Solution to propane industry employee challenges: Hire veterans

May 2, 2019 By    

An overriding message came out of this year’s Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo in Atlanta: Military veterans are ready and willing to serve your business, and they have the high personal and professional qualities to do so successfully.

“We’re in the people business,” says Maj. Gen. Thomas M. Carden Jr., adjutant general of the Georgia Department of Defense, whose presence gave the opening ceremonies a patriotic feel. “You give me great people, we can get the mission done.”

That way of thinking also applies to retail propane businesses.

Carden reminded attendees that returning veterans are looking for jobs, and it behooves the industry to seek out those who served their nation to fill open positions. In return, the industry will gain access to people with a fitness culture, an anti-drug culture and an instilled sense of perseverance in the face of difficulty, Carden says.

A new mission

J.R. Martinez thought he was going to die in Iraq, as the young U.S. Army soldier lay trapped alone inside his overturned Humvee, which had hit a roadside bomb and caught fire. Minutes seemed like hours before his fellow soldiers pulled him to safety.

Martinez was so badly burned that he received a medical discharge from the Army and was forced later to reconsider his purpose in life. He became an actor, author and motivational speaker. In Atlanta, he followed Carden to the stage and delivered the Propane Expo’s keynote address, urging attendees to understand the service they bring to customers on a daily basis.

The presence of Carden and Martinez at the show was the perfect complement to a program designed to link veterans with open positions in the industry. Vets2Techs ( is growing in popularity, as it provides an outlet for propane marketers to post their open positions to the veteran community. Forming these marketer-veteran partnerships can be beneficial to both sides.

Vets2Techs’ goal, says co-founder Jesse Lord of A.R.M. Solutions, “is to get as much information, not only in the marketers’ hands, but we also want to educate the veterans. They’re looking for gainful employment, new opportunities, and we provide not only those, but we provide a family and the best industry that’s truly out there.”

Industry initiatives

The Propane Gas Association of New England (PGANE) is adopting a military focus as it works to help propane marketers find reliable employees.

PGANE received a $50,000 grant from the Propane Education & Research Council, which awarded 10 grants totaling about $500,000 to help state and regional propane associations with workforce recruitment initiatives. With the grant, PGANE will work in partnership with the New York Propane Gas Association and Vets2Techs to facilitate recruitment of veterans for propane jobs in New England and New York state.

“Our program is going to offer training for our businesses on how to attract veterans, and we’re also going to do outreach directly with the veterans … and try to match them up with local companies through the Vets2Techs program,” says Leslie Anderson, president and CEO of PGANE.

Drivers and service technicians are not the only positions in need, says Anderson, also citing the importance of IT and logistical expertise.

About the Author:

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

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