In the late 1940's, a small group of long-time gasmen, located in the middle Atlantic States, were looking for ways to create a forum for people in the gas industry to share their knowledge in order to identify and solve their common problems, which were a result of the changes in the industry at the time. They also were looking for a way to create an atmosphere of camaraderie and fellowship among their industry brethren.
This group was comprised of Joe Mulcare of Gas Supplies Materials, Inc., John VanNorden of American Meter Company, Lou Evarts of Long Island Lighting Company and Ernie Weeks of Public Service Electric & Gas.
In 1948, this effort resulted in the formation of the Society of Gas Operators. Lou Evarts served as the first President of the Society. John VanNorden drafted the first Constitution and By-Laws for the Society. He also made the arrangements for the first meetings, which were held at the Engineers' Club in New York City. Later, the meeting site was changed to the Yale Club in New York City, the site where meetings are still held.
Since that time, the Society has conducted over 440 business sessions by meeting on a monthly basis, from September to May, each year. Speakers are invited to address the membership at each meeting on topics appropriate to the issues of the day. What was one company's concern became the concern of all companies. The collective effort of the group was put to discussing and solving the problems.
SOGO has made a significant contribution to the industry in this manner. By providing a forum for speakers, from inside and outside the industry, to address the changing issues of the industry, SOGO has served as a catalyst for necessary changes in the gas distribution industry from technological and regulatory influences over the last 50 years. In 1996, the Society began to solicit nominations for a Heroism Award, to provide recognition for extraordinary services or acts of heroism performed by an employee of a member company.
The group currently consists of 70 utility members from 28 utilities along the East Coast and 30 non-utility companies who have close ties to the natural gas industry.