Change is never easy, and many times it’s difficult to embrace. But with change come opportunities, excitement and a fresh outlook.
LP Gas Magazine has undergone a change in recent weeks as longtime Editor in Chief Pat Hyland resigned to become the director of industry programs for the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). Pat remains in the industry he’s grown to love over the past 15 years, and he also will maintain a tie with the magazine as a member of our Editorial Advisory Board.
Pat’s knowledge of the industry and his journalistic integrity are unmatched, and I have been fortunate to work so closely with him over the past five years. I will take those experiences along on my new journey as editor in chief of LP Gas.
Before Pat packed his belongings and walked out of our Cleveland office for one final time, I had a chance to ask him about his decision, the industry and the magazine.
How difficult was this decision and how important was it for you to remain in the propane industry?
Pat: As you can imagine, this was not an easy decision. Even after 15 years, I very much enjoy my work at the magazine. I am so proud of our entire team – our staff, the columnists and collaborating contributors, and our Editorial Advisory Board members – for making LP Gas the premier source of information in the propane industry. They made it a joy to come to work every day. But this unique opportunity in the industry that I already know and enjoy was one I just could not pass up.
As an editor, you’ve covered PERC for many years. Is it hard to imagine working for the council now?
Pat: I never imagined working for the council – or leaving LP Gas Magazine – before discussing this opportunity with Roy Willis in February. My working familiarity with the organization, its staff and many of the state executives that I will be working with certainly was a substantial draw to the job.
Can you tell us about this new role and your responsibilities with PERC?
Pat: The position includes a variety of responsibilities, including management of PERC’s state rebate program and its Partnership with the States Program. But the primary duty is to lead and oversee key aspects of the PERC engagement with the propane industry and, in particular, the state organizations through which assessment rebates are allocated. In a nutshell, I will be the liaison between the states and the council.
You’ve built many lasting relationships in the industry. I know you can’t name everyone, but who has been a positive influence on you in your time with the magazine?
Pat: First and foremost, former LP Gas Editor and Publisher Zane Chastain, who introduced me to the industry and to the mission of the magazine. So many others, in no particular order: Dan Myers, Dwain Willingham, Carl Hughes, Ray Murray Jr., Ralph Rooney, Ed Varney, Harold Poland, Tom Jaenicke, Jay Johnston, Kate Caskin, Tom Klein, Joe Rose, Bill McHenry, Daniel Dixon, Baron Glassgow, Larry Osgood, Tom Nunan, Bob Myers, Sam McTier and Bob Mayer. All good people who care not only about their businesses, but the propane industry as a whole and the end-use customers that it serves. I am a better person and professional for having known each and every one of them. I thank them for all the years of counsel, support, encouragement and friendship.
You’ve undertaken some big projects and stories over the years. Are there any in particular that give you the most satisfaction for their importance to the industry?
Pat: Zane Chastain taught me that the magazine was “where the industry goes to meet itself.” I hope that some of our stories helped inform and educate readers in ways that fostered a stronger, safer industry. That said, I’m especially proud of our annual State of the Industry Report as well as stories about factors behind falling propane sales over the last decade and safety concerns with tipping bobtails and rust beneath the plastic sleeves on 20-pound cylinders.