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AABE members gain industry knowledge, plus networking and community service opportunities

Sharon Gray (left) and Southern Power’s Ruby Brown Jackson attended the February AABE general meeting of the Birmingham chapter.

<p>Southern Nuclear employees are taking a lead role in re-establishing the Birmingham chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy. AABE is a national association made up of energy professionals dedicated to ensuring African Americans and other minorities have a voice in the development of energy policies, regulations, R&amp;D technologies and environmental issues.<br>
<p>Sharon Gray, senior technology planning analyst, Nuclear Technology Solutions, serves as membership chairman for the chapter, whose mission is to build&nbsp; awareness and promote energy consciousness and sustainability within the communities we serve by offering community engagement opportunities and innovative educational programs.</p>
<p>“I am responsible for recruitment of new chapter members and retention of current members,” Gray said. “Being a member of AABE gives me the opportunity to network with industry peers, enhance my leadership skills by being a committee chairperson and stay knowledgeable of energy policies and environmental issues affecting our communities.”</p>
<p>Gray recently attended the Birmingham chapter’s February general meeting, which featured keynote remarks from Southern Company Executive Vice President Chris Womack. “Chris provided a very good discussion of the importance of AABE and how the contacts he has made over the years in the organization have had a positive impact during his tenure at Southern Company.”</p>
<p>“AABE is as an organization that has provided a voice on public policy issues at a time when minority representation was limited in the energy industry,” Womack said.</p>
<p>He commended members for their commitment to re-establishing the chapter and encouraged them to use the organization as a platform to engage in healthy discussion on important topics affecting the industry and owner companies and to positively impact the local community.</p>
<p>That’s a role the Birmingham chapter is happy to take on. “AABE offers the opportunity to empower and educate our communities to be sustainable through energy education,” Gray said. “I got involved with AABE because I wanted to gain additional knowledge of the energy industry and also give back to my community.”</p>