Bronze Valley has added two members to its Board of Directors. They are Kenneth E. (Kenny) Coleman, president and CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA), and Jeff Peoples, executive vice president of Customer and Employee Services for Alabama Power.
“Kenny and Jeff are great leaders who understand the importance of Bronze Valley’s mission, and who have demonstrated a commitment to the ideals of diversity, equality and inclusion throughout their respective careers,” said Bronze Valley president and CEO Neill S. Wright. “We are pleased to have them join the board and look forward to their contributions.”
A native of Jersey City, New Jersey, Coleman holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Haven and an MBA from the University of Alabama. He played professional baseball in the Chicago White Sox organization, including with the AA Birmingham Barons. Coleman returned to Birmingham to begin his business career with the Metropolitan Development Board, a predecessor organization of the BBA, which is focused on economic development, workforce development and public policy in the Birmingham region.
Immediately prior to coming to BBA in July 2020, Coleman was interim president and CEO of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce in metro Atlanta. Most of his 25-year career as a senior executive has been spent in roles of increasing responsibility with Southern Company and its subsidiaries Georgia Power, Alabama Power, Mississippi Power and Southern Company Gas.
During his career, Coleman has been instrumental in launching and advancing successful programs and initiatives in the areas of stakeholder engagement, regulatory and legislative affairs, public policy, brand identity and economic development. As a member of the Bronze Valley board, he sees his role as connecting the organization’s mission with the work of the BBA.
“High-growth innovators and tech companies are the future of Birmingham’s inclusive economy,” Coleman says. “Ensuring that diverse, underrepresented and underestimated founders have access to early-stage funding through resources like Bronze Valley is crucial to realizing that potential, to the benefit of Birmingham, the region and the entire state.”
Peoples began his career as a chemical technician at Alabama Power’s Plant Miller in 1984 and has steadily ascended the ranks, currently serving as executive vice president of Customer and Employee Services at Alabama Power and senior vice president of Operations Services for Southern Company.
At Alabama Power, Peoples has responsibility of customer services, marketing and economic development strategy and operations, as well as the company’s six geographic business divisions. In addition, he oversees numerous employee-focused functions, including labor relations, safety, human resources products and services and wellness, health and disability management.
Peoples’ responsibilities at Southern Company include the Safety and Health Council, human performance and industrial and contract relations organizations. He also leads Southern Company’s systemwide efforts in labor relations, safety, and technical training.
Advancing inclusion in the workplace and beyond has been a longstanding priority for Peoples. In 2018, he became a founding member of the Alabama Power Council on Culture and Inclusion (CCI), which focuses on strengthening the company’s culture, ensuring that all employees are valued, respected and treated fairly.
In addition to his ongoing work with the CCI, Peoples serves on the boards of directors for the Alabama Power Foundation, the Alabama Business Charitable Trust Fund, the Southeast Labor and Management Public Affairs Committee, the National Utility Industry Training Fund, the Center for Construction Research and Training, and the Alabama Governor’s Labor/Management Conference.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion are key components in strengthening our communities,” Peoples says. “Through Bronze Valley, we’re focused on developing the workforce pipeline necessary for an inclusive economy — today and for the future.”
Bronze Valley is a non-profit, early stage venture investment platform that supports high growth, innovation and technology-enabled companies created by diverse, underrepresented and underestimated founders. The mission of Bronze Valley is to provide an education-to-opportunity-to outcome pipeline for communities that are underrepresented in technology careers and in fields where innovators will shape the future.