Jul
18
2013
9:10 am

Gas South and the Braves are ‘Bringing the Heat!’

Atlanta Braves fans have a lot to be excited about this year. Led by one of the game’s best pitching rotations, the Braves lead the NL East division at the season’s halfway point and are primed for a playoff run.

We’re cheering and tomahawk chopping to show our support. But the team’s dominant pitching means more than just another shot at a title. Each time a Braves pitcher records a strikeout, Gas South donates $25 to the United Way of Greater Atlanta.

It’s all part of our Bring the Heat™ campaign, now in its sixth season. To date, the Braves have thrown 826 strikeouts, translating into $20,650 donated to the United Way.

Since 2008, Gas South’s Bring the Heat™ program has contributed more than $200,000 to the United Way and other local nonprofit organizations. It’s just another way that we give back to the communities we serve.

So the next time you visit Turner Field to cheer on our Braves this summer, be sure to keep count of how many times a Braves opponent is sent back to the dugout on strikes – and remember that with each ‘K’ recorded, Gas South is helping build a better community.

Click here to read more about Gas South’s community involvement efforts.

Jul
11
2013
5:45 pm

Natural gas exports on the rise

Over the past few years, the U.S. energy landscape has been transformed.

New drilling techniques have unlocked vast reserves of natural gas within shale rock formations and as the supply of natural gas soared, prices dropped. The U.S. is now producing more oil and gas than it imports. Experts are even raising the possibility that the country may one day be energy independent.

All of this serves as background to discuss an interesting development in the natural gas industry: The federal government recently granted permission for a terminal on the Gulf Coast of Texas to ship liquefied natural gas to Japan.

Now, this may not sound like a big deal. But gas producers have been lobbying to increase the amount of natural gas they can send overseas. Gas prices are much higher on the global market than they are here at home.

The decision is seen by many industry observers as an indication of the government’s willingness to approve even more gas exporting agreements. (Terminals are allowed to export natural gas to countries with whom the U.S. has a free trade agreement, but they must seek government approval to send gas elsewhere.)

So, what does this trend mean for the natural gas industry?

One concern is that exporting more natural gas will reduce domestic supply, raising prices for consumers. However, some say an increase in prices will provide an incentive for companies to produce more natural gas, keeping prices in check.

It’s important to remember that the volume of natural gas deposits accessible via new drilling techniques is vast. The contemplated increase in gas exports is comparatively much smaller and some expect a limited impact on domestic prices.

At Gas South, our natural gas experts study the industry closely with one goal in mind: to offer our customers great prices and the most reliable service.

So, what do you think about exporting natural gas?

Jun
7
2013
12:09 pm

Gas South teams up with Action Ministries to help our neighbors in need

Some of our employees at 11Alive packing sandwiches for Smart Lunch, Smart Kid. (From left: Karen, Kim, Wakeeta, Catherine, Vaughn and Greg)

As part of our Gas South Cares program, we are once again partnering with Action Ministries to provide healthy lunches to needy kids this summer. A staggering 700,000 Georgia children are at risk of going hungry this year and we believe it’s our duty to do what we can to assist our neighbors in need.

Action Ministries’ Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program connects local kids who receive free or reduced-price lunches during the school year with healthy meals and educational enrichment opportunities during the summer months.

This summer, Gas South is volunteering time and resources to help Action Ministries serve as many kids as possible. Gas South has donated $10,000 and 10,000 lunch bags to Smart Lunch, Smart Kid. We kicked off the program on Wednesday with 11Alive and plan to pack 1,000 lunches at our offices next month to contribute to this great cause.

The Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program reaches children in Athens-Clarke, Butts, Carroll, Columbia, DeKalb, Fayette, Floyd, Fulton, Hall and Richmond counties. The goal: serving 200,000 lunches over the next few months.

Packing lunches with 11Alive employees

May
31
2013
5:08 pm

Atlanta, a foodie’s paradise

From the desk of Chris Coan, VP & GM of Business and Governmental Markets at Gas South.

The Atlanta Visitors & Convention Bureau (ACVB) is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. The city will be hosting many events and recognizing great leaders who have helped Atlanta and the ACVB reach this milestone. Atlanta’s reputation as a “foodie’s paradise” is growing rapidly and the ACVB and Gas South are teaming together to sponsor Atlanta’s 100 Signature Dishes. Throughout 2013, chefs from all over Atlanta will feature their signatures dishes and, if you pace yourself, you can eat all 100 entrees by the end of the year. Not to be outdone by the great food, restaurants and bars will also be featuring 100 signature cocktails. Visit your favorite mixologist and try their wonderful creations. If you are wondering where to find all these great places to eat, check out Atlanta Eats.  Gas South is proud to sponsor the new TV show as their host, Steak Shapiro, searches Atlanta for great meals. Visit their website and check out the restaurants featured in season one.

Gas South would also like to congratulate John C. Metz, Jr., CEO, Executive Chef and co-founder of Sterling Spoon Culinary Management. John has been honored as the 2013 Gold Plate Award recipient by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), which recognizes excellence in eight segments of foodservice operations. John is the creator of several Atlanta-area concepts, including Market Street Café, Aqua Blue and Marlow’s Tavern. Gas South has worked with John and his team for many years and greatly appreciates his business and his friendship.

