Paraco Gas Invests In Recruitment For Service Techs and Drivers

(October 14, 2019) — Paraco Gas of Rye Brook, N.Y. is investing in new ways to recruit drivers and technicians as the industry faces challenges in attracting employees. Family-owned Paraco has introduced a new benefits package with some untraditional perks for those in the driving and service fields.
Paraco Propane recruitment program to attract LPG service techs and drivers into workforce w big benefits reports BPN mag oct 2019
The company offers parental leave for employees who have completed one year of service, tuition reimbursement, and a revised paid time-off policy. The benefits are part of a comprehensive benefits package that Paraco Gas offers full-time, regular employees and dependents, including, but not limited to, the traditional medical, dental, vision, 401K, flexible spending, life insurance, disability income, sick leave, and paid holidays.

“Our ultimate goal is to get customers their propane safely, but also focus on a best-in-class customer experience,” said Christina Armentano, executive vice president of sales and business development. “We’ve decided to think creatively on how to position the company to attract and retain the next generation of drivers and service technicians. We are now focusing on the employee experience, offering newer benefits that are more likely to entice and retain a healthy workforce.”

“As a first-time father, I am grateful Paraco gave me the opportunity to be home to care for my child and support my wife,” said Marcus Moore, a motor fuel and barbecue cylinder delivery driver at the company. “Parental leave is a great addition to Paraco’s benefits.”

In addition, Paraco is working to empower employees by offering a referral program to boost workforce numbers, and by providing an apprenticeship program for service technicians, which includes paying for classes and assigning a mentor throughout the training process.

“We recognize how important work/life balance and support for personal and professional growth have become with the younger generation, and we need to adapt to their needs if we want them to consider joining our family,” Armentano said. “We also recognize that the shortage of these skilled workers is not limited to our industry or geographic markets; it’s a nationwide problem, with fewer people entering these fields. So, we are investing in training people from the ground up. We don’t know many others in our industry—or similar industries—who are offering all of this, but I’m sure many will start to follow.”

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, October 14, 2019. Available by subscription.)

"Electrify Everything" Movement Becoming Major Focus Of Industry

(October 14, 2019) — Amid changes in leadership and issues of focus at the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), vice president and general counsel Jeff Petrash said that while some key issues are requiring less focus, a tsunami is brewing in the form of the “electrify everything” movement. “The Crane Rule hasn’t come up as a significant issue for almost a year,” Petrash said. “Natural gas expansion has also slowed, but we continue to monitor it and we can address concerns as they arise.” For Petrash and the staff at NPGA, weekly advocacy meetings of the staff help determine priorities and they, as well as the NPGA leadership, are concerned about a movement to cut carbon emissions that doesn’t consider the full fuel cycle of each form of energy.
General Counsel Jeff Petrash for National Propane Gas Assoc discusses with BPN magazine the misguided Electrify Everything movement BPN magazine is the propane industry's trusted source for news since 1939
“The promotion of electricity as a fuel with zero carbon emissions is very misleading,” Petrash explained. “We are decades and decades away from most electricity being renewable, and coal and natural gas are used predominantly to create electricity.” He added that when coal and natural gas are used to create electricity, efficiency is much lower than heating with propane or natural gas directly. “A full 70% of the energy value disappears before the electricity powers the house. Meanwhile, with propane and natural gas, nearly 90% of the fuel gets to the house. In these situations, an electric water heater will leave more than double the carbon footprint.”

Petrash commented he has seen an electric-powered Tesla with the license plate message, “No More Gas.” With the electricity likely created from coal, the emission of carbon into the environment is much greater than from a propane-powered vehicle, even though the emissions occur at the plant where electricity is produced. Petrash feels a license plate that says, “Coal Pwd” on an electric vehicle is a more fitting message. “Some in state legislatures across the United States would like to limit our fuel choices, literally ruling out propane-powered options in favor of higher carbon-producing energy in the full fuel cycle,” he said. “All of this is in the name of cutting carbon emissions and helping the environment, believe it or not!”

“NPGA has added staff to focus more on the activity of state legislatures. The state government level is where more of the movement is to cut fossil fuel usage in favor of electricity. We are not likely to see as much activity on the federal level as long as Republicans keep control of the White House and Senate.” Having a relationship with many key agencies and state government officials will only help the cause, according to Petrash. “We’ve worked with the governor’s energy advisors in many states. This has given us a seat at the table for other issues as they arise.

