Propane Personality: Christopher Caywood

January 23, 2024 By    
Chris Caywood


Christopher Caywood

President, Caywood Propane Gas Inc.


University of Chicago
Master of Business Administration, Strategy and Finance
Class of 1997

University of Michigan
Juris Doctor in Law
Class of 1986

Master of Arts in World Politics
Class of 1983

Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science
Class of 1982


Caywood Propane Gas Inc.
December 2013-Present
⦁ President and Shareholder

July 1997-December 2013
⦁ Director and Shareholder

September 1986-March 2020
⦁ Caywood worked for the health care, higher education, legal and
retail industries.

Caywood Propane Gas’ roots

In 1939, Caywood’s maternal grandfather’s brother converted a blacksmith shop into a gas station. During the 1940s, his maternal grandparents purchased the business and offered two more services: home heating oil and agricultural bulk deliveries.

Roughly 20 years later, in 1961, his parents created a gasoline and service station business, prior to ultimately purchasing a bulk gas and oil distribution business in 1980. His parents rolled his grandparents’ bulk oil and distribution business into their portfolio and, in 1984, added propane.

“I became a shareholder in 1997 after we tragically lost my father. At the time, my two brothers and I were pursuing legal and business careers, so we hired managers to operate the business. We sold its Marathon distributorship and bulk delivery business in 2005 but continued its propane operation.”

Becoming active in propane

“During 2013, our general manager stepped back from her role to focus on family, leading me to step away from my corporate roles and become active in the business.”

Although Caywood wasn’t as well versed in propane as other marketers, he used his experience in other industries to change and grow the company, identifying goals, operating philosophy, strategy and values.

“For example, due to my health care industry experience, we’re attentive to regulatory, safety and training requirements. Similarly, my time spent in the legal industry drives a focus on details and documentation.”

Despite the influences of each of these industries, Caywood believes no other industry has impacted Caywood Propane Gas’ way of thinking more than the online higher education industry.

“The industry’s obsession with customer service and technology is reflected in much of what Caywood Propane has done for the past decade.”

Serving home heating customers

In 2013, Caywood determined Caywood Propane Gas was best suited to serve residential home heating customers using customer-facing and internal technology tools, which are deployed primarily on company-owned tanks and auto-fill, customer-owned tanks.

Due to this assessment, the company shifted its operating and marketing activities to focus on residential home heating, along with related services. Today, 97 percent of the company’s clients are residential home heating customers. Seventy-six percent of them use company-owned tanks. Ninety percent of the orders are placed as auto-fill or on the customer app and portal.

“We’ve not only tripled our geographic reach, but we also have a cloud-based, fully digital back office now.”

Chris Caywood

Looking ahead to the future

This year, Caywood is planning to focus more intently on customer retention and new customer growth while using AI-supported technology tools.

“We’ve just started to scratch the surface of what we can do to serve our customers. I’m very excited about 2024 when we begin to roll these tools out.”

Advice for other propane marketers

Caywood believes propane marketers should identify their company’s core strengths first, including its human talent. From there, they should build their strategy, operations and technology tools around their core strengths.

“I think it’s dangerous to benchmark and imitate other propane marketers. After all, if propane marketers try to be just like their competitors, they’ll never catch up or do quite as well as they do. There’s really no such thing as a perfect imitation, especially if a propane marketer is trying to imitate a moving target.”

Renewable propane

“The propane industry has an opportunity for a great future. And low-carbon, renewable propane is that opportunity.”

The primary reason? According to Caywood, renewable propane “checks a lot of boxes from an environmental standpoint.

“It could also be an important component of energy diversification and perhaps an even more important component of energy security.”

Photos courtesy of Chris Caywood

Caywood enjoys scuba diving in his spare time. (Photos courtesy of Chris Caywood)


When Caywood isn’t working, he can often be found on the Atlantic Ocean, whether he’s walking on its coastline or motor boating, scuba diving or swimming in it. Additionally, he loves to cook, cycle, golf and cheer for the Michigan Wolverines. He and his wife, Stacey, love to travel around the world too.

Comments are currently closed.