Technology, training, certification, networking, deal making in Atlanta

March 8, 2013 By    

The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) International Propane Expo 2013 (my version of the event name) will be held on April 13-15 in Atlanta.

This event has been held in Atlanta, at the Georgia World Congress Center, for many years and is endorsed and generously supported by the southeast states’ propane gas associations.

The NPGA International Propane Expo is the world’s largest gathering of a full range of propane industry professionals who buy, specify and influence the products that go into the propane marketplace. Attendees include business owners, managers, customer service representatives, salespeople and service technicians. Attendees will travel to Atlanta from all over the United States, Canada, Mexico and several other foreign countries. Here are some reasons why you should attend, no matter where you work or what you do in the propane industry.

■ First, the Propane Expo is the largest exhibit of propane-related products in the world. The exhibit space is expected to sell out as more than 200 exhibitors focus on new ideas, technologies and products, including the highly anticipated and long overdue propane-powered bobtail delivery truck, the Freightliner S2G.

I have talked with several other exhibitors and sponsors, and they are excited about the innovative products and ideas they are bringing to Atlanta, the nearly normal cold winter that most of their customers are experiencing, the greatly enhanced domestic propane supply picture and the general sense of excitement of this event.

The Propane Education & Research Council is considered an event partner with NPGA on several aspects of the Propane Expo and will have a wide array of new propane technologies on display in its exhibit and the adjoining Innovation Pavilion. A new feature of the Innovation Pavilion this year will be a display of unique, never-before-seen Rinnai propane products not currently available in this country but sold in other parts of the world. You will get a chance to give your opinion on what the potential for these products will be in your marketplace. It’s all about bringing more propane burner tips to the homes and businesses you service.

■ Second, the event features one of the most comprehensive propane training programs available in the industry. It starts with a preconference online marketing and social media workshop on Saturday morning. If you want to bring your company into the present and on to the future of marketing and advertising, you will want someone from your company to attend this workshop.

On Saturday afternoon and Sunday, there are 18 training sessions scheduled in blocks of six that run concurrently in individual training rooms. The sessions cover five learning tracks: business operations, propane applications, safety and standards, sales and marketing, and supply and distribution. In future years, you can expect the training program to include a Propane Professional Designation Program, with some sessions qualifying for professional designations and continuing education.

On Sunday and Monday, there are 10 fast track sessions scheduled on the exhibit floor that cover some of the more technical aspects of the business.

New to the Propane Expo this year is certification training for the installation of both corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) flexible gas line and underground plastic pipe. Four manufacturers will hold certification classes in areas set aside on the exhibit hall floor on Sunday and Monday. This is a great opportunity for service technicians and propane system installers to get certified to purchase and install new gas piping products that will simplify propane system installations and save money.

■ Third, and sometimes most important, the Propane Expo is a great networking and deal-making opportunity for women and men in the propane industry. Friends and business associates and customers can come together to renew acquaintances, find new clients and suppliers, and make the deals that will take them through the next year.

Will I see you at the NPGA International Propane Expo 2013 in Atlanta in April? I hope so. Attending the Propane Expo will be good for your business.

Tom Jaenicke is the owner and principal adviser at ATomiK Creative Solutions LLC, a company that provides marketing services, technical advice, continuing education solutions and business development assistance to energy companies and support organizations. Tom can be reached at 810-252-7855 or tom@atomikenergysolutions.com.

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