Leadership figure
Young Gassers' 30 Under 30 inductee talks industry challenges, personal growth & the importance of industry involvement

Kathryn Lewis, ThompsonGasKathryn Lewis

Director of Human Resources

ThompsonGas LLC


Describe your role.

KL: As the director of human resources (HR), I am responsible for oversight of the payroll, benefit and leave of absence functions, with a focus on employee relations and assisting with the development of HR initiatives to support the growth and engagement of our employees and actively contribute to the overall business strategy.

Congratulations on being named one of Young Gassers’ 2021 30 Under 30! Why do you think this industry is a solid career choice for other young professionals?

KL: Thank you! I am truly honored to be a part of this program and proud to represent our company. Propane is a great career choice and one I would recommend to others. The service we provide brings peace of mind to our customers and communities by keeping families warm, fueling school bus fleets, supporting farmers and helping businesses run smoothly.

How did you get your start in the propane industry?

In my last semester of college, I started as an HR assistant for a small family company, and over time, I found I was ready for something more.


ThompsonGas was a big jump for me, as it was in a different industry, had a larger head count and was operating at a much faster pace. Truthfully, I knew nothing about propane besides using it for my grill in the summer, but I jumped right in, and it has been the most exciting, challenging and rewarding experience I have had.

What is one of the biggest challenges the industry currently faces?

KL: From an HR perspective, I believe a challenge for the industry is continuing to find ways to attract and retain new and diverse talent. The propane industry has been described as “aging,” and if new talent is not identified, there could be a succession gap and missed opportunity to learn from today’s workforce, specifically delivery drivers and service technicians.

What are you or others doing in your company to overcome it?

KL: Our company recognizes this challenge and has a strong focus on attracting talent with the development of internship and apprenticeship programs focused on recent graduates and experienced workers outside of the propane industry.

We are also establishing management and leadership training opportunities and development paths through the Propane Education & Research Council’s Learning Management System to further learning at our company.

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

KL: As a teen, my grandfather worked for his father at the family grocery store. There was one customer in particular that continued to place their groceries on the tab. In frustration my grandfather asked, “Why do you let them continue to take groceries? They will never pay us back!” His father replied, “Son, if you can’t help another in this world, you have no reason to be walking in it.”

I encourage our HR team to help others where they can, to foster an environment of learning and bring the “human” back to HR. We all make mistakes or need redirection at one point or another. A helping hand goes a long way and can have a powerful impact on others.

Describe your perfect mentor.

KL: A perfect mentor to me is someone who will help keep me on track in my professional and personal life. It is someone I can turn to for guidance and who is willing to share [their] own experience and knowledge. They have a balanced view when issues arise and are honest in providing feedback — someone you can lean on to help you grow, motivate you when obstacles arise and genuinely want what is best for you.

How do you keep your skills sharp and focus on career growth?

KL: Being a part of organizations like Young Gassers and the Society for Human Resource Management is also key to my personal career growth. This year, I intend to challenge myself by sitting in for the SHRM certification.

What are some of your hobbies?

KL: Botanical gardens, national parks and my grandfather’s backyard are some of my favorite places to be.



Revolutionizing Residential Propane