Joe Chow proudly displays one of SoCal Gas’ fleet vehicles located at the company’s base station in the Crenshaw District. (Courtesy photo)



 The Southern California Gas Company continues its legacy partnership, which started with the first festival. 


The Southern California Gas Company has participated in the Taste of Soul since its inception in 2005. This year it returns as the festival’s premier sponsor, culminating 17 years of partnership to provide cultural enrichment and community service. 


With more than three hundred thousand people expected to attend the event on October 15th on the legendary Crenshaw Boulevard, SoCalGas has taken hold of the brass ring. SoCalGas is a utility company based in Los Angeles and is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy. It is the primary provider of natural gas to Angelinos and throughout Central and Southern California.  


“This is huge!” exclaimed said Joe Chow, SoCalGas supplier diversity manager, who has been with the company for 33 years.  

“SoCalGas’ role as a premier sponsor of Taste of Soul is a great way to celebrate various cultures within our community, and it is an opportunity for us to connect with our customers, as we have been participating for the past 17 years. At SoCalGas we are committed to investing in the communities where we live and work. As part Aspire 2045 plan, we made a commitment to invest $50 million over the next five years into the communities the company serves.” 

SoCalGas employees volunteered at Ramona Elementary School garden in Hawthorne. (Courtesy photo)


Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., the founder, and creator of the Taste of Soul, commended SoCalGas for their commitment to the TOS and to the community.  


“SoCalGas is one of the biggest supporters of Taste of Soul and over the years, we’ve developed a strong relationship,” said Bakewell. “I appreciate their participation, which to me is an acknowledgement of the tremendous contributions that African Americans make towards ensuring the ongoing success of the company,” added Bakewell.  


Chow said the partnership has become a time-honored tradition with a legacy of building a stronger community through engagement and service.  


“We’ve been a part of the fabric of this community for a long time,” said Chow. “My personal engagement with the community dates back to the time when I was working for the Gas Company’s Public Affairs Department. 


“I worked at the first Taste of Soul. We had to set up our booth around 5 a.m. Since the street was blocked off, I had a chance to ride my bike up and down the boulevard, undisturbed by automobiles, to watch people setting up their booths and to observe all the excitement.  I met a lot of great customers who had questions about our programs.” 

As the premier sponsor, SoCalGas will have a prominent booth with a lot of great information, a kids activity zone and giveaways for attendees. Their staff will be there to provide information on several programs 

Staff from SoCalGas’ Voices Inspiring Black Employees (VIBE) resource group will be there to provide safety information on earthquake valves and customer assistance programs, such as the Energy Savings Assistance Program, which provides home weatherization at no cost.  

“If you qualify for the Energy Savings Assistance Program, we’ll come in and weatherize your home to make it more energy efficient,” said Chow. “And we also have the CARE program, which offers customers a 20% reduction on their gas bill,” he added.  

SoCalGas employees volunteer at Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. (Courtesy photo)

Additionally, a SoCalGas will have staff from Human Resources Department which will be recruiting for various job opportunities.  

But one of the big draws of their booth will include a display of SoCalGas’ new hydrogen vehicle, the Toyota Mirai Truck. Mirai is a Japanese word that means “future,” and is part of SoCalGas’s forward-thinking clean-air initiative to ween off gas-powered cars and to use the first mass-produced hydrogen-powered electric cars as their fleet vehicle. 

For more information about SoCalGas programs and job opportunities, visit