Years in the propane industry: 17
Please describe your role and responsibility, as well as your vision, in growing your company and connecting with propane customers of today: There are two parts to that, one being connecting to your current customers. We try to reach out to our customers and tell them our story, show them how we can provide solutions for their issues, differentiate ourselves from the competition. To connect with new customers, we try to get in front of them in any way we can. You need to be flexible because what worked 15, 10 or even five years ago doesn’t work today. If you don’t have a presence on social media or aren’t willing to find out what your potential customers’ behavioral habits are, then you’re just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring – and that’s a tough road forward.
Propane industry opportunities and threats: Clearly there’s a large push in the industry for propane autogas. That’s a great opportunity and one that we are active with, but there is plenty of growth potential in the more “traditional” markets. Any propane customer with an electric water heater is a great opportunity to run more gas through existing assets. There’s no question in my mind that government legislation is the greatest threat to our industry. We’ve seen it across the country as we fight natural gas expansion. The story seems to be the same, where government is picking fuel winners and losers, and as long as we are a pen stroke away from losing customers, that is a huge threat.
How then can the propane industry prosper in the coming years? Our industry needs to do a better job of educating not just consumers but also anyone who regulates or imposes laws that impact our industry. You have to know who you are as a company and as an industry. We don’t have the same level of name recognition as our competing fuel sources, but we have one of the cleanest burning and portable fuel sources on the planet. That can lead to prosperity for years to come. That’s why it’s so important that we develop those relationships in Washington, D.C., and at the state and local levels.
What does your generation offer to the propane industry that previous generations did not? Being a Gen Xer, the obvious answer is the way we embrace technology. Every generation has something to offer and as a company you have to tap into that to find ways to benefit the bottom line. My generation is on Facebook and Twitter, we use apps that allow us to find answers and connect. We have the ability to reach potential customers in a way that hasn’t been thought of or done before.
What specific technologies are you using (or plan to use) to support business operations? While we don’t use all of the technology that is available, I’m interested in anything that can drive efficiencies. I’m very interested in tank monitoring and the use of apps to grow our operations.