Blind Ad Leads Dixon To Propane Career And PERC Chairmanship

Daniel Dixon responded to a blind ad placed by a headhunter for a financial consultant position in 1997 while living in Kansas City. He had no idea the industry was propane and the company was Propane Resources (Mission, Kan.). “Turned out to be a great opportunity for me at the time and I have loved the propane industry ever since,” Dixon said, speaking to BPN about his new role as chairman of the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). “The industry is full of great companies, people, and principles. I’ve been fortunate to meet people from all over the country in my time at Propane Resources and AmeriGas.”
Blind ad led daniel dixon to Director Business Dev at AmeriGas and chairman of the propane education and research council reports BPN
Having earned an undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA, Dixon first applied his financial background in the transportation and banking fields before joining the propane industry. During his 16 years at Propane Resources, he focused on helping retailers with financial, operational, and merger and acquisition services. Over the past seven years, he has been group director of business development at AmeriGas, where his team focuses on acquiring well-run retail propane companies nationwide. He and his wife Kristi live in Florence, Ala., and have three children ranging in ages from 14 to 25.

Dixon said the number of leaders in the propane industry he has learned from is too many to list. “The first was Dwain Willingham (founder of Propane Resources) who allowed me to learn the industry and do everything from A to Z,” Dixon said. “Spending a week with Midwestern Propane (Belleville, Ill.) setting tanks, delivering cylinders, riding in a bobtail, and setting routes back in 1997 was very beneficial. Spending time talking with Hugh Gallagher, Ann Kelly, Tony Rosback, and many others at AmeriGas about propane and business subjects has also taught me a lot.” He also cited the many industry members he has met through volunteer roles as being important in his ongoing learning.

Dixon has been active in the Alabama Propane Gas Association (APGA) for many years and he served a term as the association president. Continued involvement led to leadership roles in both the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) and PERC as well. He has served on both the NPGA board and the executive committee. “I enjoy giving back to an industry that has given me so much,” he said. “I had always been interested in PERC, and some fellow AmeriGas employees recommended I apply to be a councilor. PERC has been fortunate to have some great individuals serve that always have an ‘industry first’ attitude. Being involved in two strategic plans, as well as many growth opportunities that have been created, is something I am very proud of.”

As for goals, Dixon notes the recently created strategic plan that focuses on developing world-class safety and training, increasing propane’s voice in the national energy conversation, growing the autogas market, and engaging in commercialization efforts to create market growth opportunities. “Along with our ‘Propane Can Do That’ digital media plan, the Council believes we can focus the industry’s financial commitment of more money on fewer projects and have success. The metrics available to track our success have never been more readily available,” Dixon said. He is pleased to say the pandemic has not slowed PERC’s ability to move forward with its many projects. “Tucker, Bridget, Cinch [Tucker Perkins, president and CEO; Bridget Kidd, senior vice president, industry relations; and Cinch Munson, senior vice president, business development] and the staff at PERC have worked extremely hard to not let up on the forward progress that has been made the past few years. Many video and phone calls have taken the place of face-to-face visits. We are very happy with their focus these past seven-plus months.”

Stronger collaboration between PERC and NPGA as well as the state propane associations has been a priority of all the organizations in the face of the electrify everything movement as well as decarbonization. “Both Tucker and Steve [Steve Kaminski, president and CEO of NPGA], as well as their staffs meet weekly to discuss the future of propane and where NPGA and PERC can collaborate to make our industry stronger,” Dixon said. “Denis [Denis Gagne, chairman of NPGA] and I have a joint executive officer call monthly and we have a joint officer call often to discuss pressing industry issues. The current Environmental Task Force includes two officers from PERC and two officers from NPGA. The task force will create a plan that will benefit our industry as we come up with universal and unified messaging around the environmental benefits of propane and how these benefits compare to other types of fuels.”

Dixon encourages propane industry members to visit the propane.com website and see the changes that have been made to the website. “Industry members should be aware of all the resources available to their customers, whether it be residential, commercial, agriculture, autogas, environmental messaging, etc. PERC, NPGA, and the state associations are working together better than ever. We have headwinds in front of us, but we are a diligent industry. Never underestimate what our industry can do when we work together.” — Pat Thornton