Beyond the Mains
Seventy-five years ago this fall, a group of about 40 marketers met in Atlantic City, N.J. to hold the first official meeting of LP-gas companies in America. Before that meeting concluded, the marketers voted to create the National Bottled Gas Association, the direct ancestor of todays National Propane Gas Association (NPGA).
Todays NPGA is the direct result of the work all of us have done, and our predecessors accomplished, since that day in 1931. Our industry has faced down tough times and has achieved greatness during those many decades.
Our trade association has totaled up an impressive list of achievements over the past 75 years. In the early years, we promoted an energy source that had many industrial and rural applications, slowly building our markets. In the 1950s and 1960s, the industry associationthen called the National LP-Gas Associationbegan to both fight government regulation and build the industrys market share. In the 1970s, NPGA helped the industry survive years of shoddily-crafted federal energy policy. And throughout the 1980s and 1990s NPGA remained a strong yet traditional trade association, searching for the best way to give value back to its members.
In the last five years, we have moved NPGA from Illinois to Washington, D.C., focusing the associations efforts toward advocacy for our members on Capitol Hill and in the regulatory departments. Weve also continued our tradition of member benefits, the worlds largest propane industry trade show, and educational conferences.
Seventy-five years of hard work brings us to the opportunities found today in 2006. With the Washington move behind us, many of us felt that it was the right time to begin creating a new strategic plan that would guide NPGAs direction for the next several years. This plan would sharpen our mission and goals and allow us to focus our designated resources on those issues and programs that our members tell us are important to them.
NPGAs new strategic plan has been in the works for almost a year and is nearing completion. Since our associations volunteer board of directors approved it last fall, NPGAs staff and leadership have begun the implementation phase. Here is what NPGAs plan will be based upon:
NPGA will annually define or update its advocacy and lobbying agenda, so that its priorities can be clearly understood.
NPGA is making sure its lobbying priorities are based on real market-driven objectives determined from the input of active members.
NPGA will achieve better coordination with the state associations and PERC so that we can all better communicate our industry-wide value proposition.
NPGA will improve the ways it communicates that joint value proposition to the entire propane industry.
And finally. NPGA will find new ways to encourage the kind of active member involvement that has been the foundation of NPGAs strength throughout the last 75 years.
In my view, involvement is the key to an effective association. It is very true that you get out of lifeand your associationwhat you put into it.
Today, NPGA is the public policy voice of the propane industry. In addition to our efforts to constantly promote the message and actions of safety, our job is to watch out for your interests when it comes to Congress, the seven Federal agencies, and 13 standards-setting groups whose decisions directly affect your business. The decisions and policies we advocate or defend against are very often directly quantifiablewe can calculate in dollars and cents the effects of those decisions on your business.
In 2031, NPGA will celebrate its 100th anniversary. For those of us still in the industry, or for the next generation of leaders in the business, the decisions NPGA makes in its 75th anniversary year will lead to our associations successes over the next 25 years.
Whatever changes our industry will face in the next quarter century. whether they are found in a different kind of reliance on our fuel or a new appreciation for alternate energy sources, NPGA will be there.
Happy 75th birthday. NPGA. We all deserve to give ourselves a round of applause for creating the powerful organization that now represents our exceptional industry to the nation.
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