Nov
8

Building Robots. Shaping Young Minds.

Mentoring the Kell Robotics Team through the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) Leadership Foundation takes real heart – something Rajiv Thomas, Gas South systems engineer, knows well.

The Kell Robotics Team is a group of about 16 high school students who participate in two regional competitions each year in hopes of making it to the state championship and ultimately, the world championship.

Every January, competing teams take part in a kickoff event at Georgia Tech where they’re tasked with building a robot in 60 days. That robot then has to complete a challenge to move forward in the competition.

Rajiv is part of a group of volunteers that mentor the team which meets at least twice a week to plan, design and build the amazingly efficient robot and ensure that it’s ready for the showdown.
Last year, the Kell Robotics’ team won the Chairman’s Award at the Georgia State Championships to make it to the world championship in Houston. And even though their robot didn’t place, the kids who get to learn from these experiences are the real winners.

“Anyone can build a robot and compete, “said Rajiv. “We push kids to problem solve on their own. We don’t do the work for them – we just guide them. It’s truly fulfilling to watch the kids think outside the box and work through obstacles.”

The Chairman’s Award recognizes teams for how they encourage STEM education – it honors the team that inspires others to get involved in STEM. The Kell Robotics Team has proudly won the award a few times.“We encourage a love of STEM – and see our students become better people,” Rajiv added. “When we were at the World Competition, the team from Israel was not able to get their batteries through Homeland Security. Our students offered to let them borrow our batteries when we weren’t using them. That was a proud moment for me.”

Rajiv tirelessly encourages students to grow outside the classroom. He’s passionate about igniting the imaginations of young minds and is truly an inspiration to others who also have a desire to be a fuel for good.

 

 

 

Oct
12

Connecting with Young Women in the Community

For Kristen Hopper, Gas South Operations Analyst I, cheerleading is more than just a sport. It’s a way to connect with young women in her community, and help to build their confidence and develop important life skills through performances and friendships.

In high school, Kristen developed a passion for working with kids with special needs after volunteering with the Special Olympics. She was coaching cheerleading when she decided to put her talents to work to make a difference – and that’s how the Fabulous Flames Cheerleaders were born. The cheerleaders range in age from as young as five years old, to women in their 20s. They also have a wide range of abilities – there’s no disability that can preclude someone from joining. All that’s needed is a desire to cheer and a will to learn!

The Fabulous Flames perform at local cheerleading competitions through Impact Cheerleading, a competitive league that brings together faith and a love for cheerleading.

When Kristen established the team in 2011, there were only seven girls on the team. Today, it has now grown to almost 30 members.

“I’ve been so blessed to see the original seven as well as the rest of the team grow up together over time – becoming more mature, kind and ever-loving each year,” said Kristen. “Our biweekly practices are simultaneously the most high energy and most relaxing hours of my week. There is just something about our team that leaves you both recharged and serene after being with us.”

Kristen is pursuing her own desire to Be a Fuel for Good. She’s elevating her community and positively influencing the lives of the girls she mentors every week. She’s also inspiring others to get outside of their comfort zone.

Kristen – Thank you for your dedication to warming the lives of friends and neighbors!

Oct
2

Be a Fuel for Good

When Gas South entered the natural gas market, we knew we could be a different kind of provider. Because we believe people are important—the customers we’ve come to know, the business owners we serve, and the coworkers who are family to us.

Our Purpose is to Be a Fuel for Good.

That means helping you save money with simple rate plans. Trusting you from the beginning by never asking for a deposit. And always treating you with dignity, honesty and respect.

It means letting our employees know that while their work is important—they’re important, too. By helping pay for school and encouraging our employees to grow in their careers, we can make their lives better. That makes us better.

Being a fuel for good also means working to inspire others in the industry to do right by customers. When we focus on doing the right thing, everyone benefits—even our competition (and we’re okay with that).

We’re dedicated to making sure our success directly benefits our community. That’s why we’re committed to giving back 5% of our profits to help children in need.

We approach every day knowing we have an opportunity to improve people’s lives. Because we believe that, together, we can be a fuel for good.

During the next several months, we’re rolling out employee and partner stories that are examples of Being a Fuel for Good. Check back every week to read what inspire us!

Are you Being a Fuel for Good? Do you know someone who is a Fuel for Good? If so, let us know in the comments.

Jun
15

Bring the Heat to the YMCA of Metro Atlanta

Gas South is Bringing the Heat again this baseball season to fuel the good that our local nonprofits do for those in need. We are donating $25 every time an Atlanta Braves pitcher throws a strikeout at home games.

