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Virginia Natural Gas receives two Industry Excellence Awards

VNG awarded with state recognition for safety outreach and educational partnership programs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Oct. 21, 2019 – Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) is the recipient of two awards from the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy Awards (DMME) in partnership with the Virginia Oil and Gas Association (VOGA). The company received a Safety Award for its commitment to safety and damage prevention and was recognized for its partnership with Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University on the development of their Experiential Learning Program.

Now in its fifth year, DMME and VOGA created the annual award program to recognize outstanding achievements by members of the gas and oil industry in Virginia. Awards include recognition for safety, environmental stewardship, community outreach, industry partnerships and individual achievements within the industry.

VNG was recognized for its commitment to safety and damage control programs through comprehensive outreach initiatives to prevent and mitigate the risk of infrastructure failure, and to ensure the safe delivery of natural gas to the homes and businesses. The company was also lauded for its goals to educate the public on pipeline safety, safe digging practices and the importance of pipeline damage prevention. 

Virginia Natural Gas also received the Partnership Award for its successful collaboration with Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University for the degree program designed to meet the needs of the businesses and the industry. The innovative learning program bridges the gap for employees between what is learned on the job and earning a college degree. 

“The collective goal for TCC, ODU and VNG was to provide a pathway to education that acknowledges the quality training received on the job,” said Dr. Tammi Dice, associate dean for Undergraduate Education at Old Dominion University. “We are delighted to see how successful the program has been in preparing individuals for increased professional responsibilities. To receive an award for the program is truly validating. ODU is extremely honored to be a part of this collaborative initiative.”

Thomas Stout, dean of Maritime and Skilled Trades at Tidewater Community College, agrees, saying real-world work experience and hands-on training prepares students to succeed in the collaborative program.

“This is an excellent partnership with the students being able to earn credit toward a college degree from their experiences beyond the walls of a classroom gained from their work and training accomplished,” said Stout.

Launched in 2018, the one-of-a-kind program uses employees’ knowledge, occupational experience and technical skills to help them earn college credit toward an associate degree in technical studies. Once an associate degree is obtained, students can seamlessly continue learning while working toward a 4-year bachelor’s degree.

The awards program was held Thursday, Oct. 16, in Abingdon, Virginia. In total, 19 awards were presented to 24 businesses and individuals for excellence in the oil and gas industry for 2018. For more information about the Industry Excellence Awards, visit http://www.vaoilandgas.com/.

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About Virginia Natural Gas
Virginia Natural Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Virginia Natural Gas provides natural gas service to nearly 300,000 customers in southeast Virginia. Virginia Natural Gas has been recognized as one of the safest, most reliable and customer-focused natural gas service providers and is consistently ranked in the top quartile for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates. In 2018, Virginia Natural Gas was named Local Distribution Company of the Year by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association for the third consecutive year. For more information, visit virginianaturalgas.com and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.2 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states and approximately 700,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines, asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit southerncompanygas.com.

Media Contact:
Rick DelaHaya
o: 757.616.7510 | c: 757.323.7366 | rdelahay@southernco.com