The Gas Company awards $150,000 grant to urge students to delve into math, science careers

Aug 2, 2006

Media Contact:
Peter Hidalgo

Southern California Gas Co.

(877) 866-2066


        LOS ANGELES, Aug. 2, 2006 – Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) has awarded a $150,000, three-year grant to the California Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program.

        Founded in 1970, MESA sponsors 21,000 students throughout the state, funded by corporate, private and state support.  The program partners with a range of schools, including state-funded and independent colleges and universities, the California Department of Education and local school districts.

        The California Utilities Diversity Council has committed more than $1 million to the program.  Last month, the council, which includes The Gas Company, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, AT&T, Verizon and state water companies, designed and hosted a professional-development conference for MESA interns to prepare them for work.

        The conference – a first for the statewide group – took place in San Ramon, Calif., and attracted senior executives from many companies.

        “The Gas Company has chosen to collaborate with MESA, because we recognize that the program focuses on math, engineering, science and technology professionals – a critical need in our workforce,” said Vicki Zeiger, vice president of human resources for The Gas Company, who participated in the recent professional development conference.

        The three-year pledge to MESA includes a commitment to hire up to five students for real-work internships in professional engineering and science at The Gas Company.

        The Gas Company provides MESA with equipment, technical resources and volunteers, along with offering five summer internships to qualifying students.

        Zeiger said that The Gas Company works as a partner with MESA because of the program’s success in producing future engineers.

        “The students are serious, motivated and disciplined; they take initiative and ownership in what they do,” she said.  “MESA gives the students the competitive edge they need to be successful.”

        The Gas Company is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 19.8 million consumers through 5.6 million meters.  The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in most of central and Southern California.  The Gas Company strives to provide exceptional customer service to enhance the quality of life in the community.  The Gas Company is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.