2023 CGA and GAWDA Young and Emerging Professionals Summit

Young and Emerging Professionals from Across the Compressed Gas Industry Gather for Virtual Summit

August 12, 2023

By: Paul Pflieger, Director of Marketing and Communications, CGA

The fourth annual Young and Emerging Professionals Summit, which took place virtually across four days this August, gathered more than 600 professionals from across the compressed gas industry.

The Summit, which was planned and executed by Young and Emerging Professionals spanning multiple CGA Committees, drew participants from around the globe including more than 30 countries. And, thanks to the generous support of our friends at WELDCOA, this year’s summit was free to attend.

The Summit covered a diverse range of topics meant to educate, inspire, and grow our industry’s future leaders including association involvement, employee safety, fuel gases, the environment, and the future of our industry.

Safety Standards and Service

The Young and Emerging Professionals Summit kicked off with an introduction from CGA Board Chair, Nelson Moreira. As Vice President, Operations, Safety & Quality, at Linde, and as someone who has been in the industry for 37 years, he outlined the importance of educating and training the next generation of industry leaders.

See Nelson’s recent article on The Importance of Getting Involved Early

Nelson’s introduction was followed by a presentation from Andrew Reeves titled, “You’re Only as Safe as Your Latest Hire”. Andrew’s presentation drew from his military experience and his knowledge from his role at Eleet Cryogenics. In his presentation, he emphasized the significance of training the youngest employees to foster a strong safety culture.

To finish off the first session, attendees were treated to a once in a generation discussion between CGA’s New Committee Member of the Year, Robin Jussila, and Steve Gentry, who was recently honored for 50 years of service with CGA. During their lively discussion they discussed the importance of involvement in associations and committee work, industry changes over the decades, advice for a successful career in the industry, how to get involved in technical work at CGA, and more!

The Fuel Gases

The second session of the Young and Emerging Professionals Summit covered the many technical aspects of the major fuel gases: hydrogen, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and acetylene. CGA’s Rob Early kicked off the session with an overview of the fuel gases and discussed the unique characteristics and challenges of working with each gas.

Rob’s introductory presentation was followed by a panel discussion on the energy portfolio of the future. The panelists included: Rob Early, Technical Manager, CGA, Tom Drube, Vice President Engineering, Chart Industries, Chad Nickell, Director, Biogas Systems Engineering, Air Liquide, and Meredith Webber, CEO, Outrider Gas Transports LLC.

Environmental Issues

The third session of the Summit covered a topic that nearly every company and person on earth thinks about, the environment. Jim Reebel, Manager of Capital Projects Permitting, Air Products & Chemicals, Inc, started the session by discussing the landscape of initiatives, regulations and targets/goals set by federal and state agencies. In his presentation he explored the practical effects these might have on our industry, including considerations which must be applied to design, engineering, and operations decisions in order to be a compliant business.

Jim was then joined by Luke Lana, Director, Commercial and Project Management, Tomco2 Systems; Host, Catching Carbon Podcast and Damian Vickerman, Senior Director of Environmental and Emergency Response, Airgas, an Air Liquide Company for a panel discussion on the future of Sustainability. During the panel, the expert panelists touched on, pressing environmental challenges, standardization efforts, stakeholder collaboration, regulatory frameworks, innovative technologies, policymaker engagement, and the role of young professionals in promoting sustainability.

State of the Industry and Professional Panel

The final session of this year’s Summit included a presentation from Rich Gottwald on the future focus areas of the Compressed Gas Association. His presentation was then followed by a discussed with Abydee Butler Moore, President and CEO, Butler Gas Products and Chris Ebeling, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Messer America.

The panel explored the role of young and emerging professionals in shaping the industry’s future. They discussed the collaborative efforts among industry associations, knowledge sharing among industry players, and CGA and GAWDA’s contributions to industry growth. The panel also addressed anticipated technological advancements, and the ways members can support integration. They wrapped up by reviewing the many resources available to young professionals and ways to start getting involved right away.

We want to thank all our speakers, panelists, and participants for making this year’s summit a success. As Rich Gottwald said in his Summit-closing presentation, “Without you there is no association, together we are moving this industry forward.”

We are proud to partner with GAWDA for this and many other CGA events. More than 60 GAWDA companies who partake in the CGA’s GAWDA Distributor Subscription Program were able to attend this year’s event.

Click here to learn more about the program so you can join next year’s summit and get access to CGA’s valuable safety resources and standards.