Christie D. McMullen, Vice President, Gas Distribution
You might have noticed jockey Victor Espinoza with the number 811 on his boots and saddle pad at the Kentucky Derby. You’ll see it again at Preakness. It’s a sponsorship made possible by BGE along with more than 30 member organizations of the Common Ground Alliance (CGA).
811 is the national call before you dig number that helps homeowners and professionals who plan to dig to notify multiple utility companies with one phone call. BGE is a proud member of the CGA and supporter of 811. In Maryland, dialing 811 will connect you to Miss Utility, which is also a sponsor of Espinoza. Calling 811 is the first step in helping you to avoid underground pipes and wires when you dig.
The sponsorship has been great exposure for 811. Four of the six busiest days for the website Call811.com have occurred on the dates of the past four Triple Crown races, when Espinoza was wearing the 811 logo, according to Google Analytics.
In Maryland, when you call Miss Utility at 811 a few days before digging, they will take your information and communicate it to local utility companies like BGE. Professional utility locators will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint or flags. Once a site has been accurately marked, you will know where to dig and, more importantly, where not to dig.
Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities increases the chances of causing damage, serious injuries, service disruptions and expensive repairs. According to CGA data, nearly half of homeowners who plan to dig will not call 811 beforehand, putting themselves and their communities at risk. A buried utility is damaged every six minutes because someone decided to dig without calling 811, according to CGA. Don’t become part of that statistic.
BGE is particularly pleased that Espinoza will continue to display the 811 message through the second leg of the Triple Crown at our hometown event, the Preakness Stakes. We hope the exposure gained through this sponsorship will remind everyone to always call 811 to know what’s below before digging.
Pre-race Preakness Stakes coverage begins Saturday, May 16 at 2:30 p.m. EDT on NBC Sports Network, with NBC picking up the coverage at 4:30 p.m. and continuing through the post-race ceremony. We wish Victor Espinoza the best of luck.
Priscilla Akuoko, Social Media Analyst
Recently, I had the privilege of attending SMMW 2015 (Social Media Marketing World), a digital communications conference bringing together more than 2,000 of the brightest minds in this industry – from all parts of the world. Despite our distance, language barriers, and choice of social media tools, there was one common unifier and topic that kept us in deep discussion –how to use social media to improve customer service.
Whether it’s face to face, on the phone or online, BGE is committed to delivering customer service excellence and social media is a tool to help.
Since 2010, BGE has used social media to engage with our customers concerning their needs while building relationships and trust. Social media has given us a platform to listen, respond and communicate the BGE brand to our followers. In five years, our following has grown to more than 60,000 on Twitter and Facebook alone, becoming a significant communications tool for all aspects of our business. As customers continue to use social media to communicate with us and each other, we too have increased our commitment to making social media a priority communications channel and a venue for us to learn more about our customers in order to better serve them.
At the social media conference, countless markets and industries were represented. Each of us compared experiences and shared best practices to firm up our social media strategies to offer the best experiences for our customers and avoid costly mistakes.
As the social media lead for BGE, my commitment is to deliver content with our customers in mind, keep them informed and consistently interact with our followers.
I welcome your feedback and the opportunity to connect with you.
Ryan Mitchell, Training Specialist
American “baby boomers” are quickly transitioning into the next phase of their lives, causing many companies to see a major reduction in their seasoned work force. Professionals with a wealth of information and business know-how are quietly submitting papers for retirement leaving vital job roles vacant. To secure growth and longevity, companies are quickly embracing this transition and preparing the next wave of leaders to man the helm of industry.
With a rich 200 year history of progress, BGE has mastered the art of succession. Being one of the nation’s oldest utilities, BGE continues to set the bar high pertaining to talent acquisition. More importantly, BGE is committed to preparing its current young professionals for what’s next. BGE understands that it cannot undertake this vital pursuit alone. Along with its strong community involvement, internally, BGE is committed to growth and development in its employee base. To prepare for this next wave, BGE has partnered with the Business Volunteers Maryland and the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore (EAGB).
I felt privileged when my director congratulated me on being chosen among many others to join the Business Volunteers Maryland and EAGB LEAD initiative. It is clear that BGE is focused on grooming its next class of leaders and I am honored to be included. It’s not often that a young professional has the opportunity to spend a large amount of time with seasoned leaders and CEO’s. Being able to listen, ask questions and learn from successful leaders is invaluable and allows me to gauge my goals and better chart my corporate climb.
Over several months, EAGB has invited some of Maryland’s top businessmen and women to share their experience and wisdom. I and a group of about 80 emerging leaders from across Maryland gathered to hear from these accomplished forerunners. After each session I return to my office eager to practice what I have learned then evaluate the outcome. The jewels of wisdom I have gleaned have strengthened
my personal leadership style, causing my team’s performance to increase and ultimately resulting in better service to BGE’s customer.
This year’s LEAD events are far from over and in one short month my career experience has advanced immensely. I am optimistic and excited to see what the rest of 2015 holds for me my new external peers and colleagues – hopefully Maryland’s next set of business leaders.
