Gas South was established as a for-profit, wholly owned subsidiary of Cobb EMC after the 1997 passage of Senate Bill 215 deregulated the natural gas industry in Georgia and allowed Atlanta Gas Light Company to store and distribute gas to marketers, which in turn, sell to consumers.
The entirety of Greiner’s career has been in energy. After completing his Masters’ of Business Administration, he and his wife, Robyn Roberts, accepted jobs at natural gas giant Enron in Houston, Texas. “We were a package deal,” said Greiner. “The environment was exciting, but stressful.”
In 1999, Greiner was asked to move to Frankfurt, Germany to open an office. “I spoke intermediate, college-level German and could have easily demurred by saying that my German was not good enough or that I had never done sales,” said Greiner. “I’m glad I went for it, because the opportunity was precisely what I needed to develop those skills and be successful.”
Shortly after he returned home, Enron filed for bankruptcy. Greiner accepted a management job with Southern Company’s natural gas affiliate before the company sold the business to Cobb EMC in 2006.
Greiner was offered the top job, becoming CEO at the age of 37.
“I really was not fully prepared for that … I had never managed a large organization like this one,” he said. “It’s natural to have some lingering doubts about whether you’re ready for a new challenge.”
He brought 35 employees with him and made additional hires. “The nice thing about forming a company in that fashion is you had people that you knew and trusted and we had 160,000 (existing) customers we would be building the business around,” he said. “There was a palpable sense of enthusiasm.”
Today, 60 of the company’s 160 employees are located at its 20,000 square-foot headquarter offices at the Overton Park off of Cumberland Boulevard near Interstate 75.
For the fiscal year ending April 30, 2012, the company reported annual revenues of $185 million. “We are proud that we are consistently profitable,” said Greiner. “A big reason for that is we insourced our customer service operation in 2012.” Cobb EMC acquired ProCore Solutions located on Cobb Parkway, and hired 100 local customer service representatives at the call center.
There are 10 natural gas marketers in Georgia competing for the same customers.
“Not many others (states) have chosen to set it up the way Georgia has,” said Greiner. “I think people here get very competitive rates … the market functions very well.”
Greiner has worked to distinguish his company from the pack. “Our philosophy is to have low everyday rates,” he said.
He says the key area for future company growth is compressed natural gas or CNG. “We see CNG as the biggest driver of growth for natural gas going forward,” he said.
“More fleets utilizing natural gas drives sales and revenues for us and ultimately is incredibly good for our state in reducing air pollution by 60 to 90 percent and also reducing CO2 emissions by 30 percent,” said Greiner. “And, you are utilizing fuel that is domestically produced and is abundant.”
MARTA uses CNG in its buses and Cobb County Transit uses it in some of its fleets. Gas South is supplying the natural gas to six out of the seven public access stations in metro Atlanta.
Greiner says it is also a culture of community service that differentiates the company.
“Everyone at Gas South is engaged in the community. It allows our people to step out and get out of the office and be the outreach,” he said. “Our employees have bought into it.”
Greiner chaired the 2012 United Way of Greater Atlanta campaign. “United Way gives you a way to connect with lot of people.”
Milton J. Little, Jr., United Way president, calls Greiner a community steward. “You need only look at Kevin’s hearty community involvement to see that he is much more than a savvy business leader … Kevin and the entire Gas South family continually showcase their compassionate spirit in remarkable ways.”