If you were lucky enough to attend the education sessions at The Northern New England Energy Conference at The Cliff House in Cape Neddick this past June, then you are already aware of how incredible the lineup of speakers was. The education started bright and early Monday morning with Danny Silverman from Angus Energy. The session was the earliest of the day, but you wouldn’t know it based upon the amount of people who showed up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

During his presentation, Mr. Silverman expressed the ironic nature of data. It is like a double-edged sword that “if not properly entered, cleaned, and segmented… won’t help you.” So how do companies go about looking at clean data that they can properly embrace to understand how their business is really doing? From data entry, to organization, to accessibility, segmentation, and of course distribution, Silverman’s presentation was a fascinating look at how companies can increase the value of their data and their bottom line.

What’s at stake for Petroleum Marketers? That is precisely what Sharon Peterson, Chairwoman of PMAA spoke about. Many of these issues we all know too well. The CDL Driver shortage, for example. According to Peterson, the following is a list of the topics to look at in 2019:

  • Tax Extenders/ Biodiesel Tax Credit
  • CDL Driver Shortage: Focus on expanding the HOS Short Haul Exemption
  • Full Funding for LIHEAP
  • Unfair EV Charging Infrastructure Initiatives/ EV Tax Credit/ Heat Pumps
  • RVP Waiver for E10+ Blends, E15 Description/labeling, EPA RFS Final Rule, RFS Reform CAFE Standards- Rolling Back Obama-era Fuel Efficiency Rules
  • Reducing UST Compliance Costs
  • ULSD Corrosion
  • Swipe Fees and Litigation
  • Infrastructure Funding Issues

That, however, is not all that is at stake for the industry as Theresa Lavoie from BantamWesson explained in her presentation. For the first time in recorded history, the number of job openings is higher than the percentage of people looking for work. Saying that finding and obtain-ing good employees, especially in the trades, is a challenge would be a total understatement. Lavoie talks about hiring in a 3% unemployment environment and what is available for resources that can help your company thrive. She explained about practices, such as advertising and partnerships that can help companies find good workers.

Perhaps that’s one reason why Veteran recruiting is so important. Because we need HVAC workers and Veterans need jobs. Need we say more? In his presentation, Matt Leonard from Military Talent Source explained how companies can connect their organization with “highly qualified Veteran talent.” The trades and veterans are basically a match made in heaven.

By mid-morning, the classrooms continued to fill up. As a perfect transi-tion to the NORA presentations was an in-depth panel discussion. At-tending the panel was Barry Knox, REG; Kevin Grant, Sprague; and Tim Keaveney, Hero BX. As a result of aggressive carbon initiatives, our industry is in a rather vulnerable position. We must turn to low carbon liquid fuel solutions in order to move ahead. The panel discussed solutions being put in place to combat the issue.

Speaking of industry challenges, what exactly is happening in terms of decarbonization? Rich Sweetser of NORA explained that “Many states see electrification as a solution” to carbon emissions regardless of the fact that emissions today are roughly the same as they were 30 years ago in 1990. Leading the pack on this initiative is New York with a proposed social cost of Carbon. Sweetser explained that the effects of what hap-pens in New York is sure to expand through the rest of New England as well. But what does this actually mean? The answer: electrification. This is where it got interesting. What actually happens when electrification takes over? Anything that is too expensive for the general public doesn’t work and that’s a fact. So, what’s next? Sweetser continued to explain what our industry is doing and what needs to be done in the future to stay on track.

Following Mr. Sweetser was Tom Butcher from NORA speaking on biofuels and the future of fuel. Butcher explains “NORA has been working to develop a path for the oil-heating industry to use blends of heating oil and biofuels that will allow states to reach their greenhouse gas emissions goals.” This presentation is a true look at the future of fuel and how close we are to delivering it to a high demand market.

A HUGE thank you to all our amazing presenters at NNEEC. Thank you all for helping us make this one of the most successful years yet! Presentations can be found at the Northern New England Energy Conference website’s Education Archive here.