For more than 24 years, Nicor Gas has partnered with the Chicago Urban League, providing significant financial support for the League’s signature fundraising events. In late 2013, Nicor Gas generously supported the Chicago Urban League’s Entrepreneurship Center for the creation and launch of the Business Diversity Procurement Portal.Below, Anthony McCain, vice president, Nicor Gas Operations, and Chicago Urban League Board member, discusses Nicor Gas and its commitment to corporate social responsibility, the company’s giving philosophy and ‘Investing in Illinois: A Nicor Gas System Improvement Initiative’.
Anthony McCain, vice president of Nicor Gas Operations
Describe your role with Nicor Gas and the company’s work in Illinois.
I am proud to serve as vice president of Operations for Nicor Gas. I work each day to ensure that our 2.2 million customers have safe and reliable access to natural gas – which I always like to remind our customers, is an American, abundant and affordable energy source.
Here in Illinois, Nicor Gas is the largest natural gas distribution company in the state. While you may be most familiar with our work to heat your home and cook your food, we also deliver the clean energy that businesses need to manufacture goods and run large industrial machinery. In order to deliver this service to homes and businesses, I oversee a team that constructs, operates, maintains and inspects more than 34,000 miles of natural gas pipeline.
As the continued safety of our people, the public and our pipelines is our number one priority, I am excited about a new program, Investing in Illinois: A Nicor Gas System Improvement Initiative, which will allow us to accelerate our infrastructure improvements across our service territory.
Over the course of the next nine years, Nicor Gas will be upgrading many parts of our infrastructure through Investing in Illinois. We will be replacing hundreds of miles of pipelines with upgraded materials, moving natural gas meters to the outside of homes and businesses, and modernizing essential facilities most people don’t get a chance to see – but that ensures our customers have safe and reliable access to the energy they need.
In addition to accelerating the repair and replacement of portions of Illinois’ natural gas distribution system, we anticipate that Investing in Illinois will strengthen the regional economy by creating jobs, increasing business activity and encouraging new business development.Nicor Gas is a champion of programs and initiatives that educate, enlighten, engage and inspire – can you speak to your commitment to corporate social responsibility?
Our employees are guided by a corporate-wide value that there is more than a good way to do business – there is a right way. This value – called Generosity of Spirit – is demonstrated through programs that help customers reduce their energy costs, preserve and protect the environment, ensure a diverse workforce and supplier base, invest in education, and enhance the communities we serve.
In 2014, our community activities at Nicor Gas included:
- Approximately $2.2 million to philanthropic, charitable and community organizations
- 200 + organizations benefitted from the philanthropic work of Nicor Gas and its employees
- Hundreds of employees, family and friends participated in 20 community-focused projects during our annual Volunteer Day in May
- Additionally, Nicor Gas ranks as one of the Chicagoland’s top 25 United Way contributors, averaging more than $1 million annually over the past 20 years.
We take great pride in our more than 150-year history here in Illinois and our commitment to the communities where our customers and employees live, work and raise their families.
The entire team at Nicor Gas and AGL Resources [Nicor Inc. and AGL Resources merged in December 2011] is mindful of this commitment in all aspects of our work – from workforce development and corporate social responsibility, to supplier and workforce diversity. It is important that we maintain a keen awareness of issues affecting our communities and our business and that we show our corporate citizenship through donations of time, talent and treasure.
We hold ourselves accountable for doing business the right way. That means living our corporate values and giving back to the communities we serve. We work hard to be a company with which all of our stakeholders — employees, customers, investors and neighbors — are proud to be connected.Can you tell our readers about the most recent collaboration between Nicor Gas and the Chicago Urban League – and how they can take part?
We are proud to sponsor the Chicago Urban League and your ongoing work to build strong sustainable African American communities and create opportunities with the power to transform people’s lives.
Nicor Gas most recently partnered with the Chicago Urban League to launch a new web-based portal (contractsandconnections.com) that connects diverse suppliers with business opportunities offered by companies in Illinois and makes it easier for businesses to find diverse vendors. We see this portal as an important tool in our ongoing supplier diversity efforts as well as our Investing in Illinois initiative as we work with vendors, suppliers and contractors to accelerate the modernization of aging natural gas infrastructure. This portal presents a great opportunity for Illinois businesses and I encourage everyone reading this piece to go to the website now to learn more and register.Can you speak to your commitment to philanthropy and the Chicago Urban League?
I have been blessed in my personal and my professional life and I am grateful to have the opportunity to give of my time to help others reach their goals. I am committed to advocating for educational equality and economic development and am honored to represent Nicor Gas and our more than 2,000 employees as a member of the Chicago Urban League Board of Directors.
Throughout my career I have benefitted from the insight of strong and thoughtful mentors and the Chicago Urban League presents opportunities for leadership, guidance, education and advancement. The Chicago Urban League is an important local institution and I am proud to play a role in its ongoing legacy.