The Importance of Getting Involved Early

A conversation with CGA’s new Chairman, Nelson Moreira.

June 23, 2023

As chair of CGA, Nelson Moreira wants to help others avoid a key mistake he made early in his career: failing to get involved early on.

“I now know what I missed out on: the networking, working on likeminded issues, learning that you get from dealing with the mentors and experts in the industry,” said Moreira, who has been in the industry for 37 years and is currently vice president, operations & safety, health, environment and quality for Linde Gas & Equipment Inc. He understands why some are hesitant, feeling that they’re already overwhelmed with work and family obligations—and perhaps intimidated by the complexity of CGA standards.

“They may feel a little daunted by serving on a CGA standards committee,” Moreira said. “You’re declaring your technical experience and expertise. At the end of the day, how do you become an expert without getting involved in the meetings?”

During his tenure as chair, Moreira hopes that members will get on board and “become an apostle” about the benefits of CGA—particularly among younger people. “That’s one of my big passions and it’s in line with the strategic plan: we have to train the next committee members.”

He would like for current, seasoned CGA members to look around their companies and “recruit people, allow them to participate and encourage them to participate.”

He’s lucky in that Linde encourages involvement. “Linde supports employees who give back to the industry and mentor colleagues who are early in their careers,” he said. “The industry will be better for it. As a Linde employee, I’m proud to share my experience and knowledge to help the CGA promote industry-wide standards and procedures for safety. And I enjoy encouraging my colleagues to do the same.”

Getting more people involved in CGA is not just about growing the association, or even securing its future as more seasoned members retire. Instead, it’s ensuring that the industry maintains its commitment to safety, he believes. “I have a profound respect for safety and what needs to be done to operate safely and with high compliance. The thing I most enjoy about CGA is that everyone focuses on what is important. The standards that CGA writes take a lot of time. I have tremendous respect for people who have been serving for 10, 20 or 30 years. They make the industry safer.”

“I’m proud to share my experience and knowledge to help the CGA promote industry-wide standards and procedures for safety. And I enjoy encouraging my colleagues to do the same.”

Moreira isn’t asking members to do anything that he won’t do himself. He plans to be particularly visible as chair, recruiting for committees and speaking at events. He also wants to see CGA develop standards “nimbler, faster, so that we can be relevant in emerging technologies. Hydrogen is evolving and CGA needs to move quickly to issue standards, so that the standards are adopted and referenced by NFPA and other agencies. It’s an important industrial gas for us, but it has to be respected.”

Hydrogen is an area where he hopes to see CGA grow, particularly with the new hydrogen membership available. “We need the hydrogen economy in totality to join,” he said. “We think that novel approach is going to draw people in who want to positively impact the industry. We need a broad, vast membership influx to do the hydrogen economy justice.”

CGA also is in the early phases of helping promote understanding about the values of carbon dioxide, which has gained a bad reputation due to its role in climate change. “We have an obligation to educate more people about how powerful carbon dioxide is in our everyday lives. We need to balance the bad that it has in terms of climate change with the good that it has in everyday society.”

He points to CGA’s 2022 work on helium reserves as a model to follow. “The CGA successfully advocated for a pause in the federal government’s plan to auction the federal helium reserve. We want to embrace and grow our advocacy on issues that are important to us as an industry and that can have a positive impact on society.”

Increasing advocacy, Moreira believes, will take everyone’s involvement in CGA, and Moreira is looking forward to increasing engagement and growing participation in his new role as board chair.

Looking to get involved? Are you new to the industry? 

The easiest way to get started is to join the CGA’s Young & Emerging Professionals Committee! Network and learn with your peers!