Author Archives: Lisa O'Leary

Lisa O'Leary

About Lisa O'Leary

Lisa O'Leary is the Manager of Digital Communications for the American Gas Association. Prior to joining AGA, Lisa served as Manager of Multimedia Communications for the Senator John Heinz History Center, "the Smithsonian's home in Pittsburgh," and as a Web Producer at WPXI-TV, Channel 11 News in Pittsburgh, PA. Lisa is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in Communications.

Lisa O'Leary AGA Members Draw Awareness to Safe Digging on 811 Day

On August 11, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) once again commemorated National 811 Day to promote safe digging practices and the Call Before You Dig campaign. No matter the type and size of digging project – from installing a mailbox to building a patio or deck, it is always critical  to call 811 several days prior to digging to identify the approximate location of underground utility lines, including natural gas. Excavation damage continues to be the leading cause of natural gas pipeline incidents across the country, though improvements are being made thanks to the education and outreach by CGA, local natural gas utilities and other stakeholders.

Each year on 811 Day, the American Gas Association’s (AGA’s) member companies work to educate their customers and the communities they serve about the importance of calling 811 before digging. The following highlights showcase many of the activities AGA’s members and partners participated in to help raise awareness about calling 811:

Image Credit: PHMSA

Image Credit: PHMSA

Throughout the month of July, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) took over the Navy Yard/Nationals Park Metro station in Washington, D.C. with 811 banners, posters and other signage.

Image Courtesy of CGA

Image Courtesy of CGA

On August 6, DOT and PMSA hosted a pre-baseball game event at the Washington Nationals’ stadium with Deputy Secretary of Transportation Victor Mendez and this year’s winner of Energy Safe Kids’ annual 811 poster contest. Safe digging procedures and Call 811 were promoted during all five baseball games prior to August 11, most notably on a banner directly behind home plate.

Image Credit: CenterPoint Energy

Image Credit: CenterPoint Energy

CenterPoint Energy in Houston, TX hosted a downtown block party complete with food and prizes, while the utility’s Minnesota branch teamed up with marking companies for the annual 811 5k Run/Walk followed by a kids fun run, awards ceremony, prizes and safety fair. All proceeds from the 5k benefitted Operation Warm, an organization that provides warm winter coats to children in need.

Image Credit: CGA

Image Credit: AGA

Pacific Gas & Electric, along with CGA and other stakeholders, had the honor of ringing the New York Stock Exchange closing bell in front of a large Call 811 banner on 8/11. Click here to watch the archived video from the event.

columbia gas 811 cake

Image Credit: Columbia Gas of PA

Things got a little wild at the Washington Wild Things baseball game on 8/11 thanks to Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania. Tickets were just $8.11 and Digger Dog threw out the first pitch.  In addition to the game, Columbia Gas distributed special 811-themed cakes  to local radio stations to help drive awareness during the morning commute and online.

Image Credit: Victor Espinoza/Twitter

Image Credit: Victor Espinoza/Twitter

Call 811-sponsored jockey and Triple Crown winner Victor Espinoza once again took to his Twitter page to remind customers to call 811 before beginning any digging projects, big or small.

In addition to 811 Day, the month of April is National Safe Digging Month (NSDM). As part of their ongoing commitment to safety, AGA member companies air PSAs and TV spots, host events and contests, and carry out social media campaigns to promote safe digging. If you are a natural gas utility, let us know about future Call 811 activities in the comments section below. We’d love to hear what your utility has in the works and to share your activities on AGA’s social media pages and blog. You can also email

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Lisa O'Leary AGA Members Among 2015 Most Trusted Natural Gas, Combination Utilities

Utilities Building Brand Trust Among Residential Customers

According to a recent study published by Cognet Energy Reports, trust in utilities from residential customers continues to increase. The score for brand trust increased by 29 points over the 2014 score to 685 (on a 1,000-point scale), according to the Residential Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement study, which also measures the overall customer engagement relationship. Brand trust is comprised of six factors: company reputation and advocacy, customer focus, community support, communication effectiveness, environmental dedication and reliable quality.

