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Creating opportunities for diverse suppliers is central to the way we do business. Our Supplier Diversity Program is designed to bring the added value of diversity to our procurement process by proactively seeking small, minority-, women- and service disabled veteran-owned enterprises.
We are pleased to report that in 2022 our spend with diversity-certified suppliers reached an all-time high of $963 million. This represents 43% of the $2.24 billion that ComEd spent last year to plan, maintain, and modernize the electric grid that delivers safe, reliable and affordable energy to more than 9 million people who call northern Illinois home. This capital infusion is opening doors to opportunities for more people of color, women, military veterans, and other underrepresented groups, helping build stronger communities throughout our region. We added 159 diverse suppliers to our roster in 2022, bringing the total to 650.
In 2022, more than $324 million was spent with diverse suppliers in Distribution Construction, 73% of the total of $447 million. In energy efficiency, our diverse spend reached $86 million or 33% of the $261 million spent in support of the expanding scope of energy and moneysaving solutions for residential, commercial and industrial customers. Diverse spend reached at least 44% in transmission and substations, construction, electrical distribution, engineering and technical consulting, and facilities, areas representing a total spend of more than $600 million. Diverse spend in IT averaged 44% of the total of $67 million spent in hardware, professional services, and telecom. In marketing and advertising diverse spend increased to $25 million or 73% of $35 million. These work streams are incorporated into ComEd’s Multi-Year Grid Plan, which we developed to support the goals of Illinois’ Climate and Equitable Jobs Act. Priorities include further improving service reliability and storm response; integrating large-scale renewable energy like wind and solar; enabling the grid to accommodate the growth of electric vehicles; and enhancing connectivity in under-resourced communities.
The Grid Plan also aligns with ComEd 2030, the company’s vision for a carbon-free energy future that will benefit all communities and meet customers’ changing needs for the rest of this decade and beyond – learn more about it at ComEd.com/2030.
To be sure, the growing and important role of diverse suppliers in meeting the needs of customers is clear. Through the Grid Plan, we are committed to increasing our percentage spend with diverse suppliers to 45% by 2028. While we cannot achieve a record-level spend every year, our commitment to supplier diversity is unwavering, because it’s all about inclusion, which is essential to creating an equitable clean energy transition.
Sincerely,Gil Quiniones, CEO
Do you see supplier diversity making a greater impact in Illinois?
Ozzie Godinez - CEO, Paco Collective
We see support for supplier diversity making a huge impact in Illinois. Diverse supply chain spend enables small and capable firms to get our “foot in the door.” Then it’s up to us to demonstrate the value that diverse thinking and experience can bring and deliver on promises, as it should be!
Yes. We have worked with more than 53 second-tier companies because of ComEd’s commitment in Illinois. Seventytwo cents of every subcontractor dollar that Intren spent in 2019 has gone to Tier 2 subcontractors and suppliers; $40 million second-tier spend in 2019. ComEd’s focus is making a difference in Illinois.
Overall, yes. ComEd is making a good effort in supporting diverse suppliers, but we’d like to see more opportunities for veterans. We’re making progress.
Yes, supplier diversity is making an impact in Illinois. Efforts to grow the dollar spend must be applauded, but there should also be a measurement to determine how those dollars drive a company to thrive and grow.
Yes, the diversity requirements in Illinois help small businesses get started or even grow bigger, creating jobs and opportunities for many.
What is key to the relationship between a non-diverse prime contractor and their tier 2 suppliers?
Lynn Sutton - President/CEO, Kairos Worldwide
Trust and a common commitment to partner are key. Both the prime and the sub have to be confident that they can trust each other to deliver and that they will deal with each other fairly and with integrity. There must also be a commitment to building a relationship, ideally with a plan for growing that partnership over time.
The key to the relationship between a non-diverse prime contractor and their Tier 2 suppliers is the non-diverse prime contractor’s recognition of the value that diverse Tier 2 suppliers bring to the table. It is also important that diverse Tier 2 suppliers recognize that they are selected first and foremost on the quality of their work. Diversity status is not the single factor toward success. Quality workmanship works hand in hand with our diversity status.
We have sat on both sides, as a prime and as a sub, and we see a couple of things that are key to creating good working relationships. As a Tier 2 supplier, prove your value with smaller projects. Learn and grow. Be aggressive but pragmatic. As a prime contractor, be transparent and be open to trying a variety of Tier 2 suppliers. There are a lot of hungry, smaller companies that can show real value and complement your team.
Fundamentally, the prime contractor must put itself in the shoes of the ultimate client. They must adopt the same level of commitment to delivering quality and diverse work. Diversity programs succeed if there is buy-in from all levels.
How does your company impact your community?
Kimberly Moore - CEO/President, KDM Engineering
I’m a strong supporter of women and minorities in STEM. We created Calculated Genius, Inc. in 2015, a nonprofit dedicated to helping underrepresented youth explore and connect to engineering. It’s making a positive impact on participants and it’s a great opportunity for our people to give back and share their expertise.
We hire locally and support numerous charities and events throughout the Chicagoland area. Supporting the community is a cornerstone of our company’s culture; it’s who we are.
Working hand in hand with our communities is a high priority and we do this in numerous and creative ways. We offer an offender re-entry program that provides a second chance to deserving candidates and it continues to produce very positive outcomes. Our employees volunteer in a monthly community service project called WILL: Wisdom, Inspiration, Leadership, & Love. We also empower youth through our Tuskegee Next Program and the William & Mary Davis Foundation.
We help feed, house, and find careers for homeless veterans and their families.
Sonoma participates in many charitable programs and we enjoy supporting local community events in many ways, including bringing construction equipment to schools in Joliet so the kids can play on it and learn about the world of heavy equipment.
We recruit diverse attorneys and interns, and we employ diverse attorneys who after several years of training can transfer those skills to majority firms or to serving important roles in government. We utilize diverse vendors to service our needs in financial services, healthcare, insurance, marketing, and technology. And we support organizations that serve minority communities, such as Christopher House, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, Latinos Progresando, and Chicago Sinfonietta.
Where do you see your business in 10 years?
Stephen Davis - Chairman, The Will Group
We see our business continuing to grow and diversify so that we can provide good jobs and build upon our reputation as a solutions-oriented and a customer-focused company.
Over the past 32 years, we have grown by understanding the needs of our customers and responding with new services and solutions. We believe in the next 10 years utilities will have a greater need for turnkey, 5G, and a more highly trained workforce focused on the maintenance of the smart grid and technological advances.
Our 10-year vision is a firm of 100 team members working across the country, with a strong reputation and client base in the energy sector and other industries. We expect to be in high demand with projected workloads that span across multiple years.
KDM will boast continued employee and revenue growth as we become more involved in the renewable energy sector in the U.S. and internationally.
We don’t want to get so big that we forget and lose our identity. We started as a small, scrappy agency with a thriving entrepreneurial spirit. In 10 years, I want to be the same scrappy agency.