum equipment and systems suppliers and Vice President of Research & Technology for the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). Gray managed product portfolios that included payment platforms for EMV migration markets from Malaysia to Canada, as well as mobile/RFID payments initiatives. Gray also established NACS’ card payments program which saved the industry $60M in its first year of operations, and currently serves over 1,500 stores, doing 100m transactions annually.
Armour grew up working in his family’s retail automotive and wholesale transportation businesses, Armour Oil Company, from an early age pumping gas, selling tires, and polishing trucks. He managed the company’s retail service stations and transportation facilities, negotiated labor contracts, oversaw the company’s petroleum supply system, and handled government affairs, rising to the position of vice president and chief operating officer of the company in 1977. In 1980, Armour joined The Standard Oil Company of Ohio where he served as manager of development strategies. Three years later, he founded West Star Corporation, which grew to include 59 NOW! convenience stores, truck stops and quick service restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. He sold the company in 2004. In 1988 Armour founded a second company, Epoch Corporation, which operated retail enterprises in California. In July 2005, he became president and CEO of NACS.
Armour has long been active as a volunteer for NACS, serving two one-year terms as NACS chairman of the board (2001-2003), as treasurer/ chairman-elect and vice chairman of research & development, as well as chairman of the Technology and Education Sessions committees, and was a member of the association’s Category Management and Future Study 2000 committees.
Armour is currently serving on the NACS/Coca- Cola Retailing Research Council.
Armour earned a B.A. in economics from Stanford University in 1973. A year later he earned an M.Sc. in economics from the London School of Economics, and then returned to Stanford to earn an M.B.A. in 1976 and a Ph.D. in economics in 1977.
TruAge is honored to have the support of leading retailers and manufacturers who share our mission to keep adult products out of underage hands