By Tracy Correa
STOCKTON – Standing in the middle of a 25-acre piece of property near the Stockton airport, officials with PG&E and S&S Service Solutions and local community leaders celebrated the opening of a new gas transmission pipe yard today (April 18).
“What a great day,” said Gun Shim, PG&E’s vice president of supply chain management, as he welcomed everyone from city council members to local chamber officials.
Shim was one of about a half-dozen speakers on hand at the event where visitors – wearing orange and yellow safety vests and hard hats – mingled in a clearing with 225,000 feet of steel pipe serving as a backdrop.
The celebration was two-fold: It is PG&E’s first pipe storage yard to open in more than a decade. And, it is a sign of positive economic development in this city of 300,000 that has struggled financially.
PG&E supports Stockton
Stockton City Council Member Elbert Holman talked about Stockton’s financial troubles, which includes a recent bankruptcy filing. Through it all, Elbert said, “PG&E has been a huge supporter of the city of Stockton. They could have put this anywhere else, but they chose to come here.”
Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva also commended PG&E for investing in the city, adding: “PG&E has just been a wonderful community partner.”
The pipe yard, said city leaders, shows that the city is still a viable place for business.
The massive yard includes 16,000 feet of covered storage and a state-of-the-art electronic tracking system to improve materials traceability. It will serve as the primary receiving and distribution facility for all PG&E’s new gas transmission pipe, fittings and valves going in the ground. The operation of the pipe yard also creates about a half dozen jobs.
The yard is the first in PG&E’s Northern and California service territory to open since 2002. It will be managed by PG&E supplier S&S Service Solutions, based in Martinez and headed by minority and female CEO Tracy Tomkovicz.
PG&E’s Des Bell, senior vice president of safety and shared services and chief procurement officer, said the new pipe yard exemplifies the importance the utility places on supplier diversity. “It furthers another company objective of improving diversity in our supply system,” he said.
$2 billion on diverse suppliers
Last year, PG&E spent a record $2 billion with diverse suppliers, accounting for 38.8 percent of its total procurement budget.
Tomkovicz said PG&E trusted her company more than 20 years ago with a single line-item order. Today, her company provides PG&E more than 10,000 items – from personal protective gear to lineman tools. “We are not only a diverse-owned business, but a local company that employs a diverse workforce,” with plans to grow, she said.
The new storage yard is particularly important as PG&E keeps pace with the large amount of gas transmission work related to the Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan or PSEP, to modernize its natural gas transmission operations.
PG&E’s Jesus Soto, senior vice president of gas transmission operations, said the utility is “laser-focused” on the safety of its gas transmission system with the PSEP program. “This pipe yard is a key component for the overall logistics of our program,” he said.
The event was capped with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
E-mail Tracy Correa at Tracy.Correa@pge.com