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2018 LP Gas Rising Leader: Patrick Boyle

February 9, 2018 By    


Essentials: Age 39; president of Boyle Energy in Havertown, Pennsylvania.

Years in the propane industry: 4

How did you get your start in the propane industry?

I have been working here in my family business, Boyle Energy, since the sixth grade. I’m 39 now. As a kid, I loved working with my grandfather and father, and I have always enjoyed helping out around the shop, cleaning, and acting as a gofer for the technicians. I graduated college in 2000 and started full time right way. We have been delivering fuel oil and working on HVAC equipment since the 1930s, and in 2014 I decided to make the move to propane. Yes, I’m “that fuel oil guy” who thinks he can get into propane. I spent the better part of two years planning our propane strategy before we made our first delivery. Right way, I identified the smart people in the industry and met with them to find out how to do it the right way. Brad Powers and Rob Flaherty at Energi Insurance were a huge help. Matt Hiltz really took me through the process of building a bulk plant the right way, and I am sure Dan Waters is sick of seeing me and my people in his classes and having us calling him all the time. When you meet people who know what they are talking about, I find it is best to sit back, listen, learn and sponge it all up. Today, our propane division consists of two bobtails and a 30,000-gallon bulk plant.

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

My vision for our company and employees is simple and probably different than most companies. First, I don’t worry about being No. 1. No. 1 what? The biggest company? The oldest company? The fastest company? The one with the most trucks? That’s all just nonsense and vanity. I think it is smarter to focus on you being a better version of your company and yourself today than you were yesterday, rather than trying to be flashier than your competition. That’s how you advance, that’s how you grow, and that’s the culture we’ve built at Boyle Energy. Customers come to you for your product, but they stay with you because of your culture.

How can the propane industry prosper in the coming years?

Prosper is a great word; it doesn’t necessarily mean make money, but you will as a company and an industry if you work at what goes into prospering. You’ll prosper by focusing on growing strong as a company and industry and surrounding yourself with people who believe what you believe. I believe that investing in people through training, encouragement and listening to what they think are great steps towards prosperity.

Boyle spent two years planning the company’s LP gas strategy. Photo Courtesy of Boyle Energy

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

We love using technology in the business, although the best technology we have is our brains. Our brains are like a muscle and if you exercise it then it will only get stronger. That being said, all of our work order (propane, oil deliveries, HVAC service) tickets are digital. This means that the work orders flow right to everyone’s phone or tablet. When we make a delivery, fix a heater or install air conditioning, the order ticket is sent back to our office as fast as a text message. Everyone in the office can see from their work station what is finished and what is pending. From there, the information can be posted to a customer’s account and the invoice emailed to them (I hate stamps!). In 2018, we will continue exploring new technologies to improve our day-to-day operations, including automating orders on our website. One of the best ways to do that is to talk to people in the industry that do exactly what we do and see what they recommend (or don’t recommend).

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

I’m a proud Gen-Xer and I know the millennials are coming up fast in the workplace. Most of what I hear about their generation is they are unleadable, entitled and lazy, but I think that is completely wrong. I think Gen-Xers who are leaders in their companies can offer the industry and these millennials empathy (which is not easy to do). Let’s face it – a company is absolutely nothing without its people. When you create a culture where people try to understand and care what their coworkers are dealing with, you’ll see something awesome emerge – trust. When coworkers trust each other, they work hard and often make sacrifices to help their coworkers succeed. When people work as a team, it’s pretty darn amazing what they can accomplish compared to those same people working as individual contributors.

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

I try to attend all of the Pennsylvania Propane Gas Association meetings along with all of the Pennsylvania Oil Heat Association meetings. Shelby Bell, from the Pennsylvania Propane Gas Association, is always helpful. I have been told the NPGA benchmarking group is a great thing to be part of, and I am looking to join in 2018.

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

I’m a huge Simon Sinek fan (if you couldn’t tell). If you don’t know who he is, check out his TED Talk on YouTube on your lunch break today. He stresses that you must “know your why.” Most people and companies know what they do and some even know how they do it, but ask them “why” they do it and there will be a long pause. It’s very hard to articulate. My “why” is on our website, I invite you to check it out and I challenge you to put your “why” down on paper in 2018. Your co-workers and customers will enjoy reading it. Believe me!

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