2024 LP Gas Rising Leader: Jessica Sheehan-Balderston

March 22, 2024 By    

Logo: incomible/musri/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Company: Rural Computer Consultants / Bird Island, Minnesota

Job title: Head of support

Years in the propane industry: 9

How did you get your start in the industry?

My grandfather, Fabe Sheehan, started Sheehan’s Gas in Bird Island, Minnesota, in 1952, providing propane to local residents and eventually adding natural gas in 1969. My father, Brian Sheehan, and uncle, Kevin Sheehan, then started Rural Computer Consultants Inc. (RCC) in 1979 after seeing the need to keep companies like Sheehan’s Gas up to date on technology. My father and uncle designed software targeted for our industry with an emphasis on efficiency to help not only the office but drivers as well. Fast forward 35 years: I started at RCC in 2014 in the fuel support department and have worked my way up with the goal of taking over ownership alongside my brother and two cousins.

How do you help lead your company in your role?

The needs of my company have changed drastically since the start in 1979. It takes a strong leadership team composed of both key staff members and ownership to run a company successfully. I help with that leadership by setting direction and policy with my team as well as helping my specific department of fuel support to make sure operations are running smoothly. I put a large emphasis on customer support and keeping our existing customers happy as well as being open to changes in our software that help our companies grow and expand.

What change would you like to see to the propane industry to ensure its success?

Technology in our world will continue to grow. I would like to see our industry lean into technology and how it can help their own business succeed. Using tools that will help not only office staff and drivers but also help the end consumers be able to educate themselves on the benefits of our industry.

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

My generation is used to everything at our fingertips. We look for new ideas in technology to efficiently gain access to information and streamline processes. We are excited to be able to make something more efficient and embrace change but at the same time still learn from other generations to help us continue to grow. It’s fun seeing our industry advance with each generation that comes forward.

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

We started using a product called PandaDoc to help us organize and track signatures we may need with our customers. We recently did a redesign on our webpage for our members and continue to add new videos and content to help them with our software. Another large change with my company is the capability for our employees to work from home. Also, in this day and age, electronic hardware can become outdated quickly. We have also taken great strides to our cloud storage for not only us but our customers along with frequent backups to that storage.

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

I am co-chair for the programs and events committee for Women in Propane. … I am also a member of NPGA and MNPGA.

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

I have always heard our industry is like a tight-knit family, and I have experienced that. Everyone has been so supportive and there to help. I wouldn’t be where I am in my career without having some amazing mentors in our industry guide me along the way. It really takes a team to make things work, so I want to also acknowledge everyone at my company on being right there next to me in leading our company together.

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