Common Sense Approach Sought For Liberalizing Marijuana Laws

(November 5, 2019) — The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) board of directors has endorsed a new set of policies aimed at helping the industry continue to safely operate in an environment where more states are liberalizing laws related to the recreational use of marijuana. ATA’s new platform bolsters the federation’s already robust impaired-driving policies to deal specifically with marijuana, now that more than 93 million Americans live where the drug is legal for recreational use.
American Trucking Association introduces new truck driver policies to deal with 93 million people now living in recreational marijuana states reports BPN Nov. 5 2019
Developed by ATA’s Controlled Substances and Driver Health and Wellness Working Group, the new policy and recommendations call for the government to maintain the right of employers to test for marijuana if they determine that its use could adversely affect safety. The policy also supports a lifting of the federal restrictions on marijuana research and calls for more research into marijuana’s impact on impairment, especially in conjunction with other substances.

ATA backs the development of oral fluid testing and impairment standards, and requests the creation of a marijuana victim’s compensation fund—paid for by dispensaries, cultivators, and manufacturers. This is in addition to ATA’s policies calling for the government to allow alternative drug testing methods, creation of a national database of positive drug and alcohol test results, and strong anti-impairment driving laws.

“ATA has long been an advocate for reducing impaired driving—in all forms—so it only makes sense that we would call upon state and federal governments to consider the impact of increased use of marijuana on our roadways,” said ATA president and CEO Chris Spear. “As an industry that operates in all 50 states and across national borders, we need all levels of government to help us keep our roads and drivers drug-free. This policy allows us, while recognizing that the modern world is changing, to advocate for strong, safety-oriented policies backed by sound science and data.”

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, November 4, 2019. Available exclusively by subscription.)

Alliance AutoGas Secures First Patent for the LPG Evacuation Pump

(November 4, 2019)  Swannanoa, NC — Alliance AutoGas (AAG), an alternative fuel company based in Asheville, NC, has just received their first patent for their creation of the LPG Evacuation Pump. Alliance Autogas was founded in 2010 by Blossman Gas, the largest independently owned propane company in the U.S., which is comprised of 74 locations and two headquarters, one in Swannanoa, NC and the other in Ocean Springs, MS. As more and more commercial fleets across the U.S., including school districts, are turning to propane autogas as the alternative fuel of choice, Alliance AutoGas saw the need for increased efficiency and safety while servicing these vehicles. This led to the creation of the LPG Evacuation Pump, which is now being used by propane fleets across the nation.

BPN the propane industry's leading source for news since 1939 reports AllianceAutogas has received their first patent for the creation of the LPG Evacuation Pump 11/4/19Fleets are choosing autogas over traditional gasoline and diesel for a variety of reasons, including cost efficiency, environmental benefits, and the desire to use a domestic fuel. Propane autogas engines significantly reduce engine CO2 and NOX emissions, particulate matter, and Black Carbon, which dramatically improves air quality in local communities. While propane autogas is a clean burning fuel, normally requiring less engine maintenance than its gasoline and diesel counterparts, autogas vehicles will still require occasional fuel system repair. This is where Alliance found the need for a better way to service these vehicles.

“Customers were coming to us and asking for help servicing their autogas vehicles,” said David Kennedy, Director of Autogas Design for Alliance AutoGas. “After listening to their needs, we developed a quick and easy way to remove propane and prepare the vehicles for service. Receiving this patent is exciting for us, and shows a serious commitment to the alternative fuels industry, specifically the autogas segment, where we see continued growth in the future.”

