Friends, family and coworkers of Vice President Jeff Thorsen turned out this week to honor his legacy and celebrate his life at the Gas Company Tower. Many would agree that Thorsen ‘lost his battle with cancer,” but he never gave up and fought state IV cancer for nearly five years, a testament to his amazing resiliency. Cancer never stood a chance against him because Thorsen was a winner and never gave up. Thorsen helped so many minority-owned business enterprises in the Supplier Diversity Div. of The Gas Company. This week’s memorial was Emceed by George McQuade III, who worked with Thorsen in Supplier Diversity Division, and who was one of his best friends.
“His unrelenting advocacy achieved many multi-billion dollar accomplishments which won strategic support for the company with key decision-makers,” said Peter Wiersma, Thorsen’s close friend, a former coworker and a consultant, Oscelola Consulting. “He mentored many people and businesses that became multi-billion dollar enterprises. He was my brother and co-conspirator in so many changes we were always pushing for in the industry. I miss him dearly and feel a giant hole in my being.”
“Jeff never took ’NO’ for answer and we became friends over the years,” said President & CEO Dennis Orriola, Southern California Gas Company. Orriola announced at the Memorial that an annual Jeff Thorsen Leadership Award will be handed out to SoCalGas Co. employees annually in his honor and his name.
“He was a wonderful person and it was always about you and never about him,” said Virgina Gomez, president & CEO, Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council. The Council has established a Jeff Thorsen Scholarship in his honor with a Platinum, Gold and Silver category for donations. For more contact Gomez at 213.689.6960 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former chairwoman, Gwen Moore, of the State Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce told the crowd at The Gas Company Tower, “Jeff never gave up and was responsible for a lot of utility industry changes.” Moore provided a glass of cider for all attending and offered a toast in Jeff Thorsen’s name. A video was also provided with photos of Thorsen and coworkers.
Other speakers included past Gas Company president & CEO, Anne Shen smith, now on the PG&E Board of Directors, Northern California; and Virgina Gomez, Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council.
Special acknowledgements went to Maurice Ortega, AM. Ortega Construction; Kevin Narcomey and Peter Wiersma, Osceola Consulting; Gwen Moore, GEM Communications; Will Johnson, Visage Energy; Leonard Ortiz, Lennova; Rick Hobbs, Anissa Arguien and Yolanda Padilla, The Gas Company; Virginia Gomez, SCMSDC; Laurie Dowling, National Utilities Diversity Council and Daryl-Lynn Roberts, Visage Energy.
Thorsen was born in Bellingham, WA and moved to SoCal when he was three in 1957. While completing his education, Thorsen had several jobs where he worked in social services and for Firestone Tires. He began working at The Gas Co. in 1981 as a Customer Service Representative. He later moved to the Supplier Diversity Division where he found his true love and passion for assisting diverse businesses to grow and succeed. In 1995, Thorsen met his wife, Arlina, who also worked at The Gas Company. Thorsen is survived by his wife Arline, his stepson Robert Jaquez and his wife Melissa and their two children, Anais and Christen, his brother Jon and his wife Bonnie and their son Todd.