New WPGA president, CEO: Association to ‘stand as a bulwark’

August 8, 2022 By    

Colin Sueyres, new president and CEO of the Western Propane Gas Association (WPGA), considers his return to energy policy a “homecoming of sorts.”

Headshot: Colin Sueyres


Sueyres was director of research in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office when, in 2006, the governor signed the California Global Warming Solutions Act, landmark legislation that paved the way for the state’s cap-and-trade program.

Since then, Sueyres has pursued interests in energy and health care as a senior staff member to members of the state legislature and a member of Congress, as a consultant to private sector clients and political campaigns, and most recently, as director of government affairs at the California Psychological Association.

Joining the propane industry, says Sueyres, means returning to an area he knows well and has loved working in over the course of his career.

Leadership goals

During his first year as head of WPGA, Sueyres aims to establish relationships with all members and inform them about the resources WPGA provides.

Member participation is already robust, he says, due to the association’s 73-year history and its technical expertise in dealing with onerous energy regulations.

He credits former WPGA President and CEO Joy Alafia – who left the propane industry to head the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists – for her environmental thought leadership in the industry.

“The role that Joy played in being that voice of propane and the environment – where do we go and how do we do it in a way that allows the propane industry to grow and continue to develop – that is absolutely something I’m looking to continue,” says Sueyres.

To that end, Sueyres earmarks renewable propane as an opportunity for industry growth, especially in California. To ensure California does not hamper the industry’s renewable fuel goals, the association will avert barriers to access and advocate for the same treatment as electricity and other renewable fuels.

“In California, we have an opportunity to chart a path for what the propane industry looks like in a post net-zero carbon emissions future,” he says.

Sueyres also plans to target local and state regulations, county ordinances and state budgetary spending, as well as rebates or direct investment for propane, to ensure a fair and free market.

“We want to make sure that the market economy in California remains a true market economy,” he says. “If there are opportunities to shift from one fuel source to another, we want to make sure that, if propane is cost competitive, there are no artificial barriers to participating in that market.”

Sueyres understands the challenges California’s propane marketers face in achieving a level playing field but, in those challenges, sees hope and opportunity.

His message for propane marketers as he begins his tenure: “WPGA is going to stand as a bulwark on behalf of the industry. We’re going to fight to make sure propane is around for generations to come.”

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