SGA Announces NEW Newsletter Feature

The relationships that SGA builds in the natural gas industry run long and deep, between our members with each other, and us with our members.

We’ve been hearing from individuals that recent events have left many members in an unfamiliar position: without a job. These natural gas professionals have an incredible depth and breadth of knowledge and experience which we know our member companies are eager to hire.

Also, we hear from our member companies that there are many positions that are open. Highly skilled positions that are sometimes hard to fill.

Which brings me to the reason for this blog. We have created a new feature in The Link (due out next week) where SGA member companies are invited to share employment opportunities. In this way, we hope that natural gas professionals and SGA member companies can come together to make this new normal a bit more…normal. This is a free feature for SGA member companies and potential employees—we hope that we can help connect the right people with the right businesses, benefitting both.

Please submit any job postings ASAP (with a link) to News@southerngas.org

If you are interested in posting positions, please send us an email so that we can hold a spot for you.

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America is engaged in an essential and complicated conversation about bias and disparity.  With a mission to advance the individual and the industry, the Southern Gas Association will do our part to help end systemic racism. Living our core values means providing for continuous learning and creating safe and secure communities. We must gain knowledge and ensure that all people and communities can succeed. We must respect each other and understand how our unique backgrounds can provide unique contributions. We will use the strength of our resources and collective knowledge to promote change.

Our immediate action steps include:

Seeking understanding with a new blog series. Southern Gas Association will provide a platform for the voices and personal experiences of diverse colleagues in the natural gas industry in the context of racial bias. These colleagues’ individual perspectives must be heard.

Promoting dialogue with a new panel series: Courageous Conversations
Constructive dialogue is an essential component to support widespread systemic change.  SGA will host a panel series called Courageous Conversations. These conversations are designed to embrace and appreciate every person’s background, their culture, heritage and experiences. This series is to promote inclusion, understanding and positive actions.

Creating an Inclusion and Diversity Council.
SGA will create an Inclusion and Diversity Council that will report to the Executive Council.  This Council will be staffed with senior representatives from our operating members who will work together to develop a competency-based inclusion and diversity roadmap that will be available to all SGA members as a resource.

Providing Training Opportunities for All Members

  • Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Culture:  A targeted curriculum that includes a variety of resources on how to create a diverse and inclusive culture, including courses, short videos, and courses specifically for leaders. This training can be assigned as a full curriculum or specific resources selected and shared.
  • SGA member employee onboarding track: A series of classes focused on general industry knowledge, natural gas communication, and inclusion and diversity education. To include:

o   Introduction to the Natural Gas Industry

o   Natural Gas Champions

o   Unconscious Bias Education

Building a diverse and inclusive environment is a lifelong endeavor.  We can’t just check a diversity box. We will never arrive, or hit a ceiling, it’s work we must do every day.  Leaders at every level must use their power, platforms, and resources to help employees and communities overcome these challenges and build a better world for us all – this is a time for change.  As an Association and an Industry, we will rise when we lift each other up.

Respectfully

 

SGA Chief Executive Officer SGA Board Executive Committee
Suzanne Ogle   

 

  • Donald Raikes, Chair
    Dominion Energy
  • Jimmy Staton, Vice Chair 
    Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline
  • Steve Lindsey, Second Vice Chair
    Spire Inc.
  • Carl Levander, Secretary-Treasurer
    NiSource
  • Adrian Chapman, Immediate Past Chair  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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June 2, 2020

SGA Conference Event Update

Dallas, Texas – Since 1908 the Southern Gas Association (SGA), the natural gas industry’s leading training association, has convened the natural gas industry, operators, associates, and industry leaders to share best practices, innovate, and build relationships.

With the onset of COVID-19, 2020 SGA conferences scheduled in March and April were initially rescheduled for later in the year.  Natural Gas Connect remained scheduled for July.  Even as plans for the meetings proceeded, SGA continually monitored the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health agencies for guidance and reporting on the general outbreak nationwide. The determination of committee volunteers to proceed creating valuable content for Natural Gas Connect & Spring Gas Conference & Expo, even in a very fluid and uncertain environment, is greatly appreciated.

The Coronavirus outbreak has significantly impacted our nation, the natural gas industry, and has overtaken our meetings. We consulted with executives from our member companies; the majority indicated that out of an abundance of caution, their companies have decided to curtail domestic travel and attendance at large meetings, even in the absence of a federal or state travel or meeting ban.

Our priority is the safety and well-being of our staff and attendees. Additionally, we are cognizant of the fact that SGA’s Natural Gas Connect and Spring Gas Conference & Expo bring together over 3,000 people from hundreds of companies in virtually every state. These attendees return to their companies after spending several days with each other. SGA has an obligation to conference attendees, the many family members, employees, and customers they would interact with upon return, as well as vendor and hotel employees they would encounter at the conference, to help them be safe.

