Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA
October 18-20, 2021

Concurrent Education Sessions

Monday, October 18

 Group A - 9:00 am - 10:15 am

A1: Delivery Optimization for our New Reality (certificate session)
Phil Baratz, CEO & Co-founder, Angus Energy

After completing one of the industry’s largest delivery and dispatch studies over two heating seasons, we believe the results will change your entire thought process of what it means to deliver efficiently. This presentation will show strategies that every fuel marketer should know if they are interested in delivering all of their gallons per day with fewer trucks and drivers.

A2: The Industry’s Future with Renewable Propane
Stephen Kossuth, Vice President, Global LPG Supply, UGI Corporation; Dr. Walt Hart, Vice President and Chief Strategist, Natural Gas Liquids, IHS Markit; Darren Engle, Director of Marketing and Government Relations, Blue Star Gas

Renewable energy is now, and the propane industry is working to build a renewable propane market. In this session, you’ll hear from renewable fuel experts who will answer the question, “What is renewable propane and what does it mean to our industry?” You’ll also hear first-hand from propane industry members who are currently marketing renewable propane to consumers.

A3: Taking it to the Next Level: Updates in Safety, Compliance and Workforce Training
Eric Kuster, Vice President, Safety, Education, and Compliance, PERC; Christopher Hanson, Learning Management System Administrator, PERC

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 a live demonstration of PERC’s Learning Center, showing why it is such a powerful tool in your company’s arsenal and can help you meet all of your training and compliance needs.

A4: The Art of Acquisition and Transition in the Propane Industry
Steve Abbate, Managing Director, Cetane Associates; Tamera Kovacs, Financial Consultant, Propane Resources; Vance Saunders, Managing Director, Matrix Capital Markets Group; Tom Manson, CEO, Eastern Propane

Hear from three of the top M&A advisory firms in the propane industry on the current acquisition market and what it means for both buyers and sellers. Learn creative ways for families to transition their business to the next generation or find a buyer who will honor their family legacy. This panel discussion will take a deep dive into what buyers are looking for including value drivers, deal structure, financing options, confidentiality, and employee transition. This is a must attend presentation for companies interested in growth through acquisition, as well as companies planning a transition or exit strategy. Bring your questions and get your answers.

A5: New NPGA Programs
Sarah Reboli, Senior Director, Regulatory Affairs, NPGA; Twana Aiken, Manager, Regulatory Affairs, NPGA; Eric Sears, Manager of State Association Relations, NPGA

Entry-Level Driver Training Administrative Services: In February 2022, new CDL- and HME-applicants must receive classroom and over-the-road training specified in federal regulations. These new requirements must be met before CDL- or HME-applicants can apply for CDLs or HMEs with the State Driver License Agency. Join NPGA staff for an overview of these new requirements as well as a new NPGA Administrative Service to assist you with compliance and audits.
Apprenticeship Program: To address the propane industry’s workforce development needs, NPGA has launched a brand new Registered Apprenticeship Program. The program, which is approved by the U.S. Department of Labor, covers the job classifications of propane service technician and commercial motor vehicle driver. NPGA staff will describe the broader value of apprenticeship, the specific details of each program and how interested companies can participate.

 Group B - 10:30 am - 11:45 am

B1: Adapting to Change: Propane Industry Leaders Review How Their Business Changed Over the Past Year, and What Comes Next
Richard Goldberg, President, Warm Thoughts Communications; Trent Hampton, CEO, Lakes Gas; Rob Chalmers, EVP & CFO, Meritum Energy Holdings; David O'Connell, President, Wilson Oil and Propane; Christina Armentano, Executive Vice President, Paraco Gas

This past year, propane marketers were confronted with challenges that impacted operations, staffing, supply, sales, and marketing. They needed to make decisions without clarity, and adjust to a steady stream of new variables, many of which will continue to influence their operations.  In this panel discussion, we’ll hear from industry leaders about how they adapted; what worked and what fell short; and what they learned that can benefit you going forward.

B2: Customer Facing and Customer Growth in the New Digital World
Robert Kulawiec, Chief Operating Officer, Destwin Energy Systems, LLC; Dan Heskett, Senior Product Manager, Gravity Payments; Mark Stillman, Senior Vice President & Co-Founder, Energy Engine LLC; Barry Harris, Vice President, Pro Image Communications; Michelle Wilson, Vice President, Consumer Focus Marketing

Join us to learn about digital technology that meets customer expectations. Today’s customers expect an easy, seamless process when dealing with their energy & service company. At times they want to be invisible, and at times they want bedside manner. In all instances they want simplicity in a timely fashion. This session will look at technology in our industry from the customer point of view and show you what you need to do to both retain and grow your customer base in the digital world.

