Feature Story

New England Fuel Institute (NEFI) drew record crowds to the 32nd North American Heating & Energy Exposition that ran June 12-13, 2007 at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston’s Prudential Tower district.

NEFI Vice President and Director of Events Tracy Goodwin said that pre-registration was about 50 percent higher than the last expo in 2005, and it appeared that on-site registration was similarly high. Attendance topped 6,000 in total. The accompanying tradeshow featured about 300 exhibitors.

Paul Dodge (right), president, Fuel Treatment Specialists, Middletown, Conn. is welcoming his customer, John Cormier, owner of Country Oil in Bernardston, Mass., and Country Fuel in Gardner, Mass., to the New England Fuel Institute trade show.

The expo ran concurrently with the 2007 NEFI Business Conference, and Goodwin attributed the show’s success to a compelling convention roster that featured a series of seminars that drew overflow audiences.

Day one featured seminars with author and educator Dan Holohan, accountant John Nardozzi, price analyst Alan Levine, banker Matthew Ide and attorney Barry Fogel. There was also a technical seminar on hydraulic drive systems in trucks, given by Tad Ratcliff and Scott Jackson of Blackmer.

On day two, George Wilson and Mark Bloom of Angus Energy led a seminar on price protection; Brian McCarthy of Conifer Energy discussed the Energi insurance partnership; John Levey and Roland Riegel led a tank seminar; and a panel of experts discussed radiant heating.

Perhaps the most popular was an extended session on bioheat that featured wholesalers, producers, dealers and other leading advocates. The session discussed a wide range of related topics from pricing and marketing to such strate gic issues as political support and product availability.

The session was strongly positive towards the product. At the supplier end, the importance of quality product was stressed. At the dealer/marketer end, it was noted that bioheat can help build a premium base of new customers as well as provide some conversion among existing customers. Panelists included: John Huber, National Oilheat Research Alliance; Gary Haer, Renewable Energy Group, Inc.; Tim Keaveney, Sprague Energy Corp.; Elliot Quint, Global Companies, LLC; Edmund Burke, Dennis K. Burke, Inc.; Victor Turk, R.W. Beckett Corp.; Stephen Chase, Alliance Energy; Bob Warren, Mass Bioheat; and James Townsend, Townsend Oil & Propane.

Another popular session was the discussion about new regulations regarding the marketing, handling and labeling of non-road, locomotive and marine (NRLM) diesel fuels presented by Edmund Burke, chairman of Dennis K. Burke. Further coverage of this regulation can be found in this issue of FON.

NEFI’s first-ever propane panel also drew an overflow crowd. Six marketers who sell both heating oil and propane offered their views on fuel diversification and fielded many questions from marketers. They discussed a range of business strategies, how propane and oil heat can successfully and profitably coexist, and such specific issues as the advantages and disadvantages of who owns the tank.

The Rymes Propane and Oil Pink-Ribbon delivery truck designed to raise awareness of breast cancer and also to raise money to fund research and cancer screenings. Like the company’s original Pink-Ribbon propane truck, the new oil truck will be delivering to customers year-round and will be traveling to local events such as parades, old home days and the like. Money raised by the new truck will benefit the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Attendance was also boosted by a successful silent auction that received generous support from the oilheat associations in all six New England states.

Goodwin expressed his gratitude to all the show’s sponsors. Platinum sponsors’ the highest level of support’were Advanced Fuel Solutions Inc., Bently Tribology Services, Citizens Bank, COCARD, Conifer Insurance/Energi, Dennis K. Burke, ExxonMobil, Global Companies LLC, Griffith Energy Services, Inc., Heil Trailer International, Hess Corp., HOP Energy, Irving Oil, National Biodiesel Board, Robinson & Cole LLP, Sprague Energy, Star Gas LP/Atlas Glen-mor, Total Energy Solutions LLC and Valero Energy Corp.

The next NEFI tradeshow and conference events are Oilheat Visions, Providence, R.I. (fall 2008) and the North American Heating & Energy Expo, Boston, Mass (spring 2009).

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