Southern Gas Association and the Gas Machinery Research Council are pleased to announce our 2020 Vision for major conference events for next year, and we encourage you to save the dates for what promises to be an incredible year of learning and development opportunities for natural gas professionals.

Here is a look at the full calendar for major events.

Technical Conference on Environmental Permitting & Construction

  • February 12 – 14, 2020
  • Savannah, Georgia

Conference attendees can access over 15 separate learning sessions demonstrating how they can overcome challenges to get pipelines permitted and built. Professionals will come away for the conference with valuable insights on how to successfully navigate regulations and permitting processes to construct projects within environmental compliance.

Supply Chain Management Conference

  • February 26 -28, 2020
  • Bastrop, Texas

This one of a kind annual meeting brings supply chain professionals from natural gas midstream, pipeline, and distribution companies together with businesses who provide goods and services to the industry.

Spring Gas Conference & Expo

  • March 16-18, 2020
  • Columbia, South Carolina

SGA’s annual Spring Gas Conference & Expo is a technical skills and leadership training conference for natural gas operators.

Management Conference

  • April 15-17, 2020
  • Louisville, Kentucky

The SGA Management Conference is attended by executives from a wide range of functions. General sessions on the hot topics of the day, plus joint sessions on issues of common interest and focused roundtable sessions make this a valuable opportunity for education, sharing of best practices, and relationship building.

Southwest Regional Gas Conference

  • May 12-15, 2020
  • San Marcos, Texas

Natural gas operators, frontline employees, supervisors, managers & directors have the opportunity to learn technical skills and receive essential job and leadership training developed and facilitated by industry experts

Natural Gas Connect Conference

  • July 13- 15, 2020
  • St. Louis, Missouri

The Natural Gas Connect conference offers more than 30 SGA roundtables, opening up limitless cross-learning opportunities. It will also help bridge any gaps in your business outlook and connect you with other engaged peers in the industry beyond operations and engineering.

Gas Machinery Conference (hosted by Gas Machinery Research Council)

  • October 4 – 7, 2020
  • Tampa, Florida

GMRC’s Gas Machinery Conference offers three days of leading-edge technical training and educational presentations designed to equip you with the skills you need to be successful in your own operations, while connecting you to other motivated professionals and service providers from across the country and world. The educational sessions are valuable for design engineers, facility engineers, and technicians with an emphasis on the operation, maintenance, and testing of gas compression machinery.

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Applications sought for Committee Members

The Southern Gas Association is pleased to announce the intended formation of a new committee, Women & Leadership, and SGA is seeking members interested in charting a path for this committee.

The Women & Leadership Committee will be a diverse group of men and women from across the natural gas industry who are passionate about training and developing tomorrow’s leaders. The committee, as a deliverable, will provide a learning road map for core competencies that will help create effective leaders.

Those core competencies include:

  • Financial Literacy/Acumen
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Marketing
  • Communication Skills
  • Strategic Planning
  • Building a Business Case
  • Fostering Innovation
  • Presentation Skills
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Talent Management
  • Mentorship
  • Professional Presence
  • Building Culture
  • Change Management
  • Influencing Others
  • Building Collaborative Relationships


Additionally, the committee will provide an opportunity for members to grow their professional network, act as or seek mentors and business partners and advance learning throughout the industry.

Please consider lending your voice to the effort to develop and enrich the professional and personal lives of many others in your field of work, or please share this note with anyone you think might provide excellent leadership on this committee.

Meetings are planned for the second Tuesday of each month starting at 8:00 AM Central time, with the first meeting scheduled for October 2019.

Interested applicants can apply for the Women & Leadership Committee by clicking on this SGA Volunteer Application link:

The application deadline is Thursday, September 26 at 12 Noon, Central time.

Committee Applicants will be asked to submit:

  • Résumé / CV
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Endorsement from company leader

For questions or more information about applying, please contact Telesa Walton, Director of Volunteer Engagement, Southern Gas Association, at

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The key to providing crucial communications responses to a crisis is always preparation, not only how well you plan for crisis situations but also how you analyze and re-analyze your efforts in a spirit of continuous improvement.

