Concurrent Educational Sessions

Monday, April 6

 Group A - 9:00 am - 10:15 am

Taking it to the Next Level: Changes in Safety, Training, and Compliance (Certificate Session)
Eric Kuster, Vice President, Safety, Education, and Compliance, Propane Education & Research Council; Lyndon Rickards, Director of Safety and Compliance, Propane Education & Research Council

Safety, training, and compliance programs for the propane industry are being updated at PERC to meet ever changing regulatory and employee needs. This session will review improvements to the CETP training program, the CETP certification program and other PERC safety, training and compliance programs like CSR training. There will be live demonstrations of PERC’s on-line learning management system and how this powerful tool can help you meet all your training and compliance needs.

Will Call Elevated
Mark Stillman, Senior Vice President & Co-Founder, Energy Engine LLC; Ted Jeffcoat, President, TLJ3 Consulting; Julia Miller, Vice President of Business Growth and Development, Blueox Energy; Larry Young, VP of Operational Support, Thompson Gas

Will-call customer ranks are growing. That's reality. However, they are seeking a different relationship with you, one that allows them to connect with you entirely online for a true e-commerce experience. The propane industry is not inoculated from these consumer forces. To not meet these consumer demands risks losing these customers to competitors or electricity.

Factors Driving Value & Exit Multiples
Tamera Kovacs, Financial Consultant, Propane Resources; Cooper Wilburn, Financial Consultant, Propane Resources

In this session we will discuss the different factors driving exit multiples in the retail propane industry. We will discuss the dos and don'ts when it comes to preparing your business for sale and what to look for when acquiring a business. We will also discuss items that may appear post-closing and how to avoid these surprises.

Avoiding the Most Common - And Costly - Marketing Mistakes
Ed Cardell, Senior Marketing Consultant, Warm Thoughts Communications

Selecting the correct market, developing the right offer, eye-catching design, reliable tracking mechanism – these are just some of the many attributes that define a successful marketing campaign. But the reality is that mistakes are inevitable – and when it comes to marketing your business, there are lots of places you can go wrong and many traps that you could fall into. With even the smallest of missteps resulting in thousands of dollars of wasted money and lost potential revenue, it’s never been more important to get your marketing right. In his experience working with hundreds of fuel companies, Ed Cardell has seen virtually every mistake that can be made – and now, he’s prepared to share it all to help you avoid the costly pitfalls and pave a path to future marketing success.

Improve Delivery Driver Quality with Fewer Drivers
David Lowe, Sales Consultant, Pro Image Communications

Secure quality delivery drivers with changes in philosophy on recruiting and training. Share strategies through delivery metrices to increase driver retention and company gross profits.

Using Your Own Fuel: What is Available to You as a Propane Industry Fleet
Stuart Weidie, President and CEO, Blossman Gas, Inc. and Alliance AutoGas; Mark Denton, VP of Business Development, Blossman Gas, Inc.; Ed Hoffman, President, Blossman Services

Interested in dramatically reducing your fleet’s expenses? Learn from industry experts about simple ways to cut costs and improve your propane fleet’s image through using your own fuel.  

The session purpose is to educate propane marketers on the benefits of using their own fuel, propane autogas, in their company’s fleets. The session will go over the general benefits of autogas, the specific benefits of being a propane company using autogas, and the technology available today to those companies interested in converting their vehicles. In addition, we will cover the steps needed to ensure a successful, long-term autogas operation.

Regulatory Update
Wesley Russell, Hazardous Materials Specialist, USDOT/FMCSA

Information will be presented on proposed rulemakings including drug and alcohol clearing hours and hours of service.

 Group B - 10:30 am - 11:45 am

Propane Autogas Can Do That: The Inroads to On Road (Certificate Session)
Cinch Munson, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Propane Education & Research Council; Steve Whaley, Director of Autogas Business Development, Propane Education & Research Council

Are you looking for profitable gallons year-round? Are you interested in lowering your operational costs to grow revenues? Come learn from a panel of experts, including PERC staff and plenty of end-users, about the benefits the latest solutions provide for you and your customers.

