Southern Company chairman, president and chief executive officer Thomas A. Fanning told a Samford University audience Feb. 14 it is vital for the U.S. to get energy policy right.

"The United States is blessed with a series of energy resources, and we have to take advantage of them all," Fanning said.  He spoke in Brock Forum as part of the Brock School of Business Entrepreneurship Speaker Series.

With 4.4 million customers, the Southern Company is one of America's largest producers of electricity, Fanning said.

"The economy is getting more electrified," he said. "What we do matters.  It's about driving the economy. It's about allowing people a chance to improve their lives. Everything we do is fundamental to the families we serve."

Speaking to the room full of faculty, students and business and community leaders, Fanning explained how diversity is more than race and gender, and by embracing the many facets of the work force, companies can make a greater impact.

"What we want is diversity of judgment, experience and skill set," he said. "The more diverse our experiences, the better off we are going to be serving you all and everyone we touch."

Fanning spoke on Southern Company's two guiding principles: developing the full energy portfolio, including new nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency, and investing in energy innovation.

Brock School of Business Dean Howard Finch said, "Samford University has the responsibility to bring top leaders to campus who are involved in communities to make them better as well as the lives of the people who live there better.  As a business school, it is our responsibility to bring great business leaders to our campus for our students to learn from.  Today, I am happy to say, we got two for one."


Sarah Waller is a senior journalism and mass communication major who writes news stories and features for the Samford University Office of Marketing and Communication. 

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.