Southern Company receives 2022 Business Diversity Excellence Award for efforts to advance purchasing opportunities for diverse suppliers
Published June 17, 2022
Southern Company is honored that the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) has awarded it the 2022 Business Diversity Excellence Award. The Excellence Award recognizes stellar contributions in diverse supplier inclusion, development, growth, partnership, and economic impact.
In recognizing Southern Company’s accomplishments, EEI cited active CEO and executive-level involvement; embedded supplier diversity strategy teams across the enterprise; diverse supplier mentoring and training focused on supply chain equity, social justice, and cybersecurity; participation in the City of Birmingham’s Valuing Inclusion to Accelerate and Lift (VITAL) program in Alabama, which is designed to grow spending with minority-, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises; and Southern Company’s Moving to Equity Framework that includes a diverse suppliers investment fund benefitting diverse communities and historically Black colleges and universities.
“At Southern Company, we take great pride in developing and maintaining strong, long-term and trusting relationships with diverse suppliers that will help drive value for our company and our system’s customers,” said Johnny Howze, senior vice president of Supply Chain Management for Southern Company. “Our work with diverse suppliers helps creates jobs and fuels economic growth in communities, including those that historically have been underrepresented.”
Over the two-year nomination period, Southern Company’s annual spend with diverse suppliers increased from $1.6 billion in 2020 to $1.9 billion in 2021.
"This year’s Business Diversity Award winners have exceptionally demonstrated their commitments to providing an inclusive and diverse supplier network," said EEI President Tom Kuhn. "By continuing to be leaders, these companies are creating a better future for all and are showcasing the talents of the many suppliers that directly impact the electric power industry and the communities in which we live and serve. Each is deserving of their recognition, and I congratulate them for receiving these awards."
Southern Company once again earns top 20 national ranking of Companies for Diversity by DiversityInc, marking seven consecutive years of recognition
Published June 7, 2022
Southern Company has been named among the Top 50 Companies for Diversity by DiversityInc, moving up to number 19 on its 2022 list.
This is the seventh consecutive year Southern Company has been recognized as a Top 50 Company for Diversity, and for its efforts to hire, retain and promote women, minorities, people with disabilities, LGBTQ and veterans. Southern Company has moved up 27 spots on the list over that period.
“Our people are the power of Southern Company,” said Sloane Drake, Southern Company senior vice president of Human Resources. “Their energy enables us to build a brighter future for our customers and the communities we call home. We drive results by valuing different opinions, backgrounds and experiences, and by welcoming diverse points of view. We celebrate our progress and are committed to a diverse and inclusive organization.”
In addition to its overall ranking, Southern Company was recognized on five other specialty lists
No. 1 - Top Company for Black Executives
No. 4 - Top Company for Supplier Diversity
No. 7 - Top Company for Veterans
No. 8 - Top Company for Executive Diversity Councils
No. 33 - Top Company for Environmental, Social and Governance
These rankings are based on 2021 company-submitted data in six key areas: 1) leadership accountability, 2) human capital diversity metrics, 3) talent programs, 4) workforce practices, 5) supplier diversity and 6) philanthropy.
View the entire Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.
Southern Company commits $100K to advance diversity in skilled trades
Published March 15, 2022
Southern Company remains committed to ensuring equitable access and opportunities for all, including historically underrepresented and marginalized groups, in the communities it serves. The company recently announced a $100,000 pledge to support two nonprofit organizations furthering diversity, equity and inclusion in the skilled trades.
In partnership with North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), Southern Company is offering apprenticeship readiness programs (ARPs) across the Southeast, preparing students with the knowledge and hands-on training needed for careers as skilled tradespeople. The programs focus on providing jobs for women, people of color and veterans.
Southern Company allocated $50,000 to TradesFutures, a nonprofit endeavoring to increase diversity in the construction industry through research, public education and promotion of ARPs.
“We are committed to developing a diverse workforce pipeline,” said Alabama Power Chairman, President and CEO Mark Crosswhite. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with NABTU and TradesFutures, working together to create pathways to meaningful careers and lifting up the communities we serve.”
