NPGA’s new president and CEO is ‘swinging for the fences’

December 12, 2019 By    

Steve Kaminski has acquainted himself with the propane industry over the past two months, attending meetings and meeting the people with whom he’ll work closely as the new president and CEO of the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA).

Steve Kaminski photo by Brian Richesson

New NPGA President and CEO Steve Kaminski. Photo by Brian Richesson

It’s the content – the industry – that will take the most time for Kaminski to learn as he adapts to his new position. Trade association leadership, however – that’s his forte, the reason NPGA chose him to replace Rick Roldan, who held the position for 17 years.

Without question, the propane industry is changing, and it faces challenges in a number of areas, not the least of which are workforce development and attacks on fossil fuels that threaten the viability of our industry. Former NPGA Chairman Chris Earhart recognized this when he said “times change and directions change.” It’s also no secret that NPGA has sought new ways to boost membership and revenue.

In talking to Kaminski, you get the feeling that NPGA conveyed these challenges to him because he already recognizes them and looks forward to finding the solutions.

“I thrive on taking on challenges,” he says.

Association experience

A Michigan native, Kaminski comes to NPGA from the poison control industry, where he served as CEO of the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Prior to that, he was executive vice president at the American Humane Association. His educational credentials are impressive: a law degree from Harvard Law School and a chemical engineering degree from Johns Hopkins.

Kaminski sees similarities between the challenges of his past association positions, including financial struggles and industry downturns, and those within the propane industry. In those instances, Kaminski says, he contributed to the turnaround of the organizations and hopes to initiate the same effect at NPGA.

NPGA was drawn to Kaminski’s experience with advocacy before Congress and federal agencies, and working to scale up state initiatives; with implementing national public affairs campaigns; overseeing standards and certification programs; designing, building and launching new programs and tools for members and new revenue-generating programs; building ties with partners and relevant stakeholders; and overseeing internal operations and governance.

Rallying the industry

Kaminski says propane is a “green energy that all Americans can get behind.” He doesn’t view propane as a bridge fuel but as a “linchpin to a green fuel society.” He recognizes a need for the industry to develop and share the right messaging.

“You can say wind and solar until you’re blue in the face, but it’s not available to everyone,” he says. “Propane can be available to everyone.”

The 44-year-old Kaminski gives NPGA a youthful presence at the top to lead a team that in recent years has added young, sharp, talented employees. He looks to continue that trend at the association and throughout the industry because, he says, “you have to have that pipeline of people in order to succeed and go forward.”

He talks of “getting younger members involved and interested in the association and having them understand what the needs are because the things that NPGA advocates for are not always visible to all marketers. … The younger members need to start getting involved so they can have a voice because it is their future.”

Kaminski comes across as energetic, intense, cordial, and he talks of moving forward aggressively. In some of his first comments to the NPGA board of directors, he talked of his desire to take home run swings. His aggressiveness, however, will be moderated by strategy, especially in the early stages of his tenure as he learns the industry and works to gain the support of NPGA’s Executive Committee.

“The industry won’t go forward without hitting home runs,” he says.

Batter up.

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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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