Fueling Diversity In Southern California
Lomax considers herself very fortunate to have found her calling early: She’s an advocate for diverse businesses with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), a Fortune 500 energy services provider that recognizes supplier diversity is a core business strategy that brings value to the company, its customers and the communities it serves.
Lomax credits her passion for diversity to early mentorship from former Sempra Energy Director of Diverse Business Enterprises Shawn Farrar, who was instrumental in establishing a best-in-class diversity program for SDG&E and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), sister companies under Sempra Energy.
In her current role as a senior diverse business enterprises advisor for SDG&E, Lomax is an enthusiastic advocate for diverse suppliers. She continually seeks new suppliers for procurement opportunities, mentors existing suppliers and works closely with SDG&E’s supply management team, internal department clients and community-based organizations to identify suppliers who may provide niche services.
To find qualified candidates, SDG&E vets potential suppliers based on competitive pricing, value-add services, and innovative services or offerings. The utility company also uses the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) database as a resource for researching certified companies.
Lomax is also responsible for developing and coordinating many of the company’s supplier technical assistance and capacity building programs. These comprehensive and evolving programs utilize industry experts in marketing, employment law, IT and financial services. The experts provide suppliers with strong business and financial foundations that enable them to successfully compete for contracts and grow and sustain their businesses. Lomax noted these classes also foster peer sharing, and encourage collaboration between participating businesses with a particular push for woman-to-woman business partnerships.
Lomax shares several important factors that can facilitate a potential supplier’s success not just with SDG&E, but in business overall. She advises that diverse suppliers should maintain updated product lines and regularly purchase new equipment to stay current with evolving market demands. She also stresses that preparing lines of credit is critical for growth and sustainability when a supplier needs to hire additional staff, expand facilities or update equipment and technology.
The senior diverse business enterprises advisor is proud of her contributions to these intensive supplier development efforts. The result is a strong, prepared pool of suppliers who modernize business practices, develop value-added products and services, and identify new and innovative business solutions.
Diverse suppliers are integral to providing SDG&E’s customers with safe, reliable and cost-effective services. In 2016, SDG&E’s spend with diverse suppliers represented 42.7 percent of its total procurement spend, totaling $497 million. Nearly 88 percent of this spend was with diverse suppliers in California, emphasizing the positive impact supplier diversity has on strengthening the communities SDG&E serves.
As the chairman of the board for WBEC-West, Lomax carries out the organization’s mission to create a network of informed, prepared and engaged women business enterprises and corporations through certification, education and targeted networking events.
Married for 25 years, Lomax’s husband, Phillip, served in the U.S. Navy for 22 years. He received his master’s degree in education and is currently a special education teacher at Bonita High School in La Verne, Calif. They have two children together. Chyanne is currently pursuing a degree in early childhood development, and Trey is a junior at San Diego State University where he plays football and is pursuing a degree in criminal justice.