Tim Philley started working in the Service Department of what was then called Atlas Gas Service (before it was renamed Delta Liquid Energy in 1987) in 1983, as a mechanic, service technician and RV mechanic. He then worked as a service technician for six years before earning a promotion to the position of branch manager at DLE’s Buellton location. Philley has held that role for the last 24 years, during which time the branch moved from Buellton to Solvang for four years, and then to the permanent facility in Santa Maria, where he successfully oversaw the merger with the pre-existing Arroyo Grande branch and managed the doubled customer base.
“DLE has always been an extremely good company to work for,” Philley says. “I’ve always been very appreciative that they give me free reign on day-to-day decisions that need to be made here. The company has grown tremendously over the past 30 years in terms of technology and has always prided itself on being a cutting-edge company, always experimenting with new technology.”
Aside from the technological advancements, Philley says the typical work day keeps him on his toes, providing constantly changing and varied tasks and challenges. “It’s never boring around here,” he laughs, “which makes the work both rewarding and exciting.” Part of that excitement stems from the fact that Philley doesn’t rely on his mechanics to fix problems that come up; instead, he finds a way to fix things himself so that there is little to no down-time in operations. “I will always consider myself a working manager,” he says. “I get my hands dirty all the time.”
At age 59, Tim doesn’t plan on retiring anytime in the near future. “I honestly feel like I’m still 35 years old,” he says, attributing this in part to eating a lot of greens, getting his vitamins through his diet and living a healthy life.
In the course of 27 years, Technical Specialist Larry Caton has served five different roles with Delta Liquid Energy, proving to be a man of many talents. “I’m the ‘go-to’ guy,” Caton says. “If anyone needs help, especially mechanically, they can call me.”
Caton started his career at DLE (then called Atlas Gas Service) in 1985, as a propane transport driver in Buellton where he worked for two-and-a-half years with Philley. He was then promoted to service technician and tasked with setting tanks, installing underground piping for gas appliances, fixing fleet vehicles, and working on pumps and meters for over a decade.” His eagerness to do whatever it took to get the job done, combined with a natural knack for mechanics, quickly made him an asset to the company,” explains Philley. Today, Caton can confidently say, “If you have something that is broken and I can’t fix it, throw it in the trash!”
Caton was promoted to branch manager of the Arroyo Grande location before it was subsumed by the Santa Maria branch, at which time he became a technical specialist, the only employee in the company with this title. The role has involved working closely with CleanFUEL USA technology; installing MobilTech equipment; and, most recently, testing for DLE’s new ARRO Autogas department and working with FuelMaster to install new propane “autogas” refueling stations throughout the state. Caton has been a licensed Weights and Measures service agent for Delta Liquid Energy for nearly 10 years.
“I like what I do and I like the people I work with, including the Platz family,” says Caton, noting that he appreciates that the family and company has always treated him well. “I started when I was 23 years old and I am now 51 years old—that’s over half my life with DLE. With that said, I don’t plan on going anywhere. I’m here to stay.”
Delta Liquid Energy is a third-generation, family-owned and operated propane marketer headquartered in Paso Robles, California. The company has been in business since 1936 and operates nine service facilities throughout California. For more information about Delta Liquid Energy, please visit www.deltaliquidenergy.com.