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Paula Wilson’s Speech at the Women in Propane Council Inaugural Program

Last month, AmeriGas’ very own Paula Wilson was one of the speakers at the inaugural program of the Women In Propane Council. Here is the transcript from her speech:

Paula Wilson speaks at Women In Propane Meeting

Paula Wilson speaks at the inaugural program of the Women In Propane Council

When I started with AmeriGas 30 years ago yesterday (I crawled to work that day), I didn’t know the word propane. AmeriGas had 33 locations and I was young and single, looking to start a new career after four years of teaching. I was a temporary employee and after 7 months, AmeriGas created a position for me as a customer relations training representative.

It’s hard to believe 30 years later, AmeriGas now has 1,200 locations and I’m the Director of Marketing responsible for our nationwide marketing strategy and project development. I’ve helped to integrate five major acquisitions and develop programs to grow our customer base from 47,000 customers to 2.1 million.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work in a very open, supportive and dynamic environment, both within AmeriGas and the industry as a whole. This has allowed me to take on new challenges, and as I’m sure many of you can relate; it’s been a delicate balancing act.

My biggest challenge came in 1987. AmeriGas made its first big acquisition of CalGas, three times our size. I was just back from maternity leave with my first son Andrew, I was working on my masters, I was promoted to my first management position (first female in marketing), and I had to travel to the West coast for the integration meetings. When my boss came and told me I had to get out on the road, I went into the ladies room and cried. So now it WAS time to get MY balancing act together!!

Thank goodness for my supportive husband (Paul, who I met at AmeriGas)!!

The following week I was in California, meeting a new, dedicated team of propane folks and learning about their culture and “what works.” That’s what this industry is all about: the people and the shared experiences and successes.

To truly appreciate this industry and the people, you really need to get involved in our industry’s associations and activities. By the early 1990s, I realized “propane and AmeriGas” was in my blood and definitely my new career path. So to broaden my horizons, I became involved in the NPGA. My goal was to bring value to AmeriGas and enrich my knowledge of the industry. I participated in and chaired the PIC and MDC for NPGA, and served on the BOD. Both committees were disbanded and later represented under the CEAC of Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). I served as an advisory committee member for PERC for 13 years. I am honored now to serve as a Councilor and Vice-Chair for marketers on PERC.

So in the following years, I took on new challenges, accepted promotions, developed and mentored new marketing teams and managed new bosses; and built strong friendships!

Today, I’m responsible for our national growth and retention strategies, collaborating with our sales team and marketing to all segments of our business with a major focus on digital marketing opportunities. Something we didn’t have 30 years ago!

I can look back now and identify what qualities allowed me to be successful. I was determined. There really weren’t many barriers, but if there were I found a way to either tip-toe, dance or kick my way through them. I took initiative, championed change and developed and motivated others. I would drive for results, foster teamwork, solve problems, establish goals and communicate in ways that would inform and influence at all levels of the organization.

It’s fair to say, I’ve grown up with AmeriGas and the propane industry. And my family has too…I realized this a couple weeks ago while looking at family photos. While on family vacations, I would make my sons pose in front of AmeriGas stores and storage tanks in VA, UT, AZ, FL. Maybe you can relate, today or someday!

Thanks so much for your attention.

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