Posts for the Category ‘General’

Nov
26
2014
10:34 am

Employee Spotlight, Military Series: Juawana (Croswell) Glass

This month, Gas South is spotlighting several employees who previously served in the military. We’re proud that these employees, who sacrificed so much to serve our country, have chosen to work at Gas South.

Juawana (Croswell) Glass, Executive Assistant and Human Resources Coordinator, began working for Gas South after serving eight years in the U.S. Navy. Juawana says her military experience helped shape who she is today – as a person, community member and Gas South employee. We sat down with Juawana to learn a bit more about her past.

 

What was your occupation while in the military? What did that role entail?  

I was a Religious Program Specialist in the Navy. I was responsible for preparing personnel for deployment overseas. Serving our country during times of war can be emotionally taxing, so I helped to prepare soldiers by providing them with counseling and spiritual enrichment services. My job also included administrative duties like accounting and coordinating deployment logistics.

 

Did you perform any tours of duty during times of war? If so, when and in what capacity?

I served during Operation Enduring Freedom (in Afghanistan). My main duty was to protect the Chaplain when we went into the field and on the base during what’s called “complete base lockdown.” Chaplains are non-combatants for religious purposes, so it was up to people like me to provide security.

 

What was the most memorable moment of your military career?

Enlisting. After I enlisted, every moment while serving my country was an amazing experience. It was a journey that I was destined to take. From the places I traveled to the people I met, every second was memorable.

 

Do you currently volunteer with any community organizations? If so, what is the organization and what is your role with them?

I volunteer with the Genesis Shelter, which is a homeless shelter for babies under six months of age and their families. I’ve assisted the organization in various roles including serving food, job training and holiday drives.

 

Has your military past had an influence on your role in the community? If so how? 

Yes, the military broadened my horizons on life and I realized my calling to give back to my community.

 

Why was serving your country and community important to you?

Serving my country was so important to me because it gave me a sense of pride. I’m proud to say I made a contribution to this country. I honestly miss getting up every day, putting on my uniform, and preparing to protect and serve my community.

 

How has your military past affected your role at Gas South?

Serving in the military has benefitted me in my role at Gas South. I’m able to utilize most of the skills I developed in the Navy here at the Gas South office.

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Nov
25
2014
1:51 pm

Employee Spotlight: Military Series

Each November, we honor the men and women who serve our country in the armed forces. We are honored to have a number of veterans working here at Gas South.

As a salute to these former soldiers, we’re turning the Gas South blog over to them this month. We’ll be profiling employees who have served in the military, in places as far-flung as Singapore, Iraq and Japan. We’re thankful that these talented, dedicated individuals have decided to plant roots here at Gas South. We appreciate all that they do!

 

Employees who have served our country are:

Army

LaTitia “Tish” Winbush, Customer Service Representative

Rhonda Garrett, Customer Service Representative

Tiara Allen, Customer Service Representative

Stephon White, Accountant

Air Force

Sandra K. (Mills) Hamilton, Customer Service Representative

Navy

Juawana (Croswell) Glass, Executive Assistant and Human Resources Coordinator

Michael Clark Guice, Customer Service Representative

 

In our continued efforts to celebrate and support our veterans, Gas South also began offering a discount to our customers who are actively serving or have served in the U.S. military. Eligible users can visit our rates page and enter the promo code MILITARY to save 2 cents per therm on their Gas South bill.

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Oct
20
2014
5:49 pm

Employee Spotlight – Rony Sanon

Rony Sanon, Operations Coordinator, has worked for Gas South since 2008, when he transitioned from his role as a contractor to a full-time employee. Originally from Haiti, Sanon now resides in Marietta and says he appreciates the importance of using personal experiences to contribute to the community.

As an operations coordinator at Gas South, Sanon manages processes and reports, as well as a plethora of other duties that help the business operation run smoothly and efficiently. He also acts as liaison between Gas South and its third-party vendors, ensuring that relationships are maintained and everyone communicates their needs and goals clearly.

Sanon took some time out of his day to explain why he makes it a priority to volunteer in his community – and how doing so impacts his work at Gas South.

What projects and community organizations do you work closely with? And how long have you been working with these organizations?

