Seven local companies owned and led by people of color and women were recognized for excellence in construction and professional services, environmental stewardship, community building, job creation, and more at ComEd’s third-annual Diverse Supplier Awards ceremony on Monday.
In 2017, ComEd spent $711 million – 36 percent of its total supply chain spend – with diversity- certified suppliers, an increase from 33 percent of total supply chain expenditures in 2016. It established 111 new diversity-certified supplier relationships last year for a total of 478. In the past seven years, ComEd spent $3.3 billion with diversity-certified suppliers, providing new opportunities for African-American, Hispanic, Native American, veteran, and women-owned enterprises. Seventy-eight companies competed for the awards presented at the Palmer House Hilton Chicago.
“At ComEd, our commitment to diversity and inclusion extends to building strong communities,” said Terence R. Donnelly, president and COO, ComEd. “Since 2011, as a result of our smart grid investments and other initiatives to modernize our system, we have injected almost $12 billion of supply chain spend into the Illinois economy, including $3.3 billion in diverse supply chain spend. The awards recognize excellence within the growing diverse supplier community and its important role in the continued modernization of our electric system.”
Reverend Booker Steven Vance, policy director for Faith in Place, a nonprofit that promotes healthy communities through education, was the keynote speaker. He emphasized the importance of looking holistically at the transformation sparked by the modernization of the region’s energy system. “Increasing access to renewable energy sources and creating clean energy jobs is one of the greatest opportunities of our time,” said Reverend Vance. “ComEd’s growing partnerships with diverse suppliers will ensure that communities throughout the region will benefit.”
The 2018 ComEd Supplier Diversity Award Recognitions:
- Overall Performance for Construction and Material Services:
- Recognized: United Scrap Metal, Inc., Cicero, Ill., innovative recycling solutions.
- Overall Performance for Professional Services:
- Recognized: KDM Engineering, Chicago, engineering and telecommunications consulting.
- Rising Star Award:
- Recognized: Livewire Electrical Systems, Inc., Calumet Park, Ill., electrical contracting, safety inspections and construction.
- Go Green Energy Sustainability Award:
- Recognized: Zones, Inc., Carol Stream, Ill., IT hardware, software, and related services.
- Diversity Advocacy Award:
- Recognized: Meade, Inc., La Grange, Ill., design, construction, and maintenance of electrical power and natural gas distribution systems, and telecommunications technologies.
- Community Partnership Award:
- Recognized: MZI Group, Inc., Chicago, electrical and mechanical construction, energy infrastructure, design build, and facility services.
- Transformation Award:
- Recognized: The Will Group, Chicago, lighting fixtures assembly and testing, system assessment, and pole manufacturing.
ComEd’s program to build a smart grid for northern Illinois and Chicago accounts for more than half of the supply chain investments since 2011. The bulk of the grid modernization work has been completed, and the company will install the last of more than 4 million smart meters this year, three years ahead of schedule. Digital upgrades to ComEd substations will continue through 2021 when the smart grid program will be completed.
The stronger, more flexible smart grid supports the expansion of renewable energy sources enabled by the Future Energy Jobs Act, or FEJA, passed in 2016. FEJA also nearly doubles investments to help ComEd customers save money and energy and provides funds for workforce training programs, including solar installation, multicultural jobs programs, and craft apprenticeships delivered by the IBEW.