Benchmarking Panel Discussion
Lesley Garland, Vice President, State Affairs, National Propane Gas Association

Propane marketers participating in NPGA's Benchmarking Council share the most valuable lessons learned to help improve business.

David and Goliath, Competing for Acquisitions
Steven Abbate, Managing Director and Principal, Cetane Associates

Competing for acquisitions when you are up against large multi-state marketers can be challenging, however, many smaller family owned businesses have been successful in growing through acquisition. Learn what sellers are looking for and how to give it to them. Cash at closing, maintaining the family legacy, keeping employees engaged and customers happy are just some of the keys to a successful transaction. This is a must attend for companies looking to grow through acquisition.

How to Use Risk Management & Increase Burner Tips
Jeff Thompson, Business Management Consultant, Propane Resources

How proper and strategic use of risk management tools can increase your volume and grow your gross margin dollars. Proper supply risk management will lock in and increase your gross margin across your business. This opens up creative ways to manage your risk and grow your customer base. Risk management examples will be mapped out showing how risk management always has to support a retailer’s marketing plan.

The Successful Marketing Budget: Propane Industry Leaders Review Their Best Strategies
Tom Jaenicke, Vice President, Propane Services & Warm Thoughts Communications; Darren Engle, Director of Marketing, Blue Star Gas; David O’Connell, President, Wilson Oil & Propane; Scott Prewitt, Regional Vice President, Blossman Gas & Appliance; Greg Wasson, Director of Marketing, Irish Propane Corporation

Knowing how much to spend – and what to spend it on – can be a challenge in today’s complex marketing mix. From digital, to social, to direct mail, radio and TV ads – there are a lot of marketing channels out there. This panel discussion will focus on reviewing the marketing strategies and budgets from successful marketers across the country. Participants will be able to benchmark their own strategies and answer challenging questions like, do you have spending gaps in categories that are important to pursue? Do you waste money in categories that are bringing no measurable results? Are you following your competitor’s lead or are you spending your advertising money on what really works for you company? Do you invest enough in categories that are trackable and bring real results? In this panel discussion, we’ll cover strategies for maximizing your marketing dollars and where to begin when creating a multi-channel marketing budget.

Propane as an Alternative Fuel
Curtis Donaldson, Propane Business Manager, Powertrain Systems, Agility Fuel Solutions

Propane is increasingly gaining a foothold as an alternative fuel source. Small to large fleets nationwide are converting from gasoline/diesel to propane because of lower costs and environmental benefits. This panel covers a range of existing opportunities and benefits for medium-duty trucks across all industry sectors.

Tank Monitoring at Scale for Greater Profitability and More Efficient Operations
Amos Epstein, Founding Owner, Tank Utility; Donny Galt, Co-Owner, Inter Island Propane LLC; Mike Green
, Chief Executive Officer, Green's Propane; Sandy Barber, Propane Operations Administrator, Northdale Oil

If you knew exactly what the tank level was for all your customers tanks, what would that mean for your business? Could you serve more customers? Would you be more profitable? Would your life be easier? Join Tank Utility’s Amos Epstein and a panel of propane marketers who are running a large percentage of their business of tank monitoring data. They will discuss the transformative impact that has had not only on their delivery savings but on multiple levels of their business from team morale, hiring, asset efficiency, customer acquisition, and retention and overall profitability.

 Group C - 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm

Combating the Competition
Cinch Munson, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Propane Education & Research Council; Bryan Cordill, Director of Residential and Commercial Business Development, Propane Education & Research Council; Michael Newland, Director of Agriculture Business Development, Propane Education & Research Council; Joseph Calhoun, Associate Director, Business Development, Propane Education & Research Council

When it comes to competing with other energy sources, propane is going on the offensive. Whether it is the threat of electrification or the status quo of diesel and gasoline, it is important to have the data, talking points, and case studies to sell propane against the competition. Come hear the latest that you can use as you sell PROPANE Clean American Energy®. Expect a panel of PERC’s very own subject matter experts with plenty of Q&A.

