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EEI Names 2019 Business Diversity Award Winners

NASHVILLE, TENN. (July 11, 2019) – The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) today announced the winners of its 2019 Business Diversity Awards. Presented annually, the awards recognize companies for their outstanding efforts in advancing purchasing opportunities for diverse suppliers, including minority-, women-, veteran-, and LGBTQ-owned businesses within the investor-owned electric power industry.

DTE earned the industry’s overall Excellence Award for its dedication to partnering with women- and minority-owned businesses, strengthening the local economy. In 2018, DTE spent $472 million with certified diverse suppliers, which represents almost 20 percent of the company’s total spend. DTE’s focus on providing minority- and women-owned firms with advocacy, training, mentoring, development experiences, and business opportunities created new businesses and jobs. DTE also participated in networking events to allow potential diverse Tier II suppliers to network with company buyers and Tier I suppliers. These programs enable participants to learn about upcoming opportunities and teach them how to engage with the DTE supply chain. As a result, many of the company’s suppliers are now doing business with one another. 

“Congratulations to DTE for winning this year’s Excellence Award for its commitment to developing and maintaining a strong network of diverse suppliers,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “DTE demonstrated how both electric companies and their suppliers can be successful when they work together on workforce and business development to ensure that the supplier base reflects the communities they serve."

“Our focus on supplier mentoring and outreach is bringing jobs back to our neighborhoods, lifting up local families and building stronger communities," said DTE vice president and chief procurement officer Tony Tomczak. “We’re proud to support diverse businesses and we see this as core to our company's mission. It's an honor to be recognized by EEI for these efforts, and we remain deeply committed to continuing this transformative work."

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) was the recipient of EEI’s Innovation Award, which recognizes a company that promotes business diversity by any new approach through technology, software, project management, or outreach efforts that result in increased business development of its suppliers or if its efforts make a substantial economic impact. SDG&E developed a custom online portal for its suppliers to enter their monthly spend with diverse subcontractors, allowing the company to track and audit subcontractor spending and to further monitor to ensure the use of diverse subcontractors.

In 2018, SDG&E achieved the highest level of spending with diverse businesses in the history of the company, purchasing 43.9 percent, or more than $722 million, worth of goods and services from enterprises owned by women, minorities, veterans, and other diverse contractors. For six years in a row, SDG&E’s supplier diversity spending has surpassed 40 percent, far exceeding the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) goal of 21.5 percent. With the support of more than 180 employees volunteering their time as Supplier Diversity Ambassadors, SDG&E was able to develop partnerships with prime contractors to achieve a high level of success.

“SDG&E’s strong support of women- and minority-owned businesses reflects not just the values of the company and the communities it serves, but the values of our entire industry,” said Kuhn. “We congratulate SDG&E on its leadership and are pleased to award the company this year’s Innovation Award.”

“We are proud of our accomplishment in partnering with diverse businesses to better serve our region and our customers’ needs,” said Kevin Sagara, SDG&E chairman and chief executive officer. “Diversity is a core value at SDG&E and at our parent company, Sempra Energy, where we embrace a culture of innovation and continuous improvement to create an inclusive culture.”

Engineered Solutions, Inc. (ESI) is the recipient of EEI’s Diverse Business Award, which is given to a company that displays support of business diversity through development initiatives. Headquartered in Athens, Ala., this veteran-owned business offers a broad range of consulting services with a focus on custom mechanical and electrical engineering and design services. For more than 11 years, ESI has worked with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to provide quality and timely electrical and digital design services to business units across TVA. 

“EEI applauds ESI for its continued work to create and maintain a diverse business environment,” said Kuhn. “Their work is a great example of what our industry strives for, and we commend them for their dedication.” 
"Engineered Solutions is honored to be a recipient of EEI’s Diverse Business Award,” said Mark Austin, ESI's contract manager. "We accept this award, not just on our behalf, but on the behalf of veterans throughout the industry who continue to positively impact our everyday lives the way they have impacted our freedom with their service to our great nation. We strive on each project to uphold the highest standards of technical excellence and cost effectiveness to help make our clients successful."

The Prime Supplier Leadership Award was presented to Phillips and Jordan, Incorporated (P&J), a civil and infrastructure contractor based in Knoxville, Tenn., that is a certified woman-owned business. For more than 60 years, P&J has worked with TVA while consistently supporting fellow diverse businesses in the process. After developing a small and diverse spending program in 2013, P&J has consistently spent 40 to 52 percent annually with small and diverse businesses. In 2018, that number was 44 percent of P&J’s spend.

“P&J goes out of its way to find new opportunities to increase its utilization of other small and diverse businesses,” said Kuhn. “P&J leads by example, and this team is more than deserving of the Prime Supplier Award they are receiving today.”

“As a diverse business, we strive to find, build, and source lasting relationships with small and diverse companies," said P&J Chairman Avis A. Phillips. “Including them in our endeavors, not just contracting with them, is one of our top priorities. We continually collaborate with our long-standing partners to develop innovative and mutually beneficial methods, like our small business spending program, ensuring success for everyone."

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