Before he became CEO of the New York Heating Oil Association (NYOHA) in August, Rocco Lacertosa worked in the heating oil business for nearly 50 years. “I started in 1966 as a kid who knew nothing, and came up through the retail ranks, driving a truck and doing service and so on–the same way as John did,” he said, referring to John Maniscalco, his predecessor as head of the association.
“For this particular role it’s very important,” Lacertosa said of his deep roots in the business, “because my main concern–and I know it was John’s–is representing dealer members. It’s important because I can speak their language. I know what the issues are that they face on a day-to-day basis.”
This past summer Lacertosa was at NYOHA as CEO-elect, working side-by-side with Maniscalco, preparing. Lacertosa said Maniscalco was “pointing me in the right direction, showing me where the landmines are,” helping him settle in and introducing him to “the people I had to meet.”
Asked about the association’s priorities, Lacertosa said, “I fully intend to continue carrying the biodiesel, Bioheat torch. It’s important for the industry. We have the 2% mandate and now New York City is looking at 5%.” As of this writing, that proposal–a bill that would require B5 heating oil throughout the city–was expected to be the subject of September hearings, “at which I’ll probably be testifying,” Lacertosa said. “The other thing that’s at the top of my mind is education.”
NYOHA is working with the Oil Heat Institute of Long Island and the National Oilheat Research Alliance to establish a training facility in Plainview, N.Y. (on Long Island). “We are pursuing an agenda to make more training available for technicians, fuel people and inside people,” Lacertosa said. “We’re using NORA money to do this, and NORA is participating.” The facility will include a lab, a classroom and an office, and the associations will make it available to manufacturers who wish to offer training, he said. Asked when the facility is expected to open, Lacertosa said, “We’re looking at November.”
When he started out in the fuel oil industry, Lacertosa spent time in all of the various departments of the family-owned business, including dispatch and credit, eventually overseeing all the day-to -day operations until the company was sold in 1988, according to a summary of his career that was included in a NYOHA press release announcing Lacertosa’s appointment as CEO of the association. He stayed with the business for another two years before leaving to establish his own company, Alpha Fuel Oil, which he sold to Hart Petroleum in 1994. For the next four and a half years he was general manager for Hart Petroleum, where he was instrumental in developing systems and procedures. Lacertosa was recruited in 1999 to run a $25 million dollar division of a Reading, Pa., company. In addition he held senior level positions with Kaufman Fuel and Paraco Gas until he was recruited to Blue Diamond Fuel; that company was sold to Approved Oil of Brooklyn in 2011 and Lacertosa was kept on to run Blue Diamond as a separate division. Lacertosa’s last position before going to NYOHA was vice president of operations for Approved Oil.
Lacertosa holds a Bachelor of Science in Management from Adelphi University in Garden City New York and an MBA from De Sales University in Center Valley Pennsylvania.