TAMPA, Fla. — The Council of Rural Electric Communicators (CREC) honored Jimmy Autry, senior vice president of member and community relations at Flint Energies for his extraordinary impact on the cooperative industry today at the annual conference for cooperative communications and member services professionals.
In Autry’s honor, the CREC has created the Autry Leadership Award for Always On Communication; Autry is the first recipient.
For decades, Autry has served as mentor, advisor and coach to the hundreds of cooperative communicators and member services professionals. Over the course of his career, Autry led a successful effort to professionalize communications and member services within the electric cooperative industry.
“Jimmy has been a driving force and leader in co-op nation — advancing strategic communication and the importance of member and community service,” said Mike Birkeland, Director, Member Service & Community Relations for Lake Country Power, and President of the Council of Rural Electric Communicators (CREC). “Jimmy understands that effective communications is key to the success of the co-op model and he has passed that wisdom on to the next generation.”
“I am grateful to the CREC for giving Jimmy the recognition he so amply deserves,” said Flint Energies President and CEO Bob Ray. “After Jimmy announced his retirement last year, we realized it would take at least two people to fill his shoes…and that still might not be enough! I speak for the cooperative community at large when I say we are going to miss his experienced perspective, his extraordinary positive spirit and his success in fulfilling the co-op purpose.”
Autry began his career as a journalist at the Robesonian in North Carolina before moving into public relations. He has spent more than 33 years in the electric utility industry, working at four electric cooperatives and one municipal system.
Comprised of co-op communications professionals from co-ops and co-op organizations, the CREC seeks to emphasize the importance of communications as a strategic management function and support co-op communicators with an array of programs.