For decades, my family and I have been proud to be statewide fuel distributors. My father started the company with simple roots and taught me the ins and outs of petroleum until passing the business down to my sister and me. It is a business, but it’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly as we know how much our industry affects the commonwealth of Kentucky and its future.
As time passes, companies are passed down, new roads are built and old ones re-patched; the one thing that remains steadfast is the work of Kentucky Petroleum Marketers Association. My father was very glad to be a member of KPMA, as I am today. They promote the interest and goodwill of everyone engaged in the marketing and distribution of petroleum products in Kentucky.
On Dec. 1, KPMA celebrated its 90th anniversary. Representatives of all segments of the petroleum industry were in attendance. Most were business owners and sellers who have passed along their businesses through multiple generations. The KPMA is not just 90 years of history, it is 90 years of camaraderie and family.
We provide fuel for the farmers, planes, trains and vehicles in this state. The vehicles that drive up to our stores, in many rural areas, rely on us to provide grocery and household items that otherwise would be several miles, sometimes towns, away.
KPMA members have supplied fuel to operate farms and factories, delivered energy to heat homes, provided assistance in emergencies, and they are critical to infrastructure and the transportation industry in Kentucky. We are in the homes, businesses, and schools across the state and literally building the roads that get you into all of it.
The taxes on our gasoline go right back into the economy — paying for highways and roads.
KPMA keeps members up-to-date on petroleum-related news and information, pertinent developments in state and national government, and issues that affect petroleum marketing and the industry.
I’m thankful for the group of men in 1926 referred to as the “oil men” who recognized the need to form their own association and promote businesslike competition among friendly marketers. Headquarters were formed in an office in room 437 at the Brown Hotel in Downtown Louisville.
In that hotel-room-turned-office, the “oil men” had the foresight to acknowledge that petroleum not only needed their own association, but an avenue to put resources and finances right back into our local economies. Newer oil men and women came together Dec. 1 at the Brown Hotel where it all began 90 years ago.
I can’t imagine what the world will look like 90 years from now, but it will likely have more roads, bridges, new vehicles and infrastructure. And KPMA will continue to be the backbone behind it all.
Bob Riley is president of Riley Oil Company in Richmond and a two-time chairman of the Kentucky Petroleum Marketers Association.