Southern Gas Association’s New, Online Training Empowers Industry for Crucial Conversations

SGA zeros in on industry education focused on benefits of natural gas as a key part of America’s clean energy solution

For Immediate Release: March 18, 2019

(DALLAS, Texas – March 18, 2019) — Today, the Southern Gas Association (SGA) launched Phase II of the Natural Gas Champions Program, a web-based series intended to enhance the conversation of natural gas through knowledge acquisition and communication training. The online training builds a foundational understanding of natural gas facts with respect to the American energy industry and communication skills that are critical to responsibly engage with the public. Building on the instructor-led program central to Phase I, the series of 10 online modules offers increased access to natural gas industry employees indiscriminate of location, work environment or technology limitations.

“The goal of this course is to provide a company’s overall employee base with a general understanding and prepare them for those casual yet critical conversations that help shape public opinion,” said Suzanne Ogle, senior vice president of SGA. “After completing the training, utility workers finish empowered by their part of the role natural gas plays to delivering America clean, reliable energy and equipped with more facts about how the industry strives to operate in a safe, efficient and environmentally-sound manner.” 

Originally created as a joint industry project, the Natural Gas Champions Program was developed by SGA with the support of the American Gas Association, the American Public Gas Association and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America to positively influence the public narrative focused on natural gas as a central component to America’s energy solution. The initial concept was delivered to a test group of 60 employees representing 20 industry companies to craft the most effective resonance among peers. The online training of Phase II establishes a baseline understanding of the energy industry, builds on knowledge specific to natural gas and culminates with instruction on how to approach the energy discussion with others.

Now deployed across the country, the Natural Gas Champions Program was delivered through 10 workshops reaching 250 people from 35 different companies in 2018. Through this next phase of the program, SGA plans to dramatically increase industry exposure facilitated through online access. Participants who complete the program will acquire the necessary knowledge to speak confidently about the natural gas industry as well as the fundamental communication skills to engage in influential conversations with neighbors, family and the community.

The web modules for Phase II of the Natural Gas Champions Program can be purchased as a package for member or non-member companies. Additional information including upcoming instructor-led workshops and purchase of the online training can be accessed at 

About the Southern Gas Association:  For more than a century, SGA has been focused on growing individuals and advancing the industry by linking people, ideas and information. Representing the industry as a whole from drill bit to burner tip, SGA’s membership comprises 200 businesses across the distribution, pipeline and gas supply marketing sectors as well as more than 300 industry partners who serve the industry as vendors, suppliers and consultants.

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Media Contact:
Ashley Brazell, Marketing and Communications Manager
Phone: (972) 620-4002 | E-mail:

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Last month, the Southern Gas Association hosted the 2019 Supply Chain Management Conference with the Northwest Gas Association in Point Clear, Alabama.

Thank you to the Supply Chain Management Conference Planning Committee and the Associate Members for developing such a great event. Joel Zeff, motivational speaker, opened the conference with an engaging keynote that will be hard to top next year! Here are his top seven takeaways on how to increase collaboration, productivity, passion and innovation in the workplace:

  1. Learn to celebrate work and create a positive environment.
  2. Learn to improve collaboration and teamwork and help all partners find success.
  3. Learn the three keys to leading change: be prepared; be focused; be open and flexible.
  4. Learn the key to success: staying in the game and keeping your passion.
  5. Learn to promote ownership and accountability.
  6. Learn to encourage innovation by creating opportunity.
  7. Learn to enhance communication.

Thank you to Vulcan Utility Signs for hosting a site tour and special tasting to kick start the event, and thank you to PLH Group for sponsoring the annual golf tournament. Congratulations to the 2019 Supply Chain Management Conference Golf All-Stars!

  • First Place Team – David Kerr, Tony Spivey, William Jones and Jeff Dyer
  • Second Place Team – John Wilson, Ryan Evans and Jeff Elgin
  • Third Place Team – Jake Naylor, Joel Chermak and Chad Davis
  • Top Two Closest to the Pin – Richard Clement and Dan Rosinski
  • Top Two Longest Drives –William Jones and Drew Sitgreaves

Thank you for engaging through your social networks and the GoMobile@SGA timeline with #SGASCMC19 over the past few months. SGA’s core focus is linking people, ideas and information, and we loved seeing you connect to our mission by posting online. Here are our top social media shout outs:

Finally, thank you to the sponsors for this year, including:

We hope you can join us again next year. Mark your calendars for February 26-28, 2020, at the Lost Pines Resort in Austin, Texas!


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Don’t miss SGA’s 2019 Spring Gas Conference & Expo this month!

We’re just two weeks away for you to join 800+ industry colleagues and peers in Columbia, South Carolina. Need help deciding which of the 30+ classes, roundtables and workshops to schedule?


