CGA & GAWDA’s Young & Emerging Professionals Summit Returns for a 2nd Successful Year
October 13, 2021
In 2020, the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) and the Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA) debuted a groundbreaking series of technical webinars designed to give the industry’s next generation an opportunity to interact with subject matter experts. The Young & Emerging Professionals Summit drew more than 2,000 attendees from all over the world who gave the event overwhelmingly high marks. Industry leaders acknowledged the event as a tremendous success and an unparalleled learning opportunity.
As preparations for the 2021 Summit began, CGA’s Young & Emerging Professionals Committee formed a task force to evaluate feedback from the 2020 event and develop an improved program. The task force, lead by Zach Fowler of Linde PLC, identified a need for programming that suited attendees at varying levels of industry experience.
As a result, an innovative new format was deployed featuring one topic per week. Each week included a day of overview presentations and panel discussions, followed by a session with deeper technical reviews. As plans for the Summit came together, CGA Committee Project Manager Tom Deary worked to solicit presentations and identify panelists. 35 CGA and GAWDA members answered the call, agreeing to share their time and expertise with the industry’s young and emerging professionals.
Weldcoa generously stepped forward to sponsor the event for a second year. This sponsorship ensured that all qualifying participants were able to attend the Summit at no charge.
Eight webinars covered a diverse range of industry topics, including: acetylene and liquefied petroleum gas, inert gases, hydrogen, and oxygen. Speakers early in the week set the stage by providing high-level reviews of the production, storage, and safe use of each product followed by a panel discussion with CGA and GAWDA members who shared their experiences of working in the field. Each week closed with a deep dive session reviewing incidents and the resulting impacts on industry best practices.
The Summit closed out with an open conversation between Abydee Butler Moore, GAWDA President and CGA Young & Emerging Professionals Committee Vice Chair, and Laura Brumsey, CGA Vice President of Operations & Administration. Abydee and Laura discussed the pressing need to engage the next generation of industry professionals in CGA and GAWDA work to provide a pipeline for knowledge transfer and succession planning. They also reviewed opportunities for involvement and encouraged any young and emerging professionals interested in learning more to contact staff at either association.
The 2021 Young & Emerging Professionals Summit continues to be CGA’s largest educational event. This year, we hosted nearly 1,500 participants from 85 companies around the globe. Feedback indicated that the event successfully delivered high value content, with participants rating the Summit a 4.7 out of 5 stars overall. Attendees enjoyed hearing from the variety of speakers and panelists from all sectors of the industry, and particularly benefitted from the practical experiences and advice shared in the sessions. The deep dive sessions were a strong point of interest; many participants commented on the high value of information shared in these discussions and the opportunity to further their understanding of why certain best practices and requirements are in place.
We wish to extend our sincere gratitude to the speakers and panelists who generously spent their time with us, to GAWDA for their partnership on the Summit, to Weldcoa for returning to sponsor the event for the second year, to the participants who dialed in from around the world, and to the CGA staff who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make each session a success.
Planning for the 2022 Young & Emerging Professionals Summit has already begun, and a call for presenters will be circulated in late 2021. CGA’s Young & Emerging Professionals Committee continues to look for ways to improve this event; if you are interested in participating in planning future events, please contact Tom Deary. We look forward to working with the industry’s leading experts to continue the knowledge transfer that started at this year’s event.