by Noëlle Bernard Boyer
Growing worldwide energy demand has brought the need for a larger and more diverse energy industry workforce into sharp focus in recent years.
The world’s electricity needs alone are projected to grow 56 percent by 2040—28 percent in the US alone.* Meeting these energy demands, as well as climate change goals, will require a broad portfolio of energy solutions. Leading the industry will be those companies with the brightest minds and most diverse perspectives.
Which is exactly where Fortune 500 energy holding company PPL Corporation wants to be.
Founded nearly a decade ago as the Pennsylvania Power & Light Company, PPL Corporation is a family of companies that includes seven operating utilities, delivering electricity and natural gas across Pennsylvania, Montana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and parts of the United Kingdom.
Today, PPL’s services reach more than 10 million customers globally, according to Kimberly S. Patterson, the corporation’s vice president of talent and workforce management.
“We are very customer focused,” Patterson said. “We are continually striving for excellence—whether in our service delivery, how we generate power, or how we work with our communities.”
“We think of diversity as a journey, not a destination,” Patterson adds. “We know that our numbers are on par with other utilities. And we continue to drive for higher levels of diversity and inclusion, so that we have the top-notch talent we need to meet the future—employees who are truly engaged in what they do.”
Growing with PPL
While energy remains a male-dominated industry, PPL is known for its strong commitment to making opportunities extremely accessible to women.
“PPL has always striven to hire the best of the best, whether you’re a man or woman,” said Julissa Burgos, financial specialist. “It’s a company that values diversity and strives to hire the best caliber talent that it can.”
Burgos has worked for PPL since graduating from the University of Pittsburgh 13 years ago.
“I’ve never felt at a disadvantage as a woman working here,” Burgos said. “There is so much expertise in this company to draw from. It’s a place with a lot of growth potential, a lot of opportunity. You could take your career in new directions again and again, and never have to leave the company.”
PPL’s business resource groups provide many avenues for professional growth, networking, and community involvement. PPL currently has eight business resource groups. The company’s first—PPL Women’s Network (PWN)—was established in 1997. PWN provides leadership in developing women so they can reach their highest potential and serve as a catalyst for success in a competitive environment.
PPL and its employees are also active within the US Women in Nuclear (WIN) organization. WIN provides a network through which women in nuclear technologies can further their professional development.
Opening the door to the future
PPL prides itself on being deeply involved in the communities it serves. Early this year, the company was recognized for supporting the Greater Lehigh Valley by raising $3.43 million in contributions for United Way’s 2013 Campaign. PPL has also been recognized for supporting and investing in education programs that help teachers and students understand energy and the environment, and prepares students for the workplace.
The company is a leading advocate of helping underprivileged students gain access to better mentoring for careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM). In 2014, PPL joined with several partners of the Mentor Allentown Coalition to help the city of Allentown, Pennsylvania, win a national prize for encouraging STEAM ventures.
“We take our commitment to the community seriously,” said Jim Brinkman, senior information specialist. “We realize that, even when we’re providing electricity, we’re not just doing a job. We’re providing a lifestyle—allowing our customers to turn on nightlights for their children, or keep their homes cool in the summer.
“Today, and for the future, it’s gratifying know that what we do plays such a vital role in the communities we serve.”
*U.S. Energy Information Administration 2014 International Energy Outlook.