“Hours of service is another issue where we are able to answer questions that come up.” Being part of the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) has been important. “Three of us have been attending NASEO events,” he said. “We attended their winter meeting and five recent regional meetings.”

It is expected that NPGA and the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) will work together closely on the challenge to the electric movement. “NPGA will focus more on advocacy. PERC cannot lobby due to its governing statute, but can provide funding and speakers for educational programs and educational materials. We have Tucker Perkins, CEO at PERC, lined up to speak at a NASEO roundtable in Los Angeles,” Petrash said.

“Carbon labeling of consumer appliances is one advocacy approach NPGA is working on. It is encouraging that overall efficiency of consumer appliances be done through full fuel cycle (FFC) policy. We want carbon footprint information to be included on consumer appliances so that people have this information during the purchasing decision.”

In September, NPGA announced Stephen T. (Steve) Kaminski had been selected to serve as new president and CEO. "The new CEO joins NPGA at the time there is a need to ramp up our initiatives on challenging the ‘electrify everything’ movement,’” Petrash said. He noted that the staff has been working on updating winter preparation plans; internal policies and procedures; and other key documents to make sure the association is in good shape when it’s turned over from the current CEO, Rick Roldan, to the new CEO. “We don’t want the new CEO to have to worry about a lot of details like this. I feel confident the board has hired someone who is in lockstep with us on the challenge of electricity.” — Pat Thornton

Propane People "In The News"

Bill Kroll Anova acquires Wesroc propane industry announces(October 11, 2019) — Anova (Providence, N.J.) has appointed industry veteran, William Kroll, as its first advisor to support the company through a period of extensive expansion. In April, Anova became the new name for DataOnline, WESROC, Wikon, and iTank, and most recently joined forces with Portugal-based Intelligent Sensing Anywhere (ISA). Kroll, who has more than 40 years of experience, spent more than half of his career with Matheson, most recently as chairman and CEO. He has a wealth of knowledge and expertise spanning nearly every facet of business. During his years with Matheson, he focused on the strategic direction and growth of the company, particularly the development of its activities in the electronics market sector. More recently, he focused on the growth of the company implemented corporate culture changes that drove organic expansion. As a key advisor to Anova’s executive leadership team, Kroll will add a valuable perspective to enable the company to meet current and future market demands.

Skotty Morris of Monte Vista Co-op (Monte Vista) was recently sworn in as president of the Colorado Propane Gas Association. Serving with Morris for the 2019-2020 term are Ray Martin of High Plains LP Services (Trinidad), vice president; Cathy Buxton, Wallace Gas & Oil (Lamar), treasurer; and Nathan Nicholson, Country Gas (Cortez), secretary.

George Jenkins industry expert machinist joins Marshall Excelsior as OEM specialist autogas propane pumps reports BPN propane industry's trusted source for news since 1939. Oct. 2019Marshall Excelsior Company (MEC) is pleased to announce that George Jenkins has joined its team as the OEM Truck and Plant Sales Manager. George has served in the propane and NH3 industry for over 38 years. In 1979, he began his career as a machinist at Corken, global leader of industrial compression and pumping solutions. Over time he worked his way into the Quality Control Department and also led the Shipping and Receiving team prior to moving into Customer Service. After his stint in customer service, Jenkins transitioned to Outside Sales where he focused on servicing the Industrial Gas & LPG market. The company welcomes George’s extensive knowledge, outgoing personality, and the significant asset he will be to the MEC team, as well as OEM’s and equipment distributors within the LPG and Industrial Gas industry. George will be headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okl. where he has lived for 43 years. He will be available to all that wish to work with him and utilize his expertise.
Paula Laney joins Energy Distribution Partners as Director of Safety Training reports BPN magazine the propane industrys trusted news source since 1939
Energy Distribution Partners (EDP; Chicago) is pleased to announce Paula Laney has joined the company as Director of Safety and Training. Laney brings to her role more than 25 years of propane industry experience, including more than 20 years in the area of safety training and education. She grew up in the propane industry, gaining experience early-on working with her parents in their family-owned propane operation, Liberty Propane in Cookson, Oklahoma. For nearly 20 years, Laney served as the Director of Safety, Training and Education for the Oklahoma LP Gas Research, Marketing and Safety Commission. She has served as the propane industry representative on the Oklahoma Uniform Building Code Commission’s Alternative Fuels Technical Committee and the Fuel Gas, Mechanical, and Plumbing Technical Committee. As a long-respected propane industry professional, Laney has served on the NPGA’s Education Training & Safety (ETS) Committee, and has worked closely with PERC and other safety professionals to deliver essential safety and training materials to the industry.

