An animated character is choosing to make a different career decision
Members of the propane industry share the life circumstances, events & choices they wish could be different

Change is inevitable in life. To conceptualize creating an impossible change in life may be just what we need to consider today. In this column, adopted from the familiar “Heard on the Street” format, we offer our responders a chance to answer the question posed in the title. These are their replies reported verbatim.

Change That Could Matter

I wouldn’t likely change anything. However, if I did change one thing, it would be to make more time for my family and friends. As we grow older we seem to appreciate what we have much more than we did earlier. Work and life balance is so important to be a happy person. Early in our careers, we are striving to do better and [stay] focused on the job. Although this may give job satisfaction, we are still not complete unless we have that balance.

As a grandfather of eight, I want to spend more time being a positive influence in their lives. Sharing stories about the past helps them understand who they are and where they came from. I also learn from them by listening to them. Life is short. Put your efforts into what is important to you. Know your priorities. Don’t be afraid to face change. Be the best person you can be, and you will be happy.


Ed Varney
Topline Management
McKinney, Texas

The only change I would make, if it were possible, is to have our beautiful daughter brought back to life.

Rosie Buschar
McMahan’s Bottle Gas
Dayton, Ohio

I am going to break this down into two areas. I wish earlier in my career that I had better work-life balance. I missed several family or child moments, feeling the need to be at work, etc. Looking back, no one really remembers the extra hours you put in 20 years ago, but your wife and kids remember the things you missed. Now later in my career, I wish I had better balance between mind, body and spirit. I dislike exercising but know all the benefits that come from it at this point in my life. It’s a matter of making it a priority. Once you start, it can become part of your routine. I just have to start!

Tom Krupa
NGL Supply Terminals Co.
Richmond, Virginia

The day I would take back and change my steps would be Aug. 15, 1983. Around 11 a.m., I had just left my horse training facility. As I passed the ring, I saw one of my understudies having some difficulty with one of the training colts. This horse was not at all mean-tempered and I did not have the proper equipment to do what I wanted to accomplish, but this was going to be quick and easy.

Fast forward to a shortcut, because after all I was confident in my knowledge and comfortable around any horse. One little shortcut wouldn’t hurt, right? (I use this experience now in my safety meetings!) What I needed was a lunge line (very long lead) and a lunge whip (about an 8-foot rod with a line on the end) to make the horse move forward, keep his head down and keep me at a safe distance. Since I didn’t have those things and the barn was all of 50 feet away, I took a shortcut. I ran alongside the horse at his back hip and used my baseball hat to tap him on the hindquarters and make him go from a walk to a trot. Horses have a blind spot along their side and when I made the move to take my hat off to tap him on the hindquarters, I spooked him. Most horses kick straight back — Magnum kicked to the side and hit me full force in the face! The next two weeks were spent in ICU and surgeries continue to this day.

The lesson I try to convey to my guys (too late for me) is to never get complacent! I was confident around horses, and so I became too comfortable, and what followed was complacency.

Judy Taranovich
Proctor Gas Inc.
Proctor, Vermont

One change in my life would be to have the discipline of being off my phone completely when I’m with my family and/or off work. It’s so easy to get drawn in on your phone, whether that be answering emails or social media. Getting stuck to your phone while with family just robs valuable time away from them.

Sam Fung
Emerson Fisher LP Gas
McKinney, Texas

I wish I spent more time with my guidance counselor in high school. I had no real idea what I wanted to major in at college. He told me I was a jock and being a physical education teacher was a good idea. He really didn’t know me, my interests or skill sets. I wasn’t in the top tier of the class and evidently did not warrant the attention or guidance. I became a teacher, coach and administrator. My career path would have been very different if I had gone to school for business.

Jerry Schimmel
P3 Propane Safety
Cumberland, Rhode Island

If I could make one change in my life, no matter how impossible, it would be to go back in time 20 years but keep the wisdom of someone my age now. I think I’d enjoy the little things in life that much more. It’s funny how life works that way for many of us — youth in exchange for wisdom.

Don Montroy
Bergquist Inc.
Rockford, Michigan

I’ve always joked that my next job won’t depend on the weather or the price of corn, but honestly, working in the energy and agricultural industries has been good for me. What I really wish I could go back and change is finishing my bachelor’s degree. It’s never too late and at some point, I’ll make that happen!

Tonya Crow
Growmark Inc.
Bloomington, Illinois

The one thing that I would change if I could is to not have the current ‘getting older’ aches and pains, as well as the potential ones that might happen in the future.

Richard Strycharz Jr.
Walter’s Propane
Sunderland, Massachusetts

I suppose the change I would make in my life would be to add more life! In the words of Bonnie Raitt, ‘Life gets mighty precious when there’s less of it to waste.’ I would like to live to be 101 like my granny did, but I’ll settle for 95 and die on the dance floor! I’ve got so many places I want to go and things I want to do!

Paula Moore
Blackburn Propane Service Inc.
Durant, Oklahoma

My first thought was that I would like to be perfect. [But] upon further consideration (because Nancy requires more than an answer), why do I want to be the only perfect person? I can just be me, with all my flaws and shortcomings. As artificial intelligence takes over, I’ll still be able to provide compassion, understanding and creativity. No change for me in 2024.

Julie Johnson
Ted Johnson Propane
Baldwin Park, California

My grandmother used to say, ‘You can’t put grown-up heads on kid shoulders.’ Meaning, we can’t expect young people to make decisions an older person with more life experience would. However, I wish as a young person I would’ve been more patient, more tolerant, more understanding. I wish I could have my current head as a young person — without the memory lapses!

Susan Peterson
Rural Computer Consultants
Bird Island, Minnesota

Nancy Coop is an industry advocate. She is director of marketing at the M&A advisory firm Cetane Associates. Contact her at Visit


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