Category Archives: events

Jake Rubin AGA CEO Dave McCurdy Receives Bryce Harlow Foundation Award

MCCURDY 222On April 25, the Bryce Harlow Foundation bestowed its Business-Government Relations Award upon American Gas Association President and CEO Dave McCurdy. The Business-Government Relations Award is given to a leader in the professional advocacy community in recognition of an exemplary lifelong career in the profession.

Presenting the award was Cal Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council who served with Dave in the U.S. House of Representatives. Mr. Dooley recalled Dave’s leadership in the House and his innovative approach to solving some of our nation’s most vexing problems.

Dave accepted the award paying tribute to his family and those who supported and guided his career when he arrived in Washington, DC thirty years ago as a freshman Representative of the Fourth Congressional District of Oklahoma. He opined on his time on Capitol Hill saying, “I did not see it as a swamp but as the home of democracy and the shining example for the world of how a diverse nation can come together to advance our people, society, nation and collective vision. I loved the House and was inspired by statesmen, motivated by reformers, grounded in history, and humbled by responsibility because we shared a vision that we are Americans first.”

MCCURDY 666Dave offered some advice to the Bryce Harlow Fellows who are students in pursuit of a career in professional advocacy through government relations. The CEO said that the accelerated Internet age will force them to sift through the noise, flood of fake news and so-called opinion on social media to judge the integrity of information. He warned that this onslaught of information can engender cynicism and fear, but he offered a path forward. “I believe very strongly in the capacity of public service and community service to lift up not only your neighbors, but also yourself. Commit yourself to the betterment of those around you or those in lands far beyond yours that are in need. I can tell you – and so can so many others in this room – that it can lead to a life of fulfillment allowing you to see the best of humankind and pushing yourself to achieve things you never thought possible.”

Also honored at the Bryce Harlow Foundation 36th Annual Awards Dinner, was U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) who received the Bryce Harlow Award bestowed each year on a notable individual, most often an elected official, with a career that echoed the work and life of Bryce Harlow and which was built on championing the principles of integrity, dedication and professionalism in the business-government relations community. He was introduced by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO).

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Lisa O'Leary Natural Gas Utilities Build Bikes for Local Children During Republican National Convention

IMG_0784Employees from the American Gas Association (AGA) and member utility Dominion teamed up to build bicycles for children in need in Cleveland, Ohio during the Republican National Convention. Thirty area children were selected to receive bicycles through the Rainey Institute, a 112-year-old cultural arts education organization located near Dominion East Ohio’s headquarters.

IMG_0790“We are in the midst of a national conversation about the future of this country and for natural gas utilities those relationships begin in our local communities,” said Dave McCurdy, AGA President and CEO. “All politics is local and our priority remains delivering energy safely and reliably to homes and businesses throughout this country.”

“Natural gas utilities deliver essential energy to more than 177 million Americans and are a true partner in the communities they serve,” said AGA Chairman Ralph LaRossa. “It is at the heart of everything we do and we wanted to make that spirit a part of our time in Cleveland.”

IMG_0788The bike building kits were supplied by Bikes for Goodness Sake, an organization AGA has partnered with during past Operations and Engineering Conferences. Dominion and AGA hosted the youngsters on Wednesday morning to receive their brand new bicycles and helmets.

AGA and Public Service Electric & Gas Company will hold a similar event in Camden, New Jersey during the Democratic National Convention next week. Stay tuned for photos from the upcoming event on the blog and AGA’s social media pages.

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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 loleary@aga.org.

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Christina Nyquist Joining Together to Elevate Natural Gas Delivery – More than 2,000 Attend 2015 AGA Operations Conference & Biennial Exhibition

From May 19-22, more than 2,000 attendees gathered in Grapevine, Texas for four days, more than 120 presentations and sessions, and more than 200 exhibitions – all focused on delivering our nation’s domestic abundance of natural gas even more safely, reliably, efficiently and affordably.

The annual AGA Operations Conference is the premiere gathering for the natural gas utility industry, providing a forum for operations professionals and experts from AGA’s more than 200 member companies throughout North America to come together and discuss current issues, share best practices and work toward raising the performance of the industry nationwide. This year, the Operations Conference coincided with the Biennial Exhibition, which featured a record 218 exhibitions showcasing the latest in natural gas utility technology and innovation.

ops conf post_mccallister

AGA Chairman Terry McCallister, Chairman, President & CEO of WGL Holdings, Inc. and Washington Gas addresses AGA Operations Conference attendees in Grapevine, Texas.

A Focus on Safety

This year, safety remained the core theme of the conference, with topics covering excavation damage prevention, disaster response, pipeline maintenance and materials, emissions measurement, environmental management, worker safety, workforce development and more. AGA member company executives discussed safety culture and gave an update on the new voluntary national AGA Peer Review Program. Attendees also heard presentations selected from AGA’s Best Practices Program on topics including infrastructure replacement programs at Consumers Energy, damage prevention at Washington Gas and redefining leak management at Pacific Gas & Electric.

AGA Operations Conference attendees participated in more than 120 presentations, panels and discussions on enhancing the safety and performance of natural gas operations.

AGA Operations Conference attendees participated in more than 120 presentations, panels and discussions on enhancing the safety and performance of natural gas operations.

Recognizing Excellence

AGA awarded 21 companies with Safety Achievement Awards in both worker and vehicle safety, and presented individual awards for contributions to natural gas operations including emissions management, using GPS technology to map infrastructure and enhance records management, and furthering research and development in safety, delivery, design, construction, maintenance, operations and efficiency. AGA also granted the first annual AGA Safety Awareness Video Excellence Award to Atmos Energy for their video, “Do you Dig It? Always Call Before You Dig.”

 Recipients of the 2015 AGA Safety Achievement Award

Recipients of the 2015 AGA Safety Achievement Award

Saving Lives

Natural gas utility employees serve their communities every day, in all weather, often going above and beyond their basic duties. Every year, AGA recognizes a member company employee who “has performed the most meritorious act in the gas industry in saving a human life during the prior year.” This year, AGA presented the Meritorious Service Award to Kacee Rogers of SourceGas, who rescued a woman after she had lost control of her vehicle and drove into a frozen pond. Rogers’ heroic action is an example of the qualities so often seen in natural gas utility employees – quick action, selflessness, a calm demeanor and a desire to help. Every day, local utility employees put those qualities to work, helping to ensure that homes and businesses can safely access the energy they need when they need it.

AGA Chairman Terry McCallister, Chairman, President & CEO of WGL Holdings, Inc. and Washington Gas presents Kacee Rogers of SourceGas with the 2015 AGA Meritorious Service Award.

AGA Chairman Terry McCallister, Chairman, President & CEO of WGL Holdings, Inc. and Washington Gas presents Kacee Rogers of SourceGas with the 2015 AGA Meritorious Service Award.

Giving Back

Natural gas utilities are part of their local communities and are focused on service. This year, AGA staff and conference attendees continued that tradition by helping to assemble bikes with the Texas-based Bikes for Goodness Sake Foundation. The AGA team, assisted by a contribution from host utility Atmos Energy, assembled 20 bikes, which were delivered to the Grapevine Police Community Outreach Center to be distributed to local children at the start of the summer reading program.

ops conf post_bikes

AGA Staff and Operations Conference attendee volunteers pose with bikes assembled for Bikes for Goodness Sake.

By joining together and learning from each other throughout the year at events such as the Operations Conference, America’s local natural gas utilities are raising the bar and elevating the safety and performance of the entire natural gas industry. For more highlights from this year’s conference, visit us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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