A Propane Profile: Texas state representative Tony Dale

March 16, 2018 By    

Dale

Tony Dale serves as a Texas state representative in House District 136. Before becoming a state representative, Dale worked for 17 years at Ferrellgas, where he held a number of positions, including district manager, vice president of business development and national director of autogas.

LP Gas: Tell me about your history as a member of the propane industry.

Dale: Back in 1993, I left the United States Army and I got a job working for Ferrellgas, and I worked in a bunch of different management and corporate roles for them for 17 years. It was a great experience, and after that I started my own consulting firm that still does work in propane. Shortly thereafter, I also ran for the House of Representatives, so now I’m a member of the Texas House, as well.

LP Gas: What’s your role in propane now, and why is it important to you as a representative?

Dale: In my current business, I work with fleets to advise them on if they’re going to transition into alternative fuels – specifically propane – and help them determine if it’s the right choice for them. I try not to mix the state business with my personal business, but, from a state standpoint, Texas is the home of propane. Most of it is made in Texas, so it’s very important for jobs all through the stream of commerce.

LP Gas: Can you describe your current roles, including as a representative and owner of a consulting business, and how does that work relate to the propane industry?

Dale: As a state representative, I’ve served two terms on the House of Energy Resources Committee, which oversees the oil and gas industry in Texas, including propane. I also serve as the chairman of the House Energy Caucus. We study issues related to energy all across the spectrum, whether it be oil and gas, electricity, propane, wind, everything. We have opportunities where we can put on educational seminars for legislative staffers and members of the legislature so they can get up to speed on all the different aspects of energy.

Dale spoke at the Propane Education & Research Council’s 2018 National Trainer’s Conference in January. Photo by Allison Barwacz

LP Gas: Why is it important to attend events like the Propane Education & Research Council’s Trainer’s Conference in San Antonio (where we caught up with Dale)?

Dale: Safety is critically important, not just to protect the health and safety of our employees in the industry, but of our customers, as well. And the reputation of the industry really matters. When we have a bad accident that happens in another part of the country, it can impact what happens in Texas in terms of legislation and regulations. In the realm of safety, we’re highly regulated, and when we make mistakes – when people try and cut corners and people get hurt – these things are known all over the country, and they can impact the entire industry adversely.

LP Gas: What can we expect from the propane industry in 2018?

Dale: I think the thing we all have our eyes on is not just the price of product, but what exports have to do with the price of product, and if there is a balance between making sure the industry stays healthy and that we’re secure to provide the heating needs of our customers here in the United States. I think down the road, we’re going to see more advanced things. We’re going to be looking at autonomous vehicles, and that’s going to be really interesting. Those are the kind of things that aren’t directly related to propane today, but in the next 10 to 20 years, people in the industry are going to be having to look at it because it’s going to impact them one way or another.

LP Gas: What kinds of issues do your colleagues discuss in regard to the propane or energy industry?

Dale: It’s not always exclusive to just propane because there are a lot of small business owners that are in the propane gas industry, and they’re impacted by the same things every other small business owner would be impacted by, whether it be tax policy or regulation. So I’m able to reach out to the propane gas industry folks, like the state executive director, and say, “Hey, these things are coming up. You need to have your eye on it. Not everything that comes down the pike that could impact propane has the word “propane” on it, so sometimes you don’t know it’s coming. But a lot of times, it’s tax issues. That’s a big deal, especially with business owners.

About the Author:

Allison Barwacz is the digital media content producer for LP Gas magazine. Contact her at abarwacz@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3796.

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