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Podcast: How racial equity and justice are transforming the energy industry

Staff Reports
Alan Armstrong, Williams president and CEO

Diversity and inclusion are critical to building company cultures where younger generations of workers feel comfortable and excited about contributing. That was one of themes explored by Williams President and CEO Alan Armstrong and energy policy thought leader and podcast host Tisha Schuller in a recent “Energy Thinks” podcast.

Armstrong said that 15 years ago, former Williams’ CEO Steve Malcolm observed a lack of diversity coming out of the engineering schools where the company recruited. It led to a concerted effort to develop female and minority engineering programs at those schools so Williams could ultimately diversify and fill its talent pipeline. Armstrong now works to ensure those efforts continue today with a focus on retaining diverse talent, and the company continues to evolve to align with the priorities of future generations.

“We have to not only create an environment that can attract and retain [talent], but we also have to create a place where people really are excited and bring their passion if we want to be the very best. They want to bring their extra energy and their passion to the job every day because they’re excited about the company they work for and what it represents,” said Armstrong.

Energy companies can and must embrace these topics no matter how uncomfortable and no matter how far behind they are, said Schuller.  “In addition to having a diverse workforce that is thriving in your company as part of your success, having a millennial and Generation Z workforce that is passionate because they believe in the values and the inclusion work that the company is doing – those are great points.”

During the wide-ranging conversation, Schuller and Armstrong also discussed the recommendations put forth in the recent NPC study, including NEPA modernization, as well as the opportunities that exist to develop renewable energy on the backbone of natural gas.     

You can listen to the entire podcast here.