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Multi-Cultural Leadership Honors Six for Diversity Promotion
Washington, DC - January 06, 2009 / -- DiversityBusiness.com /- For their work in promoting minority-, women-, and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses in the utility sectors, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners [NARUC] has honored six individuals and one company with Utility Marketplace Access Partnership (UMAP) awards.

The UMAP awards were first launched in 2005 as a means to recognize individuals, companies, and public service commissions that have made strong contributions to promoting UMAP’s supply diversity mission. UMAP is an Ad Hoc Committee of NARUC chaired by Maryland Public Service Commissioner Harold D. Williams.

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn of South Carolina presented the awards Nov. 18 during NARUC’s 120th Annual Convention in New Orleans. “The awards are intended to recognize individuals, utility companies and commissioners that have been true advocates of supplier diversity,” Commissioner Clyburn said in presenting the awards.

Award winners are:

Utility Leadership Award—FirstEnergy Corp.

FirstEnergy’s companies have been strong supporters of the NARUC Utility Market Access Partnership (UMAP) and their efforts have yielded a 50% increase in dollars spent with diverse suppliers.

Every level of FirstEnergy’s management is committed to leading in supplier diversity. They have also encouraged support at other companies and at the State Commissions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio. Among the managers helping with the effort at FirstEnergy are Toby Stanislaw and Chad Heyman.

Diverse Business Leadership Award—Glenn Etienne, President, CEO, SouthCoast Energy Partners Corp.

Since 2004, Mr. Etienne has provided his 25 plus years of experience and perspective to UMAP.

His career has bridged the regulatory, corporate and small business worlds, and he has acted as an informal advisor for moving UMAP forward. At the same time, he had developed SouthCoast Energy into a diversified energy marketing company and helped advance other minority and women-owned businesses as well.

Emerging Diverse Business Award—Les Minthorn, President, Yaka Energy

Mr. Minthorn exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit that the UMAP hopes to encourage. His vision helped create a Tribal diversification strategy into energy and economic development projects such as a natural gas and power firm that markets to utilities, industry, and government; other ventures were a 104 Mega Watt Wind farm, a software development and customer contact center, and industrial park and power plant development. Les has been a participant and collaborator in UMAP’s strategies.

UMAP Advocate Award—Joan Kerr, Executive Director, Supplier Diversity, AT&T

For two decades, Ms Kerr has been a national leader, advocate, and visionary in supplier diversity through her work at AT&T. She also works on many initiatives, leads the National Minority Supplier Development Telecom group and participates in the Billion dollar diversity roundtable.

Ms Kerr raised the visibility of UMAP with telecom companies and advocated UMAP’s expansion into the Maryland Public Service Commission.

Emerging Advocate Award—Mark Sebree, Vectren Corp.

Mr. Sebree has been instrumental in the development and growth of the Indiana GATE Program, and he has also been Secretary for Ohio’s Gate Program. He has made UMAP presentations that have influenced others to participate and leads many diversity groups.

Great Strides Leadership Award—Chairwoman Arnetta McRae, Delaware

Chairwoman McRae has provided many years of leadership for UMAP. Although she seems to prefer a low key and unassuming approach to issues, she has provided valuable institutional insight and has advocated for UMAP with NARUC leadership and members on many critical issues as it has evolved and grown.

UMAP owes much of its ongoing success to the leadership of Chairwoman McRae and its success can be seen following the supplier diversity program model seen emerging in New Jersey, California, Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania and other States.

For more information about national utility diversity procurement initiatives contact Commissioner Harold Williams at hwilliams@psc.state.md.us or call 410-767-8116.

About DiversityBusiness.com
Launched in 1999, DiversityBusiness, with over 50,000 members, is the largest organization of diversity owned businesses throughout the United States that provide goods and services to Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and colleges and universities. DiversityBusiness provides research and data collection services for diversity including the "Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities", "Top 500 Diversity Owned Companies in America", and others. Its research has been recognized and published by Forbes Magazine, Business Week and thousands of other print and internet publications. The site has gained national recognition and has won numerous awards for its content and design. DiversityBusiness reaches more diverse suppliers and communicates more information to them on a more frequent basis then all other organizations combined. We also communicate with mainstream businesses, government agencies and educational institutions with information related to diversity. Our magazine reaches over 300,000 readers, a monthly e-newsletter that reaches 2.4 million, and website visitors of 1.2 million a month. It is a leading provider of Supplier Diversity management tools and has the most widely distributed Diversity magazine in the United States. DiversityBusiness.com is produced by Computer Consulting Associates International Inc. (CCAii.com) of Southport, CT. Founded in 1980.

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