Now it’s time to quench your thirst and enjoy a delicious meal (or 100). As they say in the business, “Come hungry and come often”!

-Chris

May
24
2013
2:27 pm

Hot topics: natural gas, manufacturing and exporting LNG

Last week, Gas South had the opportunity to host some of Georgia’s largest manufacturers at the Cherokee Town Club in Atlanta. We heard from industry experts, economists and lawyers regarding hot topics in the natural gas business.

We discussed the state of the natural gas market and listened to a presentation given by our very own Supply and Risk Management Manager, Michael Swartzell. We also explored the potential impact of exporting Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and how it would affect the U.S. economy, a great discussion led by Roger Tutterow of Mercer University. The group also gained insight into the process of fracking through a session with Mr. Walt Standisky of Roper Pump Company. Lastly, David Wochner of Sutherland Asbill and Brennan gave an update on the regulatory environment for LNG and fracking.

The major takeaways from the sessions were:

- Natural gas is domestic, plentiful and changing the energy landscape of the United States

- The U.S. is the #1 producer of natural gas in the world

- Economists are predicting the shale gas boom to continue and that by 2040 annual natural gas production will rise by 50%

- Only two LNG export terminals are operating in the U.S.

- World demand and higher prices in other markets will continue to drive producers to push for more export terminals

- It is uncertain how many LNG export terminals will be approved by the Department of Energy

- Even with growing LNG exports, the increase in shale gas production should offset the offshore demand and keep prices stable

- The regulatory environment is not moving quickly and it is unlikely that any ruling will significantly impact prices

The following chart shows the huge increase in shale gas production expected by 2040.

Do you think exporting LNG is good for the US economy?

May
14
2013
2:55 pm

Providing better customer care

 

At Gas South, it’s our mission to provide the best customer service in the industry. That’s why, about a year ago, we decided to bring our customer care operations in-house.  We hired 100 of the best customer service agents and set about the task of making our already best-in-class service even better.

A year later, I’m proud to report that our commitment has proved to be a smashing success.  For example, since “insourcing” our call center:

- We have seen a 40 percent decrease in escalated calls.

- Customers are now getting the answers they need with a single call 98 percent of the time.

- Annual agent turnover rate has plunged from 35 percent before the change to less than 13 percent today.

In early May, Gas South held a party at our Marietta call center to celebrate these achievements and mark the first anniversary. It was an opportunity to thank the customer care team for their dedication and hard work.

Over the past year, we have invested a significant amount of resources into our customer care operations. We launched an online customer care team to handle inquiries via chat and email, improved our quality assurance process and developed seasonal training courses to ensure that agents provide timely information to customers.  All of these changes have served to empower our call center employees. They’re now even better able to assist our customers with any questions they may have.

It’s all part of Gas South’s commitment to provide the best natural gas service in Georgia.  And we appreciate hearing from our customers about how we are doing.  Send us an email at tellgassouth@gas-south.com.  We appreciate and value your feedback.

Apr
30
2013
5:47 pm

Yes!Atlanta Wins Charity Cornhole Challenge

Wow, what a weekend! I want to thank everyone that came out to SweetWater Brewing Company’s 420 Festival to enjoy the beautiful weather while celebrating Earth Day. We had an amazing time hosting the Gas South Cornhole Challenge and the funds raised through tournament entry fees, t-shirt and koozie sales totaled more than $3,000 dollars. Freddy Bensch, owner of SweetWater Brewery and Kevin Greiner, President and CEO of Gas South stepped up and matched the amount to bring the grand total to $9,000 for our Charity Cornhole Challenge winner.

At 3:00 p.m. on April 21st, 10 of Atlanta’s nonprofits competed for 100% of the weekend proceeds and the coveted title of Charity Cornhole Champion. The competition was tough and ultimately came down to a fierce battle between St. Vincent de Paul’s ’Team a MAZE ing’ and the ‘Yes!Atlanta Holes’ representing Yes!Atlanta. With a final score of 21 -16 the Yes!Atlanta Holes were crowned our triumphant victors.

Gas South and SweetWater Brewery could not be more excited to donate $9,000 dollars to Yes!Atlanta. Yes!Atlanta works to keep at-risk Atlanta teens in high school by eliminating self-defeating behavior through mentoring and tutoring programs. The donation from this weekend will provide funding for four at risk students for one year.

Thanks again to everyone who came out and enjoyed the SweetWater 420 Fest and the Gas South Cornhole Challenge. The weekend lived up to both SweetWater and Gas South’s commitment to providing a great experience and giving back to the communities we serve!

Any ideas on how we might improve our Cornhole Challenge? Leave a comment below!

Cheers,

PJ

Apr
18
2013
10:44 am

SweetWater’s 420 Fest is THIS weekend!

