Tri-State, member communicators honored with awards of excellence

Members of Tri-State’s communications department and several member co-op employees received national recognition last week as winners in the annual Spotlight on Excellence awards program, sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Council of Rural Electric Communicators.

From left: Ken Haynes (San Miguel Power), Jim Van Someren (Tri-State), Jonathan Thornton (Tri-State) and Alex Shelley (Delta-Montrose Electric) picked up the Spotlight on Excellence awards won by their co-ops at NRECA’s 2013 Connect Conference in Orlando, Fla.

From left: Ken Haynes (San Miguel Power), Jim Van Someren (Tri-State), Jonathan Thornton (Tri-State) and Alex Shelley (Delta-Montrose Electric) picked up the Spotlight on Excellence awards won by their co-ops at NRECA’s 2013 Connect Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Participants in the communications competition went head-to-head with colleagues from electric cooperatives of similar sizes across the U.S. in 19 different categories. Electric cooperative communicators and marketing professionals submitted more than 740 entries in the Spotlight on Excellence program, now in its 25th year.

Faculty members from the University of Missouri-Columbia, University of South Carolina and Ohio University Scripps-Howard School of Journalism judged the entries.

Tri-State communications editor Charlie Powell received an award of merit for best feature story, a piece he wrote for Network magazine called “Wildfires Destroy 500 Co-op Served Homes.” Tri-State’s entire communications team — led by graphics coordinator Trina Van Patten — received an award of excellence for their work on Network magazine (marking the 8th time Network has won the top award in its category).

Strategic communications specialist Jonathan Thornton achieved an award of excellence for best application of electronic communication with his video production of “Western Fuels-Colorado closes on purchase of Colowyo Mine,” and communications coordinator Mary Peck and communications manager Jim Van Someren were recognized for the “Energy Efficiency Programs Founding Fathers” print and radio campaign which received an award of excellence for best total communication program.

“The judges noted that electric cooperatives are being challenged to communicate to the people they serve in more ways than ever before,” said Carol Crabtree, administrator of Spotlight on Excellence. “Printed newsletters, news releases, websites, social media, videos and information in bills are all more important than ever to keep members updated.”

Ken Haynes of San Miguel Power Assocation accepts the Award for Merit for an advertisement on behalf of his co-op.

Ken Haynes of San Miguel Power Assocation accepts the Award for Merit for an advertisement on behalf of his co-op.

A number of Tri-State’s member system employees also earned “Spotlight” awards:

-Award of excellence, best photo: “Rimrock Formation” – Ric Soulen, Poudre Valley REA

-Award of merit, external newspaper/magazine: “Powerlines” – Alex Shelley, Delta-Montrose Electric Assn.

-Award of merit, best computer graphic design: “Fly Fisherman Rebate Ad” – Becky Mashburn, San Miguel Power Assn.

-Award of merit, best computer graphic design: “Power You Can Rely On” – Alex Shelley, Delta-Montrose Electric Assn.

A special luncheon honored the award recipients during NRECA’s 2013 Connect Conference held in Orlando, Fla., on May 15. Winning entries were displayed during the event.

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