Ingrid D. Woods, Sr. Community Relations Specialist
On August 4, 2015, BGE participated in three National Night Out (NNO) events including two in Baltimore City and one in Baltimore County. In West Baltimore, we hosted an information table in Southern Park Heights hosted by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In East Baltimore, we spent time in the Belair-Edison / Frankford community. And in Northern Baltimore County, we exhibited in the Yorkshire-Haverford community in Timonium, Maryland.
Each neighborhood had its own flavor, style and activities including moon bounces for the kids, marching bands, line dancing, visits from local law enforcement and fire fighters, visits from political figures and a host of resource providers. BGE representatives enjoyed talking with customers one-on-one about low cost and no cost ways of saving energy, providing information on Energy Assistance, Energy Choice, Smart Energy Rewards and our Smart Energy Savers Program including the Quick Home Energy Check-Up, Home Performance with Energy Star and Peak Rewards. Many customers seized the opportunity to sign up for programs on-site.
Since the beginning of the year, BGE has participated in nearly 125 community events, presentations and educational activities throughout our vast service territory. Company employees also volunteer numerous hours in the communities where we live, work and play.
Christie D. McMullen, Vice President, Gas Distribution
This past July, 2,000 excited and energetic campers experienced BGE’s first Captain Mercaptan Action Day at all of The Y in Central Maryland summer camp locations!
We introduced Captain Mercaptan
(our natural gas safety hero), to educate children about natural gas safety through a series of six fun-filled activities throughout the day. Two of my favorite Captain Mercaptan Action Day activities were the Ready, Set, Gas Race and
the Good Smell vs. Bad Smell Challenge.
The race had campers learning the signs of how to detect a natural gas leak and what actions to take to keep their friends and family safe. As you can see in the event video
, there is no doubt that the campers were enjoying themselves! The challenge, reinforced the smell of “mercaptan”, the safety additive BGE and other gas utilities put in natural gas to give it a rotten egg odor and make it easier to detect. In fact, that’s how Captain Mercaptan got his name! Check out some photos on BGE’s Facebook page.
Safety is, and will always be, BGE’s number one priority. That’s why Captain Mercaptan Action Day was the perfect setting to introduce our new “IRON MAN featuring Captain Mercaptan, in A Natural Team” comic book
to campers. Now, the importance of energy safety can reach children in a fun and creative way.
Special thanks to The Y in Central Maryland and their campers, who have now become gas safety heroes too, for making Captain Mercaptan Action Day a success. We look forward to continually presenting energy safety lessons that are easy, effective and fun to our community. For more information on Captain Mercaptan and BGE’s natural gas safety education initiatives, visit BGE.COM/CaptainMercaptan
Bob Oberle, Sr. Community Relations Specialist
Whether we are turning off lights and other appliances when not in use, keeping thermostats at moderate settings (68 degrees for heating, 78 degrees for cooling), using ceiling fans in place of air conditioning, switching to CFLs, or reducing our hot water usage, we all do what we can to save energy and reduce the cost of our utility bills. But considering that heating and cooling can account for up to 50% of our energy usage, it’s always best to concentrate our efforts on our home comfort systems first. We can’t control the outside temperatures, but if we can identify where our home is losing energy, we can develop a plan to reduce the running time of our heating and cooling systems, while still maintaining a comfortable house. Just a few things to consider:
For other tips, visit our "Ways to Save" and if you haven’t done so already, consider signing up for our Quick Home Energy Check-Up. An energy efficiency professional will conduct a one hour walk-through of your home, and check the condition of its insulation, heating and air cooling system, lighting, appliances and more to identify simple ways to help you save energy and money. Plus they will install up to 23 energy savings items at no additional cost to you.
Faviola Donato-Galindo, Sr. Community Relations Specialist
BGE’s White Marsh Training Center recently welcomed fifty middle school students from the 2015 Verizon Minority Male Maker Summer Program directed by Morgan State University. The program aims to teach students the skills that will help lead them to be college and career ready including a focus in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The students had an opportunity to learn about the skilled labor required to reliably and safely deliver natural gas and electricity to BGE customers, while also learning about gas and electric safety. Utility trainers and trainees took the participants through a series of learning activities, which included: a natural gas safety demonstration, gas pipe fusion, the importance of using safety and personal protective equipment, a demonstration of trainees climbing electrical poles, a look inside a manhole and understanding of how a pad mount transformer works.
The activity is a great example of how BGE supports career exploration and workforce development for the next generation, particularly in the crucial fields of STEM. BGE is committed to supporting organizations through charitable funding and volunteer efforts that help deliver a sustained and measurable impact in the areas of education, energy efficiency, environment, emergency response and economic and community development.
It is essential that we continue supporting programs that cultivate educational opportunities for students from all backgrounds and communities and contribute to a stronger economy for Maryland. By connecting with these programs, local students are able to pursue careers in science, engineering, technology and other fields that not only help them succeed on a individual level, but allow them to give back and keep their communities moving forward.
To request a tour, presentation or BGE participation at your school event, email us at BGEeducationalOutreach@bge.com or call 410-470-4103. You can also complete the online request form.
