Thursday, June 4, 2015

Powering Innovation and Growth: Top Utilities Meet in Albuquerque

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) 32nd Annual Supplier Diversity Conference is going on this week (June 2-5, 2015) at the Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid Hotel in Albuquerque, NM. Hosted by PNM Resources, an energy holding company based in New Mexico, this conference attracted over 300 registrants including 34 public utilities companies from around the country, and 16 of their prime suppliers.

EEI is the association that represents U.S. investor-owned electric companies. Their members operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, accounting for $90 billion in annual capital expenditures. Supplier diversity spend by the utilities in this sector represent several billion dollars. This proactive business practice provides companies owned by ethnic minorities, women, and/or service disabled veterans with equal access to purchasing opportunities.

With the changing U.S. demographics companies are increasingly adopting robust supplier diversity programs and pioneering public utilities like Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) are leading this charge. In 2013, the California based company spent approximately $1.5 billion with minority-owned business enterprises, the highest for the company to date. To accomplish this milestone in supplier diversity excellence, PG&E worked with 356 unique minority suppliers.

EEI’s annual Supplier Diversity Conference offers their members a matchless opportunity to identify potential new diverse vendors in a pre-competitive setting while also helping diverse vendors to better understand the opportunities and challenges of working with the utilities sector. Conference speakers include industry veterans like EEI’s chief economist, Dr. John Caldwell exploring how the state of the U.S. and world economies influence the energy industry; Steve Dukes, Sr. Supplier Diversity Coordinator, CenterPoint Energy, discussing the intricate nuances of the utility vendor relationship; and Carter Cherry, Director of Supply Chain and General Services, PNM Resources, sharing insights regarding vendor compliance, operating procedures, and other supply chain strategies needed to succeed.

To learn more, stay tuned to MBE magazine’s videoprofiles highlighting conference attendees.

Nadine S. Bartholomew is the principal consultant of N. S. Bartholomew Consulting, a strategic communications firm specializing in utilities diversity.

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