2006 was a very good year for the Foundation with respect to membership growth. Foundation membership grew by 10 percent in 2006. We added 11 new members. 2007 continues in that vein. In January, three new members have been added to the roster. Membership currently stands at 111 member companies. The membership sub-committee of the Foundation’s Executive Committee is working to ensure that all sectors within the natural gas industry are represented in the Foundation. The upward trend in membership reflects the value the Foundation provides it members through its study program, meetings and workshops. It also reflects the current dynamic atmosphere in the industry with respect to approved and planned construction projects. .
In early January, members of the Foundation’s Executive Committee once again attended the open session of INGAA’s 2006 Planning meeting in Houston. Attendance at this meeting provides Executive Committee members with a better understanding of the issues on the horizon for interstate natural gas pipelines. This knowledge helps inform the Foundation’s on-going discussions with respect to topics that may be appropriate for future studies and enhances the Foundation’s ability to produce studies that support INGAA’s agenda.
On January 25th, the Executive Committee met in Houston prior to the INGAA Board’s January 26th meeting. At this meeting, the Committee engaged in an extensive discussion on workforce issues and what short- term steps could be taken to train welders and other skilled laborers. It also discussed how the Foundation could serve as a catalyst for recruitment of skilled workers. In conjunction with this discussion, a group of Executive Committee members volunteered to serve on a committee to look at short-term proposals that could alleviate these critical workforce problems and to develop messages regarding labor shortages that can be communicated by the Foundation’s leadership to appropriate government policy makers at the federal and state levels. The Executive Committee also approved a proposal to engage in a long-term strategic planning exercise for the Foundation. Over the next year, we will hire an outside consultant to review our successes over the last 17 and help us determine how we can become a better organization.Finally, Executive Committee members enjoyed attending the INGAA Board’s reception an dinner at the Four Seasons. The opportunity to socialize and share information about INGAA and the Foundation was greatly appreciated.