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Posted on May 21, 2012

PG&E Names Jesus Soto Jr. to Leadership Position in Gas Operations

Jesus Soto Jr., a highly respected natural gas industry executive, will join PG&E as its senior vice president, gas transmission operations. He will report directly to Nick Stavropoulos, PG&E’s executive vice president of gas operations.

Jesus Soto Jr. joins PG&E's Gas Operations department on May 29.

Soto most recently was vice president of operations services for El Paso Corporation’s Pipeline Group where he led a staff of more than 400.

“Jesus has a long and powerful track record of building strong teams and safe gas systems,” said Stavropoulos. “PG&E and our customers are fortunate to have someone with such a strong background working to make our system the best in the country. We have already made excellent progress in turning our operations around and there is still more to do. I have every confidence Jesus will play a major role in meeting this challenge.”

With Soto’s arrival, PG&E and Stavropoulos have nearly completed a makeover of the leadership of the company’s gas operations.

At PG&E, Soto will be responsible for overseeing four major PG&E gas functions — public safety and integrity management; project engineering and design; gas transmission; and gas system operations.

He joins the company on May 29.

“Jesus Soto’s knowledge, background and integrity will be an asset to PG&E,” said Donald Santa, president and CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America.

At El Paso Corp., Soto was in charge of  employees responsible for providing technical services and support to pipeline field operations in the areas of measurement, compression, reservoir and pipeline systems, DOT compliance; and risk management programs, including public awareness, emergency response and integrity management.  He joined El Paso in 1992 as a project engineer and has since held several roles with increasing levels of responsibility including director of field operations and vice president of engineering.

He also served as a corporate representative in an exchange program with Wintershall Gas GmbH in Kassel, Germany. Soto currently serves on the board of directors for Genysys Works and the executive committee for the Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI). He has a degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas-El Paso and a masters in engineering from Texas A&M University.

“I look forward to quickly integrating myself into the PG&E Gas Operations organization and reinforcing a team and a culture that is driven to operational excellence anchored in public, employee and contractor safety, facility integrity, regulatory compliance and system reliability,” said Soto.

He added: “In my discussions with the PG&E senior management team, I was very impressed by their commitment, and the work they have already accomplished, to transform the Gas Operations business into one of the nation’s leading natural gas transmission and distribution systems that transports and delivers natural gas every day in a safe and dependable manner.”

At PG&E, Soto joins a roster of gas executives with decades of industry experience.

  • Kirk Johnson, vice president, gas transmission. Johnson has been with PG&E for 32 years leading a variety of different functions in both electric and gas. He served as director, area director and senior director of areas such as: electric restoration, gas maintenance and technical support, gas system operations, gas transmission products and sales. Prior to being named vice president of gas transmission, he was vice president of gas engineering and operations.
  • Kevin Knapp, vice president, gas distribution. Knapp joined PG&E in March 2012 and has more than 30 years’ experience in the utility industry with National Grid, KeySpan, Con Edison and Long Island Lighting Company.  He started his career with Long Island Lighting Company as a field inspector. In his last position at National Grid, he was the senior vice president of US Supply Chain. Prior to that, he was the vice president of gas operations at KeySpan.
  • Sean Kolassa, vice president, investment planning. Kolassa joined PG&E in February 2012. He brings more than 15 years of gas experience to his new role. Investment Planning is a newly established focus area for PG&E’s gas organization. It establishes processes and facilitates development of short- and long-term business plans in order to meet safety, operational and financial goals. Most recently, Kolassa was director of strategic planning and analysis with El Paso Corporation in Texas.
  • Roland Trevino, vice president, public safety & integrity management. Trevino joined PG&E in Aug. 2011 as senior director of asset knowledge management and was later named vice president, public safety & integrity management. Most recently, he served as director of engineering with El Paso Gas in Colorado Springs, Colo. He has more than 20 years of engineering and operations experience in the interstate natural gas transmission industry.
  • Jane Yura, vice president, standards & policies. Yura has been with PG&E for 35 years, working in both electric and gas. She began her career with the company as a design engineer and advanced to roles such as supervising engineer, manager, director, senior director and vice president in: gas system design, gas production and storage, gas and electric distribution, analysis and rates, and regulation and rates.
  • Mel Christopher, senior director, gas system operations. Christopher joined PG&E in June 2011. He has 30 years of experience in the utility industry beginning his career in field operations and engineering. He served as vice president of both operations and engineering, and energy supply and marketing for Public Service Company of New Mexico; vice president of both regulatory policy, and transition services for PNM Resources; and president and CEO of Vista Energy Solutions. At PG&E he is responsible for gas system controls, which includes plans for a co-located distribution and transmission control center.
  • Sumeet Singh, senior director, asset knowledge management. Singh joined PG&E in 2001, left in 2006 to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration degree and then returned to PG&E in 2008.  He leads the gas organization in providing and sustaining real-time, traceable, verifiable, complete and accurate gas transmission and distribution asset information. His group has accountability for overseeing record verification and maximum allowable operating pressure validation, producing maps, managing records, developing a gas distribution geospatial information system, ensuring data quality, and maintaining technology and tools. Previously Singh served as the director of gas engineering and operations, focusing specifically on developing the Pipeline Features Lists and overseeing the maximum allowable operating pressure validation work on PG&E’s transmission pipelines.


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