Stanford LP Gas is taking safety and training to a new level.
The Michigan marketer, owned by longtime safety promoter Duane Stanford, houses a training facility and hosts training sessions for its employees and other industry personnel.
“When you get into dealing with customers, we’re the experts,” Stanford says of propane marketers. “When a person goes out into the field, we want them to be comfortable and we want them to have hands-on experience. We don’t send anybody out until he feels comfortable and we’re also comfortable with him.”
Stanford’s facility, which was once part of the office complex that it modified for training, has been in use for about 15 years. It contains upgraded appliances, such as ranges, furnaces, space heaters and even a clothes dryer, on which employees can train and learn how to convert products to propane.
“They can physically get in there and understand what they’re doing,” Stanford says. “The training center was set up so we can actually mimic problems that fuel people may run into.”
Stanford installed underground tanks on the property so it could host the state’s cathodic protection training certification program. The facility, which holds about 25 people, also has been the site of Gas Check, alternative fuels and CETP training programs.
The company also educates heating contractors on the basic principles of propane. Not only does this grow contractors’ knowledge of propane, but it allows Stanford to grow the industry’s relationship with contractors and builders.
Stanford’s training facility is available to any members of the Michigan Propane Gas Association (MPGA). The owner notes, however, that it doesn’t see a lot of outside use since MPGA has adopted a mobile training unit that can visit marketer locations.
Other marketers interested in hosting training seminars don’t need their own facility, Stanford says. Marketers can rent space at a local hotel or community college.
Stanford, former president of MPGA, has been active in state programs since the mid 1970s.
LOCATION: Midland, Mich.
EMPLOYEES: 14 (counting seasonal workers)
PROPANE SOLD: 3.5 million gallons annually
SPECIALTY: Sells propane mostly for home heating. Also supplies 300,000 gallons per year for construction site of Dow Corning expansion project. Operates its own motor fuels division.