Newly Formed Illinois Utility Business Diversity Council Focuses on Increasing Partnerships with Diverse Businesses in Illinois
CHICAGO – The newly formed Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council (IUBDC) held its inaugural event on Mon., Nov. 30 centered on creating strategies to increase business opportunities for diverse suppliers through closer collaboration, technical development and sharing of best practices.
More than 20 diverse businesses participated in the half-day event that kicked off with a luncheon discussion between the suppliers and Illinois advocacy groups, including Omar Duque, president and CEO, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Vincent Gilbert, regional V.P., Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce; Georgia Marsh, chief development officer, Women’s Business Development Center; Shelia Hill-Morgan, president and CEO, Chicago Minority Supplier Diversity Council; Jorge Perez, executive director, Hispanic American Construction Industry Association and John Scifers, president, Elite Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business Network, Illinois Chapter.
The day’s activities also included panel discussions providing information about best practices, navigating diverse supplier processes and creating awareness of opportunities for suppliers to work together. It concluded with a networking event where the diverse business participants mingled with company representatives, advocacy leaders and panel participants.
“Through our commitment to the IUBDC, we will enhance our individual business diversity efforts, make a greater impact in fueling our state’s economy, and honor the core values of each of our companies,” said Melvin D. Williams, president of Nicor Gas and chair of the board of directors of the IUBDC. Board members also include: Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO, ComEd; Bruce Hauk, president of Illinois American Water, Richard Mark, president of Ameren Illinois and Charles Matthews, president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas.
The Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council members include Ameren Illinois, ComEd, Illinois American Water, Nicor Gas, North Shore Gas and Peoples Gas. In 2015, these companies have spent nearly $830 million with diverse businesses.
“One of the benefits of the IUBDC is we have the opportunity to open doors to diverse-owned businesses who otherwise would not have been knowledgeable of contract opportunities within each of our organizations,” said Bruce Hauk, president of Illinois American Water. “The member utility companies of the IUBDC can also provide opportunities for Illinois-based minority firms to grow their business on a national level.”
“The IUBDC provides an opportunity for Illinois utilities, advocacy groups and businesses to develop a collective strategy for increasing opportunities for diverse businesses in the state of Illinois,” said Richard J. Mark, president of Ameren Illinois. “Partnerships such as the one with the IUBDC are essential as we work to create jobs and build stronger communities throughout Illinois.”