Field Notes: Our Investment Promise

By Dana Simone

Editor’s note: From time to time, Dean Seavers will tear a page from his notebook and share what he’s learned from customers, stakeholders, and employees across National Grid’s U.S. footprint.

August 23, 2016: Take a good look at these kids from the Syracuse Boys and Girls Club. Last week, in between summer dance, basketball, and STEM activities, they attended Just(ice) in Time, a program that offers non-violent strategies for dealing with conflict. We sponsor the community-wide program and I was invited last week to hear first-hand the lessons these teens, facing an increase in violence on the streets, learned and could impart to others. As a new grandfather, I was moved to ask them, “What did you learn that I can share with my grandson, Myles?”FN2

They offered some good advice to pass along, starting with the fact that “all situations start off on equal ground.” And that in any confrontation – whether with authority figures or peers – respect,  cooperation, and a good attitude go a long way. How grateful I felt, for the ability of National Grid to invest in our youth, and give them tools for a lifetime.

Take a good look at these kids, because they’re yours and they’re mine, and they live in every city in America. They’re our future. When we talk about “Investing for Impact”, we mean economic development that spans generations. These are our future clean energy professionals, small business owners, police officers, firefighters, and community leaders.

Following my visit at the Boys & Girls Club, I spent an hour with the employee-owned Syracuse Label & Surround Printing. We’ve helped them out with a number of energy conservation grants that have enabled them to purchase bigger, more energy efficient printers, and change all interior and exterior lighting to LEDs. This is a printing company that was founded in a garage fifty years ago, and whose growth market is ever expanding. I was impressed that they’ve embraced lean manufacturing methodology to better utilize space and increase productivity at the same time. Their process improvement journey resonated with me as I thought about our own PEx hubs and success stories. FN1

Part of our remit, and what I’m particularly proud of, is that we can offer economic development grants – millions of dollars each year – that help make small companies more energy efficient and able to better compete with large companies. We base our grants on investment promise, knowing that good jobs will follow, helping grow local economies.

What I took away from both visits is that our customers and stakeholders see us as trusted partners. Thanks to you, they know they can call on us, as they would any good neighbor.

Take a good look at these kids. We’re investing in them for a better and brighter tomorrow. This is what I’ll share with Myles.

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