Fuel Oil News

Fuel Oil News - January 2017

The home heating oil industry has a long and proud history, and Fuel Oil News has been there supporting it since 1935. It is an industry that has faced many challenges during that time. In its 77th year, Fuel Oil News is doing more than just holding

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32 JANUARY 2017 | FUEL OIL NEWS | www.fueloilnews.com built homes over 10,000 square feet. It was a flourishing business employing several people, but things were about to change… Katherine's family had been in the heating oil industry since 1969. One after- noon while riding along with Katherine's father, Ron was asked if he knew anyone who would be willing to drive a tractor trailer to transport fuel for the family business, A One Oil in Pleasant Valley, N.Y. Never one to pass up an opportu- nity, Ron obtained his trailer license and another career was launched. While doing both oil delivery and the construction business was fun, some- thing "had to give." The construction business was sold to allow Ron to be fully involved in A One Oil. Over time, Ron and Katherine grew the business, especially with the acquisition of Harvey Russell and Sons, which effectively dou- bled the size of their company. At the same time, their family also started to grow: their first child, Joseph, was born in 1997. He literally ate most of his meals at the counter at A One Oil, and customers loved to come visit him while he ate his strained peas or played in the playpen at the office. In 1999, Ron and Katherine's daughter, Mariel, was born. Mom had her hands full with two children and a job at A One. In 2000, the decision was made to join forces with Petro, and A One Oil became a member of the Petro/Star Gas family. Ron was only supposed to stay for three months before transitioning back into the construction business… but 16 years later, he is still very much a member of the industry and Petro/Star Gas. In his early tenure at Petro, Ron managed the installation department in Poughkeepsie. Growth in this area was impressive, improving almost five-fold in his first year. From there, he transitioned to managing the service and installation department and then to the role of depot manager. Currently, Ron is the general manager of three different brands and locations for Petro, and he looks forward to greater responsibilities in the future. Joseph is nineteen now, and Mariel is seventeen. Ron is extremely proud of both of them, as they have grown to be very smart and successful young adults (thanks to Katherine). Both Joseph and Mariel carry on the family farming tra- dition. Having started out at a young age, like their parents, they continue to help out around the family farm, raising steers, goats, hogs and even honeybees. In fact, Mariel recently received a Master Showman award from 4-H. One of the things Ron cherishes and respects most about the industry is the Hudson Valley Oil and Energy Council. His involvement started many years ago, when Nella Mahoney called, invit- ing him to attend a meeting. The rest, as they say, is history. Ron was elected to the board and was flattered to eventually be elected to the position of president, serving a two-year term. He's proud of the Council's achievements in the indus- try, for its members and consumers. However, the thing he is most grateful for is the acquaintances and friendships that have developed as a result of being involved with this group. He is truly hon- ored and humbled to be chosen as the Council's person of the year, and looks forward to many more years of involve- ment in the HVOEC. Also in the program for the dinner dance was a congratulatory notice from Mustello's employer that featured a jokey mock-up of him, feet propped on his desk, hands clasped behind his head, and a thought bubble that read: "I'd rather be driving my tractor." These days, Mustello said, "We run more of a hobby farm," but he also said that raising beef cattle, dairy goats, hogs and keeping honeybees makes it "almost a second full-time job." But he added, "We really enjoy it. We have a lot of people come to visit. We sponsor some children who don't have the resources or the property to have animals. My whole family is involved and it teaches some great life skills [with] 4-H and animal husbandry." l F O N —Stephen Bennett HUDSON VALLEY OIL & ENERGY COUNCIL PERSON OF THE YEAR: RON MUSTELLO

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