Kevin Walker is the COO of Duquesne Light.
PUF examines our industry's drive to diversify its workforce and spend. This section focuses on the progress at Duquesne Light described by its COO Kevin Walker.
PUF: Why is diversity in the utility workplace and in utility spend so important to Duquesne Light?
Kevin Walker: It's important and should be to every company. Duquesne Light is representative, but it's a competitive advantage because of bringing all the critical talents, skills, experience, and instincts of diverse talent.
Often, it's limited to a small group. There's a lot of assimilation going on. So, even if you have the diversity, it gets crunched, and everybody has to think the same way. When you have inclusion, equity, and belonging, then you're firing on all cylinders.
From an investment standpoint, within the community, diverse business owners, and diverse suppliers, it's a game changer. It creates a competitive environment that allows you to have local impact. We invest in a lot of local businesses that happen to be diverse. We have supplier diversity targets. It ups your game in a way you can't if you're not focused on those issues.
PUF: What have you seen in how diversity can affect communities in this industry?
Kevin Walker: I've been at six utilities, and I've learned so much from each of them. I started at Con Edison in New York.