As the country’s natural gas infrastructure grows to meet national and global demands, efficient and effective pipeline construction is critical. In turn, a vital part of that process is surveying a pipeline’s route, whether for new construction or for an existing line, so that a project complies with all federal regulations; that it does not impact the environment; and that private property rights are acknowledged and respected. Although there are many certified surveyors, there are too few with the expertise and understanding to accurately survey a natural gas pipeline. Therefore, a group of stakeholders, including surveying firms and natural gas pipeline operators, convened to address the issue.
In September 2016, to address the issue, the stakeholders reached out to Grau & Associates (G&A) to help establish a trade association and develop it’s governance and member services.
The stakeholders had clear ideas about how to answer the “pipeline surveyor” question, but did not have a strategy insofar as corporate beginnings, tax considerations, and how to tackle these questions with the future – their solutions – in mind.
G&A convened a stakeholder meeting and created an agenda that walked the group through the initial steps including:
- selecting a name;
- drafting a mission statement and vision;
- determining a proper corporate structure;
- whether/how to best apply for federal tax exempt status; and
- creating a board of directors.
Thereafter, G&A began an iterative process with the Association of Professional Pipeline Surveyors’ (APPS) founding members to:
- determine all the appropriate membership categories;
- figure new members’ annual dues commitments; and
- therefrom developing an annual budget accounting for income and costs.
Today, work continues as APPS recruits new members and works with new outside partners to create and implement a “Pipeline Surveyor” certification program. The program includes the specific information modules and skill training sessions all members agree are critical to appropriately survey an existing or planned natural gas pipeline.