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NEFI Expo 2015 brings marketers together in Worcester

Hundreds of energy marketers and technicians descended on Worcester, Mass., for two days last month to take part in the industry’s largest convention and tradeshow, NEFI Expo 2015.

New England Fuel Institute hosted the event at the DCU Center June 10-11 and provided attendees with great opportunities to learn about the latest products, services and technologies; network and socialize with industry colleagues; and get acquainted with the host city.

One highlight of the Expo was an evening reception at the Worcester Art Museum, sponsored by Apple Oil, Peterson’s Oil and Shipley Energy. The museum hosts outstanding examples of art from the Americas, Europe, China and India and an extensive armor collection. Attendees gathered in the museum’s spectacular Renaissance Court, which features a high atrium ceiling, a colonnaded mezzanine and broad elegant staircases. From there they could explore adjacent exhibits while socializing with friends and colleagues.

Fitting Tributes

Another Expo highlight was the Wednesday brunch, where NEFI honored two retiring association executives, John Maniscalco of the New York Oil Heating Association (NYOHA) and Julie Gill of the Oil Heat Institute of Rhode Island (OHIRI). James Townsend, of Townsend Energy, delivered a tribute to Maniscalco, citing his extensive contributions in the heating oil industry since taking the helm at NYOHA in 1991. “In a significant recent accomplishment, John led NYOHA in the effort to establish ultra low sulfur heating oil as the standard in New York. In 2012, a major success was achieved when legislation was signed into law by then-Gov. Peterson that positioned New York State as a leader in clean heating oil policy.”

Townsend hailed Maniscalco as “a forceful and effective advocate for his members in New York City” and noted that he has served the broader industry by taking on important roles for the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA), the National Association for Oilheat Research & Education, Inc. (NAORE), the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) and NEFI. “In fact, John has been the treasurer of both NORA and NAORE since their inception, and there was no one more capable of presenting the financials and keeping the books of the organizations in good order,” Townsend added. “For almost 25 years as an association executive John has served our industry with passion, professionalism and great style.”

“On a personal basis, I was introduced to John by our late friend Bob Greenes over 20 years ago in Washington D.C.,” Townsend continued. “John then, as he does now, greets friends with that firm, genuine handshake and warm, endearing smile. Over the past 25 years, we have been faced with significant challenges, and John has always been at the forefront as a selfless advocate for the hard working small business men and women that make up our great industry. John is a loyal and capable leader who you want by your side when the going gets tough. … For those of us that have had the good fortune of working side by side with John, he enjoys and has earned our respect and admiration as an industry giant. Simply, the oil heat business is better today because John D. Maniscalco has been a part of it.”

NEFI honored Maniscalco with a NEFI Distinguished Service Award.

A Force to Be Reckoned With

The Institute also honored Rhode Island’s Julie Gill, with her successor as Executive Director at OHIRI, Robert Fagan of Anchor Fuel, delivering a tribute. “In Rhode Island, the name Gill is synonymous with the petroleum industry,” Fagan said. “Following in her grandfather’s and father’s footsteps, Julie started her professional career in the oil heat industry in 1997 working for her family-owned business, Gill Services for 16 years,” She went to work with Executive Director Peter Lombardi at OHIRI before being selected as his successor in 2007.

“There are many, many characteristics to describe Julie—charitable, patient, persistent, persevering and honorable to name a few—but when it comes right down to it Julie is a woman of principles with an incredible work ethic,” Fagan continued. “I think we can all agree that Julie, on a regular basis, puts the needs of others before her own, overcoming personal and professional obstacles to ensure the best interests of those she loves and serves—her family, friends and business partners.”

Fagan urged attendees not to underestimate the 5’2” Gill. “She is a force to be reckoned with. Julie is not a politician, but she has had a constant presence and is well known in political circles, advocating for our industry.” When then-Mayor Buddy Cianci tried to gentrify the Providence waterfront and change the zoning to mixed use with hotels and condominiums, “Julie played a key role working with other stakeholders to educate public officials and the general public on the importance of maintaining the Port of Providence as an industrial zone,” Fagan said. “This is just one example of Julie’s important role in our industry. She is a humble person, always shying away from praise, but her efforts over the years have kept our organization and the interests of petroleum dealers and partners alive and viable. She has molded the Oil Heat Institute into the organization it is today.”

Technical Training

The Expo also featured extensive education opportunities for technicians, including NORA Gold classes in warm air heating and hydronic heating. Wesson Energy and The School for Energy Efficiency also presented training on several topics, including the whole house approach to comfort and efficiency; ductless heat pumps; home automation; and the service call of tomorrow.

The NEFI Expo 2015 Committee that planned the event included Steven Abbate, Rick Card, Don Craft, Mike Estes, Martha Leshine, Scott E. MacFarlane, Howard Peterson, Sharon Peterson, Rick Trout, Michael Trunzo and George Wilson.

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