The Propane Expo’s return to Atlanta

March 19, 2018 By    

Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau

How the National Propane Gas Association’s (NPGA) Propane Expo would fare when it left Atlanta for Nashville, Tennessee, two years ago was somewhat of a mystery.

Pre-show vibes regarding the Propane Expo’s move to the Music City in 2016 were mostly positive. But the decision to uproot the propane industry’s largest event from Atlanta, where it had been held for more than 60 total years, didn’t receive the seal of approval from industry insiders until NPGA announced a record total attendance of more than 4,100.

Another 4,000 attended the following year in Nashville. But, in what has become a two-city rotation for the post-winter gathering of propane retailers and suppliers, equipment manufacturers, distributors and service providers, NPGA is taking the show back on the road this year. The Propane Expo returns to the Georgia World Congress Center on April 6-8, and show organizers are hoping the momentum gained in Nashville remains constant for its two-year stay in Atlanta.

“We always want to keep things fresh,” says Tim Esterling of Westmor Industries and chairman of NPGA’s Conventions Committee. “We will go back to Nashville in the future, but Atlanta has proven to be a great convention city. For some people, it’s more convenient to go to Atlanta and for other people it’s more convenient to go to Nashville. Each has their own draw and allure.”

While Esterling calls Atlanta a great convention city and transportation hub, he directs the discussion to the show’s attributes.

“We want people to remember the value of coming together as an industry is first and foremost,” he says.

NPGA’s show theme of “Discover the Energy!” has a double meaning, Esterling says. It touts propane as a key energy source in the United States and worldwide and highlights the energy felt at the Propane Expo over the last several years.

“This is a continued opportunity to talk about the energy our industry is bringing forth, whether that’s new innovations, updates, practices, products,” says Esterling, also noting the value of making new business contacts at such a large gathering of industry members. “We hope everybody gets a chance to discover one of those areas.”

Show attractions

NPGA’s show theme of “Discover the Energy!” has a double meaning. It touts propane as a key energy source and highlights the energy felt at the expo over the last several years. Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Propane Expo kicks off April 6 with a welcome reception on the show floor from 4-7 p.m. – one hour longer than in past years.

Attendees walking the trade show floor will have the chance over three days and 13½ hours to visit with more than 250 exhibitors of propane products and services. They will also have the chance to peruse the New Products Showcase in the Innovation Pavilion and learn about the market-specific progress being made in the Autogas Pavilion.

The Propane Expo also features learning opportunities with 40 educational sessions and workshops, held on and off the show floor. A new preconference propane cargo tank test and inspection workshop involving the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is scheduled for April 5. The Women in Propane will hold their Leadership Forum on April 6 and their roundtable and reception April 7.

This year’s speakers come with some name recognition as CBS Sports broadcaster Greg Gumbel will motivate attendees as the keynote April 6. He follows Tucker Perkins, president and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council. The appropriately named William Fullilove will lead the prayer breakfast April 8.

A new Atlanta

Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau

While this year’s Propane Expo theme encourages attendees to “Discover the Energy,” show organizers say 2018 is also a chance for the propane industry to rediscover Atlanta.

A lot has changed with the city since the industry last held its showcase event there in 2015.

“One of the biggest and most noticeable changes is the construction and opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium,” says Lindsey Watts, coordinator of public relations at the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It’s right next to the Congress Center, right in downtown, and home to our pro football team (the Falcons) and our MLS team (United FC).”

The Young Gassers will hold their reception at the stadium April 6.

Atlanta boasts trendy neighborhoods and a vibrant dining scene in and around downtown. Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau

Aside from Atlanta’s sporting attractions, which include the College Football Hall of Fame, the city boasts trendy neighborhoods and a popular dining scene, with more than 300 restaurants in the downtown area. Among them are Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market, mixed-use destinations featuring noted food halls, while the city’s Westside Provisions District combines boutique retail, fine dining and upscale residences. The Atlanta BeltLine, a former rail corridor, is a redevelopment project that will ultimately connect the neighborhoods via a 22-mile loop of multi-use trails, modern streetcars and parks.

“We’re seeing growth with our intown neighborhoods,” Watts says. “What’s interesting about those is they have a unique personality and a unique vibe, with some really cool local restaurants. Our dining scene is huge, and a lot of it has grown from the different neighborhoods.”

Atlanta is also opening new hotels and working to improve the Georgia World Congress Center, Watts says.

Live autogas conversion

Alliance AutoGas technicians will perform a live autogas conversion at the 2018 NPGA Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo. The conversion will take place at 2 p.m. April 7 at the Georgia World Congress Center. Technicians will use Alliance AutoGas’ “Plug and Play” technology to convert an upfitted F-750 propane bobtail recently purchased new by Conger LP Gas of Tifton, Georgia. Observation at the show’s Autogas Pavilion is open to all convention attendees.

2018 Tentative Schedule of Events

Wednesday, April 4
8 a.m.-5 p.m. Targeted Exhibitor Move-in
Thursday, April 5
8 a.m.-4 p.m. Targeted Exhibitor Move-in
8 a.m.-5 p.m. Pre-Conference Workshop*
Noon-4 p.m. Registration
Friday, April 6
7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Registration
8 a.m.-4 p.m. Exhibitor Move-in
9 a.m.-1:45 p.m. Concurrent Education Sessions: Groups A-C
9 a.m.-2 p.m. Women in Propane Leadership Forum at the Expo*
2:30-3 p.m. PERC Update
3-4 p.m. Opening General Session featuring Greg Gumbel
4-7 p.m. Expo Hall Welcome Reception
7:30 p.m.-Midnight Young Gassers’ Reception*
Saturday, April 7
8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Registration
9-10 a.m. Concurrent Education Sessions: Group D
10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Expo Hall Open
10:15 a.m.-3:15 p.m. Technical Workshops: Propane Gas Delivery System
10:15 a.m.-4 p.m. Fast-Track Sessions in the Expo Hall
3:30-5 p.m. Women in Propane Roundtable
5-6 p.m. Women in Propane Reception
Sunday, April 8
7:30 a.m.-Noon Registration
8:30-9:45 a.m. Prayer Breakfast*
10 a.m.-2 p.m. Expo Hall Open
10:15 a.m.-Noon Fast-Track Sessions in the Expo Hall
2:01 p.m.-8 p.m. Exhibitor Move-Out

*Requires additional registration and fee

About the Author:

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

Comments are currently closed.