Ammanuel Moore, Economic Development Manager
As BGE’s Economic Development Manager, only one thing equals the excitement of helping a Maryland-based business establish or expand its operations - finding new opportunities to share and discuss the many ways we can help the businesses community save money while they strive to grow.
Recently, BGE held its first Energizing Business Growth Breakfast for central Maryland’s business community. Nearly 200 guests attended, ranging from small and large manufacturing and industrial operations to business-related nonprofits and government agencies. Everyone had the opportunity to network, speak with BGE leaders and better connect the dots between our energy efficiency and economic development programs and their desire to save money as they plan their business future. (Click the links to see the summary video
of the event.)
One of the topics of discussion I held with several of our guests focused on how BGE can help a business save money with the purchase of new or upgraded equipment. Such is the case with our BGE Smart Energy Savers rebates. Depending on the size of the project, some rebates can be more than a million dollars! BGE also has an economic development program that can help to temporarily reduce demand and delivery charges – when a qualifying amount of electric demand is met and at least 10 new full-time employees are hired. By becoming aware of these programs and taking advantage of them, businesses can better afford to invest in facility improvements, workforce growth or sustainability, and other important areas to help increase competitiveness.
With every project that BGE supports, I take pride in being able to direct our resources to help each business find success. In my encounters, it has become apparent to me that everyone involved in the planning and completion of any project experiences a since of accomplishment for not just that one enterprise, but also the local community for which it belongs. As an economic development professional, I never see our work as simply providing energy to facilities – but rather as a partnership toward the creation and support of new jobs and economic opportunity for the region.
For those who attended our breakfast – thank you for helping to make it a success. As was discussed at the event, effective business growth and economic development can only be achieved with a true partnership. With that being said, I invite you to explore our programs as you consider your business growth plans. And for those who weren’t able to join us , we’re just as eager to support your needs.
Faviola Donato-Galindo, Sr. Community Relations Specialist
Volunteerism is both inspiring and meaningful as it allows us to connect with the community at a personal level. BGE’s employee resource group, The Organization for Latinos at Exelon (OLE), recently had the opportunity to participate in two rewarding volunteer activities.
In celebration of National Volunteer Week last month (April 12-18), OLE members had the chance to engage and support Latino middle school students who had recently started at Wiley H. Bates Middle School in Anne Arundel County after immigrating mainly from Central America. Volunteers provided assistance during three English for Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) classes through individual and small group lesson activities. This activity presented a unique opportunity to engage in mutual dialogue about overcoming challenges and persevering by not only completing school, but also excelling in school. At the end of the activity, OLE members felt that it was a truly fulfilling experience and the educators were appreciative of this rare opportunity.
Another impactful volunteer opportunity was the March of Dimes March for Babies walk on Saturday, May 9th. OLE members joined BGE employees, family and friends and hundreds of walkers to support stronger, healthier babies. The OLE team was energized, motivated, and extremely happy to support this great cause. The mission of the March of Dimes Foundation is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
These activities are part of many volunteer opportunities that BGE makes available to its employees through Energy for the Community as a commitment to supporting the communities we serve.
OLE is proud to be a part of BGE’s effort by growing and maximizing our presence through community service.
To learn more about BGE’s community outreach plans and events, visit us at www.bge.com/communitycalendar or follow us at twitter.com/mybge or facebook.com/mybge.
Michael Davenport, Manager, Community Affairs
Do you sometimes ask yourself, what can I do to get involved to help others in need? How often do we all make resolutions with a top 10 list but struggle to accomplish the first item on the list? Or how about this one, “Tomorrow, I plan to do “x”. Well there is no better time to start than right now. Throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area and beyond, there are many organizations that provide essential services to various causes and people in need.
Whether it is working in a homeless shelter, sorting food or clothing at a distribution center, preparing and serving meals, cleaning a park or a stream, reading a book to a child or visiting a senior center to spend time with those who might not have families, there is something we all can do.
Last week members of BGE’s Community Affairs team had the honor and privilege to serve guests at Sarah's House. Sarah's House is a supportive housing program, offering emergency and transitional housing and an array of other services to homeless families in Anne Arundel County. To be a guest at Sarah’s House, you must be referred by Anne Arundel County DSS, and all guests must be from Anne Arundel County. One important goal of Sarah’s House is keeping families together while they are in the process of getting back on their feet. In addition to housing, services include parenting and GED classes, employment programs and counseling services along with transportation and meal service.
Serving at Sarah’s House was an awesome and gratifying experience which offered our team the opportunity to spend time with some of the guests by preparing and serving a meal to them and enjoying a pleasant conversation. While our core business is to deliver safe and reliable gas and electric service to our customers, our employees are committed to investing time in the lives of our neighbors.
As we continue working to increase customer awareness of BGE programs and services, we also want to make our customers aware of our dedication to the communities in which we live and work.
Hats-off to the staff and volunteers at Sarah’s House! One thing for sure, Sarah’s House can count on our team of volunteers in the near future!
For more information about services offered by our Community Affairs team, please call 410-470-4103. Or, visit us on line at www.bge.com/ourcommitments.