In the United States, each city, state, and county are independently managing the response to coronavirus. The CDC also continues to warn us that a reoccurrence is probable if the public doesn’t adhere to mandatory social distancing and recommended infection precautions.  In light of these developments, out of concern for meeting attendees’ health and safety, and after consultation with the SGA Board of Directors, we have decided to proceed with virtual conferences in lieu of the following in-person gatherings:

  • Natural Gas Connect (St. Louis, MO – July 13-15)
  • Spring Gas Conference & Expo (Columbia, SC previously rescheduled for August 4-6)

Management Conference:  Will not proceed in person.  We are currently conducting a survey of the Board to determine if Management Conference, scheduled for September 9-11, will be held virtually.  We expect to be able to update you on this no later than July 1, 2020.

This decision aligns with our membership’s travel restrictions and minimizes disruption and uncertainty in everyone’s lives.

From the conversations we’ve had with many of you over the past few weeks, we feel confident this move reflects the needs and opinions you’ve been communicating. Thank you for helping us with this decision.

With this pivot to VIRTUAL events, SGA is perfectly positioned to provide the extensive and necessary training, peer-to-peer learning opportunities and content delivered at Natural Gas Connect and Spring Gas Conference & Expo. Additionally, our Natural Gas Connect keynote speaker, well-known author and journalist, Robert Bryce, has committed to opening our virtual conference.

There are many benefits to a virtual conference:

  1. Additional flexibility.  Taking into consideration the requirement to balance multiple priorities, we have pivoted to offer the Natural Gas Connect Academy.
    1. Shorter sessions, 60 and 90 minutes, that will be available both live and on-demand.
    2. Spreading the content over 4 weeks, from July 13th to August 6th.  This adaption will allow attendees to take advantage of as many of the important sessions as they choose.  This also addresses one of the most frequent comments we received on the face-to-face conference; affording attendees the ability to attend two sessions being held simultaneously.
  2. Reduced pricing for members.  We understand the impact that commodity prices and Coronavirus has had on our industry.  The Natural Gas Connect Academy virtual conference allows SGA to lower the cost to attend and provide two economical pricing options for our members.
    1. Individual member rate: $495/Individual non-member rate: $795
    2. Member company rate $10,000 allows unlimited attendees from that company

The virtual Spring Gas Conference & Expo will offer similar innovation, from August 17thto September 3rd.  Attendees who signed up for the Spring Gas Conference will be automatically enrolled in the virtual event.  As well, they will be provided access to Natural Gas Connect.  No further registration for Spring Gas will be accepted.  However, previously registered attendees will need to cancel any hotel and travel reservations. ​

Registration for Natural Gas Connect will be available on our website on June 8, 2020 https://southerngas.org/event-calendar at which time registration will be open.  The virtual Spring Gas Conference & Expo agenda will be posted by June 29, 2020.

Exhibits: An important part of both Natural Gas Connect and Spring Gas Conference & Expo are the technology updates and conversations with exhibitors, our valuable industry partners. It is our desire to hold a virtual exhibit hall that facilitates these very important interactions and relationships, provided our exhibitors desire to do so.  We are inviting all exhibitors and potential exhibitors to a webinar on June 15 from 11:30-12:30 central to demonstrate the virtual exhibit hall experience.

Virtual Exhibit Hall Demonstration
Mon, Jun 15, 2020 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (CDT)

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/578058469

Thank you for your membership and continued support of SGA.  Today and everyday we are working diligently to provide valuable content that links ideas, people and information.  We are committed to our mission to advance the individual and the natural gas industry, during Coronavirus and beyond.

If you have any questions, please reach out to me or a member of our leadership team.

Suzanne.Ogle@southerngas.org

Nicolle.Billmyre@southerngas.org

Cindy.Mitchell@southerngas.org

Telesa.Walton@southerngas.org

 

Wishing you health and fortitude in this new environment.

Respectfully,

Suzanne Ogle

Chief Executive Officer

 

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At SGA, our goal is to support you during this time, while we create greater opportunities for innovation and inspiration beyond the immediate task at hand. After all,  Sir Isaac Newton invented calculus while under self-quarantine to protect himself, and Shakespeare wrote King Lear while the London playhouses were closed — both due to the bubonic plague.

As we all navigate this “new normal” together, we are united in purpose–to serve our customers at the highest level. And who knows what we’ll discover, together.

In this edition of The Link, you’ll find:

  • Wisdom about leading during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Crisis communication plans
  • Tips for the best ways to take advantage of virtual learning opportunities
  • An opportunity to get to know Shantel Norman of ONE Gas

READ HERE

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Safety is an SGA core value. Due to COVID-19, SGA and many of our member companies have adjusted plans related to travel and training. As we continue to navigate this “new normal”, these are updates regarding changes to our planned conference schedule:

 


  • Southwest Regional Conference & Expo: Originally scheduled for May, we have made the decision to cancel the Southwest Regional Conference & Expo but invite you to attend the rescheduled Spring Gas Conference and Expo in Columbia, SC, scheduled for August 4 – 6.


