Displaying the newly presented “Spotlight on Excellence Award” are (from left) MEC employees Priscilla Whirley and David Lipscomb with EMPOWER employee Dina Blanton.

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative was awarded first place in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Spotlight on Excellence Awards program that recognizes leading communication practices for 800-plus electric cooperatives across the nation.

MEC received the recognition for its entry in the Best Total Communication Plan category.

The entry documented MEC’s efforts, during the past two years, to acquire the Buggs Island Telephone Cooperative’s system by EMPOWER Broadband Inc., to coordinate the deployment of ultra-high speed fiber broadband to communities served by MEC. The entry outlined, step by step, the process used to communicate the plan with BIT Members.

There are 16 different categories in the Spotlight on Excellence Awards program that reflect the wide scope and valuable contributions of cooperative communicators; and, unlike the other categories, the Best Total Communication Plan requires specific timelines be included based on conception and implementation.

The Spotlight on Excellence is a program of the Council of Rural Electric Communicators and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and recognizes commendable work and shares best practices with the nation’s electric cooperative network. The program’s objective is to enhance the profession of cooperative communications by showcasing current, leading practices in a variety of forms of media. Sharing these practices enables the entire network to benefit from the work of top communicators.

“We are pleased that the BIT membership entrusted MEC and EMPOWER to build a program to deliver much needed broadband to our area; communicating that effort and, in general, keeping our members informed is one of our most important tasks. This awards program provides a great opportunity for communicators across the country to share their best work,” said David Lipscomb, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative’s vice president of member and energy services. “The program serves as a way for us to grow and build our communication skills. Gaining the ear and attention of our Members in today’s busy world requires that we deliver the message clearly and concisely.”

He added, “Studying this program’s entries also ensures we use the best tools and most up-to-date methods to send that message so that it speaks to today’s member.”

“We’re very pleased our cooperative received this recognition and send special congratulations to our communications team who worked tirelessly to share the message and provide the vital information members needed to make their decision in an overwhelming vote in favor of the acquisition,” said MEC and EMPOWER President and CEO John Lee. “They did an excellent job, and this recognition is well-deserved.”

As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, a virtual recognition and celebration was conducted and plaques were shipped to the recipients.

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative was created in 1938 and is the not-for-profit energy provider to more than 31,000 meters located in portions of the Virginia counties of Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania, Southampton and Sussex and the North Carolina counties of Granville, Person, Northampton, Vance and Warren. It is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, headquartered in Chase City with district offices in Gretna, Emporia, Chase City and Bracey.