Whether you are new to CGA or have been a member for years, you may still wonder, “What do CGA committees and their members, leadership, and staff DO?” Understanding these roles can help you better engage with CGA and its mission.
What do CGA committees do?
With over 25 committees in the U.S. and Canada, CGA is well-equipped to address a range of technical and safety issues. Our committees have responsibility for creating and maintaining CGA’s publications, responding to external inquiries, communicating with regulators and other authorities, hosting seminars and webinars, preparing safety warnings, supporting global harmonization of industry standards, and more. Each committee is populated by subject matter experts from our member companies who work together to create consensus positions, and every company gets one vote.
Each committee has a mission statement that defines the scope of the projects that they work on. You can view a complete list of CGA committees and their mission statements at https://www.cganet.com/what-we-do/committees/.
What is expected of a committee member?
Committee members work together to support the activities of their committee. Member input, skills, and knowledge are CGA’s greatest resource!
There are many ways for members to contribute to CGA work. Specifically, members:
- participate in committee and/or work item meetings;
- draft content for CGA publications and positions;
- circulate CGA work within their company for input and technical knowledge;
- provide technical input on CGA work items and during committee meetings;
- develop presentations for seminars, webinars, or other educational events;
- monitor and report on regulatory activity; and
- may serve in leadership roles for committee work items and/or the committee.
Committee members are also expected to comply with CGA’s Antitrust Compliance Policy and to maintain a professional atmosphere for all participants. CGA has developed a series of on-demand webinars about committee participation, which are available at https://portal.cganet.com/Education/Index.aspx (search for Member Training).
How much time is required to serve on a committee?
A committee member’s time commitment can vary depending on their engagement level. In general, committees meet 2 to 4 times per year and can range from a few hours to a few days long. Work item meetings are typically held in between committee meetings to maintain progress on individual projects, and will meet as frequently as needed to keep the project on schedule. Committee and work item meetings are held in person or via web conference depending on the agenda and complexity of the meeting, and virtual participation is offered at in person events whenever possible. Whenever possible, staff will group in person meetings together so that member time is used efficiently.
Generally, members are asked to:
- prepare for meetings by reading draft materials;
- research technical information;
- collaborate with other members and CGA staff;
- perform follow up meeting tasks as assigned; and
- as many return to planning in-person meetings, members may need to travel to attend meetings or seminars.
Your time requirement will vary by your level of engagement, however, average member preparation time is reported as 4 – 8 hours per meeting, plus travel and meeting time. If you attended two committee meetings a year, depending on whether they are virtual or in-person, it could be an investment of anywhere between 14 – 30 hours of your time.
Do I have to be a technical expert to serve on a committee?
No! Our committee participants come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and the array of projects we’re working on require many different skill sets. Committees are a great place to listen and learn more about the industry, and to meet others in your field.
In recent years, CGA has begun efforts to modernize our programs and materials, such as our redevelopment of the CGA Handbook of Compressed Gases as a virtual tool and the development of eLearning modules and safety posters for those who are new to the industry. We also develop positions that are used to communicate with stakeholders who might not be familiar with the technical details of the industry. Having input from members with varying levels of technical experience helps us make sure these materials are appropriate for new audiences.
Are there different levels of membership engagement?
Employees of current CGA member companies can join CGA and participate on its committees. Not everyone can give the same amount of time to CGA work, so we offer three levels of membership engagement opportunities: voting member, non-voting member, and corresponding member. Each provides different levels of commitment, so find the one that meets your needs and schedule!
- Voting Members – This is the most engaged level as voting members represent their company’s position and are expected to attend committee meetings and work item meetings that require voting representatives. Only voting members have the authority to approve or disapprove decisions being brought before the committee or an ad hoc committee.
- Non-Voting Members – These members also represent their company but do not have the authority to vote, though they may serve as a proxy voter if their company’s designated voter is unable to attend a meeting. The contributions of non-voting members are equally valuable to both committee and work item meetings.