Topics will include:
• Internal vs. Customer Facing Technology
• Onboarding Customers – From Manual to Automated
• Portal Integration with your Back-office System
• Company Website – Is it setup for the Digital Customer Experience?
• Personal vs. Digital Customer Facing - When are They Appropriate?
• Alternative Payment Technology – Make it Simple

B3: Capturing Commercial Tankless Opportunities
Corey Nattinger, District Sales Manager, Rinnai America Corporation

This course has been developed to provide insights around commercial hot water applications and design guidelines. It will explain the history of tankless products, key product improvements, key features and market adoption of tankless systems in commercial applications to support growing your LP business. With this knowledge, you will also gain a clear understanding of the potential that tankless and hybrid tankless technology provides in the commercial segment.

B4: Using Your Own Fuel: What is Available to You as a Propane Industry Fleet
Stuart Weidie, President, Alliance AutoGas; Stephen Whaley, Director of Autogas Business Development, PERC

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.

B5: The New Look of Propane: Energy for Everyone (certificate session)
Bridget Kidd, Senior VP, Industry Relations, PERC; Erin Hatcher, Senior VP, Communications and Marketing, PERC

The environmental landscape and national energy conversation have changed dramatically in the 7 years since PERC developed the “Clean American Energy” tagline and eagle logo. And today our industry is facing an existential threat by the movement to electrify everything. Join us in conversation to better understand how adopting a new brand and focusing on two key messages will allow the propane industry to speak in a unified voice.

B6: Combat the Competition and Power Your Own Growth in Residential and Commercial Markets
Bryan Cordill, Director of Residential and Commercial Business Development, PERC; Joseph Calhoun, Associate Director, Business Development, PERC

The propane industry is abounding with exciting sales opportunities in the commercial power generation market and resilient power solutions with CHP. Join us to learn about new technologies and sales tactics, growth strategies, and where to look for new opportunities with propane. You’ll be shocked at the growth opportunities in the power generation market!

 Group C - 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm

C1: Propane Legislative Policy Boot Camp
Michael Baker, Senior Director, Legislative Affairs, NPGA; Lesley Garland, Vice President, State Affairs, NPGA

This educational session will not only provide an update on NPGA’s federal and state policy priorities but also help you learn more how a few simple conversations with federal, state, and local policy makers can make a huge difference to your business and protecting propane as a consumer energy choice for years to come.

C2: Positioning Propane in the Renewable Energy Revolution
Leslie Anderson, President & CEO, Propane Gas Association of New England

Propane must be part of the solution for climate change, the green new deal, and our renewable future. Learn what resonates with state legislators and policy makers in our most progressive states, where propane is battling for its life. Discover the path to commercialization of renewable propane and how propane may be incentivized by policy makers. Increase your customer base by marketing the propane you sell as a green environmentally friendly fuel.

C3: Preparing for the Future: The Propane Industry's Next Generation of Leaders
Brian Richesson, Editor in Chief, LP Gas Magazine; Raleigh Garrett, Vice President, G&S Gas Service; Kara Tucker, President, Koppy’s Propane; John Barnett, Autogas Sales Representative, Suburban Propane; Frank Edwards, President, Coles Energy

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 panel discussion will reveal the qualities that make a strong leader, as well as present ideas for hiring – and working alongside – the next generation of employees.

C4: Technology for the Future of our Industry
Aaron Cargas, Vice President, Cargas; Amos Epstein, CEO & Co-Founder, Tank Utility; Chet Reshamwala, Chief Executive Officer, Anova; Todd Kipperman, Director of Sales, Blue Cow Software; Robert Levins, Managing Member, Angus Energy

Join us to learn about what we learned from 2020, what challenges we face and what we need to know in 2022 and beyond. The four panelists for this session have surveyed their client base and asked them what “technologies” challenges they are facing and need help with, that are most important to the future of their business. This session will address these challenges as well the following topics:

• Internal Technology and Processing Roadmap
• Securing Your Systems
• Integration of Technologies
• The Future of Delivery Forecasting - K-factors & Tank Monitors in 2022 and Beyond
• Using technology to improve customer experience
• How modern technology benefits your employees: drivers, techs, back office staff

