By Richard Gottwald, President and CEO, The Compressed Gas Association
The Compressed Gas Association is now heading into its 110th Year in 2023. To put that into perspective, CGA has been around for 20 United States Presidents, the first long distance telephone service, the creation of the first moving assembly line, the discovery of penicillin, the creation of the entire U.S. Space Program, and so much more.
Over that time, CGA’s members have persevered through wars, the ever-mercurial economy, and global pandemics. Not only have they persevered, but they have also played essential roles in the safety and security of the global community.
Most recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when vaccines needed to be distributed, CGA members stepped up to ensure we had the dry ice we needed to deliver them safely.
When hospitals were filling with patients, CGA members were busy making sure medical oxygen was available to those who needed it.
And at CGA, the standards we’ve been writing for 110 years became life-saving resources as the world scrambled to use existing technologies in new ways.
It’s for reasons like these that I am proud to lead this incredible association. The work our members do has a real impact on the safety and health of our nation and the world.
Today, we are working diligently to address emerging issues, particularly those surrounding the burgeoning hydrogen economy. Throughout the course of 2022, CGA staff presented at ten hydrogen conferences, sharing our “Safety is Step One” message with more than 32,000 conference attendees. Many of these events connected us with audiences well outside of our membership – from fueling station operators, to utility companies, to aviation and aerospace companies.
Now, we are taking what we’ve learned this year, last year, and the past 109, and planning for the future.
CGA’s Three Year Strategic Plan
Through our new plan we intend to build on CGA’s strengths as a globally recognized industry leader and adapt to the changing needs of our membership.
Created by CGA leaders, committee members, and staff, this plan sets the course for our future and lays out five strategic priorities that we will work to accomplish in the next three years.
Guided by this plan, our efforts will focus on publications, people, agility, impact, and operations.
CGA maintains a library of over 380 publications, including safety standards, safety alerts, safety bulletins, technical bulletins, technical reports, training materials, e-learning modules and handbooks.
Through our extensive library, CGA works to address safety and technical information related to the manufacture, transportation, storage, transfilling, and disposal of gases (liquefied, non-liquefied, dissolved, and cryogenic); and the containers and valves which hold compressed gases.
Throughout the next three years we will continue our work to facilitate the adoption and use of CGA publications among CGA members, the industry at large, external stakeholders, and materially impacted parties.
Committees are the fuel that keeps CGA running. In order to ensure our talent pool (or tank) doesn’t run low, we are investing heavily in our people. Over the next three years we will be expanding CGA’s ability to attract and grow engagement with the talent needed to support CGA committees and programs, including young and emerging professionals.
According to the International Standards Organization, the average standard takes more than three years to produce, from inception to publishing. Over the last decade, CGA has worked hard to meet and exceed that average. Over the next three years, we will continue our work to improve CGA’s ability to address emerging issues and expand more quickly into new areas, as well as ensure that CGA technical and educational resources shift to address evolving needs.
It is often said that in business it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. This holds true for associations too. As we eye the future, we will be promoting CGA’s positions and objectives while broadening our influence by engaging in public relations, advocacy, and partnerships with like-minded organizations.
With our messages reaching beyond our immediate membership, we are solidifying our position as a leading authority on safety, standards, and the ever-changing industry landscape.
Since the start of the pandemic, CGA has made huge strides in modernizing our technology, operations, and even our physical office space. We will work hard over the next three year to continue to improve our internal processes, modernize our technology, increase digitization, and formalize plans for association continuity.
Now, more than ever, safety must be at the forefront of our industry as we continue to explore new applications that bring our products ever closer to end users. The priorities set out in the plan are an ambitious roadmap that will advance CGA’s position as a leading authority on industry safety and better enable us to respond to emerging issues.
CGA is well-positioned to carry out our safety mission, and to meet the challenges laid out in the new plan. To move this plan forward, we will need support from all sectors of our industry. We need continued participation from the talented, committed people who have long served on our committees, and we must continue to engage new participants who will carry our important work forward.
I thank our members and GAWDA subscriber members for your continued dedication and collaboration as we further our mission to promote ever-improving safe, secure, and environmentally responsible manufacture, transportation, storage, transfilling, and disposal of industrial, medical, and food gases and their containers.
We look forward to a bright future with all of you.