This spring, two “Become a Propane Champion” seminars, coordinated by CHS propane, brought energy leaders from across the CHS footprint together for a customized day of industry learning. But attendees weren’t just there to learn about the latest market trends.
“There are so many new opportunities and growth areas coming up, especially in the autogas space, but it can be a maze to navigate. It’s overwhelming just finding where to start,” says Kenton Sonnenburg, CHS Propane energy equipment manager. “This event is all about explaining what’s out there, how to go after it, and how we can help.”
Experts from industry leaders like ROUSH Performance, ICOM North America, and Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) were on-site to break down the process of converting vehicles to autogas, how to design the right dispenser, emerging opportunities to grow gallons in the combined heat and power market space and how to tap into local paratransit fleets (with dedicated city and state funding and a crop of vehicles that are typically easily converted to autogas technology, the niche makes for a promising up-and-coming market).
And to help put those potential leads into action, attendees also learned the building blocks for creating an individualized propane-powered marketing plan and how to make the most of budgeting propane dollars.
“The goal is to provide the intel and training these attendees need to go back to their business or co-op and serve as their team’s resident propane-powered specialist,” says Sonnenburg. “Whether you work in a cooperative or you’re a propane marketer, you need that go-to point person on the team who can answer questions like “I’d like to convert my fleet, where do I start” or “As I invest in infrastructure, can I put a dispenser in my yard? Is it safe?” and understand how to at least take the first step with those opportunities.”
The seminar also highlighted how CHS can be a consultative partner for these new propane champions, providing additional support and expertise wherever needed, including key services like grant writing support.
“It takes a village. There’s no way to have all the answers, but that’s where CHS can help guide you, figure out those next steps and set you up with our partners and resources. If you don’t have the answer, we can connect you to the expert who does. These champions act as the central contact for their business, but CHS fills that role for them,” says Sonnenburg.