Alliance Autogas has received a patent for LPG evacuation pump to service propane Autogas fleets reports BPN the propane industry's leading source for news and info since 1939. nov 4 2019When working with an autogas, or a Liquid Propane Gas (LPG) system, all fuel must be emptied from the tank in order to perform internal repairs and service. The LPG Evacuation Pump was designed to do this in an economical and safe way for both the environment and service technicians. Alliance engineers designed the pump to deliver fast, reliable, recovery of autogas (LPG) from any vehicle that uses autogas for fuel. This evacuation pump works for all liquid propane injection systems and ensures that not only everyone remains safe, but that no fuel is wasted. The LPG Evacuation Pump allows the evacuation of autogas into any other certified cylinder or LPG tank, including another vehicle. It is a simple unit powered by an air compressor (thereby removing any need for an ignition source in the machinery for optimal safety) that connects two tanks with a qualified LPG hose. When fuel evacuation is complete, technicians may safely begin work on the faulty component.

“Jessie Johnson and David Kennedy [inventors of the LPG Evacuation Pump] reflect the innovative spirit of our company when we see an unfulfilled need,” stated Stuart Weidie, president and CEO of Blossman Gas and president of Alliance AutoGas. “Their invention, the LPG Evacuation Pump, will greatly enhance the safety of fuel transfers, allowing the repair of critical components on autogas vehicles. We are proud of their accomplishment and thrilled to have obtained our first patent as a company.”

For more information, please contact David Kennedy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About Alliance AutoGas
Alliance AutoGas (AAG) www.allianceautogas.com is an international network providing a comprehensive propane autogas solution to light, medium and heavy-duty fleets. Alliance AutoGas is managed by its parent company Blossman Gas, Inc., the largest privately-owned propane company in the United States. Alliance AutoGas is comprised of more than 120 independent propane marketers and authorized conversion centers throughout North America. Alliance’s partners are aligned to provide EPA certified propane and propane autogas systems to vehicle fleets and lawn care companies, including the sale of, installation, and ongoing service to keep these systems on the road.

About Blossman Gas
Blossman Gas, Inc. has been providing comfort to families throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic for more than 65 years. Serving customers in 16 states from over 70 branches, the family-and employee-owned company delivers propane and efficient propane appliances to their 170,000+ customers. Showrooms provide demonstrations and expertise on most national manufacturers of ranges, cooktops, water heaters, outdoor living products, generators, gas grills and gas logs. Leading the industry in technician training, Blossman is a full-service company that provides everything from propane delivery to appliance sales, installation and service.  For more information, call 1.888.Blossman or visit www.blossmangas.com.

Rochester Gauges Acquires Fozmula Limited, UK-based Liquid Level Sensor Manufacturer

November 4, 2019 (Dallas, Texas) — Rochester Gauges, LLC (“Rochester”), a designer and manufacturer of liquid level gauges and sensors, announced last week that it has acquired 100% of the capital stock of Fozmula Limited (“Fozmula”) from HB4. The acquisition of Fozmula is part of a multi-year strategy to expand Rochester’s technical portfolio and global footprint within the liquid level measurement segment.
Rochester Gauges Acquires Fozmula Liquid LPG Sensor Manufacturer Oct 2019 reports BPN the propane industry's trusted source for news and information since 1939
Founded in 1977 in Warwick, UK, Fozmula is a designer and manufacturer of liquid level sensors. The company is a leader in capacitive technology, servicing the power generation, construction, agricultural, and industrial markets.

Ben Lease, President of Rochester Gauges commented, “We are thrilled to welcome Fozmula to the Rochester family. The combination is extremely synergistic, allowing us to offer Fozmula’s industry leading capacitive products to our current customers, and our broad range of reed-based and guided wave radar products to theirs. The Warwick facility and team will provide Rochester the scale and resources necessary to service the European market. We are also delighted to be cooperating with the HB4 team on supply chain, design and automation projects.”

Paul Holtby, Director of Fozmula added, “The combination with Rochester will allow Fozmula to continue operating from its location in Warwick, UK but provide a broader product catalogue and deep engineering and operational resources to our existing customers. Fozmula’s strength in Europe and capacitive level technology will help to accelerate global growth of the combined businesses.”

