For decades, our country has set aside the month of February to reflect upon the value of Black voices across our communities – officially known as Black History Month. At Southern Nuclear, we use this time to recognize the value of diversity within our company, and to remind our team of the importance of diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
As part of our recognition, we asked a few of our teammates at Plant Farley how they celebrate Black History Month, why – in their minds – it is important for Southern Nuclear to recognize this month and what advice they have for those hoping to use this time to reflect upon the rich diversity in our company and across our country.
Their responses provide a window into why we are so proud of our team members’ commitment to lifting one another up and to ensuring we constantly develop a diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment at Southern Nuclear.
Today, we highlight our conversation with Antonio Benford, a Chemistry Manager at Plant Farley. Antonio has been with Southern Nuclear for 22 years. He is responsible for ensuring the plant has the proper water chemistry to preserve and protect our assets. He is also responsible for ensuring the plant abides by all environmental regulations.
How do you celebrate Black History Month?
I celebrate Black History Month by supporting minority-owned businesses, watching documentaries related to Black pioneers and identifying ways to support other Black Americans in their ventures.
Why is it important that Southern Nuclear takes part in Black History Month and engages our employees?
Southern Nuclear values diversity, equity and inclusion. It is important for the company to take part in Black History Month so that it can continue to display the ways it has included people of Black heritage within Southern Nuclear. It spotlights the diversity that is within the company, and it shows that all employees are equal as they work towards a common goal.
What advice do you have for others who want to follow in your footsteps?
If you are in the nuclear business, the best path is to obtain a reactor operator license. A license will open up many other possibilities. In general, I would also tell a person to always set goals, work your plan to accomplish your goals and build lasting relationships. Don’t let disappointment or a bad decision disrupt you from your purpose. Learn from those mistakes and work to improve.
Is there a particular Black mentor, trailblazer or historic figure who inspires you?
One recent inspirational figure for me is Tony Dungy. He was the first Black head coach to win the Super Bowl in the NFL. However, I admire him for adhering to the principles and morals that he values for himself, despite what the rest of the world is doing. He knows who he is and he has character.