Michael D. Tirpak, (center) CEO and President of Northwestern Rural Electric Cooperative Association, located in Cambridge, Pa, accepts his plaque as winner of the 2013 J.C. Brown CEO Communication Leadership Award. NRECA CEO Glenn English (left) and Eastern Maine Electric's Charlie McAlpin, president of the Council of Rural Electric Communicators (right) were on hand to present the award to Tirpak. (Photo by Stephan Reasonover)
Marco Island, Fla., January 14, 2013 — Michael D. Tirpak, president and CEO of Northwestern Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Inc., won the 2013 J.C. Brown CEO Communication Leadership Award conferred by the electric cooperative industry’s Spotlight on Excellence Awards program.
Tirpak 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. Tirpak was cited specifically for his “commitment to strategic communication initiatives and his insistence that communication is not a separate and discrete function for any one employee or department, but rather the responsibility of everyone in the cooperative.”
The competition’s judges praised Tirpak’s “personal and proactive promotion of the Cooperative Principles” in all aspects of the co-op’s communication and member services programs, citing that he considers member and employee satisfaction the measure of success.
Also noted was the fact that Tirpak has supported the use of apps and mobile devices as a means of enhancing employee communication.
One judge, so impressed with Tirpak’s successful communication and marketing programs said, “Measureable results from formal survey instruments, as well as a burgeoning awareness of and attraction to the cooperative through social media and local media demonstrate this manager’s integration of communication and cooperative principles.”
Tirpak’s commitment to employee as well as member education drew accolades. Another judge noted, “Tirpak demonstrates his support of the communication staff by ensuring that the entire cooperative ‘family’ is the communication staff.”
Tirpak also was recognized for his role in the cooperative for “asking the key question of the decade: ‘How would you like us to communicate with you?’ This speaks volumes for keeping the focus on what is most practical for the member – not the cooperative,” said one judge.
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.
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 cooperative electric utilities. Presenting the award to Tirpak were Charlie McAlpin, manager of communications and member services for Eastern Maine Electric Cooperative, Calais, and president of the Council; and NRECA CEO Glenn English.
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.