The propane industry must feel like it already knows Stuart Weidie.
Many industry members know he played minor league baseball before joining the propane industry. They know how he rose through the ranks to lead Blossman Gas, which is the largest independent propane retailer in the country. And they certainly know of his commitment to speaking out about the benefits of propane as a clean and plentiful fuel source. But many may not know that when he feels like taking a break from the world of propane, Weidie flies airplanes.
“I’ve been flying for 15 years,” Weidie says. “I work really hard at it. I spend my spare time making sure I do the proper training to keep my skills sharp in flying.”
According to Weidie, flying is a practical skill. It serves as a way to quickly travel from point A to point B when he leaves town for work.
“It’s very helpful in traveling around,” he says. “It’s helpful from a business standpoint to not spend a lot of time in the car.”
He also uses flying as a way to clear his headspace and get away from thinking about the job.
“It’s one of the few things that I do that I concentrate and focus enough that I don’t have to think about work,” he adds.
For a man who openly admits to getting impatient when there isn’t something challenging to do, flying seems like the perfect outlet. Weidie enjoys the technical aspects of flying and he tries to fly the perfect flight every time.
Flying has also allowed Weidie to spend more time with his family, which he says is one of his greatest blessings. The family enjoys spending time together, and being able to fly planes has allowed Weidie to be home on weekends.
“I’ve always traveled quite a bit,” he says. “My wife Ann is a wonderful mother, and she was always able to keep things running smoothly, probably more smoothly when I wasn’t home. She has enabled me to fulfill my responsibilities at work by traveling a lot during the week, but on the weekend when I’m home I try to be home with our family.”
Weidie flies two different types of planes and must complete training every six months – once a year for each of the planes – but for a lover of learning who likes to challenge himself, this doesn’t seem like much of an issue. Though Weidie wouldn’t qualify himself as a lifelong learner, he has a passion for learning, which stems from feeling restless when he doesn’t feel challenged enough.
“The important thing is finding something you’re interested in and learning how to learn and never stop learning throughout your lifetime,” Weidie says. “Because when you stop learning, you get stale and stagnant.”
In addition to his passion for flying airplanes, Weidie loves to learn about history – which he studied at the University of New Orleans. Over the years, he has learned a lot about the history of his company and the propane industry, and this knowledge helps inform decisions he makes about propelling the industry into the future.
For example: According to Weidie, in 1985, 25 percent of every gallon Blossman sold was going into a vehicle, but the vehicle technology couldn’t keep up. Twenty years later, when the technology started to catch up, Weidie decided autogas would be a good market to re-enter, knowing it had done well for the company in the past.
Learning from the past while looking to the future has certainly helped Weidie make his mark on the propane industry.