The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) announced the winners of its 2017 Business Diversity Awards. Presented annually, the awards recognize companies for their outstanding efforts in advancing purchasing opportunities for diverse suppliers, including minority, women-owned, veteran, and LGBTQ businesses within the electric power industry.

Duke Energy earned the industry’s overall Excellence Award for its efforts to improve business diversity and inclusion. Duke Energy developed an innovative approach to relationship building by hosting several business development events in 2016 and promoting the personal and professional development of supplier representatives. The company also sponsored various educational workshops, industry seminars, and other activities presented by partner community economic development organizations. The company continues to proactively seek diverse suppliers and these efforts have made lasting positive effects on economic development locally, regionally, and nationally.

“At Duke Energy, we value diverse skills, experiences, perspectives and backgrounds, and understand how important diversity and inclusion is in powering the lives of our customers and the vitality of our communities,” said Duke Energy’s Senior Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer Swati Daji. “We are honored to be recognized by our industry for our business diversity achievements with our suppliers.”

PS Energy Group Inc., a Hispanic woman-owned energy firm and leader in fuel management, is the recipient of EEI’s Diverse Business Award. Based in Atlanta, PS Energy Group is a partner to electric companies in strategically managing their fleet and facilities’ fuel and energy usage. The Diverse Business Award is given to a company that displays support of business diversity through development initiatives. PS Energy Group is committed to developing mutually beneficial business relationships with other small businesses and certified diverse small businesses.

“I am humbled to be included with such a committed group of diversity professionals,” said PS Energy Group CEO Livia Whisenhunt. “My association with EEI, as well as my members and clients for the past two decades has motivated me and the PS Energy team to embrace supporting business diversity initiatives.” 

SEEL LLC, a minority-owned energy program services company specializing in quality, cost-effectiveness, and community, is headquartered in Detroit. SEEL was awarded EEI’s Prime Supplier Leadership Award. This award is given to a company that displays diversity efforts through its business practices and economic impact. SEEL LLC spent more than $5 million in 2016 on total purchases with minority-owned businesses, exceeding its original goal. 

“It is not a matter of doing what we can, but doing what we must to create and sustain positive change within our community,” said SEEL CEO Louis James.  “We are very proud to receive the EEI Prime Supplier Leadership Award, because it supports our company objectives that are a direct reflection of what we feel should be a larger industry discussion.”