Editor’s Note: Courtesy of PG&E. This story first appeared in PG&E’s Currents.
SAN FRANCISCO — PG&E spent a record amount of money with diverse suppliers in 2013 – $2.3 billion. It was the 11th year in a row that PG&E set a new record.
Last month, the PG&E people who helped make that happen were honored at the company’s 2014 Supplier Diversity Achievement Awards. Employees were thanked for their efforts to attract, retain and mentor the diverse companies who work with PG&E.
And a high-profile celebrity made the event even more special. Or, as more than one speaker noted, there was some Magic in the air … Magic Johnson.
Johnson, 54, is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 13 seasons, winning five NBA championships. His Michigan State team beat Larry Bird’s Indiana State team to win the 1979 NCAA championship. He later joined Bird, Michael Jordan and others on the 1992 Dream Team, which won the Olympic gold medal.
Since leaving basketball, Johnson has become a successful businessman. Johnson is chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises. He has worked with Starbucks, Disney and other large companies. SodexoMAGIC, one of his companies, works with PG&E.
Johnson complimented PG&E for its dedication to diversity, calling the company “a great business with a great commitment to the community.”
He added, “Thank you, PG&E, for making diversity an important part of your company, part of the DNA of your company.”
Johnson spoke about his success in business and how he has been able to bring Starbucks, movie theaters and more to underserved communities.
Gun Shim, PG&E’s vice president of supply chain management, noted that diverse suppliers constituted 42 percent of the company’s expenditures on suppliers in 2013. And, in the five years from 2009 to 2013, PG&E’s spending on diverse suppliers has grown 172 percent.
“This is about economic growth for our communities,” he said.
Chris Johns, PG&E’s president, said it makes perfect sense for the company to work with diverse suppliers.
“We have one of the most diverse customer bases in the United States, and we need to reflect that,” he said.
Johns pointed to two of PG&E’s diverse suppliers, GTS and Bay Area Traffic Solutions, as examples of companies that have grown in size while contributing to PG&E’s progress on safety, reliability and affordability.
“Diverse suppliers have made PG&E a better company,” he said. “And in turn, working with them has strengthened the local economy in the communities we serve by allowing these companies to expand and create jobs.”
During his remarks, Johns told a funny story about how he was devastated when Johnson’s Michigan State team beat Notre Dame, en route to its 1979 NCAA championship, when Johns was a student there.
Today, 35 years later, Johns and Johnson are allies, leading companies that are working to create greater economic opportunities for diverse suppliers and California’s communities.
PG&E offers more information about its supplier diversity efforts on its website.