LP Gas Hall of Famers bring their stories to the stage

May 10, 2024 By    

A Hall of Famer’s induction speech is often a memorable event.

It’s a way for everyone to relive defining moments in one’s career, feel life’s many emotions and feel inspired about the path one took to reach the pinnacle of an industry.

An LP Gas Hall of Famer’s speech is no different.

Our LP Gas team and our selection committee, composed of members representing various segments of the industry, spend months receiving nominations, discussing the nominees, selecting the inductees and telling their stories – all before that special night when the industry comes together for the induction dinner and ceremony on the eve of the NPGA Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo.

The annual process offers several rewarding experiences for us. But those speeches – they rank at the top for me. Take this part of Mike Walters’ induction speech from April’s event in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“This thing has been surreal. It’s a dream, right? When am I going to wake up?

“Sometimes I feel grateful. Sometimes I feel humble. Sometimes I feel like it’s Groundhog Day, and I’m in a Wayne’s World commercial, where Garth, Wayne and I are sitting there going, ‘We’re not worthy!’”

Or inductee Randy Doyle retracing the steps he took to co-found the NPGA’s Benchmarking Council, first gaining inspiration from association leaders during a 1995 meeting at a Chicago airport.

“I saw a commitment to our industry that I said to myself, ‘I need to model that same sort of attitude of industry service,’ and I knew that my first job was to take the lead in establishing the Benchmarking Council.”

Or Joe and Rosie Buschur revealing their proudest industry accomplishment – their involvement in Propane Days, the national lobbying event.

“We’ve always felt a responsibility to give back to the industry,” Rosie said.

Or Bruce Swiecicki recalling his experiences with industry legends like Emerson Thomas, Sam McTier, Bill McHenry and Dan Myers.

Sitting beside the stage during the ceremony, I have the unique angle that allows me to view both the inductees during their speeches and the audience members peering up at them. Two things often stand out from this vantage point: the inductees’ tearful eyes and audience members locked in on inductees’ every word. Those words mean something, to all involved, and that was no different this year.

In the coming weeks, we’ll begin to share the recordings of this year’s inductee speeches.

I can’t wait to see – and hear – what the next class of inductees will bring to the stage. Make your nominations at lpgashalloffame.com.

LP Gas Rising Leaders

The next morning, we awoke in Charlotte ready to immerse ourselves in another event. Ironically, while only hours earlier we were celebrating Hall of Fame careers spanning decades, this event would highlight the talented, young leaders holding key positions in our industry today.

I was fortunate enough to moderate a panel discussion during a Propane Expo educational session called “Rising up: The propane industry’s next generation of leaders.” The panel featured four LP Gas Rising Leaders who shared their perspectives on leadership, workforce development and the industry’s future, among other topics.

What panelists Donna Howay-Germond of Paraco Gas, Chandler Robertson of Thermotane Propane, Brian Sora of DiLeo Gas and Emily Willis of Blossman Gas shared during the discussion was so informative that we can’t help but share it with you. It’s information that can only benefit the propane industry, and we plan to print portions of that transcript in upcoming issues of LP Gas.

The session only underscored the transition that’s taking place in the propane industry. We continue to say it, but it’s true: The next generations are taking over, and that’s a good thing.

We recognized our 2024 Rising Leaders in February, and nominations for 2025 are now open. Learn more about our Rising Leaders at lpgasmagazine.com/lp-gas-rising-leaders, and submit your nominations today.

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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