Awards & Recognition
AEP was once again named to Fortune magazine's 2015 World's Most Admired Companies list in the electric and gas utilities sector, moving up two spots from number seven to five this year. Each year, Fortune surveys top executives, directors and financial analysts about the companies in their industry based upon nine criteria: financial soundness, ability to attract and retain talented people, quality of management, long-term investment value, quality of products or services, innovativeness, wise use of corporate assets, social responsibility to the community and environment, and global competitiveness. A total of 668 companies from 29 countries were surveyed to arrive at this year's list. This was AEP's second year participating in the survey.
In April 2015, AEP was ranked as America's eighth most trustworthy large cap company by GMI Ratings, now part of MSCI ESG Research. The research firm screens 5,500 publicly-traded North American companies. It then identifies the companies that most "consistently demonstrated transparent accounting practices and solid governance." Factors include high risk behaviors like regulatory actions, amended filings, revenue and expense recognition methods and bankruptcy risk. This year, MSCI increased its emphasis on corporate governance, which is a key area of focus from our board of directors to all of our employees.
AEP was once again recognized as one of the nation's top 100 "military-friendly" employers by G.I. Jobs Magazine in 2015. This year's honorees were selected from among more than 5,000 employers with annual revenues of at least $500 million. Companies were selected based on their assets dedicated to military hiring, the strength of their recruiting programs, and their policies regarding National Guard and reserve service, among other criteria.
In 2014, AEP was also named one of the nation's Best of the Best Top Veteran-Friendly Companies by the U.S. Veterans Magazine. The magazine polled hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies on their veteran employment and transitioning efforts. AEP has a generous military leave policy and is dedicated to veteran hiring and recruiting programs. Approximately 10 percent of AEP employees have served in the military.
For the eighth consecutive year, AEP was named one of the most adoption-friendly workplaces by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption in 2014. The rankings are based on the maximum amount of financial reimbursement and paid leave per adoption. We also provide families with adoption assistance for eligible adoption-related expenses and provide up to 40 hours of paid leave for new adoptive parents. AEP has assisted its employees with 76 adoptions since 2007.
AEP River Operations' Chesterfield, Mo., office was recognized as one of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Top Workplaces in 2014 for the second year in a row. The Top Workplaces are determined solely on employee feedback. AEP's Chesterfield office had a response rate of 94 percent. These confidential surveys are a great way for employers to gauge how their employees feel about their work environment. We are honored to have been selected for this award, especially by our own employees.
AEP River Operation's was also recognized by the United States Coast Guard with the Rear Admiral William M. Benkert Silver Award for Environmental Excellence in 2014. Designed to distinguish outstanding performance, the Benkert awards recognize industry leaders in the field of marine safety and environmental protection.
Recognition for Technical Work
Many of our employees do technical work and research which results in breakthroughs that benefit both AEP and our industry. Each year, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) recognizes individuals, work teams, companies and industry collaborators for these efforts by conferring through Technology Transfer Awards. The EPRI Technology Transfer Awards are presented to EPRI members who have led efforts to apply research and development on behalf of their companies and the industry at large.
AEP received several EPRI Technology Transfer Awards in 2014 and 2015 for a variety of projects:
- Involvement in outfitting Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the AEP fleet with high-resolution data loggers for the purpose of data collection. AEP was recognized for its real-world evaluation of commercially available plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, helping with executive/employee outreach, public education, the creation of driving/charging evaluating test systems, and refining the data logger system.
- Technical input and financial support for the Ohio River Ecological Research Program. AEP's involvement in this area has supported thorough evaluation of impacts of power plants on fish communities in the Ohio River.
- Use of a pilot-scale passive wetland treatment system at Gavin Plant to evaluate the applicability of this technology for the treatment of low levels of mercury from a flue gas desulfurization (FGD) landfill leachate pond. The results from this project will be useful in designing full-scale systems.
- Application of Hexprotect Tiles to improve process pond water quality issues at the Turk Power Plant in Arkansas. AEP introduced a new technology which will be more reliable, safer and cost-effective than traditional water treatment practices.
- Application of a new ecosystem service modeling tool, InVest, to strategically select 20 hydraulic fracturing well locations in AEP's ReCreation Land area, minimize impacts to ecosystem services and facilitate positive stakeholder engagement.
- Pioneering efforts in the design, construction and operation of the world's first pilot-scale, integrated carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) demonstration facility for a pulverized coal-fired generating power plant.
- Utilizing EPRI research to conduct our own internal study to mitigate the risk of exfoliation (release of oxide scales that build up on interior surfaces) damage in newly and retrofitted stainless steel boiler components. The results have been used to help avoid failures that would have resulted in unplanned shutdowns and lost generation.
- The development of EPRI's U.S. Regional Economy, Greenhouse Gas and Energy (US-REGEN) model which has advanced state-of-the-art electric sector and energy-economy modeling. The design, development and review of the model led to a very sophisticated analytical tool that is capable of revealing information that can form the basis for thought leadership concerning important electric power sector energy and environmental issues.
- Conducting field testing and technology assessment of EPRI's Distribution Grid Resiliency Initiative.
- Collaborating to develop test plans to help develop industry standards for minimum vegetation clearance distances for power lines and infrastructure.
- Engaging EPRI's research and design team to validate the design and test a new high-capacity, high efficiency transmission line design.
- Employing state-of-the-art approaches to reduce corrosion damage in heat recovery steam generators, a major component in natural gas-fueled combined cycle generating plants.
- Development and evaluation of the first full-scale sorbent activation process (SAP), a technology that uses on-site coal to produce activated carbon for direct injection into power plant flue gas for mercury control.