CEO Close-Up, Co-op News

Communication Award to Mo. Co-op CEO

By Michael W. Kahn | ECT Staff Writer Published: January 14th, 2014

PALM DESERT, Calif. —Dan Blesi, an electric cooperative CEO praised for the way he promotes the cooperative form of business to staff, the members and the community at large, is the 2014 recipient of the J.C. Brown CEO Communication Leadership Award.

Dan Blesi accepts the 2014 J.C. Brown CEO Communication Leadership Award. (Photo By: Michael W. Kahn)

Dan Blesi accepts the 2014 J.C. Brown CEO Communication Leadership Award. (Photo By: Michael W. Kahn)

“Communication with all stakeholders—members, directors and employees—has to be elevated to the same level of strategic importance within our organizations as rates, power quality and reliability,” Blesi said upon accepting the award Jan. 13 at the 2014 CEO Close-Up.

“Co-ops have always strived to keep the lights ‘always on.’ Today, keeping lines of communication open is just as important,” said Blesi, CEO and general manager of Crawford Electric Cooperative, Bourbon, Mo.

The annual honor goes to a CEO who advances communication in the electric co-op industry.

One judge on the award committee credited Blesi with expanding the communication function “from a newsletter put together by a part-time employee to a department of trained and certified co-op communicators.”

Another judge noted that Blesi is keeping Crawford EC moving with the times with “a comprehensive communication plan, including a social media plan.”

Blesi said communication is more than just a written document. A CEO has to get out of the office and talk to the folks on the frontline.

“I make sure that a portion of my time every week is spent talking to various linemen and service reps, listening and learning how to better serve our members. Those are the people who can really tell us how to make satisfied members.”

The Brown award is bestowed annually by the Council of Rural Electric Communicators and the CCC Program Board, as a key part of the Spotlight on Excellence Awards. It was established in memory of J.C. Brown, editor and publisher of Rural Electric News Letter—the predecessor of Electric Co-op Today and—as well as RE Magazine.

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