Illinois American Water’s Rhonda Carter Adams Wins Statewide Award for Excellence in Inclusion & Diversity

Belleville, Ill. – Dec. 17, 2020 -- Rhonda Carter Adams, Workforce and Supplier Diversity Program Manager, Illinois American Water, has been recognized with a statewide award for her contributions to diversifying business in Illinois.

On Dec. 1, Adams received the Jerry Garland Award for Excellence in Supplier Diversity from the Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council (IUBDC). The award originated in 2019 and is named in memory of former Illinois American Water Supplier Diversity Manager Jerry Garland. It is presented annually to an individual who demonstrates exceptional results in advancing the practice of inclusion and diversity. The award was announced at the Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council (IUBDC) annual Networking and Awards event virtually.

Adams’ role on the IUBDC has included support and leadership of the council’s Advisory & Strategic Planning Committee, Education and Best Practices Committee, Events Committee, and Communications Committee. At Illinois American Water, she has been active in the NAACP-East St. Louis Chapter and has been involved in education and mentoring efforts at the Jackie Joyner Kersee Foundation Youth Center in East St. Louis. She is also a board member of the Illinois Division of the United Way of Greater St. Louis.

Her nomination read, in part: “Rhonda exemplifies the passion, professionalism, and knowledge that Jerry (Garland) once shared with Illinois American Water and the IUBDC… Jerry would be proud of his successor and that she has continued to expand his mission to ensure that diversity is a shared value and that minority contractors and businesses are treated fairly and represented at Illinois utilities.”

The mission of the IUBDC is to serve the member Illinois utilities as a forum for best practice and information exchanging with a focus on advancing the growth and utilization of utility-based diverse businesses in the state of Illinois. IUBDC members include Ameren Illinois, ComEd, Nicor Gas, North Shore Gas, Illinois American Water and Peoples Gas. 

Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville. For more information, visit and follow Illinois American Water on Twitter and Facebook.


About American Water

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable, and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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Karen Cotton

External Affairs Manager