Annual Meeting 2014, Co-op News, Special Features

Touchstone Energy Debuts New Leadership, Video

By Michael W. Kahn | ECT Staff Writer Published: March 6th, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Two debuts and one farewell marked Touchstone Energy’s® 2014 annual meeting.

Jim Bausell received the Touchstone Energy Distinguished Service Award. (Photo By: Luis Gomez Photos)

Jim Bausell received the Touchstone Energy Distinguished Service Award. (Photo By: Luis Gomez Photos)

The first debut was of a new music video featuring real co-op linemen, including one who is a hero both on the job and in distant lands.

Journeyman lineman Dave Rasmussen is featured in “You Know the Kind,” which is available for use by all Touchstone Energy co-ops. The video opens with Rasmussen getting a 4:30 a.m. call to come in. It spotlights the hard work and dedication of all linemen, and includes some from Pedernales Electric Cooperative in Johnson City, Texas.

The video ends with Rasmussen arriving home at the end of the day. It’s a family affair, featuring his wife Maggie and their children Ellie, Preston and Victor.

A 13-year veteran of Cuivre River Electric Cooperative, Rasmussen is a hero to more than just the members of the Troy, Mo.-based co-op. He’s a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves who has served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rasmussen, a combat engineer instructor, received the Bronze Star with Valor for his service in Iraq.

The March 4 meeting’s other debut dovetailed with the farewell. Jim Bausell, longtime Touchstone Energy chief operating officer, introduced his successor, Denise Aranoff-Brown, who is the new COO/chief marketing officer. Bausell is now NRECA’s senior vice president of communications.

“I can’t thank you enough for the warm welcome you’ve shown me,” Aranoff-Brown told meeting participants.

Aranoff-Brown joined Dan Brown, president of the Touchstone Energy board and CEO of Cuivre River EC, in highlighting some of the key accomplishments of the brand, which now has 750 member co-ops.

Top of the list: Touchstone Energy co-ops’ superior performance in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, where their score of 81 is six points higher than the investor-owned utility average.

Another highlight is the Co-op Connections Card program, which continues to provide great value to members.

“We’ve passed the $70 million mark nationally from the prescription savings program alone,” Aranoff-Brown said.

Dave Champion, seen here with CFL Charlie in 2012, received a Touchstone Energy Distinguished Service Award. (Photo By: Touchstone Energy Balloon)

Dave Champion, seen here with CFL Charlie in 2012, received a Touchstone Energy Distinguished Service Award. (Photo By: Touchstone Energy Balloon)

The meeting concluded with Distinguished Service Awards for those who exemplify the cooperative spirit and the core values of Touchstone Energy.

One award went to Dave Champion, recently retired CEO of Paxton, Ill.-based Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, who doubles as a pilot on the Touchstone Energy balloon team.

“I really appreciate this award, and I’m humbled and honored,” Champion said.

The other award was a surprise: It went to Bausell for his 14 years of service.

“Jim has been the driving force, the vision and the energy behind the Touchstone Energy brand,” Brown said. “His energy and imagination are infinite. His creativity and innovation are like no other in the industry.”

Bausell thanked his wife, Pat, and had the Touchstone Energy national staff join him on stage. He then told the cooperative leaders in attendance, “You are the brand. And I know that you’re going to continue to do great things with Denise’s leadership. I can only see great things for the next 15 years.”

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