Community engagement has been one theme in the discussion about utilities in the Carolinas.
Community relations is a topic I know well having managed major corporate philanthropy and community relations groups over the years and taught the practice to others.
Successful companies know that their success stems in large part from positive local relationships. It’s especially true in utility companies because all utilities are local by nature. No matter the larger corporate structure, it is friends and neighbors who are local and who are providing service.
Successful companies become successful because they are managed by people who care about communities. All communities, no matter where that top management may sit.
When I managed community relations, I looked for the ways to enhance community success. I looked well beyond the corporate headquarters to the places where the products were made, where we hired people, where we found our support at the grassroots because it was all part of the teamwork to safely make and deliver our products.
It was more than money, too. Hands and hearts reached across the miles to help others. Share experience. Create new civic capacity. People worked for the company and were also Little League coaches, tutors in schools, on city councils, and supported the arts. They made a local difference.
Worries that a community will be left behind in any of the options about Santee Cooper recommended by the Department of Administration are misplaced. Pure and simple.