I spend my weekends volunteering as a coach with Diamonds and Pearls Football Club (DPFC). DPFC is a girls’ soccer club. We use soccer as a tool to teach character building, academic excellence, and sportsmanship. I’ve worked with the soccer club since 2008, and it has been totally fulfilling. Although DPFC is located in East Point, I love being able to contribute to the community at large.

Why is community involvement important to you?

Community involvement has been an eye-opening experience for me. Volunteering with the girls at DPFC benefits the children I serve, but it is equally beneficial to me. Knowing that soccer teaches these girls lifelong skills makes it all worthwhile. I spent many days of my childhood playing soccer in Haiti, and the sport improved my character—now I can help others have that same experience.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering in the community?

Volunteering allows me to escape my day-to-day life and allows me to focus on others. I enjoy using my own experiences and skills to teach others. Since I already have soccer expertise, it’s easy for me to teach and make a big difference in the lives of the young girls at DPFC. Working with the girls quickly reminds me of how lucky I am. I have been given much in life, so I believe it’s important to give back as well. And I learn a lot from these girls.

How has community engagement affected your role at Gas South?

Gas South strives to create a culture of caring, while contributing to the social fabric of our community. I follow the same principle at DPFC: using soccer as a vehicle to do good things and improve character. The goal of teaching character building, the importance of academic excellence, and using your own personal excellence to improve the workplace are all important to Gas South. The volunteer work that I do outside of the workplace only helps to improve my performance in the workplace.

What would you tell other Gas South employees who are considering becoming more involved in their communities?

Go for it. Community involvement is worthwhile, and the personal rewards are truly priceless. The small act of giving your time is priceless. You live in the community, so don’t just take from it. You should also give back to the community in which you live. It’s all a circle: you take from it, give to it, and you will receive something in return.

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Oct
8
2014
4:05 pm

Employee Spotlight – Roshonda Coleman

Roshonda Coleman, Senior Strategic Partnership Manager, has worked for Gas South since 2006, making an impact not only on the company but the Atlanta community. Coleman, a Louisiana native who now lives in DeKalb County, has fully embraced Atlanta as her home.

While at Gas South, Coleman helped launch the Alliance program, in which Gas South partners with local cities, counties and utilities to offer discounted rates on natural gas service to residents and businesses, while raising money for the partner organizations.

Coleman also helped Gas South bring its call center in-house, giving customers the opportunity to speak with a company representative who can best handle their needs. With the opportunity of the recent housing market rebound, Coleman introduced an emerging markets strategy for Gas South that included leveraging relationships with the Realtor Advantage Program (RAP), single family home rental companies, and building companies.

Coleman is an active member in the community and is passionate about working with young professionals in her volunteer roles with American Marketing Association (AMA) and Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA). She took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions on community involvement and its importance in her professional life.

What projects and community organizations do you work closely with? How long have you been working with these organizations?

I’ve been a member of the American Marketing Association (AMA) for five years and was recently appointed to the organization’s board. I have a professional background in marketing, which has led to my involvement with other volunteer organizations around the city. I definitely have a passion for working with young people, and I currently volunteer for Junior Achievement, Waller Scholars, Leadership DeKalb, and DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Education Committee. I am also helping to launch a Young Professionals blog series for the DeKalb Chamber.

What type of volunteerism do you do for these organizations?

I wanted to match my marketing background with educating young adults and helping them gain practical and applicable knowledge. Recently an opportunity with AMA allowed me to combine both of those passions by serving as the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) chair for AMA. I’m really excited about this opportunity, as I am charged with helping to educate the next generation of marketing leaders.

What inspired you to become involved with these organizations?

We do on-site certifications with DECA, where we go to schools and they present school-based enterprise and new marketing platforms. I love it— that’s how I became involved with the program originally. I went on an industry certification and judged DECA competitions for 9th through 12th grade and immediately knew this was a program I wanted to continue to work with. This past May the organization held its International DECA conference in Atlanta, and I served as a judge for that competition. It is amazing to see what young minds today are coming up with.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering in the community?

When you’re able to see firsthand the impact you have on someone’s life, that’s payback enough. I get that with DECA when I see these students show their work and am able to give them feedback. I’m from a small town in Louisiana so I know first-hand the impact volunteers can have on someone’s life.

What would you tell other Gas South employees who are considering becoming more involved in their communities?

Community volunteerism is very important to me and is something I believe everyone should set time aside for. One of my favorite quotes about giving back is from Truett Cathy: “Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.”

