Today we bring you another sector group interview on behalf of the National Minority Supplier Development Council.  Meet the Utilities Industry Group (UIG)!  The UIG is a group of organizations involved with generating and supplying individuals and businesses with utility items including electricity, gas, and water.  On this episode of the #WeAreNMSDC Podcast, we speak with Heather Herndon-Wright Director of Supply Chain Diversity Vistra Energy (out of Texas) and Jerry Fulmer Vice President of the Supplier diversity initiative at the WEC Energy Group (out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin) to learn about the sexy side of utilities.

Utilities Industry Group
1:00 An overview of the Utilities Industry
4:07 Expanding on the hidden gem known as Utility
6:11 The biggest challenges new suppliers face when entering the industry
14:04 Starting from a Tier II supplier and growing into a million dollar organization
19:51 The Smart Grid and Innovation in the industry
22:49 The special requirements/certifications suppliers need to be aware of prior to approaching a utility
25:20 The step by step process to winning a Utility contract
31:48 Utility Industry Best Practices Committee & number of members
35:15 Getting involved with the Industry Group
37:47 Final Thoughts

WeAreNMSDC 5 Facts

  1. Are you familiar with the Utility industry of America? If not, listen to Heather Herndon-Wright’s overview of the industry and learn how businesses and individuals get their electricity, gas, and water from energy sources like nuclear, coal, hydro, solar, and more (listen from 1:00 to 2:50)
  2. The Utilities industry is fragmented with each state having its own unique Utilities commission with its own regulatory climate, making it difficult for suppliers to offer simple streamlined solutions within one area of business.
  3. The utility industry has a high barrier of entry, mandating large levels of capitalization, certifications, and insurance for its suppliers.  In addition, to the multiple requirements, most utility facilities are located in rural areas, creating additional issues for new organizations.  Despite this, if you are able
    to crack into the sector, it is a high probability you will be shared throughout the industry, winning business with multiple corporations for a lifetime.
  4. There is a ton of opportunity in the utility industry if your company can meet requirements.  These large areas of spend for Utility companies include heavy construction, power plant engineering (inside power plants), high voltage electrical transmission and distribution, plastic pipes, and electric power restoration services. It is also good to note that many utilities are civil engineering focused, meaning they move a lot of dirt, including building new mine strip, power plants, or pipelines. For those suppliers not able to service power plants and facilities, there are additional opportunities in marketing, advertising, and billing for Electric corporations selling their services to individuals and businesses.
  5. Understanding the contract process for a utility company is key. To listen to the step by step rundown check out the question on “The step by step process to winning a Utility contract”. Keep an eye out for the site pre-qualification section.  In addition, don’t just go to the supplier diversity related events. Expand your reach and connect with national organizations such as the Trade Association for Electric Utilities (Edison Electric Institute) and the Gas Association (American Gas Association) to discover opportunities in electric, gas, and more.

Supplierty News in conjunction with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) have teamed up to connect with NMSDC corporate and MBE members for podcast interviews. These conversations will highlight the benefits of supplier diversity programs from the personal experiences of both corporate and minority-owned businesses. If you’re interested in supporting the effort, Follow both Supplierty News and the NMSDC on Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook, and visit their websites for more information. Also don’t forget to mention #WeAreNMSDC on all social media platforms.

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