Southern Company leaders take part in panels at Aspen Ideas Festival

News Center Stories


July 7, 2015

Southern Company leaders take part in panels at Aspen Ideas Festival

At the Aspen Ideas Festival, CEO Tom Fanning explained how the energy industry can "make American lives better" by adding jobs and strengthening the economy.

On June 30, Fanning joined Steve Clemmons, Washington editor at large for The Atlantic and editor of AtlanticLIVE; Mark Weinberger, CEO of EY; Chet Cadieux, CEO of QuikTrip; Zeynep Ton, author and associate professor at MIT; and Dave Dillon, retired CEO of Kroger, for a panel discussion on ways businesses can increase economic mobility.

Fanning highlighted several Southern Company system initiatives that help build the workforce in the communities the company serves, including its award-winning work in recruiting and hiring veterans. He also discussed the system's robust economic development programs and how employees annually contribute more than 200,000 volunteer service hours to build upon the cornerstone of being "A Citizen Wherever We Serve."

On July 1, Fanning was joined by Gillian Tett, U.S. managing editor of the Financial Times; Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.; and Zoe Baird, president of the Markle Foundation, on a panel entitled "How can we sustain economic growth?" During the discussion, Fanning highlighted the company's historically strong stock performance and how developing the full portfolio of energy resources can drive national growth and development.

Fanning also addressed the need for a national energy policy to spur economic growth, stating, "We need to build out the infrastructure of the United States, build the pipes, get jobs going, create an engine for growth where we can create an unassailable advantage relative to any other economy on the planet, to grow jobs, restart manufacturing, grow personal incomes, make American lives better. We can do that."

On the final day of the festival, Chris Womack, executive vice president and president of Southern Company external affairs, served as the moderator of a panel which answered the question, "How can rebuilding communities save lives?"

In the wake of unrest in cities across America, Womack led the robust discussion on how the public and private sectors can collaborate to effect positive change and help rebuild struggling areas. Womack also highlighted Southern Company's efforts to align with organizations which drive impactful change in the communities it serves.

The views expressed by the other panelists are not necessarily those of Southern Company and its affiliates.