Southern Company Gas grows leadership team to focus on clima

|Jun 16|magazine13 min read

ATLANTA, June 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company Gas announced three new leadership positions and the creation of two new departments, Sustainability & Innovation and Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), to support the company's continued commitment to addressing climate change and reinforce the importance of natural gas in a sustainable energy future.

"While Southern Company Gas has long been an industry leader in methane reductions, infrastructure modernization and strategic partnerships, we recognize that there is still more to be done to guarantee clean, safe, reliable, affordable energy for generations to come," said John Hudson, executive vice president of external affairs. "We are positioned now to focus our efforts more closely on how we operate, invest and innovate to address the climate crisis while maintaining value for our customers and our shareholders."

The Sustainability and Innovation Group will be led by Joanne Mello, who has been named director of sustainability and energy policy. In this role, Mello will oversee the company's sustainability and innovation strategy by aligning efforts conducted across the business and strengthening partnerships with external industry groups and stakeholders. As part of this effort, Southern Company Gas is committed to continuing to play a leadership role in reducing the carbon emissions associated with natural gas usage and promoting broader sustainability efforts, supporting the key role that natural gas plays in a clean energy future.

Most recently chief of staff to Southern Company Gas President and CEO Kim Greene, Mello supported the business's strategic goals, industrywide sustainability initiatives and the creation of an enterprise wide Innovation Council, which she chairs. After starting her career in corporate law in private practice, Mello joined the company in 2007 as an attorney and has served in various Legal Department roles, including associate general counsel for SouthStar Energy Services. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from Emory University and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School. Mello is a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel and the Women's Energy Network.

Greg Jones has been named director, Climate & Environmental Policy. In this role, he will lead the company's greenhouse gas emission initiatives and will direct the company's participation in environmental rulemaking, legislation and policy initiatives. 

Previously Southern Company Gas' manager of Environmental Affairs, Jones has decades of experience engaging with energy industry leaders to develop collaborative positions on rulemaking and legislation at the state and federal level. After serving in environmental compliance roles for other companies, Jones joined the company in 2009 as a senior environmental specialist, supporting sustainability programs, policies and procedures. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from the University of Georgia. He serves as chair of the American Gas Association's (AGA) Environmental Regulatory Action Committee, vice chair of the Georgia Industrial Environmental Coalition (GIEC), and he was a past chair of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership (IGEL).

The RNG Group will be led by Robin Lanier, director, RNG. In this role, she will develop and execute an effective strategy for growing Southern Company Gas' RNG capabilities, a critical component in the company's sustainability strategy. Lanier will plan, monitor and manage the company's RNG advancements.

RNG is a sustainable and interchangeable substitute for geologic natural gas. It is a carbon neutral energy source, not a fossil fuel, that can be derived from existing waste streams, such as those at farms, landfills and water resource recovery facilities, or produced with renewable electricity. RNG sourced from agriculture and waste management provides cross-sector environmental benefits.

"Expanding our portfolio further into the RNG sector can reduce Southern Company Gas' environmental impact while also creating new revenue streams," said Hudson. "We are adding dedicated staff to explore RNG's potential not only because it is a societal imperative, but because it is a business imperative, as well."

In Lanier's most recent role, she was manager of Environmental Regulatory Strategy for Georgia Power. She first joined Georgia Power during college as a distribution engineering co-op and has since served in roles of increasing responsibility focused on renewable energy and regulatory strategy.

A University of Georgia graduate with a degree in Agricultural Engineering, Lanier received her Engineering In-Training license in the state of Georgia and is also a certified energy manager through the Association of Energy Engineers. She serves on the Atlanta Audubon Society Board and previously served on the Young Professional Board of Atlanta Children's Shelter. Lanier is a mentor in GPC's Women in Engineering program and a graduate of Leadership Walton.

For more information on Southern Company Gas' environmental efforts, visit SouthernCompanyGas.com/environment.

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.

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SOURCE Southern Company Gas