Can you hear us now?

July 1, 2004 By    

Now that the National Propane Gas Association’s move to the nation’s capital is complete and its staff muscled up, industry leaders will spend $1.1 million next year to make sure they have the full attention of the Washington decision makers they most need to impress.

A year-long awareness campaign will include advertising and outreach to key decision makers and opinion leaders, including Congressional and federal agencies and the Washington, D.C., news media. It will culminate with organized events to highlight the many benefits of propane in the home, on the farm and on the road.

Funded by the Propane Education & Research Council, the Capital Awareness Plan is a joint effort between NPGA and PERC.

“In a nutshell, we want to influence the influencers,” PERC President Roy Willis told his 21-member council that approved the project dollars in June.

Currently, that targeted group either knows too little about our industry or has incorrect information about us, courtesy of our competitors. Each time NPGA tries to weigh in on legislative concerns or PERC seeks federal funding, they effectively have to re-introduce themselves and the industry before selling the importance of their cause.

In essence, the Capital Awareness Plan is designed to lay a bedrock of understanding and goodwill that will provide tangible benefits for future projects. Its strategy resembles that of the highly successful Propane Emergencies training program that brought propane retailers and firefighters together before meeting at the scene of a tragedy.

The plan is to first assess how much the D.C. media, key federal departments/agencies, House and Senate members and their staffs know about our industry. Those groups then will be educated on the economic impact of our industry and its role in public interest.

For NPGA, the goal is to create a more conducive climate among policy makers. Association President Rick Roldan says he’d like to reach select lawmakers even before they start in office by sponsoring strategic freshman legislator orientation programs.

“That, in my judgment, is the quintessence of staying proactive,” he said. For PERC, it’s a way to get more tax dollars for propane research projects. Grant writers experienced in tapping into the deep money pots of DOE, FAA, DOT and other agencies will be hired to get the propane industry a much bigger slice of the pie.

PERC’s ultimate goal is to win a volume of research money proportional to our industry’s share of the national energy market, according to Willis.

“I look at NPGA and PERC as a double-barrel shotgun,” he explained. “And now we’re loaded.”

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