“NABTU’s successful apprenticeship readiness programs throughout the U.S. are changing thousands of lives, and these programs could not happen without the support of partners like Southern Company and Alabama Power,” said North America’s Building Trades Unions President, Sean McGarvey. “We know the power of investing in local workers to strengthen our highly-skilled construction workforce pipeline, and we are grateful for the longstanding commitment by Southern Company to do it with us.”
In addition, Southern Company donated $50,000 to Helmets to Hardhats, a nonprofit that connects, mentors and counsels National Guard, Reserve, retired and military service members transitioning from activity-duty with skilled training and quality career opportunities in the construction industry. Since 2003, Helmets to Hardhats has helped more than 36,000 military service members.
“Across the Southern Company system, we are committed to investing in programs and resources that help build a diversified talent pipeline to support the continued growth of the energy industry,” said Southern Company Gas’ chairman, president and CEO, Kim Greene. “We provide the energy infrastructure necessary to do business across the country, but we also make it a priority to contribute to the dynamic ecosystem and partnerships that assist with expansion, retention and recruitment of jobs. We are proud to continue to partner with Helmets to Hardhats, to connect transitioning active-duty military service members to vital industry roles.”
“Having the support of Southern Company gives Helmets to Hardhats the ability to not only reach more veterans, but change more lives,” said Helmets to Hardhats Executive Director, Martin Helms. “Our outreach to military service members helps clear away the clutter of dead-end jobs and allows us to connect them to middle class, family-sustaining career opportunities. We cannot thank Southern Company enough for their unwavering commitment to our nation’s military veterans and the Helmets to Hardhats program."
Southern Company presents inaugural Charlie Sifford Award to Renee Powell
Published March 10, 2022
Southern Company is proud to present the inaugural Charlie Sifford award, which recognizes individuals who have helped advance diversity in golf, to Renee Powell.
In 2021, the World Golf Hall of Fame created the Charlie Sifford Award presented by Southern Company. The award honors an individual who personifies legendary African American golfer Charles Sifford’s groundbreaking achievements through perseverance, confidence, respect and adaptability.
“Honoring the spirit of advancing diversity in golf aligns with Southern Company’s commitment to being a role model company on issues surrounding racial equity. Renee Powell is a tremendous inaugural recipient of the Charles Sifford Award presented by Southern Company for the values and character of strength she has shown throughout her life,” said CEO Tom Fanning.
Powell was born May 4, 1946, but her family’s relationship with golf started long before then. Her father, William “Bill” Powell, was a WWII veteran who created his own course, Clearview Golf Club, in East Canton, Ohio, after facing discrimination at other golf establishments. She held her first golf club at the age three and won 30 tournaments by age 18.
In 1967, Powell became the second African American woman to compete on the LPGA Tour. She competed in more than 250 tournaments with her win at the 1973 Kelly Springfield Open in Brisbane, Australia, being one of the defining moments of her career.
Powell has dedicated more than 40 years of her life to the game. She blazed a trail for women, the disadvantaged and minorities to gain access to golf by creating golf clinics in Africa and recreational golf programs for female veterans. She was one of the first women to design a female golf clothing line.
“I’m honored to be the first recipient of this award and to see Charlie Sifford be recognized for breaking down barriers that never should have been put in front of him and all others of color who strived to play this game. I was taught early on by my parents that golf should be a sport for everyone, and we can all diversify this game in so many ways,” Powell said.
Powell’s accomplishments on and off the course has been recognized nationwide, garnering many awards for her character and contributions to the sport and golf community. She received the PGA’s First Lady of Golf Award in 2003, the Charlie Bartlett Award, the LPGA Pioneer Award and the Duramed FUTURES Tour Trainor Award, among others.
Powell continues to manage Clearview Golf Club as the LPGA/PGA Head Golf Professional alongside her brother, Larry. The course is one of just 13 in the country designed, built, owned and operated by an African American. The U.S. Department of the Interior named it a National Historic Site in 2001.