I think it’s an impactful statement and it helps to guide the decisions that I make. If people keep that philosophy in mind daily they will truly be able to bring themselves and others joy.

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Sep
12
2014
12:35 pm

Can you have it all?

I was asked to speak at a conference this month on work/life balance.  Upon reflection, I recalled a poem from college by Kurt Tucholsky, “Das Ideal.”  In its essence, the poem encapsulates his idea of a perfect life:

 

“Yeah, you’d like that:

A villa in the countryside with an ample terrace,

faces the Pacific, backs up to Central Park (that’s the idea anyway) …”

 

Through the poem, Tucholsky paints a picture of the perfect life, one in which you can have it all. His ideal includes beautiful views of the mountains from the bathroom, servants, old wine, lots of money, splendid children, etc.  While the bottles of wine sound pretty good to me at the moment, we all have our own versions of the ideal, don’t we?  Yours likely varies from mine but the concept is the same – we all want to “truly have it all.”

Having it all – a high-paying and fulfilling career, a big family, ample free time to spend doing things you love, enough time with your spouse, caring for your children, and remaining an active member of the community.

Doesn’t having it all sound great? Juggling careers, families, and enough free time to enjoy the pleasures in life … totally doable.

In fact, that’s malarkey.  The “wonder woman” lifestyle, being a full-time career woman, mother, and community volunteer, is highly over-rated (if not impossible).  What is useful, however, are a few tips from someone who’s been around the block a few times and would like to see you get close to your own version of the ideal.

First step:  prioritize.  It took years of ignoring my husband and my therapist before I realized they were right.  You can’t do it all. Everything is not of equal importance.  So, what should you focus on first?  YOU!  If you aren’t healthy (mentally and physically) then you can’t effectively help your kid with homework, attend a reception with your spouse or answer that next darned email that comes right after you finish working through your inbox at 12:30 am.  You need to budget time during the week to take care of yourself – get some exercise, for goodness sake get some quiet time, and do whatever makes you happy.  Your family comes second. That may sound harsh, but if you don’t take care of yourself first then you can’t be there to take care of your family.  Third: let’s talk about work and where you are apt to make the biggest contribution and get the biggest bang for your buck.  Note – keeping an empty email box is not the answer.  Instead, think of the bigger picture. If you could do one thing to make your company better, what would it be?  Spend some time on the important things – the day-to-day issues will be there regardless.

Second step: learn to say “No.”  (PLEASE don’t let my mother read this.)  Yes, she’s right too – you simply can’t say yes to everything.  One must set boundaries.  “Five board positions and a full time job?!” my psychiatrist said to me one day.  “Consider one or two max.”  You can’t be everything to everyone, even though everyone may want you on their team.  Prioritize outside work life too.  Giving back to the community is fantastic as long as it doesn’t mean robbing you of yourself.  I encourage you to find one passion and pursue it with gusto.

Last step:  find out what’s meaningful to your family.  We spend most of our time at work, and the added time for the daily commute, the after-hours emails and the like add on to time away from family.  That means we need to maximize the bang for the buck.  A mentor used to tell me, “Ask your kids what means most to them and then re-ask every year.”  That’s great advice for prioritizing which family activities are the most important.  I might feel bad about missing a practice my child doesn’t care about, but she might love for me to take her to school when that doesn’t really take any extra time out of my day.  Focus on activities that can make the biggest impact on your family.  Ask each family member what means the most to them and see what they say, then try to make that one thing happen.

Kurt Tucholsky was nothing if not an idealist. But what he depicts in his poetry is far from easy to obtain, and in reality we are seldom privy to such luxuries as wealth, servants, and bottomless wine (although we can only hope).  What we can do is focus on what is important and prioritize accordingly.  Work, family, and personal needs all need to find balance in your life. Be prepared to let some things fall off the radar.  And, be okay with your own version of the ideal.

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Jun
12
2014
5:38 pm

Natural gas safety for your home

Natural gas is one of the cleanest and most reliable energy sources, but there are safety measures to keep in mind when using it around the home.

It’s important to understand how to recognize and respond to leaking or damaged pipelines.

