2014 Keynote Speakers
CONFERENCE KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Morgan K. O’Brien
President & CEO, Peoples Natural Gas Company LLC and Peoples TWP
Morgan K. O’Brien is president and chief executive officer of Peoples Natural Gas Company LLC and Peoples TWP, utilities serving approximately 700,000 customers in southwestern Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky. In that capacity, he is responsible for the company’s strategic, operational and financial performance.
Prior to joining Peoples Natural Gas in February 2010, O’Brien served as President and CEO of Duquesne Light Holdings from September 2001 to January 2010. At Duquesne Light, O’Brien refocused the company as a solidly performing electricity utility and community partner. He aggressively reviewed and restructured the utility’s key operating business, which resulted in major cost reductions and customer satisfaction improvement. Under his leadership, the utility invested $500 million in the region’s electrical infrastructure to replace aging equipment and assure service reliability. He also launched a series of economic development and community outreach programs.
O’Brien joined Duquesne Light in 1991, holding several senior executive positions before becoming CEO. Prior to his tenure at Duquesne, he served in various management positions at PNC Bank and major accounting firms.
Since joining Peoples Natural Gas, O’Brien has reestablished the 125 year old company in western Pennsylvania. He has brought nearly 300 new jobs back to the region and created a Customer Service Center in Pittsburgh. In addition, he has orchestrated the largest infrastructure improvement and modernization project in the company’s history. More than $100 million has been invested to ensure the continued safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to Peoples Natural Gas customers. In May 2011, Peoples TWP, formerly T.W. Phillips Gas and Oil Co, was purchased by SteelRiver Infrastructure Fund and became a sister company to Peoples Natural Gas. Morgan was named CEO for Peoples TWP as well. And most recently, in December 2013, Peoples acquired Equitable Gas. With this acquisition, Peoples is now the largest natural gas distribution company in Pennsylvania and serves customers in West Virginia and Kentucky for the first time.
O’Brien has positioned Peoples as a true community partner. The company sponsors many organizations and events that drive economic development and improve the region. Under his leadership, Peoples’ core values of Safety, Customer Commitment, Trust and Community have become part of the company’s corporate culture. This culture is consistently on display as Peoples’ employees volunteer their time and resources for charitable causes throughout the year.
A Pittsburgh native, O’Brien earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and master’s degree in Taxation from Robert Morris University. O’Brien is active in civic organizations throughout the region, including the Board of Trustees of his alma mater and of the University of Pittsburgh. He also serves on many boards, some which include, the Pennsylvania Energy Association, The Pittsburgh Opera, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Western PA Chapter. Morgan was elected as the Chairman of the Board for the United Way of Allegheny County in 2012 and as the Chair of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development in 2013.
O’Brien and his wife, Kathy, have four children and live in downtown Pittsburgh.
EVENING NETWORKING EVENT KEYNOTE SPEAKER
John A. Swanson, PhD
Founder, ANSYS Inc.
John Swanson, PhD, who helped to revolutionize computer-aided
engineering four years after graduating from Pitt, has earned
substantial recognition over the past 40 years including two of the
highest honors a professional engineer can receive. In 2009 he was named
to the National Academy of Engineering, one of 65 new members and nine
foreign associates elected in 2009 for contributions to and innovations
in engineering. In May 2004 Swanson received the American Association of
Engineering Societies’ John Fritz Medal, widely considered the highest
award in the engineering profession. Prior awardees of the Fritz Medal
include Orville Wright, Alexander Graham Bell, Alfred Nobel, Thomas
Edison, Guglielmo Marconi, and George Westinghouse.
is recognized internationally as an authority and innovator in the
application of finite-element methods to engineering. In 1970 Swanson
founded ANSYS, Inc.,
which markets the ANSYS software code that Dr. Swanson created for use
by the aerospace, automotive, biomedical, manufacturing, and electronics
industries to simulate how product design will behave in real-work
environments. Dr. Swanson served ANSYS as president, chief executive
officer, and director; at his retirement from ANSYS in March 1999 he was
the company’s chief technologist. Headquartered in Canonsburg, Pa. with
more than 40 sales locations worldwide, ANSYS and its subsidiaries
today employ approximately 1,400 people and distribute products through a
network of channel partners in more than 40 countries. Dr. Swanson
still teaches ANSYS training classes and serves the company in an
In 2002 Dr. Swanson was inducted into the
Cathedral of Learning Society, which recognizes individuals who have
donated $1 million or more to the University. Through his earlier
investments in Pitt’s $2 billion Building Our Future Together capital
campaign, Swanson created the John A. Swanson Institute for Technical
Excellence, which houses the John A. Swanson Center for Micro and Nano
Systems; the John A. Swanson Center for Product Innovation; and the RFID
(Radio Frequency Identification) Center of Excellence. He also has
established the John A. Swanson Embedded Computing Laboratory in
Dr. Swanson was named a Pitt School of
Engineering Distinguished Alumnus in 1998. He has served on Pitt’s Board
of Trustees since 2006. In December 2007 Pitt renamed its engineering
school the John A. Swanson School of Engineering in recognition of the
greatest generosity by an individual donor in Pitt’s history at that
point in time.
He received his bachelor’s and master's degrees in
mechanical engineering from Cornell University in 1962 and 1963. He
earned his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 1966. Now retired,
Dr. Swanson lends his expertise to Pitt engineering students as an
advisor on senior design projects, and most recently assisted with the
installation of solar panel arrays on the roof of Benedum Hall. The
solar panels were integrated into the new Electric Power Engineering Lab, which opened in January 2014.
Biography courtesy of May 17, 2010 Pitt Chronicle