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2018 LP Gas Rising Leader: Alexandria Cesena

February 9, 2018 By    


Essentials: Age 32; controller at Ted Johnson Propane in Baldwin Park, California.

Years in the industry: 8

How did you get your start in the propane industry?

I grew up in our family business, so my whole life all I’ve ever known were propane tanks and propane conventions scheduled around great family vacations. As a kid after school, I would sit in the lunchroom and work on homework. Or, drive the propane-powered go-kart around the yard as a distraction. When I was 15 years old, I got a worker’s permit so I could earn money working at the company. I would help answer phones, write up gas tickets in the yard with my grandpa, match invoices to customers’ statements, lick and stuff envelops, whatever I could to earn some extra cash. However, I truly got my start after I completed college. There was a temporary receptionist job available, so I took it, not expecting to still be here eight years later. Since then, I’ve really learned a lot about our business, the product we sell and the propane industry.

What is your vision for growing your company and how can you make that vision become a reality?

I believe our growth comes from well-trained, happy employees. So trying to find good people who want to work and take pride in what they do has been key to our success. Over the last couple of years, I have been able to interview and hire our staff and I’m really proud of their effort to get to know our customers, offer good customer service through relationships and spread the word about the benefits of propane.

How can the propane industry prosper in the coming years?

We need to educate the public on the vast uses and benefits of propane. This first became evident to me when we met with our district congresswomen’s representative at Propane Days in Washington, D.C. Of course, everyone knows that propane is used for a BBQ, but what he didn’t know was that propane can be used as an autogas, in agriculture, or the other 100-plus uses. Right away he was impressed by its diverse applications. There are needs in America that propane can fulfill. Right now we’re only hearing from electric and compressed natural gas, but we all know propane is the better choice. That message needs to reach our audience.

The industry’s audience needs to recognize propane’s diverse applications, Cesena says. Photo Courtesy of Ted Johnson Propane

What does your generation offer to the propane industry that previous generations did not?

I think we offer a different perspective. Employees who have been here for 30 years know how to do their routine one way, but with a fresh pair of eyes we’re able to offer improvements to our old systems. Converting our office to a paperless environment enables us to respond more quickly to our customers because now we can email them an invoice while we’re on the phone with them. Looking up their delivery schedule, past deliveries and how much fuel they took gives us real-time information and we’re able to relay that to our customers when they need it. Every month we ask our employees what we can do to save time, money or be more productive, and just last year all of those ideas accumulated to over $20,000 in savings.

What specific technologies are you using (or plan to use) to support business operations?

This past year we installed a telematics device in all of our vehicles. Not only does it track their delivery route, but it notifies us of their speed, work hours, idle versus drive time and any engine faults as they occur. The office staff works in a terminal server session, which allows us all to work on shared documents and system programs, and access files in real time. We also utilize DocuSign to securely send quotes, equipment leases and authorization forms to our customers. We also provide online tools for our employees such as timecards, paychecks and 401(k) management.

With what propane industry associations are you involved?

The National Propane Gas Association and Western Propane Gas Association.

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About the Author:

Allison Kral was a senior digital media manager at LP Gas magazine.

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