Black businesses deliver value that helps system serve customers and communities
Published February 22, 2022
Southern Company’s commitment to moving to equity includes increasing our spending with diverse suppliers and placing greater focus on doing more business with Black-owned businesses. During Black History Month, we reflect on the contributions of Black businesses that enable us to better serve customers and our communities.
As part of its work throughout the year to advance our commitment to equity, the Supplier Sustainability and Inclusive Growth team helps support the advancement of diverse suppliers. The team – part of Operations’ Supply Chain Management organization – helps identify opportunities across the system for small and diverse suppliers to do more work with us.
Diverse suppliers that deliver value to the system every day include Black-owned businesses CJ’s Ventures and Basha Services.
CJ’s Ventures, a waste management and demolition company in Hueytown, Alabama, began working in 2021 with Alabama Power to support its investments in fiber-optic technology to improve reliability and bring more broadband internet access to rural communities. CJ’s Ventures has provided key logistics support and heavy-hauling services for Power Delivery and Southern Power, respectively. The company has a range of capabilities in demolition and freight management, and has served Jefferson County and surrounding areas for more than 35 years. It focuses strongly on safety performance and is dedicated to hiring local resources.
Clinton Harris Jr., president of CJ’s Ventures, said: “Diversity does not make our company unique. Our understanding of the challenges diverse businesses face gives our team a unique perspective on business and our partnership with Alabama Power. This perspective drives a culture of creativity and a desire to be better.”
In Georgia, Basha Services was awarded a Master Environmental Services Agreement by Georgia Power and has been a valued partner for four years. The Norcross-based environmental remediation company has completed spill response at Plant Wansley and assisted with several environmental projects. Basha Services has also supported Alabama Power as a Tier II supplier on ash pond projects at Plant Gorgas with environmental remediation services.
Neville Anderson, Basha Services president, said that working with Georgia Power has helped his company expand and provide better benefits for its employees.
“Our partnership with Georgia Power has allowed us to hire top talent, expand our capabilities, purchase new construction equipment and vehicles and enhance and diversify our services with the addition of new technologies,” Anderson said.
Basha Services’ growth has also helped the company enhance its strategic position, strengthen banking partnerships, expand into new geographic areas and potentially explore acquiring other firms.
Leonard Smith, Supplier Sustainability and Inclusive Growth director for Supply Chain Management, believes that the growth of Black- and diverse-owned businesses furthers Southern Company’s positive impact on local communities.
“The Supplier Sustainability and Inclusive Growth organization strives to be a global leader in creating equitable and sustainable communities through economic inclusion,” Smith said.
“Southern Company is uniquely positioned to help make this happen in the communities we serve. Working with companies like CJ Ventures and Basha Services advances our supplier diversity strategy, increases the system’s access to innovative products and services, and helps diverse companies gain market share in new and developing communities,” he said.
The hard work to advance supplier diversity is helping Southern Company make significant progress toward our goal of increasing spending with diverse suppliers to 30% by 2025. In 2021, 26% of the system’s spending was with diverse suppliers.
Our commitment over the next five years is to increase and improve outreach, recruitment, hiring and retention of diverse groups at all levels of the workforce; ensure equity in leadership development programs; and seek diverse candidates for management
Southern Company commits to promote an actively anti-racist culture and to ensure that all groups are well-represented, included and fairly treated within all levels of the organization and that everyone feels welcomed, valued and respected.
Community & Social Justice
Southern Company and associated charitable foundations are committing $225 million over five years to advance racial equity and social justice in our communities.
Southern Company will advocate for racial equity through our political engagement, policy positions and ongoing public dialogues.
Southern Company has a goal of increasing our total diverse spend to 30% by 2025 and is committed to developing and doing business with more Black-owned businesses in our industry and communities.
We must fully institutionalize our commitment and actions in our effort to eliminate racism and make them an enduring reflection of Our Values.
-Tom Fanning, Chairman, CEO and President
Here’s how we are communicating our progress
Our “2021 Transformation Report: Moving to Equity” details our commitment to driving equity within our company and communities and shares progress toward our long-term goal of sustaining the kind of equality we all desire and all deserve.