(Palm Desert, CA) — Dan Blesi, CEO and general manager of Crawford Electric Cooperative, Bourbon, Mo., won the 2014 J.C. Brown CEO Communication Leadership Award conferred by the electric cooperative industry’s Spotlight on Excellence Awards program.
Blesi was honored here today during the CEO Close-up, an annual conference for chief executives held by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). The award recognizes an electric co-op CEO who advances communication in the electric cooperative industry. The competition’s judges unanimously praised Blesi’s commitment to the strategic role of communication at Crawford Electric by including the communication function and staff in the co-op’s strategic planning process. “Communication initiatives are integrated into the co-op’s strategic goals, which are supported by a comprehensive communication plan, including a social media plan,” said one judge.
Blesi’s dedication to the Cooperative Difference ranked high with the judges. “He promotes the cooperative form of business to staff, the members and the community at large,” said one judge. Another judge credited Blesi for his “leadership and focus on the value of co-op membership and members’ economic participation.” The judges also praised the staff reorganization engineered by Blesi, who enlarged and elevated the communication function. “He grew the communication function from a newsletter put together by a part-time employee to a department of trained and certified co-op communicators,” noted one judge.
The award memorializes the late J.C. Brown, who – as editor and publisher of NRECA’s RE Magazine – is best remembered for his dedication to communication as a vital link connecting electric cooperatives with each other as well as with their consumer-owners.
The panel of judges consisted of communication and management experts in academia, business and industry, including electric co-ops. Presenting the award to Blesi were Michael Tirpak, CEO of Northwestern Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Inc., Cambridge Springs, Pa., and the 2013 winner of the J.C. Brown Award, along with NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.