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What is AABE (South Jersey Chapter)?




Back Row – L-R Gina Merritt-Epps, Esq. (Counsel), Stacey Barnes (Vice President), Linda King (Secretary); Front Row – John Raiford (President), Ken Barr (Treasurer) 


You may have heard co-workers mention that they had to attend an “Abe” meeting. No, this isn’t someone’s name. Actually, AABE, is the acronym for the American Association of Blacks in Energy.

This national association of energy professionals was founded 1977 and is dedicated to ensuring the input of minorities into the discussions and developments of energy policies, regulations, R&D technologies, and environmental issues. Over 1600 professionals across 35 chapters make up AABE.

The mission of the organization is carried out through focused initiatives, including: energy policy development, career and professional development, information dissemination, and scholarships and awards. The group also places a heavy focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives as well as continuing research into climate change and policies centered on that issue.

The actual idea of AABE was conceived by Clarke A. Watson of Denver, Colorado sometime in the spring of 1977 during the nation’s energy crisis. At the time, President Carter had established a special task force to study the energy problem. However, absent from the task force were persons representing the interests of minorities. A small group of minorities, many of whom worked for energy companies, were concerned that minorities were not well represented in the task force and understood the strong correlation between energy resource development and economic growth. So while President Carter’s task force was meeting, this group of professionals also met and formed the American Association of Blacks in Energy.

The South Jersey Chapter of AABE began meeting in February and was officially chartered on May 21, 2010. Currently, the chapter is made up of 28 members; however, the group is seeking new members from across the southern New Jersey energy community.

The chapter is part of SJI’s overall diversity initiative. The current officers are John Raiford (President),Stacey Barnes (Vice President),  Gina Merritt-Epps, Esq. (Counsel),  Ken Barr (Treasurer),  and Linda King (Secretary).

The group meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month and is made up a three standing committees: Networking and Communication, Community Service, Scholarship & Fundraising and Education Awareness.

All Chapter/Committee events are open to the public and diverse communities will be the beneficiaries of all AABE projects and initiatives.

If you would like more information about AABE, please contact Linda King at (609) 561-9000 ext. 4389, or email:” 



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