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Pictured from left to right: Faviola Donato-Galindo, Michael Davenport, Ingrid Woods
Christie D. McMullen, Vice President, Gas Distribution
You might have noticed jockey Victor Espinoza with the number 811 on his boots and saddle pad at the Kentucky Derby. You’ll see it again at Preakness. It’s a sponsorship made possible by BGE along with more than 30 member organizations of the Common Ground Alliance (CGA).
811 is the national call before you dig number that helps homeowners and professionals who plan to dig to notify multiple utility companies with one phone call. BGE is a proud member of the CGA and supporter of 811. In Maryland, dialing 811 will connect you to Miss Utility, which is also a sponsor of Espinoza. Calling 811 is the first step in helping you to avoid underground pipes and wires when you dig.
The sponsorship has been great exposure for 811. Four of the six busiest days for the website Call811.com have occurred on the dates of the past four Triple Crown races, when Espinoza was wearing the 811 logo, according to Google Analytics.
In Maryland, when you call Miss Utility at 811 a few days before digging, they will take your information and communicate it to local utility companies like BGE. Professional utility locators will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint or flags. Once a site has been accurately marked, you will know where to dig and, more importantly, where not to dig.
Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities increases the chances of causing damage, serious injuries, service disruptions and expensive repairs. According to CGA data, nearly half of homeowners who plan to dig will not call 811 beforehand, putting themselves and their communities at risk. A buried utility is damaged every six minutes because someone decided to dig without calling 811, according to CGA. Don’t become part of that statistic.
BGE is particularly pleased that Espinoza will continue to display the 811 message through the second leg of the Triple Crown at our hometown event, the Preakness Stakes. We hope the exposure gained through this sponsorship will remind everyone to always call 811 to know what’s below before digging.
Pre-race Preakness Stakes coverage begins Saturday, May 16 at 2:30 p.m. EDT on NBC Sports Network, with NBC picking up the coverage at 4:30 p.m. and continuing through the post-race ceremony. We wish Victor Espinoza the best of luck.
Priscilla Akuoko, Social Media Analyst
Recently, I had the privilege of attending SMMW 2015 (Social Media Marketing World), a digital communications conference bringing together more than 2,000 of the brightest minds in this industry – from all parts of the world. Despite our distance, language barriers, and choice of social media tools, there was one common unifier and topic that kept us in deep discussion –how to use social media to improve customer service.
Whether it’s face to face, on the phone or online, BGE is committed to delivering customer service excellence and social media is a tool to help.
Since 2010, BGE has used social media to engage with our customers concerning their needs while building relationships and trust. Social media has given us a platform to listen, respond and communicate the BGE brand to our followers. In five years, our following has grown to more than 60,000 on Twitter and Facebook alone, becoming a significant communications tool for all aspects of our business. As customers continue to use social media to communicate with us and each other, we too have increased our commitment to making social media a priority communications channel and a venue for us to learn more about our customers in order to better serve them.
At the social media conference, countless markets and industries were represented. Each of us compared experiences and shared best practices to firm up our social media strategies to offer the best experiences for our customers and avoid costly mistakes.
As the social media lead for BGE, my commitment is to deliver content with our customers in mind, keep them informed and consistently interact with our followers.
I welcome your feedback and the opportunity to connect with you.
Ryan Mitchell, Training Specialist
American “baby boomers” are quickly transitioning into the next phase of their lives, causing many companies to see a major reduction in their seasoned work force. Professionals with a wealth of information and business know-how are quietly submitting papers for retirement leaving vital job roles vacant. To secure growth and longevity, companies are quickly embracing this transition and preparing the next wave of leaders to man the helm of industry.
With a rich 200 year history of progress, BGE has mastered the art of succession. Being one of the nation’s oldest utilities, BGE continues to set the bar high pertaining to talent acquisition. More importantly, BGE is committed to preparing its current young professionals for what’s next. BGE understands that it cannot undertake this vital pursuit alone. Along with its strong community involvement, internally, BGE is committed to growth and development in its employee base. To prepare for this next wave, BGE has partnered with the Business Volunteers Maryland and the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore (EAGB).
I felt privileged when my director congratulated me on being chosen among many others to join the Business Volunteers Maryland and EAGB LEAD initiative. It is clear that BGE is focused on grooming its next class of leaders and I am honored to be included. It’s not often that a young professional has the opportunity to spend a large amount of time with seasoned leaders and CEO’s. Being able to listen, ask questions and learn from successful leaders is invaluable and allows me to gauge my goals and better chart my corporate climb.
Over several months, EAGB has invited some of Maryland’s top businessmen and women to share their experience and wisdom. I and a group of about 80 emerging leaders from across Maryland gathered to hear from these accomplished forerunners. After each session I return to my office eager to practice what I have learned then evaluate the outcome. The jewels of wisdom I have gleaned have strengthened
my personal leadership style, causing my team’s performance to increase and ultimately resulting in better service to BGE’s customer.
This year’s LEAD events are far from over and in one short month my career experience has advanced immensely. I am optimistic and excited to see what the rest of 2015 holds for me my new external peers and colleagues – hopefully Maryland’s next set of business leaders.
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