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Propane Personality: Tom Van Buren

July 27, 2021 By    
Tom Van Buren

Van Buren

Tom Van Buren
COO & Executive Vice President
Meritum Energy Holdings

Education

Cornell University
Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, Army ROTC
Class of 1995

Work Experience

2018-Present
Meritum Energy Holdings
⦁ COO & Executive Vice President
1999-2017
Ferrell North America, Ferrellgas
⦁ Executive Vice President
⦁ Senior Vice President/Division Head
⦁ Vice President of Supply & Wholesale
⦁ Director of Supply,
Wholesale & Distribution
⦁ Director of Midwest Supply,
Wholesale & Rail
⦁ Eastern Supply Manager
⦁ Western Supply Manager
⦁ Area Product Coordinator
1995-99
U.S. Army
⦁ Captain, Chemical Corps,
1st Cavalry Division

Goals at the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA)

NPGA swore in Van Buren as treasurer in its 2021 class of officers. Throughout his upcoming years as an officer, Van Buren aims to “help to coordinate priorities and optimize resources with industry stakeholders, specifically NPGA members, PERC (Propane Education & Research Council), state associations and industry partners.”

Why have you chosen to become involved with NPGA and PERC throughout your career?

“I believe in selfless service and in the spirit that a rising tide raises all ships. And in that spirit, especially considering how our industry is structured, it’s more important than ever for all stakeholders to work together to fight for our place in the energy conversation and policies now while we adapt for the future. I’m fortunate to work with leaders at Meritum Energy that understand and appreciate the value of engagement and working together at the state and national levels.”

Meritum Energy

“It’s an incredibly exciting time for our team as we’ve grown to having operations in one to nine states, including [in] the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Florida, Texas and New Mexico. Chris Hill and Rob Chalmers founded our company in 2015 with positive principles and philosophies that are truly felt and visible every day. ‘Meritum’ means service and value, and we strive daily to do the right thing in all we do, to be local, to empower our teams while providing resources to be successful and do our best in customer service. All the while supporting our team in a work-life balance that makes it a fulfilling experience and one to be proud of.”

Photo courtesy of Tom Van Buren

When he’s not working, Van Buren enjoys going on “adventures” with family, such as zip lining in Hawaii, pictured. Photo courtesy of Tom Van Buren

Where do things stand for propane supply heading into the 2021-22 heating season?

“Considering the current supply, distribution chain impacts and demand, it could be very challenging for some. I would reinforce Steve Kossuth’s recent message (NPGA Supply and Logistics Committee chair) recommending reviewing the supply and logistics planning white paper that our NPGA task force developed for all after the winter of 2013-14. No matter the year, the best practices shared are adaptable for everyone.”

Are there any lessons from your time in the U.S. Army that you apply to your day-to-day life?

“Without a doubt, yes. What stands out is problem-solving, the importance of teamwork to accomplish any mission/goal and resource planning. That said, my parents also always impressed doing one’s best and never giving up while treating people with respect. All of these have helped guide me in all aspects of my life. Oh – and my wife is always right.”

Hobbies

“I love sports and the outdoors; I enjoy supporting charities and organizations that help first responders, military and those in need, like my hometown Lincoln Food Cupboard. I collect sports cards and memorabilia, where my most favorite is Hank Aaron’s rookie card that was purchased after working as a kid in the ’80s all summer cutting grass. Saved every penny for that one. However, my most favorite hobby hands down is spending time with my family. They have sacrificed and supported me so much that I look forward to everything from movie night to adventures like zip lining to fun times at Disney. I’m so thankful to God to be blessed with such an amazing family and knowing and working with so many great people in Meritum Energy and our industry.”

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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