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Propane Personality: Deb Grooms

May 11, 2020 By    
Headshot: Deb Grooms

Deb Grooms

Education

Iowa State University
Bachelor of Science
Major: Sociology; Minor: Business
Class of 1982

Work Experience

1995-Present
Iowa Propane Gas Association
CEO


2019 Iowa flooding

Iowa experienced heavy flooding last spring, especially in the western region of the state. Several major roads were closed and towns flooded. As a result, the summer was very wet and ultimately caused a late fall harvest.

“The demand for propane was overwhelming because we were all drying corn at the same time in the Upper Midwest,” Grooms says. “Because of that high demand, the pipelines were at full capacity. It took a lot of transportation and logistics, with all those states working together to get propane. We worked very closely with the National Propane Gas Association” and with state and federal agencies.


How has that experience changed your preparations for this year’s harvest?

“This spring isn’t starting out as wet as it was last year, but we are preparing. I think a lot of farmers have actually increased their storage for fall. We’re just waiting to see what the spring brings, but we will be working very closely with our Iowa Department of Agriculture and others monitoring it during the summer months. I think people are more aware, and I think the farmers are more aware that they do need to get their tanks filled early.”


How have personal hardships affected your career?

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2007. That was the same time we were trying to get a state PERC bill passed. I lucked out because I had my chemo on Thursday and it usually didn’t take me down until the weekend, so I was able to work during the entire time I was getting chemo and radiation. I was lucky that I had a lot of people behind me helping me. And with cellphones and electronic devices, you can easily work from home, too. So it was a tough challenge, but we made it through. I went into remission 13 years ago.”


How did battling cancer prepare you for future obstacles in your career?

“You’ve got to smile a lot, and you talk to people in our propane industry. I know people all over the nation. My board was always very nice to let me go to the national meetings, be involved in the national PERC advisory meetings, to get to know more things about our industry. Also, all the relationships that I’ve formed over the years [helped me]. If I don’t know the answer, I can find somebody who does. It just makes you stronger and it’s just your attitude. You’ve got to always have a good attitude because that gets you through.”

Grooms attended NPGA’s 2019 Propane Days in Washington, D.C., alongside Sen. Joni Ernst, right, and her daughter, Libby Ernst. Photo courtesy of Deb Grooms

Grooms attended NPGA’s 2019 Propane Days in Washington, D.C., alongside Sen. Joni Ernst, right, and her daughter, Libby Ernst. Photo courtesy of Deb Grooms


Career achievements

“I would say that getting the PERC bill passed was a big milestone for us. In 2008, after we got the PERC bill passed, we hired our safety and compliance director, Tom Dunn. We built a training center in 2010 where we can train up to 40 people. That was a huge accomplishment for our industry to be able to have training classes and hire our own instructor.”


Hobbies

“We have a home down at the Lake of the Ozarks. We try to get away on Friday in the late afternoon, and maybe spend the weekend there. I love getting together with family and friends. [They] are very  important. I’m also a big Iowa State fan and Kansas City Royals fan.”

Grooms and her husband, Dennis, attend a Kansas City Royals game together. Photo courtesy of Deb Grooms

Grooms and her husband, Dennis, attend a Kansas City Royals game together. Photo courtesy of Deb Grooms

About the Author:

Carly McFadden is associate editor at LP Gas Magazine. She is a graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and a native of Cleveland, Ohio. McFadden can be reached at cmcfadden@northcoastmedia.net.

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