Propane Personality: Lauren Clark

April 26, 2024 By    

Lauren Clark. Photo courtesy of Bergquist

Lauren Clark

President and CEO, Bergquist Inc.

EDUCATION

Western Michigan University
Bachelor’s of Business in Supply Chain Management
Class of 2005

WORK EXPERIENCE

December 2008-Present
Bergquist Inc.

January 2020-Present
⦁ President and CEO

December 2008-January 2020
⦁ Director of Administrative Operations

Prior Experience
⦁ Clark worked at two third-party logistics companies.

Path to president

Clark joined Bergquist with the intention that she would eventually take over for her father, Bob Barry, who had been with the company since 1986. “We talked about what that path would look like,” says Clark, noting how she and her father read and discussed the book “9 Elements of Family Business Success” prior to the changeover. When Clark became president, Barry assumed the role of CFO with the Toledo, Ohio-based wholesale equipment distributor. He has since retired.

“Leadership isn’t a title. It’s the way you do things, how you act and your attitude.”

Challenging beginnings

Clark assumed the top leadership spot at a challenging time – as the COVID-19 pandemic was taking hold. Through the chaos, Clark says, the challenges brought on by the pandemic gave her the opportunity to “sink or swim.” She adds, “It was a constant spotlight on my leadership and what I was going to do and how things were going to be done. I intended to lead as a team, not as an individual.”

Clark with her father, Bob Barry, whom she replaced as the president and CEO of Bergquist Inc. (Photo by LP Gas staff)

Clark with her father, Bob Barry, whom she replaced as the president and CEO of Bergquist Inc. (Photo by LP Gas staff)

A call to mentorship

Clark has devoted time to the National Propane Gas Association’s (NPGA) Women in Propane Council (WiP), as she chairs its Knowledge Exchange mentorship program. The WiP team has worked to grow the program that pairs mentors and mentees. It approached 100 participants last year, and Clark, also an NPGA board member through its distributors section, hopes to keep the momentum going. “There’s a ton of knowledge in the industry; there’s huge potential,” she says. “There’s nobody who isn’t capable of being either a mentor or a mentee. We’re trying to spread the word to new people to get involved but also to the folks who’ve been around that we all have skills we can mentor people on.”

“I have great people at work, and I have great people at home. It’s not me; it’s a team. I don’t do anything in a silo. I’m not a superhero.”

2024 goals

In her role, Clark says, she’s focusing more on planning for the company’s future and removing obstacles for her team. A 2024 priority has been to spend more time coaching her team – because she recalls how valuable that coaching was for her while coming up through the ranks. “If you have a lot of planned day-to-day work, it’s hard for you to be available to remove obstacles, and it’s hard to find time to think big picture,” she says. Clark also tries to devote time to consuming leadership content – through books, podcasts or industry events – to strengthen her leadership skills and learn about ways to encourage people.

Hobbies

Clark and her husband, Dave, are the parents of five kids, so they’re busy with activities among the four at home. The couple also loves to host family and friends and share good food. Clark has committed to reading (leadership and company culture books), and she started golfing last year. She also sits on the board of a Michigan nonprofit called Laura’s Hope, which raises funds for families trying to conceive a child after an infant or pregnancy loss.

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at brichesson@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3748.

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