About Fozmula Limited
Fozmula specializes in the design, development and manufacture of a wide range of electro-mechanical, mechanical and electronic sensors and gauges for equipment requiring liquid level, temperature and pressure measurement. Fozmula has a global customer base across the power generation, specialty vehicle and construction equipment industries. Fozmula was acquired by HB4 in 2016.

About Rochester Gauges
Rochester Gauges is a manufacturer of gauges and sensors that measure liquid levels of various fuels, including propane, gasoline and diesel for many different applications, such as residential and commercial propane tanks, forklifts, RV’s, lawn and garden equipment, tractors, marine and personal aircraft. Rochester has manufacturing facilities in Dallas, Texas; Mexico City, Mexico; Brussels, Belgium with a sales office in Shanghai, China. Rochester was acquired by Renovo Capital in 2018.

About HB4
HB4 is a family holding company operating in the industrial, real estate, automotive and interior design sectors in Italy and Europe. HB4 focuses on technological know-how and increases innovation of its portfolio companies through the transfer of technology between the different sectors in which it operates.

About Renovo
Renovo Capital, LLC is a Dallas-based private equity fund that partners with business owners, entrepreneurs and management teams to invest in specialty manufacturing and business service companies. Renovo’s principals and network of operating professionals have decades of experience providing operational and strategic leadership to drive long term business value creation. Renovo Capital has offices in Dallas and Denver.

Women In Propane: Monika Goss, 4th Generation Leader Eager To Learn

(October 30, 2019) — Monika Goss always suspected she might end up in the propane industry, but it didn’t stop her from earning a master’s degree in biomedical engineering. After three years of managing a neural engineering lab with more than 20 researchers for the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, she got “the call” from her father, Dave Goss, in early 2018 about a position opening in the family business.
BPN's special "Women in propane" profile is Monika Goss a 4th generation family member of Goss Gas and Provanta LPG in sept 2019 edition of BPN magazine
R.N. Goss Gas Products was started by her great-grandfather in 1934 in Pennsylvania, and is now run by Dave. Monika has worked in different roles at the company since she was 14 years old. Now, at 27, she is the purchasing and inventory manager with sights set on one day running the company.

“I always knew in the back of my mind I was coming back,” she explained. “My father has never pressured me and always supported me. He always said keep an open mind.”

Goss Gas Products, based in Reno, Pa., is a local distributor of industrial gases and welding supplies serving residential and commercial customers throughout northwestern Pennsylvania and is part of a family of local brands including RenovEx and Provanta, Inc. The companies employ more than 100 local people and distribute approximately 7 million gallons of propane a year, according to Monika.

“It’s a really neat opportunity. I feel not very many people can say they’ve been at a company working with their dad. We fortunately get along really well. I think we’re similar people with similar ways of thinking.“

Since returning to Goss Gas full-time, she said she is trying to learn all she can about the family business. “I’ve learned a lot in a year and a half. I pretty much bounce between the three divisions.”

“I love it. It’s a really cool feeling when you’re working around the family business knowing you get back directly what you put in.”

Being young and a female, Goss initially thought she might get some pushback from coworkers and industry partners wondering if she was serious about a career in the propane industry, but that has not been the case, she said.

“Thankfully, that fear of not being accepted was unfounded. I do definitely get a couple of customers who don’t trust my knowledge. It’s a male-dominated industry, and not the industry that attracts young women. It’s fun to challenge their [her customers’] expectations.”

In fact, the industry has been very welcoming, and she has jumped right in, joining and participating in several organizations. After attending a few trade conferences, she has made many new friends. Her industry involvement includes memberships in the International Association of Young Gassers, National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA), and Independent Welding Distributors Cooperative (IWDC).

Vendors have also helped ease the transition. “I’ve made many phone calls where I’ve said, ‘Can you walk me through this?’ Never be afraid to ask for help.”

Monika and her husband Matt, an emergency room doctor, both commute – he drives south an hour to Pittsburgh – she drives north an hour. “It’s a commute, but it’s my time to think about the day,” she said. “l’ve gotten better at leaving things for tomorrow. When I first started, I wanted to do it all and do it all right now.”

