Written on: February 13, 2023
The Missouri Propane Education & Research Council (MOPERC) recently named Luke Fitzpatrick, Wardsville, as its first Chief Operating Officer (COO).
Fitzpatrick will lead MOPERC’s new Autogas demonstration program and its residential homebuilder and homeowner advocacy programs. He will have responsibilities with internal operations of both MOPERC and its partner, the Missouri Propane Gas Association (MPGA). Fitzpatrick also served as president on the MPGA’s 2022-23 board of directors before taking on his new role with MOPERC.
“We are thrilled to have Luke join our team,” says Steve Ahrens, MOPERC president. “His depth of knowledge and industry experience aligns perfectly with our mission to educate and assist Missouri homeowners and businesses to find a better energy solution.”
Fitzpatrick, a previous member of the MOPERC board of directors, had been with MFA Oil Company for the past 14.5 years, working primarily as a district manager. His career in propane began after encouragement from his father-in-law, Barry Oden, to trade a job in law enforcement for a role with MFA Oil Company as a propane driver in Jefferson City. He later became a plant manager in Jefferson City and then took a role overseeing operations in Jefferson City and California, Missouri. His latest role, prior to MOERC, included management of one of the largest MFA Oil Company districts which covered the state of Kansas and part of central western Missouri. He has served on the National PERC’s Marketing Advisory Committee.
“I have a huge passion for growing the propane industry,” Fitzpatrick said. “I always enjoy being at the forefront of growth.” Fitzpatrick is certain he will work well with the volunteer leadership in Missouri because he has already worked with many of them as a colleague during the past decade. “I have been approaching many industry growth issues with leaders in Missouri for several years,” he said. “I am just moving to the staff side.”
A major initial initiative Fitzpatrick will focus on is leading Missouri’s Autogas demonstration project. This will include loaning a paratransit vehicle which seats 12 and two wheelchairs to local and regional transit agencies. The demo shuttle is paired with a mobile dispensing trailer to provide a hands-on experience with the fueling operation. “We will work with municipalities, resorts and other entities to help them get a feel for how the propane-powered vehicles can benefit them.” Fitzpatrick noted that a demo project at Big Cedar Lodge led to acquisition and extensive use of propane vehicles at the Ridgedale, Missouri resort. “Resorts, OATS, municipalities and business fleets are all great prospects for propane as our Autogas demonstration project grows.”
Fitzpatrick is also focusing on refining policies and procedures for both MPGA and MOPERC and will later focus on programs for stakeholders in the homebuilding space in Missouri. “There is plenty of opportunity for growth of propane use in Missouri,” he said. Originally from Eldon, Fitzpatrick and wife Tiffany have two teenage children, son Carter (16) and daughter Kennedy (13). Tiffany is a school teacher in the Blair Oaks School District. In his free time, Fitzpatrick enjoys hunting, fishing, outdoor sports and time with family. He has coached many of his children’s sports including ice hockey, baseball, softball and basketball. For 12 years, he has served in an executive leadership role on the board of the Mid-Missouri Tigers Youth Hockey Club in Jefferson City.
“In sports, I like to teach the importance of teamwork and a positive attitude,” Fitzpatrick said. “These are skills that will benefit young people for a lifetime in both sports, work and all aspects of life!”