Music City Center, Nashville, TN
April 24-26, 2022

Concurrent Educational Sessions

Sunday, April 24

 Group A - 9:00 am - 10:15 am

A1: Renewable Propane: Why is it Important and What are the Opportunities?
Bryan Cordill, Director of Residential and Commercial Business Development, PERC; Gokul Vishwanathan, Director of Research and Sustainability, PERC

Have you heard about renewable propane and wondered what it means for your company? Join us for an in-depth discussion about renewable propane - from the innovation to how it may fit into the future energy portfolio for you, the industry, and the country. PERC staff will be joined by industry leaders to talk about where renewable fuel technology stand now, where it could go in the future, and how that will impact our industry.

Co-sponsored by

A2: Autogas vs. the Electric Vehicle: Propane’s Role in the Energy Mix (certificate session)
David Kennedy, Director of Autogas Design, Alliance Autogas & Blossman Gas, Inc.; Mark Denton, VP of Business Development, Blossman Gas, Inc.; Steve McCoy, VP of Business Development, Alliance AutoGas/Blossman Gas, Inc.

Today’s transportation energy mix is crowded, but there is one fuel that doesn’t get much public recognition: autogas. In this session, we will compare propane autogas to other popular alternative fuel sources, as well as educate on how our industry’s fuel can work in conjunction with these energy sources to provide a cleaner, climate friendly solution.

A3: The Heat is On: Gas Heating Bans and Electrification - Lessons Learned from Governmental Action in Europe and Beyond
Alison Abbott, Communications Director, World LPG Association; Michael Kelly, Chief Advocacy Officer, World LPG Association; Allan Murphy, Interim President & CEO, Canadian Propane Association; Janet Carson, Chief Executive, LPG Association of New Zealand; Steve Kossuth, Vice President, Global LPG Supply, UGI Corporation; Leslie Anderson, President and CEO, Propane Gas Association of New England

As European member states, and other countries around the world, enforce bans on gas fired heating systems, as a step in the fight against climate change, how is the industry addressing this? With heating roadmaps being swiftly developed, what can the US industry expect as this potentially starts to impact the domestic market. This session will help give an understanding of governmental policies and how other markets handle an important challenge taking place now.

A4: Finance Capital, the Life Blood of a Growing Business
Steve Abbate, Managing Director, Cetane Associates; Frank D. Cory, Senior Vice President Commercial Lending, Peoples United Bank; Joshua Wolf, Managing Director, Cetane Associates and J Wolf & Company; Bill P. Summers, CEO, Vision Financial Group, Inc.; Dan Head, Senior Vice President, Brown Brothers Harriman

The propane industry is capital intensive. Companies invest in customer tanks, delivery vehicles, and infrastructure including bulk fueling facilities. In addition, when an opportunity to grow through an acquisition arises, many marketers find it hard to compete with well-funded buyers. This session will provide answers for how you can raise the cash needed to grow your business organically and through acquisition. This panel discussion brings experts from various funding segments to help owners raise capital.

A5: Minimize Price Risk Through Effective Supply Planning
Daniel Faries, Senior Account Manager, CHS; James Greer, Senior Vice President of Supply and Transportation, MFA Oil; Eric Brandt, Senior Account Manager, CHS; Mark Porth, Senior Account Manager, CHS; Tyler Kelly, Director of Supply, CHS

The last few years have brought significant changes to both domestic and global propane markets. United States production has been increasing at a record pace, but those additional gallons aren’t staying in the U.S. Discover which new pipelines and export facilities are impacting propane supply and price. Hear how the propane producers of today have options that are affecting your future gallons. Learn how one marketer is taking steps to mitigate their risk and how you can too.

A6: New Homeowner: Modern Marketing Techniques to Reach the Millennial Home Buyer
Ben Gutkin, VP of Marketing Services, Warm Thoughts Communications; Jeff Stein, Digital Marketing Consultant, ReachLocal

Urban flight is good news for propane companies in suburban and rural areas across the county. But with 40% of new home buyers being under the age of 40, there are new challenges and opportunities. In this session you will gain insights into millennial homeowners and their expectations from the companies with which they choose to do business.

 Group B - 10:30 am - 11:45 am

B1: NPGA’s ACE Services for Entry-Level Driver Training
Sarah Reboli, Vice President Regulatory & Industry Affairs, NPGA; Twana Aiken, Manager Industry Affairs, NPGA

See first-hand how NPGA’s ACE Services navigates Entry-Level Driver Training regulatory requirements for new CDL- and HME-applicants.  Get answers to your questions about the regulations, the training process, and how NPGA’s ACE Services gets your drivers on the road!

