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Propane Personality: Paul Ladner

August 24, 2021 By    
Paul Ladner AmeriGas

Ladner

Paul Ladner, President, AmeriGas

Education

University of Richmond
Bachelor of Arts
Class of 1990
Penn State University
Master of Business Administration
Class of 2005

Work Experience

June 2021-Present
AmeriGas
⦁ President
2009-21
UGI Corp.
⦁ COO, UGI International (Paris, France)
⦁ Group CEO, UGI East (Warsaw, Poland)
⦁ Managing Director, AmeriGas Polska
⦁ Vice President of Marketing, Europe
⦁ Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Flaga (Vienna, Austria)
⦁ Director of International Propane (Valley Forge, Pennsylvania)
2005-09
The Brandywine Guild
⦁ General Manager
1997-2005
AmeriGas
⦁ Director of National Accounts
⦁ Director of Regional Sales
⦁ Market Manager

Comparing the European and US LPG markets

“The LPG markets in the U.S. and Europe are really similar and really different. The similarities are we have the same customers. You have a heavy residential base, so residential customers are using propane for heating and cooking.

“The primary difference is how the industry developed. In the U.S., the industry developed with smaller, family-owned businesses. Now, the larger companies are the consolidation of a lot of smaller companies over time. In Europe, the oil companies that were producing propane decided to market the product themselves instead of selling it to smaller companies. So they developed larger businesses. And so the industry [in Europe] is much more consolidated.”

Two ongoing ‘transitions’ at AmeriGas

“The first is a consumer transition. The way people buy products has changed, and the way they want to interact with companies that provide them services has changed. During COVID, it has radically changed. The experience from Europe with how we work with customers online as well as via large call centers is being developed and put in place right now in the U.S. And I really feel that AmeriGas is on the leading edge on the digital front.

“The other transition that’s going on is the energy transformation. We saw it in Europe. We had propane boiler bans, LPG boiler bans in Denmark 10 years ago, and we’re fighting it right now in America in various states. As an industry, we can either try to fight it or we can ride the wave.”

Photo courtesy of Paul Ladner

Ladner appreciates spending time with his wife and three children. Photo courtesy of Paul Ladner

Other goals for AmeriGas

“The industry in America looks somewhat the same now as it did 20 years ago when I look at it from an employee perspective and a diversity perspective. When I went to Europe 10 years ago, a lot of the managers didn’t look a lot like me.

“When you’re with a team that looks like you, that has the same background as you, it’s easy for everybody to agree. But when you’re with a team that looks different, that has different experience, that brings a different perspective and thought, it’s hard to agree. And that discussion strengthens the company, from my perspective.

“So, I think that diversity that we had in Europe has been critical to our success in Europe, and we’d like to bring that to AmeriGas. I’d like to see, throughout our organization and employee base, a management and leadership team that looks more like the customers we serve, because I think that’s going to make us stronger as an organization.”

AmeriGas call centers

“This time last year, my predecessor and the AmeriGas leadership team launched customer engagement centers to provide fast and efficient service, and a consistent experience, to our customers nationwide. We have transitioned all phone calls, as well as all delivery routing and scheduling and all service routing and scheduling, from the local office to dedicated, trained specialists in either Charlotte or Cleveland [call centers], allowing our field teams to focus on the safe, reliable delivery of propane and service work in the many communities we serve.

“With any new initiative, there are bumps on the road, and we experienced some bumps on the road this past winter. We’ve spent the spring and this summer repairing and perfecting those bumps, and that’s really about ensuring the business processes are correct and that we have the right technology, the right tools and the right people to support that. It’s now a continuous improvement journey.”

Hobbies

“I have been married for 29 years. We have three children. Kids take up a lot of time one way or another, and two of our children played sports in college. So, I guess our No. 1 hobby is kids and games and matches.

“Other than that, my wife and I enjoy the water. Even though we were still in Europe, we bought a beach house in southern Delaware. We get the best of both worlds there.

“[I’m also] an Eagles fan. Maybe that’s my second hobby: everything Philadelphia sports, which means that I’m very tolerant, thick-skinned and patient.”

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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