Last year, we donated more than $61,000 which was split between The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta and the United Way of Greater Atlanta. Since the campaign’s inception in 2010, Gas South has contributed nearly $350,000 to local nonprofit organizations!

This year, Gas South is fueling another source of good – youth development. Did you know that one in five children, teens and families that go to the YMCA of Metro Atlanta need financial assistance to participate in the youth programs? The YMCA gives more than $161,000 in scholarships each year to kids that are unable to pay the program fee. In 2016, more than 23,500 kids across 20 branch locations participated in swimming, tennis, basketball, cheerleading, flag football, lacrosse, track and field, martial arts, and volleyball.

That’s why we are giving the donations for all Braves strikeouts thrown during April and May to the YMCA of Metro Atlanta – over $8,400!

The YMCA is dedicated to ensuring that no child is turned away, and we are proud that our partnership allows everyone the opportunity to reach their full potential.

May
25

Making Headlines with Baseball, Branding and Relationship Building

Gas South is committed to providing Hometown Value, and we are proud to support the Atlanta Braves as our hometown team. As the official natural gas provider for the Braves, our partnership has been a “home run” since 2008.

With the inaugural season at SunTrust Park in full swing, there’s great excitement surrounding the Braves. Recently, President and CEO, Kevin Greiner, discussed baseball, branding and relationship building at the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Business of Sports Summit.

Kevin talked about our successful partnership with the Braves and our “Bring the Heat” campaign. Through this campaign, Gas South donates $25 to a local nonprofit each time a Braves pitcher strikes out an opponent throughout the summer. Each time one of the Braves pitchers “brings the heat,” our community wins.

The designated beneficiary for April and May is the YMCA of Metro Atlanta. The United Way of Greater Atlanta will receive donations for June and July, and The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta is the recipient for August and September.

In addition to our “Bring the Heat” campaign, Braves fans can get involved in a more interactive way throughout the season. During select games during the season, fans can tweet their seat number using #GasSouthKissCam for a chance to make it on the jumbotron! Always wanted to get on the big screen? Well, here’s your chance!

Last season Bring the Heat raised more than $61,000 for local nonprofits, and we hope the team and pitchers are even more successful this season!

Read more about Gas South, the Braves and our involvement with Live! at the Battery in this Atlanta Business Chronicle article.

Jan
20

A Day On, Not Off

In recognition of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, MLK Day of Service events are held nationwide. On Monday, January 16, we once again spent the day on – not off – as more than 50 Gas South employees and their family members volunteered with A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab Boulevard location.

Volunteers spent the day with residents – decorating doors for Valentine’s Day, helping residents create no sew blankets, downloading music and distributing iPods, assisting with BINGO and providing swag bags for more than 238 residents and staff of A. G. Rhodes. At the request of the staff, the MLK Day activities culminated with a sing-a-long. Aided by the center’s music therapist, employees and families reminisced and performed musical selections that the residents could identify with.

A.G. Rhodes is Atlanta’s and Marietta’s top nursing home provider of senior rehabilitation services and long-term care. As a not-for-profit organization, A.G. Rhodes provides the highest standard of care, which includes post-surgical recovery, therapeutic rehabilitation, and skilled nursing.

We’re thankful for the opportunity to share our time with A.G. Rhodes and support their mission. It’s our first of many volunteer days in 2017 and a meaningful touch point for our ongoing community outreach program, Gas South Cares. Here’s to moving us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”

Jan
4

10 Accomplishments from Gas South’s 10th Year

In 2016, Gas South celebrated its 10th year of business, and it proved a pivotal one for the company.

We’re committed to cultivating a top workplace environment, providing exceptional customer service and supporting our local community. Here are 10 accomplishments from our 10th year that reaffirm our commitment to our culture, customers and the community:

Culture

  1. We earned a coveted spot on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s 2016 Top Workplaces for the first time. More than 2,500 companies and organizations applied and ultimately 165 were recognized, including Gas South. The rankings were based entirely on responses from an anonymous employee survey.
  2. We introduced a $15 minimum wage for all employees – more than double the federal rate and nearly triple Georgia’s minimum wage. The change resulted in pay increases for approximately 25 percent of the company’s workforce and most significantly impacted employees in Gas South’s customer care department.
  3. We celebrated our accomplishments with a 10-day event commemorating Gas South’s 10-year anniversary. The event series, “10 Days of Gas South,” included a daily theme to recognize and reward employees for their hard work and dedication. This campaign was recognized with a 2016 Phoenix Award from the Georgia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Customers

  1. We made major strides with our customer care transformation – moving from a transactional mindset to a focus on building amazing long-term customer relationships. This included an internal reorganization that moved all customer calls out of the sales organization and into the customer care organization to improve our commitment to providing the best customer service.
  2. We improved our customer communications to be more proactive, informative and actionable. Our locally-based customer care team continues to assist customers by phone as well as increasingly through social media channels.
  3. We continued to expand our increasingly popular Pick Your Perk program. We added new Pick Your Perk options, and we are increasingly communicating this program through multiple channels. We even expanded our great discounts for local attractions like the Georgia Aquarium, Stone Mountain Park and the Atlanta Ballet with more promo codes and deals for our valued customers.

