A Propane Personality: NPGA’s Chris Earhart

August 10, 2018 By    
Photo courtesy Dixie Gas & Oil

Photo courtesy Dixie Gas & Oil

Chris Earhart: Chairman, National Propane Gas Association

Education

Robert E. Lee High School
Class of 1973

University of Richmond
Bachelor of Science degree in business administration
Class of 1977

Work Experience

1977–present
Dixie Gas & Oil Corp.
⦁ President

1977–present
National Propane Gas Association (NPGA)
⦁ Governmental Affairs Committee
⦁ Member Services Committee
⦁ Executive Committee
⦁ Treasurer
⦁ Chairman

1979–89, 1996–2014
Virginia Propane Gas Association
⦁ President
⦁ Director
⦁ Secretary
⦁ Treasurer
⦁ Vice president

NPGA GOALS

“I want to continue the coordination of efforts between NPGA, the Propane Education & Research Council, and the state associations. We have to leverage all of our industry resources to achieve the greatest successes. Also, I want to raise awareness that we, as marketers, must be more involved in growing demand. We can’t expect others to do it for us like we are now. It’s not working. We have challenges in the propane industry today, but we also have more exciting opportunities than I have seen
in my 41-plus years.”

Photo courtesy Dixie Gas & Oil

Photo courtesy of Dixie Gas & Oil.

WHAT RETAILERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT NPGA

Earhart says NPGA is using its resources in the most effective way possible to support the industry. With the increase in legislative and regulatory issues at the state level, NPGA’s state engagement program leverages the association’s manpower and experience in conjunction with the states’ own efforts to achieve greater results that ultimately benefit the industry.

A FAMILY BUSINESS

“My entire career has been involved with our family business, Dixie Gas & Oil Corp., where I am currently president. I began full time in 1977, but, as in many family businesses, I worked part time growing up. I painted and filled cylinders, later set tanks and delivered gas, and built plants and bobtails during college summers. My first pay was 50 cents per hour at age 12 and later moved up to the minimum wage, which at that time was $1.65.”

BEST ADVICE

“A gentleman named Dan Hinchman was a member of our Virginia association when I first became involved with that group. He was a wholesale rep for Amoco and did business consulting after he retired. In a conversation with him one day, I was telling him how we were going to improve efficiencies and cut costs. He quickly interrupted me and said, ‘Chris, always remember, you can’t just save your way to a profit; you have to grow.’ I’ve never forgotten those simple but important words.”

HOBBIES

Earhart and his wife, Becky, have a small herd of cows at their home in Virginia, and he uses the time on his tractor and in his field to unwind and reflect. In addition to his cows, Earhart works on his collection of antique trucks, saying it gives him an appreciation for the technology we have today. Among his trucks is a replica of Dixie Gas & Oil’s first bobtail. Earhart adds that his family and church are very important to him.

About the Author:

Joe McCarthy is an Associate Editor of LP Gas Magazine. You can contact him at jmccarthy@northcoastmedia.net and at 216-363-7930.

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