B2: Partner for Growth in Manufactured and Modular Housing
Bryan Cordill, Director of Residential and Commercial Business Development, PERC; Randy Doyle, Consultant, Holtzman Propane; Allison Scholl, General Manager, Pat's Manor Homes

Prefabricated, onsite, custom – no matter how you’re building, propane gives buyers what they’re looking for and can work with any buyer’s budget. Join PERC for an in-depth discussion on why propane is a crucial part of the conversation when it comes to manufactured and modular housing construction, and how marketers can grow productive partnerships with home builders in their own area. We’ll also hear from a manufactured housing retailer to learn how having propane-heated homes on display makes a difference.

B3: Owner’s Exit Toolbox to Protect Your Retirement and Legacy
Kevin Kennedy, CEO, Beacon Exit Planning; Joe Bazzano, COO, Beacon Exit Planning

Overpaying exit taxes, buy-sell agreement traps, tools to reduce litigation exposure, valuations strategies tools, and the three pillars of succession. Owners need a strategy for “exit taxes” that can exceed 60%. Join the Amazon #1 Best Selling Co-Authors to identify the five major landmines in an owner’s exit. These legal “lessons learned” could demonstrate millions in savings. This complicated information will be presented with understandable case studies.

B4: Using the Fuel You Know - Autogas Market Update
Stephen Whaley, Director of Autogas Business Development, PERC

What are the highest growth market segments for autogas? This session will help you focus your autogas sales efforts and build the case for autogas over other competing energy sources on both economics and emissions reduction benefits. We’ll show real world emission data comparisons of medium duty vehicles demonstrating that autogas has the lowest lifecycle emissions of any energy source. Learn about the latest engine technology that will provide autogas solutions now and 10 years from now. We’ll share how you can receive every propane autogas vehicle funding opportunity notice in each state you operate. Join us for the state of the union autogas update.

B5: The Fight For Our Future: Battling “Electrify Everything” (certificate session)
Richard Goldberg, President, Warm Thoughts Communications; Bill Overbaugh, Interim Executive Director, New York Propane Gas Association; Leslie Anderson, President and CEO, Propane Gas Association of New England; Joy Alafia, President & CEO, Western Propane Gas Association

The propane industry faces unprecedented challenges from government initiatives to “Electrify Everything.” This panel will share efforts underway to push back and carve out a future for propane in suddenly “hostile” territories. Panelists will share their perspectives on what they are up against and what they are doing about it; what seems to be working and what’s not; and, where we go from here.

B6: Updates on Workforce Outreach, Awareness, Training, and Resources
Bridget Kidd, Senior Vice President, Industry Relations, PERC; Eric Kuster, Vice President, Safety, Education, and Compliance, PERC

Join PERC staff to learn about ways to expand outreach initiatives to increase awareness of the propane industry and the career opportunities for prospective employees of all ages. Individuals in the job market today are interested in a career, and at this session we will discuss the resources available to market and attract them, and, more importantly, how to use available training to guide and develop employees on a solid career path.

 Group C - 12:45 pm - 1:45 pm

C1: Renewable Energy for Everyone! Your Role in an Eclectic Energy Future
Cinch Munson, VP, Commercial Development, Oberon Fuels

What does the changing energy landscape mean for your company and the propane industry? What could be the role of propane long-term? What can we do today to be successful in an uncertain future? Your company can be a key player in the energy mix of the future, and the opportunities may surprise you!

C2: Today’s Propane Customer: How Online Engagement Leads to Increased Gallons, Profits, and Customer Loyalty
Mark Stillman, Director of Business Development, Silverline Solutions; Trey Nichols, Co-Founder, Silverline Solutions

Your propane customers are always online using their phones, tablets, or computers. Servicing them, on their terms, with a convenient, quality experience is now essential for every propane marketer. Dealers must deliver the best digital experience or risk losing customers to more progressive competitors. Whether these customers choose a full-service program or opt for will-call, allowing them to do it all self-service is the key to your future. Portals and e-commerce go well beyond simply allowing customers to pay online or creating delivery orders. This session outlines the engagement and nurturing technology needed for successful customer conversions, loyalty, and that “wow factor”!

C3: Federal Infrastructure Deployment: 7 Billion Opportunities for Propane
Michael Baker, Senior Director, Legislative Affairs, NPGA; Sarah Reboli, Vice President, Regulatory and Industry Affairs, NPGA; Stephen Whaley, Director of Autogas Business Development, PERC

When President Joe Biden signed the $1.2 trillion federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act  (H.R. 3685) into law, it opened the door for nearly $7 billion in grant-funding opportunities to benefit the propane industry. Among other things, there’s new grant-funding programs for autogas refueling and vehicles, clean school buses and transit vehicles, and an expanded apprenticeship pilot program to address the nationwide driver shortage by permitting drivers ages 18-21 to participate in interstate commerce. Learn more about how the federal funds will be deployed to state and local agencies, find out how to get involved, and find out how you and your customers will benefit.

