The Southern California Gas Co. had a banner year for diversity spending in 2013, with 45.4 percent of its contracting budget going to woman, minority and service-disabled veteran-owned business enterprises, the company announced Monday.
SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, which placed at No. 3 on HispanicBusiness's 2014 Supplier Diversity index with a score of 23.28. Top company AT&T had a score of 27.34.
Working with diversity suppliers is "key to supporting our mission of safely and reliably delivering natural gas to our customers at reasonable rates," Dennis Arriola, president and CEO of SoCalGas, said in a news release. "Our partnership with diverse firms brings economic benefits as well as job growth to our service area and other parts of California."
SoCalGas' diversity spending grew last year to $428 million, providing the company with goods and services that range from pipes and computers to legal advice and advertising campaigns.
Related: Familiar Companies Top 2014 Supplier Diversity List
SoCalGas' diversity suppliers include Maria Thompson of Agile Sourcing Partners in Corona, Calif. Agile, a Hispanic- and woman-owned firm, landed a couple of small SoCalGas contracts five years ago to supply gas fittings, pipes and instrumentation materials.
"We got our foot in the door, built trust and showed we can add value," Ms. Thompson said.
Agile won a major contract with SoCalGas for its advanced meter project, one of the largest capital projects in SoCalGas' history, according to a news release. The project will retrofit and replace about 6 million natural gas meters with a wireless communications device by 2017.
SoCalGas has won numerous awards from organizations including the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Southern California Minority Business Development Council and the American Indian Chamber of Commerce.
In 2013, the company donated more than $4.2 million and thousands of volunteer hours to underserved community groups in Hispanic, African-American, Pacific Asian, Asian Indian and Native American communities. About two-thirds of its more than 8,200 employees are minorities.
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