Kocolene reworks leaders, tabs CEO

Tribune staff reports

For the first time in the 77-year history of Kocolene Development Corp., someone other than a member of the Myers founding family holds the title of chief executive officer.

Gary F. Myers, chairman of the corporation’s board, recently announced several change-in-role assignments within the employee-owned company headquartered in Seymour.

J. Kevin Johnson has been named CEO. The Indianapolis resident sits on the corporation’s board of directors, executive committee and management committee.

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Myers said Johnson brings a growth strategy of investing in high-performing companies in the Midwest.

“Kevin possesses the needed skills and qualifications to lead our corporation into the future,” Myers said.

Johnson is a graduate of Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in business/accounting. He received his certified public accountant designation in 1984 and serves on a number of nonprofit boards.

Johnson is a member of the board of directors of Worm’s Way, which is another employee-owned company in Indiana.

He has been with Kocolene since 2003, providing financial expertise as chief financial officer during that time.

“I really appreciate the leadership of Gary Myers and the entire Myers family,” Johnson said. “It is my hope as CEO to continue the same tradition of excellence.”

Douglas L. Prather has been named president of Kocolene Development Corp. in addition to his leadership role with Ranger Enterprises LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporation. Myers said Prather will be a valuable resource to the company’s merchandising, marketing, information technology and wholesale fuel departments.

Prather is a member of the corporation’s board of directors, executive committee and management committee. He began his career with Kocolene in 1990 after graduating from Butler University in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Benjamin C. Reinhart has been named vice president-merchandising for the corporation. He came to Kocolene in May 2009 in the merchandising department and later transitioned to accounting and was assigned as controller for the corporation.

Reinhart’s experience in merchandising, however, provides a much-needed strength for the corporation in his new leadership position, Myers said.

Debra L. VonDielingen has been named controller following the promotion of Reinhart. She has been with the corporation since November 1995, assigned previously as accounting associate and then promoted to accounting manager in 2013.

VonDielingen possesses much professional experience in the managerial field to provide an overall knowledge necessary to coordinate various accounting functions, Myers said.

M. Celeste Lucas has assumed the expanded role of merchandise associate/pricebook administrator. She began her career with Kocolene in 2001 as assistant manager of a Fast Max convenience store. She also managed several different stores within the Kocolene organization throughout the years.

Lucas played a large role during a recent conversion to new computer software companywide providing manager training at five stores. She was previously elevated to merchandise associate in 2012. Myers said Lucas’ field experience makes her a valuable member of the merchandising team.

At a glance

Kocolene Development Corp. is at 2060 First Ave. in Seymour’s Freeman Field Industrial Park.

For information, visit kocolene.com or call 812-522-2224.