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Tex Propane employee maintains bobtail with pride

June 23, 2020 By    

Tex Propane’s motto on its website reads, “Do the right thing with the right people the right way.” One employee in particular goes above and beyond to live up to that message.

Texas retailer Tex Propane, founded in 1965, has three offices between Austin and Houston that serve residential, commercial and agricultural customers in the state.

Johnny Kuehn is the manager at Tex Propane’s Moulton location. A graduate of Texas State Technical College, Kuehn has been in the propane industry for six years.

Like many others in the industry, Kuehn grew up around propane. He says his dad worked in the industry until he was unable to work anymore. Kuehn is also a family man and feels a great sense of responsibility in his career.

What stands out about Kuehn is the pride and effort he puts into maintaining his bobtail.

Kuehn’s truck, which is part of Tex Propane’s 12-truck fleet, is a 2016 Westmor Blueline bobtail. It is equipped with all-aluminum wheels, two large aluminum toolboxes and up-to-date technology, including computers and monitors in the cab. Its barrel holds nearly 3,500 gallons of propane.

Keeping the truck clean is no easy feat as Kuehn drives it down muddy paths and gravel roads every day.

Tex Propane Johnny Kuehn bobtail

Kuehn’s bobtail is a 2016 Westmor Blueline that can hold up to 3,500 gallons. Photo by Johnny Kuehn

To keep up with the wear and tear, Kuehn washes his truck by hand almost daily. He keeps a pressure washer ready to go at all times. After pressure washing his truck, he uses a brush attached to a long pole and manually washes it. He buys his soaps and cleaners for the bobtail through a local body shop.

A couple times a year, typically during warmer months, Kuehn acidizes the aluminum on the truck’s fuel tanks and wheels. He then polishes the aluminum to remove any film and create a shine reminiscent of a new truck.

“At the end of the day, if it’s dirty, I wash it,” Kuehn says. “I do a lot of commercial stuff, and the last thing I want is to pull into their parking lots to fill some cylinders and leave big clumps of mud.”

To maintain its interior, Kuehn keeps a small brush in the truck that he uses to sweep out any debris or messes. He also takes extra time to keep his toolboxes organized.

“I like to have everything nice and neat, where I can find different fittings when I need them,” he says.

Kuehn’s love of maintaining his truck stems from a passion for his job and a sense of responsibility to showcase the company well. He describes propane trucks as “moving billboards.”

“It represents the company,” he says. “[It shows that when] you take pride in your equipment and go to a customer’s house, you’re going to do the same with theirs. You’re going to take the extra steps to make sure that they’re safe and everything is up to date.”

The work Kuehn puts into his truck does not go unnoticed. He says that customers comment on his truck frequently, noting how clean it is and sometimes asking him to share his cleaning process. Kuehn says that customers even mistake his bobtail for a new one quite often.

“There’s nothing like pulling up to a customer’s house and them asking you if you got another new truck when it’s still the same one,” he says with a laugh.

In addition to representing the company well, Kuehn sees his truck maintenance as a simple way to thank Tex Propane’s owners for his employment and equipment.

“The owners of the company went out of their way to order a truck that has all these nice features,” Kuehn says. “So it’s my job to take care of it and make it last, keep it clean and show my appreciation for the work they’ve offered me.”

This article is tagged with and posted in Current Issue, Featured

About the Author:

Carly Bemer (McFadden) is the managing editor at LP Gas magazine. She can be reached at 216-363-3930 or cbemer@northcoastmedia.net.

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