Jeff Gutierrez, owner and president of DeWalt Corporation in Bakersfield, is a civil engineer and licensed land surveyor and readily admits his business skills needed some fine tuning.
So after completing Southern California Edison’s Supplier Diversity and Development EDGE mentorship program, he made changes to ensure his business would continue to grow and thrive.
“I’m not a businessman and I don’t have those skills,” said Gutierrez. But now “I’ve added some services and developed a plan for expanding the company that definitely came out of the Edison mentorship program — we’re definitely benefiting.”
His corporation is one of many small and diverse firms comprised of women, minority, disabled veterans and LGBT businesses that SCE procures goods and services from. For many of them, doing business with SCE has provided opportunities to strengthen their capabilities to grow and deliver economic value to the utility, its customers and to the communities it serves.
Last year, SCE generated $1.8 billion in total diverse supplier spending for its goods and services and expanded its diverse supply base with the addition of roughly 100 new firms.
“Small and diverse firms play a vital role with the development of innovative and sustainable business solutions."
Doug Bauder, SCE Vice President of Operational Services
Pedro Pizarro, president of Edison International, parent company of SCE, and Doug Bauder, vice president of Operational Services for SCE, both support the company’s Supplier Diversity and Development Program.
“Small and diverse firms play a vital role with the development of innovative and sustainable business solutions,” said Bauder. “We are evolving partnerships and strategies to further advance our commitment to diverse business enterprises and lead the transformation of the electric sector.”
Eric Fisher, principal manager for SCE’s Supplier Diversity and Development Program, credits SCE’s supplier diversity procurement success to its flagship program, Entrepreneurial Development, Growth and Education, known as EDGE. Participants in the rigorous, 18-month mentorship program are taught everything from cash flow management to relationship building, branding strategies and how to right-size their organization.
“Our development program is really starting to do what it’s supposed to do, which is identify diverse suppliers, or suppliers identify themselves, as needing assistance to become better business owners, strong business advocates and drive economic opportunity,” said Fisher. “We’re taking more firms that are doing business with us today and putting them in positions to be able to participate and bid and be competitive from a prime perspective.”
Firms selected for the program also are supported with mentors from SCE’s business organizations and its supply chain and diversity team. They also receive individual business coaches and they are presented with targeted and strategic networking opportunities.
“It means we have to find these diamonds in the rough as I see them,” said Fisher.
SCE Supplier Diversity and Development offers over 60 free workshops which are attended by hundreds of businesses each year. Topics range from branding strategies, effective negotiations to contract readiness and contract preparation.
“It’s becoming more competitive,” he said. “Our supplier diversity team has to be able to find suppliers that can compete not just in the traditional method of the end product. Now they must be able to do the work safely, reliably and affordably and sustain this level of work potentially for the long term.”
To learn more about SCE’s Supplier Diversity and Development Program, including its calendar of events, please visit: www.sce.com/sd.