Kelcy Warren, Chairman of Energy Transfer, Admits He’s Still Chasing Success



Products made from oil and natural gas are all around us. They’re in the hospital room when babies are delivered, and they’re in the MRI machines that diagnose traumatic brain injuries. In fact, without products derived from petroleum, there’s a lot the world couldn’t do, such as log onto a computer or snap a high-quality pic with a mobile phone. Petrochemicals are also key to the pharmaceutical industry, meaning hundreds of life-saving drugs would not exist in a world without them.

Energy Transfer’s newest commercial hits upon these points, as it envisions a world where hospitals lack the equipment and supplies needed to perform even the most basic of procedures, such as delivering a baby. In fact, Kelcy Warren, co-founder and chair of Energy Transfer, was¬†awarded the Horatio Alger Award in 2016 for his work supporting these very efforts.

Kelcy Warren hails from Gladewater, TX, the son of an oilfield ditchdigger and a department store clerk. And even today, he attributes much of his success to the stable family life his parents provided for him and his brother.

“I hit the lottery with my parents. They were loving and involved, and that’s an advantage I had over some others I knew.”

Warren was taught, from an early age, that it’s necessary to work for the things you want, and with his father’s history of oilfield work, combined with his own teenage years spent repairing oilfield leaks and performing pipeline construction, there were few doubts Warren would end up in any industry other than petroleum. And that’s exactly what he did. With a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington tucked under his belt, he began working his way up the corporate ladder.

His first job after college was with Lone Star Gas Company as a pipeline designer. Later, he would join Endevco, which he would later acquire and sell. At this point in his career, Kelcy Warren co-founded Energy Transfer and became its chairman and CEO. Today, he is the Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Energy Transfer, with more than a 40-year history of leadership within the oilfield industry. Yet, he still humbly attributes much of his success to those early years in Gladewater, as his acceptance speech for the Horatio Alger Award attests:

“The young people the Horatio Alger Association are helping to get a college education have had more adversity in their lives than I had. But education is so important; you can’t have too much these days. The award and the mission of the organization are just incredible.”

Today, Energy Transfer is one of the most diversified and largest publicly traded companies within the energy industry. Under its umbrella of partnerships are Sunoco LP, USA Compression Partners LP, and Energy Transfer LP. It works every day to bring necessary petroleum-derived products to neighborhoods around the world, including life-saving drugs, medical equipment and medical supplies. At its helm, Kelcy Warren looks on, proud of all his company has achieved, yet still humble enough to admit that he still chases that elusive pinnacle called success.

“I think success is not having any regrets,” he says. “I think success is a pinnacle I have yet to climb.”