By Carmen M. Woodson-Wray, Gary Crusader
Operations Integration and Strategy Director for Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) Michael Suggs says he is not sure how the magazine African American Career World located him, but it’s a magazine that every February does an article that lists some of the top Black businessmen in the United States, and they chose him.
As Indiana’s largest natural gas utility and second largest electric utility, Suggs has held various positions in his 34-year career at NIPSCO. He said, “In the article I was asked as a businessman what would you offer as advice to young African Americans in the business world. It’s a neat little article.”
Suggs said he received a call from NiSource’s Corporate Communications Department saying that the magazine had reached out to them in regards to doing an article on him. “That’s how it got started,” he said.
According to Suggs the magazine had already had an idea about him. He said, “I think they probably looked on several websites and found out about me and who I was. They probably looked at my relationship with NiSource and some of the other associations I work with around the country like the American Association of Blacks in Energy. They wanted to gain a perspective on how I look at what are keys for Africans Americans to be successful in the business world.”
In the article Suggs describes his role at NIPSCO, where he partners with company leaders to develop and facilitate operating plans and advance diversity and inclusion initiatives. As the first vice chairperson of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, Suggs believes that a diverse workforce is a business necessity.
In the article Suggs quotes, “We are fortunate now to have four generations working side-by-side to serve our customers. We now have diverse people working here who were a largely under represented part of our workforce three decades ago. Now there are employees with unique abilities, females, minorities and a growing number of employees extending their careers well beyond the age of 55.”
In the article Suggs’ advice to young African-American professionals is to embrace opportunity and change. He says, “It is important to realize that every effort is an opportunity to show your willingness to accept challenges and grow your knowledge of the business. It is your opportunity to show your professional maturity by being able to embrace feedback as you celebrate and sharpen your strengths and embrace and address your weaknesses.”
He tells young people, “Remember someone is always watching. Stay on your ‘A’ game!”