Brian McDaniel

Aspire to Inspire

Kelcy Warren loved growing up in Texas, but from an early age, he knew that he’d eventually have to leave his home state for a career. He graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in engineering in 1967, and moved to Dallas for work.

Soon enough, Kelcy Warren realized that what the oil-producing states needed was an energy device to transport natural gas over long distances. Warren went to Washington, D.C., and sat down with Richard Nixon’s chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman. He told the former president that he had an idea for an energy delivery device that could help get natural gas from the oil fields of Texas to consumers in other parts of the country; he was surprised when Nixon enthusiastically showed interest in his notion. Nixon’s chief of staff told him to quit his job and come back with a plan.

Kelcy Warren got his $100,000-a-year job at the Office of Policy Development in the Department of Labor and stayed there until 1969. Meanwhile, he continued working on his idea for a gas-transporting device. He built prototypes and formed a company to pursue it. In 1986, Warren sold the gas-transportation device company to Energy Transportation Systems, Inc. It was a quick sale: His company was valued at $2.5 million, but he took home only $1 million, which Kelcy Warren invested in new ideas.

Warren continued working on other projects. He invented a pipeline that could move gasoline around in case of disruptions on existing pipelines and designed it to be damage resistant.

In 1989, he founded Energy Transportation Systems, which manufactured the pipeline. Today Kelcy Warren is CEO of Energy Transfer, the company he founded to get his gas-transporting products into use. ETC has grown to be a major player in the energy field. The company owns and operates many pipelines, including one that carries crude oil from Texas to Illinois. ETC also has its own natural gas processing plants and electrical power facilities as well as oil refineries.

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