C5: Electrification & Decarbonization (certificate session)
Mike Sloan, Managing Director, ICF International

Mr. Sloan has been looking at the propane industry through an economics and market-based lens for many years. His thoughts on the propane market outlook have become a highly anticipated feature of the NPGA Southeastern Expo. As markets change and evolve, and as the focus of energy policy makers shift to address new issues, the drivers that determine what the propane markets will look like in the future also change. In this presentation, Mr. Sloan will address the major trends driving the future of the propane industry. These include supply, pricing, and technology, but also the implications and challenges of climate change mitigation policy in different parts of the country.

Co-sponsored by:

Tuesday, October 19

 Group D - 9:00 am - 10:00 am

D1: Between the Bobtails: Tomorrow’s Propane Leaders
Jake Peterson, Senior Manager, State Engagement, NPGA; Stephanie Hennen, Marketing & Customer Service Manager, Lakes Gas; Brian Sora, Director of Operations, DiLeo Gas Inc.; Nick Virchow, Regional Sales Director, ANOVA

Join us for a panel discussion with three industry professionals who are helping reshape the future of the propane industry today. Learn more about how the next generation of industry leaders view the opportunities and challenges facing propane in the decades ahead.

D2: Designing Gas Piping Systems to Capture and Grow Gas Load
Bob Torbin, Director of Codes and Standards, OmegaFlex Inc.

LP dealers are constantly looking for technologies that attract new customers, encourage them to install extra appliances when building, and permit them to add more appliances after they move in. CSST is designed to meet all three needs with minimum costs and maximum flexibility to the installer, builder and home owner. Learn how to grow your load and keep your customers happy by providing them with a resilient and adaptable gas distribution system.

D3: Messaging Propane in Today’s Environmentally Driven Climate (certificate session)
Erin Hatcher, Senior VP, Communications and Marketing, PERC; Paula Wilson, Director of Industry Communications, PERC

Our industry is constantly attacked as just another fossil fuel that needs to be left behind in favor of clean fuels like renewable electricity and hydrogen. Yet around the world - and right in your community - propane is providing the energy that benefits users and environment for a fraction of the investment of the alternatives. It's time to rally together to tell the story that needs to be told: we are part of the solution. Come learn how you can spread this vital message at your local coffee shop, civic club, and to the local and national media.

D4: Benefits of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in 2022
Nancy Coop, Director of Marketing, Cetane Associates; Michelle Bimson Maggi, Vice President – Law, AmeriGas Propane; Steve Kaminski, President & CEO, NPGA; Jennifer Jackson, Region Director, AmeriGas Propane; Joy Alafia, President & CEO, Western Propane Gas Association

Every new generation in the propane industry’s history has created positive shifts for the benefit of the industry’s future. Over the last several years, you’ve probably heard the term 'diversity, equity and inclusion' in the workplace (DEI) multiple times. As the benefits become increasingly clear, businesses are recognizing the importance of embracing this concept. DEI is not a politically correct box to check or an HR program, but a necessary business strategy for success. Your company stands to outperform others through adopting DEI practices and gaining a competitive advantage.

D5: The Power of Data – If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It
Marty Kirshner, Partner & Chair of Energy Practice, Gray, Gray & Gray, LLP; Ron Jessen, Director, Sales Enablement & Energy Distribution Solutions; Danny Silverman, Vice President, Angus Energy

Join us to understand key metrics to better run your propane business. Your company’s bottom line is totally dependent on the numbers above it. Using operational and financial metrics to track, measure and evaluate what is going in inside your business is the only way to identify present problems, realize opportunities, predict future results, and make positive changes that can contribute to operational and financial stability and sustainable profitability. During this session, Marty Kirshner of Gray, Gray & Gray and Ron Jessen of CHS, Inc. will go over key performance indicators, and their importance to the overall operation in order to run a more valuable and profitable business.
Topics will include:
• How & What Do We Manage and Measure in the Present:
o Setting a Budget
o Break Even Analysis
o KPI’s
o Cost Per Delivery vs Cost per Gallon Delivered
o Owner Compensation
• How & What to Manage and Measure in the Future:
o Controlling Expenses
o Delivery Efficiency vs Delivery Optimization
o Routing Systems
o Acquisitions