2019 LP Gas Rising Leader: Kara Tucker

February 20, 2019 By    

The essentials: Age 39; vice president at Koppy’s Propane in Williamstown, Pennsylvania

Years in the propane industry: 13

How did you get your start in the propane industry?

I was born into a propane family. My great grandfather started selling propane appliances and supplying propane to his customers in the 1940s. I’ve been helping with the business for as long as I can remember: riding along with my dad to make deliveries, answering the phone at our house after hours, spending summers helping in the office and painting tanks. After college, I spent five years in the banking industry with JPMorgan in New York City, after which I returned to the business full time in 2006. I decided to enter a full-time MBA program in 2009, which was an extremely rewarding experience, as everything I learned I applied directly back to Koppy’s Propane.

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

I’m constantly working to continue the growth of our business. Every single day I’m thinking about how I can make Koppy’s Propane a better company, a superior service provider and an outstanding employer. Although we have grown both organically and through acquisitions, I still feel the best way to continue our growth is through a superior customer experience that lends itself to word of mouth and friends and family referrals.

How can the propane industry prosper in the coming years?

Continue to educate our legislators and the public about our product: its versatility, availability and economic advantages. Continue to build relationships with homebuilders and create strategic partnerships with HVAC companies. Embrace and encourage new opportunities for growth such as propane autogas.

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

My generation has entered the propane industry with an eagerness and willingness to accept new technologies. Exposure to technology from a younger age provides an increased comfort level with technological processes, devices and software systems that can make our businesses more efficient and profitable.

Koppy’s rail terminal features six 60,000-gallon storage tanks, eight railcar-unloading stations and four transport-loading stations. (Photo courtesy of Koppy's Propane Inc.)

Koppy’s rail terminal features six 60,000-gallon storage tanks, eight railcar-unloading stations and four transport-loading stations.
(Photo courtesy of Koppy’s Propane Inc.)

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

We have relied on remote tank monitoring for at least 10 years, which has greatly increased our delivery efficiency. We also appreciate using real-time mapping technology for routing our deliveries, which maximizes the use of our resources. We continue efforts to boost our social media presence and direct consumers to our website. As much as possible, we are working towards a paperless office by using handheld devices, encouraging customer communication through our website, using email instead of snail mail and scanning any pertinent historical paperwork.

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

I serve on the NPGA board of directors as the Pennsylvania state director and the Pennsylvania Propane Gas Association board of directors, for which I co-chair the Governmental Affairs Committee. I also sit on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Propane Gas Advisory Board. I’ve been a member of the Women in Propane Council since its founding and I’ve been a member of the NPGA Benchmarking Council for 13 years. I’m CETP certified and have attended numerous industry trainings over the years.

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

I truly enjoy my career in the propane industry. Over the years, I’ve met so many wonderful people who have been eager to share their knowledge and friendship. Most of all, working for my family business, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from my dad, David Koppenhaver, who has successfully led our business for nearly 50 years. To me, he is a great example of a propane leader, someone with an incredible work ethic, leading by example, with the ability to make sound decisions, take risks and embrace change.

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