NPGA elects Jeff Stewart as board chairman

June 15, 2023 By    

The right person at the right time.

Jeff Stewart becomes chair of NPGA (Photo: LP Gas staff)

Jeff Stewart of Blue Star Gas makes his first remarks as chairman of the National Propane Gas Association. (Photo: LP Gas staff)

That’s the label propane industry leaders are giving to Jeff Stewart as he takes over as chair of the National Propane Gas Association’s (NPGA) board of directors.

“It’s certainly a tremendous compliment that I will attempt to live up to,” says the third-generation owner of Blue Star Gas, who replaces Michelle Bimson Maggi of AmeriGas.

A California native whose business has expanded to five western states, Stewart has experienced the electrification movement firsthand. In the process, he has developed a deep knowledge of the strict regulatory environment in which the propane industry finds itself. He’s also been among the industry’s most outspoken leaders – and active volunteers – in responding to the challenges.

Stewart helped guide the Propane Education & Research Council’s Energy for Everyone campaign development, has negotiated with the California Air Resources Board on propane’s treatment in the state’s low carbon fuel standard and has provided technical input around renewable propane. Blue Star Gas has sold renewable propane since 2017, now offering it in California, Oregon and Washington.

After his swearing-in during NPGA’s mid-year board meeting in Washington, D.C., Stewart, a former chair of the Western Propane Gas Association and longtime member of the Pacific Propane Gas Association (PPGA), spoke about “the reality that we find ourselves in today and the bright future of our industry.”

The industry must respond aggressively, he says, “to position propane the best we are able, through legislative and regulatory engagement, and also something relatively new to us – aggressive, legal action.”

Earlier this year, Blue Star Gas and the PPGA were part of a coalition of trade associations, union representatives, businesses and homeowners banding together in a lawsuit challenging the Washington State Building Code Council’s new codes restricting the use of propane and natural gas in new residential and commercial construction. Now NPGA is considering the same tactics to preserve energy choice.

Stewart recognizes how the propane business differs across the country. But it’s during his travels to state and regional association meetings in the coming months when he plans to explain how the industry must unify in the face of electrification.

He plans to frame the discussion, so industry members gain a better understanding of the regulatory environment that’s impacting propane businesses.

“It is an important topic that is relevant for our entire membership regardless of which state one is in,” he says. “The reality is this is the environment we are moving within.”

He also plans to frame the discussion around change, wanting propane marketers to reexamine their business models and adjust them in ways that contribute to a more balanced energy-choice reality – after a societal recognition that full electrification is unachievable, he says.

“We must rethink how propane is utilized and how we market our products of the future,” says Stewart, also referencing a need to train the industry on power generators, CHP systems, autogas fleet opportunities and appliance sales strategies.

“Simply, we must sell products that use propane,” he says. “While that sounds very basic and obvious, many of our members do not do that.”

Stewart wants these discussions to take place throughout the industry – “among the leadership in boardrooms of our large members and around the kitchen table of our small members,” during employee training sessions and in company breakrooms.

He plans to initiate them over the next year.

“We must all, big or small, have a plan of how each company will move forward in advance to meet the future energy needs of this country,” he says.

In addition to Stewart, NPGA elected Tom Van Buren of Meritum Energy Holdings as chair-elect, Michael Hopsicker of Ray Murray Inc. as vice chair and DD Alexander of Global Gas as treasurer.

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at or 216-706-3748.

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