Industry leaders headline NYPGA panel discussion

November 21, 2019 By    

Propane industry leaders made up a panel discussion at the New York Propane Gas Association (NYPGA) Fall 2019 Conference.

The panelists included Tom Knauff, Energy Distribution Partners CEO; Joseph Armentano, Paraco Gas CEO; Bill Anderson, Suburban Propane managing director; Marc Schoone, Superior Plus Energy Services vice president of customer experience and supply; and Stephen Kossuth, UGI vice president of global LPG supply. Michael Hopsicker, the president and CEO of Ray Murray Inc., moderated the panel.

Expectations of consistent propane sales and a sense of cautious optimism were the major takeaways from the conversation. The panel also discussed national and local issues impacting the propane industry.

New York state, for example, has seen a drop in natural gas and oil usage. However, propane sales in the state remain consistent. The panel agreed new uses of propane in craft beer breweries and the landscaping industry showed promise to keep propane sales flowing in the state.

The panel raised some concern about legislative issues on the local, statewide and national front. Some panelists say this factored into a reserved approach about the future of the propane industry in New York.

From left, Michael Hopsicker, Joseph Armentano, Stephen Kossuth, March Schoone, Bill Anderson and Tom Knauff. Photo courtesy of Roger Rosenbaum

From left, Michael Hopsicker, Joseph Armentano, Stephen Kossuth, Marc Schoone, Bill Anderson and Tom Knauff. Photo by Roger Rosenbaum

Some other takeaways from the panel include:

  • The growth of the propane industry depends on workforce development and the industry’s ability to attract, train and deploy service techs and drivers.
  • Panelists agreed the reduction of natural gas is a bonus for propane marketers and the carbon reduction efforts. NYPGA members should take a proactive approach to the decarbonization movement, the panel stressed.
  • The panel identified consistent propane sales in the residential section as a positive sign. The panel agreed combustibles and industrial propane are two possible growth sectors. Autogas, the panel explained, provides a promising sector as some school districts have retrofitted buses.
  • Panelists stressed the importance of monitoring legislative issues and maintaining relationships with lawmakers at the local and state level.
  • Acquisitions, the panel estimated, will continue in a cyclical pattern. Marketers should embrace and value the selling company’s employees instead of a “slash and burn” attitude when it comes to operating a newly purchased business.
  • NYPGA members, the panel said, should look to improve service and be a one-stop energy solution source. Marketing needs to be done industry wide with one voice and one mission.

Comments are currently closed.