Collett Services Bobtail
Why strong family leadership requires an all-in team effort

When ownership of Collett Services transitioned to a new generation, it also moved from one owner to four. What could have been a complicated situation has instead been an ongoing partnership made up of four brothers, Tyler McCormick, Logan McCormick, Matt Newton and Mike Newton. The brothers now operate Xenia, Ohio-based Collett Services and its two divisions: Collett Propane and Collett Sealcoating.

“We do things through committee,” explained Tyler. “We talk [through things] and try to make the best decision. It’s a team effort.”

“We have a really good understanding,” said Matt. “Everything is amicable. Seven days a week, 16 hours a day, we are talking with each other in our group message.”


Collett’s four current owners and the previous owner, their mother Jane Newton, attribute the transition’s success to several things. These include planning ahead, networking with members of other family businesses, allowing the new owners to ease into their responsibilities and giving each member of the next generation a say in what they will be doing in the business.

“I didn’t want the business to affect their relationship as siblings; if it had, it would have gone on the selling block,” said Jane Newton. “As it turns out, they’re so much closer than before. They are always bouncing ideas off each other.”

2 Generations of Collett Services Owners
Jane and Brian Newton (seated) turned over the leadership and ownership of Collett Services in January 2020 to their four sons (from left): Logan McCormick, Mike Newton, Matt Newton and Tyler McCormick.
Old Collett Sign
Collett Propane began as a hardware store in New Burlington, Ohio. 


Carrying it Forward

Jane joined Collett Propane in 1982 and became the second-generation owner of the family business in 1985. Her father, Don Collett, and his brother, Chuck Collett, started the company in 1952. They owned a hardware store and were introduced to propane by a salesman. “I grew up in the business from birth,” Jane  said. “I was riding in bobtails from an early age.”

Before officially joining the company, she earned a business degree from Wright State University and then worked at another business for a couple of years. When she joined Collett Propane, it had one location in Wilmington, Ohio.

Soon after she joined, a second location was added in Xenia, Ohio, in 1985, and a third in Lebanon, Ohio, in 2005. “The county was growing,” she said. “There was a lot of home construction in rural areas where there was propane usage. I always felt it was important to have a presence and contribute to the community. That’s why it was important to build out.”

She became the second-generation owner when her father died. “I was an only child, so if it was to continue as a family business, I would have to carry it forward,” she said. “I hadn’t had a lot of formal training; I learned by doing what needed to be done daily.”

Collett Sealcoating was added in 2002, initially to keep the propane division’s employees busy and to generate revenue during the summertime. It was started by Brian Newton, Jane’s husband, who came up with the idea and tried it out. “I bought a truck, a tank and everything to get started in the business,” he said. “One guy and I ran it so that we would know how to do the job and how to price it.”

At first, the sealcoating division focused on residential customers. Collett Propane’s drivers would identify the houses that had asphalt driveways as they made deliveries.

Using that information, the two divisions would make joint mailings to those customers to promote both propane and sealcoating. Later, the sealcoating business began gaining commercial customers, too.

“Collett Sealcoating is its own company now,” Brian said. “We rarely use people from the propane side. We now have 16,000 square feet under a roof for all the equipment.”

Throughout the years, both divisions of Collett Services have served customers and been active members of the communities in their service areas. In 2015 and 2016, Collett Propane was a finalist for the Eclipse Integrity Awards presented by the Better Business Bureau of Dayton and Miami Valley.

“Our employees are dedicated to making sure the customer gets the best service,” said Jane. “I know that every person who answers the phone or makes deliveries knows what the other person has promised the customer and makes sure it gets done.”

Collett Propane offers 24/7 service, with a driver and a service technician always on call. “There’s always someone local,” said Logan. “People like that. When a will-call customer calls, we deliver within a few days. If there’s a leak, we will be there same day.”

The propane division also offers “Ten Buck Tuesday,” a special offer in which it will fill a 20# tank on Tuesdays for $10. “When we participate in Christmas parades with our truck, we hear people shouting out ‘Ten Buck Tuesday!’” said Tyler. “It has taken on a life of its own.”

Collet Sealcoating provides customers the confidence that they are dealing with a long-standing, local company. “The sealcoating industry in general does not have a good reputation,” said Matt. “We try to use how long our company has been here to set ourselves apart.”

Collett Services is also an active member of local chambers of commerce, a supporter of 4-H clubs and a sponsor of baseball teams.

Older Bobtail
In 1988, second-generation owner Jane Newton opened a second propane office in Xenia, Ohio.

Working Well Together

After running and expanding Collett Services, Jane and Brian retired on Jan. 1, 2020.

Today, the new, third-generation owners each have their own role at Collett Services, while also working together to lead the company. They have each spent years in and around the business and have selected duties that align with their skills and interests.

Tyler is president and handles duties such as pricing and human resources. “My earliest memories are running around the office interacting with customers and employees,” he said.

While in high school and college, he worked at the company during breaks. He didn’t plan to make a career of it, but he changed his mind after hearing employees tell stories about his grandfather’s time at the company.

Tyler officially started with the company in 2008 as a customer service representative (CSR). Over time, he became service manager, branch manager and then president.

Remembering his childhood, he said, “I spent snow days not on a sled, but pulling hose and delivering propane. I appreciate that now because it built my work ethic and taught me to do  whatever it takes to make our customers comfortable and happy.”

Logan manages one of the propane branches and oversees Collett Propane’s service work. “I’ve always been around the business,” he said.

He started full time in 2010, three years after graduating high school and then attending college for a while. Logan began as a CSR, moved around to the different branches and then began managing one.

“That’s when I learned about the operations side — driving a truck, setting tanks and doing service work,” he said. “I’ve been doing that for five or six years.”

As he learned these different skills, he enjoyed the jobs and the variety of things he would be called upon to do. “I can do a little bit of everything, and I enjoy the mix,” he said. “I’m driving a truck today, but I could be setting tanks tomorrow and doing a budget the next day.”

Matt runs the sealcoating division. He also handles IT for both divisions. He did some sealcoating while in school. After graduation, he worked in the office of the propane division, answering phones and filling cylinders. “I never left,” he said. “It became intriguing, because there was always something to learn.”

Over time, Matt delivered cylinders, ran the service operation and managed an office. Along the way, he developed his interest in IT. He helped open one store and rebuilt the IT infrastructure at another. After a management turnover in the sealcoating division, he jumped in to lead that business.

“Any job title there is in the company, I’ve had it. I’ve been here for 17 years now, and I’m 37,” he said. “There’s something new going on all the time. When problems arise, I see them as opportunities to learn something you wouldn’t have learned that day.”

Mike works at a local Air Force base while also working part time at Collett Services, handling marketing. In his early years, he rode along with his brothers in the company’s trucks and later worked in the sealcoating business.

After finishing graduate school and starting work at the Air Force base, Mike became interested in social media and creating web content. He learned that craft by watching YouTube videos and using free software to learn how to edit videos, make posts and optimize the content for searches.

“For a lot of companies, your website is the first thing people see,” he commented. “We focus on how we can make customers’ lives easier. The content is always being updated, and we get a lot of positive responses.”

Collett Gas Service
Today, Collett Propane operates three propane locations, with seven trucks on the road full time during delivery season.


Steve Relyea has written for B2B publications for more than 30 years. He has specialized in reporting on skilled trades, small businesses and entrepreneurs.

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