McAlester bottling plant wins more awards

·3 min read

Jan. 8—Charles Rogers said community support and supporting the community are vital for an award-winning McAlester bottling facility.

The third generation CEO of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of McAlester said connecting with community members and teamwork helped the site set records selling more than 1.5 million cases last year and rack up several national awards — including being named the 2022 Bottler of the Year and featured on the cover of Beverage Industry magazine.

"I'm a big team guy," Rogers said. "It takes the entire village to raise kids anymore and I feel like it takes an entire team to take care of business."

PCBC of McAlester also won the 2019 Donald M. Kendall Bottler of the Year Award from PepsiCo and is a nominee for the award again in 2020.

The McAlester site services parts of nine counties in eastern Oklahoma and broke the franchise record for raw case sales in December. Rogers said the McAlester plant also set a record in revenue and is the first with five consecutive years of growth.

PCBC-McAlester grew 18% in his first year at the helm, 13% the next year, 9.5% in 2019, finished 2020 with 20% growth and grew again in 2021.

Rogers said the facility also grew food service 130% during the global COVID-19 pandemic, which led to his placement on Pepsi's National Food Service Team.

What's the key to success?

"We're going to go above and beyond to make sure that we're taking care of the customer," Rogers said.

Rogers added employees work with customers to address their individual needs and make a connection on a grassroots level to provide "a little more personal touch."

Rogers graduated from Savanna High School in 1995 and earned a degree from Eastern Oklahoma State College. He joined the Pittsburg County Sheriff's Department as a night-shift jailer before being promoted to deputy at 21 years old and later serving on the Krebs police force.

He later joined the McAlester Police Department and worked his way up to his dream job of being a detective — making it even tougher to retire after 10 months and becoming PCBC's CEO.

Rogers said he hopes to continue the family legacy, which began in 1943 when his grandfather, E.L. Rogers, and his uncle, Dutch Rogers, partnered to buy a Pepsi franchise in Eufaula.

They moved the franchise to McAlester in 1954 and Rogers followed his dad and uncle when he became the chief executive officer at PCBC of McAlester in 2017.

He said the family always made it a priority to support the community — something he plans to continue.

"We need to be helping the people in the community as often as we can," Rogers said.

Pepsi-McAlester donated $10,000 to the Hudson Strong Foundation as part of helping McAlester student Reed Marcum continue annual events providing free toys around Christmas and free school supplies to start each academic year.

Rogers said his son volunteers for the events and he wanted to help contribute after seeing the hard work that goes into making them happen.

He thanked the community for its support — which he said led to ongoing discussion on expansion options.

"Hopefully we'll be looking to build a bigger and better facility," Rogers said. "We'll just see how far we can climb and how much we can do in the great town of McAlester, Oklahoma."

Contact Adrian O'Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com

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