Propane People in the News Don Vicari joins Energy Distribution Partners EDP reports BPN magazine the propane industry's trusted source for news since 1939. Oct. 2019 oct 2019Don Vicari has also joined EDP as general manager for Ebbetts Pass Gas Service, which serves residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the Sierra Nevada mountain area of Calaveras and Alpine counties in California. Vicari, who has more than 25 years of management experience, spent the first 10 years of his propane career as the owner and operator of a Suburban Cylinder Express franchise operation in the Sacramento area. After selling his business, he joined AmeriGas to manage the Hawthorne and then Reno, Nev., territories. In his new position with Ebbetts Pass Gas Service, Vicari will manage all aspects of the business with a focus on providing an exceptional work environment and excellent customer service. He is an active member of the Western Propane Gas Association.

The New Mexico Propane Gas Association has installed its officers for 2019-2020. Serving as president is Wendell Nicholson of Gallup Propane (Gallup); vice president, Carl Fox of Cross Country Propane (Bosque Farms); and secretary treasurer, Lynn Dunson of Country Gas (Farmington).

Bruce Whitney has been selected as executive director of the New York Propane Gas Association (NYPGA) effective Aug. 2019. He has held senior management roles with a focus on marketing, training, business development, and client retention for energy and energy equipment since 1999. Whitney was director of marketing for many years at Ray Murray Inc. (RMI), and a senior director at Unitil electric and gas utility in its Usource energy management and procurement division. He also co-founded a Vermont business association decades ago. Whitney has been involved with NYPGA as a member, show exhibitor, and active participant on the Legislative Committee.

The Louisiana Propane Gas Association (LPGA) has installed its officers for the 2019-2020 term. Serving as president is Ralph Poole of Bergquist Inc. (Alexandria); vice president, Al Cadwallader of Southern LP Gas (Winnfield); and secretary/treasurer, Jerry McCain of Lacox (Covington). Holding the position of Northern District Director is Clint Vegas of Delta Fuel (Ferriday); Southern District director, Kenny Lucero of Cajun Propane (Scott); North at-large director, Neil Wise of O’Nealgas (Wise Choice Investments; Tallulah); and South at-large director, John McManus of ReedGas Propane (Eunice). In addition, Steve Higginson of Meeder Equipment (Tyler, Texas) will serve as Supplier committee chairman; and Steve Sampson of CUI (Simpsonville, S.C.), Supplier-elect.

George Jenkins, a propane industry veteran of 38 years has joined the Marshall Excelsior Co. (MEC) as OEM Truck and Plant Sales Manager. Jenkins will be based in Oklahoma City, his home of 43 years. Jenkins began his propane industry career in 1979 as a machinist for Corken, a global leader in industrial compression and propane pumping solutions for autogas filling stations, bulk plants, tank car unloading, propane delivery truck, propane transport, and agricultural agricultural ammonia transport applications. Jenkins has also provided outside sales services to the industrial gas and LPG market sales.

David Stewart, Heartland Propane (Girard) has been sworn in as president of the Propane Marketers Association of Kansas for the 2019-2020 term. Serving with him are Hannah Ramriez, Trinity Ag LLC (Smith Center), vice president; David Monroe, Alliance Ag & Grain (Protection), secretary/treasurer; and Karl Serrien of Central Valley Ag (Beloit), immediate past president.

Jack Potts, partial owner and president of Squibb Taylor (Dallas), passed away May 31. He was 83. Mr. Potts retired from the company in December 2017. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

The Western Propane Gas Association has installed its officers for 2019-2020. Richard Martinelli of InterState Propane (Sacramento) is serving as chairman; Ben McWhorter, Sequoia Gas Co. (Fortuna, Calif.), vice chairman; and Julie Johnson, Ted Johnson Propane (Baldwin Park, Calif.), secretary/treasurer. Patti Grantham of Targa Resources (San Ramon, Calif.) is past chairwoman.

