North Carolina Electric Co-op CEO Wins National Leadership Award for Communication Innovation

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.–Curtis Wynn, CEO of Roanoke Electric Cooperative in Ahoskie, NC was awarded top honors in the cooperative industry’s “Spotlight on Excellence” program. Wynn’s selection for the 2017 J.C. Brown CEO Communication Leadership Award was announced at the national leadership conference for co-op CEOs hosted by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). The award, presented by NRECA CEO Jim Matheson, recognizes an electric co-op CEO who advances communication in the electric cooperative industry.

Wynn serves as secretary-treasurer for the NRECA Board of Directors. At Roanoke EC, Wynn expanded communications channels to more than 30 to include the cooperative’s blog, e-newsletter, mobile app and various social media platforms. He initiated “Straight Talk” Forums–a series in the co-op’s seven-county region giving Wynn the opportunity for face-to-face dialogue with the membership. One judge praised Wynn for embracing “numerous platforms to reach the members and share the co-op message.”

Wynn understands the needs of the economically challenged region that he serves. The CEO traveled across the region speaking with local government officials and school administrators to promote Roanoke EC’s fiber project, “Roanoke Connect,” a 200-mile fiber build out enabling Roanoke EC to use more state-of-the-art technology to maintain its electrical system. Unused fiber will be available to internet service providers to boost the availability of high-speed internet access in the region. According to another of the five judges, “stressing the member-owner connection is so important. It’s the heart of what makes the co-op model work.”

“Leading an electric cooperative requires commitment to reaching out to all the members, meeting them where they are and urging them to become engaged,” said Matheson to the audience of co-op leaders. “Curtis Wynn is a leader and innovator committed to improving the lives of the people he serves. I applaud Curtis for his contributions to his co-op, to our industry and the larger community–in North Carolina and internationally.”

In addition, Roanoke EC has been nominated for entry into the Palladium Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame for Executing Strategy. Under Wynn’s leadership, Roanoke EC was voted area’s best electric company by readers of Roanoke-Chowan News Herald and was named Business of the Month (June 2016) by Gates County Chamber of Commerce.

The J.C. Brown 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 five judges consisted of communication and management experts in academia, business and industry, including electric co-ops.

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.