In their free time, the couple both love to hike and Matt particularly likes to fish in the Allegheny River area, she added. “I lived in Cleveland for almost nine years, and I can tell you I’m not a city girl.

“I also like to bake. It’s relaxing to make 10 dozen cookies,” she said, explaining she brings in baked goods regularly for Goss Gas employees.

Her plans for the future? “Just continue to learn. I’m trying to soak up as much information as I can. I want to get involved in everything,” Monika said. “I just joined Women in Propane. I’d like to get more involved in the organization. It’s neat to have allies who have been there, done that.”

Incoming NPGA President Brings Experience In Turnaround Results

(October 29, 2019) — When Stephen T. (Steve) Kaminski became CEO of the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), the organization was facing a number of challenges. Its finances were deep in the red, the number of calls its members were receiving was in steep decline, and several of the poison control centers it represented had closed due to federal and state funding cuts. During Kaminski’s five years with the group, those trends were reversed. As he prepares to leave the group for a new position, AAPCC’s finances are healthily in the black, call volume has increased for the first time since 2009, and not a single additional center closed—the longest stretch in the association’s 60-plus-year history.

Kaminski’s new position is in the propane industry. In September, the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) announced that Kaminski wStephen T Kaminski announced as new CEO of the National Propane Gas Association reports BPN the propane industry's trusted source for news since 1939. Oct 29 2019ould be its new president and CEO. “I look forward to getting started,” he told BPN on Oct. 10. “I bring a lot of drive to the table and I am very results oriented.” Kaminski spoke with BPN after being formally introduced at the Oct. 1, 2019 NPGA fall board of directors meeting, and before beginning his service to the propane industry Oct. 28.

He brings to NPGA nine years’ experience in association management in addition to over a decade of previous experience in law and business strategy. Before that, he earned degrees in chemical engineering and law.

Legal, Business Experience
Kaminski earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from The Johns Hopkins University in 1997. For that degree, his studies included fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and heat transfer, and he conducted research in the field of chemical surfactants. During his college years, he also worked in a plastic injection molding plant, conducted public policy research in the field of alternative-fueled vehicles for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and had an engineering internship with NASA.

He earned his law degree from Harvard Law School in 2000. Kaminski then served as a clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which is one step below the U.S. Supreme Court. For the next four years, Kaminski was an attorney at a global law firm. There, he handled a mix of regulatory work, patent law, and corporate law, including on behalf of clients in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries and professional sports leagues such as the NFL.

He then transitioned from legal work to business strategy work by joining Discovery Communications, the media company that owns dozens of cable channels. Kaminski served as a director from 2005 to 2007 and as a vice president from 2007 to 2011. “I was there when new technologies like video on demand, high-definition, and streaming came into play,” he notes. Working in the company’s distribution group, he negotiated deals with cable and satellite companies during that time of change.

Association Management
Kaminski’s first experience with association work came when he was offered a prominent position with the American Humane Association, the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to ensuring the safety, welfare, and well-being of animals. As executive vice president, he largely oversaw all the group’s operations and programs. “The president was a terrific fundraiser and mentor, while I minded the bread-and-butter of the $20 million organization,” he explains.

American Humane’s successes during his tenure included revamping two of the group’s main programs: No Animals Were Harmed, which monitors the care of animals in filmed media production, and American Humane Certified, which monitors the care of farm animals. Kaminski grew the latter’s certification program tenfold.
Kaminski was also vital to turning around the organization’s finances. He did this in part by growing the farm program and in part by transitioning a money-losing portfolio of programs from American Humane to two universities with no loss of jobs. “At the time I joined, the association was losing $11 million a year; by the time I left, it had surpluses,” Kaminski said.

