Celebrating propane industry anniversaries, other milestones

April 20, 2023 By    

Time seems to pass quickly, and I contend that the pace has quickened even more since the pandemic eased its grip. Picking back up after sitting idly for nearly two years somehow altered life’s rhythms.

But that’s not a bad thing. If anything, it should remind us to pause and enjoy the moment. And when we do that, we won’t look back and wonder as much about the passing of time. Hopefully we’ll have a greater appreciation for the extended timeline in our personal and professional lives.

For me, that’s an appreciation for a 20-year wedding anniversary this year with Cathy; Anna reaching the teenage years; and Maggie on the cusp of them. Certainly, you have your own important points on that timeline of life.

These thoughts were prevalent as we prepared this issue because so much on the pages that follow center on anniversaries and celebrations.

10 for the Hall

I didn’t attend the inaugural LP Gas Hall of Fame induction dinner in April of 2012. We were awaiting Maggie’s arrival.

Nine inductees comprised that first class, and 39 of the propane industry’s legends, icons and leaders have followed their path into the Hall of Fame. This includes our four inductees this year: Steve Ahrens of the Missouri Propane Gas Association, Tom Jaenicke of ATomiK Creative Solutions, Billy Prim of Blue Rhino and Don Schultz of Schultz Gas Service. Their inductions are special on their own merits but also because they mark the 10th class of the LP Gas Hall of Fame.

Ahrens’ rise to executive director of the Missouri association – and now Arkansas – is marked by career experiences that show the roots of his high-level leadership in those states and across the industry.

The always-visible Jaenicke carries a quiet, friendly demeanor that doesn’t offer on the surface any signs of his vast experience working on the front lines of the industry. But when you dig a little deeper, you understand the areas where he’s moved the needle for the industry, though it’s a good bet he’ll give the credit to others. Loyal readers of LP Gas know that Jaenicke also serves as a marketing columnist for the magazine, sharing insightful information for propane marketers six times a year.

Prim, a small-town North Carolina boy turned entrepreneur, created a memorable brand that helped put propane and propane products front and center nationwide for consumers. An independent retailer from Illinois, Schultz sparked innovations in the industrial market and left a legacy built around safety.

Their profiles reveal why the Class of 2023 is truly deserving of this Hall of Fame honor, which becomes official April 22 during an induction dinner at the Omni Nashville Hotel.

75 and going strong

We could easily call this the anniversary issue.

From the time its 2022 show ended in Nashville, Tennessee, the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) began to prepare and hype the 75th anniversary celebration of its Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo. 

Industry members going to Music City this year for the Propane Expo will be part of that celebration. They’ll have a chance to walk along a 60-ft. wall filled with photos from decades past and view old equipment that helped fuel the industry’s growth. “Lounge 1075” will be a cool place to kick back and look back on the industry’s 75 years.

The year also holds special meaning for a handful of equipment and solutions providers that have reached their own milestones. You’ll know who to congratulate at events this year after learning a bit about their history.

If your company is celebrating a milestone, there is a right way to honor its longevity. Danielle Pesta, our senior digital media manager, explains in The Digital Space.

So, whether you’re directly part of a 2023 celebration in the propane industry or having one at home, on behalf of the entire LP Gas staff – cheers!

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About the Author:

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

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