Energy Executive Says Good Business Runs on Integrity
Stanley Horton ’73, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, says styles of leadership come and go, but what never changes is the need for absolute integrity in business.
“Here at Boardwalk, we talk about how we become a star performer,” he said. “The top point of the star signifies a strong ethical culture. Our employees are expected to maintain high standards for honest and ethical conduct and obey the law in letter and in spirit.
In 2001, Horton saw what could happen when that value is ignored. He was an executive at Enron Corp. when the Texas-based energy giant collapsed in a financial scandal that led to the indictment and imprisonment of some top executives.
As CEO of Enron Global Services, Horton prepared Enron’s healthy companies for sale after what was then the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history. Upon leaving in 2004, Horton became president of Southern Union.
“It was a tremendously stressful time,” he said. At the same time, it was an opportunity like no other. I never saw a group of people come together in a common cause the way the dedicated employees of Enron did. From that perspective, it was very rewarding.”
The University of Central Florida was Florida Technological University when Horton studied business with a concentration in financial management. A commuter student, he cleaned hearses, helped construct Walt Disney World, drove trucks and worked as a bank teller to pay for his education.
“I learned the value of time management,” he said. “I worked, studied, attended classes and I found time for fun,” playing flag football and basketball with his Sigma Chi brothers.
A financial management class inspired his choice of career, and he now supports an endowed professorship at the College of Business Administration, where new generations of students are discovering their own career paths.
Forty years after joining the Florida Gas Company as an economist, who would rise to president by age 36, he now runs a firm that transports 12 percent of the natural gas consumed in the country.
“I don’t give much advice,” Horton said. “But I always tell young people, do what you love. If I didn’t love what I do, I would not have had the success I have had in my career.”