BOSTON – The New England Fuel Institute's (NEFI) 34th North American Heating and Energy Expo, held this June 7 and 8, was a resounding success, with a bustling show floor full of attendees and hundreds of exhibitors.
"The NEFI Energy Expo exemplifies what our association is about," said NEFI President and CEO Michael Trunzo. "At a time when the energy industry is facing daunting challenges, it is important to be able to bring the retail Oilheat dealers together with the industry that supports them--major oil companies, wholesale suppliers and affiliated industry companies that make the equipment, products and administrative programs. It's all an effort to help the retail Oilheat company become more efficient, effective and profitable.
"Thousands of attendees had the opportunity to learn more about the latest products and services available to them from more than 200 exhibitors, while also engaging in interactive business and technical sessions with leaders in the industry," Trunzo continued.
Featured technical speaker Richard Trethewey, the home heating expert from PBS' "This Old House," was one of many session hosts to lead a lively presentation before a packed room of participants. The Expo Summit business sessions were similarly well attended, with the keynote session led by Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) President Dan Gilligan on the industry's latest legislative efforts in Washington, D.C.
National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) President John Huber also spoke about the importance of the grassroots effort for NORA to regain Congressional reauthorization and Dr. Thomas Butcher of Brookhaven National Laboratory gave an overview of some of the most promising and efficient technology on the horizon.
The lead sponsor of the NORA Reauthorization bill in the House of Representatives, Congressman Charles Bass of New Hampshire, spoke at the NEFI Annual Meeting on June 8 and asserted his confidence in the Oilheat industry's viability and strong future, as well as the need for NORA.
"I believe it's important for the energy delivery business to have a mechanism to raise funds where you can ensure adequate safety and research and development, along with conservation and education," the congressman said.
Bass also reinforced the value of personally speaking with your congressmen to support the NORA bill. "I look forward to vigorously supporting this bill," he said. "I can't emphasize how important it is to receive calls from constituents."
The 2011 Energy Expo also brought back the NEFI Grande Convention Luncheon. On June 8, the prestigious Charles H. Burkhardt Award was presented to Jim Townsend of Townsend Oil & Propane in Danvers, Mass., for his years of service to a variety of industry associations. Former NEFI Executive Vice President and CEO Jack Sullivan gave the Legacy Address and said that even though competition is vital to the energy business, it's important to remember the common goals the industry should focus on to remain successful.
Eric Slifka, the president of Global Partners LP, was the featured speaker at the luncheon, and echoed those remarks. Slifka said he is acutely aware of the need to recognize changes in the industry and embrace them, as the third-generation leader of a company that grew from a single-truck service in 1933 to a wholesaler that handled 3.7 billion gallons of fuel last year.
"For the New England Oilheat industry to flourish," he said, "we must embrace new products and technologies as a unified organization, and do so proactively." Slifka's presentation provided attendees his insights into the future petroleum and home heating business, as well as a series of charts depicting current trends in pricing for all petroleum products and how they compete with each other.
At several of the sessions, Trunzo provided insights into his leadership of NEFI, as well as the implementation of the Strategic Plan adopted by the Board of Directors in the fall of 2010. The Strategic Plan is a blueprint to better position NEFI to be a more active and vocal advocate for the Oilheat industry regionally and in D.C.
Rep. Charles Bass, R-N.H.
"I could not agree more with the premise of the Strategic Plan which states, 'If Oilheat is to have much of a future it will require a substantially different, more efficient, and more effectively coordinated effort than it has today,’" Trunzo said. "Today, the Oilheat industry faces daunting challenges: a continued product image problem, aggressive conversions to natural gas and price volatility. With these issues before us, there is no doubt the industry needs a strong voice, and NEFI is up to that challenge".
The North American Heating and Energy Expo is hosted by the New England Fuel Institute (NEFI) and is currently held every other year in Boston. For more information, please contact NEFI at (627) 924-1000.