The initial meeting of the Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council (IUBDC) was held in Chicago on October 1. Formation of the IUBDC was announced by the five utilities that make up the council – Ameren Illinois, ComEd, Illinois-American Water, Nicor Gas and Peoples Gas/North Shore Gas – at a launch event in June.

The mission of the IUBDC is to advance the growth and utilization of diverse businesses among utilities through education, information and technical assistance for stakeholders.

Melvin Williams, President of Nicor Gas, was chosen by the Board of Directors as the first IUBDC Chairman. Other Board Members are Richard Mark, President of Ameren Illinois; Fidel Marquez, Senior Vice President, Governmental and External Affairs for Commonwealth Edison Company; Bruce Hauk, President of Illinois-American Water Company; and Charles Matthews, President of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas.

Several committees reported to the Board of Directors on their activities since the June launch of the Council. Initial IUBDC committees are: Advisory Committee, Membership and Nominating Committee, Communications and Awareness Committee, Education and Best Practices Committee, Strategic Planning and Reporting Committee and Annual Convention/Summit/Supplier Diversity Events Committee.

The Board also heard from James Lowry of James H. Lowry and Associates who served as a consultant during the formation of the IUBDC and will continue to consult with the Board and various committees as the Council begins its operations.

The Council is in the process of constructing its calendar for the remainder of 2015 and for 2016. The Board of Directors plans formal meetings on a quarterly basis and the committees are discussing other meetings, activities and events that will begin to take place as early as the remainder of this year. IEF