In 2014, he moved to his position as CEO of AAPCC, the national association representing poison control centers that provide medical advice via the national Poison Help hotline. (Kaminski says the relationship between AAPCC and these centers is akin to that between NPGA and the state associations.) Those call centers manage an average of 8000 calls per day.
Steve Kaminski takes helm as new CEO of the National propane gas association reports BPN lpg industry's leading source for news since 1939. oct 2019
AAPCC provides its members with services such as federal advocacy; regulatory leadership; communications and promotion of the hotline; national education campaigns; accreditation and certification programs; conference hosting; and data collection and utilization. Among the topics Kaminski worked on were the opioids crisis, e-cigarettes, laundry detergent packets, the Zika virus, the Ebola virus, marijuana, energy drinks, CBD oils, and suicide prevention. (A quarter-million of the calls received each year involve suspected suicide attempts.)

As he did in his previous position, Kaminski led a financial turnaround at AAPCC. When he joined, the group was losing approximately $1.5 million on a $4.5 million budget; now it has a surplus of over $1 million each year. In addition, during his time as CEO, through significant advocacy efforts, the federal funding received by the group’s membership increased from $18 million annually to $24 million and Kaminski secured a five-year, $158 million reauthorization of the Poison Center Network Act, which directly benefits AAPCC’s members.

Another challenge for the AAPCC was a decline in call volume as inquiries went instead to the internet. As a result, poison control centers had been steadily closing their doors due to a lack of funding since the 1990s, including six centers closing in the five years before Kaminski began. He led a turnaround here too. In his five years with AAPCC, not a single center closed down. Today, the call volume is rising for the first time since 2009.

Turnaround Messaging
Kaminski accomplished this turnaround with a comprehensive strategy that included an increased emphasis on promotion and media outreach. Before he began this effort, 2000 articles a year mentioned the hotline; now, 5000 articles a year mention it. The popular Radiolab podcast did a full show about Poison Control and the hotline. The Department of Defense made certain the hotline number is in every military base. AAPCC collaborated with Johnson & Johnson and the publisher Scholastic on a campaign in schools that taught children how to read medicine labels and how to call the hotline. An AAPCC marketing campaign, Text-To-Save, promoted a function in which people could text a number and that would save the hotline number to their cellphone.

He also worked with makers of digital assistants: “It used to be that when you would ask Siri, Alexa, or Google to call poison control, they would give you all kinds of numbers; now they give you the national Poison Help hotline.”

Another program that earned media coverage for AAPCC was its campaign to warn parents about the dangers of children swallowing laundry detergent packets. These packets are colorful and, to a child, can look like candy. It was AAPCC’s data from calls to the poison control centers that brought this problem to the attention of the media and the public. The group worked with manufacturers of the packets on safety measures, which include voluntary standards to modify the locking mechanism on the packaging and addition of a bittering agent to the packets.

“But it was the Tide Pod Challenge that really garnered media attention,” Kaminski said, referring to the phenomenon in which teens would film themselves eating the packets and then post the video online. “That was only a couple dozen teenagers, but we used it to raise the profile of the dangers of these packets so that parents of toddlers would store the packets properly. I was interviewed by many major media outlets and AAPCC had 3 billion media impressions from the outreach.”

Today, the market share of laundry detergent packets continues to increase, at the expense of bottled laundry detergent, but the number of poisonings involving the packets has gone down significantly.

As he was preparing to transition to leadership of NPGA, Kaminski said that as he learns about the propane industry, he sees an opportunity for promotion and media outreach here, too.

“There is a lot that can be done around propane to promote it as the linchpin of a clean energy solution that will benefit all Americans,” he says. “There is an opportunity for turnaround messaging here. Driving consumer sentiment to view propane as a clean fuel will influence policymakers at all levels.”

On a personal level, Kaminski has a number of passions. He’s the author of four published mystery novels, is a cofounder of a small company in the men’s health space (which no longer requires any of his professional time commitment), has played soccer his entire life, including in college, enjoys cooking with his 13-year-old daughter, Maya, and likes traveling with his partner, Kristin. — Steve Relyea