For those of you who were not able to attend the 2010 National Conference in Columbus, Ohio, I have to tell you that you missed a truly great conference. You will recall that the theme of the conference was “People. Profit. Planet. An Inclusive Approach to a Bright Reliable Energy Future”. The presentations, panel discussions and the workshops were all built around that theme and every attendee left the conference with some new knowledge, some greater understanding, or some deeper insight. The CEO Roundtable and the Legislative Crossfire panel were, once again, runaway hits. The “Leadership Address” this year featured The Honorable Philip Moeller, Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. For an update on the key technologies and policies that are important to our industry, the conference could not have been more appropriate or more timely.
This year the James E. Stewart Award went to Dr. Warren M. Washington, senior scientist and the head of the Climate Change Research Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Dr. Washington is the past President of the American Meteorological Society, has been an advisor to five US Presidents, former Chair of the National Science Board (the body that oversees the National Science Foundation), a member of the American Geophysical Union, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the holder of a Nobel Peace Prize. The James E. Stewart Award is the most prestigious award that we present each year, and Dr. Washington is a very worthy recipient.
I also want to take this time, to congratulate two other important award recipients. Mr. Llevelyn Rhone, recipient of the Energy Entrepreneur of the Year award and Ms. Dot Harris, recipient of the Clarke R. Watson Chairman’s Cup. Llevelyn is the President and CEO of Geneva Pipeline, a utility infrastructure company headquartered in Geneva, Ohio. He was recognized for his achievements as an energy entrepreneur. Dot Harris is the chair of our Energy Entrepreneurs Committee and Secretary of our Board of Directors. She was recognized for her leadership and commitment to the growth of our organization. Please join me in congratulating both Llevelyn and Dot.
Those who have the opportunity should attend the Western Regional conference which will be held October 6-8, in Pasadena, California. Click here to get more information. The 2011 National Conference will be hosted by the Northeast Region next spring. There will be more information of both the Western Regional Conference and the 2011 AABE National Conference in the weeks ahead.
At the General Membership meeting in May, new Officers and Directors were elected to our Board. They will serve during the 2010 – 2012 term. The newly elected officers are as follows: Dan Packer, Chair; Ralph Cleveland, First Vice Chair; Warner Williams, Second Vice Chair; LaDoris Harris, Secretary; Polly Rosemond, Assistant Secretary; Sabrina Campbell, Treasurer; and Rufus Gladney, Assistant Treasurer. The newly elected directors are: Carolyn Green, Bentina Terry, David Owens, and Stephanie Hickman.
The Association is deeply indebted Robert Holmes, Senior Vice President with Alabama Power who stepped down from the board to provide time to pursue other national and international interests. We thank him for the years of support and guidance that he has provided. His experience as an internationally recognized expert in corporate ethics and management has made a vital contribution to our association’s growth and development. We are a stronger and better organization because of what he has done for us.
This past month has been an important time in preparing the way for future organizational growth and for new, exciting program developments. In May, the Association completed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Morehouse College Entrepreneur Center to assist the center in developing a major new thrust in supporting energy related businesses and in integrating energy studies into the undergraduate college curriculum. The long standing relationship that the Association has had with North Carolina A & T State University now has a new partner. Bennett College for Women has joined the AABE Institute in its commitment to provide capacity building services to the energy sector in the nations of Africa and the Caribbean. Bennett College, one of the foremost institutions focused on the higher education of African American women will, through its leadership, its academic strength and its commitment to positive societal change, add immeasurably to the viability of the AABE Institute. AABE has traditionally held its technical expertise in environmental concerns as a core capability. That key capability is now even stronger by virtue of the Memorandum of Understanding that it signed last month with the African American Environmentalist Association (AAEA). The AAEA was founded by Norris McDonald, its current President and CEO more than twenty years ago and its mission and programs mesh well with those of AABE. We have high hopes that this will be a very profitable and productive relationship.
As we hit the halfway point of the year, our organization continues to thrive and grow. We renewed old friendships and established new ones at our annual conference. We continue to develop partnerships with organizations nationwide as a way to further our message and out mission. And we’ve got leadership who feel passion for what we do and have tremendous ideas for how we can continue to not only grow by the numbers, but more importantly, work closely with our communities. I invite you all to share your ideas and thank you for all that you do.