Business diversity advocacy organization leaders, commissioners and legislators joined the Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council on Monday, November 30th for a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities for diverse businesses to partner with utilities in Illinois.
Panelists included Omar Duque, president and CEO, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Vincent Gilbert, regional V.P., Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce; Georgia Marsh, chief development officer, Women’s Business Development Center; Shelia Hill-Morgan, president and CEO, Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council; Jorge Perez, executive director, Hispanic American Construction Industry Association and John Scifers, president, Elite Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business Network, Illinois Chapter.
More than 20 diverse businesses partnered with one or more of the Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council’s member utilities gathered for the IUBDC’s inaugural business partnership forum. Supplier diversity representatives from Ameren Illinois, ComEd, Illinois American Water, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas shared updates regarding opportunities to partner with the utilities. Then, businesses had the opportunity to meet with each utility in small groups.
The purpose of the event was to provide existing diverse business partners with access to key leaders from utilities that may expand partnership opportunities in the future. In addition, businesses were able to network with other diverse businesses.
“It was nice to be paired with other diverse firms,” said Bony Dawood, president of Dawood Engineering. “We can help each other out and it is another way to work with the utilities and show that we are an established firm capable of success.”