Problem-solving is key to success for ONE Gas process improvement consultant
OKLAHOMA CITY — Removing obstacles and optimizing profitability are compatible goals for Amy Jenkins, a process improvement consultant for ONE Gas.
Jenkins, from Shawnee, was hired at ONE Gas as a temporary customer service representative in 2005. She was promoted to a series of jobs with increasing responsibility over 17 years, including contract analyst and helping commercial and industrial customers purchase natural gas.
ONE Gas provides natural gas distribution services to more than 2.3 million customers in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.
Jenkins, who uses a wheelchair, has a form of Muscular Dystrophy called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease that causes peripheral nerve damage and loss of sensation in arms and legs.
She qualified for career counseling, tuition assistance and other employment services from Vocational Rehabilitation, a division of Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services that provides employment, education and independent living programs serving more than 184,000 people in 2022.
In her current position as a process improvement consultant, Jenkins helps determine which ONE Gas technology projects offer the most benefit to the company and models department data for accurate and consistent reporting.
“I like being able to combine my communications background with data analytics and modeling so I can really break down what’s happening with some nice visuals to spice up the data a little bit,” Jenkins said.
“I’m also here to take away obstacles that are in the way – all the things you hate, the pain points that frustrate you and make you grind your teeth.”
Jenkins was recognized in October as an award winner at the 35th Governor’s Disability Employment Awards of Excellence at the Governor’s Mansion in Oklahoma City.
“As a person with a disability, you’re constantly finding a different way, a different approach,” Jenkins said. “My brain just works like ‘What is the easiest way to get this done?’ to find a better way, but also (deliver) a great product in the end.”
She adapts her solution-oriented approach to help corporate customers and internal divisions keep their services affordable and make the process as easy as possible.
“We’ve also got a lot of regulations in the energy industry,” she added. “We want to be an excellent company that does the right things, so we figure out the best way to plug in solutions and work through the regulatory pieces.”
Vocational Rehabilitation helped fund Jenkins’ education at Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton, her undergraduate degree in agricultural communications from Oklahoma State University. ONE Gas funded her master’s degree in business administration from Oklahoma Christian University.
“Vocational Rehabilitation was also great in helping me evaluate my skills and figure out what kinds of employment I wanted to do,” Jenkins said.
In 2019 and 2020, when she was transitioning from walking with crutches to being in a wheelchair, Vocational Rehabilitation opened a new case to assist with modifications to her van and home to accommodate her new wheelchair.
“VR hired Jonathan Howard of Howard’s Construction to widen internal doors and door frames to give me more room to maneuver in my small house and put an awning over my back door, so I have time to get in and out in bad weather,” Jenkins said. “The home modifications wound up being incredibly nice because I spend so much more time there,” Jenkins said, adding that she teleworks more since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
She obtained Six Sigma Green Belt certification, completed relational database and Structured Query Language courses, and graduated from the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice’s Leadership Institute, which specializes in diversity, equity and inclusion courses.
Jenkins enthusiastically responded to ONE Gas’ request to start a resource group for employees with disabilities, caregivers and allies.
“Inclusion and Diversity is so important to us that we made it one of our core values that guide and direct our actions as we go about our day-to-day business,” ONE Gas wrote on their corporate website. “We know that each employee brings their own unique background, thoughts, perspectives, and culture to our company every day when they come to work. We welcome these different backgrounds, thoughts, perspectives and cultures because we recognize they foster a stronger company and create a positive experience for customers and employees alike.”
ONE Gas, headquartered in Tulsa, provides natural gas distribution services to more than 2.3 million customers in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Its divisions include Oklahoma Natural Gas, the largest natural gas distributor in Oklahoma; Kansas Gas Service, the largest in Kansas; and Texas Gas Service, the third largest in Texas, in terms of customers.
DRS Vocational Rehabilitation served 12,030 jobseekers with disabilities through employment and independent living programs in 2022. Services include in-person counseling, testing, job placement and online tools to help clients start or return to work. Last year, 1,743 become employed, paying $3,960 in average annual taxes and reducing or eliminating dependence on government services. For more information, visit https://oklahoma.gov/okdrs.html or phone 405-800-845-8476.
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Jody Harlan, DRS Communications Director