Jennifer O'Shea Working Hard in the Big Easy

The annual AGA Operations Conference is the natural gas industry’s premier gathering of natural gas utility and transmission company operations management from across North America and the world for the sharing of technical knowledge, ideas and practices to promote the safe, reliable, and cost-effective delivery of natural gas to the end-user. This year’s conference took place a few weeks ago in New Orleans, LA, and was a huge success:

    “This conference was truly the best one I’ve been to over the course of almost 25 years of attending them.  I have never seen the sessions so well-attended and by such a diverse group of committee members.” –active committee member and conference delegate

We started off the week embracing the theme of the conference by truly “Working Hard in the Big Easy.” AGA kicked off its “Giving Back to the Communities We Serve” volunteer program, during which more than 40 conference delegates, family members and guests donated their time and effort  to one of three volunteer opportunities to help rebuild New Orleans: The New Orleans Mission, The Donald Edwards Home Restoration Program and The St. Bernard Rebuild Project. The turnout and enthusiasm for this inaugural program were so great that we plan on continuing our volunteer efforts at all future Operations Conferences!

The newly reformatted conference saw record-breaking attendance to all its technical sessions (some with standing room only!) and to the General Session. Among the insightful speakers at the General Session, we were honored to hear from the recently inaugurated Mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, who shared a compelling story of the “new” New Orleans along with his input about the challenges and solutions that lay ahead.

Technical sessions focused on timely topics of significant interests to operations management. From project cost management to greenhouse gas emissions management, presentation topics ran the gamut, including but not limited to DIMP, measurement, supplemental gas, gas quality, distribution construction and maintenance, odorization, workplace violence, plastic materials, corrosion, climate change, pipeline safety and employee safety. But the benefits didn’t end with our education panels as there was also ample opportunity throughout the week to network with industry peers from across the country and the globe.

We ended the week with an Entergy post-Katrina Restoration Tour, which allowed our conference delegates an opportunity to re-live the challenges and successes of Entergy as it persisted through Katrina and recovered post-Katrina.

During the week, we also recognized 18 of AGA’s members as industry leaders in safety excellence for both employee safety and vehicular safety. We are always thrilled to highlight the safety efforts of our members, and you can read more about these awards and the companies we recognized here.

With working so hard in the Big Easy, when did we have time to play? Let’s just say we were resourceful! We had a great time in New Orleans and thank all of our participants and attendees for helping to make such a memorable conference.  It’s been a few weeks now and all our bags are unpacked and the Mardi Gras beads have been put away, but that just means the countdown has begun for the 2011 Operations Conference. In 2011 we’ll be in Nashville, TN from May 24-26…we look forward another great event and hope you’ll be there to join work (and fun)!

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