PERC elects new officers

April 17, 2009 By    

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), meeting on April 2-3 in Atlanta, elected officers for the coming term, which will run from July 2009 through June 2010.

They are chairman: Bill Platz, Delta Liquid Energy (Paso Robles, Calif.); vice chairman, marketers: Joe Armentano, Paraco Gas (Rye Brook, N.Y.); vice chairman, producers: Steve Williams, BP North America Gas & Power (Houston); treasurer: Paul Grady, Heritage Operating LP (Florence, Ky.); and secretary: David Regan, Targa Resources Inc. (Houston).

The incoming officers will lead the council as it embarks on the National Energy Conversation – a campaign to educate opinion leaders and energy decision makers about the ways propane can help reduce carbon emissions through the immediate use of highly efficient appliances, vehicles and other technologies.

To help that message reach audiences far and wide, the council took steps in Atlanta to form an alliance with T. Boone Pickens, a leading advocate of alternative and renewable fuels. The council authorized PERC President and CEO Roy Willis to continue negotiating the terms of an agreement that would make propane an integral part of the Pickens Plan, a multimedia campaign to promote energy independence, expand the use of domestic alternative fuels and reduce the impact of energy use on the environment.

“Propane has many qualities that can help America achieve the goals outlined in the Pickens Plan, especially in markets that natural gas doesn’t serve, like the forklift and commercial mowing markets,” Willis said. “Propane is produced in America, it’s better for the environment than conventional fuels, and it’s helping create green-collar jobs around the country.”

In other business:

• The council changed the PERC Market Development Partnership Program (formerly the Consumer Education Partnership Program) to make more funding available to states when they use PERC-developed advertising materials to promote the National Energy Conversation in regional and local markets. For a limited time only, qualifying advertisement spending will be eligible for a dollar-for-dollar match, which is twice the usual 50-cents-on-the-dollar match that states can get for other projects through the partnership program.

• The council approved funding for Docket 15943, the engine fuel marketing plan for 2009 and the first quarter of 2010. The plan aims to promote the industry’s propane engine fuel programs and capitalize on some promising developments, including a recent expansion of the line of propane-fueled trucks and vans from Roush Industries and growth in the number of manufacturers offering propane-fueled commercial mowers.

• Council Chairman Glenn Saunders announced that he appointed Bryan Lewis, CHS Propane (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.), to the Safety & Training Advisory Committee; John Kraft, Pacific Northwest Plains Marketing LP (Yankton, S.D.), to the Agriculture Advisory Committee; and Thomas Van Buren, Ferrell North America (Overland Park, Kan.), to the Research and Development Advisory Committee.

• Chief Information Officer Kay Howell told the council about improvements to PERC’s information technology programs, including the launch of an ambitious Web site redesign project that will make it easier for propane users and marketers to find information.

• Kate Caskin, PERC senior vice president and chief marketing officer, reported on recent analysis of the propane industry’s marketing assets, including the Energy Guys and Propane Exceptional Energy. PERC staff presented the council with an evaluation of 2008 outreach efforts aimed at consumers and construction professionals as well as programs benefiting the propane industry.

• PERC advisory committees from all mission areas – agriculture, consumer education, engine fuel, research and development, and safety and training – delivered reports to the council on their work since the last meeting, in February, and their upcoming projects.

• The Audit Committee reported that the independent auditing firm Aronson & Company (Rockville, Md.) gave PERC’s financial statements for 2008 a clean, unqualified opinion and recommended no audit adjustments.

The council approved funding for the following grants:
• $1,766,200 to PERC for 2009-2010 engine fuel marketing program
• $1,447,050 to PERC for 2009 trade shows and conferences
• $449,300 to PERC for LPG additive and filter effectiveness studies
• $305,000 to PERC for 2009 consumer education measurement and evaluation program
• $280,000 to California Clean Air Technologies LLC for CARB off-road verification of a propane addition system
• $200,000 to PERC for Engine Fuel Advisory Committee professional services
• $150,000 to PERC for 2009 factory-built housing initiative
• $116,176 to Ohio State University for propane flaming of sand to reduce bacteria counts
• $100,000 to EnviroGard for propane fuel systems for new Kawasaki engine platforms
• $99,261 to PERC for expert analysis of the concept of synthetic and/or bio-propane
• $82,000 to PERC for greenhouse gas emissions for propane equipment analysis II
• $67,000 to PERC for Propane Agriculture Roadmap update
• $65,000 to Alabama Propane Gas Association for propane vehicle statistical data research

The council received a detailed report of the 79 replicated state rebate requests, totaling $3,014,439, that PERC staff had approved and paid out since the last council meeting. Eleven rebate requests included requests for partnership funds, totaling $96,511.

The council will next meet July 16-17 in Washington, D.C.

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