In commemoration of Blossman Gas’ 65th anniversary year, we are providing you, our valued customers, a historical look at our company’s history and founders in a four-part series. This is the fourth and final segment of the History of Blossman Gas.
2000s – The New Century
With Bob Mayer’s retirement in the summer of 2001, Stuart Weidie was named President, and much like John Blossman’s first years, he led an analysis of where the opportunities for future growth were.
To facilitate the continuing growth of the company, Blossman implemented a long range plan to upgrade its infrastructure to accommodate future growth. In 2004 and 2005, handheld computers were installed at all locations, and a task force started working on the first major upgrade of the company’s financial reporting and customer accounting software in twenty five years. By the end of the decade, with the help of virtually every employee, all of the company’s software systems were state-of-the art, giving the company the capability to serve twice the current customer base.
The company started four new branches in Virginia (Fredericksburg and Gordonsville, in 2003, Bedford and Staunton in 2005, and Berryville in 2006), and acquired a fifth when it purchased Virginia Propane, in Bedford, Virginia.
In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, severely impacting thousands in our country including Blossman’s Home Office and fifteen branches, leaving employees homeless and shutting down the company’s computer network. Within hours of the disaster, employees from all over the company began descending on the Coast to help with the devastating cleanup. The volunteer effort by Blossman employees enabled Blossman Gas to re-open to serve its customers and provide propane and equipment services, such as propane-powered generators, to government and non-profit relief agencies. Within days of the storm, they purchased mobile homes and rented spaces in mobile home parks for its homeless employees – at no cost to their families.
David Reynolds Moves to COO Position
In 2007, David Reynolds was moved into the Chief Operating Officer position and industry veteran Randy Doyle joined the company as Chief Financial Officer, undertaking responsibility for finances and implementation of the new information technology vision and infrastructure.
With a strong leadership team in place, Stuart Weidie began to look for new opportunities to again grow the business and level out the peaks and valleys of gas sales. He and the company officers brought many new ideas for increasing sales: appliances, lawnmowers, generators, tankless water heaters, autogas, and reticulated systems for housing developments, to name a few.
Alliance AutoGas, founded by Blossman Gas in 2009 in order to promote propane as a vehicle fuel (called autogas), experienced steady growth that is has continued through the current time. Alliance AutoGas is an international network providing a comprehensive propane autogas solution to medium and heavy-duty fleets; an industry leader in the sustainable alternative fuel market. Another Blossman initiative, Autogas for America, was founded in the same year. Autogas for America serves as the unified voice of the U.S. autogas market and is comprised of autogas industry experts, transportations specialists, autogas fleets, and environmental advocates.
On March 30, 2009 John Blossman passed away following a long, courageous battle with cancer, leaving the entire company in mourning for one of the “kindest men who ever lived”, as he was known, and who had defined the culture of the company that bore his name and become one of the most respected leaders in the propane industry. But even as the members of his Blossman Gas “family” mourned him, his legacy and spirit inspired them to head into the next decade, determined to lift Blossman Gas to new heights.
The second decade of the 21st century opened with Blossman Gas, Inc., emerging from the loss of its beloved Chairman and continued in a high growth period.
In the year 2010, the company acquired the propane operations of McCombs Oil Co., of Morganton, NC, and consolidated their customers into the Blossman branch in nearby Hickory, NC. Shortly thereafter, they acquired Leco Gas, Inc., of Canton, GA, and began consolidating its operations into the Blossman Cartersville, GA, branch. These acquisitions were quickly followed by the purchase of Uneeda Gas, in Alexander City, AL, which was folded into the Opelika, AL, Blossman branch.
In 2012, Blossman expanded into the Miami, FL, market with its acquisition of Green Tech Energy Solutions. Five acquisitions took place in one year (2014). They included Ankney Propane Plus in Ocala, FL, Palmetto Gas in Hilton Head area, SC, Lassetter Propane in Newnan, Ga, Blue Flame Gas, Douglasville, GA, Dade Gas in Lafayette, GA, and Dixie Gas in West Chesterfield, VA. In 2015, Blossman then expanded in Jacksonville, FL, with the Southern Propane acquisition.
Two milestone events were seen in 2013 and 2014. Blossman Services Inc. became the exclusive United States distributor of Westport’s Prins Autogas products, and in October of 2014 Alliance AutoGas and Blossman Services, Inc. opened their Autogas Research and Technology Center in Asheville, NC.
Blossman continues to play a large leadership role in the propane industry, as Blossman President and CEO Stuart Weidie became the Chairman of the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) in 2016; Randy Doyle, Blossman’s Chief Financial Officer, became a Council member of the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) in 2015, and David Reynolds, Blossman’s Chief Operating Officer, was named PERC’s Chairman of the Research and Technology Development Advisory Committee in 2016.
Now, as Blossman Gas, Inc. approaches the end of its 65th anniversary, its 800+ employees and 150,000+ customers can look back with pride at the legacy of a company that has overcome numerous obstacles to reach the point where it is today - - a family held company that is prospering in its third generation of family ownership; a company that has lived up to the dream of its founder, and a company that truly exists for the benefit of its employees, that has for the past 65 years rendered superior service to its customers.
Read the full Blossman Founders series: