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Detroit Edison Wins National Award for Its Partnerships with Minority - And Women-Owned Companies

Detroit Edison Wins National Award for Its Partnerships with Minority - And Women-Owned Companies

Published 05-25-00

Submitted by DTE Energy Company

Detroit Edison received the Edison Electric Institute's (EEI) Minority Business Development Chairperson's Award for minority- and women-owned business development. The award was presented recently to the utility at EEI's national conference in Raleigh, N.C.

Detroit Edison, the principal operating subsidiary of DTE Energy Co., earned the 2000 Minority Business Development Chairperson's Award for outstanding creation of, and demonstrated involvement in, minority- and women-owned business opportunities; and outstanding innovation, outreach, impact and results, according to John Castagna, an EEI spokesperson.

The Edison Electric Institute is the association of shareholder-owned and international affiliate electric utilities and associates, whose domestic members produce more than three-quarters of the nation's electricity.

"We are proud to be nationally recognized by EEI for our continued commitment to grow a diverse supplier base," said Robert J. Buckler, President, DTE Energy Distribution, who accepted the award on behalf of Detroit Edison. "Our Supplier Diversity Initiative is an integral component in the success of our company. Yet, its impact goes beyond Detroit Edison and our suppliers; it also creates additional benefits for our communities."

Detroit Edison's 1999 total expenditures with minority- and women-owned businesses exceeded $100 million. These expenditures were made with 112 minority-owned businesses within Southeastern Michigan and resulted in 1,480 full-time equivalent jobs with minority contractors.

Further, the Institute of Corporate Policy, a Detroit-based, woman- and minority-owned consulting firm, recently completed a study of Detroit Edison's Supplier Diversity Initiative and its impact on the local economy. Detroit Edison's nearly $100 million expenditures with minority business entrepreneurs during 1999 generated an additional $143 million impact on our communities' economy, for a total impact of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in 1999, according to the Institute's Economic Impact Analysis.

"Supplier Diversity has an enormous impact on the creation of jobs in our community and the growth of the nation's small business sector," said Norman S. Littles, director, supplier diversity, Detroit Edison.

Detroit Edison adopted innovative approaches to create meaningful business opportunities for minority- and women-owned firms in numerous business fields where they had not typically owned and operated businesses, such as overhead lines construction and maintenance, line design, meter reading, large motor repair and pension fund management.

For example, to address the workforce shortage of power line designers, Littles matched up minority- and women-owned TBL Professional Services with a local school system to provide Detroit Edison with pre-apprentices from a vocational high school.

Detroit Edison provides Detroit-based, minority-owned Energy Clearance, with continuous improvement recommendations directed at developing Energy Clearance's core competency skills. Detroit Edison has worked with Energy Clearance, a division of The Energy Group, to seek qualified candidates for apprenticeships in line clearance and overhead line construction from the A. Phillip Randolph Career Center, Focus Hope and the Herman Breithaupt Career and Technical Center, all in Detroit. In turn, apprentices, under employment by Energy Clearance, work on line construction and line maintenance service work for Detroit Edison. Detroit Edison's partnership with The Energy Group has helped the minority-owned contractor enjoy enormous competitive growth in Michigan.

In Pennsylvania, Detroit Edison created a business alliance with a minority-owned power transformer company. Detroit Edison provides technical and managerial support to Pennsylvania Transformer Technology Inc. in the areas of quality assurance, and cost-effective logistical and precious metal procurement processes. Detroit Edison's assistance will aid the manufacturing company's growth in the electric utility market nationally. Reciprocally, Detroit Edison now receives transformers "field ready" from Pennsylvania Transformer directly at Detroit Edison substations, rather than a costly additional step of receiving transformers at a centralized Detroit Edison's facility for testing and quality control.

"Even more important than the numbers are the efforts we make to provide advocacy, training, mentoring and business opportunities and developmental experiences for women- and minority-owned companies," Littles said.

Detroit Edison is an investor-owned electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan. Detroit Edison is the principal operating subsidiary of DTE Energy Co. (NYSE: DTE), a diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. DTE Energy recently announced plans to merge with MCN Energy Group, parent company of Michigan Consolidated Gas Co., a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan. The proposed merged company, DTE Energy, will be the largest energy utility in the state.

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