Pride, valor and commitment.

Sandy Schneeberger, president and CEO of The Sanberg Group, Inc., is an example of this. After 20-plus years serving in the U.S. Army Reserves, she retired in 2005 to focus her efforts full-time to her company, which specializes in environmental compliance and restoration services.

The Sanberg Group is one of several service-disabled veteran-owned businesses that work closely with Southern California Edison (SCE), a utility that also strategically recruits veterans and was featured in this year’s G.I. Jobs listing of military friendly employers.   

“As veterans, we have experience as leaders, team builders and organizers,” said Schneeberger. “We are also disciplined, decisive, adaptive and resilient, which are important traits for business owners to possess.” 

It was in 2012 that Schneeberger attended a workshop hosted by SCE’s Supplier Diversity and Development department, where she learned of an upcoming Request for Proposal to assemble broadband global area network equipment. She won that contract and since then the Sanberg Group has been awarded three other prime contracts and four subcontracts to support construction services on SCE’s transmission lines and substation construction sites.

“Working with service-disabled veteran-owned companies is more than patriotic, it is practical,” said Doug Bauder, SCE chief procurement officer and vice president of Operational Services. He is also a veteran and former U.S. Navy submarine officer. “We know that service-disabled and veteran-owned companies deliver and reflect the very best in performance, so we try to find as many opportunities for them to participate in our major capital projects.”

Through SCE’s Supplier Diversity program, small businesses like The Sanberg Group can contract with SCE to provide materials and services that help power over 14 million customers in a 50,000-square-mile service territory. In 2013, SCE spent $1.4 billion with diverse businesses; $41 million was spent exclusively with service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.

This kind of collaboration and support is a source of pride for many employees, especially those who have served and continue to serve in the U.S. military.

“I am thankful that I work for a company that sees the benefits and value of contracting with veteran-owned businesses,” said Larry Moench, president of Valor, SCE’s employee resource group that advocates for veterans and their families, both inside and outside SCE.

“It’s great knowing we have the kind of leadership that recognizes the potential and dedication of veteran-owned companies. It isn’t just words being spoken; we are doing something to help veterans succeed when they come home.” 

In addition to the contracts it awards, SCE’s Supplier Diversity program has also been a strategic partner to the Elite Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business (SDVOB) Network for nearly a decade, a national organization that educates and mentors service-disabled veteran-owned companies in business development.

“The Elite SDVOB Network’s primary objective is to empower disabled veteran businesses and prepare them for becoming strong competitors in the marketplace,” said Schneeberger, who is president of the Los Angeles Chapter. “SCE has been supporting us in that work every step of the way.”

In addition to providing business owners with bidding and contracting opportunities, SCE also works with veteran-owned businesses to succeed long into the future.

“Our Supplier Diversity program helps service-disabled and veteran-owned businesses position themselves for long-term success and sustainability, so they can successfully compete for work with us, as well as other companies,” said Bauder.

For more information about SCE’s Supplier Diversity program: www.sce.com/supplierdiversity.