NPGA Launches Propane Logistics Analysis Network

NPGA launches Propane Logisitics Plan Online Network Tool For LPG Drivers to Input wait times at terminals, etc., reports BPN the propane industry's trusted source for news and info since 1939. 10-10-19(October 10, 2019) — The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) has launched the Propane Logistics Analysis Network (PLAN) to help drivers maximize their hours of service. The association notes that, before now, there was no centralized tool available. NPGA developed PLAN with the support of its Propane Supply & Logistics Committee and with the assistance of state and regional association executives and propane businesses.

At launch, there are more than 400 supply points listed on PLAN, an online, crowd-sourced tool that relies on active user input. Everyone is encouraged to enter wait times at supply points, including drivers, dispatchers, terminal managers, and wholesalers. NPGA comments that PLAN does not represent supply levels, pricing, or other market variables and may be subject to error.

PLAN is available online at https://plan.npga.org and through an update to the NPGAction app. To get the NPGAction app, visit the Apple or Google Play stores. NPGA encourages wide use of the new tool. Continued use can grow and provide timely information to the industry. For additional information or questions, email plan@ npga.org.

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, October 7, 2019. Available by subscription.)

11th Annual Cargas Energy Summit Draws More Than 350 Visitors to Lancaster

The 11th annual Cargas Energy Summit brought more than 350 attendees to the Lancaster Convention Center in Pennsylvania in mid-September.
The annual event gives Cargas Energy customers and partners the opportunity to participate in educational sessions, get a glimpse of upcoming features and enhancements, and connect with one another. This year’s event featured some new additions, including an in-depth training camp and on-site support consultations.

Cargas Energy Summit draws 350 to Lancaster Penn auditorium to learn about propane technology to improve propane business reports BPN Oct 2019Three Keys to Optimization
Optimization was the central theme of this year’s Summit. In the opening presentation, VP Aaron Cargas shared the story of Ferdinand Eberstadt, whose Controlled Materials Plan helped optimize manufacturing production during World War II.

Breaking down Eberstadt’s plan, Cargas explained, “To optimize your business, you must clarify strategic priorities, insist on clear information, and trust and empower your team.”

When it comes to business strategy, he added, each Cargas Energy customer must determine what’s best for their business. But Cargas Energy can help with the rest—delivering the information needed to make strategic decisions and equipping teams with the right tools to get the job done.

Optimization at Cargas
The presentation also highlighted the ways Cargas is striving for optimization to better serve its customers. Recent initiatives have focused on customer experience, user feedback, Cargas Energy’s online community, and support methodology.

Cargas’ new office, located at 101 North Queen Street in downtown Lancaster, will play a major role in the company’s customer care moving forward. The new location brings the entire Cargas team together under one roof and supports better cross-team collaboration and communication.
Cargas Energy Summit Draws Crowd of 350 In Lancaster Pennto learn about latest in propane software and LPG technology of future reports BPN Oct 2019 140“As our customer base grows, we can’t keep doing things the same way,” said Nate Scott, President & CEO. “We’re working harder than ever to optimize the way we work so we can deliver the highest level of customer care possible. We’ll continue to evolve our strategies to meet the changing needs of our customers.”

See You Next Year
The Cargas team would like to thank all of the customers who attended the event, the local venues who hosted us, and all of our partners and sponsors who made the event possible. We couldn’t do it without any of you!

About Cargas 
Cargas is the creator and provider of Cargas Energy fuel delivery software. We help businesses use the latest technology to automate processes and improve decision-making so they can reduce costs and grow. In addition to Cargas Energy, we provide software that supports accounting, operations, sales, marketing, and service teams.

Our unique employee-owned culture fosters a commitment to excellence, a dedication to teamwork, and a high level of customer care. Established in 1988, we continuously strive to live up to our founding vision that creating a great place to work attracts talented and motivated employees who are uniquely invested in our business and our customers. For more information, visit cargasenergy.com.

Cargas is proud to be recognized for the following achievements:
  • 14th time, Cargas named one of the Best Places to Work in PA
  •  Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies
  • Samaritan Counseling Center Ethics in Business Award winner
  • NCEO Innovations in Employee Ownership Award winner
  • Central Penn Business Journal Business of the Year