Leadership Profile: DD Alexander
President, Global Gas, Inc.
Member, ARVC Supplier Council
How did you get involved in the propane industry?
I started in the industry in 1981 after graduating from Texas Christian University. I went to work for my Dad's company, which was in the propane industry. I worked for my Dad from 1982 to 1989, and that's when I started Global Gas. We're a nationwide propane supplier.
When did you first become involved with ARVC?
It was probably 2017 when I was talking to Paul Bambei about the ARVC organization and I saw that it's very, very similar to our industry because we sell to mostly family-owned businesses. I've been going to the Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo since we got involved with ARVC, and I’ve met many members, not only with family-owned businesses but those where the owners plan to hand the business down to their sons or daughters or both. Joining ARVC’s Supplier Council has enabled us to serve an industry that we had previously served indirectly.
How did you approach meeting the unique needs of the campground industry?
The hurdle we had to overcome is that we normally deliver approximately 9,000 to 10,000 gallons of propane at a time, where campgrounds may not have any storage or they might have a 1,000-gallon dispensing unit at the very best. So what we ended up doing is forming a network of independent distributors called GIN, the Global Independent Network. I sit on the board of the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) and have for 30-some years, so I know a lot of the really good distributors in the United States that are independently owned. We went to them and asked them to join our program. I like to think we have the cream of the crop of distributors.
How does the Global Independent Network benefit campground owners?
We try to be very transparent to the campground owner as far as pricing goes, so when our distributor goes into the campground, they meet with the manager or the owner and go over all their uses of propane currently. They’ll also take a look around to see what they can do to make the park more efficient. For example, we've gotten a lot of people into the tankless water heaters for showers, so that they don't run out of hot water. It cuts down on the cost because they’re not continually warming that water over and over, and it’s more pleasing to the campers. Or they may want to add tiki lights or change out their washers and dryers. The distributer will come up a proposal and of course, the campground owner will have the final say.
Our program is a turnkey program. The distributor is responsible for installing the tanks, returning any existing tanks to the previous supplier in accordance with state laws, running all the new lines or updating the current lines. They will also make sure everything is up to current safety standards. A lot of companies that were handling the campgrounds before us weren't very diligent about keeping them up the FTC regulations, and in the propane industry, our regulations change a lot. You have to be able to rely on your propane supplier to keep you updated on your safety and governmental regulations.
We’re also trying to give campground owners opportunities, where it makes sense for them, to have a dispensing unit where they can make money selling the propane themselves as an additional revenue stream. Our distributors will come in and set up the dispensing unit and they’ll train your employees to be able to fill cylinders. If you get new employees, they’ll come back and train those new employees, too. We've tried to bring a whole new approach to campgrounds, to make them better in in every way possible.
Is there anything else you’d like campground owners to know about your work in the propane industry?
Sitting on the executive committee of NPGA, I've been able to bring a lot more attention to the campground industry. For example, we're doing some studies on what we can do to make everything safer for the campers. We’re doing that through PERC, which is the Propane Education & Research Council. If you go on their website (Propane.com), you can find resources on propane safety for campers and that type of thing. We’re bringing a lot of knowledge about your industry to the forefront in the propane industry and we're bringing what we hope is more knowledge to the consumers.