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2022 LP Gas Rising Leader: Kimmie Guthrie

February 15, 2022 By    

Kimmie Guthrie

The essentials: Age 39; director of training at ThompsonGas in Arab, Alabama

Years in the propane industry: 9

How did you get your start in the propane industry? I had worked in multiple industries, specializing in training and developing talent, for approximately 10 years before I began my career in the propane industry as a customer service manager. I worked with a great local leadership team in the Southeast that invested in me to develop my knowledge of propane, as well as provide me with opportunities to continue my growth as a training leader.

What is your vision for growing your company, and how can you achieve that vision? We have a unique opportunity at ThompsonGas to grow both through organic sales as well as through integrating new acquisition customers and team members into our company. We seek out exceptionally talented individuals, offer them a culture of growth and opportunity and then focus on removing any roadblocks from their path. We look for ways to say, “Yes, we can do that,” to both our customers and our employees striving to reward both for their loyalty to ThompsonGas. I individually contribute to this vision by leading our efforts in strategic employee development initiatives, providing instructional strategies and techniques for learning as well as defining scope and training objectives. I also spend time delivering classroom and virtual training to new and current ThompsonGas employees.

How can the propane industry prosper in the coming years? We have the opportunity to make a positive impact on our industry by investing in the development of our employees, leveraging technology to work for us and creating consistently exceptional experiences. We should also be looking for impactful ways to bring to market-efficient, simple solutions that drive customer satisfaction. This could include tank monitors, customer-centric web services and methods of gathering customer insight that drives business improvements, just to name a few. By focusing on thinking outside of the box, we will increase our propane footprint in both real estate as well as the most powerful marketing tool we have, those customers we serve.

What does your generation offer to the propane industry that previous generations did not? Our generation offers a fresh perspective and a determination to not accept the response of “because it’s the way we have always done it.” There are so many industries that are leading in the adoption of new technology, and my generation of propane employees wants our industry to be known for this, as well. We believe there is power in the whiteboard session, moving from idea generation to strategy implementation. We have a heart for others and a desire to serve with the best of ourselves. There is a human connection that drives us – connection, accountability and innovation.

What specific technologies are you using (or plan to use) to support business operations? Our industry has historically developed team members in a setting of one to one, or one to few. This worked for us in the past, but does it serve us now? Sharing the wealth of knowledge our industry veterans gained through trial and error and the university of hard knocks is very important, but we must integrate that knowledge into more impactful training platforms. ThompsonGas has invested in our e-learning courses and the LMS platform to create impactful and efficient trainings that are able to be assigned to an individual or group at the click of a button. During the pandemic season, we also took the opportunity to leverage technology and training of our teams across the country while staying safe. We are also developing a way to share business knowledge in a centralized location to ensure our internal and external customers receive the consistent world-class experience they have come to expect.

What propane industry associations are you involved with at the state and/or national level? I have served the NPGA business council, Women in Propane Council (WIP), since 2018, as well as being a member of the Alabama Gas Association board. With WIP, I served as a mentor in the Knowledge Exchange program and contributed to their communications and marketing efforts.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself, your company and/or the propane industry? I am honored to have been selected as a Rising Leader. My husband and I live in Arab, Alabama. We are passionate about serving others both at work and in our personal life. We lead LCHREC, a recovery program at Life Church Huntsville in Huntsville, Alabama, where we help others heal from everyday choices. I am excited to be a part of an innovative company like ThompsonGas, that is rethinking the way we do business by placing value on the voice of the customer and employee. Our leaders value the development of our employees and are open to providing me with the resources needed to effectively train and prepare our employees for success.

About the Author:

Carly Bemer (McFadden) is the managing editor at LP Gas magazine. She can be reached at 216-363-3930 or cbemer@northcoastmedia.net.

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