Sense of Adventure, Love of Learning Led to Propane Career

Jennifer Jackson, the regional vice president of ThompsonGas–Mid Atlantic region, was born and raised in Montana. At age 19, she and her roommate loaded up her car and drove to Florida. “We wanted to go somewhere warm, and it [Florida] was called the Sunshine state,” she said.
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Jennifer sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door to make rent while looking for something else to do. “I always had two jobs. I loved hands-on learning, and I like to make money.” she said. “Selling vacuums was an adrenaline rush. I loved the skillset required to be successful at that type of sales. It’s not without challenges. For me that’s the adventure, trying something new and seeing where it takes you.”

Her resourcefulness, sense of adventure, and love of learning led Jennifer, a single mother, from Pensacola to Raleigh, N.C. where she went to work for Ferrellgas.

“Ferrellgas had a position in customer service. I didn’t know anything about the propane industry. I learned everything I could very quickly, and I was very intrigued by the propane industry,” she said. “It’s very rewarding to be in an industry where your customers get to choose you.”

Four years and several positions later, Jennifer was promoted to general manager. “It was pretty fantastic. I was excited for the opportunity to lead a team and grow the business. It fuels my passion.” After nearly seven years with Ferrellgas, she took a short break from the propane industry and spent time managing a credit and criminal background company. “But propane gets into your system. It’s hard to get into and not go back,” she said.

At the same time she was ready to make a change, ThompsonGas acquired a propane company in North Carolina and hired her as an area manager overseeing six locations in the state. “I was excited for the new opportunity to get back into selling propane.”

Founded in 1946, ThompsonGas is one of the top 16 propane companies in the U.S., providing propane services to residential and commercial customers nationwide. Today, as a regional vice president located in Frederick, Md., Jennifer is responsible for all locations in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. “It hasn’t been without challenges. It’s a role I’ve never had before—adjusting to lead the management team rather than managing the operational team,” she said. “I’m fortunate to work with some of the best mentors in the industry.”

Mentors have been an important part of her career at both Ferrellgas and ThompsonGas. “I definitely feel like this industry has more of a team spirit and family feel than any other industry. It’s extremely competitive, but everyone wants to see the propane industry grow and succeed.”

Soon after she joined ThompsonGas, George Koloroutis, the company’s CEO and one of her mentors, suggested Jennifer and several other talented team members attend the National Propane Gas Association’s Women in Propane Council (WIP) meeting at the Southeast Convention. It was the first she’d heard of the organization, but she quickly became involved and joined the Knowledge Exchange, a mentoring program.

“I was really inspired by what they (WIP) were trying to do and the inspiration given out,” she said. “My recommendation to everyone is try and do both alternately — be the mentee and the mentor. It’s fantastic to have your time to work on your goals and to be a mentor offering support to another’s success. We all have goals to work on, but we also have a lot of talent and knowledge to share.”

This year she is committing even more time to chair the Knowledge Exchange. The time spent in the program varies. Mentees are paired with mentors and set their own schedules to meet or talk once a week or twice a month. Jennifer said she prefers to set up calls during lunch or at night so duties don’t interfere with her primary role. “Anytime you’re in this industry and willing to learn more, it’s an advantage. The more you know, the more of an asset you become,” she said. “This industry is full of really talented people who want to see their peers succeed.”

Right now, the Knowledge Exchange is setting goals to increase the number of participants and sponsors. WIP is excited to gain more members locally, getting involved on a state level to grow the organization and continue to inspire and support those in the industry.

“I am blessed to work alongside a fantastic team at ThompsonGas,” Jennifer said. “Every challenge is an opportunity to better adapt and grow as a person. I continue to ask myself, ‘so, now, what goal will you set next?’”  —Karen Massman VanAsdale

The Knowledge Exchange begins in May and is a six-month course. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Visit the WIP website at

If you know an amazing "Woman In Propane" that you would like BPN to share with the larger propane community, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..