Check out our DOs and DON’Ts for managing natural gas in your home:

DO:

  • Learn all you can about natural gas. The more you know…the safer you’ll be.
  • If you detect the smell of natural gas in the air, don’t stay—get away. You should then contact Atlanta Gas Light immediately at 877.427.4321 or call 9-1-1. In its purest form, natural gas is colorless and odorless. A harmless chemical called mercaptan is added to natural gas to give it the distinctive, rotten egg odor.
  • Look for the blue flame. If pilot lights and burners have a steady, blue flame they are operating correctly. (Decorative gas fire logs are the only exception. Their flame is usually yellow.)
  • Have all gas appliances, furnaces, vents, flues, chimneys and gas lines in your home or business inspected every year or two by qualified industry professionals.
  • Keep the areas around all appliances and equipment clean and unblocked to allow for proper air flow.
  • Follow manufacturer instructions for the care and use of gas appliances and equipment.
  • Make sure there is at least one multipurpose fire extinguisher in your home or place of business.
  • Review these natural gas safety tips regularly with ALL family members and coworkers.

DON’T:

  • Never let small children play with, or near, natural gas appliances or pipes.
  • Don’t use your stove or oven for anything other than cooking (for instance, to heat your home) under any circumstances.
  • Never move, install a gas appliance, or change a connector for any reason without professional assistance.
  • Do not use a space heater UNTIL you are sure it has been vented properly. If using a vent-free heater, make sure the automatic cut-off switch is operational.
  • Don’t install a gas appliance yourself, unless you are a qualified contractor. Instead, you should always seek professional assistance.
  • Never store household chemicals or combustible materials near gas appliances.
  • Above all, don’t forget to learn what to do if you ever smell natural gas in the air: call AGL at 877.427.4321 or 9-1-1 immediately!

Follow these safety tips and you will have a warm, happy and safe home powered by natural gas.

Questions? Ask us in the comment section below!

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Apr
4
2014
6:37 pm

Let’s clear the air: Tax credit for low-emissions commercial vehicles is a wise investment in our future

Too often, public discourse about our environment dissolves into zero-sum game arguments, with any potential policy change tallied as a win for either “green” advocates or big business. This line of thinking is predicated on a misguided assumption: that the interests of these two parties are necessarily at odds.

Fortunately in Georgia, that’s simply not the case. Consider House Bill 348, a common-sense piece of legislation sponsored by State Rep. Don Parsons, R-Marietta, that passed the General Assembly last week with strong bi-partisan support.

The legislation establishes tax credits for commercial alternative fuel vehicles purchased in Georgia. That could mean a delivery van powered by natural gas, or a service truck that runs on electricity.

The goal is to create meaningful incentives for companies to upgrade their fleets and put more low-emission vehicles on our state’s roads and highways. This legislation also helps us to remain competitive with other states like Florida and Oklahoma that have enacted laws that have accelerated the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles.

Georgia is a transportation hub, and our logistics industry is a major contributor to our economy and jobs.  However, motor vehicle exhaust is also one of the largest contributors to poor air quality in Georgia, exacerbating a host of respiratory and circulatory issues, from asthma to heart disease.

The impact is far-reaching: In Cobb alone, more than 15,000 children and nearly 150,000 adults have asthma, according to the American Lung Association.  The cost of dirty air is measured in school absences, doctor’s visits, trips to the emergency room, and hospital admissions.

Clean energy vehicles that run on natural gas or electricity can help to keep our economy strong while also reducing harmful smog causing emissions by up to 90 percent. They also reduce our reliance on oil imports.

House Bill 348 specifically covers commercial vehicles powered by alternative fuels such as natural gas, electricity, propane, or hydrogen. Each of these fuels produce significantly lower emissions than diesel or gasoline, and are derived some domestic sources of energy. Compressed natural gas (CNG) is the most popular alternative fuel for commercial fleets, as it is widely available and significantly less expensive than gasoline or diesel – about $1.50 to $2 less per gallon.

The savings can be substantial. DeKalb County, which recently converted its sanitation fleet to use CNG, estimates it will save $3 million over an eight-year period. Atlanta-based UPS is able to keep its shipping rates low by fueling delivery trucks with CNG.

Not long ago, the idea of plugging in your car or filling the tank with natural gas seemed nothing short of science fiction. But technology has advanced rapidly. CNG stations are now located throughout Georgia, while electric vehicle charging stations are common sights in many parking garages.

