Green Collar Careers: Proulx Oil & Propane and Proulx AutoGas Owner Jim Proulx
Published: Friday, October 25, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013 01:10
When Joe Proulx first founded Proulx Oil back in 1944, the result was a changing of the energy guard here in New England from the soot and smoke of coal to something more efficient. The company, now led by Joe Proulx’s grandson Jim, 51, continues to embrace cutting-edge technologies, steadfast customer service and ever-improving, more efficient products.
Proulx was a pioneer in the world of BioHeat, a renewable-based alternative to standard heating oil. Grown on American farms, thereby reducing the nation’s dependency on foreign oil, BioHeat can be incorporated into homes and offices without any significant upgrades or modifications to heating systems.
More exciting still, with their new AutoGas offshoot, Proulx is once again changing the way Americans think about fuel. It’s 70 percent cleaner than standard gasoline, and AutoGas allows all manner of vehicles – police cruisers, school buses, airport shuttles, limos and a host of others – to improve their performance while reducing emissions. Utilizing the PRINS conversion system, the No. 1 conversion system used worldwide, the converted vehicle can run on either propane or gasoline if needed, switching seamlessly from one to the other if the vehicle should run out of propane.
Taken together, Proulx’s energy offerings are making energy efficiency possible for anyone and everyone – homeowners, businesses and municipalities alike.
Theresa Conn (TC): What do you like most about your job?
Jim Proulx (JP): I like helping people solve their energy concerns by providing different eco-friendly options to Seacoast consumers. Proulx Oil offers the public a variety of choices through both our hardware diversity and our numerous fuel programs.
TC: Where did you go to college? Does your college education help with your current job? What skills from college most prepared you for the work you do now?
JP: I graduated from Maine Maritime Academy with a degree in Marine Engineering and then earned an MBA from New Hampshire College, now known as Southern New Hampshire University. Both of my degrees help me in my current job. Starting with a mechanical engineering background and then developing strong business skills have had significant benefits in my daily work.
Listening is probably the greatest skill I learned in both areas of study. Believe it or not, if you’re confused by a question, saying “I don’t know” is the most liberating reply you can make. Those three words can open up the world to you. You’ll learn from others if you have the confidence to admit that you don’t know everything.
TC: What do you look for in an employee in this field?
JP: Confidence and competence usually go hand in hand. A confident employee knows that even if they don’t know the answer to a problem, they can figure out where to find the best solution using resources both within and outside of our organization.
TC: What made you integrate sustainability into your business/go into a green industry?
JP: I’ve always felt that if a product came along that was as good, or better, than the traditional choice, was better for the environment and could be produced in a responsible way, I would be hypocritical to not embrace it. That was my feeling when biofuels began to make headway in replacing traditional heating oil. I get that same feeling now that we are developing propane as motor fuel, which we call AutoGas. Saving paper by moving our business to more electronic transactions is market driven but also just makes sense when you see the amount of paper waste even a small company like ours can generate. Having a background in power generation, and knowing the amount of energy it takes to create the energy we use daily in our buildings makes it easy to choose energy efficient equipment and business practices.
TC: What are you most proud of in your business as relates to sustainability?
JP: Proulx was a pioneer in bringing BioHeat to the local market and making it widely available to our customers. We are now pioneering the use of AutoGas as an American-made product with significant environmental benefits in displacing gasoline in automotive applications. We are doing our part to make a difference in the local energy industry, and I’m proud of that.
Proulx Oil & Propane and Proulx AutoGas are green-certified businesses with the Green Alliance. For more info on Proulx, visit www.proulxoilandpropane.com. To learn more about the Green Alliance, go to www.greenalliance.biz.
Theresa Conn is a senior Environmental Conservation and Sustainability major at UNH and a writer for the Green Alliance.