Unholy Trinity: The 3 Deadly D's that Destroy a Family Business
Anthony Johnson, Owner, Global Propane Inc.

You've worked hard to build a quality business with well-trained employees, well-paying customers and up-to-date equipment. Decades of hard work can be wiped out in an instant by the 3 Deadly D's, at least one of which you will face. Find out how to identify the 3 Deadly D's, take steps to mitigate their impact and how to survive - and thrive - in the aftermath.

Preparing for the Future: The Propane Industry's Next Generation of Leaders
Brian Richesson, Editor in Chief, LP Gas Magazine; Amanda Bacon, Division Director, Lamprey Energy; Raleigh Garrett, Vice President, G&S Gas Service; Kara Tucker, Vice President, Koppy’s Propane; John Barnett, Propane Program Manager, U-Haul International

How do young retail propane company leaders view business success and the industry’s future? Hear a panel discussion featuring young leaders who hold top positions in their respective propane companies. Gain perspectives on how the younger generations view technology, workforce recruitment and development, and propane industry opportunities and challenges. This interactive session for propane professionals of all ages will reveal the qualities that make a strong leader, as well as present ideas for hiring – and working alongside – the next generation of employees.

Sponsored by:

Are You Using Customer Relationship Management Tools Effectively with Your Potential and Current Customers Today?
Freddie Ridler, Sales, Rural Computer Consultants, Inc.; Justin Braegelman, Information Technology, Rural Computer Consultants, Inc. Tom Neubauer, Sales, Rural Computer Consultants, Inc.

With the evolution of the internet and smartphone technology, the tech sector is constantly changing environment. Does your company’s technology provide all the necessary informative tools needed for your potential and current customers? Understand how technology and current tools available can boost your customer base, keep current customers happy, and allow your office staff to stay informed. Are you being left behind and are you customers in the dark?

Sponsored by:

2020 to 2030: The Next Decade in Propane Markets (Certificate Session)
Mike Sloan, Managing Director, ICF International

This review of major industry trends affecting propane markets includes emerging environmental and regulatory risk factors, growth in propane supply and exports, propane inventory outlook, and expected changes in the retail propane market over the next five to ten years. The market outlook will include ICF’s review of broader energy markets and how macro trends in new household construction, home energy efficiency measures, and fuel on fuel competition are expected to shape retail propane markets.

Sponsored by: 

Maximizing Your Customer Growth Potential
Kirk Wright, Owner, Pro Image Communications

Discover ways that you are missing opportunities to make sales. You pay for marketing to grow your business. But, you pass over sales opportunities that you get on a daily basis. Let us show you ways to increase your customer base and maximize your selling opportunities. At the same time reducing your marketing expenses, it’s easy and it’s fun!

Unique Selling Propositions of Retail Propane Marketers
Pat Thornton, Editor/Special Projects, Butane-Propane News; Andrea Young, Marketing Director, Butane-Propane News; Dan Richardson, President and CEO, Conger LP Gas; Julie Johnson, President, Ted Johnson Propane; Chris Caywood, President, Caywood Propane Gas, Inc.; Jennifer Goldbach, Vice President, Business Development, Rhoads Energy

Successful retail propane companies must stand out with a unique selling proposition in order to attract new customers. In a world of companies offering “Great Service” and “low prices,” retailers with a more unique selling proposition will often win the new customer. BPN will introduce retail propane marketers that win and keep new customers with a unique selling proposition that others are not offering.

