AGL Resources Moves the Natural Gas Industry and the Economy Forward
Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
Hank Linginfelter, Executive Vice President, Distribution Operations, articulates with ease the activities of AGL Resources, headquartered in Atlanta since 1856. “Every year we’re running pipes to new areas of the state. We want to serve customers reliably and safely. We want to keep costs low,” he says.
The company began as Atlanta Gas Light with the purpose of lighting the streets of the city so commerce could occur beyond daylight hours. As such, “It is the oldest corporate citizen in the state of Georgia,” says Linginfelter. Today, AGL Resources, the corporate entity, is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange with a reach that extends from Atlanta to the state to the country. The distribution segment of the company serves approximately 4.5 million customers in seven states. It maintains natural gas storage facilities in Louisiana and Texas. Retail operations reach customers in 15 states.
AGL Resources employs about 1800 Georgians alone. In addition, Linginfelter says, “We’ve invested billions of dollars in infrastructure across the state.” Atlanta Gas Light owns and manages the network of pipes that delivers affordable natural gas energy to customers, and the company expects to add as many as 15,000 new customers in Georgia in 2015.
The natural gas industry is as strong today as it’s ever been. “The remarkable abundance of natural gas in America is an absolute game changer,” Linginfelter says. AGL’s leadership in ensuring corporations, small businesses and residences can access this natural resource with low environmental impact is the pivotal point of their economic influence. Linginfelter adds, “It’s providing an abundant supply of affordable energy source. Natural gas is leading the way to a jobs renaissance in the country.”
The energy supplied by Atlanta Gas Light’s estimated 32,000 miles of pipeline network, one of the most modern in the country, drives the engine of the economy. AGL’s participation in deregulation of natural gas in 1998 contributed to ensuring competitive pricing, and the growing availability of natural gas is a determining factor when industries and businesses choose where to locate. AGL reliably and safely supplies natural gas energy to power industrial activities. Thus, Atlanta Gas Light is instrumental in bringing new companies to the state.
AGL also offers a statewide economic development program for companies seeking to relocate, build or expand in Georgia. Commitment to economic development further includes participation on a team of interested parties that includes the governor’s office, the Department of Economic Development, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, local chambers and other Georgia companies. “It’s not that common across the country,” says Linginfelter, “to find that many entities that are committed to the same priority.”
Keeping communities strong also tops AGL Resources list of concerns. Linginfelter explains, “We have a corporate value: generosity of spirit.” Through its grant program, AGL Resources Private Foundation targets philanthropy efforts at education, environmental stewardship, diversity, community enrichment, basic human needs and energy assistance. On the individual tier of engagement, members of the AGL family give back to the communities in which they work and live, as well. Linginfelter says, “You’ll find AGL employees in every town we serve involved in philanthropic activities at the local level.”
Growing up in the company fold – his father also worked for Atlanta Gas Light – Linginfelter has found his home within the company’s corporate climate. “As long as I can remember anything, I’ve been a part of AGL,” he says. Linginfelter built his career from the bottom, working during summer breaks while a student at Georgia Tech. He started his career in the trenches, literally. “Those tough jobs encouraged me to stay in school,” Linginfelter says. “I admire those workers who do it day in and day out.” Now, more than thirty years later, Linginfelter is an icon at the company and well known in the industry.
Moving forward Linginfelter says the company will continue to provide excellent, responsible service day in and day out while embarking on the next phase of pipe modernization. Atlanta Gas Light plans to replace 3,300 miles of plastic vintage pipe installed between 1963 and 1984 within the next few years. These modernization efforts and the focus on getting natural gas to the people who need it move the entire industry forward. The economy progresses with it.