At Touchstone Energy we are focused on leveraging the power of our network of 750 co-ops to help every member improve their operations and services. After all, cooperation amongst cooperatives is one of the values that set us apart from other types of utilities, so why not share insights and lessons learned with our colleagues? That’s why we developed the Best Practices Knowledge Base, an archive of co-op interviews and research-based findings on topics ranging from community solar to outage communication to member engagement.
But we wanted a way to share the simple, practical and novel ideas we hear about when we’re just chatting with someone at a Brand Camp or networking during a conference. We have been calling this approach “Admire & Acquire,” a term that was picked up from Karen Moore, the CEO of Baldwin EMC and a newly elected Touchstone Energy board member. Karen said she first heard the phrase from Baldwin EMC Communication Specialist Michelle Geans, who said she first heard the phrase at a communicator conference almost a decade ago.
So while we can’t pinpoint who first used the phrase, we all agree on the benefits of sharing programs we think are just plain cool and could benefit other Touchstone Energy members. And who better to get us started than our colleagues from Baldwin EMC?
Program Name: Shining Star Student Award
Co-op Name: Baldwin EMC
Headquarters Location: Summerdale, AL
Service To: 71,000 meters
Program In Brief: School faculty or community leaders go to the co-op’s website to nominate a middle school student in Baldwin County who exemplifies Touchstone Energy’s values of innovation, integrity, accountability and commitment to community. A Baldwin EMC representative surprises the student at their school with a certificate, $25 Visa gift card and praise from their community. Nominations have ranged from, “She is a dependable and empathetic student that her teachers and peers can count on to lend a helping hand when needed” to “In middle school, it is not often that you find a student who is as self-motivated as [he] is and who is willing to do the right thing in all circumstances, whether someone is watching him or not. He is the type of young man that makes teaching and working with young people a joy each and every day.”
Why It Works: According to Michelle, “Not every student has straight A’s, and we wanted something that would honor their character, which is critical and also helps us focus conversations on Touchstone Energy’s core values.” The nomination form is simple, and the Baldwin EMC employees presenting the awards take the time to read the nomination forms to the students. This not only acknowledges the actions that earned them the respect of the adults in their area but also reinforces their behavior. The feedback from the community has been positive, and you can bet the students’ relatives are sharing Baldwin EMC’s social media posts on Facebook.
For More Info: http://www.baldwinemc.com/, 251.989.6247
Thanks for that simple, yet effective idea, Baldwin EMC! And if you have heard about a program offered by a Touchstone Energy member that deserves to be admired and acquired, please email Laura Cook and it just might be featured on the Brand News blog.