Three Generations in the Oil Heating Business.
How Cool Is That?
Julie Gill’s first “job” in the oil heating industry was to stand on a folding chair in her father’s burner service company and file invoices. We wonder if she knew then, as a third grader in the early 1960s, that she would make a career in the industry, after her father and grandfather. Today, as Executive Vice President/CEO of the Oil Heat Institute of Rhode Island, Julie’s industry knowledge and insight is in her DNA.
Back in 1939, Julie’s grandfather began Old Colony Oil, selling gasoline, tires, coal and oil from a location on Eddy Street. Julie recalls, “In those days, gas station people would put heating oil in cans and go out to deliver. When they got to three-story tenement buildings, they would lower a rope down, from the second or third floor, and hoist the oil up that way!”
Fast-forward to the next generation, which saw Julie’s father Mickey Gill open Gill Burner & Heating Company in 1957. Just 26 years old, Mickey employed 16 people – and one unpaid “intern.” After a hard day as a third grader, Julie would come to her father’s office. Over the years, she was taught the business from the inside out. Incredibly, Julie worked there for four decades until 1997, when she left to join the Oil Heat Institute.
Today, nearly 17 years later, the Institute’s membership includes many of Rhode Island’s most trusted heating oil companies. Julie has become a seasoned advocate for her industry, and a valued associate of New England Tech’s Center for Technology and Industry. “New England Tech is the only place in the state that trains and certifies our industry’s professionals, from heating technicians to pipefitters,” says Julie.
“As our industry changes, the men and women in the field need to stay current,” she explains. “The industry has gotten broader and more technology driven, and New England Tech has worked with us closely every step of the way, developing a curriculum that’s exactly what we need. Thanks to them, our members are offered very diverse training, from electrical wiring for furnaces, to whole house energy audits. It’s exciting to be a part of such an innovative initiative.”
And, we might add, Julie Gill has come a long way from filing invoices while standing on a folding chair!