C4: Tomorrow Depends on Yesterday: Leveraging Data to Make Better Business Decisions (certificate session)
Esther Angell, Vice President, Cargas; Cooper Wilburn, Financial Consultant, Propane Resources

This session will discuss utilizing the information that is gathered on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis to increase sales, streamline operations and drive new customer growth. Attendees will learn how to leverage technology to take that data and turn it into real-world results. Included in the discussion will be top challenges facing propane marketers and how savvy businesses are leveraging technology to increase sales, add new customers, and keep the ones they have.

C5: Propane Value Chain Exposure: The Risk that is Spreading from the Wellhead to the Burner Tip
John Powell, Senior Vice President, Crestwood Equity Partners

Increased U.S. energy production makes it essential for propane professionals to understand the big picture, accept the changes and adapt our strategies to compete and thrive. Volume and price risks are being forced down the value chain toward propane distributors because of growth in domestic production, additional infrastructure in key basins and growing emergence of global demand for U.S. LPG exports. This “macro” view focuses on adjusting your business model to the new realities.

C6: Selling without Giving a Price and Overcoming Objections
David Lowe, Sales-Advisory, Pro Image Communications

Why do we only provide price? Why don’t we ask for the sale? Can you grow without giving a price? Recognition of sales opportunities during phone calls is critical. We don’t ask for the sale because we fear objections and rejection.

Spend a few minutes to learn how your staff can successfully address price calls that overcome objections and close sales. Utilize these examples and techniques in your business to make phone calls easier and result in more new propane accounts. Stand out from your competition! Learn how to: ask for the sale, use soft closes, overcome objections, and yes: acquire new customers without giving a price. Do all this while having some FUN!

Monday, April 25

 Group D - 9:00 am - 10:00 am

D1: Winning with Talent: How DEI Can Help your Competitive Advantage in the New Employee Marketplace
Kimberly Bankston, Vice President for Talent Management & DEI, UGI Corporation

This session will focus on ways to engage with talent across a variety of backgrounds to help you grow your business. Find out how companies that leverage inclusion see an increase in productivity and profits. We will also focus on some best practices that make it easy whether you have in-house support for these efforts or need to develop a new approach.

D2: Updates in Safety, Compliance, and Workforce Training
Eric Kuster, Vice President, Safety, Education, and Compliance, PERC; Lyndon Rickards, Director of Safety and Compliance, PERC; Chris 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, as well as the evolving regulations around entry-level driver training (ELTD) and what PERC is doing to help marketers make that transition. There will be a live demonstration of PERC’s Learning Center, showing why it is such a powerful tool in helping your company meet its sales, CSR, and safety training goals.

D3: Family-Owned Business Succession Forum
Steve Kaminski, President & CEO, NPGA; Brian Brooks, Vice President, Brooks Gas Company; Lauren Clark, President & CEO, Bergquist Inc.; Chad Kroening, Vice President of Safety and Commercial Operations, Boehlke Bottled Gas; Kara Tucker, President, Koppy’s Propane Inc.

Please join us for a roundtable discussion on the succession of small propane businesses. While everyone is invited to participate, this session is especially geared toward those aged approximately 35 to 50 who have recently, or will soon take over their family-owned propane company.

D4: Creating a Roadmap to Autogas Adoption
Derek Whaley, Regional Business Development Manager, ROUSH CleanTech; Monte McLeod, Director of Autogas, ThompsonGas

ROUSH CleanTech and ThompsonGas will address the largely untapped opportunity for long-term propane gallon growth through the on-road vehicle market. Propane autogas is a lucrative market that continues to expand. Worldwide, there are nearly 27 million propane vehicles on the roads, including commercial fleet vehicles and school buses. Annually, fueling just one school bus with propane autogas equates to an average propane load of five residential homes. We’ll discuss topics like tapping into your existing client base; the green benefits of operating propane autogas vehicles; putting more resources behind autogas sales; and switching your own fleet to run on the same fuel you sell.

D5: Maximizing Efficiencies with Mobile Safety Documentation
Jerry Schimmel, Vice President, P3 Propane Safety

New digital platforms are making managing safety documentation and compliance data simpler and more efficient for propane marketers. Implementing mobile technology into the safety documentation processes is critical to reduce liability, save time, and save money. This session will discuss how mobile application services improve efficiencies for techs in the field, office personnel, and management teams. Topics will include:
- Mobile safety inspections and other critical forms
- Error reduction technology for accurate documentation
- Real-time feedback features to enhance technician performance
- Photo documentation and digital customer files
- Mobile Professor resource in the field
- Compliance reporting made easy for management

D6: Myth vs Reality for the Propane Industry (certificate session)
Marty Kirshner, CPA, MSA, Partner, Gray, Gray & Gray, LLP; Philip Baratz, CEO & Co-Founder, Angus Energy

The retail propane distribution industry is undergoing significant changes, from ongoing consolidation, to product diversification, to shifting demographics, to mounting environmental pressures. The perception is of an industry whose leadership is grappling with these changes while also managing day-to-day business issues and the residual effects of a global pandemic. Our annual propane survey paints a different picture, one of companies successfully dealing with the ever-shifting marketplace. What is the reality for propane?