SWE Distinguished New Engineer
For technical expertise in identifying solutions to reduce greenhouse gases; for establishing a SWE scholarship at her company; and for advocating initiatives that increase diversity within engineering.
Nadia Bess is team lead for the emissions strategy program at the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) in Anaheim, California. The goal of the program is to reduce methane emissions from operations by 20% by 2025 and 40% by 2030, through more than 90 projects across the company. Now a regulatory and finance team lead on the emissions strategy program team, she has implemented and developed a strategic plan that has reduced methane emissions by 18% in the past four years. She has also researched and vetted emerging technologies to bring that figure to a 40% reduction in the next five years.
Since joining the company 10 years ago, Bess has advanced in her career by proactively accepting increasing levels of responsibility, taking initiative, and demonstrating leadership on special projects. As project manager, she previously implemented a new technology that uses predictive analytics to indicate when customers have unintentionally left on gas-fired equipment (such as a BBQ) so a follow-up can be scheduled to help them turn off the equipment that is inadvertently wasting energy.
Bess previously established herself as a subject matter expert in her company for fuel cell projects. She supervised the implementation of 17 fuel cell projects for a total electric generation capacity of 4.25 megawatts, equivalent to powering more than 4,250 U.S. households for a year. Because of her extensive experience with generation projects, she has mentored other engineers about the nuances of the project-planning process for their fuel-cell projects to ensure proper execution.
Within SoCalGas, Bess mentors entry-level new hires and colleagues seeking to build their careers. To support this effort, she connected the company with the Society of Women Engineers and its vast resources for women engineers, scientists, and technicians. Bess has been an active and engaged SWE member for 14 years, serving in a variety of leadership capacities in the Orange County Section and the former Sonora Region, including college liaison, section president, mentoring program lead, and conference chair. SoCalGas became a SWE conference sponsor and career fair participant. Bess is credited with establishing the SWE Anne Shen Smith Endowed Scholarship in partnership with the company’s community relations department. The annual scholarship supports aspiring engineering students.
Bess volunteers with the Friends of CASA – Orange County and the USC Alumni Club of Orange County. She has helped with fundraisers and special events and has participated in its mentoring program with a charter high school.
She has been recognized with several awards citing her leadership and technical expertise, her passion for helping others, and her commitment to improving the environment. Among those awards are the Orange County SWE Member of the Year, Outstanding Young Engineer from the Orange County Engineering Council, and the Builder Award from SoCalGas, among others.
Bess holds a B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California and an executive MBA from Chapman University.
Outside of work, she enjoys traveling internationally and is aiming to visit 40 countries before she turns 40. When closer to home, she enjoys gardening, rowing, trying new food, and spending time with her rescue dog, Rosey.