Union Gas backs FIRST Robotics Canada and schools with $50,000 grant

7 schools across province supported at Ontario events

NORTH BAY, ON, March 28, 2014 /CNW/ - Union Gas is increasing our support of FIRST Robotics Canada (FRC) and elevating our commitment by becoming a Gold Level Sponsor. Through a $50,000 grant, Union Gas will support seven Ontario school teams as well as three competitions across the province, including the first ever North Bay competition on March 27-29, 2014.

In the annual FIRST Robotics Competitions (FRC) run by FIRST Robotics Canada, high school students team up with technology companies and build the most impressive robots you've ever seen to compete in high-intensity "robo-sports". Volunteer professional mentors are assigned to each team. In just six weeks, the teams of students raise funds, design a team "brand," and build and program robots to perform specific tasks against competitors in regional events held in several provinces. FRC combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology.

The $50,000 Union Gas sponsorship, announced today at the North Bay competition by Steven Jelich, Union Gas district manager for the northeast is supporting FRC events in North Bay, Waterloo and Windsor and seven student teams across the province. Union Gas is proud to be sponsoring a team from Nbisiing Secondary School, the first-ever all First Nations and Métis team in Ontario. Team eNimkki will participate in the North Bay regional competition being held at Nipissing University. Union Gas is also mentoring several of the teams, with company employees taking time to give direction and support.

"We are excited to support these seven teams as well as the competition itself. It's a thrilling, fun-to-watch event which has the added benefit of educating young people about technology and showing them the benefits of working as a team," said Paul Rietdyk, Union Gas' vice-president of engineering, construction and storage and transmission operations. "It's a rewarding partnership for us at Union Gas, for the school kids and for the FIRST Robotics Competition. It will be a positive, motivating experience for all those involved."

"FIRST Robotics Canada is very pleased to be partnering with Union Gas at the Gold sponsorship level.  This funding will greatly assist our mission of inspiring young people to pursue further studies and careers in the fields of science, technology and engineering," said Mark Breadner, executive director from FIRST Robotics Canada. "It has aided our expansion to Northern Ontario and the Windsor region."

In addition to natural gas delivery services for homes and businesses and contributing to the province's economy through investment, job creation, municipal taxes and energy efficiency programs, Union Gas has a clear set of best practices regarding community investment. This value is reflected each year, as the company supports communities across Ontario through thousands of volunteer hours for local charitable and non-profit organizations, major charitable giving and sponsorships. Last year alone, Union Gas contributed close to $3 million to charitable organizations across the province. For more information visit uniongas.com/community.

About FIRST Robotics Canada
FIRST Robotics Canada runs the FIRST program in Ontario and supports the program in other provinces.  Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. We pursue this mission primarily through running high-energy robotics competitions. For more information, visit firstroboticscanada.org. You can find us on Facebook and on Twitter @CANFIRST.

About Union Gas
Union Gas Limited is a major Canadian natural gas storage, transmission and distribution company based in Ontario with 100 years of experience and service to customers. The distribution business serves about 1.4 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in more than 400 communities across northern, southwestern and eastern Ontario. Union Gas, named one of Canada's Top 100 Employers  for 2014, is a Spectra Energy (NYSE: SE) company with assets of $5.8 billion and approximately 2,200 employees. For more information, visit uniongas.com or find us on Twitter: twitter.com/uniongas, Facebook: facebook.com/uniongas and YouTube: youtube.com/user/uniongas.

SOURCE: Union Gas Limited

For further information:

Andrea Stass
Manager, External Communications and Media Relations
Ph: 519 436-5490 or 1-800-571-8446 ext. 5005490
Cell: 519 365-1010

FIRST Robotics Canada
Mark Breadner, Executive Director
Ph:  416 453-6844

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