Southern Company: Breeding success

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Southern Company, under the direction of Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning, has been named the number one electric utility in North America by Electric Light & Power magazine.

Fanning has worked for Southern Company for more than 30 years in 15 different positions in eight different business units. His expertise in finance, strategy, international business development and technology have definitely paid off for the utility.

"[Fanning] and his employees drove the fourth-largest utility in the United States to achieve high rankings in market capitalization, innovation, construction, job creation and customer satisfaction reports, despite expected coal plant retirements next year and tough political and economic times," Teresa Hansen, Electric Light & Power editor in chief said in a statement.

Fanning's philosophy is that lasting companies must commit to the community, embrace technology and transform themselves to meet customers' needs. A tribute to that philosophy, Southern Company celebrated its 100th anniversary on Janauary 5, 2012.

"I attribute the company's long-term success and positive impact on the community to our culture of sustainable innovation," said Fanning. "Efforts that exemplify sustainability through innovation touch every aspect of Southern Company's business."

Among its many accomplishments, Southern Company recently acquired the largest solar facility in the country and is building the country's first two commercial reactors in 30 years despite outcries from critics.

The utility is also revered for its environmental stewardship, in part, due to its role in the Longleaf Stewardship Fund, a landmark public-private partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Southern Company that supports accelerated restoration of the longleaf pine ecosystem in the southeastern United States.

Southern Company has recently been recognized for its customer service, biomass plant, and carbon capture technology among others.

The company will revel in and appreciate this award just as it does all of its successes.

"Success breeds success. It is a learned behavior," Fanning was quoted as saying on the company's website. "While a characteristic of a high-achieving company or organization is to be self-critical, we must always recognize and celebrate our successes."

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