Meet the Kalibrate team: Suzanne Gray, Senior Research Analyst

My role as a Senior Research Analyst is varied, challenging, and genuinely exciting. Because of the very nature of my role, no two days are ever the same.

At Kalibrate, we believe our success is driven as much by our people as our technology.

Our meet the team series showcases some of the talent and expertise within the Kalibrate family and this installment features Suzanne Gray, Senior Research Analyst.

What is your role at Kalibrate?

I am a Senior Research Analyst for Kalibrate in the Canadian consulting department. 

This involves collecting and analyzing data on all aspects of the Canadian downstream oil industry in order to present insights to our clients. We’re often asked by fuel retailers in Canada, as well as government agencies, and other industry associations – to provide data and analysis that helps drive decision making and strategic planning.  

I’m also responsible for producing some of our trusted reports and newsletters for the Canadian market. The annual National Retail Petroleum Site Census, and the quarterly Petroleum Pricing in Canada newsletters are unique pieces of research that I’m proud to be a part of.

There is no other source of this information in Canada, and I am motivated by the fact that many industry operators not only read these reports but have come to rely on the data they present.  

What does a typical day look like?

My role is varied, challenging, and genuinely exciting. Because of the very nature of my role, no two days are ever the same.  

I often spend my time sourcing and collecting different types of data for specific projects. These can cover anything from petroleum price data, to demand and consumption data, right through to infrastructure data.

I then spend time analyzing the data and displaying it in a digestible format before presenting it back to clients. 

What do you love about your role?

I regularly contact clients to discuss their requirements or answer their questions. I’ve been in this role for almost 25 years, but still find real value in these connections. It’s great to learn first-hand about how our data and consultancy is used to determine or direct strategy in different businesses.  

One of the greatest parts of my role is the team around me.

I work with a fantastic group of people who have empowered me to expand my knowledge of the downstream petroleum industry and advance my professional skills which has facilitated the excellent level of reports and customer service offered by Kalibrate. 

Why did you choose to join Kalibrate? 

When I first applied to work at Kalibrate (who’s Canadian department was then Kent Group Ltd) I was fresh out of university and looking for a job.

Believe it or not, when I first started, we used computers in a very limited capacity. My days were filled manually computing pump meter readings to determine site volumes using pencil and paper! We’ve come a long way since then. 

I was enthusiastic about Kalibrate’s work from the start and as the company has evolved, streamlined its processes, and expanded its offerings. I’ve become more engrained in the business and support with many of the different data and consulting services that we provide. 

What do you think are the greatest challenges and opportunities in the fuel and convenience retail sectors?

One of the most significant changes for fuel retailers in the coming decade is the shift to greener alternatives and the growing demand for electric vehicles. 

This will undoubtedly have an impact on throughputs for existing gas stations and will change the considerations for new build stations. Kalibrate’s report The Electric Opportunity delves into the needs of EV consumers across the globe and provides great insight into how offerings might need to change in the future.  

This does of course present a challenge for fuel retailers, both in Canada and globally — but I think it’s an exciting time for the industry. 

Businesses will need to assess and adapt their offerings in line with changing consumer habits and vehicle technologies — and this is something we can help them navigate, using data to drive better decision making. 

Where do you see the fuel markets heading?

In Canada, the number of fuel retail stations has decreased substantially from over 20,000 sites in the late 1980s to roughly 12,000 today. 

Those smaller, inefficient locations with low average throughputs left the market and the number of stations has remained consistent over the last decade.

Over the last three decades, the average station throughput has consistently risen in Canada, although the rate of growth has plateaued in recent years. 

The Canadian Government’s ban on gasoline powered new cars sales will come into effect in 2035, and as a result average station throughputs will most certainly begin to decline again, prompting gas stations to diversify to find new ways to take advantage of cultural changes.  

Across North America, cars and passenger trucks are part of the culture. Car shows and rallies are popular past-times here, and cars appear in movies and TV shows — sometimes even with starring roles! The shift towards EV is global — it’s on its way — but it may not eradicate gasoline cars completely.  

There is, and will still be, a need for gas stations in the future — but what they look like, what they offer, and how they operate might be quite different in 10 years’ time. It’s an exciting time to be working in this industry.  

The industry is evolving, and Kalibrate is evolving with it. We continue to expand our offerings and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with other departments and bring even more value to our clients through data.  

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