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LP Gas Hall of Fame profile: Joe Rose

April 18, 2022 By    

The 2022 LP Gas Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony will take place April 23 at the Omni Nashville Hotel in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Inductees are Richard Barker (Silgas), Nancy Coop (Cetane Associates), Joe Rose (Propane Gas Association of New England) and Doug Auxier (Auxier Gas). Get more information here.

Joe Rose


Before Joe Rose made his name as president and CEO of the Propane Gas Association of New England (PGANE), he scooped ice cream.

Around 1975, Lin Johnson, owner of Lin’s Propane at the time, brought his three kids to Newport Creamery, an ice cream and sandwich shop in Massachusetts where Rose worked. Rose remembered the family because of its unusual taste for ginger ice cream.

“I never saw a kid eat ginger ice cream except for the three of them,” recalls Rose, now retired from a 33-year career in retail propane and association work.

Early in Rose’s propane career, in the late 1980s, he saw two of the Johnson kids – now grown up – sitting across from him at an association meeting. They looked at Rose and at each other, puzzled.

As Rose remembers it, when the realization dawned on them, one said to the other, something like – “Hey, that’s the ice cream guy!”

It marked the beginning of Rose’s long relationship with the Johnson family, and a successful career in propane.

‘Ice cream guy’ to PGANE president

Rose entered the propane industry in 1985 as a service dispatcher for a family-owned propane operation in his hometown of Wakefield, Rhode Island. Up to that point, he had worked in restaurant and convenience store management.

“Quite frankly when I started that job, I didn’t really know the difference between fuel oil and propane, so it was true on-the-job-training,” says Rose.

In 1995, Star Gas Propane acquired the company, and Rose found himself working for a large marketer for the first time. His propane career took off, sometimes at breakneck speeds.

At Star Gas, Rose managed safety, training and regulatory compliance for eight states in the Northeast.

“I focused on employee training, branch audits, regulatory compliance, accident investigation, all those fun things,” says Rose. “Unfortunately, I was living out of a suitcase most of the time.”

He moved to Pennsylvania in 1998 and worked for a local retailer as director of propane operations for several years, but before long, he and his wife, Audrey, missed New England.

It was the Johnsons who welcomed Rose home. They offered him the opportunity to run their retail propane operation, Propane Plus, as president and CFO.

“From 2002-2007 when I worked for them, I not only ran the retail side, I also did a lot of helpful things with Lin’s as well,” explains Rose. “They offered me an opportunity to come back to New England, and I took it.”

All the while, Rose participated on safety and education committees for the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) and the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). He also took on leadership roles at PGANE and the Rhode Island Propane Gas Association.

So, when PGANE needed a new leader in 2007, Rose jumped on the opportunity to make a difference in his home region and the industry to which he had dedicated himself for, at that point, more than two decades.

Photo from LP Gas archives

From left, George Koloroutis, Ray Murray III, Tom Jaenicke and Rose at a Hall of Fame event. (Photo from LP Gas archives)

Rallying a region

When Rose assumed leadership of PGANE, he set his sights on boosting membership participation, generating revenue and building an active presence in local statehouses.

His grueling travel schedule resumed. He represented propane in six states, balancing six sets of legislation and regulations, six attorneys general and six fire marshals. He moved his home from Rhode Island to central New Hampshire, outside Concord, so he could travel to every New England state capital in less than three hours.

In 2010, he helped launch the Northeast Show, which remains a fixture in the industry’s event schedule.

He managed crises like the supply shortages of the 2013-14 winter. As pressure mounted and reporters lined up outside his office, he relied on clear communication and his values.

“I did 125 interviews with the media in 25 days,” remembers Rose. “My whole philosophy is always just to be as honest as I can possibly be, and if you always tell the truth, you never have to worry about what you said.”

His commitment to effective communication, through weekly newsletters and engaging meetings, invigorated PGANE’s membership participation. During his decade-long tenure, PGANE’s membership nearly doubled.

Rose considers the growth and development of PGANE the greatest accomplishment of his career.

Coming full circle

As Rose prepared to retire from PGANE in 2017, Andy Johnson – one of the ginger ice cream kids – called to ask what Rose planned to do in his spare time.

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Rose and his mentor in the clergy, Celeste Hemingson, on Easter Sunday 2018. (Photo courtesy of Joe Rose)

Rose expected he’d do a lot of golfing, camping and fishing, but Johnson insisted Rose would want to keep working.

Johnson was right. Rose is now a goodwill ambassador for Lin’s Propane Trucks, enjoying the lighter load of a part-time schedule and the companionship of his longtime friends.

He’s also studying to become an Episcopal priest, a vocation that’s been on his mind for many years.

“I was a lifelong Episcopalian and always thought as a young teenager that I would become a priest when I grew up, and then as teenagers do, I kind of wandered off the path for a while,” says Rose.

When he’s ordained, he’ll offer spiritual guidance to a small congregation in New Hampshire a few days a week.

“I’ll end up with two, two-day-a-week jobs,” he says, which still leaves him time to prioritize his wife and enjoy their good health. Some items on the to-do list: camp and take their pontoon boat out on Lake Champlain.

1 Comment on "LP Gas Hall of Fame profile: Joe Rose"

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  1. George Koloroutis says:

    Joe Rose is one of the kindest and most professional colleagues I had the pleasure of working with over the years. This hall of fame appointment is well deserved. Joe Rose is one of a kind. Congratulations Joe.