AKRON -- The Edison Electric Institute recently awarded FirstEnergy the 2005 Supplier Diversity Award based on the company's approaches to supplier diversity development and minority business opportunities.
"We worked on ways to develop our diversity program," said FirstEnergy spokesman Mark Durbin.
Durbin said supplier diversity programs involve small businesses owned by women, veterans, service-disabled veterans and minorities. He said FirstEnergy restructured its program to reach out to minorities after existing suppliers provided the company with ideas.
"FirstEnergy's suppliers supply us with items from ballpoint pens to wire needed to run our business," Durbin said. "Reaching out to minority suppliers improves our relationships."
He also said FirstEnergy improved relationships with state-funded Small Business Development Centers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The company works with more than 200 diverse small businesses annually, according to Durbin, which account for $40 million in purchases. The Small Business Administration rated FirstEnergy's supplier diversity program "highly successful."
FirstEnergy includes Ohio Edison in Northeast Ohio and Penn Power in western Pennsylvania.