International Association of Young Gassers
An Oral History ... 1959 - Today
In one form or another, the Gassers have been around since 1959. As the oral history goes, a few young men got together during the National Propane Show in Chicago, and over drinks it was decided that there needed to be an alternative to the “old boy” network of the Ancient Gassers. Thus began two decades of debauchery, under the guise of “networking” that have become the stuff of legends. Some of the most infamous events were gatherings of the membership at the Chicago Playboy Club. For whatever reason, at that time women were not allowed to join the Gassers, AND you needed a sponsor to even be considered for membership. It was a very tight little group.
In 1989, after a few years of inactivity, the Gassers were reborn. Under new leadership came 20 years of continuity. These were the kids of the original founders taking over. This version of the Young Gassers admitted women (because they liked women) did away with the membership roster and dues, made you a lifetime member, started the tequila initiation, and in general, took on the responsibility of being the “Unofficial Welcome Wagon” of the propane gas industry. They limited their gatherings to the Atlanta Southeastern Convention and select NPGA Board meetings. In this role, they performed a very vital function for the industry, played a lot of golf and over the course of two decades raised over $225,000 for the NPGA Scholarship Fund. We had a lot of fun doing it along the way.
In 2009 we kick started this association, after the old-guard retired. We transformed it into an entirely new entity. As of January 2011 we took the big step of officially organizing the Young Gassers as a 501(c)(6) Business League. It was time to do something official, which would guarantee the survival of the Association for the next generation of Gassers. Today, as we look past our centennial year, we now declare ourselves to be “official.” The road we travel depends a lot on you.
Well, I’d say that we were a little more organized these days, and we’re reaching an even greater number of people where our mission matters most … in the workplace. We’ve also made a modest impact on the industry with our Social Networking efforts and made improvements in our information systems. We also now have a real Board of Directors.
By and large, our membership is made up of men and women who aren’t so rooted in the past that we can’t demonstrate a little forward thinking. It’s not just about the young people of our industry, although they are very important to our future, it’s also about what we can collectively bring to the table in terms of our experience, leadership, and stewardship. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how old you are. A good idea, a helping hand, generating a sense of camaraderie benefits everyone, young and old alike. Our industry faces many challenges, and together the Young Gassers successfully melds wisdom, experience, youthful exuberance, and new outlooks and ideas into a formidable force of good for the industry. We’re all young at heart. We’ve all got something to contribute.