Michael Davenport, Manager, Community Affairs
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22. On this day, events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.
For the Earth Day observance, BGE’s Community Affairs team partnered with Blue Water Baltimore to work alongside nearly 60 students at Baltimore City College. The Blue Water team demonstrated the proper way to plant the trees to ensure their survival and talked about the benefits that trees contribute to sustaining a healthy environment and ecosystem.
The project offered the students the opportunity to contribute to the beautification of their campus as well as plant a symbol of their contributions to the campus for many decades to come. During this event, we had the opportunity to learn together, demonstrate teamwork, mentor, and provide leadership all while getting some exercise on a beautiful spring day. Through our collective efforts, we planted nearly 25 trees on the school’s campus. At the end of the project, we were physically exhausted yet fulfilled given the time we spent working with the students and admiring the work that was done to help beautify the campus and sustain the environment.
We encourage others to learn about ways you can help protect the environment by contacting an environmental club, agency or organization in your area.
For more information about services offered by our Community Affairs team or to explore opportunities to partner with your organization, please call 410-470-4103. Or, visit us on line at www.bge.com/ourcommitments.
BGE Team Volunteers at Baltimore City College High School
Left to right: Faviola Donato Galindo, Michael Davenport, Bob Oberle, Al Cabrera, Ingrid Woods
Ammanuel Moore, Economic Development Manager
What comes to your mind when you think of the term manufacturing? Do you think of an assembly line, plant workers, robotics, and the origin of millions of products that we use every day? How about skilled jobs, economic efficiency, productivity and the impact this industry has on our quality of life?
Last week, BGE had the privilege to sponsor the Regional Manufacturing Institute’s
Decades of Dedication Gala. During its 25th annual celebration, the organization recognized
and thanked the approximately 3,000 manufacturing businesses that operate in Maryland and create tens of thousands of products and an equal number of jobs.
As Maryland’s largest utility, we deliver the energy that many of these companies need. In fact, for nearly 200 years, we’ve understood the importance of our work and the economic impact we have on not only our 1.2 million customers, but the millions of people our business customers serve around the world. This is especially true with our local manufacturing customers. That’s why we work tirelessly with our large commercial companies and their economic development agency counterparts to provide everything from important infrastructure and site development support to energy efficiency programs
that can help reduce operational expenses.
To further assist these large energy-intense businesses, BGE will host a breakfast meeting on June 9th to learn more about their needs and also increase awareness of the many programs and services we offer to help them manage their energy usage and associated costs. We strive to do all we can to encourage these businesses to stay in Maryland and help them to grow.
While I’m confident we can provide meaningful savings for businesses, I know that through working with our partners like RMI, other business advocacy groups, state and local governments, educational institutions and the business community, we will have the greatest impact on keeping Maryland’s manufacturing industry energized.
Until next time,
Marriah Barnett, Manager Project Management
It’s been a great Women’s History Month – an opportunity to recognize and celebrate female leaders and women who have made a positive impact on our lives and communities.
We celebrated this year’s theme “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives” with our parent company Exelon’s employee resource group, Network for Exelon Women (NEW). The theme brings to light women who are critically important because they reveal exceptionally strong role models who share a more expansive vision of what a woman can do.
This theme echoes the long history that women at BGE have played and how their roles have evolved over time in the company and the community in which we live and work. Women have risen in leadership ranks and moved into positions that were primarily filled by men in the past. Integrating diversity, inclusion and acceptance makes BGE a stronger, better and smarter company. As a matter of fact the company has benefited from having both genders involved in decision making and providing leadership.
NEW continues to provide avenues for women leaders to share their stories, their career progression and to get involved in the community while inspiring our members in their career growth and mentoring peers. Throughout Women’s History Month, members and employees participated in events, including a culture competence webinar by Diversity, Inc., and a volunteer event focused on career and college readiness for students.
Personally, I have benefited from many strong role models within the company, both men and women, who challenged me to take on additional responsibility. They encouraged me to share my perspectives and give back to the community through volunteerism and mentoring. One of the things I like most about being a part of NEW, is the ability to provide those same opportunities and mentoring to others.
NEW offers career development and community involvement opportunities for all employees throughout the year.
Michael Davenport, Manager, Community Affairs
For many years, BGE has strived to build a legacy of trust and commitment with the communities we serve. Our community involvement is founded on listening to our customers’ concerns, providing education and building strong community relationships.
Our Community Affairs team works to increase customer awareness of BGE programs and services through strategic alliances, presentations, volunteerism and various forms of community involvement. Additionally we work directly with residential customers (both homeowners and renters), businesses, government agencies and schools, as well as faith, civic and community organizations. We also focus on partnering with agencies that assist limited income and special needs customers.
At BGE, we realize that strong collaborative partnerships with our community are critical to both the success of our business and satisfying our customers. To that end, we want to continue to work with you and extend our outreach to new audiences, because together we can do more.
