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After 'stumbling' into a career in propane, the inside sales manager talks about his new role as district director of NYPGA

Benjamin Modeen, NYPGA and ParacoBenjamin Modeen

Inside Sales Manager, Paraco 

District Director, NYPGA

Describe your current role at Paraco.

I manage an amazing team of 11 that includes two types of sales roles and one administrative function. Our team is a hub for new customers; we’re often the first point of contact they have and provide the vital first impression for customers’ experience with our company. I am energized by the role because of the people.

I’m fortunate to have wonderful colleagues, staff and customers. I’m passionate about working to bring out the best in employees so they can grow and develop in their roles. Seeing someone have an ‘ah-ha!’ moment where they’ve mastered a new skill is truly rewarding.

How did you get your start in the propane industry?

To be honest, it was completely by accident! I had accepted a position as the director of sales for a refrigeration company, and when I went in to start, I learned that the company — and my job — had gone overseas.


A friend of mine, who was a fuel oil driver, said that he knew of an opening for an outside sales representative. My interview went well, and everything clicked from there. I’ve been with Paraco for four years now.

What’s the most interesting area of the propane industry right now?

There are really three things that stand out as interesting and important in propane. One is our industry’s potential future as a leader in the transition to greener fuels.

Two is propane’s versatility because it can be used for trucks, motor fuel, to dry crops and even for air conditioning systems — it’s super interesting and it means a lot for the industry’s longevity.

Three, we are starting to see younger and very talented individuals working their way up the ranks. I believe this will allow the industry to grow and thrive.

Congrats on being named a new board member of the NYPGA! Do you have any specific goals in mind for 2022?

Thank you for the warm welcome! I really have two primary goals in mind for my role on the board. The first is to understand the marketers across the district I represent (District 8). The second is, as a board member, I want to learn and absorb as much as possible.

There are incredibly experienced industry people on the board who hold a wealth of knowledge and experience — and to that, I’ll contribute my strengths and move forward the best way possible.

Why is it important to you to be involved in industry organizations and associations?

As a leader, it’s important to be involved. Beyond that, there are two specific things that being involved provides. One, you get context from your peers about the industry, which you can take back to coach and prepare employees. Two, these interactions allow you to gather strategic insights to bring back to the company.

I also serve on the executive board of the Hudson Valley Oil and Energy Council as secretary. It’s important to get as much knowledge as I can so I can grow and bring my very best to Paraco.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

This advice has been with me for a long time. When I was young, my grandfather told me, ‘Don’t ever do anything you wouldn’t put your name on.’ It’s great advice and it’s stuck with me. It applies to so much — large or small — and reminds me to do my best and to always act with integrity.

Have you ever had 'imposter syndrome?'

This is an interesting question, and the answer is yes. Early on in this industry, I found myself in rooms making decisions with highly experienced, senior-level people. Coming in without industry experience — that’s intimidating.

So, you can wonder why you’re there, but I’ll also say that the ‘imposter syndrome’ I felt was unnecessary. I realized that I was there for a reason and that I had skills and values to contribute to the group.

If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead, who would it be?

I would have dinner with the grandfather I mentioned above, who gave me the best advice I’ve ever received. He passed away when I was 10, and I would be genuinely curious to see what we would talk about as adults.



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