Future Energy, LLC was created based on the same principles and forward-thinking that my grandfather, Archer C. Farmer, Sr. and father, Archer C. Farmer, Jr. used in the late 1940’s when they started A.C. Farmer & Son Bottled Gas in the rural area of Caroline County, Virginia.
My grandfather, having just retired from Newport News Shipbuilding, and my father, home from serving in the Korean War in the US Army, were looking for a joint venture and realized that propane was a much cleaner and cheaper alternative to the oil-burning stoves and heaters of that time that left homes smelly and full of soot. They turned their vision into a reality by converting homes and businesses to propane. This was a change that was revolutionary at the time.
In the 1960’s, my grandfather and father saw the nation’s dependency on foreign oil as a detriment and they had the forethought and knowledge to convert their own fleet to operate on propane. When the energy crisis in the 1970’s erupted and the fuel shortage crippled businesses, they were able to prosper and other companies began to follow their lead.
When the company was sold in the 1980’s, my older brother, Archer C. Farmer, III, remained with the new owner and now, more than 30 years later, he still serves some of the original customers and second- and even, third-generation customers of A.C. Farmer & Son.
After relocating to the Tidewater area, I began my career in the waste and recycling industry. For more than 20 years in the corporate world, one of my primary responsibilities has been to ensure the profitability of a company by containing costs. In an industry that is heavily dependent upon trucking, it became apparent that one of the largest operating expenses was the cost of fueling a fleet. The waste industry was one of the first industries to embrace the transition to CNG as a lower cost fuel source. Part of the reason was born out of competitiveness; if you didn’t adapt and change, you wouldn’t be able to compete. Being a numbers-oriented industry, it made sense financially as well as environmentally. The idea became more prevalent when diesel surpassed $3.00 a gallon and once the fuel prices climbed over $3.50 a gallon, the need for alternative fuel became more of a priority.
There was no clear alternative to diesel, until recently, with technology advancement in the natural gas industry. Over the last four to five years, I was part of the first private waste/recycling company in the Commonwealth of Virginia that made the commitment to convert its fleet to CNG and had our own fueling station installed. Our CNG compliant maintenance facility was staffed with certified CNG trained mechanics. We then opened up our maintenance facility for outside services, to assist other fleets to make the transition. We also developed an accredited CNG training program for mechanics to become certified locally instead of having to go out of state. This satisfying experience has brought me full circle back to my beginnings where my family was running our vehicles off of propane in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
My wife, Mona and I, along with our two children, started Future Energy, LLC to build CNG public access fueling stations to make this transition easily available to any fleet, regardless of size, and in doing so, keeping alive the spirit of A.C. Farmer & Son.
Founder, Future Energy, LLC