AGA Honors Two Industry Leaders with the Distinguished Service Award

News Release October 11, 2021

Sea Island, GA – At the 2021 American Gas Association Executive Conference, the nation’s natural gas utilities honored two visionary leaders who enhanced the natural gas industry through dedication to their companies and communities.

Meeting in-person for the first time in over a year gave AGA the opportunity to recognize Kent Larson with the 2020 Distinguished Service Award. Larson stepped down from Xcel Energy last year following nine years as Executive Vice President and Group President of Operations. In his impressive 38-year career at Xcel Energy, he created a blueprint for high-performance and forwarding-thinking operations. Larson joined the AGA Board of Directors in 2000 and served on the executive, membership services, and policy committees, in addition to the security, integrity and reliability committee. He also sat on the Safety Committee, which he chaired in 2015 and 2016.

The 2021 Distinguished Service Award was given to Pierce H. Norton who left his position as Chief Executive Officer of ONE Gas Inc. in June to take on the role of President and CEO of ONEOK, Inc. Norton held a number of positions in the energy industry before landing at ONEOK in 2002, where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer as well as President of then ONEOK Distribution Companies in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Norton served as the first President and CEO of ONE Gas, Inc. when it became a standalone publicly traded company separated from ONEOK Inc. in 2014. Norton also sat on the AGA Board of Directors and Executive Committee for ten years, during which time he served on the finance, audit, safety, compensation and nomination committees. He chaired the AGA Leadership Council in 2015 and led the Board Finance Committee for three consecutive years. Norton was the Chair of the American Gas Association Board of Directors in 2017.

“The natural gas utility industry owes an incredible debt of gratitude to Kent Larson and Pierce Norton both for the exceptional jobs they did leading their companies and for the insights and guidance they brought to the American Gas Association for many years,” said AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert. “The AGA Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor that our organization bestows and there are no individuals more deserving. We are proud to honor their contributions to our community and to the entire energy industry.”


The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 76 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 95 percent — more than 72 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets more than thirty percent of the United States' energy needs.