AECI honors Springfield employees with its Excel awards
SPRINGFIELD, MO – Five employees from Associated Electric Cooperative’s Springfield headquarters were among those honored in March at the cooperative’s 22nd annual employee recognition awards ceremony in Springfield.
The recipients of the cooperative's prestigious Excel awards were nominated by their peers and co-workers.
Patrick A. Baumhoer, recently retired general counsel and chief compliance officer, received the cooperative’s prestigious Distinguished Service for his decades of service. A nominator praised him for building relationships of trust, addressing complex issues, assimilating and acting on information quickly and being recognized as a leader internally and externally.
Baumhoer began his law career in 1977 after graduating from law school at the University of Missouri. The firm he joined, later known as Andereck, Evans, Milne, Peace and Baumhoer, represented about three-quarters of all electric cooperatives in Missouri, including the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and Associated.
In 2000, he left Andereck to join Associated as its corporate counsel. He was instrumental in helping the cooperative successfully manage risk and in building a compliance culture covering many federal, regional, state and industry regulations related to health, safety, human resources, environmental regulations and stewardship, transmission reliability, contracts and tax issues. He represented Associated in complex litigation and contractual issues before his retirement in January 2016.
Deborah K. Berry of Strafford, senior office associate, received the 2015 Excel Award for Employee of the Year in an Administrative Field. One of Berry’s peer nominators said, “Debbie Berry is what the gold standard of customer service looks like and is a shining star in her field.”
While working in accounting when nominated, Berry processed invoices for payment, managed the corporate credit card program for about 300 employees, set up vendor accounts and assisted with business travel arrangements for employees. Last year she helped streamline procedures to eliminate paper shuffling.
A nominator said, “She has been my go-to in accounting, because no matter the issue, I know Debbie will find the solution for me.”
Berry credits her parents and previous jobs for her customer service abilities. “I thrive on doing the best I can and helping people.”
Vernon “Buddy” N. Hasten of Macon, senior manager, plant operations and reliability, is the 2015 recipient of the Excel Award for Supervisor of the Year. “Buddy has accomplished a near-impossible goal within an engineering-based organization: remotely based groups working as a team,” his nominator said.
Hasten enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he completed a degree in electrical engineering, spent more than 20 years on nuclear-powered submarines and served on the Navy’s nuclear regulatory commission. After retirement, he worked for Alliant Energy in Iowa before joining Associated, where he managed one of its power plants before assuming his current position.
The Excel award recognizes Hasten’s abilities as a leader, supervisor and motivator. His nominator praised him for applying his practical experience to the job at hand, such as improvements to long-range financial forecasting, use of software and collaboration between power plants.
“I wouldn’t be in this position if I didn’t have a great team of people. My goal is to make everyone who works for me as successful as they want to be. That’s the essence of what I do,” Hasten said.
Christopher M. McGeeney of Rogersville, supervisor of transmission policy, is the recipient of the 2015 Excel Award for Employee of the Year in a Professional Field. He works with adjacent utilities, generation and transmission cooperatives, regional transmission organizations, state public service commissions and federal regulatory agencies on regulations, power purchase agreements and contracts related to transmission lines.
“Chris’ attributes include being a subject matter expert related to all things pertaining to transmission policy, … the ability to collaborate across departments/divisions/utility lines, accept new responsibilities without hesitation, quickly learn new concepts and perform at a pace exceeded by none,” his nominator said.
McGeeney’s nominator also pointed out his support for Associated’s six generation and transmission (G&T) owners. “Chris’ expertise and demeanor on a subject puts the owners at ease and instills even more confidence in Associated Electric. Chris has developed extraordinary relationships with G&T counterparts at all levels.”
Keith W. Tyndall of Brookline, senior energy management systems analyst, was named the 2015 Excel Mentor of the Year. “Keith goes above and beyond when he helps to train new team members,” said his nominator, pointing out “how much time and effort he puts in to make sure every small detail is correct.”
Tyndall works in the energy systems department, which manages the hardware and software systems used to monitor and control the electric transmission grid. That includes taking data collected from substations in three states that measure voltage, power flows and the status of breakers and switches and modeling it into displays that system operators can more quickly understand. The reconfigured data must, of course, be absolutely accurate.
“What we do is very critical to the safe and reliable operation of the electric grid,” he said.
Tyndall received the award for his success in helping interns and new hires quickly get up to speed and avoid costly or dangerous rookie mistakes. By sharing knowledge, he has helped new employees hone and apply their skills and become productive more quickly, one nominator said.
Mentoring, Tyndall said, is “simply about taking the time to help another person grow in their field. When I review work, I try to point out that this little thing that doesn’t seem important is important and here’s why.”
Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. is owned by and provides wholesale power to six regional and 51 local electric cooperative systems in Missouri, southeast Iowa and northeast Oklahoma that serve more than 875,000 customers. Associated’s mission is to provide an economical and reliable power supply and support services to its members, including the “Take Control & Save” energy efficiency program, www.TakeControlAndSave.coop. Associated is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.
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