Tuesday, April 7

 Group D - 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Workforce Outreach: Programs and Tools for Attracting New Employees
Bridget Kidd, Senior Vice President, Industry Relations, Propane Education & Research Council; Eric Kuster, Vice President, Safety, Education, and Compliance, Propane Education & Research Council

An increasing shortage of workers is not unique to the propane industry. Learn about the tools, resources, and best practices PERC has complied for promoting employment in the propane industry as a great career for all types of job seekers. Come to this session to learn how to implement some of these programs and about the many tools your company can leverage in partnership with local schools, veterans’ organizations, job fairs, and online resources to give your company and edge when attracting future propane employees.

Renewable Propane for a Sustainable Future
Henry Cubbon, Managing Director, DCC LPG and President, World LPG Association; Tucker Perkins, President & CEO, Propane Education & Research Council; Nikos Xydas, Technical Director, World LPG Association; Gino Vansteenhuyse, CEO, Pinnacle Propane

For the propane industry to grow in an environment characterised by aggressive decarbonisation targets and policy aspirations, strong and coherent industry responses are needed. The propane industry must be able to demonstrate the viability of renewable propane as a long-term energy alternative and this must be a first priority and strong focus for the years to come. This session will focus on the latest updates on the subject and future plans.

Engage Now! The Environmental Conversation (Certificate Session)
Tina Wilson, Senior Vice President, Communications, Propane Education & Research Council; Leslie Anderson, President & CEO, Propane Gas Association of New England; Joy Alafia, President & CEO, Western Propane Gas Association; Sarah McLallen, Vice President of Communications, National Propane Gas Association

Looking for a way to grow your business with steady demand 12 months a year, and not just cold winters? Join us at our “Grow Your Gallons” session to learn how to approach public and private fleets to convert their vehicles to propane autogas. You'll be able to dentify and eliminate obstacles that are restraining wider adoption of autogas. Whether it be “Go Green” initiatives to improve air quality and reduce global warning, or reduce fuel and maintenance costs, propane is often the best choice as an alternative fuel compared to unleaded gasoline or diesel. As so many fleets are finding out, electric vehicles are not the only answer.

What You Need to Know About the Selection, Use, Care, and Maintenance of FR/AR Clothing
Derek Sang, Technical Training Manager, Bulwark Protective Apparel

There is still a lot of misleading, inaccurate and incorrect information regarding selecting the proper FR clothing - OSHA 1910.132 makes it clear that training on PPE is required. How do you train on FR clothing? What is your responsibility for care and maintenance of your FR clothing? We will cover what guidance is provided by the standards and review best practices in selecting, using and caring for your FR clothing to assist in your organization being compliant.

Improving Vehicle Safety with new Technologies
Jason Soulon, Regional Sales Manager, Westmor Industries

New requirements for rear visibility systems went into effect May 1, 2018 in the United States and May 1, 2019 in Canada. This session will discuss how rear visibility systems and other technologies can improve vehicle safety, reduce liability and improve driver retention. Some of the technologies to be discussed include rear obstacle detection systems, 360 degree camera systems and collision mitigation systems.

Growing Your Gallons with Propane Autogas
Dudley Westlake, Executive Director, United Propane Autogas Group; David Griffin, S.E. Autogas Fleet Development Specialist, ICOM North America LLC

Looking for a way to grow your business with steady demand 12 months a year, and not just cold winters? Join us at our “Grow Your Gallons” session to learn how to approach public and private fleets to convert their vehicles to propane autogas. You'll be able to dentify and eliminate obstacles that are restraining wider adoption of autogas. Whether it be “Go Green” initiatives to improve air quality and reduce global warning, or reduce fuel and maintenance costs, propane is often the best choice as an alternative fuel compared to unleaded gasoline or diesel. As so many fleets are finding out, electric vehicles are not the only answer.

Financing Alternatives: Using Debt Capital in Your Propane Business
Joshua Wolf, Managing Director, Cetane Associates

Using a prudent level of debt to fund your propane business can be advantageous due to the effect of financial leverage. This session will explore situations when debt capital might be appropriate, the different types of debt capital available to propane business owners, common reasons that requests to debt capital providers often get declined, and how best to articulate your request to a potential debt provider.