Ramon Gonzalez Sr., 86, helped set the stage for the LP gas industry in Puerto Rico as it is known today. Gonzalez has been a dynamic, gifted salesman for Empire Gas and the industry. His determination to innovate and move forward started at an early age.
After graduating from the University of Puerto Rico, Gonzalez started working his first job at Esso Gas, promoting the use of LP gas door to door. Back then, he had to show potential clients the basic tests of the stove and how to cook. He spent 13 years at Esso Gas, where he held a top executive position.
With his charismatic and visionary attitude, Gonzalez built the foundation of Empire Gas in his garage in 1967 with his wife, Ketty Simounet Bey. By 1985, all four of his children had joined the company, which at the time was selling 14 million gallons of LP gas a year.
Today, Empire Gas sells about 75 million gallons annually with 50 bulk plants, three port terminals, 1,000 points of sale promoting LP gas from 20-pound cylinders to 30,000-gallon tank installations throughout Puerto Rico and the neighboring U.S. and British Virgin Islands.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, Empire Gas maintained propane supply on the island – and power, in some cases. It designs and offers propane-fueled combined heat and power systems for customers. One of Gonzalez’s most notable accomplishments is creating a department of cogeneration, under his son Ramon Gonzalez Jr.’s leadership, for industrial sites in Puerto Rico, including pharmaceuticals.