We are eager to work with organizations to raise awareness of BGE’s programs and services that benefit our customers. In the effort to expand our network of partnerships, we continue to seek opportunities to connect with community organizations throughout our service territory. By partnering with our Community Affairs team, we can schedule a time to come to your location or plan to take part during your next event at no cost to you.
For more information about services offered by our Community Affairs team, please call 410-470-4103. Or, visit us on line at www.bge.com/ourcommitments.
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Darryl A. Stokes, Vice President, Electric Transmission & Substations
February is Black History Month (BHM) – an opportunity to celebrate African American history, to learn and raise added attention about culture and matters that speak to the communities in which we live and work.
Throughout this month, BGE employees joined employee resource group EAARA (Exelon African American Resource Alliance) in events, including a speaker series and panel discussions covering everything from professional development and the power of supplier diversity. Diversity is recognized and celebrated at BGE all year by supporting programs and organizations that promote diversity in our neighborhoods.
This year’s signature event included Career Development Insights from Susan L. Taylor: Nurturing Your Passion Along Your Career Pa
th. Susan L. Taylor is founder and chief executive officer of National CARES Mentoring Movement and Editor in Chief Emerita of Essence Magazine referred to as "the most influential black woman in journalism today" by American Libraries in 1994. Today she leads a mentoring program to better the youth in underrepre
sented communities and help prepare them for careers in the STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
Other BHM inspired events include “Corporate America’s Responsibility in Community Engagement” featuring keynote speaker Roland Martin, Host/Managing Editor of TV One’s daily morning show, News One Now, Senior Analyst, Tom Joyner Morning Show, Author, International Speaker and CEO, Nu Vision Media.
In addition, BGE is a proud sponsor of Baltimore Concert Opera presents “Th
is Little Light of Mine,” This one-woman musical tribute honors the careers of two African-American opera legends: Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price. Anderson became the first African-American singer to perform at The Metropolitan Opera House and Price would take that torch and carry it to The Metropolitan Opera and the most prestigious opera houses around the world.
BHM is a time for us to celebrate the achievements of African-Americans and an opportunity to recognize those who have shaped the past and those who are continuing to shape the future.
William T. Rees, Jr., Senior Business Analyst, Vegetation Management Unit
BGE actively works to maintain the trees surrounding our more than 10,500 miles of overhead power lines. This is an effort that requires us to balance our stakeholders’ desire to have healthy trees in their neighborhoods with our commitment to delivering safe and reliable power.
A new challenge has recently surfaced in Maryland – the Emerald Ash Borer. This aggressive wood boring beetle attacks ash trees in its introduced range and causes their destruction within three years. While the insect is still getting established in BGE’s service territory, it is imperative that we act now to prevent it from becoming a threat to our ability to reliably deliver electricity.
The way this beetle kills Ash trees leaves them unsafe to climb which necessitates cranes and other specialty equipment to remove the trees. In addition, if they are not removed, the dead trees tend to uproot or break low at the stem instead of breaking into pieces like most dead trees, which would cause an additional threat to the electric grid.
We are currently in a small four to five year window between the beetle’s emergence and the point which the trees are too damaged to take any mitigating actions. BGE is in the process of evaluating the risk that the Emerald Ash Borer poses to the electric system. Once it has completed its evaluation, we will develop a course of action to appropriately respond to any threat posed by the Emerald Ash Borer, which will include consulting with relevant external stakeholders.
With close to two million ash trees in BGE’s service territory, residents and other land owners are also at risk from damaged and dead trees. It’s important to note that some Ash trees can be saved by the use of certain insecticides if they are treated proactively. For more information on which trees should be treated and how, click here.
See National Geographic article to learn more about the threat posed by the Emerald Ash Borer.
Bob Oberle, Sr. Community Relations Specialist
Several weeks ago, a local television station broadcast a piece about Smithfield Foods delivering a truck with 15 tons of pork inside to the Maryland Food Bank in Halethorpe. This shipment of fresh meat was certainly appreciated as it supplements the tons of donated canned goods, household products and other packaged food delivered to the Food Bank’s loading dock on a regular basis. The television report ended with a plea for help from a food bank employee who stated that while the warehouse was bursting at the seams with donated items, there was a need for volunteers to help sort and pack.
Last week, members of BGE’s Community Affairs team and other BGE employees spent a shift at the warehouse, sorting and packaging food for further distribution throughout the community. The entire operation at the Maryland Food Bank, from receiving to sorting and packing, to further distribution is quite impressive. But this is accompanied by the sobering thought that there are so many hungry people in our state.
Last year, in 2014 the Maryland Food Bank distributed nearly 37 million meals to families in need. This includes not just the homeless, but also children, seniors and even individuals who are working full-time, but still struggling to put food on the table.
BGE employees had the privilege of volunteering almost 26,000 hours in 2014 to a variety of good causes in the community. These include serving meals at soup kitchens, mentoring, and participating in environmental activities. But I always consider the time we spend at the food bank time well spent.
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