Workplace Safety Reinforced At 6th Annual ITA Event

The Industrial Truck Association (ITA) hosted its sixth annual National Forklift Safety Day in Washington, D.C. June 11, an event serving as an opportunity for forklift manufacturers to highlight the safe use of forklifts, the value of operator training, and the need for daily equipment inspections.

Forklift “As the North American forklift market continues to be an important component in the economy and supply chain, the need for safety in the workplace becomes even more prevalent,” said Scott Johnson, vice president of sales and marketing at CLARK Material Handling Co. and chairman of ITA. “National Forklift Safety Day provides the yearly opportunity to gather industry experts and government officials to reinforce the importance of ongoing safety education and training.”

Elected officials, safety experts, and industry representatives discussed the effectiveness of training to support successful safety programs across a broad spectrum of industries. National Forklift Safety Day raises awareness of the value of safety to those who produce, operate, and work on or around forklifts.

In addition to the Washington, D.C. event, many ITA members and their dealers sponsored local forklift safety activities for their customers to enhance awareness of safe practices in warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing plants, and other work environments where forklifts are in use. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that operator performance scores improve by 61% after completion of forklift operator training.

“ITA has been the voice of the industrial truck industry for more than half a century,” said Brian Feehan, president of ITA. “We understand there is a critical need for effective forklift operator training, and ITA’s National Forklift Safety Day is meant to keep that discussion at the forefront year after year.”

In conjunction with National Forklift Safety Day, the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) introduced a collection of safety resources on its website’s new landing page,, which is dedicated to forklift safety. The resources include a guide and a video that outline important safety reminders, while also detailing how a workplace’s propane supplier can help keep operations safe. For example, suppliers can help with cylinder inspections and safe refueling procedures. In addition, some propane providers offer additional safety training opportunities for their forklift customers.

“Safety is paramount in the material handling industry and we at the Propane Council want to echo that in all of the materials that we produce,” said Jeremy Wishart, director of off-road business development at PERC. “Everything we do starts and ends with keeping forklift operators safe, and we hope these new materials can help facilities stay productive while maintaining a high level of safety.”

PERC comments that propane has proven to be a leading fuel for material handling equipment because it offers a number of key advantages over other fuels. For example, propane-powered forklifts offer lower emissions, greater productivity, proven performance, and the versatility to work indoors and outdoors. In addition, propane forklifts don’t lose power throughout the workday—unlike electric lifts—and a fast, easy cylinder change gets them back in business quickly.

Oil Majors Join Lobbying Push for U.S. Carbon Tax

(June 24, 2019) — Bloomberg reports that oil companies, automakers, and consumer products manufacturers are poised to launch a campaign for a U.S. tax on carbon dioxide emissions, even though it may lead to higher prices for their products. BP and Royal Dutch Shell are reported to be contributing $1 million each to the Americans for Carbon Dividends advocacy campaign, underwriting efforts to persuade Congress to enact a carbon tax-and-dividend plan. Ford Motor Co. is said to be signing on as a founding member of the group and its underlying initiative, the Climate Leadership Council.

Carbon tax proposals impact propane indsutry bpn 062419At the same time, dozens of corporations, including Capital One Financial Corp., software company Inc., and health care giant Kaiser Permanente will also be lobbying Congress for a carbon tax, according to Bloomberg. Leaders of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., consumer products maker DSM North America, and Nature’s Path Foods Inc. were scheduled to appear at a news conference on Capitol Hill before meeting with lawmakers on the issue.

The news agency comments that fossil fuel companies have been shifting their positions on climate change, namely in response to pressure from investors and growing public alarm about what is purported and widely believed to be Earth’s warming temperature. Further, economists have long favored a carbon tax as a simple, predictable approach to establishing a price for greenhouse gas emissions, which are said to drive climate change.

