The government is expected to invest some $150 billion in new technologies over the next 10 years everywhere you look the Green Economy is being touted as one of the strongest areas for expected job growth. But what will these initiatives mean for African American professionals and business owners?
To answer that question Black Enterprise gathered top-level executives from businesses and organizations within the energy industry in Washington DC today to discuss how African Americans can participate in the implementation of President Barack Obama’s green initiatives, and to talk about career opportunities in the green/energy sectors.
With the support of Shell, and the assistance of organizations such as The Executive Leadership Council, and the American Association of Blacks in Energy, Black Enterprise was able to gather a “who’s who” of experts with long-standing careers in the energy industry for a. Prior to the event, I had the opportunity to mingle with the panelists and invited participants, and it was evident to me that the lack of African American executives in the industry has created a small fraternity of long-time friends who often agree to disagree on several issues.
Tracy Faulkner, vice president of communications for Shell Oil Co., in her remarks made it clear that her corporation was extremely excited to participate in the event. “It is critical that Shell participates in these types of conversations,” she said. “And it is even more exciting when I can attend an event where I am labeled as a friend.”
Alfred A. Edmond Jr., SVP/Editor-in-Chief Interactive, BE moderated the first panel, “Moving from Policy to Engagement” and led panelists in a spirited discussion on how it is important not to lose sight of the actual problems — energy production and consumption — we are trying to solve.
“We often lose sight of the actual problem,” said panelist Gaurdie E. Banister Jr., president and CEO of Aera Energy LLC. “People often get hooked on the ‘green jobs’ phenomenon, but we are really trying to balance our energy production while moving towards energy security. Over 60% of the oil we consume comes from over seas–I want encouragement to produce here in our country,” he said.
AndrÃ© Williams is the founder and principal consultant of Energy Relations.