Members of Exelon Corporation's 2009 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge team gather for an official team photo. The company is back bigger than ever for the 2010 race, scheduled at Grant Park on Thursday, May 27.
Seeking to reduce its carbon footprint,
Exelon steps up in Corporate Challenge
CHICAGO, May 10, 2010 — When the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge® launched its "Teaming Up for a Greener Tomorrow®" campaign in late 2007, the environmental initiative caught the attention of environmentally conscious companies such as Exelon Corporation.
Seeking to address climate change, Exelon launched its own environmental strategy to reduce its carbon footprint in 2008 - Exelon 2020: A Low-Carbon Roadmap.
Move ahead a few years and the two environmental campaigns will come together, at least for one night, when Exelon participates in Chicago's 29th annual JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge at Grant Park on Thursday, May 27 (registration remains open for the event).
"As an electric utility, Exelon is part of an industry that accounts for about 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.," said Melissa Schuh, company captain for Exelon. "As such, we're taking a leadership role in addressing climate change. We've turned our words into action with Exelon 2020, a strategy to eliminate the equivalent of our carbon footprint by 2020. We are working toward this goal by helping the communities we serve reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and by supporting events, such as the Corporate Challenge, that share our commitment to environmental stewardship."
The synergy between an event that uses best environmental practices to reduce its carbon footprint and a participating company such as Exelon that is seeking to make dramatic reductions in its carbon footprint is the type of shared, positive energy that goes to the heart of the Corporate Challenge. The focus on the environment is a newer trend, of course, but it falls squarely in line with the goals and strategy that led to the founding of the Corporate Challenge 34 years ago — to use the Series as a catalyst to promote fitness and camaraderie in the workplace.
As with environmental concerns, Exelon also can relate to the Corporate Challenge's promotion of fitness and camaraderie.
"We have participated (in the Corporate Challenge) since 2005, when a group of seven employees in our internal audit department formed a team to represent Exelon," said Schuh. "The following year, we opened it up to the whole company, and approximately 50 employees participated from 2006 to 2008. Our 2009 team had 65 employees, and we're hoping to have 100 people in 2010."
But, numbers alone don't tell Exelon's Corporate Challenge story.
"One of our core values at Exelon is respect, which we build on a foundation of trust and teamwork," said Schuh. "We use teamwork throughout the organization to get our daily work done; whether it is work at our power plants, on the transmission lines or in the corporate office, collaborative work is essential to our daily operations and our success as an organization. Our employees understand that we all play a part in the company's success, and that same attitude applies to our Corporate Challenge team. Additionally, we are in the process of rolling out a new wellness strategy at Exelon that will help our employees understand the benefits of leading a healthy, fit and well-balanced lifestyle."
The blossoming Corporate Challenge effort at Exelon begins with senior management and Schuh herself.
"We have been very fortunate to have the strong company leadership support over the years," said Schuh. "From 2006 to 2009, the employee health and benefits leadership at Exelon sponsored our team, which was a natural fit for the Corporate Challenge. In 2010, Sonny Garg, our senior vice president of human resources, will serve as our Executive Sponsor."
"For me personally, the Chase Corporate Challenge has inspired me to continue running," added Schuh, a track and cross country runner in high school and college. "After completing a marathon in 2007, I suffered an injury that left me less than inspired to continue running. In 2009, I was asked to be our team captain, and used the opportunity to remind me what it was like to be a part of an organized team — the time in my life when I enjoyed running the most."
Now Schuh is using her position as company captain to help spread that enjoyment to others at Exelon. The company, whose corporate headquarters on South Dearborn Street are not far from the Grant Park course over which its employees will run on May 27, has grown to become one of the nation's largest electric firms with nearly $17 billion in annual revenues. But it remains a company made up of individuals who benefit from shared experiences like the Corporate Challenge.
"Over the course of our tenure with the Corporate Challenge, we have had many first-time runners participate and complete the race with flying colors," she said. "The race helps us connect with one another outside of our routine workday setting, and encourage one another to stay active. Because of the many regulations that govern our business, parts of our workforce must be kept fairly segregated. Events like the Corporate Challenge give us an opportunity to get to know one another outside of our respective operating companies."
This month's race also gives the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge and Exelon a chance to share in an event that has added the promotion of another worthy goal — taking steps to help the environment.