Multiple American Gas Association (AGA) members were among the most trusted natural gas and combination utilities ranked in the study, achieving top regional designation (or top two in region) and a brand trust score above the utility average of 685. AGA is proud to congratulation the following members:

Natural Gas
TECO Peoples Gas – 767
Piedmont Natural Gas – 766

Southwest Gas – 763
SoCalGas – 757
NW Natural – 746

Columbia Gas of Ohio – 736
Citizens Energy – 699

New Jersey Natural Gas – 723
UGI Utilities – 699
National Fuel Gas – 689

Combination (Natural Gas & Electric)
CPS Energy – 748

Northwestern Energy – 688

DTE Energy – 723
Wisconsin Public Service – 717
MidAmerican Energy – 714
Xcel Energy – Midwest – 714
Consumers Energy – 709
Alliant Energy – 709

Delmarva Power – 689

Cogent Report 2015

The results of the study were taken from a web-based survey among residential electric and natural gas utility customers of the largest 125 utility companies in the U.S., based on residential customer counts. Among the factors composing brand trust, customer focus, as well as company reputation and advocacy were key drivers and improved the most over last year, according to the study.

AGA utility members deliver clean and affordable natural gas to more than 177 million Americans, and work consistently to enhance safety and reliability, strengthen and grow our country’s infrastructure, improve our environmental footprint, and give back to the local communities they serve – some as many as 100 years.

To learn more about the 2015 Residential Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement study, click here.

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Lisa O'Leary American Gas Association Named Top Workplace for 2015


The Washington Post recently released its Top Workplaces for 2015, including the American Gas Association (AGA) as number 28 out of 75 small employers. Watch the video below to meet some of the people on AGA’s staff who work tirelessly to help advocate for the natural gas industry.

For more information about the award, read AGA’s recent news release.

Posted in energy, jobs, Natural Gas, people | Leave a comment

Lisa O'Leary Atmos Energy Receives First Annual AGA Safety Awareness Video Excellence Award

While natural gas utilities are dedicated to enhancing the safety of their operations, public awareness is a critical part of safe natural gas delivery. Finding effective ways to spread safety messages goes a long way toward ensuring that everyone can safely enjoy the benefits of natural gas.

This year, the American Gas Association (AGA) held our first annual AGA Safety Awareness Video Excellence (SAVE) Award, recognizing the outstanding contributions utilities across the country make in advancing natural gas safety communications.

(From L-R: Ronald Bradley, VP, Gas Operations, PECO Energy and AGA Operations Conference Chairman; Michael Haefner, Executive VP, Atmos Energy; Jeff Knights, VP, Technical Services - Mid-Texas Division, Atmos Energy; Christina Sames, VP, Operations & Engineering, AGA)

(From L-R: Ronald Bradley, VP, Gas Operations, PECO Energy and AGA Operations Conference Chairman; Michael Haefner, Executive VP, Atmos Energy; Jeff Knights, VP, Technical Services – Mid-Texas Division, Atmos Energy; Christina Sames, VP, Operations & Engineering, AGA)

AGA is pleased to announce the 2015 overall award recipient is Atmos Energy for their video submission, “Do You Dig It? Always Call Before You Dig”.  We’d also like to congratulate Co Serve for receiving the most public votes on AGA’s Facebook page for its “Mr. Diggs Gets the 411 on 811 (Armadillo Whisperer)” video.

AGA received many great submissions, and we encourage everyone to check them out on AGA’s YouTube channel by clicking on the “AGA Safety Video Award Submissions 2015″ playlist. Details about the 2016 SAVE Award will be posted on AGA’s website at a later date. In the meantime, share the creative ways your company is spreading natural gas safety messages in the comments section below and you may be featured in an upcoming AGA blog post.

Posted in 811, community, education, Natural Gas, people, safety, technology, video | Leave a comment