LPG Spotlight: Kauffman Gas

February 7, 2024 By    
Photo courtesy of PPATEC

Jenna Poole trains in the PPA program. (Photo courtesy of PPATEC)

While reflecting on her childhood, Jenna Poole vividly remembers watching her father work for Kauffman Gas – his employer for more than 25 years – whenever she visited him.

Fast forward to January 2024, and Poole, now 23 years old, has been hired at the Pennsylvania company to follow in her father’s footsteps.

Unlike her father, though, Poole is training to become an HVAC technician via the Pennsylvania Petroleum Association’s (PPA) HVAC & Energy Professional Program. A 10-week offering, the program will enable Poole to acquire an EPA certification, various propane certifications and hands-on training by late March. From there, she will begin her career with the Kauffman Gas family, composed of 22 full-time staff members.

“Jenna is joining the industry at a time when a lot of companies have multiple job openings for several positions,” says Ted Harris, executive vice president of the PPA. “Deliverable fuel marketers and HVAC contractors are competing for skilled workers in a job market that has the lowest employment rate (3.4 percent) since Pennsylvania first tracked the statistic in 1976.”

Although male employees outnumber female employees in the propane industry, industry leaders say women are continuously joining the industry. In fact, the PPA Technical Education Center has noticed a rise in class attendance by female students.

Chris Kauffman, co-owner of Kauffman Gas, knew that Poole would be a great fit for his company. He also believes she’ll ultimately inspire the propane industry, including other retailers like Kauffman Gas.

“Qualified HVAC technicians are almost nonexistent right now,” he says. “We hope that by finding young people like Jenna who are willing to learn and work we’ll have a better product overall.”

He adds, “By investing in her, as we’re fully paying for her certifications, Kauffman Gas may have a significant impact on other propane retailers who are interested in hiring female service technicians. And she may be an ambassador for others who don’t have experience in propane but can succeed anyways.”

Photo courtesy of Jenna Thieroff

Kauffman Gas employs 22 full-time employees. (Photo by Jenna Thieroff)

Poole looks forward to working for a company that’s dedicated to its employees. She also can’t wait to have a full-time job that requires working with her hands.

“I do my best with a job that allows me to work with my hands, rather than staring at a computer all day,” she says. “Now, thanks to Kauffman Gas and the PPA, I’ll be able to do exactly that.”

Harris hopes at least 10 percent of propane’s service technicians and drivers will be female within the next decade.

“In Pennsylvania alone, that would result in hundreds of new individuals filling these roles, which are the faces of the industry as they interact with consumers daily,” Harris says. “Jenna has an opportunity to inspire other females to follow suit and positively impact the propane industry long term.”

Company profile: Kauffman Gas

Year founded // 1943
Headquarters // Atglen, Pennsylvania
Owners // Chris and Josh Kauffman
Employees // 22 full time
Bobtails/transports // 8 bobtails/3 transports
Annual gallon sales // 2.8 million

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