Community

  1. We sponsored the fifth annual Charity Cornhole Challenge at SweetWater 420 Fest, awarding the $10,000 grand prize to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, one of the largest hunger relief organizations in the Southeast, as the tournament winner.
  2. We partnered with Cobb EMC to provide a Home Energy Efficiency Makeover worth approximately $20k. The makeover winners, Wes and Shannon Pilgrim, received new energy-efficient appliances, a bill credit from Cobb EMC, two years of free natural gas service from Gas South, and a new HVAC unit, water heater, insulation and duct work from Cobb Heating and Air Association members.
  3. For the sixth year, Gas South’s Bring the Heat™ campaign raised money for local nonprofits. This year, Braves pitchers threw a total of 1,227 strikeouts, resulting in $61,350 raised for The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta.
  4. We participated in Hands On Atlanta Day where 50 Gas South employees volunteered a total of 200 hours at Camp Timber Ridge in partnership with the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. We helped spruce up the campground – chopping wood, clearing roadways, putting up new tents and painting pavilions.

As we reflect on our accomplishments in 2016, we’re excited for our 11th year and everything that is to come in 2017!

Dec
22

Spreading Warmth and Holiday Cheer with The Salvation Army

A little warmth and kindness goes a long way, especially during the holiday season. That’s why Gas South employees were encouraged to play Santa by partnering with The Salvation Army for its annual Angel Tree program. Last year, employees generously donated gifts and toys to 50 Angels and this year, we’re spreading our wings once again. From apparel to toys, the goal is to make a difference in the lives of parents who are unable to provide gifts for their children and to instill hope in children who wish to “believe.”

Created in 1979, the Angel Tree program is the tree-topper to The Salvation Army’s many initiatives that help families in need during the holidays. Through donations, The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta will spread cheer to more than 12,000 local boys and girls on Christmas morning.

There’s a lot that goes on “behind-the-wings” of this generous program: The Salvation Army identifies families in need of support during the holiday season and obtains a wish list for the children, or senior citizens. The nonprofit enlists the help of individuals and companies, like Gas South, to serve as its elves and fulfill the wishes. And then, The Salvation Army ensures that all participating families receive their gifts just in time for the holidays.

At Gas South, giving back to the communities we serve is the cornerstone of our mission to create a culture of caring. That’s why our employees donated 25 Angels and 25 stockings filled with gifts this year. From our Gas South family to yours, happy holidays!

Nov
2

Writing the Chapter on Literacy for Atlanta’s Students

Gas South and Cobb EMC sponsored the seventh annual Literacy Week, beginning October 24th. The week-long celebration brought the stories printed in children’s favorite books to life. During Literacy Week, 13 children’s book authors read to 24,483 students in 43 schools across metro Atlanta.

Local author Chris Rumble read his book Adventures of Uncle Stinky, a series of highly-illustrated stories about an unlikely superhero, to Gas South’s partner school Norton Park Elementary.  Celebrated children’s book author and poet, Robyn Hood Black, read to our other partner school Heritage Academy. Even the Braves’ mascot, Homer, showed up to celebrate Literacy Week!

In 2014, 14 percent of the population was illiterate according to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy. Gas South is proud to partner with Cobb EMC to support local schools and to help foster a love for reading in children.

Oct
7

Hands on Atlanta Day 2016

We spoke to Brenda Turner, residential channel coordinator, to learn more about Hands on Atlanta Day and what it means to her to volunteer in the communities where we live, work and play.

By: Brenda Turner

One of my favorite things about being a Gas South employee is the company’s dedication to giving back to the community. We participate in many local service programs year-round, and most recently, I had the opportunity to lead Hands On Day Atlanta Day 2016 – the largest and most prestigious corporate volunteer day of service in Atlanta.

Approximately 50 Gas South employees volunteered a total of 200 hours at Camp Timber Ridge in partnership with the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. We helped spruce up the campground – chopping wood, clearing roadways, putting up new tents and painting pavilions.

Though it may be what they’re best known for, the Girl Scouts do a lot more than sell delicious cookies – just like Gas South does more than market natural gas! But don’t take my word for it. Check out this short video about our experience volunteering with the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta for Hands on Atlanta Day.