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2019 LP Gas Rising Leader: Albert (Allie) Waguespack III

February 20, 2019 By    

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The essentials: Age 36; president of Vacherie Fuel in Thibodaux, Louisiana

Years in the propane industry: 5

How did you get your start in the propane industry?

My start in the propane industry happened in April of 2014 after a nine-year career performing mechanical engineering technical sales/application work on rotating equipment and piping systems in the refinery/chemical plants of Southern Louisiana. My great grandfather, Leonard Waguespack, founded both Vacherie Fuel Corp. and Vacherie Oil Co. in Vacherie, Louisiana, during the early 1930s when propane was the primary fuel source for heating and cooking at homes and businesses. As decades passed from the initial days of Vacherie Fuel Corp., popularity and demand increased for natural gas and conventional fuels in our propane service area. The demand for propane took a steep decline in our area. During this decline, it was chosen to move full steam ahead with our parent company, Waguespack Oil Co. (formerly Vacherie Oil Co.). My late grandfather, Albert Waguespack Sr., and my father, Albert Waguespack Jr., headed this oil and gas transportation side and have really grown this company to great heights. My father and my brother, Steven Waguespack, continue to dramatically expand the oil and gas transportation/diesel exhaust fluid transportation side today. Because Waguespack Oil took precedent on focused attention, Vacherie Fuel was kind of left on the back burner. My family debated on keeping Vacherie Fuel going. Fast forward to 2014 and propane resurfaced as a clean energy source with technology creating entirely new market potential. Realizing the potential and taking a huge leap of faith from my comfortable engineering career, I decided I was going to reinvigorate this once-thriving family business. My focus was to modernize the company and to become one of the very few independent bottle exchange suppliers in Louisiana. My grandmother, Jackie Waguespack (widow of Albert Waguespack Sr.), always said “Papa wanted to see Vacherie Fuel last 100 years.” In March 2016, Sina Zarei joined me to build the business as we once did together as engineering colleagues. Together we have invested in automating refurbishment processes and growing the business into southern Louisiana’s independently owned grocery, convenience and hardware stores. Today the company remains one of the only/few independent, Louisiana-based bulk and propane exchange vendors operating out of Thibodaux and Vacherie. The Vacherie Fuel team is striving to keep Papa’s dream on track.

What is your vision for growing your company and how can you as an individual help to achieve that vision?

Our vision of growing the business is to use our locally-owned reputation and customer-service-based mentality to ensure customers have the best experience possible while doing business with us. We will use our current knowledge as well as any resources available to stay ahead of the curve. We absolutely love technology and are not afraid to tackle the largest of projects. If we do not know something, we will figure it out.

How can the propane industry prosper in the coming years?

We need to keep pushing propane as a clean energy fuel. Autogas fleet expansions will definitely assist in this as well as other commercially operated equipment (lawn mowers, forklifts, etc.). Technology is evolving every day. We need to embrace the technology and help promote new opportunities.

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

With the technological advances on monitoring, different methods on fuel injectors to make engines last longer (liquid/vapor) and more efficient products on the market, we can utilize all of these breakthroughs to push more gallons. Our generation may be more receptive to the newer technologies to help with our operations.

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

LS pass through washer, LS pass through blaster, hydraulic valve changing machine, contrast equipment/Sames Kremlin automatic paint system and Pacline conveyor. Wireless bulk monitoring and working on cylinder cage monitoring.

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

We are truly enjoying building our company and look forward to very aggressive growth in 2019.

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