ANDOVER - - Nancy Kister, of O & P Oil & Gas in Andover, received the 2006 Governor's Award for Women's Excellence in Enterprise for Wholesale/Retail.

The Women's Excellence in Enterprise Award celebrates a select group of women-owned businesses that have shown outstanding financial and operational strength.

Kister, president of O&P Oil & Gas, Inc., is a hard working, dedicated and successful oil woman in a traditionally male dominated industry. The company was incorporated in 1923 by Abe St. Clair, Kister's great grandfather. It began as Wolf's Head Oil Company distributor, and has been honored with the distinction of being their oldest continuing distributor in the U.S. Today, O&P Oil & Gas, handles a complete line of lubricants as well as all types of fuels including heating oil, diesel, kerosene and gasoline.

In 1977, Kister purchased the company from her parents as a single mother with two children. The business came with old equipment and a small bulk plant in Andover that left much to be desired. At the time she purchased the business, it employed three people and managed to sell 700,000 gallons of fuel a year. The company now employs 25 people, including Kister's son, John Skleres, who joined the company in the mid 1980s. It now sells a million gallons of lubricants and 12 million gallon's of fuel a year through three plant locations in northeast Ohio.

Kister has worn many hats while building her business over the last 29 years. She's driven fuel trucks, delivered oil drums, made sales calls, worked countless hours and mastered cash management, making O&P the successful company it is today.

The oil business has changed significantly over the years. In 1977, there were 16 "oil jobbers" in northeast Ohio, with O&P being the smallest. Now there are only four companies remaining with O&P being the largest.

Kister has been active in the Ohio Petroleum Marketers Association and was first elected to it's Board of Directors in 1985. She subsequently served as the Association's first female Chairman from 1992 to 1994. During that time she traveled extensively around the country representing her industry on fuel tax issues. A few years ago, Governor Bob Taft appointed Kist to the Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Release Compensation Board, which oversees Ohio's underground tank insurance fund. She majored in business at Youngstown State University and some of her civic activities include serving as chairperson of the Ashtabula Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Additionally, she is the past president of Pymatuning Area Industrial Development, trustee of Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County, past board member of the Ashtabula county Builder's Association and she has been appointed to the Ashtabula County Medical Center Foundation board.

In may of 2004, Kister was recognized by the National Association of Women Business owners as one of the Top 10 Women business Owners of Northeast Ohio. Her hard work, dedication and achievements spotlighted a resident of the county amongst others in northeast Ohio. She is the first from Ashtabula County to receive this award.

Kister and her husband Ron Reside in Ashtabula. Both of her children, Skleres and Alexandra Rutz, along with their families also call Ashtabula County home.

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