  • Natural Gas Connect | St. Louis, Mo: Currently scheduled for July 13 – 15. Expect an announcement soon regarding the Natural Gas Connect Conference.

 

 

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Last Friday we were excited to announce that SGA’s Management Conference was rescheduled for September 2-4th.  On Monday Churchill Downs announced they had moved the Kentucky Derby from May to September 5th.  This change resulted in the necessity for us to once again change the Management Conference. So, in Derby language, “We were off to the races” looking for a new date.

I’m excited to announce that we were able to successfully move the Management Conference to September 9-11, 2020 and retain our amazing line up of special event and speakers:

  • Keynote Speaker, Steve Donahue, who will help you explore and learn to communicate the Epic Story of Natural Gas and how Natural Gas IS the “Key to the Sustainable Future”
  • Industry Thought leader and moderator Tisha Schuller of Adamantine Energy, who will lead our Executive Panel visiting with leaders from our member companies who are leaders in turning social risk into an operational advantage
  • Special customized Communicate to Influence training by Decker Communication
  • Short Course of Natural Gas Champions led by Bill Cantrell
  • Women & Leadership Workshop – Financial Acumen, Influence without Authority
  • Special Events at Churchill Downs
  • Bourbon Tasting
  • Roundtables from Accounting & Finance, Rates and Regulatory, Corporate Services, Customer Experience, Distribution Operations and Engineering, Gas Supply Marketing, Growth and Retention, Human Resources, Pipeline Operations and Engineering:
    • Voluntary Renewable Natural Gas Tariffs
    • Journey Mapping
    • Natural Gas and the Environment – Politics vs. Facts
    • Reducing Methane Emissions, Making Blue more Green
    • Customer Retention Strategy
    • Natural Gas Voices: Coordinating a Consistent Message
    • Best Practices for Talent Acquisition
    • Recruiting the New Generation, XYZ
    • Cyber Security and Physical Security
    • Mega Rule
    • Pipeline Public Safety, the NTSB & Response to Crisis
    • And more….

Please join us as we tackle adversity through lessons learned, best practices and innovative solutions.

All previous registrations will be automatically rolled over to the new date.  All rooms and deposits will be rolled over to the new date with total credit.

Thank you for your support and flexibility as we navigate a very fluid situation.  SGA is dedicated to ensuring the time spent at this conference will be valuable and you will leave with actionable ideas that can immediately be put to use as your companies strive to level set and move forward.

Respectfully,

Suzanne Ogle

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Message from Suzanne Ogle, Chief Executive Officer

Dear members and SGA friends:

We recognize the impact and uncertainty that COVID-19 is creating in our industry, communities, and our member companies.  Our number one priority at Southern Gas Association is the health and safety or our staff, our members and their families.  Additionally, SGA members provide essential services, delivering energy to America and Canada, and that must remain our primary focus.   To that end, the Southern Gas Association (SGA) continues to monitor the impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  We are monitoring developments, taking protective steps and coordinating with our members.

Given the current situation, we have evaluated our schedule of upcoming events including Spring Gas Conference and Expo and Management Conference.  At this time, in an abundance of caution, we have decided to push these events back to the fall, when Coronavirus and its remedy will be better controlled or understood.

In addition to rescheduling these two events, we are taking measures to deploy technology to bring training to you, in a manner that will care for the health of all involved and respect the travel restrictions that many member companies have implemented.

  • Committee meetings will continue via teleconference or webinar.
  • In-house workshops will continue as planned.
  • Public workshops will be on a case by case basis.
  • Conferences are rescheduled as listed below:
    •   Spring Gas:  August 4-6, 2020
    •   Management Conference:  September 9-11, 2020

The SGA staff remains ready to serve.  We have a business continuity plan in place that provides technology to work from anywhere.  We are fully equipped to continue to serve our members.

SGA staff domestic travel is limited to necessary trips to serve our members.

One of the most important aspects of being a member of the Southern Gas Association is our deep relationships.  During this challenging time, proactive, two-way communication is critical, along with creative solutions.  We are committed to thinking outside the box and working with you to find solutions.  Most importantly, to providing transparent communication.

Our focus, dedication, support and service to our members is unwavering as we navigate this unique period of time.  We hope you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy.  Thank you for your membership and your engagement with SGA.  Please reach out to Cindy Mitchell, Nicolle Billmyre, or myself if there is anything we can do to help or you have any questions.

 

Resources:

 

US Centers for Disease Control

 

World Health Organization

 

 

Southern Gas Association (SGA)

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Last week, the Southern Gas Association was pleased to host the 2020 Supply Chain Management Conference at the Lost Pines Spa and Resort in Lost Pines, Texas.

