Nicor Gas Hosts Diverse Suppliers During Business Summit
Pictured left to right: Darade Collins, director of supplier diversity, Nicor Gas; Jackie Richter, owner of Heels and Hardhats Contracting Corp.; Frank Sintich, director of public relations (Illinois), NPL Construction Co.; Cyndi Richter, Heels and Hardhats Contracting Corp.; and Kate Kiselyk, manager of supplier diversity, Nicor Gas pose for a picture after the supplier diversity summit held on Sept. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Nicor Gas)
NAPERVILLE, Ill. – Sept. 30, 2016 – Nicor Gas hosted minority, women and veteran-owned business enterprise (MWVBE) leaders to bolster diverse business relationships with potential contractors and vendors who can provide quality work, valuable expertise and cost-effective services. Last week, more than 100 attendees gathered in Naperville, Ill. for the supplier diversity summit, which is part of an ongoing effort to develop relationships and increase contract opportunities for MWVBE partners.
“We are committed to developing and advocating for diverse partners and creating sustainable partnerships with qualified businesses,” said Melvin D. Williams, president of Nicor Gas. “We understand our efforts must be focused and intentional to ensure that we maximize the access and opportunities provided for diverse businesses to partner with us.”
Representatives from Nicor Gas discussed subcontracting opportunities in areas such as environmental, pipeline construction, engineering and supply chain. During the half-day summit, attendees participated in breakout sessions to network, share information and learn more about the requirements needed to work with Nicor Gas.
“We hope that these types of events cultivate better relationships and opportunities for women and minorities in the
industry,” said Jackie Richter, owner of Heels and Hardhats Contracting Corp in Byron, Ill. “As a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), we like to think of it as doing business exceptionally. We use our unique diversity to open the door for us, but our safety, quality and commitment is what keeps us in the industry,” said Richter.
Pictured from left to right: Cyndi Richter and Jackie Richter, representatives for Heel and Hardhats Contracting Corp., pose as one of Nicor’s diverse business partners
Heels and Hardhats has been a sub-prime contractor of NPL Construction Corp. – a prime contractor of Nicor Gas – for three years. In that time, Heels and Hardhats has grown to 35 employees that provide various construction services such as excavation, erosion control and concrete and asphalt patching work.
Since 2012, Nicor Gas has continued to raise its supplier diversity spending. In 2015, Nicor Gas began an accelerated modernization program of natural gas infrastructure throughout its service territory. The program, called Investing in Illinois, a Nicor Gas System Improvement Initiative, generated significant opportunity to increase diverse business participation in the company’s procurement of goods and services. Expenditures with diverse business in 2015 totaled $150 million, compared to $88.1 million in 2014, a 70.3 percent increase.
In 2016, the company set an aggressive goal, raising its MWVBE spending target from 16.64 percent to 24.5 percent, a 47 percent increase from the previous year, and is on pace to exceed the new goal by year end.
Nicor Gas hosts events to inform diverse suppliers, vendors and contractors about opportunities to do business with the company. Furthering its commitment to business diversity, Nicor Gas is a founding member of the Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council (IUBDC) and works with member utility partners to drive improvement and advance the growth and utilization of diverse businesses in Illinois. Melvin Williams is the chairman of IUBDC.
For more information about Supplier Diversity at Nicor Gas, visit nicorgas.com/community/supplier-diversity.
For more information about Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council, visit iubdc.com.
About Nicor Gas
Nicor Gas is one of seven natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Nicor Gas serves more than 2.1 million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding the city of Chicago. For more information, visit www.nicorgas.com.
About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.5 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in seven states and more than 1 million retail customers through its companies that market natural gas and related home services. Other nonutility businesses include asset management for natural gas wholesale customers and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit Southern Company Gas at www.southerncompanygas.com.