- Corresponding Members – This level requires the least engagement as these are members who only receive correspondence about the committee and its work. There is no requirement for these members to attend meetings. However, attending meetings does provide the opportunity to “listen in” and learn more about what a committee or a work group is developing, which may help you find where you want to contribute your time and energy within CGA.
Who can be a CGA committee chair or vice chair?
Taking on the role of committee chair is not a task to take lightly, but it comes with the support of CGA staff and the committee’s vice chair to assist you. Any current CGA member can put their name forward to be considered for a committee leadership role. Knowing what the job entails can help you better assess your commitment.
Both CGA committee chairs and vice chairs serve a two-year term and have specific responsibilities.
At a minimum, a committee chair:
- schedules and prepares for meetings;
- facilitates meetings in compliance with CGA guidelines;
- enforces CGA’s Antitrust Compliance Policy;
- encourages the committee to consider the views of all participants;
- ensures committee work is progressing;
- reviews draft minutes; and
- communicates with the committee’s Standards Council liaison.
Additionally, a committee chair:
- should understand CGA’s mission;
- be sensitive to and show interest in CGA member input and work;
- strategize with CGA staff and the committee vice chair on committee succession planning;
- encourage new members to join & seek opportunities to engage new members with the committee’s work;
- participate in strategic planning for the committee’s projects; and
- provide guidance to committee members.
A committee vice chair takes on a few additional tasks, including:
- facilitating meetings in the chair’s absence;
- serving as work item chair if there are no volunteers;
- serving as seminar planning task force chair if there are no volunteers; and
- liaising with Canadian counterparts.
A committee chair and vice chair attend anywhere from 2-4 committee meetings per year (depending on the committee), plus planning meetings (i.e., agenda reviews), meeting preparation and follow-up tasks, which can equate to an additional 4-8 hours per meeting.
What do CGA staff do for committees and members?
The CGA staff titles most often associated with committee work are committee administrators, committee project managers, and technical managers.
Staff support committees by:
- assisting committee leaders and new members onboard;
- providing support to committee leaders and members;
- prepping agendas and documents, recording committee meeting minutes, and attending committee meetings; and
- prepping review documents for task force and ad hoc committee meetings; providing editorial and technical input; providing guidance on CGA process; responding to member inquiries; tracking committee work schedule; planning meetings; coordinate with committee leadership to develop strategies to manage the committee’s workload; and coordinate work between CGA and other organizations.
How do I get started?
It’s easy! One option is if there is a committee you are interested in, contact the staff associated with it – we are here to help you find the best way to engage and participate in CGA work. We are more than happy to answer any questions, concerns, and help you identify the CGA committee that best matches with your professional interests. We can also help you navigate the CGA member portal to see the projects committees are working on, when they are meeting, and where to find other committee resources. You can connect with CGA staff through the directory page: https://portal.cganet.com/Directory/Index.aspx.
A second option is to join a work item where you can see CGA work in action and meet other members. And lastly, if you have a colleague already on a CGA committee, ask them to recommend a good starting point – many will take the opportunity to tell you how they got involved, help you connect with staff, and recommend work that may be a good fit for your skills and knowledge.
Non-voting and corresponding members may join committees or work items by contacting CGA staff directly. Voting members are limited to one per company on each committee, and must be approved by your company’s CGA Official Representative. If you’re not sure who your Official Representative is, you can view the assigned individual on your company’s page through the CGA directory or you can contact CGA staff.
Why should I get more involved?
The time our members dedicate to CGA work is invaluable and supports the CGA mission of developing and promoting safety standards in the compressed gas industry. There are many benefits to participation for yourself, your company, and the industry.
By participating on CGA committees, you can:
- play a crucial role in advancing industry safety;
- share and learn about best practices, new technologies, incident learnings, and more;
- ensure consideration of your company’s positions on issues that directly impact your organization;
- network with the industry’s leading subject matter experts and colleagues in your specific field;
- grow your presentation, group management, and leadership skills; and
- stay informed on relevant industry news.
Find out more by contacting CGA for more information. https://www.cganet.com/contact/