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Pipeline Leadership Conference Focuses on ‘Building Your Advantage’ in the Pipeline industry

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The Fifth Annual Pipeline Leadership Conference hosted 110 industry professionals to the Hyatt Regency Houston Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Nov. 6-7, 2019. The event focused on the theme of “Building Your Advantage in the Pipeline Industry,” with an agenda packed with expert speakers and panelists to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the market.

The Pipeline Leadership Conference is a two-day event geared toward pipeline industry executives involved with operating, building and maintaining oil and gas infrastructure for the transmission and distribution sectors. The event is organized by Benjamin Media Inc. and North American Oil & Gas Pipelines in cooperation with Continuum Capital.

Sponsors for the event included Airgas, Brandt, Florida Energy Pipeline Association (FEPA), Grow America’s Infrastructure Now (GAIN), John Deere, Equipment Controls Co. (ECCO), LB Foster, Leighton Services, Michels, Miller Pipeline, Minnesota Ltd., Outreach Experts, Pivvot, Precision Pipeline, Sterling, TorcSill, Vacuworx and the Distribution Contractors Association (DCA).

Among the attendees were a group 16 students from SkillsUSA, Arizona State University, Houston Community College, University of Alberta (Canada) and University of Texas at Arlington who participated in the Student-Led Pipeline Innovations Forum on Nov. 7.

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of the Pipeline Leadership Award to Shawn Lyon, president of Marathon Pipe Line LLC, based in Findlay, Ohio. Announced during the evening award reception on Nov. 6, David Murk, pipeline manager for the American Petroleum Institute (API), introduced Lyon and his role leading the industry’s implementation of the Pipeline Safety Management Systems Recommended Practice 1173 (RP 1173).

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Pipeline Leadership Award winner Shawn Lyon

Pipeline Leadership Award winner Shawn Lyon

Lyon shared his passion for pipeline safety and its importance in ensuring the success of the industry at large. Lyon also shared a special moment with his wife, Connie, who was in attendance, thanking her for supporting him.

Pipeline Leadership Award Reception

From left: Mark Bridgers, Shawn Lyon, his wife Connie and Bernie Krzys during the Pipeline Leadership Award Reception.

Day 1 Highlights

The Fifth Annual Pipeline Leadership Conference kicked off Nov. 6 at 11 a.m. with registration and a lunch, followed by a welcome message from Benjamin Media Inc. CEO and Publisher Bernie Krzys and Patrick Lamb, representing the Pipeliners Association of Houston.

Alan Mayberry

Alan Mayberry

Alan Mayberry, Associate Administrator for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), presented the opening Keynote Address. Mayberry provided the audience with a detailed look at the regulatory environment, including reauthorization of existing regulations, new and pending regulations, drivers of regulations and regulatory reform.

Continuum Capital Principal Mark Bridgers followed up Mayberry’s address with an overview of the pipeline and distribution market and moderated the Executive Roundtable, with Mayberry, Lamb and Lyon serving as panelists.

The Executive Roudtable

The Executive Roudtable with (from left) moderator Mark Bridgers, Shawn Lyon of Marathon Pipe Line, Patrick Lamb of the Pipeliners Association of Houston and Alan Mayberry of PHMSA.

Day 1 of the Pipeline Leadership Conference was rounded out by a presentation on “Finding the Optimal Route — A Pipeline Routing Best Practices Case Study,” by Stacey Mcbride of Pivvot, filling in for original speaker Kent Strasser, who fell ill prior to the event. Following that was a panel discussion on “Convergence: How Integrity, Safety & Prudency Are Transforming Pipeline & Distribution Systems,” with James Francis of CenterPoint Energy and Brydon Ross of the Consumer Energy Alliance, moderated by Bridgers. Stephen Cabano, president of Pathfinder LLC, and Tony Bazzini, chief engineer at ExxonMobil Global Projects, concluded the day with a discussion on “The Next Generation of Projects — A Business Perspective.”

Day 2 Highlights

Dale Anderson

Dale Anderson

The second day of the Pipeline Leadership Conference kicked off with a message from Dale Anderson, executive vice president of Miller Pipeline, followed by a brief introduction of the participants of the afternoon Student-Led Pipeline Innovations Forum.

The “Young Voices in Pipeline & Distribution Infrastructure” panel discussion provided a look at the challenges that younger professionals in the industry face and how to bridge the generational gap in the workplace. Panelists included representatives of the Young Pipeline Professionals (YPP) organization, including YPP vice chair Landon Lucadou of Dynamic Risk, community of practice work group lead Tyler Tunic of Williams and veteran mentor Lydia Mares of CenterPoint Energy, joined by Shannon Caron of Michels Canada, recipient of the 2019 Jack Cressey Future Leaders Award, presented by the Pipe Line Contractors Association of Canada (PLCAC). Brad Kramer, managing editor of North American Oil & Gas Pipelines, moderated the discussion.

Moderator Brad Kramer questions panelist

Moderator Brad Kramer questions panelists Shannon Caron, Landon Lucadou, Tyler Tunic and Lydia Mares about their perspectives on being a young professional in the pipeline industry.

The morning agenda of Day 2 concluded with “A User’s Guide to Avoiding Tribal Protests on Pipeline Projects,” presented by Lou Thompson and Bobby Gonzalez of Tribal Energy Resource; “Innovations in Integrity of Pipeline & Distribution Systems,” a panel discussion with Nathan Leslie of NDT Global and Didi Horn of SkyX, moderated by Jay Rendos, director of Continuum Capital.

The 2019 Pipeline Leadership Conference was punctuated with a luncheon keynote by Karl Schwartz, vice president of Beard Oil Distributing, who highlighted the challenges of “Building a Business and a NASCAR Team” in a highly engaging presentation that the audience found both informative and entertaining.

Karl Schwartz discusses “Building a Business and NASCAR Team”

Karl Schwartz discusses “Building a Business and NASCAR Team” during the luncheon keynote on Nov. 7.

The conference was concluded the Student-Led Pipeline Innovations Forum, where students got the opportunity to engage with industry veterans about their studies and opportunities for
the future.


2020 Call for Abstracts

The Pipeline Leadership Conference has launched a call for abstracts for the sixth annual event on Nov. 18-19, 2020, at the Woodlands Resort in Houston, Texas. Abstract submissions should be sent via the conference website, plconference.com/call-abstracts. Deadline for submission is Friday, March 27, 2020.
The theme for the Sixth Annual Pipeline Leadership Conference is “A 2020 Vision for Pipelines: What the Future Holds.” The event will explore the impact of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, highlight the market outlook for 2020 and project the challenges and opportunities in the pipeline industry for the next four to eight years.

The Pipeline Leadership Conference is designed to recognize companies and individuals driving transformation and innovation in pipeline and distribution system design, construction and operations through People, Process and Practice. Innovators and leaders who are interested in sharing their perspectives, strategies and tactics to achieve continued success in the oil and gas pipeline and distribution sector are invited to submit abstracts via the conference website, plconference.com.

The Pipeline Leadership Conference Program Committee will review and select topics for the event. The committee is comprised of long-time oil and gas pipeline industry veterans, representing operators, contractors, engineers and trade associations.

If you have questions regarding the Pipeline Leadership Conference call for abstracts, contact Brad Kramer, managing editor of North American Oil & Gas Pipelines, at bkramer@benjaminmedia.com or call (330) 467-7588.

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