Indian Wells, CA; January 24, 2012 – Michael L. Sims, chief executive officer of Butler Rural Electric Cooperative, Oxford, Ohio, won the 2012 J.C. Brown CEO Communication Leadership Award conferred by the electric cooperative industry’s Spotlight on Excellence Awards program.
Sims was honored here today during the CEO Close-up, an annual conference for chief executives and general managers 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. Sims was cited specifically for “demonstrating a clear understanding of and commitment to the strategic role of communication in employee, member and community relations.”
The competition’s judges praised Sims’s “personal and proactive promotion of the Cooperative Principles” in all aspects of the co-op’s communications and member services programs. Among the examples cited was consistently incorporating one or more of the principles into Butler REC’s local pages that appear in the monthly Ohio magazine Country Living, which is sent to the co-op’s consumer-members.
Also noted was the high visibility accorded the Cooperative Principles in all materials related to the co-op’s 75th anniversary and annual meeting in 2011, and the co-op’s ongoing educational campaign on capital credits.
The judges were impressed with the co-op’s comprehensive communication plan, which is incorporated into the organization’s strategic plan and reviewed monthly for internal as well as external effectiveness according to member satisfaction research. The latest survey showed an overall satisfaction rate of more than 90 percent, a tribute to Sims’ leadership, said the judges. In addition, seven out of 10 respondents said the utility did a good job of communicating, with no gap between expectations and performance.
Sims’s commitment to employee as well as member education drew accolades. “Sims recognizes every employee as an ambassador of information to the co-op’s members,” one judge noted. “It’s great that the co-op’s lineworkers have what they need to explain capital credits,” said another.
Sims also was recognized for his role in creating and building the Touchstone Energy® brand alliance, his service on the brand’s early Steering Committee, and his leadership as president of the Touchstone Energy Board of Directors.
The J.C. Brown Award is a major component of the Spotlight on Excellence Awards, which recognize electric cooperative excellence in communication and marketing. The spotlight program is sponsored by the Council of Rural Electric Communicators, a volunteer group of professionals working with NRECA and other national co-op organizations to advance the recognition, education and professionalism of electric cooperative communicators.