Peoples Gas Sponsorship Of Lernerville Speedway About Community And More

Six-Year Partnership Benefitting Customers, Community And Speedway

Scott Stiller
August 23, 2019 - 1:53 pm
AJ Flick In Victory Lane After Winning Peoples Gas Sprint Division Race At Lernerville Speedway

John Stivason-Stivason Photos

PITTSBURGH, PA (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Peoples Natural Gas is one of a number of Pittsburgh companies that is successfully using auto racing as a platform.  Companies like PNC Bank and PPG are using racing on a National level but Peoples is focusing closer to home with their sponsorship of Lernerville Speedway.

“One of our goals when we first went on-board with Lernerville in 2013 was to promote our ‘smart comfort programs’”, said Bryan Colbert, Peoples Customer Relations Specialist.

“We support a lot of community activities to try and increase economic development within our various counties," said Barry Kukovich, Peoples Director of Communications.  “It’s the Bantam Jeep Festival, it’s the county fairs all through our system and it’s certainly Lernerville.  Something like Lernerville is a perfect bridge to the community."

The bridge to community has helped Peoples get the word out about those “Smart Comfort Programs” like: The Dollar Energy Fund, LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) and furnace repair programs to name a few.

“There’s not one of our customers that needs to be cold in the wintertime,” said Kukovich. “Everyone should be warm and there are programs out there to help customers, people are just unaware of them.  So many really well-meaning and truly humble people will say ‘you know what, people are worse off than me, they really deserve it more’.  That’s not true because something happens when everybody in the community reaches out and receives the proper help.”

“Lernerville has about 50-thousand followers on social media,” said Colbert.  “Some of the drivers in the division we sponsor have between 500 and 2,500-followers, so anytime we need to get the word out, the guys have gotten the word out immediately.”

Peoples quickly discovered that there were many ways the partnership with the speedway could evolve, including inside their company.

“Whenever we have employee night there, we have almost a thousand employees there,” said Kukovich.  “That’s really helpful within our company of building a spirit of community outreach and care.”

That care extended into the community in a couple of ways.

“This past June on employee night we wanted to make a large donation to a local food bank,” said Colbert.  “The drivers took turns on social media promoting, as well as Lernerville, and we took a dump truck full of food to St. Vincent de Paul.”

In 2016 Peoples donated money to help Lernerville build a new set of bleachers with expanded handicapped seating and a wheelchair ramp.  Now people with disabilities have a prime location to watch the racing on “The Action Track”.  Lernerville painted the bleacher frame "Peoples Blue" as a thank you.

The Peoples Natural Gas Handicapped Grandstands At Lernerville Speedway
John Stivason-Stivason Photos

“We’re not exactly a business that stamps out widgets and sends them to France or Texas.  We are literally embedded in the community,” said Kukovich.  “We support a lot of community activities to try and increase economic development within our various counties.  Our attitude is the healthier the community is, the more money that can be driven into the community, the healthier it is for our company.”

The Lernerville partnership has also enabled Peoples to get the word out to business owners and companies about natural gas-powered fleet vehicles and about how natural gas can help businesses, hospitals, schools and others be less-dependent on the electrical grid.

Peoples is also working on some exciting initiatives for the agricultural industry that they hope to have more informaton about in 2020.  It just so happens that Lernerville is right in the middle of farm-country in Western Pennsylvania.