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Creating a talented workforce
When Colonial Pipeline Vice President and Chief People Officer, Angela Long, joined the company in 2009 after a career in financial services, just 12 percent of the workforce consisted of women.
“It was quite an eye-opener,” says Long.
That number has gradually increased to 17 percent over the decade that Long has been with Colonial. While the company is ahead of the industry average and has diverse representation on its executive team, Long strives to create an even more inclusive culture at Colonial. The company has two additional women on its management team including Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Marie Mouchet; and the Vice President, Operations Services & Chief Risk Officer, Angie Kolar.
“At Colonial, we are executing a vision that requires innovation and a workforce representing a variety of talents and viewpoints,” says Long. “Colonial is proud to join Pink Petro in the effort to bridge the diversity gap in the energy industry.”
Making STEM a family affair
The company is executing on its vision through a variety of programs and initiatives. Colonial Pipeline recently hosted its first full-day STEM program, bringing employees and their children together to learn about industry roles. Long says, “The STEM day is a success story for us and Colonial plans to expand this program throughout our system. We see it as part of our commitment to develop the next generation of pipeline leaders and industry champions.”
Creating Colonial Pipeline ambassadors
The company also has a year-round co-op program with colleges that focuses on engineering. Long brought a new talent management director, Stephanie Curry, on board last year and tasked her with determining the strategy for increasing the talent pool, enabling Colonial to further expand the footprint of its co-op and internship programs.
Attracting the next generation to Colonial
Gender is not the only area where diversity has to be addressed; there is a generational shift that is taking place throughout the industry.
“Our audience has changed. We are considering what type of total rewards program is needed to attract the talent required for Colonial to be a leading employer. Typically, the program was built around a baby boomer workforce. Now, our talent pool includes Gen X, millennials, and boomers.” After conducting focus groups, the Colonial Pipeline plans to implement a total rewards strategy in 2020 based on the information that was garnered.
“The millennials and GenXers are the ‘Sandwich Generation’ and are caring for parents and caring for children. We want to provide the best options for our workforce and will be making changes in 2020.”
Listening as a means of inclusion
The Colonial workforce totals approximately 900+ employees, and the executive team makes it a priority to engage with team members on an ongoing basis. Long and Colonial’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Joe Blount, are encouraging leaders to be transparent, engaged and easy to communicate with. “We are making significant cultural changes for Colonial. Our team leads by being accessible and available,” Long says.
At the beginning of the year, the company conducts a series of meetings across its 5,500 miles of pipeline. The event kicks off with a dinner for employees and their spouses and includes an open Q & A format and multiple informal opportunities to speak directly with company leaders.
The company also has a tool called “Just Ask Joe,” referring to CEO Joe Blount, which provides an avenue for employees to submit a question, which is answered directly by Blount. The person submitting the question can remain anonymous, and the answer is shared with all employees:
“Successful inclusion means people are listening, and employee issues are being addressed,” Long says.
Georgia – energy’s hidden gem
Colonial Pipeline’s headquarters are based in Alpharetta, Georgia, a location that is not typically associated with the energy industry. (When the pipeline – which runs from the Houston, TX area to the New York harbor – was constructed in the 1960’s, the Atlanta area was centrally located along its system.) Long, who grew up in Georgia, readily admits she’s biased about the location.
“I’m very proud of my home state and the Atlanta area. There is so much history in this city; it’s home to Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the founding father of the Civil Rights movement; and Andrew Young, a former mayor of Atlanta, a U.S. Congressman, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
A partnership made for innovation
Colonial is an industry leader in reshaping company culture and offering diverse opportunities in the energy industry. Pink Petro and Colonial Pipeline share a passion for innovation and growth and are proud to establish this collaboration.
To learn more about Colonial Pipeline and opportunities available, visit colpipe.com or follow Colonial Pipeline on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. Find information on Colonial careers, women in leadership at Colonial, and explore how you can join the shift and grow your career. Check out other opportunities in the energy industry on Experience Energy.