As this issue reaches your mailbox, the BPN team is preparing for a trip to Atlanta, Georgia, for the 2021 National Propane Gas Association’s Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo. After the ongoing pandemic forced the NPGA team to cancel the event in 2020, attendees and exhibitors alike are looking forward to the prospect of walking the show floor in person again, meeting with long-term friends and colleagues, and — for our team in particular — having face-to-face conversations with some of the industry leaders we have met virtually over these past few months.
Below, hear from several exhibitors on what they are looking forward to at the show, events they don’t want to miss and how they’ve adapted in the pandemic to connect with their customers in the absence of in-person events.
Why are you excited to attend this year’s show?
“We have a 14-year history of engaging face-to-face at the NPGA convention. Our team is excited to meet with customers and partners, to network with the industry and generally to catch up in-person once again. We have been working on new innovations that will change the future of tank monitoring, and the team is looking forward to showcasing some of them” — Chet Reshamwala, CEO, Anova (Booths 201 & 202)
“More than anything, we’re excited to see everyone in person after spending so long apart. We are thrilled at the prospect of seeing how others have emerged from the pandemic stronger than ever.” — Dennis Disabatino, vice president, Cargas (Booth 501)
“We are excited for the opportunity to meet people in person again and show how our new mobile safety application is revolutionizing safety documentation and compliance in the propane industry.” — Jerry Schimmel, Michelle Wilson, and Wes Sheppard; P3 Propane Safety (Booth 610)
“2020 was tough. 2021 is game changing. The ability to come together again face-to-face is exciting. The ability to catch up with faces — old and new — to hear the challenges and successes and, most importantly, to learn together what 2021 and beyond can offer our industry is tremendous.” — Kevin Jaffe, CEO of Sonariot & Jason Peck, vice president and co-owner of Mopeka Products (Booth 1306)
“We are excited to see everyone in person once again! We can’t wait to see our customers and partners on the trade show floor, at dinner and at the Young Gassers Reception! Our team always has a blast at NPGA!” — Christine Adams, head of marketing, Tank Utility (Booth 515)
How have you altered your strategy for connecting with customers over the past year?
“We have created a series of “Fueling Your Future” webinars to help propane leaders navigate the challenges of managing their businesses through a demanding year that was further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have also participated in virtual speaking engagements with industry associations with a goal of being a resource to dealers.” — Marty Kirshner; partner & chair of Energy Practice; Gray, Gray & Gray (Booth 1132)
“We have been able to maintain our focus on personal relationships with our customers this past year. Our own webinars, as well as the ones we have hosted with industry partners and organizations, have also given us opportunities to connect with people all over the world and put our amazing customers on stage with us.” — Chet Reshamwala, CEO, Anova (Booths 201 & 202)
“We’ve had a lot of webinars and virtual events! When we first learned that NPGA 2020 was canceled due to COVID-19, we switched gears and started building the delivered fuel industry’s first virtual conference: Energize 2020. We partnered with Cargas, Qualpay, Cetane Associates and P3 Propane Safety to organize a full day’s worth of educational sessions designed for today’s fuel marketer. Steve Kaminski, president and CEO of NPGA, delivered the welcome remarks, and we had an impressive turnout with over 630 registrants and over $11,000 donated to NPGA!”
— Christine Adams, head of marketing, Tank Utility (Booth 515)
“We have partnered with our distributors to conduct remote training with end users, both domestic and international. While we prefer in-person training, we have found the remote methods beneficial for those that could not attend in-person trainings pre-pandemic and we will continue to offer this option moving forward.” — C.J. Smith, vice president of Smith Pumps and Full-Circle (Booths 716 & 714)
Is there any event or seminar you are looking forward to at the show?
