Misel's roots are strong in Georgia. He grew up in Sandy Springs, about one mile from the office he oversees as president of Georgia Gas Distributors Inc.
From a "basic, little propane company" that his father bought in 1957 to the one serving 2,500 customers in Atlanta, Misel focuses on growing a business that serves mostly an industrial segment of the metropolitan area.
"My dad had a vision to create a market in propane-powered forklifts," Misel says. "He'd go around and convince people they needed to run their business on propane, and he supplied the propane for it. My dad's focus got it started in the direction it was going. As time went on, Atlanta grew and there were fewer opportunities to grow the residential segment."
As a teenager, Misel witnessed firsthand the fabric of a propane company as his dad turned him loose on a number of duties – from driving trucks and delivering gas to converting forklifts.
"I grew up in the business," Misel says. "I started working during the summer in high school over at the plant and doing things people [in the propane industry] do. Over time, I basically worked every position in the company."
Misel assumed control of the business in 1983, choosing to take Georgia Gas in opportunistic directions – much like his father had done for so many years.
Georgia Gas was the first in Atlanta to run a 20-pound cylinder exchange business, which reached 750 retail locations at its peak before being sold. Georgia Gas also returned to servicing residential customers – which comprises about 15 to 20 percent of its volume – by acquiring a small retailer nearby.
The company strives for "continued incremental growth" through its "dedicated employees" who support its focus of being "metro Atlanta's propane provider of choice," Misel says.
The former president of Georgia Propane Gas Association and a former NPGA board chairman, Misel says running a propane company in a big city such as Atlanta isn't unique – but it is unusual.
"A number of marketers do business in the metro area," he says. "From a numbers standpoint, with 4,000 marketers out there, most of them are in the rural U.S. [But this location better serves] our type of customer – business to business as compared to business to consumer."
Misel, also a former chairman of the NPGA Technology and Standards and Governmental Affairs committees, is currently a member of PERC's Consumer Education Advisory Committee.
-LP Gas Magazine