Suggested Classes to Sign Up For:

  • Accounting Roundtable
  • Creating Natural Gas Champions
  • Skill Performance Evaluation Workshop
  • Recognize & React to AOCs
  • Women & Leadership Forum


Learn more and register at

**No prerequisites are required for any course; learning objectives are available on the corresponding agenda. The Accounting Roundtable can earn up to 7 credits.

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Think you’re not affected by artificial intelligence (AI)? Think again …

SGA’s Management Conference keynote kicks off with the “Case for Change.” Listen and learn solutions to actually leverage AI to boost business results, improve customer service and free up staff to work on more creative initiatives and cultivate better business relationships.

3 Real Ways AI Is Changing the Natural Gas Business

#1 Increase Efficiency of Transaction-Based Work – Think automating customer requests, scheduling, customer communications, data management and more!

#2 Automate Complex Functions Through Algorithms – Apply better algorithms for gas control, gas purchasing, gas scheduling, shift scheduling, etc.

#3 Use Human Intelligence to Boost Analytics Performance – Tap into the potential of analytics-focused employees to identify necessary changes and process improvements for optimal data collection, operations and asset management.

SGA’s 2019 Management Conference keynote will be led by Michael Poland, CMRP, CCMP, CRL, managing director for ASCO&S, Accenture Strategy | Industry XO. Learn more and register today! 

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Earlier this month, the Southern Gas Association welcomed 350+ industry peers at the 2019 Technical Conference on Environmental Permitting and Construction. Together, the group hosted 15+ learning opportunities, including real-world case studies demonstrating how to successfully get pipelines permitted and built.

The group kicked off with a golf tournament hosted by HDR, Inc. at the Cowboys Golf Club. Congratulations to the following SGA golf all-stars:

  • Closest to the Pin Hole #3 – Chip Day
  • Closest to the Pin Hole #6 – Jon Austin
  • Closest to the Pin Hole #15 – Brad Schaeffer
  • Longest Putt Hole #7 – Micah Chambers
  • Longest Drive Hole #11 – Chip Day
  • Longest Drive Hole #18 – Jesse Brown
  • Closest Out of the Sand Trap Hole #16 – Steve Rowe

The conference opened with former SGA Chair of the Board Caron Lawhorn. She discussed the importance of natural gas in today’s environment and for the future of the country. Attendees were able to attend different sessions focusing on two main tracks focusing on permitting and construction. Thursday night, SWCA Environmental Consultants and Resource Environmental Solutions (RES) sponsored a knee-slapping good time at the special event’s Chuckwagon Social. Dr. Scott Tinker, director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, delivered the closing keynote session and left the attendees inspired and empowered to be active participants in the global energy transition.

Thank you to the Environmental Technical Conference Planning Committee for planning, facilitating and organizing such a worthwhile event. In particular, SGA would like to recognize the chair of the committee Adrienne Mason, manager of EHS at Kinder Morgan, for her leadership throughout the planning process.

We have loved engaging with you on all things #SGAETC19 over the past few months, and we hope you’re already putting what you learned into practice. Thanks to all who posted in GoMobile@SGA’s timeline, to Twitter and LinkedIn. Here are top social media shout outs:

Finally thank you to the sponsors for this year, including:

We hope you can join us again next year. Mark your calendars for February 11-14 in Savannah, Georgia!

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Are you planning to attend SGA’s 2019 Management Conference? Here are 5 quick reasons why you should register today.

Five Reasons to Attend#1 – The Presidents Panel on How Natural Gas Is Part of the Energy Future

Learn from the industry’s leading thought leaders on what they see happening in their areas as it relates to electrification and what their companies are doing to address the challenge.

#2 – Access to network with executives from across the business and the nation

This conference consistently draws 300+ leaders from across the business to have focused roundtable sessions. Together you can use this valuable opportunity for education, sharing of best practices and relationship building.

#3 – Nine roundtable discussions to hear about challenging topics from your peers and how we can work together to address them

  • Accounting & Finance
  • Associate Members
  • Customer Experience
  • Distribution Operating Executives
  • Gas Supply Marketing
  • Growth & Retention Executives
  • Human Resources Executives
  • Pipeline Operating Executives
  • Rates & Regulatory Affairs

#4 – Sneak peek of SGA’s Natural Gas Champions program by SGA President William N. Cantrell

This program prepares participants with the knowledge, confidence and a concise, effective list of easy to remember takeaways that can be used during conversations with friends, family, community leaders and virtually anyone with questions about the natural gas industry. Learn more.

#5 – Special event at the River Ranch Stockyards hosted by SGA Associate Members

Return to where the west began in the spirit of cowboys and cattle drives. Enjoy conversation, dinner and entertainment at this iconic Fort Worth destination.

