Posted on August 28, 2015

PG&E Educates Diverse Suppliers on Getting Ahead

By Tony Khing

SAN FRANCISCO — Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

Ten diverse consulting service suppliers — from fields such as legal services, communications, IT and engineering — kept that in mind when they attended a day-long summit co-hosted by PG&E and internationally-known advisory firm and PG&E consulting service provider KPMG LLP on Monday (Aug. 24).

PG&E Vice President and Treasurer Nick Bijur was one of five company line of business representatives who spoke at the diverse supplier workshop.

This first-ever workshop, held at KPMG’s San Francisco offices, gave these consultants an insider’s look at PG&E’s operations to educate them on the utility’s key initiatives and consulting opportunities. The summit was also aimed at helping consultants improve their understanding of how to work with large professional service consulting firms, like KPMG.

“It’s a very competitive world. In order to compete and win corporate business, you have to be on top of your game. We appreciate that KPMG is joining us in our technical assistance program by offering this focused training for consulting firms on how to be a successful consultant,” said PG&E Director of Supply Chain Responsibility Joan Kerr.

“We just want to make it easier to engage with diverse suppliers who support PG&E and KPMG. It’s not about hitting a goal or a number, it’s about making sure the teams we employ and deploy to PG&E represent the communities we serve,” said KPMG Lead Partner on PG&E Geno Armstrong.

Attendees got to hear from PG&E representatives who support Gas Operations, IT, Finance and Risk, Electric Operations and Safety and Shared Services. Each person provided a flow chart on their organizations, shared goals and initiatives, discussed their needs and provided advice on how to provide value to PG&E decision makers. The summit also introduced KPMG partners who assist PG&E with diverse consulting service suppliers who could be used by the utility when a need arises.

PG&E’s Joan Kerr (left) and Geno Armstrong of KPMG speak to attendees at a diverse supplier workshop held at KPMG’s San Francisco offices.

Understanding the evolving requirements of an industry leader was a big reason why ARTEMIA Communications CEO Barbara Wichmann attended the event.

“We’re in an ever-changing economic climate. As a digital communications and marketing agency active in the utilities sector, we need to stay agile and informed so we can support our clients effectively,” said Wichmann.

“This event is an excellent way to get insights into PG&E’s strategic direction and will allow us to match our digital and branding expertise with their needs,” she added.

For Dean Vanech, a partner with Podo Legal, meeting PG&E decision makers and learning key contacts was important.

“The most helpful thing is introducing us to some new names and faces within PG&E. Some of these folks we’ve never met personally nor ever heard about their needs,” he said.

Podo Legal’s work with PG&E has mostly been with the Law Group. Podo has also worked on legal projects with Gas Operations and on records-related projects with Electric Operations and Safety and Shared Services. And Vanech wants other departments to know about Podo’s skill set.

“The core of what we’ve done is legal, and that strength also has allowed us to work on compliance projects, records information management and data mapping,” he said.

The summit was just another example, along with playing hosts to business builder events and educational seminars, of PG&E’s commitment to improving the competitive profile of its diverse suppliers.

“We’re not consulting experts. We’re gas and electric service providers. We need to turn to our prime suppliers to help us in the training of diverse suppliers. This is a perfect example of role model collaboration with a prime supplier,” said Kerr.

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"PG&E" refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.
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