 

Special thanks to the Supply Chain Management Conference Planning Committee and the Associate Members for developing such a great event. Our first speaker, retired three-star general and founder of Wyche Leadership and Supply Chain Consulting, Larry Wyche, opened the conference with an engaging keynote sharing the problem-solving expertise that helped him to effectively lead, as deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, a 58 billion dollar enterprise with 120,000 soldiers and employees in 50 states and 152 countries. From preparing strategically for the threat of Coronavirus, to developing teams to leading through choke points, Larry brought real-life solutions to SGA’s natural gas supply chain logisticians.

 

The wind certainly made this golf tournament one to remember! Thank you to Snelson for your sponsorship, making the annual golf tournament even more fun. And, a BIG congratulations to the 2020 Supply Chain Management Conference Golf All-Stars!

  • First Place Team – Ryan Evans, Andrew Byrd, Ty Samples, Josh DuPree
  • Second Place Team – Michael A. Blache, Dennis, Hernandez, William Jones, Jake Naylor
  • Third Place Team – TK Kim & Bill Dobbins, Steven Karolewski, Gary Cerny, August Barr
  • Top Two Closest to the Pin #12: Jack McCarthy
  • Top Two Longest Drives –#14: William Jones

 

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

 

We enjoyed hosting you and look forward to seeing you again!

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The SGA is monitoring developments related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and potential impact on domestic travel.  An SGA core value is creating safe and secure communities.  As such we are closely adhering to the U.S. Center for Disease Control guidance.

 

According to the CDC, at this time, most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus.  This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment will be updated as needed and posted on the SGA website.  Our thoughts and concern are with those affected in China and globally.

 

Current risk assessment:

  • For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
  • People in communities where ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated though still relatively low risk of exposure.
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure.

 

Currently, SGA Conferences and Workshops are proceeding as planned.  We will continue to closely evaluate all SGA meetings and travel on a daily basis to ensure the health and safety of our employees and those we serve.

 

Spring Gas Expo 2020 will be held in Columbia, SC with the Women & Leadership workshop on Sunday, March 15th with the full conference opening on the 16 and concluding on March 18th.  This conference is a regional conference with no international attendees registered.

 

To support the health and safety of our members and attendees, we are also asking that individuals who have recently traveled to destinations determined to be Level 1, 2 or 3 on the CDC website do not attend SGA events.

 

The World Health Organization’s recommendation is that travelers practice usual precautions, and we are increasing our efforts to prevent the spread of disease per Department of Public Health’s recommendations. However, each of our members must evaluate risk independently.  As such, if you are registered for a conference and uncomfortable traveling, we will hold a credit for you.  We are exploring technological resources to bring the conference to those who choose not to attend.

 

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide updates as necessary.

 

We encourage all conference attendees to follow CDC precautionary procedures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, which include:

  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily.

Resources:

World Health Organization

 

SGA is here to assist you with any questions you have in regard to your attendance. Please contact Suzanne Ogle, Cindy Mitchell or Nicolle Billmyre if you have any questions or if we can support you in any way:  Suzanne.ogle@southerngas.org; cindy.mitchell@southerngas.org; Nicolle.billmyre@southerngas.org.

 

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Earlier this month, the Southern Gas Association welcomed 370+ industry peers at the 2020 Technical Conference on Environmental Permitting and Construction. Together, the group hosted 20+ 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 VHB, Inc. at the Club at Savannah Harbor. The scramble team winners with a net score of 66 were: Corey Huwa, Sean Sparks, Armondo Pietrocarlo, Jason Hendricks. Prizes were also given out to the following SGA golf all-stars:

  • Longest Drive Hole #2 –Aaron Hoffer
  • Bunker Shot Hole #6 – Chad Robinson
  • Closest to the Pin Hole #8 – Peyton Ashmore
  • Longest Drive Hole #11 – Jon Austin
  • Longest Putt Hole # 12 – Bill Braun
  • Closest to the Pin Hole #17 – Mike Donnelly

 

The conference opened with Suzanne Ogle, SGA’s CEO. 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 fun-filled time of networking with great friends, food and music at the special event’s “Seas the Day”. Andrew Urich, Associate Professor of Management, Spears School Of Business, delivered the closing keynote session and highlighted the power and importance of likability—and how this will directly impact your ability to influence others around you. By focusing on your presence and appearance you will build your capacity to influence, and therefore, lead in any situation.

 

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 Corrie Peré, Environmental Specialist at Atmos Energy, for her leadership throughout the planning process.

 

We have loved engaging with you on all things  #SGAETC20 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 is top social media shout out:

 

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

 

We hope you can join us again next year. Mark your calendars for February 16-18 in Austin, Texas!

 

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