How one utility cultivated a culture of diversity and inclusion

How one utility cultivated a culture of diversity and inclusion
Feb 26, 2020
ICF energy efficiency team recognized with 'Bridging the Gap Achievement Award'

In 1969, former Tuskegee Airman Clarence “Lucky” Lester co-founded the Inner City Fund to finance minority-owned businesses in Washington, D.C.

A lot has changed in 50 years. But the heart of the company that is today known as “ICF” remains untouched. Which is why, just as we capped our 50-year anniversary celebration, one ICF team took home honors for helping utility client Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) grow minority- and women-owned businesses in the greater Baltimore area.

It takes a community

Our team’s efforts have achieved aggressive EmPOWER Maryland goals, and continue to motivate stakeholders, educate consumers, and build trust.
In 2018, our Maryland-based energy efficiency team focused their efforts on building partnerships within the Baltimore community to increase program participation in BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program. We’ve managed this program since 2009—delivering energy efficiency, economic development, and recently, electric vehicle programs in the greater Baltimore area. By just about any measure, this program has been a tremendous success—saving over 1 million megawatt hours (MWh) of energy since 2009. 
“We’re proud to continue the legacy of ICF’s focus on community and diversity,” says Selim Karabulut, ICF regional director for energy efficiency programs.

The increased outreach—focusing on BGE’s Commercial and Industrial programs as well as their Residential programs—involved more outside engineering and outreach services, magnifying the spread and depth of the program’s reach within the marketplace. It also caught the attention of the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC), the region’s premier organization dedicated to improving the business climate in Greater Baltimore. And so, in late 2019, the GBC presented ICF and MD Energy Advisors, one of our DBE (disadvantaged business enterprise) partners, with the ‘Bridging The Gap Achievement Award’ for fostering relationships between majority, minority, and women-owned businesses. 

Remaining true to our legacy

ICF’s commitment to helping utilities cultivate diversity doesn’t end there. We’ve helped California utilities employ a more diverse population, to better reflect their customers. We’re doing the same for other utilities along the West Coast.

And back to BGE...our partner, MD Energy Advisors, is committed to making an impact in the local community. Since 2016, it has provided scholarships to local minority students who pursue STEM majors in college. Last year, MD Energy Advisors was recognized as GBC’s 2019 Company of the Year for its summer “Conversations in the City Series” which brought business leaders, elected officials, and residents together to discuss solutions to Baltimore’s most pressing challenges. “Our goal is to add value and provide solutions for our customers, partners, and community,” says CEO Phil Croskey. 

What’s next? More of the same, actually. “It benefits the entire community when utility and program representatives match the demographics of the neighborhoods they serve,” ICF's Kevin Young adds. 

Read more about ICF’s energy services.

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