“Shareholders, younger Americans, and Americans who live in coastal communities who are especially exposed to climate change are demanding action by the government and also by leading corporations,” said former U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Republican from Florida who sponsored a carbon tax bill before losing his House seat in 2018. “American companies want predictability and sustainability, and this is the most efficient way of reducing carbon emissions while protecting economic growth.”

Nonetheless, Bloomberg observes that carbon tax efforts face headwinds on Capitol Hill, where Republicans have repeatedly voted against the concept of a new tax on carbon dioxide. During a May House Ways and Means Committee hearing on climate change, Texas Republican Kevin Brady summed up his position: “We believe a carbon tax is not the solution to address our environmental challenges.”

But some companies are hedging their bets. A new coalition of corporations and environmental groups calling itself the CEO Climate Dialogue outlines its ambitions for long-term federal policy “to protect against the worst impacts of climate change” without insisting on a carbon tax. Conversely, BP and Shell’s contributions are benefiting a campaign for a carbon tax-and-dividend plan that’s already being underwritten by ExxonMobil Corp., renewable power producer EDF Renewables Inc., and nuclear power generator Exelon Corp. The moves follow Shell’s recent decision to abandon a refining trade group over its climate change policy stance, and BP’s lobbying this year in support of a cap-and-trade plan in Washington state.

The initiative backed by the two oil companies would impose a nationwide price on carbon dioxide emissions—starting at $40 per ton—with the promise of deeper reductions in greenhouse gas than would be achieved through existing laws. For businesses, the plan also promises two potent prizes: a shield against climate-
related lawsuits tied to past, legal emissions and the end of federal regulations targeting greenhouse gas releases.

Under the plan, carbon tax revenue would be redistributed to households in the form of quarterly divi- dend checks, an idea endorsed by economists as a way to help insulate poor and middle-class Americans from the resulting higher energy costs. The initiative has emerged as a favored business alternative to the more aggressive Green New Deal, the plan championed by environmental activ- ists and Democrats to rapidly decarbonize the U.S.

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, June 24, 2019. Click to receive a subscription directly to your inbox each week.)

Crystal Flash Inks 12th Acquisition With Kohley’s Propane In Michigan

(June 20, 2019) – In an effort to expand its footprint and capabilities along Michigan’s western lakeshore, Crystal Flash (Grand Rapids, Mich.) has acquired Muskegon, Mich.-based Kohley’s Superior Propane. The transaction was finalized on June 7, 2019. Terms regarding the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition provides employee-owned Crystal Flash with more than 1700 additional home heating customers. Two Kohley’s Propane team members will join Crystal Flash.
Crystal Flash logo“Finding companies with a mission and values similar to ours is key when we look at an acquisition,” said Tom Olive, Crystal Flash president. “Kohley’s fit this bill perfectly. Our shared heritage as proud, independent propane retailers with a commitment to strong customer relations drove our decision. We look forward to having Kohley’s team join our employee-owned company and to serving customers along the lakeshore.”

The purchase marked the 12th acquisition for Crystal Flash, a leading independent distributor of propane, gasoline, and diesel in Michigan. Since being founded in 1932, the company has grown to have more than 280 employees and 15 locations across the state to power homes, fleets, construction, farms, and businesses.

Crystal Flash has completed 11 other acquisitions of Michigan-based companies since 2011 to expand its reach across the state’s Lower Peninsula and into northern Indiana. They include Drakes Fuel Services in Schoolcraft, Elliott Gas & Oil in Gladwin, Leelanau Propane in Northport, Heartland Propane in Hart, and CA Murphy in Sturgis. Others are C. Barron & Sons Inc. in Monroe, Owens Petroleum Inc. and Owens Propane Service Inc. in Albion, Brenner Oil’s home heat division in Holland/Muskegon, Richardson Oil in Lawrence, Lenawee Farm Bureau Oil Cooperative Inc. in Adrian, and Knapp Energy Inc. in Kalamazoo.

