Business Leader and Philanthropist Gregory E. Abel to Receive 2018 Horatio Alger Award

12/5/17

Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that Gregory E. Abel, chairman, president and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, has been selected for membership in this prestigious organization. Mr. Abel joins 11 other esteemed business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving 2018 honors. For more than 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon admired leaders who have succeeded despite facing adversities, and who have remained committed to higher education and charitable efforts in their local communities.

Born in 1962 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Mr. Abel was taught to be responsible, entrepreneurial and independent from an early age. His parents were hard-working, and they encouraged a young Mr. Abel to contribute to the family's well-being. His first job was delivering advertising flyers to homes, which he supplemented by cleaning discarded bottles and redeeming them for money. He also worked as a laborer for a forest product company. In high school and throughout his college years, during which he lived at home, he filled fire extinguishers for Levitt Safety. Each summer, he was employed by the City of Edmonton's Parks and Recreation Department as a program planner and sports camp counselor. He earned a small scholarship from Levitt Safety, and completed his undergraduate degree in commerce in 1984 from the University of Alberta, where he graduated with distinction.

After college, Mr. Abel joined PricewaterhouseCoopers in Edmonton and then moved to its San Francisco office, where one of his clients was CalEnergy. Shortly thereafter, he accepted a job with CalEnergy, and he, his partners and team transformed the small geothermal business into an international, diversified energy business. From 1992 to 2008, Mr. Abel held a number of senior executive positions at CalEnergy. In 1999, the company became MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, and Mr. Abel became president. In 2008, he was named CEO and in 2011 chairman was added to his title. In 2000, MidAmerican was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway and in 2014 the company was renamed Berkshire Hathaway Energy. The company is a global holding company with assets in excess of $90 billion, owning subsidiaries principally engaged in energy businesses in the U.S., U.K., Canada and the Philippines.

"From a very young age, Greg recognized that a combination of hard work and dedication would be his keys to success," said Matthew Rose, president, Horatio Alger Association and 2013 Horatio Alger Award recipient. "Although Greg was fortunate to have a supportive and loving family, he had to work tremendously hard for everything that he has accomplished in life. His strong work ethic, passion and enthusiasm will inspire both Scholars and Members. We look forward to welcoming Greg as a 2018 Horatio Alger Member."

Mr. Abel serves as a director and vice chairman of Edison Electric Institute, an association of U.S. investor-owned electric companies, and Associated Electric & Gas Insurance Services Limited, a mutual insurance company. He also sits on the boards for Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited, a mutual insurance company of nuclear power facilities, and The Kraft Heinz Company.

Mr. Abel serves on the philanthropic boards for the Hockey Canada Foundation and the Mid-Iowa Council Boy Scouts of America. Mr. Abel is the founding sponsor of Future Leaders in Action, a nonprofit that supports developing youth leaders as they implement programs at child-focused nonprofits, and is the lead supporter of the Cornea Excellence Fund through the University of IowaFoundation, which advances research in ophthalmology. Mr. Abel also gives generously to the American Football Coaches Foundation, which provides funding to high school and non-Division I college coaches so that they can become better coaches by fostering players who need a strong mentor in their lives. In 2015, he was awarded the prestigious CEO Coach of the Year Award.

"It is a tremendous honor to be inducted into the Horatio Alger Association," said Mr. Abel. "This prestigious award is made even more meaningful because of the organization's important mission and its commitment to making young people's dreams of a college education a reality. I was lucky enough to have people who I could turn to for support and guidance in my formative years, and I hope to be that person for Horatio Alger Scholars as they pursue their own goals."

Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this mission, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $125 million to students in need, all of which has been funded solely through the generosity of Association Members and friends.

Mr. Abel and the Member Class of 2018 will be formally inducted into the Association on April 5-7, 2018, during the Association's 71st Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The annual three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact, exchanging stories of hardships and triumphs.

For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its Member Class of 2018, please visit www.horatioalger.org and/orfollow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #HoratioAlgerAward.

About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans: 

Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, in 2017, the Association awarded more than $18 million in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships across the United States and Canada, and also provided college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $125 million in college scholarships to more than 25,000 deserving young people. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org.

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