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For Immediate Release





Potomac Electric Power Company`s minority business development effort has reached a major milestone since 1987 the company has paid more than $1 billion in goods and services to minority and protected class vendors.

Rhonda Gebicke, manager of minority business development, says PEPCO has had a minority and protected-class program in place since the 1970s. In 1987, the company established a separate Minority Business Development Department to focus on specific initiatives designed to increase the use of minority and protected-class businesses.

"This program is designed to maximize contracting opportunities because PEPCO recognizes its responsibility to the community it serves. Those responsibilities include finding local quality firms to help us reduce our costs," Gebicke says.

The billion-dollar breakdown includes $600 million in contracts with minority-owned firms; $300 million for non-minority, women-owned firms; and $150 million for protected-class businesses (veterans of the Vietnam era, the physically challenged and sheltered workshops).

"The use of minority and protected-class businesses is an integral part of our normal purchasing procedures just as equal opportunity is for employment," Gebicke says. PEPCO maintains an online directory of 2,000 potential suppliers, with about 350 contractors on this list considered active suppliers.

"It`s hard to name any goods or services that program vendors aren`t currently supplying," says Gebicke. They range from fuels brokers to cable companies, ash site management, mechanical/millwright services at our power plants, janitorial contractors, street light and traffic signal maintenance and advertising work through minority placement agencies.

"PEPCO continues to have a successful program, in large part, because of the top-down commitment from our executives," says Gebicke. PEPCO has a corporate Minority Business Development Steering Committee composed of the company`s top officers, who report directly to President and Chief Executive Officer John M. Derrick, Jr.

"This committee sets the corporate goals, defines policy and reviews issues that affect minority businesses," says Gebicke. "And of course, the $1 billion mark could never have been reached if it were not for the efforts of employees to take advantage of the products and services offered by minority and protected-class suppliers."

Point of Contact:
Camille Smith

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