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Celebrate Earth Day at SweetWater’s 420 Fest in Atlanta’s historic Candler Park. SweetWater has long been a valued Gas South customer, one that shares our values when it comes to environmental stewardship and giving back to the communities we serve, so we are happy to sponsor this great event. The music festival, now in its fourth year, kicks off on Friday afternoon and runs through Sunday. There will be an area for the kids to run around in and plenty of delicious SweetWater on tap for the adults. It’s sure to be a great time!

Gas South will once again be sponsoring Planet 420, a special section of the festival featuring a live music stage and an area where you can learn about the amazing work being done by local nonprofit organizations.

Stop by Planet 420 on Saturday and Sunday for Gas South’s 2nd Annual “Cornhole Challenge.” Never heard of cornhole? It’s like horseshoes. The object of the game is to toss a beanbag into a hole on a raised wooden platform. Read more about the rules of game here.

On Saturday, the Cornhole Challenge is open to all festival-goers. Just form a team, make a $20 donation, and start tossing. On Sunday, the competition really heats up with many of Atlanta’s nonprofit organizations vying for the coveted title of Gas South’s Charity Cornhole Champion. The winning group will receive the proceeds from Saturday’s tournament – an amount that will be matched by Sweetwater and Gas South.

The party starts at 4:20 on Friday. We encourage all guests to take Marta, as parking is limited around the park. Admission is free, but if you wish to enjoy SweetWater’s famous drafts, you must purchase a $5 wristband with valid ID.

Now, start practicing your delicate underhand toss and join us and the folks at SweetWater in honoring Mother Earth and have fun while you do it. See you there!

Apr
12
2013
1:59 pm

Gas South ‘Brings the Heat’ in 2013

Much has changed for the Atlanta Braves this season. Hometown hero Chipper Jones has retired and the lineup is crowded with exciting new faces, such as the Upton brothers.

But some things haven’t changed. For the sixth straight year, Gas South will donate $25 to a local charity each time a Braves pitcher records a strikeout, as part of our Bring the Heat® campaign. When a strikeout takes place at Turner Field, you’ll see fireworks erupting from Gas South’s iconic sign in right field.  This celebratory display will signify that Gas South has donated another $25 to charity. This year’s proceeds will benefit the United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Since 2008, Gas South has contributed more than $172,000 to Georgia nonprofits through Bring the Heat®.  Just last year alone, the Atlanta Braves recorded 1,232 strikeouts, helping us raise $61,600 for Georgia charities. It’s yet another reason to cheer when everyone’s favorite closer, Craig Kimbrell strikes out the competition.

By partnering with the Braves for Bring the Heat®, we are able to fulfill our commitment to give back to the communities we serve.

So as you enjoy your hot dog (or gourmet steak sandwich!) at Turner field this season, be sure to take note of the Gas South sign and lend your loudest voice and best tomahawk chop to our Braves pitchers. Because the more strikeouts they pitch, the more money we donate to the United Way.

Go Braves!

Mar
29
2013
5:33 pm

Women helping women: The importance of female mentors in the workplace

Two weeks ago I found myself standing at the Cobb Galleria alongside 14 women at the Northwest Georgia YWCA’s Tribute to Women. This annual event honors women who have made extraordinary contributions to family, community, charity and their professions. I felt incredibly honored and humbled to be recognized among Georgia’s most outstanding female leaders. But it also got me thinking: How did I get here?

The role of women as leaders in the workplace has become a hot topic recently. Just look at all the attention being paid to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” I admire Sandberg and the incredibly successful career she’s built. But I know how difficult it can be for women to navigate a business world that is still dominated – for the most part – by men.

I would never have been recognized as an honoree that night without the professional (and sometimes personal) guidance and support provided by female mentors throughout my career. These incredible women helped guide me during critical periods of my career. Ellen Lindeman, a past YWCA honoree and retired head of HR at the Southern Company, helped me hone my strategic thinking and goal setting.  Vera Arthur, Senior Vice President of HR for SWM International, mentored me as part of a Pathbuilders program (great resource for developing women), providing direction during my transition from manager to executive at Gas South. Sometimes their advice addressed issues particular to women. At other times, gender was irrelevant. Looking back, it was all invaluable.

I’m fortunate now to work at Gas South, where women are well-represented at all levels – even in the executive suite three of the company’s six senior leaders are women (including me!). We foster a progressive, results-focused work place, leaving no room for any cultural baggage surrounding gender.

At this point in my career, I have transitioned from mentee to mentor, offering my counsel to young professional women as they seek to climb the ranks. Here are some of the tips that I often pass on:

Tip #1: Always dress at least one notch more formal than is required, whether in the office, at a business lunch or charity gala in order to be taken seriously.

Tip #2: Be conscious about apologizing too often. Women tend to say “sorry” too often for things that don’t really warrant an apology.

Tip #3:  If you don’t make an issue that you are a woman, it reduces the chance others will.

Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to ask someone to be your mentor. Most people are flattered and will eagerly accept. Make sure to identify a skill set you need to work on and approach a person who is influential in your line of work.

At this stage of the game, I am passionate about the importance of giving back to other women.  I encourage all, both men and women, to seek out opportunities to mentor others who are earlier on in their careers.

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