2018 LP Gas Rising Leader: Andrew Reinhardt

February 9, 2018 By    


Essentials: Age 28; general manager at Van Dyke Gas in Center Line, Michigan.

Years in the propane industry: 10

How did you get your start in the propane industry?

Technically, I have been involved in the propane industry since before I could walk. When I was younger, I would often spend time with my mom at Van Dyke Gas, so propane is something I have always been around. However, I got my official start in the industry painting tanks as a summer job when I was 18 years old. That part-time job led to other opportunities within the company and eventually to my position as site manager.

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

One of my main goals is to grow our non-weather dependent gallons. Detroit is the home of the auto industry, and our businesses are located in the Detroit-metro area so there are an abundant number of opportunities in propane for forklift fuel, industrial processing and motor fuel. The last few winters have had subpar weather in comparison to previous years, and growing gallons in these categories can help grow the business consistently throughout the year. Before growing these gallons, I have worked extensively on analyzing the costs related to the delivery of these different industries. Increasing our advertising and direct sales will be a main component in reaching these goals. As an individual, I need to make sure that our company remains focused on safety, profitability and customer service. When these are achieved, growth happens organically and can be sustained for years to come.

How can the propane industry prosper in the coming years?

The propane industry can prosper in the coming years if it continues to inform consumers of the versatility and benefits of propane. For autogas in particular, the limited number of refilling stations, high cost of conversion and losing the 50-cent tax incentive all make it difficult for consumers to justify running their vehicle on propane. We need to keep consumers informed of the benefits and versatility of propane, and our product needs to be affordable and easily available.

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

The younger generation offers adaptability and flexibility that previous generations do not. We grew up learning from previous generations, so millennials were able to learn how to communicate directly with people, have a hands-on approach to work and an understanding of how tasks used to be done. The younger generation also was fortunate enough to grow up while technology was growing as well. These factors allow the younger generation to communicate effectively across generations, as well as adapt past practices and introduce technology to simplify and improve various tasks.

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

Within the last five years, we have gone from pen, paper and MS-DOS point-of-sale software to tablets, routing software, tank monitors and all-in-one back-office software. We will continue to incorporate technologies that not only help profitability, but those that also make jobs easier for our workers and doing business with us simpler for our customers.

What propane industry associations are you involved with at the state and/or national level?

The National Propane Gas Association and the Michigan Propane Gas Association.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself, your company and/or the propane industry?

Van Dyke Gas has been a family-owned company for over 50 years. Recently we were acquired by Star Group LP. We have been given the ability to run our business the same way we always have, but now have access to additional resources, which has given us the potential to grow our business in ways we did not think were possible.

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