Southern Gas Association is pleased to honor Black Hills Energy with its 2019 Corporate Communications award, for revising its crisis communications plan from the ground up.

Melissa Garcia (ctr) accepts the 2019 SGA Corporate Communications award on behalf of Black Hills Energy at the Natural Gas Connect conference in July. Suzanne Ogle (L) and Bill Cantrell (R) of Southern Gas Association presented the award.

Award Detail:

Corporate Communications – Melissa Garcia, Black Hills Energy
“Ready for the Unthinkable” — Black Hills Energy’s goal was to replace their traditional crisis communication plan with a new model that could proactively answer the call of effectively building relationships and trust with all of the stakeholders, internal and external, during and following an emergency.

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Joel Zeff - Keynote Speaker

If you’ve signed up for the 2019 Gas Machinery Conference, you are in for a treat!

The Keynote Speaker for the event is Joel Zeff, nationally recognized speaker and humorist. In Joel’s dynamic and motivational keynote presentation, you will appreciate the value of fun in the workplace and learn how to make the simple choices to have more fun, and increase your team’s passion and success.

If you have NOT yet registered for the GMC conference, be sure to do so by visiting


Watch a sneak peek of what Joel will be sharing in the video clip below!


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Southern Gas Association encourages all of its member companies to be good stewards in the communities they serve.

The SGA Community Service Award for 2019 went to Summit Utilities, which put into place a Volunteering program so its employees could take paid time off to volunteer in their communities.

The effort has created many hours of volunteer time for non-profit organizations, and SGA was proud to honor Summit Utilities at its Natural Gas Connect conference in July.

Allen Sopshire (ctr) accepts the Community Service award on behalf of Summit Utilities from Suzanne Ogle (L) and Bill Cantrell (R) of Southern Gas Association at the Natural Gas Connect conference in July

Award Detail
Community Service Award – Tony Parker, Summit Utilities
“Using Volunteer Time to Expand Impact in Rural Communities” — Summit Utilities implemented a Volunteer Time Off Program that gives qualified employees 20 hours of paid time off to use volunteering with nonprofit organizations in local communities.

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Safety preparations can pay off in the most unexpected ways.

Southern Gas Association is proud to honor Ryan Williams of Middle Tennessee Natural Gas Utility District with the Safety Award for Meritorious Service, after he stepped up to save a co-worker in a choking situation.

Ryan’s quick action prevented a tragic outcome and garnered the Safety Award given at the Natural Gas Connect conference in July.


Ryan Williams (ctr) of Middle Tennessee Natural Gas Utility District accepts the Safety Award from Suzanne Ogle (L) and Bill Cantrell (R) of Southern Gas Association at the Natural Gas Connect conference in July

Award detail:

Safety Award for Meritorious Service – Ryan Williams, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas Utility District

On the way back from meeting with a neighboring utility, Ryan and his office manager Amanda Schubert stopped for lunch. During their conversation, Amanda began choking! In Amanda’s words, “It was one of the scariest moments that I can remember, he was honestly my guardian angel.” Ryan jumped to the task and performed the obstructed airway maneuver and saved her life!

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Themed around “Courage”, the 2019 Women & Leadership Forum provides two days of practical advice for women professionals and leaders around courage and pushing you to be courageous in your personal and professional life.

Register for the Women & Leadership forum today at

SGA also has Sponsorship opportunities available for companies interested in supporting the effort.

For more information on the Forum, click on the infographic on the left.For more information about sponsorships, click on the infographic on the right, or call Southern Gas Association at 972-620-8505.

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As the natural gas industry takes care of our energy future, we are also taking care of our people and our planet.

Southern Gas Association is proud to recognize Enbridge as the winner of the 2019 Environmental Excellence Award for Partnership, thanks to its efforts in a local partnership to design a native seed mix to restore native Texas plants in a pipeline right of way in South Texas. These efforts restored a natural habitat for migrating Monarch butterflies.

