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Lakes Gas
Search for Chief Executive Officer

The Company

Founded in 1959, by Howard Sargeant, Lakes Gas is a second-generation family-owned propane company that has grown to be one of the largest privately-owned propane companies in the United States. Today, the Company has more than 50 locations serving 70,000 customers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and South Dakota. The Company’s stellar reputation within the propane industry and steadfast dedication to residential and commercial propane customers has helped it continue to grow and be named fifteenth on the list of top 50 U.S. propane gas companies in the February 2017 issue of LP Gas Magazine.

Lakes Gas is a stable company in an environmentally friendly, low-carbon “green” energy alternative fuelindustry that is well positioned for continued and future success. The Company maintains a solid financial position with strong balance sheets andannual revenues exceeding $100MM and is committed to exploring and pursuing strategic growth opportunities and continued investment in the Company. Presently, the Company is undertaking a companywide strategic planning process and investing in and growing the sophistication of its technology.

The success of Lakes Gas can be largely attributed to its commitment to quality service, competitive pricing and a pledge to exceeding propane safety and quality standards. Lakes Gas has a simple customer service philosophy, “to meet and exceed customer expectations with friendly, prompt and dependable service.” Lakes Gas’ corporate office is located in Forest Lake, Minnesota and many of the Company’s 250 employees are local, hometown folks who live and work alongside customers. They know the demographics of the area they serve and are able to provide superior service tailored to the local community.

For more information, please visit the Lakes Gas website at:

Position Summary

The Board of Directors is looking for an experienced executive leader to serve as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Company. The CEO will oversee and lead all strategic and business aspects of the Companywith the goal of positioning the Company to excel in the marketplace. S/he will be responsible for providing strategic leadership for the Company by working with the Board and management to establish and implement long-range strategic direction and company vision.

The CEO will set and shape a collaborative company culture and positive work environment, provide inspired leadership to the executive team, establish a working partnership with the Board of Directors and set a course for company success. As Lakes Gas looks ahead to its next 50 years in business, the CEO will champion and enhance the success of a well-established company into the future.

Reports to:

Board of Directors

Direct Reports:

Chief Financial Officer
Senior Vice President Operations
Vice President Field Operations/Training & Safety

Position Location:

Forest Lake, Minnesota

Key Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership

  • Lead the development and execution of the overall company strategic direction includingensuring it operates as a best in class propane delivery company, while driving down costs through operational efficiencies, measured against external and internal benchmarks, and expansion of the business through strategic acquisitions and diversification.
  • Lead across all aspects of the Company by reviewing how branch offices and departments work together to reach company goals and developing fresh ideas that will set the Company apart from competitors.
  • Develop high quality business strategies and plans ensuring their alignment with short-term and long-term objectives.
  • Effectively lead the development, implementation and accountability of a strategic plan in conjunction with the executive management team, Board of Directors and the Owners group.
  • Provide visionary leadership for new ideas and approaches while welcoming input from others.

Financial & Operational Leadership

  • Drive the Company to achieve and surpass sales, profitability, cash flow, business goals and objectives while defining the measurements of success.
  • Demonstrate sound financial leadership by ensuring that the financial strength and stamina of the Company remains key in the vision and mission of the Company.
  • Oversee all operations and business activities to ensure they produce the desired results and are consistent with the overall strategy and mission.
  • Ensure there is a company technology roadmap that drives performance and customer service which is implemented on time and budget.
  • Spearhead the development, communication and implementation of effective growth strategies and processes. This includes acquisition of other propane businesses to expand effective service areas, industry consolidation, as well as diversification.
  • Ensure that financial performance is reported timely and accurately to the Board, demonstrating rigor, accountability and a high level of analysis, with a clear goal of providing quantifiable results.
  • Oversee and manage company capital investments.
  • Ensure the Company operates with safety as a key measurement of success.

