New headquarters christening fuels Sharp’s celebration

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Town of Georgetown Mayor Bill West is first to congratulate Chesapeake Utilities Corporation president/CEO Michael McMasters, left, at the ribbon cutting/grand opening celebration of the new business location for Sharp Energy, Inc., SharpCGS and Sharp AutoGas. Front row from left, Mr. McMasters, Mayor West and Helen Kruger of the Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce; back row, Sharp Energy president Robert Zola, State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn and State Rep. Ruth Briggs King.

GEORGETOWN – The giant, ribbon-cutting shears weren’t exactly super sharp.

Thursday’s celebration was.

Sharp Energy Inc., the propane distribution subsidiary of Chesapeake Utilities Corporation with a 35-year presence on Delmarva, officially christened its new consolidated headquarters with a grand opening celebration and tours.

“Georgetown and Sussex County has been important to us in terms of our company and our growth,” said Elaine Bittner, senior vice president of strategic development. “Sharp Energy is an important part of Chesapeake Utilities Corporation; our propane distribution company providing service to 38,000 plus customers.”

Ground was broken last September for the $6 million state-of-the-art complex located on E. Piney Road just off U.S. 113 between Georgetown and Millsboro. It provides a convenient, centralized location for both customers and employees and allows Sharp Energy to house its retail and supply functions in one location as well as increase storage capacity.

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Sharp Energy’s AutoGas fueling station.

In addition to the 18,000 square-foot building, the site features an AutoGas fueling station and 120,000 gallons of underground propane.

With its move from a Georgetown location several miles north, Sharp’s workforce has more than doubled with about 50 employees, said Andy Wesson, Sharp Energy’s director of operations.

The AutoGas fueling depot supports Sharp Energy’s environmental initiatives in supplying propane to fuel the growing number of fleet vehicles that now run on the clean-burning alternative fuel.

On site were several vehicles that have made the transition to propane power: DART Paratransit and Shore Transit shuttle-buses, a work truck and even a lawnmower.

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Some vehicles in Shore Transit and DART Paratransit fleets are powered by propane.

“We have been growing pretty rapidly over the last 10 years or so. Sharp is the largest propane dealer on the Delmarva Peninsula,” said Michael McMasters, Chesapeake Utilities Corporation’s president/CEO. “AutoGas has been at the forefront. Sharp has been at the forefront of the AutoGas on the Delmarva Peninsula and surrounding areas.”

“AutoGas is the future of energy here in the United States,” said State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn. “It is something that is produced within the United States. It is domestic fuel. We don’t have to worry about tensions in the Middle East. It is great for the economy. It is great for the environment.”

“Today we’re about half the price of gasoline,” said Ed Hoffman, president of Blossman Services/Alliance AutoGas. “Why is it not more popular? The reason why is because the investment and the notoriety hasn’t been given to us. I applaud Sharp Energy today for making that investment.”

Propane is the world’s third most popular alternative fuel, trailing gasoline and diesel.

Sen. Pettyjohn said Sharp’s facility will allow area residents to utilize this alternative fuel.

“These alternative fuels will make a dramatic impact on our environment, and national security,” said Sen. Pettyjohn. “We all have to think about the long-term implications and the choices that we make to power our homes and power our vehicles.”

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