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, June 24, 2019)

Deadline Nears For Millions In Federal Grant Funding For Clean Propane Buses

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has announced the opportunity to apply for approximately $423.3 million in Fiscal Year 2019 competitive grant funding for transit bus projects. The Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program is authorized to improve the condition of bus infrastructure by funding the replacement and rehabilitation of buses and related facilities.
San Diego Gillig propane clean fuel autogas busesProjects eligible for this funding opportunity include those that would replace, rehabilitate, lease or purchase buses and related equipment. Other eligible projects involve purchasing, rehabilitating, constructing or leasing bus-related facilities, such as buildings for bus storage and maintenance.

FTA will award the grants to eligible recipients, including fixed route bus operators, states and local governmental entities that operate fixed route bus service, and Indian tribes.  Projects will be evaluated by criteria outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. As required by law, the program allocates a minimum of 10 percent of its funding to rural bus needs. The application period will close on June 21, 2019, at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time.

Click here to visit the Notice of Funding page

Propane People "In The News"

People Grimm 062019(June 18, 2019) — Cargas Systems (Lancaster, Pa.) has promoted Cory Grimm to director of consulting. In his new role, Grimm will expand his management responsibilities leading Cargas Energy’s systems consultants and project managers, as well as focusing on scaling the team’s implementation methodology and strategic initiatives such as new product releases. Prior to joining Cargas, Grimm was an operations analyst for the federal government, a financial advisor, and served in the active duty Air Force. Since joining Cargas in 2013, he has served as a trainer, consultant, and project manager. 

Dan Boyd Anderson EDPDan Boyd has joined Energy Distribution Partners (EDP; Chicago) as General Manager for Anderson Propane Services. Anderson Propane serves residential and commercial customers in the Caldwell and Uhrichsville, Ohio, areas.

Clayton Cook EDP picClayton Cook has joined EDP as General Manager for United Propane, which serves residential, commercial and agricultural customers in a seven-county area surrounding Lancaster, Ohio. United Propane was formerly part of United Landmark, which included propane, agronomy and retail sales.

Propane People In the news Dunham BPN 052019Travis Dunham has joined EDP as director of supply and logistics, with responsibility for working closely with EDP’s field executives to secure supply for its growing retail operations nationwide. Dunham was most recently director of wholesale at Ferrellgas. He began his career in the propane industry in 2005 as a wholesale representative for Ferrellgas, covering the Ohio Valley. Since, he served in positions of increasing responsibility, managing supply and procurement for Ferrell’s retail operations as well as independent propane marketers.

People Barker 062019Keith Barker has joined EDP as general manager of Carolina Propane in Orangeburg, S.C., and Carmichael Propane in Walterboro, S.C. Carolina Propane serves residential, commercial, and agricultural customers in the Orangeburg and St. Matthews area, while Carmichael Propane has a primarily residential propane customer base and serves South Carolina’s Low Country. In addition to maintaining the current residential and agriculture markets in the service areas, Barker is responsible for growing the two companies across all of their business segments. He started in the industry in 1987, in the Carolinas and Virginia. Baker joined Davenport Energies, an independently owned fueloil and propane dealer with 30 convenience stores. More recently he held management positions with Blossman Gas & Appliance, Heritage Propane, AmeriGas, and Piedmont Propane Services.

People Young 062019Marlo Young, co-founder and COO of Energy Distribution Partners (EDP; Chicago), passed away in late April. He was a long-time propane industry leader, as well as a key member of EDP’s team since its founding in 2012. Mr. Young had extensive experience in the energy sector and previously served in operating and executive roles with Ferrellgas, Cornerstone Propane, and Inergy Propane. Tom Knauff, CEO of Energy Distribution Partners, commented, “He was recognized throughout the propane business for his wise counsel and positive leadership.”

People Kaplan 062019Carl Kaplan has joined the Ferrellgas (Liberty, Mo.) Acquisitions Department as a business development executive serving the Northeast U. S. He previously spent more than 10 years in natural gas origination with companies headquartered in Connecticut and New York. In his new position at Ferrellgas, Kaplan will be based in Connecticut and cover a territory that encompasses 17 states and the District of Columbia.

