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Propane peers describe where they find their biggest motivations

Have you heard quotes related to motivation such as “If you can dream it, you can do it” or “Do the best you can” or “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”? Without context, these don’t exactly feel motivational to me. Enjoy the responses to the title question where our industry colleagues provide context to their true-life conditions. 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.

Drivers of Achievement

The motivation that drives me when I’m most productive is normally a list. I am a list maker. For as long as I can remember, my productivity is centered around what is on my list to accomplish that day. That list could be in my head, on paper or on my phone. I am so much more productive when I have my task list for the day, and I truly love getting to the end of the day and realizing I accomplished what was on my list and more for the day! As we were growing our business, I did come to a point in my life that I felt like I wasn’t able to get everything done in the day, and then realized the day really ends at midnight! Hence, I ended up with a longer workday. Happy to say those days are behind me!

Susan Peterson
Rural Computer Consultants
Bird Island, Minnesota


Usually, it’s fear that motivates me to be most productive — fear of an impending deadline, fear of letting someone or a group down or fear of failing. But there are times when I’ve hit on a creative solution that energizes me in the moment and allows a free flow of thoughts and ideas that seems almost effortless. Those events may be rarer than inspiration by fear, but they are certainly more satisfying.

Bruce Swiecicki
National Propane Gas Association
Tinley Park, Illinois

I would say being a truth advocate drives me these days — pretty much every day, actually! Truth and honesty drive me. In a state where deception and big money seem to reign supreme, I enjoy being the thorn in their side! I am a firm believer that every Vermonter has a right to choose their energy. They not only shouldn’t be forced into one energy, but they certainly should not be forced into it through lies and bans. I will always be the kid in the crowd shouting, ‘The emperor has no clothes’ and proud of it!

Judy Taranovich
Proctor Gas Inc.
Proctor, Vermont

I am most productive when I know exactly what I need to do and am able to complete the task without interruption. Nothing is worse than having my flow interrupted. I am motivated when I can work on something that I am good at — but more than good, that I have mastered. I love the feeling of confidence.

Julie Johnson
Ted Johnson Propane
Baldwin Park, California

I find that when I have a specific deadline to meet, I am most productive. My life seems to always be busy, so it is easy to push things off that do not need to be done immediately. When I am coming up on a deadline, I am more motivated to make a list of priorities because I don’t want to miss something important!

Rosie Buschur
McMahan’s Bottle Gas
Dayton, Ohio

I get extra motivation when we’re designing a new truck or making improvements to an existing design. I love thinking about ways to make the driver’s job easier and how to make a better truck for the long term.

Jason Soulon
Westmor Industries
Shawnee, Kansas

Whatever it is that I may be doing, it is the feeling of accomplishment that motivates me. Also, the fact that it may take an extra five minutes to finish something better rather than not taking that extra five minutes to do so. Knowing that fact motivates me to always do the best I can.

Richard Strycharz Jr.
Walter’s Propane
Sunderland, Massachusetts

My most productive time typically requires me to block off time free from distractions to focus on a variety of different projects where I can identify more effective ways to accomplish certain tasks or problems that require resolution. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can analyze and create more efficient ways to do some of those mundane, tedious, administrative tasks. Having these types of little successes motivates me to continue to search for other areas that require improvement or develop new methods to get things done in a shorter time frame. I used to think I was relatively tech savvy, but when I see what some of my younger coworkers can do with just Microsoft Office products, I am amazed. I think some people refer to this as ‘working smarter, not harder.’ It’s almost 2024, and I am a firm believer that utilizing technology in your day-to-day, work-related activities and personal life will result in a more productive employee.

Jerry Schimmel
P3 Propane Safety
Cumberland, Rhode Island

I am task oriented. I wish I could say I have amazing visions of what I want to accomplish and that I thrive by transforming them into reality, but that would be untrue. I see where I want to end up and then I move step by step toward my destination. If my journey is going well — i.e., I am being productive — my pacing accelerates and the end moves quickly into sight. On the other hand, if I get bogged down and can’t move to my next task, I can lose some momentum, which invariably annoys me to no end. LOL.

Leslie Woodward
Fairview Fittings
Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Day to day: Strong coffee, good music and a challenging project! Big picture: A strong team that communicates well and a drive to meet new opportunities.

Jessica Johnson
Asheville, North Carolina

What Induces You to Accomplish Things Well?

Right now, I just want to turn in this column and take a nap. It’s the nap that induces me to apply myself, even while tired, and finish my task speedily. However, it’s the lifelong sense of responsibility that truly motivates me to ensure this piece is reader-friendly and up to the expected standards of this publication. Two-fold inducements may complement one another unless one (i.e., the promise of rest) overtakes the other (i.e., the promise of quality). Not on my watch!

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


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