WASHINGTON, July 1, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) today announced the winners of its 2015 Supplier Diversity Awards. Presented annually, the awards recognize companies for their outstanding efforts in advancing purchasing opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses within the electric power industry.
CenterPoint Energy earned the industry's overall Excellence Award for its targeted efforts to incorporate supplier diversity into all facets of its operations. CenterPoint Energy leveraged the expertise of its corporate communications department to develop and implement a supplier diversity communications plan that outlined the importance of supplier diversity and reinforced that supplier diversity is not just a procurement-driven program.
"Congratulations to CenterPoint Energy for winning this year's Supplier Diversity Excellence Award," said EEI President Tom Kuhn. "CenterPoint Energy's terrific work to emphasize the importance of supplier diversity beyond just procurement operations demonstrates the industry's commitment and efforts to help diverse businesses take part in the growth of the electric utility industry."
"Strong working relationships and forward-thinking approaches are important in our business," said John Slanina, vice president over CenterPoint Energy's supplier diversity efforts. "That is why we count on diverse business partners to bring unique perspectives, competitive solutions, and the desire to go the extra mile to provide value to our customers."
Arizona Public Service Company (APS) and We Energies were named the first and second place winners, respectively, of the industry's Innovation Award for their creative efforts to promote a diverse supplier base. "EEI applauds APS and We Energies for their innovative ideas and new ways of doing business to advance and increase supplier diversity," Kuhn said.
APS includes its supplier diversity efforts in its annual report, and has developed mentoring and training programs aimed at increasing supplier diversity. "For more than 20 years, we have believed that supporting supplier diversity is just good business," said Donna Easterly, Vice President of Supply Chain and Chief Procurement Officer at APS. "It has become a critically important component of APS's overall business strategy. Partnerships with diverse businesses create many benefits and opportunities for our customers, for the local business community, and for Arizona."
As part of its annual budget planning process, We Energies requires its internal business units to review their planned budgets and identify contracts that will expire for opportunities for minority-owned businesses. Employees of We Energies are advised to utilize those diverse firms that have existing contracts and to develop innovative and effective means to permit the participation of these firms.
"From match-maker meetings to department-specific goals, we are committed to building relationships with diverse companies," said Jerry Fulmer, We Energies Vice President – Supplier Diversity. "By using innovative techniques, our supplier diversity initiative has grown exponentially."
JR2 Energy was named the Diverse Supplier of the Year. JR2 Energy, which works with CenterPoint Energy and Entergy, does electrical engineering design for utility substations and transmission and distribution facilities, and also telecommunication engineering. The company provides services internationally for utilities in Africa, Australia, Brazil, and Venezuela. Nominations praised JR2 Energy as a trusted partner for utilities and an integral part of the telecommunications team.
For more than 30 years, EEI has recognized electric utilities that demonstrate leadership in advancing purchasing opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses. Contracts with utilities during this time have expanded from traditional services, such as providing office supplies and temporary personnel, to critical industry areas, such as underground and overhead line construction, meter reading, nuclear engineering services, construction management, and pension fund management.
For more information on the industry's Supplier Diversity program, please visit www.eei.org/diversity.
EEI is the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies. Our members provide electricity for 220 million Americans, operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and directly employ more than 500,000 workers. EEI has 70 international electric companies as Affiliate Members, and 270 industry suppliers and related organizations as Associate Members.
SOURCE Edison Electric Institute