While some local businesses, schools, churches and other establishments have closed because of COVID-19, CPS Energy is continuing to ensure our San Antonio community has reliable, safe energy.
“It’s our jobs to make sure our customers have gas and electric services, and we’re still going about our business to make sure that happens,” said Lisa Pennington, a Journeyman Gas Troubleman/Troubleshooter in Gas Operations with nearly 31 years of experience under her CPS Energy hardhat. She added that while her job requires her to go in and around customers’ homes, she’s taking recommended safety precautions such as social distancing to protect herself against viruses and illnesses.
As a first responder to reports of gas odors, Lisa conducts investigations to determine if there’s an actual gas leak and where the gas is coming from. She’s also first on the scene when a gas line is hit – making the area safe, assessing damage and the severity of the situation, and determining next steps, which oftentimes means having a CPS Energy Leak crew come out to make necessary repairs.
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Throughout the year, Lisa assists customers by ensuring their homes are leak-free and then lights all pilots for their natural gas appliances. During the winter months, she responds to customers’ requests to have their furnace lit, making sure customers have safe, clean, operable furnaces.
Today we spotlight Lisa, a pioneer in our Gas Solutions area, as we commemorate National Gas Utility Workers’ Day and Women’s History Month. Here are highlights from a recent interview with her.
Q: What made you decide on a career with CPS Energy?
Lisa: I had a friend who worked here. She told me to, ‘Put in your application and get your foot in the door.’ I got a call from the Leak Repair area, went to get my physical and then started in that area. I was the only female in Leak Repair at that time and now I’m the only female troubleman in Gas Operations.
Q: What has that experience been like, being the only female in Leak Repair and Gas Operations?
Lisa: I haven’t run into any obstacles or into any problems. I enjoy the work, and I’ve had really great experiences. Along this journey, I’ve met some incredible people. I’ve had some more seasoned employees who’ve been more than happy to help me. If I had any questions, I could pick up the phone and call.
As far as the actual work, it’s been hands-on and on-the-job training. We follow our company’s standard operating procedures.
Q: What has been your most memorable moment at CPS Energy?
Lisa: Not long ago, we had a Town Hall at Mission Road and Paula (President & CEO, Paula Gold-Williams) came out to speak to the Gas employees. There were a few of us women sitting together at a table. Paula walked up and asked us our names, and then sat down with us. I asked her to take a selfie with me and she did.
Q: How is the work you do important to our customers and community?
Lisa: If they smell gas, it’s up to me to make sure there’s no gas leak. Also, being able to reassure the customer that they’re going to be safe in their home, I think that’s important.
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Q: Is there anything you’ve accomplished at CPS Energy that you’re especially proud of?
Lisa: Moving up the ladder and being the only female gas troubleman. I stuck it out and now I’m #3 in seniority.
Q: Did you have any role models in your career and what advice did they share with you?
Lisa: Jerry Holmes, the General Foreman in Leak Repair who hired me, told me when I started, ‘Just be yourself and do your job and you’ll be fine.’
Q: What advice do you have for others to be successful in their careers and personal lives?
Lisa: Be yourself, trust your instincts and just go for it – give it your all.
Q: In 10 words or less, how would you describe yourself?
Lisa: Honest. A little rough around the edges at times. Loyal.
Hometown: Born in Houston; grew up in Austin
High school: McCallum High School in Austin
Something most people don’t know about her: She’s soft-hearted
In her leisure time, she likes to: Go camping in her travel trailer at Medina Lake and other places; during football season, she’s a huge Longhorns and Texans fan
Favorite TV how: Investigative Discovery
Favorite movies: Pretty Woman and Top Gun
Favorite food: Mexican food