Our state legislature and Rep. Parsons in particular, should be applauded for taking steps to encourage the use of alternative fuel sources. It’s a modest investment that promises to pay great dividends down the road in the form of cleaner air, greater energy independence, a stronger economy, and healthier lives.

You can also find my article on HB 348 on The Marietta Daily Journal’s website here.

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Mar
11
2014
2:23 pm

Struggling with higher heating costs? You could be eligible for assistance!

Georgia has experienced an unusually cold winter this year. Thousands of families throughout the state are struggling with higher-than-usual heating costs — and Gas South feels it important to let you know there are local resources to help.

Several non-profits are offering financial assistance or have extended programs helping those who are most in need. As a company committed to advancing the communities in which we live, work and serve, Gas South works with these organizations — such as the Salvation Army’s Project SHARE — and urges those who need help to reach out to them.

Here are some organizations and programs that may be able to help. Additional information is also available on the ‘Paying your Bill‘ page of Gas South’s website.

  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)                                                                             Department of Human Resources
    Community Service Section
    Two Peachtree Street, NW, Suite 19-228
    Atlanta, GA 30303-3180
    404-657-3426 or 1-800-869-1150 (Toll Free)
    http://www.dhr.georgia.gov/

 

 

Each organization establishes its own criteria for assistance eligibility, which can be based on income or available funds, so we advise you to call or visit the web pages listed above for more details.

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Jan
9
2014
9:33 am

Brrr!!! Higher bill this month?

It’s Mother Nature…but you can do something about it

Did you know what a “Polar Vortex” was before this week? Nope, neither did we. For those of us who had the recent “pleasure” of experiencing its frigid fringe, we learned that, as the name suggests, it’s very, very cold. So cold, in fact, that for a night, Atlanta was even chillier than Moscow, Russia, at 5  ̊F. That was just the temperature reading, however. Throw in the wind-chill factor and it felt like -11 on Peachtree Street Tuesday morning – a record-setter in the normally pleasant state of Georgia.

As expected, the local news was filled with how-to advice for battling the plunging temperatures. One segment even featured Gas South Vice President of HR & External Affairs, Meredith Hodges, who said that natural gas consumption was more than 20 percent higher in Georgia this past December than in the previous two years. And more bad news: January could be even higher! That means homes across the country could experience “bill shock” because of increased heating costs.

Since you may be using more gas than usual, your bills could be higher than you’d expect. As the temperature drops, your furnace must work even harder to keep your home warm. During this cold snap, follow a few easy energy saving tips, so you can stay comfortable AND save money. Did you know that decreasing the thermostat temperature by one degree can lower your bill by 3 percent? Or that that 40 percent of the energy loss in your home is due to leakage? We hope these energy-saving tips, some of which take little to no time or money to implement, will make a big difference for you.

In the meantime, stay warm!

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Dec
10
2013
2:52 pm

Save money and energy with these simple year-round tips

Hey, what happened to fall in Georgia this year? Sure, the colors changed as planned, but doesn’t it seem like we skipped the pleasant transition of sunny, warm days with cool nights and went straight to scraping ice off the windshield and rummaging around the attic for ugly holiday sweaters?

All of this means one thing, of course – You’re using more gas to heat your home. However, there are things you can do to help offset higher energy bills. Follow these simple and important tips and you’ll be well on your way to saving energy this winter:

Lower the Temperature: In the winter, set your thermostat to 68°F when you’re home or 60°F when you’re away. But do not turn it off. It will cost more to reheat your home from colder temperatures than to keep it at 60°F. This can save 5-20% on your heating costs. Even lowering your heat by one degree during any 24-hour period can decrease your heating bill by up to 3%.

Maintain your heating system: Keep the filter clean and make sure that rugs and furniture are not blocking vents inside the house. Hire a licensed contractor to inspect your unit and consider upgrading old units for improved efficiency.

Insulate your home and seal your windows and doors: More than 40% of residential energy loss is due mainly to air leakage – yikes! Add caulk or weather stripping to windows and doors to reduce energy-sapping drafts. Caulk around pipes, ducts, vents or other openings in walls, floors, ceiling and attic.

Run appliances with full loads: Running the dryer or dishwasher with small loads uses the same energy as running them with full loads.

Open blinds and drapes during the day: Let the sun shine in during the winter for added warmth. Close at night to prevent drafts and loss of heat through the glass.

Stay warm, Georgians! For more great tips, visit our website.

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