Marketing & Sales Leadership

  • Maintain and develop strong market awareness, including the competitive landscape, acquisition opportunities, and new industry developments and standards.
  • Develop and maintain strong industry visibility. Publicly represent the Company and participate in industry trade associations.
  • Identify and drive best practices across the Company.

People Leadership

  • Develop trust and maintain a leadership presence throughout all parts of the Organization in order to effectively collaborate with and influence others to achieve results.
  • Set and enhance the culture of the Organization consistent with the Board of Directors’ and Owners’ expectations by promoting great performance and a positive morale, acknowledging and encouraging employee contributions at all levels.
  • Foster a professionally managed, success-oriented, accountable environment within the Company.
  • Lead and motivate managers to advance employee engagement and develop a high performing team.

Leadership Competencies

As a leader of Lakes Gas, the CEO is expected to demonstrate the following Leadership Competencies:

Visionary Leadership

Develops a clear, focused and inspiring vision for the future. Models excellence and galvanizes others to embrace the vision and strategy, and helps them see their role in the Organization’s success.

Strategic Acumen

Understands the market, identifies trends and drives the Organization to create comprehensive, competitive and breakthrough strategies. Prioritizes strategically, leading the Organization to pursue and capitalize on the best opportunities. Successfully implements new technologies to drive efficient and client service.

Drives Results

Proactively anticipates future needs and creates a mechanism for overcoming hurdles, setting high standards for the Organization and holding others accountable. Ensures organizational strategies are translated into measurable objectives and actionable plans.

Sound Decision-Making

Possesses strong intellectual curiosity and the ability to analytically, conceptually and critically evaluate information to determine relative strengths and weaknesses of ideas and proposals. Comfortable managing ambiguity and balancing action with the appropriate level of risk.

Builds Talent

Recruits, develops, and maintains high-performing teams and coaches other leaders to develop their own leadership capabilities. Ensures all leaders and team members challenge and support each other while respecting others’ unique roles and contributions.

Fosters Collaboration

Creates an environment that supports collaboration by facilitating communication and coordination across all parts of the organization. Builds an intentional and cohesive culture that aligns functional agendas and unites the team.

Ideal Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will be a steady, energetic and innovative leader with over twenty years of relevant progressive leadership experience. This should include a proven track record of managing profitable operations, developing profitable strategies and implementing company vision. Ability to grow a business with a combination of organic growth and diversification with product or service acquisition or outright acquisition into new markets is desired. S/he will possess strong skills in finance to support the Company’s base business and diversification efforts.

Leadership experience with a privately-held company, either family-owned or private equity owned, is preferred. The ideal candidate should be comfortable navigating a family-owned business with the appreciation and ability to navigate family dynamics. The ability to effectively communicate with, keep informed and report to an independent board of directors is critical.

The ideal candidate will be an accomplished leader of people with outstanding verbal and written communication skills. Critical to the candidate’s success will be the ability to present information and the Company’s vision and strategy in a clear, concise and effective way across all levels of the Organization.

The ideal candidate will be collaborative by nature and possess well-developed interpersonal skills as well as the ability to develop chemistry with the existing team, hold people accountable and infuse organizational discipline while maintaining the core values of the culture. S/he will have experience recruiting, hiring and managing cross functional teams and effective operations.The individual will be able to motivate, measure, coach and mentor the management team and employee base to ensure optimum operating performance.

A hands on, “roll up your sleeves” attitude and willingness get out in the field to develop in-depth knowledge of the business and industry is critical. The ability to “push the envelope” with a desire to build something for the future that is better than today is key.

Experience with multiple industries is desirable and propane or other energy industry experience is helpful. Familiarity with logistics, supply chain, dealer networks and decentralized management is preferred. The ideal candidate will be data driven, metrics focused and comfortable with technology. Experience with a technology enabled company is useful.

Educational experience that supports and strengthens leadership abilities and decision making is required. The highest ethical standards are expected.

David Lyman

Nora Klaphake