Congratulations to SGA’s Environmental Excellence award winners, Enbridge, whose award was presented during Natural Gas Connect.

Devin Hotzel (ctr) of Enbridge accepts the 2019 Environmental Excellence Award from Suzanne Ogle (L) and Bill Cantrell (R) of Southern Gas Association at the Natural Gas Connect conference in July

Award entry detail:

Environmental Excellence Award for Partnership – Devin Hotzel, Enbridge
Enbridge partnered with South Texas Natives, Valley Crossing Pipeline, Douglass King Seed Company and landowners to design the best possible commercial native seed mix to restore native plants communities to the Valley Crossing Pipeline right-of-way in Kenedy County. Their restorative efforts provided the Monarch Butterflies a superior habitat.

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The spirit of innovation is at the heart of the natural gas industry, and key to the mission of the Southern Gas Association as it seeks to share new information and ideas throughout its membership.

Member companies such as Summit Utilities lead the way in continuing innovation, and are a big reason why this industry continues to improve its collective safety record.

Congratulations to Summit Utilities for earning our award for Engineering Innovation – Local Distribution Companies category, which was presented during Natural Gas Connect.

Allen Sopshire (Ctr) of Summit Utilities accepts the award for Engineering Innovation from Suzanne Ogle (L) and Bill Cantrell (R) of Southern Gas Association at the Natural Gas Connect conference in July 2019

“WOFA – Work Order Field Application” — Summit Utilities decided to turn the challenge of new guidelines into an opportunity to create a fully integrated traceability and asset life cycle management too. The day and life of a field professional has been reinvented with the Work Order Field Application.


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Driving innovation in an organization begins with a culture that inspires and recognizes ideas, not just the results. Innovative companies like Southern Star rely heavily on employees to encourage innovation. At Southern Gas Association (SGA), we want to recognize our members and the ideas that are driving their company and our industry forward. Moreover, we believe peer-to-peer awareness and recognition will drive innovation in all areas of the industry. SGA is proud to recognize Southern Star’s hard work, operations excellence, thought-leadership and dedication to industry advancement.

Congratulations to our Engineering Innovation – Transmission and Midstream – award winners, Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, whose award was presented during Natural Gas Connect.

Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline

The Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline team earns the Engineering Innovation Award-Transmission and Midstream, at SGA's Natural Gas Connect conference, July 2019

AWARD ENTRY DETAIL: “Modernization through Data Analytics” — Southern Star has been at the forefront of implementing the Windrock Platinum system in compression and as a result have 5 Cooper GMV units running at one station and have real-time data analysis and continual monitoring. They are currently monitoring 9,137 unique shutdown points on 88 compressor units.

Our gas compression engines that move gas across our system have what are essentially on-board computers that control the engines as well as annunciate an alarm or shutdown if a run parameter issue occurs. This is similar to the check engine light on a car. At that point, we are on the reactive side of the maintenance, because the issue has already occurred. We thought it would be pretty neat if we could bring all the data that these computers (Programmable Logic Controllers or PLCs) are processing to one location so we could display the data in a more user-friendly fashion and run analytics on it to catch items before the check engine light comes on.  This would put us on the proactive side of the maintenance. To accomplish this, we purchased Pi software from OSISoft. This software allows us to gather and historize the run parameter data we are receiving from our PLCs across our system. We are then able to analyze the parameters we are capturing and make notifications when we catch items trending outside of the norm and can also compare the data for the various units in a more efficient manner. One of the first items we caught was an internal leak on a compressor cylinder. It was registering a leak index of 20%. Temperatures were not different than what was expected. We were able to schedule the repair, take the unit down, and make the repair before it got to the alarm or shut down stage. The issue was a faulty gasket under a compressor valve and completing the repair lowered our leak index to 2%. This maintenance was completed on the proactive side of the maintenance. We are also utilizing the program to catch in-efficiencies across our units for items such as lubrication amounts, fuel usage comparisons, etc.  The capabilities that we are now building in the system are helping us to operate more efficiently and reduce unplanned outages.


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