The March issue of American Gas magazine features an interview with AGA’s new president and CEO, Dave McCurdy, who joined AGA after serving for four years as president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance). In this follow up to a previous post, McCurdy shares his first impressions of the industry and AGA.
Excerpts from this American Gas interview, edited for space and clarity, will appear at True Blue Natural Gas throughout March. The entire interview can be read at aga.org.
AMERICAN GAS: Granting that you have a bit of a learning curve ahead, would you share your first impressions of the natural gas utility industry, especially your impressions of where the industry will be in the future?
McCURDY: Well, there’s always a learning curve when joining a new organization, but I’m a disciple of accelerated learning. I have given a copy of a book called The First 90 Days to AGA’s senior staff. It talks about how you accelerate learning and transitions, and I’m a strong advocate of that.
But keep in mind that in terms of a learning curve, I grew up in the Oklahoma oil and gas patch and represented a district in Congress that was a center of the oil and gas industry. I have seen how the rapid advances in technology over the years have literally been a game-changer in terms of expanding the unconventional gas resources and their effect on stable and affordable natural gas prices. This country is blessed with domestic shale gas equivalent to the oil reserves of Iran.
One way or the other I have been involved in discussions about energy my entire career. Recently I met with T. Boone Pickens, and we discussed a lot more than the football rivalry between his alma mater, OSU (Oklahoma State University), and my beloved OU (University of Oklahoma). He and I share the view that we can, and must, take advantage of the full mix of “all-American fuels,” including natural gas and alternatives. That view is shared by members of Congress and the Obama administration with whom I have also had frequent conversations.
You’ll find that I’m a natural optimist and believe that we have a great future as long as we dedicate ourselves to a common purpose. The future for natural gas as a domestic fossil fuel is extremely bright as we move to a sustainable energy policy for tomorrow. But the key word there is “sustainable.” That’s the bridge that must connect all of the energy stakeholders, including both political parties. We all have to agree on a sustainable energy policy.