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2021 LP Gas Rising Leader: Steph Hennen

February 16, 2021 By    

The essentials: Age 25; manager of marketing and customer service for Lakes Gas in Wyoming, Minnesota

Headshot: Stephanie Hennen

Hennen

Years in the propane industry: 9

How did you get your start in the propane industry? My dad has worked for Westmor Industries for the past 33 years, so I grew up around the industry, but I didn’t get my start until I was 16 and started working after school at Westmor in its marketing department. That is when I became really interested in bobtails, which ultimately fueled my love for the propane industry. Since my first part-time job at Westmor, I’ve interned at CHS, worked full time for Westmor and Marshall Excelsior Co., and then recently transferred to the marketer’s side of the industry.

What is your vision for growing your company, and how can you achieve that vision? I grew up in Minnesota, so it is fun working for a company that services the majority of Minnesota and Wisconsin. That’s why I’m so passionate about helping Lakes Gas grow across these two states and across the Midwest. I’m able to bring a unique perspective to Lakes Gas because I came from the manufacturing side of the industry, and although I still have a lot to learn, I am able to bring a new outlook to our team. I know the value we offer, and my biggest goal is to share that with customers across the Midwest.

How can the propane industry prosper in the coming years? The propane industry is in a unique position. Younger generations are driving the change for a cleaner environment, and lucky for us, our industry is part of the solution. We need to continue to be heavily involved in the clean energy conversation.

What does your generation offer to the propane industry that previous generations did not? If you know me well enough, you know I have advocated for younger generations since my start in the industry. My generation approaches work differently. We try to streamline processes. We like to introduce new technologies and new ways of thinking. The best thing about the younger generations is we are advocates for change and, for the most part, aren’t afraid of it. In our industry, many generations are represented, and it’s exciting to watch every generation bring their strengths to work toward a common goal.

What specific technologies are you using (or plan to use) to support business operations? At Lakes Gas, we recently implemented a new back-end software system that has allowed our employees to focus further on customer experience. We have given our customers the ability to control more of their information online, and that feature is going to become even more popular as younger people begin to purchase houses and cabins. Since I joined the Lakes Gas family, we have put a large focus on social media platforms and digital marketing. We are dedicated to constantly updating, improving and growing our online presence and digital platforms.

What propane industry associations are you involved with at the state and/or national level? My first mentor and friend in the industry (outside of my family) was Tim Esterling of Westmor Industries. He introduced me to the National Propane Gas Association’s Women in Propane Council while I was in college. This group sparked my interest and was where I met another amazing mentor, Sarah Knight, who encouraged me to become more involved in the industry. Since then, I have participated in the workforce development task force, which is now a part of the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). I am also a part of the PAC Steering Committee and Young Gassers. I’m the current chair of the NPGA Conventions Committee, I sit on a PERC Advisory Committee, and I’m part of Women in LPG, which selected me as runner-up for the Young Woman of the Year Award in 2019.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself, your company and/or the propane industry? I’m extremely thankful to be part of an industry that has always been so supportive. I wouldn’t be where I am in my career if it wasn’t for my amazing mentors. I’m able to present my ideas with no judgment – like the “30 Under 30” program – and that is an incredible feeling. I continuously tell my peers who are not in the industry how many great people work in propane.

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