PERC installs new chairman, proposes 2019 budget, approves projects

July 27, 2018 By    

Rob Chalmers, left, of Meritum Energy Holdings is the new chairman of the Propane Education & Research Council. Click to enlarge. Photo by Brian Richesson.

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) introduced a new chairman and unveiled its proposed 2019 budget at its July meeting in Minneapolis.

Rob Chalmers of Meritum Energy Holdings assumed the role of chairman during the public meeting after exchanging the gavel with former chairman Drew Combs of CHS Inc.

In addition to Chalmers, PERC officers installed for terms running July 1 through June 30 and comprising the Executive Committee are: Rob Freeman of Freeman Gas Co., vice chairman marketers; Kasib Abdullah of BP, vice chairman producers; Randy Doyle of Blossman Gas, treasurer; and Daniel Dixon of AmeriGas Propane, secretary.

PERC also welcomed new councilor Mark Donohue of MarkWest Energy.

“This organization has been reenergized by the new leadership,” Chalmers says. “I’m confident with this organization right now and where it can go.”

PERC approved the distribution of its proposed 2019 budget of $46.3 million in order to solicit industry and public comment. Public comments are due by Aug. 24 and will be considered by the council at its meeting Nov. 8-9 in Savannah, Georgia.

In developing the 2019 budget, PERC followed four strategic objectives: creating regionally-driven campaigns; enhancing workforce training and development resources; transforming its digital systems and offerings; and rebuilding its financial reserves.

PERC president and CEO Tucker Perkins calls the focus on regional campaigns – and away from a nationally-driven approach – “one of the most monumental shifts that we’ve seen.”

The 2019 budget reflects an assessment rate of five-tenths of a cent per gallon on odorized propane, generating forecasted revenues of $41 million.

PERC is also taking steps to revamp its finance function infrastructure after a review of 2017 financial statements by an external auditor netted a finding of a material weakness in internal controls. The first phase of the process involves replacing the accounting software and a review of whether to continue to outsource the accounting or bring it in-house.

“The system we have today is not serving our needs,” says Gene Bissell, chairman of the Audit Committee.

PERC approved the following funding requests during the meeting. The principal contractor is listed in parenthesis where applicable.

⦁ $3.1 million for the 2018 integrated marketing communications: homeowner outreach program, which will feature a digital media buy reflecting regional and seasonal differences in propane markets. This project is open for public comment through Aug. 24. (Swanson Russell)

⦁ $950,000 for the 2018 corporate communications program, focusing on a thought leadership program designed to position PERC as a credible resource for propane, alternative fuel sources and renewable fuels. (Swanson Russell)

⦁ $475,000 for the 2018 website consolidation and redesign effort, which groups 10 different website properties into (Swanson Russell and White Lion)

⦁ $450,000 for 2018 Marketer Sales Training Program Development, transforming the program into more modular, task-based, job-focused training to help marketers succeed in markets where PERC is active. (GP Strategies)

⦁ $300,000 for 2018 material handling outreach and marketing, which includes equipment dealer and distributor engagement and boosting propane’s brand awareness in the market.

⦁ $250,000 for 2018 workforce recruitment, serving as an initial step toward creating content and programs for marketers and state entities to use in workforce recruitment activities.

⦁ $50,000 for the Carbon Management Information Center Consortium 2018, which helps to document and defend the technical and societal benefits of direct propane use. (Gas Technology Institute)

⦁ $47,800 for PERC to develop and manage the 2019 Propane Industry Trainers’ Conference (Jan. 8-10).

⦁ $45,000 to demonstrate the light commercial/residential distributed generation-enabled SmartWatt Boiler, a heating system designed to be affordable, reduce energy costs and provide backup power. (Enviro Power)

⦁ $42,250 for a safety and training materials compliance update review. (Logica3)

⦁ $20,700 for a change order on a project that will help establish the service life for ACME transfer hose couplings. (National Propane Gas Association)

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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