Sequent Re launches Series, Focusing on Energy Issues

Published on September 20, 2009

Distinguished Leaders Series Re-Launches with Energy Focus

The University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business will re-launch its Distinguished Leaders Series (DLS) in October with an energy focus. Sponsored by Sequent Energy Management, DLS will feature two of the country’s foremost energy experts in October — John W. Somerhalder II, who is chairman, president and CEO of AGL Resources, and Gal Luft, the executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS).

Connecting this Bauer mainstay event with energy-related speakers is a natural fit, said Latha Ramchand, associate dean for programs and administration. “Through our faculty experts housed in the UH-Global Energy Management Institute (UH-GEMI) and building on our strong alumni base in the energy industry, Bauer College trains students to deal with the new realities of a changing energy landscape,” she said.

“We augment the learning experience in the classroom by bringing speakers from the energy industry to share their expertise with students,” Ramchand added. “Our Distinguished Leaders Series is meant to connect students with professionals who are in leadership positions in the energy industry.”

For more information or to RSVP for the events, contact Kamika Hind, 713-743-4716.

John W. Somerhalder II, chairman, president and CEO of AGL Resources, will be the first DLS speaker of the year at UH Bauer, focusing on his experience in the energy industry.

John W. Somerhalder II, chairman, president and CEO of AGL Resources, will be the first DLS speaker of the year at UH Bauer, focusing on his experience in the energy industry.

John W. Somerhalder II
Monday, Oct. 5, 2009
Melcher Hall, Room 160
Reception – 5-6 p.m. (By invitation only)
Event – 6-7 p.m.

With state and regulatory experience in multiple jurisdictions, Somerhalder brings extensive energy industry knowledge to his position leading AGL Resources, an Atlanta-based natural gas company serving 2.3 million customers in six states. The company operates six local natural gas distribution systems (Atlanta Gas Light, Chattanooga Gas, Elizabethtown Gas, Elkton Gas, Florida City Gals and Virginia Natural Gas) and two natural gas storage facilities (Golden Triangle Storage and Jefferson Island Storage & Hub).

In addition, AGL Resources markets natural gas through its wholesale and retail entities (Sequent Energy Management and SouthStar Energy Services) and owns and operates dark fiber optic network infrastructure through AGL Networks.

Somerhalder began his tenure at AGL Resources in 2006, when he was named president and CEO of the company. He was elected chairman of the company’s board of directors in late 2007. Previously, he spent nearly 30 years with El Paso Corporation and its predecessor entities, rising through the ranks from engineer to president of El Paso Pipeline Group and executive vice president of El Paso Corporation.

Somerhalder is also a valuable resource for the many industry boards he serves, including the American Gas Association, the Gas Technology Institute, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. He was elected director of Quicksilver Gas Services GP LLC in 2007 and has served as past chairman of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) and the INGAA Foundation.

Committed to community service, Somerhalder sets an example for AGL Resources with his work for Habitat for Humanity and the United Way, serving as a hands-on project leader for four Habitat homes built by AGL volunteers and chairing the 2009 United Way Campaign for metro Atlanta. He is also chairman of the board of the Beltline Partnership, which supports development of the Atlanta Beltline project along 22 miles of historic railroad around the city.


Gal Luft, executive director for the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, will also speak about his knowledge of energy security and policy during a DLS event on Oct. 15.

Gal Luft
Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009
Melcher Hall, Room 160
Reception – 5-6 p.m. (By invitation only)
Event – 6-7 p.m.

Luft leads the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), a Washington-based think tank focused on energy security, and is co-founder of the Set America Free Coalition, an alliance of national security, environmental, labor and religious groups promoting ways to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

He specializes in strategy, geopolitics, energy security, energy technologies and natural resources. Newsweek has called him a “tireless and independent advocate of energy security,” and the business magazine Poder described him as “one of the most recognizable figures in modern energy and security issues.” He was included in Esquire’s 2007 list of America’s Best and Brightest.

Luft appears frequently in the media and has published numerous studies and articles on security and energy issues in various newspapers and journals, including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The American Interest, Commentary Magazine, Middle East Quarterly, LA Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. He is co-author of Energy Security Challenges for the 21st Century (2009) and Turning Oil into Salt: Energy Independence through Fuel Choice (2009).

In addition, Luft has lent his expertise in energy as a consultation for think tanks and news organizations worldwide. He has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including Senate Foreign Relations, House International Relations, House Science and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

He is a founding member of the Institute for Renewable Energy Policy, the International Lithium Alliance,, and Citizens for Energy Freedom. He holds degrees in international relations, international economics, Middle East studies and strategic studies, and a doctorate in strategic studies from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University.

About the Distinguished Leaders Series
Bauer College launched its DLS in 2002 as a tribute to Charles T. “Ted” Bauer, the school’s namesake who bestowed the single biggest gift to a college in the history of UH. The series brings top business leaders into the classroom to teach students and build a bridge between academic teachings on leadership and ethics, and the real world of business.

In 2007 and 2008, the college hosted several of the country’s foremost business professional as DLS speakers, including:

  • Dan Cathy, chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A
  • John T. McNabb, II, founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Growth Capital Partners, L.P.
  • John Hofmeister, retired President of Shell Oil Co.
  • Tim Welbes (’69) and Alex Sutton (MBA ’73), Co-Presidents of The Woodlands Development Co.
  • John Gibson, President and CEO of Halliburton Energy Services
  • G. Edmond Clark (MBA ’79), President and CEO of FedEx Trade Networks, Inc.
  • Samuel DiPiazza (MS ACCY ’73), Global Chief Executive Officer of PricewaterhouseCoopers International, Ltd.
  • Lt. Col. Barrye Price (’85), Ph.D.

By Jessica Robertson

Posted Under: Alumni

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