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October 20
1873 - Santa Barbara lawyers Charles Fernald and J.T. Richards purchase Rancho San Francisco for $33,000 (75 cents an acre) in a sheriff's sale [story]


Southern California Gas Co. has achieved the highest level of spend with diverse business enterprises in the history of the company, spending more than $673 million dollars with 583 diverse suppliers last year.

SoCalGas exceeded the California Public Utilities Commission’s goal for contracting purchases with women, minority, service-disabled veteran, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender-owned businesses for the 26th consecutive year in 2018, the company announced Friday.

More than 40 percent of the utility’s contract spending went to women, minority, service-disabled veteran and LGBT-owned companies, nearly double the CPUC’s goal of 21.5 percent.

“I’m proud that our activities and investments have not only made SoCalGas a leader in supplier diversity, but also contributed to a stronger local economy, job growth and an improved business climate,” said Bret Lane, chief executive officer for SoCalGas. “We have made significant investments in supplier diversity initiatives and provided technical assistance to help diverse firms grow and succeed.”

“The construction manager in Bakersfield introduced us to a manager in transmission, which helped expand our network,” says Hal Hays Construction chief executive officer Kirby Hays, whose father founded the company in 1991. “Other areas within SoCalGas also opened up since we forged a relationship with their Supplier Diversity department. We’ve met a lot of people and relationships blossomed rather quickly,” he adds, noting the work resulted in about a dozen new hires.

The Riverside-based, general and civil construction firm was awarded its first contract to build the utility’s new base in Bakersfield. This was followed by contracts to replace concrete at the Blythe compressor station, make infrastructure improvements through the Mobilehome Park Utility Upgrade program and build a compressed natural gas refueling station in Bakersfield.

While the Native American-owned firm with 200-plus employees was well established before its SoCalGas contracts, Hays says SoCalGas’ Supplier Diversity team was helpful in sharing the utility’s environmental and safety priorities and keeping them updated on the competitive bid process.

Spending included new major contracts with diverse suppliers for environmental services, mobile home park utility upgrade program, facilities and finance. In addition, 12 of the company’s 25 largest vendors are diverse suppliers.

SoCalGas also offers these large and small businesses innovative training programs, including supplier development and technical assistance, contractor safety workshops, seminars and other events.

SoCalGas’ commitment to diversity extends beyond its diverse suppliers to its workforce and the communities it serves as well. In 2018, SoCalGas invested more than $7.5 million to nearly 1,000 organizations across its service territory, benefiting in part underserved community groups in African American, Hispanic American, Asian Pacific American, and Native American communities. In addition, the company’s diverse workforce of more than 7,500 employees includes 68 percent people of color.

More information about SoCalGas’ commitment to supplier diversity can be found in the newly released 2018 Supplier Diversity Annual Report.

The CPUC’s Utility Supplier Diversity Program topped $10.5 billion in goods and services that utilities purchased from women, minority, disabled veterans and LGBT-owned business enterprises. For more information, read CPUC’s 2018 Annual Report or visit consumers.cpuc.ca.gov/supplierdiversity.

About SoCalGas
Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas is the largest natural gas distribution utility in the United States. SoCalGas delivers affordable, reliable, clean and increasingly renewable natural gas service to 21.8 million customers across 24,000 square miles of Central and Southern California, where more than 90 percent of residents use natural gas for heating, hot water, cooking, drying clothes or other uses. Natural gas delivered through the company’s pipelines also plays a key role in providing electricity to Californians — about 60 percent of electric power generated in the state comes from gas-fired power plants.

SoCalGas is committed to investing in its natural gas system infrastructure, while keeping bills affordable for our customers. From 2013 through 2017, the company spent nearly $6 billion to upgrade and modernize its natural gas system to enhance safety and reliability. The company is also committed to being a leader in the region’s clean energy future, and is working to accelerate the use of renewable natural gas from dairy farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants and the development of renewable energy storage technologies. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, an energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information visit socalgas.com/newsroom or connect with SoCalGas on Twitter (@SoCalGas), Instagram (@SoCalGas) and Facebook.

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