Industry veteran looks to build on the accomplishments of his renowned predecessor
NEW YORK CITY, September 3, 2015 – There is a new executive in charge at the New York Oil Heating Association.
On August 28, Rocco J. Lacertosa Sr. stepped into the chief executive role at what might be the heating oil industry’s most influential association. He succeeds John Maniscalco, who led NYOHA for 24 years and earned widespread praise as one of the industry’s great leaders.
“I definitely have a big pair of shoes to fill,” said Mr. Lacertosa.
Like Mr. Maniscalco before him, Mr. Lacertosa comes well prepared. He joined the industry in 1966 as a technician and delivery driver in a family-owned business, and in the intervening decades has held numerous leadership roles. In 22 years with his first company, Mr. Lacertosa worked in every aspect of the business, including dispatch and credit and eventually oversaw all the day-to -day operations.
He then founded and ran his own company in 1990 (Alpha Fuel Oil) before selling it to Hart Petroleum four years later and becoming Hart’s general manager. In 1999 he was recruited to run a $25 million division of a Reading, PA, company before joining Blue Diamond Fuel in 2011. Approved Oil purchased Blue Diamond in 2011 and made Mr. Lacertosa Vice President of Operations. Along the way, he also held senior level positions with Kaufman Fuel and Paraco Gas.
This spring and summer, Mr. Lacertosa topped off that experience with a 17-week stint working alongside Mr. Maniscalco at NYOHA. “John was very gracious,” Mr. Lacertosa said. “He made sure to introduce me to all the right people: the people in politics, the industry executives, all the people we work with here. It was a really smooth transition.”
The switch from company executive to industry executive is a sizable leap, he said. “It’s completely different. I’m no longer worrying about trucks and drivers and other operational issues. Here, we are taking care of the dealers’ concerns, and something new is always coming up.”
Working side-by-side with Mr. Maniscalco reinforced what Mr. Lacertosa had seen for six years as a NYOHA board member. “He is a strategic thinker, which is important in this role, and he has a great intellect,” he said of his predecessor. “He knows what is going on, and he anticipates things. He’s also very persistent, which you could see in the passage of the B2 bill. He’s personable too, and he never gets rattled.”
That B2 bill was New York City’s local law requiring the use of B2 Bioheat® Fuel made with Ultra Low Sulfur Heating Oil. It was the nation’s first successful Bioheat mandate, and it strengthened the heating oil industry while giving biodiesel a solid foothold in the Metropolitan area.
NYOHA is now working with the New York City Council on a follow-up bill that would increase the mandated biodiesel blend rate from 2 percent to 5 percent. “The bill will be coming up in the Council, and we’ll mostly likely testify to talk about how well B2 has done.” Mr. Lacertosa said. “The City really seems to rallying behind it. They actually wanted us to go higher (than 5 percent), and we had to ask them to back down.”
Another top priority at NYOHA is training. Mr. Lacertosa sees a need to strengthen knowledge and skills throughout the industry and bring new talent on board. NYOHA is working with the Oil Heat Institute of Long Island and the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) to establish a training facility that is easily accessible from Queens and Brooklyn. “We are pursuing an agenda to make more training available for technicians, fuel people and inside people. We’re using NORA money to do this, and NORA is participating,” he said. The facility will include a lab, a classroom and an office, and the associations will make it available to manufacturers who wish to offer training.
NYOHA has achieved lots of success through the years thanks to its strong leadership and the member companies who are committed to the industries success, according to Mr. Lacertosa. He looks forward to keeping the association active and strong for years to come.