Name: Marc Lacasse

Age: 55

Title: President and CEO

Company: Augusta Fuel Co.

About: Provides fuel delivery and mechanical services for residential and commercial customers.

Website: www.afccomfort.com

What is your biggest challenge right now?

I think it’s continuing to maintain and foster a positive working environment for our staff. Our customers are our most valuable asset, and it’s critical to make sure we’re doing everything we can to ensure they have positive experiences and outcomes when they’re dealing with us. That’s a tough thing to do if our people don’t enjoy and take pride in what they do. We have a wonderful group of people. They work extremely hard and at times in stressful situations. Making sure they have the resources and tools, and I feel most importantly, a workplace and environment that allows them to excel and succeed, is probably the most important thing that I do.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you, and who gave it?

Surround yourself with talented and hardworking people. My father was probably the first person who gave me this advice, but I’ve heard it dozens of times over the years from people that I respect, people that challenge you and make you think and can be game-changers. It also makes things a lot easier.

How do you foster creativity in yourself/your employees?

I don’t think that I’m personally a very creative person. I try to listen a lot, not only to our staff and coworkers, but business and industry leaders (too). I’d like to think that I’m generally open to new ideas and ways of doing things. I guess if those ideas can be considered creative, then we’re creative.

What’s your biggest fear?

This is a little silly. A couple of weeks ago we had one of our vendors come in and demo some new communications software. It was some pretty interesting stuff. A majority of our operational activities — our delivery system trucks, our service scheduling, dispatching, and technicians are all electronic. All of our field staff utilize smart technology. Everything is wired so we can be more efficient and effective taking care of our customers. The new communication software that was being demoed would be integrated into our existing system and provide some great capabilities that we don’t currently have. Anyway, everything’s connected. I looked at one of the people doing the presentation and just asked him, “Do you ever think about or worry that someday the whole system is just going to crash?” That was a bit tongue-in-cheek, to be honest. And I wasn’t referring to internal AFC systems. We have some wonderful IT partners that take great care of us, so I don’t necessarily stay awake at night worrying about this stuff. At the same time, being an older person, technology can sometimes be a little scary.

My biggest fear on Sunday is that the Patriots will lose.

Where do you think your business will be in five years?

We purchased the retail energy business from J&S Oil almost two years ago. It was a significant increase in our customer base, and we got a facility in Winslow with an office and a distribution center and we added a propane bulk storage facility. It was a strategic move and we have more capacity and greater capabilities.

I think we have a great company because we have great people. I expect we’ll continue to adapt and grow to meet the needs of our customers and the energy market in Maine.

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