Learn more and register today here.

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On January 23, SGA announced that Suzanne Ogle has been named Senior Vice President SGA and GMRC. Effective February 4, Ms. Ogle will be responsible for several areas including Marketing and Communications, Learning and Professional Development, and Finance and Accounting. In addition, she will be directly involved in the leadership of the Gas Machinery Research Council (GMRC).

“We are excited to have Suzanne take this important leadership role for SGA and GMRC,” said Caron Lawhorn, Senior Vice President Commercial, ONE Gas, and 2018 Chair for SGA. “Suzanne’s extensive experience in the natural gas business and with association activities offers a unique set of capabilities that will help continue to move SGA forward.”

Bill Cantrell, President & CEO, SGA, added, “Suzanne’s passion and experience in opening dialogues about the benefits of fossil fuels fit perfectly with SGA’s Natural Gas Champions initiative.”

Suzanne Ogle is currently the Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications for Approach Resources (NASDAQ:AREX) an independent oil and gas exploration company based in Ft. Worth, Texas. She has over 25 years of experience in the oil and gas industry leading sales, marketing & communication and commercial teams for both public and private energy companies. Suzanne has a wide variety of contacts and interests within the energy industry. She is chair of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) Wildcatters Sporting Clay Tournament, raising more than one- quarter million dollars benefitting the IPAA Energy Education Foundation, and is a member of the Women’s Energy Network. She has also served on the Business Development and Supply and Demand committees of IPAA.

Suzanne Ogle has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology. She describes herself as a lifelong learner and it shows in her accomplishments. She is a certified Investor Relations Professional, an accredited practitioner of Public Relations, is certified in Marketing, Financial Management and Business Analytics, and is certified in Energy Leadership.

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Don’t miss Dr. Scott Tinker, director of the Bureau of Economic Geology–a joint University of Texas and State of Texas organization, at SGA’s 2019 Technical Conference on Environmental Permitting and Construction.

Tinker will close the conference leaving you inspired with his keynote, The Global Energy Transition: It’s Not What You Think.

Energy fuels the economic engine of the world. Access to secure energy—affordable, available, reliable, and sustainable—is not only vital for economic health, but also to lift the world from poverty, and to invest in the environment.

The energy transition is often thought of as the switch from carbon-based fuels to non-carbon fuels. But is that what we really seek? Or is the important energy transition one in which every person on earth has access to secure energy? Are carbon policy and energy poverty mutually exclusive, or does there exist an energy “radical middle” that can address the challenges of both, and still preserve a healthy economy? Rather than creating divisive political dichotomies of “good and bad,” “clean and dirty,” “believe and deny,” better to delve into the science, technology, and economics of energy poverty, atmospheric greenhouse-gas reduction, and large-scale land use and mining.

Is there a framework that could result in a significant reduction of energy poverty, a real impact on climate change, and reduced land used for energy production—while maintaining a healthy global economy? Will NGOs, governments, academia, and industry find common ground and enable such a future to unfold?

To avoid well-intended, but often negative outcomes, government policies require fact-based, transparent, and accessible energy education, as well as open, objective, and non-partisan dialog around such things as scale and density; emissions, land use, and water; resource extraction and development; economics and policy; and more. Through such dialog, compromise and convergence on workable solutions could be possible.

Watch a sneak peek of what Dr. Tinker will be sharing in the teaser below!

Join us February 12-15 for SGA’s 2019 Technical Conference on Environmental Permitting and Construction, and register today.



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Meet Joel Zeff, a workplace energy expert, the author of Make the Right Choice and keynote speaker for the 2019 Supply Chain Management Conference.

Joel Zeff

Joel Zeff, 2019 SCMC Speaker

Joel is a dynamic speaker and improvisational humorist. His interactive performances invite members of the audience to participate in hilarious, improvisational exercises that illustrate Joel’s central message–that organizations and “Joel Zeffindividuals” should CELEBRATE everyday successes to increase collaboration, productivity, passion and innovation.

Since 1997, Joel has inspired audiences from Wells Fargo to Samsung to KPMG and even the IRS. (Yes, that IRS!) Joel is a masterful public speaker and a nationally renowned motivator, lifelong humorist and improvisational actor, and we’re excited for him to join us February 20-22 in Point Clear, Alabama.

At SGA’s 2019 Supply Chain Management Conference, Joel will be sharing the secret to leading teams during change with passion and success. Watch a special message from him to you below.

Learn more about and register for the conference here.


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The June issue of the Network News is now available in our Communication Center.

To subscribe to the newsletter, visit your SGA profile to adjust your communications preferences.

SGA Network News – July 2018

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