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Gregg Walker
Propane Education & Research Council

Propane Council Announces Officers for 2012
New chairman wants to increase industry engagement in commercialization program

WASHINGTON (July 22, 2011) — The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), meeting last week in Portland, Ore., announced that the following councilors have been elected to serve as the PERC Executive Committee for a term that will expire in July 2012:

Chairman: Joe Armentano, Paraco Gas (Rye Brook, N.Y.).
Vice Chairman–Marketers: Paula Wilson, AmeriGas (Valley Forge, Pa.).
Vice Chairman–Producers: Joe Gump, ConocoPhillips (Dacula, Ga.).
Treasurer: Gerry Misel, Georgia Gas Distributers (Sandy Springs, Ga.).
Secretary: Eric Benson, JS West & Co. (Modesto, Calif.).

Raising propane industry awareness and support of the Council’s technology development and commercialization program will be a top priority of the executive committee, according to the new chairman. The program has helped the Council’s manufacturing partners develop new propane-fueled appliances, vehicles, and equipment.

“We need to bring more visibility to our technology initiative in a way that all marketers can identify with,” Armentano said. “Before the restriction of PERC activities in 2009, the propane industry relied on us to run a popular national advertising campaign. Today, they’re counting on us deliver new products that meet customer needs and drive new propane demand.”

A request to help fund the development and commercialization of a new line of propane-fueled lawn care products won Council approval in Portland. With PERC co-funding, Fiskars will accelerate development of a full range of propane outdoor power equipment for both consumer and commercial use. In 2010, Fiskars licensed technology from Lehr, the developer of commercialized consumer propane string trimmers, leaf blowers, and rotary mowers.

“Having good manufacturing partners who can get high-quality products into the marketplace and support them once they are there is vitally important to the future of propane,” PERC President and CEO Roy Willis said. “Fiskars fits the bill. The company has been around for more than 300 years. It makes outstanding products and knows how to get them onto retailers’ shelves and into customers’ hands.”

In other Council business last week:

• The Council authorized the publication of a proposed $34.4 million assessment budget for 2012. The budget plan, which assumes an assessment rate of four-tenths of a cent per gallon of odorized propane, will be published before August 1 for industry and public comment, as required by the Propane Education and Research Act of 1996. The assessment rate took effect April 1, 2010.
• The Council welcomed newly appointed members: Sharon Beemer, DCP Midstream (Houston), Thomas Van Buren, Ferrellgas (Overland Park, Kan.), and Jeff White, Aux Sable Liquid Partners (Morris, Ill.). Council members are appointed by the National Propane Gas Association and the Gas Processors Association.
• The Council appointed Darin Hunhoff, CHS (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.), the chairman of the Agriculture Advisory Committee and Darren Engle, Blue Star Gas (Central Point, Ore.), the chairman of the Residential and Commercial Advisory Committee.
• Councilors voted to approve a funding request for $1 million to help Roush CleanTech develop propane-fueled medium-duty trucks that can help fleets cut their operating costs and lower their carbon emissions. At the Council’s direction, half of the funding is for the development of a propane-fueled Ford F-650; the other half is contingent on the development of an F-750 or its equivalent.

The Council approved the following funding requests:

Safety and Training
Docket 17264 — Heavy Snowfall Brochure and E-learning Module, $42,950
Docket 17211 — 2011 Safety and Training Industry Outreach and Engagement, $81,750
Docket 17185 — Workplace Injury Reduction Program, $271,110

Research and Development
Docket 17289 — Agricultural Heating Systems Fuel Efficiency Improvements, $135,000
Docket 17331 — EFAC Professional Services (July 2011 to July 2012), $300,000
Docket 17181 — Residential Commercial Demonstration Program, $655,034
Docket 17134 — Propane Powered Outdoor Power Equipment Development, $885,000
Docket 17132 — Ford F-650 6.8-Liter 3V Liquid Propane Injection Development (Amended), $1,000,000
Docket 16607 — Second-Generation Propane Autogas Vision School Bus Development (Change Order), $500,000

Industry Programs and State Rebates
Docket 17292 — 2011-2012 Partnership with States Program, $1,500,000
Docket 17263 — Mobile Energy Education Training Unit Partnership (Pennsylvania), $2,750
Docket 17291 — 2011 Engine Fuel Initiatives (New York), $9,043.64

The Council learned that 41 replicated states rebate requests totaling $1,287,604.31 had been approved since the Council’s last meeting, in April. Nine programs had been awarded $112,209.40 in Partnership with States funding.

The Council will next meet October 13 and 14 in Washington.