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Nine Associated Electric Cooperative employees receive Excel awards

16 people gathered at Excel ceremony, pose for photo in front of Excel awards screeen
Excel award recipients attending the ceremony gather for a group photo.

SPRINGFIELD, MO – Nine area Associated Electric Cooperative employees were among those honored at the cooperative’s recent 28th annual employee recognition award ceremony hosted at its headquarters in Springfield.

The Excel awards are peer-nominated recognitions of employees who have excelled in their careers, leadership, mentoring, innovation, community services, teamwork or exceptional contributions.

Scott Crise of Springfield, manager, gas plant operations, is the recipient of the Community Advocate Excel award.

Crise’s nominator described him as having “a passion for getting involved in the community and working to make it a better place.”

Locally, he serves on the Springfield Public Schools board and in the past has served on and chaired boards of United Way, Ronald McDonald House, Springfield Workshop and Girl Scouts’ Missouri Heartland Chapter. At King’s Way United Methodist Church, he and his wife are confirmation mentors, volunteer monthly at Ozark Food Harvest and teach children’s Sunday School classes.

He urges everyone to volunteer, saying “We are all busy, but we need to make time to volunteer for those in need. It’s a great way to get to know others in the community and build a support system, which really helps when you or your family is going through challenging times. … Take the time and make it a priority. You are a role model for your kids.”

As part of the award to Scott, Associated donated $500 to a nonprofit organization of Scott's choice.

 Lauren Gandy of Springfield, organizational development business partner, is the recipient of the Rising Star Excel award.

Gandy’s nominator pointed to several outstanding contributions she has made. One was simultaneously managing implementation of a new learning software product systemwide and leading the application process for Associated to become a certified “Great Place to Work.” Gandy also became a co-lead in promoting energy careers in Missouri to high school and college students through the newly formed Missouri Energy Workforce Consortium.

She joined Associated’s Springfield headquarters in 2017 with degrees in communication/public relations and business administration and experience in human resources. She and her manager launched the cooperative’s organizational development business partner department in 2018 to support other departments through development and succession planning.

“Associated has incredibly talented and intelligent people with a lot of tenure. If we can capture and transfer that through development and succession planning, we’ll have a next generation fully capable of repeating that,” she said.

 David McNabb of Clever, recently retired senior vice president and special advisor to the CEO and general manager, is the recipient of the cooperative’s Distinguished Service award.

McNabb’s nearly 25 years at Associated have seen his rise from manager of resource planning and operations to the top financial officer and advisor in the organization. Before Associated, he was a farm kid from Republic who graduated from Missouri University of Science and Technology with a degree in electrical engineering. He worked for several years in transmission planning and research and development positions with public utilities in Texas and Oklahoma.

His Associated career included establishing 24-hour power marketing to compete in new markets and under new regulations, then managing it through turbulent years as the rules and markets roiled after the Enron collapse. McNabb also was a player in Associated’s decision to build its own natural gas fleet. During the 2007-2008 recession, he successfully managed rating agency and financial-lender relationships.

“From the beginning of his service to Associated nearly 25 years ago, Dave has given 100 percent of his attention toward what is ‘best for the farmer’ … His contributions to the co-op as his career developed into one of the top leadership positions are unnumbered but include his great ability to see what is wrong with the picture at a glance and then guide the decisions into what could be the best decision for our member-owners.”

Joey Pate of Willard, manager, enterprise business capabilities, is the recipient of the Excellence in Leadership award.

“Joey is the type of leader that people will follow up the hill if he says to charge,” his nominator said.

Pate demonstrated his leadership skills in 2020 and 2021 by leading a major systemwide implementation of management software that began with 18 months of planning followed by 18 months of implementation. He created product user groups as part of the initiative and brought together other software teams to better work together.  Finally, he led in evaluating a new software product for the Accounting & Finance Division. His goal in every case was to listen to users to reduce pain points.

To hone his own leadership skills, Pate mirrors his leadership mentor and carefully watches and listens to other leaders to learn from them. “I care deeply about my people, not just professionally but personally. … I work really hard to ensure they have successful good days and are set up for a long successful career,” he said.

Outstanding Team – Five area team members received the Outstanding Team award:

  •  Republic - Tim Hamilton, principal engineer
  • Springfield - Ken Lance, manager, gas projects; Chris Marquez, manager, reliability-centered maintenance; Pete Ottoson, supervisor, engineering projects; and Sean Wright, managing director, engineering and construction

While based in the Springfield headquarters, these employees spent days and weeks onsite at New Madrid Power Plant in southeast Missouri before and during the plant’s Unit 1 maintenance outage.

The award recognizes the effort put into a planned maintenance outage in 2021. It was completed on time, under budget and without any safety incidents. The outage included new distributed control system for operations and the coal yard, as well as boiler tube, generator turbine, generator stator rewind, switchgears and low- and medium-voltage breaker replacements and a new system for disposal of bottom ash.

The nominator concluded, “There were a lot of hours put in, and everyone still worked together really well and made sure everything was done and put back together and ready to roll as soon as possible. It was an all-around excellent performance by all.”

Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. is owned by and provides wholesale power to a system of six regional transmission cooperatives and their 51 local distribution cooperatives. This cooperative system delivers electricity to 2.1 million member-consumers behind the 935,000 meters served in Missouri, northeast Oklahoma and southeast Iowa. Associated’s mission is to deliver economical and reliable power and support services.  Associated is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

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