Selected from 10 Videos, Three Come to Dallas for CEO Interview

Dallas – The public, friends and relatives of 10 military veterans competing for a 7-Eleven store somewhere in the U.S. cast more than 30,000 votes in the company’s national Operation: Take Command competition that ended Sunday night with the selection of the top three vote-getters.

The finalists are Salil Gautam of Chesapeake, Va., Robert Kemna from Miami, Fla., and Mark Anthony Page of Granbury, Texas.

The three will be flown in late this month, all expenses paid, to interview with 7-Eleven, Inc. President and CEO Joe DePinto who will make the final selection.

 Among steps for the semi-finalists was a 7-Eleven Facebook video competition.  The public narrowed the 10-person field (nine men and one woman) to three. They are:

Salil Gautam of Chesapeake, Va. — Gautam served in the U.S. Army for 4 ½ years, with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. When he came to the U.S., the Nepal native’s first job was with a 7-Eleven store in northern California. After leaving the Army, he used the same leadership skills and work ethic learned in the military to establish a small corporation and manage a gas station and convenience store with success. His goals include mentoring others and providing financial support to assist veterans.

Robert Kemna from Miami, Fla. — A former Army captain, Kemna says it’s time to pass on what he has learned and stand up for his future. He lists his qualifications as being a talented hard worker with commitment and leadership skills.

Mark Anthony Page of Granbury, Texas – Page has served in both active and reserve duty with the Navy and has traveled a great deal in his current profession. He believes a 7-Eleven franchise is just the ticket to be closer to home and family. He boasts that his strengths are being a proud veteran and loving family man with a passion to lead.

“Each of the semi-finalists exhibited the qualities we are looking for in a 7-Eleven franchisee,” said Greg Franks, 7-Eleven vice president of franchise systems. “They possess a can-do attitude, exude professionalism, demonstrate leadership qualities and have the kind of background that could make them a success.  But any one of them would make a good choice in my book.”

As promised, 7-Eleven will contribute $1 for every vote cast – $30,110 — to Hire Heroes USA, a nonprofit organization that works with transitioning service members, veterans and spouses from military service into civilian success .To learn more about the organization, visit

Collectively representing all branches of military service, more than 1,700 veterans and soon-to-be vets applied for the competition that ran from Veterans Day last November through Jan. 25.

The winner will receive a waiver of the franchise fee, valued at up to $190,000, to franchise any of the company’s 7-Eleven convenience stores available in the continental U.S. at the contest’s culmination.

To qualify for the contest, entrants had to be 21 years of age or older, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, an honorably discharged veteran, have excellent credit and at least three years of leadership, retail or restaurant experience. Contestants went through the same qualification process as all 7-Eleven franchise applicants including interviews, credit evaluation, a leadership test, preparing a business plan and budget.

7-Eleven has been recognized by veterans’ organizations and publications for its military-friendly business opportunities, hiring practices and philanthropic support for military families. Military veterans serve in every level of the company from store sales associates to headquarters personnel.  The retailer also has supported military assistance organizations including Hire Heroes USA, the USO, Reserve Aid, Warrior Gateway and Operation Mend.

About 7-Eleven, Inc.
7-Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Based in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses nearly 10,500 7-Eleven® stores in North America. Globally, there are more than 55,400 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries. During 2013, 7-Eleven stores generated total worldwide sales close to $84.5 billion. 7-Eleven has been honored by a number of companies and organizations recently. Accolades include: #2 on Franchise Times Top 200 Franchise Companies for 2013; #1 on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2014 Top Global Franchise list; #10 spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list for 2015, and #3 in Forbes magazine’s Top 20 Franchises to Start. 7-Eleven is No. 3 on Fast Company magazine’s 2013 list of the “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Retail.” 7-Eleven places among Top Veteran-Friendly Companies for 2014 by U.S. Veterans Magazine and is among GI Jobs magazine’s Top 100 Military Friendly Employers for 2014. Hispanic Magazine named 7-Eleven among its Hispanic Corporate Top 100 Companies that provide the most opportunities to Hispanics. 7-Eleven is franchising its stores in the U.S. and expanding through organic growth, acquisitions and its Business Conversion Program. Find out more online at