“Our team is looking forward to the ‘Technology for the Future of Our Industry’ panel discussion! Our CEO, Amos Epstein, will be a panelist alongside Aaron Cargas from Cargas Energy, Chet Reshamwala from Anova, Todd Kipperman from Blue Cow Software and Robert Levins from Angus Energy. They will be discussing what the technology roadmap looks like for the delivered fuel industry.” — Christine Adams, head of marketing, Tank Utility (Booth 515)
“During the educational seminars, Steve Abbate (managing director of Cetane) will participate in a panel discussion with Tamera Kovacs (Propane Resources) and Vance Saunders (Matrix Capital Markets Group). Titled ‘The Art of Acquisitions and Transition in the Propane Industry,’ the panel will address the current acquisition market. Each of them has an interesting perspective and insights. It’s on the schedule on Oct. 18 at 9 a.m.” — Nancy Coop, director of marketing, Cetane Associates LLC (Booth 615)
“Our team is eager to attend ‘A2: The Industry’s Future with Renewable Propane’ and ‘C4: Technology for the Future of Our Industry.’ We always appreciate the chance to ponder the industry’s future!” — Dennis Disabatino, vice president, Cargas (Booth 501)
“We are looking forward to the Hall of Fame dinner. It’s always a nice event and enjoyable to see the leaders of the industry recognized for their hard work. Events like this help band together the industry for future longevity.” — Marty Kirshner; partner & chair of Energy Practice; Gray, Gray & Gray (Booth 1132)
“I am looking forward to Anova being on multiple stages during the event, with my session on technology for the future of our industry on a concurrent education session panel; Nick Virchow on the ‘Tomorrow’s Propane Leaders’ panel about the leaders who are helping reshape the industry; and in a technical workshop, Brad Andersen will give a lively ‘Expert Tips for Dispatchers and Service Technicians’ session on tank monitoring installation, logistics and maintenance.” — Chet Reshamwala, CEO, Anova (Booths 201 & 202)
What do you hope attendees come away with from the event?
“Knowledge and relationship building to pass on to their peers and staff. As the old saying goes, one should always strive to learn something new every day, and this presents a great opportunity to do so.” — C.J. Smith, vice president of Smith Pumps and Full-Circle (Booths 716 & 714)
“We hope that attendees leave the show with an appreciation for technology advancements that can help make the difficult job of managing a propane company more efficient with less risk. Products like tank monitors, tools for routing and dispatching, and safety documentation software are all improving to continue to help marketers increase efficiencies.” — Jerry Schimmel, Michelle Wilson, and Wes Sheppard; P3 Propane Safety (Booth 610)
“We hope attendees can use this year’s event to plan for the future. The past year has been difficult on all of us, and it’s important that we continue serving customers safely and effectively in the short and long term.” — Dennis Disabatino, vice president, Cargas (Booth 501)
“Optimism. Despite everything we have all gone through over the past 18 months, our 2021 Propane Industry Survey shows most dealers are very positive about their businesses and their future.” — Marty Kirshner; partner and chair of Energy Practice; Gray, Gray & Gray (Booth 1132)
What’s going on at your booth?
“The chance to win a Detroit e-bike! For a year Cetane Associates has used an image of a champion cyclist in our advertising to symbolize the winning competitive circumstance our acquisition process creates. In Atlanta, we will give away an American-made, power bicycle to one lucky winner in a blind drawing. Any voluntary donations made will benefit the Vets2Techs nonprofit organization, which is dedicated to linking employers to veterans (Booth 614). Truly a win-win opportunity!” — Nancy Coop, director of marketing, Cetane Associates LLC (Booth 615)
“This year, we will be unveiling a new solution to the industry — Vcheck-Monitored Cathodic Protection (MCP). It’s the first, and currently only, remote cellular and cloud MCP. The monitor has the real-time ability to read the conditions of your anode bag, measure ground moisture content and validate daily that the conditions are safe and your tank is protected. In addition, we will be highlighting Mopeka Products’ sonar tank monitoring solutions that help all liquid-based firms better manage existing volumes and streamline supply chain management.” — Kevin Jaffe, CEO of Sonariot & Jason Peck, vice president and co-owner of Mopeka Products (Booth 1306)
“We will be giving live demos of the P3 Propane Safety mobile safety application, including mobile safety inspections, leak checks, interruption of service and other critical forms, and showcasing how the latest features like input error reduction and code compliance alerts are helping propane companies increase efficiencies and reduce risk.” — Jerry Schimmel, Michelle Wilson, and Wes Sheppard; P3 Propane Safety (Booth 610)
“We are happy to welcome our new technical support coordinator, Tim Suffolk, at our booth. Suffolk has a
broad range of experience in the manufacturing industry, previously working in various positions with Raypak Inc.” — C.J. Smith, vice president of Smith Pumps and Full-Circle (Booths 716 & 714)