2024 Propane Expo races to new host city: Charlotte

March 11, 2024 By    
Propane Expo photo by LP Gas staff

Photo: LP Gas staff

The propane industry is revving up for Charlotte, North Carolina.

One year after celebrating its 75th anniversary, the Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo is generating another storyline in 2024 with the introduction of a new host city.

For decades, Atlanta had been the fixture city in the Southeast for the National Propane Gas Association’s (NPGA) flagship event and the propane industry’s largest trade show. In 2016, NPGA introduced Nashville, Tennessee, to the lineup – a decision that resulted in record attendance for the show.

With Atlanta sidelined as a Propane Expo host city, NPGA sought a second city to join the rotation with Nashville, which NPGA President and CEO Steve Kaminski calls “our new anchor.”

“We want to keep things fresh, so we were looking for another city in the Southeast for historical reasons and also just because folks like getting down there,” Kaminski says. “We don’t want to compete with other significant shows, and Charlotte has a lot of advantages.”

Kaminski says Charlotte offers a key hub for flights and provides easy access for companies driving from the Midwest. He also lauds the city’s modern convention center, which underwent a $126.9 million expansion project in 2021. The convention center has the capacity to host the show’s roughly 4,000 total attendees, he adds, and about 15 hotels of differing price points are within walking distance.

“Like Nashville, it’s surrounded by a lot of restaurants, a lot of places to go in the evenings,” Kaminski says. “Like Nashville is attached to the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Charlotte Convention Center is attached to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I know a lot of folks in the industry are big racing fans.”

Nashville was a popular destination for the propane industry, owing to the city’s music scene and vibrant nightlife. One propane industry executive says that Charlotte has more of a business feel to it.

“Charlotte doesn’t have the same reputation as Nashville, but it still has all the components needed for a big convention like that,” says John Jessup, president and CEO of the Southeast Propane Alliance (SEPA), which is based in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Jessup says SEPA, a regional propane association composed of Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, is looking forward to having the Propane Expo in its backyard. Its website has been counting down to the April 5-7 event.

SEPA will host its board meeting on the Saturday morning of that weekend, and the alliance also plans to promote its Southeast Propane Alliance Technical Education Center (SEPATEC) at the Propane Expo. 

SEPATEC is a propane-based program with concentrated, career-focused, hands-on courses at its facility in Graham, North Carolina.

While Nashville and now Charlotte have become official host cities of the Propane Expo, there’s also been talk in the industry of adding a third city to the rotation.

“There are a small handful of cities we’re investigating, but we really want to see how Charlotte goes first,” Kaminski says. “We’re going to see if the industry likes Charlotte, if the NPGA likes Charlotte. If it does well, if people are happy with it, we will look to potentially contract for further years. But we certainly haven’t ruled out a small handful of cities that the show has not been in previously in the same general vicinity.”

Featured speakers

Rusty Wallace takes the top spot again but this time as the Propane Expo’s keynote speaker on April 5. It’s easy to see why Wallace is known as one of NASCAR’s all-time best drivers. He was the 1989 NASCAR Cup Series champion, 1984 Rookie of the Year and a 55-time Cup Series race winner. He won at least one race in NASCAR’s Cup Series for 16 consecutive years and is often credited as being a catalyst behind the mainstream appeal the sport enjoys today. The NASCAR Hall of Famer currently serves as lead analyst for MRN radio – the voice of NASCAR – where he is heard on more than 700 affiliates nationwide as well as on SiriusXM radio.

Tiffany Johnson, a shark attack survivor, will share her message of hope and restoration at the Prayer Breakfast on April 7. Johnson lost half of her right arm in the 2017 attack. The message from the speaker, author and singer focuses on how to overcome difficulties, deal with change and take practical steps to process it all.

The propane industry in North Carolina

Did you know that North Carolina ranks 10th on the list of retail propane gallon sales? The state sold 382 million gallons in 2022, the latest year of available data, compiled by Frost & Sullivan for the Propane Education & Research Council. About 44 percent of its sales came in the residential market. Gallon sales in the state have increased now for three straight years.

Where to find LP Gas in Charlotte

April 4 – LP Gas Hall of Fame induction dinner: The LP Gas Hall of Fame welcomes the Class of 2024 during an induction dinner and ceremony at The Westin Charlotte, 601 South College St., in downtown Charlotte.

April 5 – Educational session: LP Gas will host an educational session based on its Rising Leaders initiative at the Propane Expo. The session, called “Rising Up: The Propane Industry’s Next Generation of Leaders,” will feature a group of individuals ready to share their perspectives on key industry topics like technology, workforce recruitment and development, and propane industry opportunities and challenges. Join us from 9-10:15 a.m. at the Charlotte Convention Center.

April 5-7 – Trade show: Visit the LP Gas staff in booth 727.

Future show dates

  • 2024 – Charlotte
  • 2025 – Charlotte
  • 2026 – Nashville
  • 2027 – Nashville

5 other shows to mark on your 2024 calendar

  • May 13-17 – Western Propane Trade Show & Convention, Reno, Nevada
  • May 19-22 – Eastern Energy Expo, Uncasville, Connecticut
  • July 23-25 – Great Lakes Propane Convention, Indianapolis
  • Aug. 1-3 – Crossroads Propane Expo & Conference, Allen, Texas
  • Aug. 14-15 – Northeast Propane Show, Worcester, Massachusetts

Featured homepage image: Jian Fan/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at brichesson@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3748.

Comments are currently closed.