People Dudycha 062019Tom Dudycha, marketing manager for Independent Technologies Inc. (Blair, Neb.), retired the end of April. He was hired in 2008 by the late Daryl Ingalsbe.

Edwin Ludvik, formerly of Ludvik Propane Gas (Walsenburg, Colo.), passed away April 9 at the age of 66. He began his career as a CPA in Denver in 1974 before transitioning to vice president of finance and administration of a publicly traded company, and a number of other executive positions. He later entered the family business, Ludvik Propane Gas, taking over the company in 1997 and eventually selling the operation in 2010. He was a member of the National Propane Gas Association and the Colorado Propane Gas Association (CPGA). In 2011, CPGA honored him with the first annual “Pioneer” award, which it established to recognize those who helped build the propane industry in Colorado.

People Ihler 062019The MFA Oil Co. (Columbia, Mo.) board of directors has named Jon Ihler interim CEO. He will be responsible for overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations of the refined fuel, propane, Petro-Card 24, Break Time, Big O Tires, and Jiffy Lube operations across an eight-state region. Ihler succeeds Mark Fenner, who had served as president and CEO since 2014. Ihler joined MFA Oil in 2001 working in Big O Tires and Jiffy Lube before leaving to own and operate his own franchised automotive business. He returned to MFA Oil in 2006, serving as business development manager and director of sales and marketing before being promoted to vice president of sales and marketing in 2014, overseeing sales, marketing, and distribution.

Propane People In the news Wager 052019The Minnesota Propane Association (MPA) has named Dave Wager as its next executive director. He will work with the current director, Roger Leider, until Jan. 1, 2020, when he will assume full responsibility as executive director. Wager has been in the propane industry for the past 32 years, starting with Cannon Valley Cooperative in 1987, through its many mergers, to form Central Farm Service. He became active in the industry 20 years ago, working in the Hall of Flame building at the state fair, as well as other association activities. He has served on a number of MPA committees, most recently the successions committee that hired its new training company and trainer. Wager was a member of the executive committee, has been active on the board of directors since 2010 and served as association president in 2015.

People Lawrence 062019Tyler Lawrence has joined the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA; Washington, D.C.) as manager of legislative affairs, where he will work with Michael Baker, director of legislative affairs, on federal level priorities. Previously, Lawrence was Honda’s federal lobbyist for tax, trade, and workforce development. He also managed and developed the company’s corresponding internal working groups and advocacy campaign, in addition to chairing the Global Automakers’ Trade Policy Committee. Before joining Honda, Lawrence also held a number of positions at the National Association of Manufacturers, among them working in the group’s government relations department on tax and trade policy and lobbying.
Propane people in the news Dodd BPN 052019David Dodd has joined Otodata’s (Montreal) U.S. team as its new southern regional sales representative with responsibility for the southern portion of the country. He will be based in Florida. Dodd has more than 20 years of experience in B2B sales.

Marissa Armentano picChristina Armentano, executive vice president of Paraco Gas (Rye, N.Y.), was appointed to the National Propane Gas Association’s (NPGA) board of directors as a director-at-large during the winter board meeting in February. She was also elected to the New York Propane Gas Association executive board as secretary, effective in March. Armentano also sits on the NYPERC board, and is a board member of the Hudson Valley Oil & Energy Council.

Propane People In the news Mazoch bpn 052019Leanne Mazoch has joined Ray Energy (Troy, N.Y.) as vice president of supply, based in Houston. Mazoch has been involved in the integrated oil and gas industry for more than 20 years. In her new position, she will assist in broadening markets by locating and purchasing fuel from multiple supply origination points to meet the growing demand of customers east of the Mississippi. Mazoch has held various positions within the energy sector, most recently as the Northeast NGL and olefins marketer for BP Energy Co., where she marketed third-party and equity propane supply for all eastern U.S. demand.

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