Duke Energy’s Alex Glenn: Diversity Goals

Alex Glenn has been president of Duke Energy’s Florida utility operations since December 2012. He is responsible for advancing the company’s rate and regulatory initiatives and managing state and local regulatory and governmental relations, economic development and community affairs. His current position is his newest post of increasing responsibility since he joined the company in 1996, with predecessors Progress Energy and Florida Power.

A long-time community activist, he serves on the boards of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Florida and the Tampa Bay Partnership. He is also a member of the Florida Council of 100, has served on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of the Suncoast, and has sparked a long–time relationship with the Pinellas County Urban League. Glenn and his wife, Robin, have three sons and live in St. Petersburg.

Speaking exclusively to The Weekly Challenger, Glenn outlined his key goals for the company’s strong commitment to diversity in hiring and with Duke’s contractors.

“We are very committed, not only to diversity through our contractors but throughout our entire employee base. It makes us better, with people of diverse skills and backgrounds. In just our Delivery Operations group that runs all our linemen, bucket trucks – our ‘boots on the ground’ — we have key African American executives. Included are Michael Lewis, senior vice president, Florida; Melanie Birmingham Byrd, Midwest senior vice president for Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky delivery operations; and Lloyd Gates, executive vice president for our six regulated utilities groups. On the highest leadership level, a woman, Lynn Good, is president and CEO for all of Duke Energy.

“We also have a real commitment to diversity from whom we procure a variety of goods and services. We’re very proud that in 2013 alone we spent $690 million with diverse contractors. Of that total, $260 million was with minority-owned firms and $113 million of that with African American owned businesses. On the employee level, we’re also proud of the 59 female diversity engineers in all our Delivery Operations groups.

“We’re also excited about our employee resource groups. Advocates for African Americans—A³—was started by Duke employees to focus on attracting, engaging and retaining African American talent. One success is its partnership with AABE (American Association of Blacks in Energy) with whom we’re planning our third annual Youth Energy Academy, one in Pinellas July 31 & Aug. 1, and the second in Winter Garden, Aug.  7 & 8. The first YEA in September 2012, headed by Michael Lewis, was a big success.”

Looking at Duke’s strong support of public and technical education, Glenn is personally committed.

“This is near and dear to my heart,” he said. “Both my wife and I are products of public education, and our three boys went to Perkins Elementary, Thurgood Marshall Middle School and St. Pete High School.”

Since 2011 Duke Energy has donated $1 million to education in Pinellas County. Duke is partnering with Superintendent Mike Grego in helping fund the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Academy after-school programs in the 2013-14 school year at 34 elementary and 18 middle schools. A majority are Title I schools with the most needy students. The program is taught by certified Pinellas County teachers, and we’re tracking pre- and post-Academy success – improvement in math skills and science progress.

“Our employees are great volunteers. We’re most proud of how they are living this goal. We are partnering with Tyrone Middle School where I mentored about five years ago doing an Executive Pass program and mentoring students. We also partnered with the Urban League in a STREAM program at Lakewood Elementary School that was very successful. It’s good to see Watson Haynes there as CEO, and he is breathing a lot of life and fresh energy into the Urban League.

“On the community level, we play an active role in charitable giving and economic development through our Duke Energy Foundation and volunteer employee giving. Our Foundation is open to giving grants to various institutions, and from our own Florida operations budget we support many various charities. Since 2001, we have given back to Pinellas County alone over $21 million through the Foundation and our own employee giving. We anticipate that to continue as we move forward.

“As one example, our community outreach project DO-IT! undertook improvements to an Adult Technology Achievement Center at PARC in Pinellas County,” Glenn said.

PARC is an organization that assists individuals with developmental challenges. The Foundation provided $4,000 based on an Employee Resource Group grant and two individual requests from officers. There were 17 volunteers involved in the renovation project, working 23 hours over two days. The work included painting of the walls and ceiling tiles, relocation of tech equipment, installation of work surfaces, assembly of bench seating, flooring demolition and installation of new flooring. Work outside included renovating the bus waiting area to include permanent seating and installation of ceiling fans under the shelter.

“We were most appreciative of the plaque from PARC for our work,” Glenn said.

“We have been a proud member of this community for more than 100 years, not only providing affordable, reliable energy, but also in helping drive our economy – creating jobs and improving the quality of life. We’re going to keep doing that with a particular focus on those who need it the most,” finished Glenn.

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