Highlights from CGA’s 2019-2022 Strategic Plan

May 31, 2019

During his President’s Report at our 2019 Annual Meeting in April, Rich Gottwald revealed for attendees the Compressed Gas Association’s updated Strategic Plan. We provide the highlights of that plan here, which centers around 5 key objectives.

OBJECTIVE 1: Implementing an effective communications program to position CGA as the leading authority for safety information

CGA is widely recognized by members and key industry partners as a credible source for safety information, but we have an opportunity to ensure that our technical positions are recognized by a broader audience. In recognition of this challenge, our updated Strategic Plan emphasizes a substantial focus on promoting CGA’s library of more than 330 safety publications, our industry’s commitment to safety, and the value of being a CGA member.

As part of this initiative, CGA is also moving its publication library to a new delivery platform that offers a feature-rich experience for users, including:

  • redline comparisons between any two editions of a published standard
  • user-set notifications for changes to specific text
  • one-click access to CGA publications referenced in the text
  • annotation and commenting that can be shared across teams

This change will remove barriers to publication access, while enhancing members’ ability to use and adopt CGA publications. It also more effectively positions our content to non-members who are searching for industry content.

OBJECTIVE 2: Securing and retaining subject matter experts to support CGA’s work

CGA’s vast library of technical and safety information is developed and maintained by committees of industry personnel who participate on a voluntary basis. It is critical that we continue to attract member companies that support their employees’ participation in CGA activities, and to leverage the industry’s leading experts in our committee work so that we continue to develop publications that are at the forefront of industry safety.

We must also bolster our committees against knowledge loss resulting from the retirement of long-time participants. We can best accomplish this goal by recruiting young and emerging professionals to join in on committee work, while endeavoring to ensure that our committee processes facilitate the participation and engagement of this new generation with today’s more established safety experts.

The following graph demonstrates the gradual decrease in the average number of active participants per CGA committee over the last 5 years. This trend is due primarily to industry consolidation (less member companies = less voters) and retirement of industry experts.

The following two bar graphs (Meeting Count and Publication Output) show that while committee participation shrinks, our committees’ workloads have remained substantial – particularly when you consider the increase in annual publication output.

Taken together, these graphs underscore the importance of continuing to secure and retain member companies – as well as the experts they employ – in support of CGA’s committee work.

They also demonstrate the need to focus our committees on high-priority work, while considering the elimination of low-priority items, as well as exploring alternative approaches to getting some of the work done (including using outside consultants to develop some publication drafts and other materials).

In the Committee Demographics visual above, the donut graph on the left demonstrates the wealth of experience we currently have present on our committees, with the average voter having participated in CGA activities for 14 years. It also reflects an even distribution between newcomers and long-time participants, which helps strike an important balance between mature knowledge and new ideas.

The line graph on the right shows the projected increase in the median age of our committees, as well as the percentage of our voting population that is over 60 years old. We consider a committee to be at risk for severe knowledge loss when 50% or more of the voting members are over age 60. By 2023, a large number of our committees will hit that mark, while more than half of our voting members across all committees will be over 60.

This window into the near future underscores the need to get the next generation of young and emerging professionals actively involved in the work of the Compressed Gas Association, so that we may ensure that we are capturing the industry’s lessons learned in a way that allows them to be passed on to future generations.

OBJECTIVE 3: Developing educational resources aimed at new audiences in order to improve their ability to safely interact with industry products and processes

As growing numbers of industry products are used in applications that result in direct contact with the public, it becomes increasingly important for CGA to have a voice in providing information that facilitates users’ ability to safely interact with our members’ products.

To address this issue, CGA’s scope has been modified to include providing basic safety considerations for end use. Over the next several years, we will focus on developing new resources such as eLearning modules, safety posters, and basic safety instructions to provide essential information about the potential hazards and important safety considerations related to various gas products.

We are also evaluating translating some of these materials into Spanish and French to promote adoption and adherence throughout North America.

OBJECTIVE 4: Continuing to strengthen CGA’s ability to support industry self-regulation at the federal, provincial, and state levels

CGA has a long history of successfully advocating for safe and effective regulations for the industry at the federal level, with a high rate of acceptance of our positions by code developers and regulatory agencies.

We will continue to focus on this critical area and to promote CGA’s success and commitment to safety in order to garner additional cooperation and support from those that are imposing requirements on the industry.

As we look to the future, we realize that there is also an opportunity for CGA to engage at the state and provincial levels on issues that directly impact our member companies.

OBJECTIVE 5: Coordinating international resources to advocate for consistent, safe, and effective requirements for the industry

As our industry becomes increasingly global in nature, it is imperative that CGA coordinate effectively with regional industry associations such as the European Industrial Gases Association, the Asia Industrial Gases Association, and the Japan Industrial and Medical Gases Association to promote the global standardization of industry requirements.

Harmonization of our standards delivers many benefits for the industry, including:

  • Improving industry safety as a result of sharing and utilizing best practices for safe operation internationally
  • Reducing confusion and enhancing compliance through the development of non-conflicting common industry positions
  • Extending the reach of the experience, research, data, and consensus opinion of the industry’s leading experts to local and regional companies
  • Maximizing the efficient use of subject matter experts’ time by eliminating duplicate regional efforts to develop and maintain publications on similar topics
  • Leveraging international industry consensus publications to limit ineffective and/or conflicting regulations and support industry self-regulation
  • Developing a standardized approach to safety and operating practices, which in turn reduces costs and improves operating efficiency

The pie chart above indicates the breakdown of harmonized standards by topic. This visual highlights a common theme: most harmonization projects tend to focus on process and safety issues, as opposed to equipment-specific topics or other areas that are highly regulated across different regions of the world.

Learn More About CGA’s 2019-2022 Strategic Plan

If you work for a CGA member company, we invite you to download your copy of the updated Strategic Plan (Please Note: member login required; document ID: 12542).

If you’re interested in learning more about CGA’s strategic initiatives, but work for an organization that is not currently a member of the Compressed Gas Association, we invite you to learn more about CGA member eligibility and benefits.