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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 9:24 pm | Fair 50º

 
 
 
 

Partners in Education: Venoco’s Support for Schools Runs Deep

The company continues to drum up donations and volunteers in an effort to better the community

[Noozhawk’s note: The Santa Barbara Partners in Education relies on its President’s Council to help expand participation opportunities in our schools. As a proud member of the President’s Council, Noozhawk is helping to promote the organization with a series of features on our fellow members and their commitment — as businesses — to public education. We hope you’ll consider joining us on the council. One in a series.]

Venoco Inc. didn’t receive the public support for its Measure J that would have allowed onshore drilling at its Paredon site, but the company’s fundamental belief in supporting education — including Santa Barbara Partners in Education — has not been shaken.

Company co-founder Tim Marquez said both of his parents were high school teachers in Denver, Colo., and taught him the power of education.

Venoco, based locally in Carpinteria, has placed a strong emphasis in helping underserviced parts of the community with donations and company volunteers since it was founded in 1992.

“It’s more about corporate responsibility and citizenship than changing the public’s minds about oil companies,” community relations coordinator Marybeth Carty said. “It’s hard to convince people that you’re doing something because it’s the right thing to do.”

The Marquez family started donating to nonprofits before they had the resources to do so. Marquez was a graduate in petroleum engineering when he started his company in Carpinteria with a few thousand dollars and a line of credit, Carty said.

Venoco’s corporate base has moved to Santa Barbara, then back to Carpinteria and now has its corporate headquarters in Denver. It has 382 employees and multiple drilling sites in Santa Barbara County, the Sacramento Basin, Beverley Hills and Texas.

Its main offshore drilling in Santa Barbara County includes the deepwater Gale Platform near the Channel Islands and Platform Holly close to UCSB’s shoreline.

As the company has grown, so have its efforts to give back to community. Carty said Venoco has donated $10 million across California and the Denver area.

In addition to the company’s total contribution of $350,000 to the nonprofit Computers for Families, which provides computers for students of low-income families, Marquez and his wife, Bernie, have donated much of their fortune toward education, Carty said.

In addition to grant writing, Venoco also developed a relationship with Carpinteria’s Canalino Elementary School that involves coordinating 12 employees to volunteer as tutors, and the company wants to see the number continue to grow, Carty said.

Having this team of volunteers allows Carty to arrange for alternates to be brought in if someone is busy, she said.

“We find volunteering in the private sector can be trumped by work schedules,” Carty said. “We have a lot of employees who are very knowledgeable in many areas of science, math, science, technology, and we wanted to share that.”

She said Venoco is interested in reaching out to local youths with the hope that they will develop an interest in a geology and earth science career that otherwise would have not been as strongly fostered.

The company is trying to “demystify” the oil that naturally washes up on Santa Barbara County’s beaches as part of a natural process that has been taking place for thousands of years, Carty said. It hires a docent to go aboard the Condor Express and educate the public about the natural oil seeps around Coal Oil Point. The next tour is set for Sept. 25, and tickets can be purchased for $10 by calling 805.882.0088.

“We don’t operate with an agenda to win people over,” Carty said. “We operate with a conscious desire to meet community needs.”

Any company has the opportunity to participate in Partners in Education, but the President’s Council is limited to no more than 25. Click here for more information about Partners in Education. Click here for more information on how to become a President’s Council member or contact Michelle Magnuson, development and membership director, at 805.964.4710 x4417 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

In addition to Venoco Inc., current President’s Council members are ABC-CLIO, American Riviera Bank, AT&T Foundation, ATK Space Systems, Bacara Resort & Spa, Coastal Management Resources, Community West Bank, Cottage Health System, Cox Communications, Earl Warren Showgrounds, ExxonMobil, Frank Schipper Construction Co., MedBridge Development, Montecito Bank & Trust, Noozhawk, QAD, Rabobank, Raytheon, Santa Barbara Axxess, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Santa Barbara Catering Co., Maryan and Richard Schall, Southern California Edison, Venoco Inc. and Verizon.

Noozhawk intern Daniel Langhorne will be a junior at Chapman University in the fall. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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