Ralph Cleveland was named President and CEO of the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) in March 2022. He also serves as Senior Managing Director and CEO of Cleveland and Associates, a consulting firm dedicated to empowering businesses and corporate leaders in strategic growth, transformation and scaled operations, and he is the President and COO of S.L.King Technologies, a consulting firm which provides premier services in planning, design, construction management, asset management, data management, business process management, energy resource management and information technology. Prior to these roles, Cleveland served four years as the Global Head of Customer Operations, Business Transformation, and Supply Chain for Fortune 50 American International Group (AIG). In this role, Cleveland had responsibility for responsibility for over 16,000 employees and $1.4 billion in general operating expense for AIG Commercial and Consumer Insurance. He developed and matured functional operations for Contact Centers, Client and Policy Servicing and Collections, Sourcing and Procurement, Risk and Control Services, and Operations Services. His Business Transformation responsibility included managing an investment program portfolio of $250 million in expenses and $800 million in capital investment, annually. These responsibilities included developing and implementing AIG’s global target operating model. Cleveland also held responsibility for development of the property and casualty global operations shared services and back office processing centers for three years. Cleveland has 35+ years of experience in the energy and infrastructure sector in various corporate and industry roles. For a ten year period, he was responsible for centralized utility operations shared services for then AGL Resources, now Southern Company Gas, which included: engineering, construction, environmental health and safety, crisis management, business continuity planning, supply chain, supplier development, supplier diversity, project management, and high consequence operations such as gas operations, gas storage and transmission operations. Mr. Cleveland was also a member of the AGL Resources’ Policy Committee which set strategic and policy direction for the Fortune 1000 corporation. In addition, he served on the Compliance Committee, the Foundation Board of Directors, and the Investment and Administrative Committees. He also served as Chairman and CEO of several of AGL Resources’ commercial and operating subsidiaries. In his role immediately prior to starting at AIG, Mr. Cleveland served as President of Nicor Gas which serves 2.2 million customers in northern Illinois and had profit and loss responsibility for the business unit. Previous to his roles as Nicor Gas President and corporate SVP/EVP, Cleveland served as vice-president of operations for the then newly acquired subsidiary utility, Virginia Natural Gas, where he was responsible for post merger integration of operations and engineering activities as well as executive oversight of field service, distribution operations, local engineering design and construction, pipeline operations, propane peak shaving operations and customer operations including customer contact center and collections activities. Prior to his work in local gas distribution, he spent well over a decade in oil and gas research, development, and production; natural gas processing; and petrochemical industries, in various engineering, operations, operations risk management, and line management roles. Mr. Cleveland is currently serving as a member the board of the National Energy Foundation and as an NPC Council Member of the National Petroleum Council. He also previously served as the Chairman and CEO of the North American Energy Standards Board. He is president and founder of the Capital and Enterprise Development Group, non-profit endeavor which is dedicated to economic inclusion and socio-economic development. Mr. Cleveland has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America by SaVoy Magazine and an Outstanding Georgia Citizen by the Secretary of the State of Georgia and was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni of the Georgia Institute of Technology. A native of Macon, Georgia, Mr. Cleveland received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech, completed post-graduate studies in mechanical engineering at Rice University in Houston, TX and received his master’s degree in business administration from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has been a common goal of many in the energy industry. But paths for reaching this goal may vary depending upon from where one begins. What common or unique characteristics exist between the various racial or ethnic communities? Do these characteristics affect how they view barriers or opportunities in workforce training and entry, professional advancements, and energy justice? We invite the leaders of these communities to share their best ideas and perspectives.