2021 SGA Management Conference Recap

The 2021 SGA Management Conference was 3 days of information, innovation and inspiration.

Almost 200 attendees had access to 24 sessions or meetings that counted as Professional Development Hours.

Nearly 80 attendees joined the opening session where keynote speaker, Dr. Paula Gant, challenged us to answer one question: What will the role of energy producers, workers, researchers and students be in the transition to a low-carbon, low-cost future?

As Dr. Gant states, “We are witnessing market changes that signify a transition to low-carbon, low-cost energy systems. A global competitiveness race is underway, with countries across the globe implementing national hydrogen plans as part of their decarbonization strategies.

To win that global race, the United States needs to meet this moment with intention. The Biden administration has signaled that it’s clearly willing to make significant investments to our energy and infrastructure – now, it’s time for energy producers, workers, researchers and students to shape the path to a low-carbon future by embracing integrated energy systems come back.

To succeed requires ambition. Innovation. Scale and collaboration.”

SGA held its Annual Membership Meeting. Jimmy Staton, SGA Board Chair, and Suzanne Ogle, SGA President and CEO, hosted the meeting to provide general membership a state of the association and an open forum to ask questions. This year’s annual meeting marked an opportunity that opened the session to full membership when previous years the meeting was open to only official delegates.

Associate Tech Forum: SGA excitedly welcomed attendees to our first Innovative Tech Forum. Operators and Associates are leading the way in the energy transition through partnership and collaboration; the kind that will lead us to a clean energy future with natural gas being a cornerstone of our energy solution. We welcomed four innovative Associate members who shared solutions on using AI to reduce and monitor methane emissions, Hydrogen Blending, Distributed Generation and Using and Monetizing excess energy without combustion. Thank you Picarro, E2 Companies, Campos CPE and Anax Power for helping operators achieve their goals.

SGA Board of Directors held its semi-annual meeting. Board Members discussed dynamic reports from the board committees on current 2021 plans.

Membership and Awards Committee is focused on supporting the new awards process for the association, which will open voting to the general membership on Tuesday, July 6th.

Planning Committee is focused on member company engagement and succession planning for our future leaders, including career development within their organizations.

Executive Council, Pipeline Safety Council and Associate Management Section reported to the Board. The Board is encouraged with the new section committee activity plans and committee engagement.

Session 1:
NTSB Pipeline Investigations
Discussed how things happen quickly, and the importance of understanding how the NTSB process works before an incident happens. Pipeline operator’s involvement is crucial to the investigation of aviation, rail, marine, highway and pipeline incidents.

Advanced Analytics from Supply to Consumer
Knowledgeable presenters. Shared how 2 companies are using data analytics in an innovative way to conduct forecasting, predictive maintenance, customer insights, emission reduction, and safety monitoring, rather than simply for reporting.

Session 2:
Reliability: Perspectives from the Texas Polar Vortex
Perspectives from both someone who studies the industry and from an operator (Southern Star) who was affected by the event. Dick would explain a high-level perspective, and Will Wathen would lend perspective and practical examples.

Leadership Voice
Highlighted the importance of communication on high-functioning teams. In order to communicate effectively, leaders must understand what type of voice they have. Five voice types were discussed and attendees were taught how to understand their strengths and weaknesses.

ESG: Greenhouse Emissions Reduction Strategies
Discussed pursuing renewable power generation and how driving company culture change can help improve greenhouse gas reductions.

Session 3:
Hydrogen Construction from the Ground Up
Almost a virtual tour of a new hydrogen construction. The presenters walked the attendees through site selection considerations, design decisions, and final product renders of a brand new and innovative hydrogen facility.

Session 4:
Messaging and Marketing Gas Success Stories: Self Service Online Rebate Initiative
A very marketing and customer-focused session, Chesapeake Utilities shared their award-winning Self Service Online Rebate Portal from problem statement to completion.

Leading Post-Pandemic
Discussed what leaders can learn from the pandemic and what opportunities lay ahead of them.

Session 5:
Messaging In Innovation: Responding to Climate Challenges and Opposition
Presenters discussed survey research to understand the public’s view of natural gas and renewables. They offered insight and ideas on how to tell a compelling story that will get noticed by customers.

Continuous Improvement in Pipeline Safety
Highlighted what organizations are doing in the field of continuous improvement, and how it integrates with PSMS. Speakers provided descriptions of the PSMS structures within their organizations, and how they implement them with all aspects of their operations. Panelists gave detailed explanations of their risk analysis and CI processes, and real-world examples of those processes in action.

Session 6:
The Effects of Electrification on the Renewable Battle
Discussed perspectives on the development and role of electrification and renewables in the power grid. Discussed additional perspectives on winter storm Uri.

ESG: Best Practices for Return-to-Office Communications
Discussed data used to create situational awareness of COVID-influenced environment in the office. Every company has different policies to meet their specific needs and being able to pivot quickly has been crucial. Having in-person days in the office helps establish relationships through face-to-face experiences.

Mentoring Circles
Attendees had the opportunity to participate in group mentoring via mentoring circles. Those who attended were split into three breakout rooms to bond together and discuss best practices in Networking, Goal-Setting, and building your Professional Brand. Attendees left with a feel for how mentoring circles work and with the tools to potentially continue these circles amongst their teams, colleagues, and friends.

The following volunteers were recognized for their leadership and dedication to moving the mission forward. Each received this year’s challenge coin award for their service, highlighting this year’s Chairman’s theme: Innovating to a Clean Energy Future: Maurice Baker, Elizabeth Beck, Bryan Ford, Ryan Hyman, DeShaundra Jones, Glen Koch, Jen Kostyniuk, Kira Lake, Matt McCoy, Kyle Moore, Shawn Patterson, Clifford Swoape. The impact of those giving their time to important causes is immeasurable. We thank you!