Homeport Partner Profile: American Electric Power

  AEP headquarters is in downtown Columbus along the Scioto River.

AEP headquarters is in downtown Columbus along the Scioto River.

Editor’s note: Homeport is the largest locally-based developer of affordable housing in Central Ohio. High quality partnerships are critical to providing stability and opportunity to our more than 6,200 residents. AEP is the sixth in our partner profile series.

HOMEPORT: Can you tell us about American Electric Power, its history?

AEP: For 112 years, American Electric Power has stood at the forefront of the electric power industry, with predecessor companies American Gas and Electric and Central and Southwest playing pivotal roles as the electric industry raised streetlights on Main Street and spread to illuminate American homes and businesses. Our story is about two companies that came together in the last decade of the 20th century to form a greater company for the new millennium.

Our story showcases larger-than-life characters who saw the potential of electric power beyond the dim glow of gas lamps. It also features field technicians who strung the first transmission lines and emergency response crews who responded after deadly storms and restored power to remote communities. It’s a story full of ups and downs, setbacks and victories, following the path of pioneers as electric power established its place in American life.

  Nick Akins is chairman, president and chief executive officer of American Electric Power.

Nick Akins is chairman, president and chief executive officer of American Electric Power.

Our story is also about AEP’s people who have always shared a focus on serving communities and pursuing new opportunities to efficiently generate and deliver reliable, affordable energy.

HOMEPORT: AEP, through its Foundation, is supportive of many community needs and endeavors in Central Ohio and elsewhere. Why is affordable housing in that mix?

AEP: The Foundation focuses on improving lives through education from early childhood through higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math and by meeting basic needs for emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger. We focus on housing because the family home is the foundation of our communities. In order for our communities to grow and prosper, every family needs a decent place to call home.

  Studying space was added to the Marsh Run community center thanks to a donation from the American Electric Power Foundation. In photo above, Capital University student Jim Nagle, left, provides after school tutoring while others read or access books and computers.

Studying space was added to the Marsh Run community center thanks to a donation from the American Electric Power Foundation. In photo above, Capital University student Jim Nagle, left, provides after school tutoring while others read or access books and computers.

HOMEPORT: AEP provides power to many, if not all our residents. It also contributes to their potential, from creating a learning space at our Marsh Run community center, to supporting our Resident Services department’s efforts to connect people to food, emergency financial assistance, education, after school and summer programming, health and wellness assessments and more. Why is that important?

AEP: From our earliest days, AEP understood the connection between home and community. We purchased buildings in Nitro, West Virginia, near our Windsor Plant to provide family housing for employees, as well as other amenities like a community center, a library and an outdoor tennis court. The residents eventually established a volunteer fire department and social groups that organized picnics, dances and other entertainment.

Our company creed, written in 1934, still rings true today. “Our company is part of the communities we serve. We prosper only as the community prospers so we help it thrive in every way we can.” The services and programs at Homeport communities like Marsh Run provide the necessary components that empower people to improve their lives while contributing to the larger community.

HOMEPORT: How does an organization like Homeport fit into AEP’s vision?

  Mark McCullough, AEP Executive Vice President, Generation, has served on Homeport’s Board of Directors since 2011.

Mark McCullough, AEP Executive Vice President, Generation, has served on Homeport’s Board of Directors since 2011.

AEP: Homeport’s mission to create and preserve healthy, stable and affordable communities is a natural extension of our vision to power a new and brighter future for our customers and communities.

HOMEPORT: What does AEP envision as its key characteristics, role and impact 10 years from now?

AEP: We never stop moving forward, working to improve our customers’ experiences, our communities and our employees. We’re continually energized by our people and their passions. And together we have the drive to create a stronger future for us all.

Customer expectations are changing and it is important that we keep pace. We will make customer interactions easier so they can have greater control of how they consume energy. We will continue to honor our core values and strengthen our ties to the customer, creating greater opportunities to grow our business in a meaningful way.

The future of the energy industry is not only providing unique customer solutions but also to provide universal access to everyone.