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Seven Associated Electric Cooperative employees receive Excel awards

SPRINGFIELD, MO – Seven employees at the headquarters of Associated Electric Cooperative, Springfield, received Excel awards this week at the wholesale power electric cooperative’s 25th annual employee recognition awards ceremony.

The Excel awards are peer-nominated recognitions of employees who have excelled in their crafts, vocations and professions or in specific projects.

Roderick “Rod” J. Dubree, recently retired senior system operator, is the recipient of the 2018 Excel Award for Mentor of the Year. This award recognizes an employee who has excelled in the art of mentoring other employees.

Dubree, of Springfield, worked in the cooperative’s operations center that manages electricity demand from members and other buyers with power generation from Associated’s diverse power sources. He started in operations in 1980 at Thomas Hill Energy Center and in 1985 became a journeyman electrician. In 2001, he moved to Springfield and spent the next 18 years in the operations center.

Dubree excelled in working with new operators to help them apply what they learned from formal training. A nominator said, “He has always been a friendly face and willing to help out a new guy trying to learn this extremely complex job. Rod enjoys helping system operators new and old get better at their job. Rod is a go-to guy when it comes to teaching new operators.”

 Cameron T. Eoff, energy management specialist, is the recipient of the 2018 Excel Award for Community Advocate. 

The award recognizes the efforts of an individual or team who demonstrates the cooperative principle of support for community.

Eoff worked with a core group of employees who volunteered their time to plan and execute fundraisers to support the cooperative’s Christmas Family Fund. In 2018, employees raised more than $5,000 to support the nursery and young parents at Study Alternative School; the teenage girls at Ashley House, who are about to age out of foster care; and a Sherwood Elementary School family.

“Cameron’s passion for the cause, connections within the community, dedication to service, integrity and leadership have allowed the Christmas Family Fund to continue to help those in our community in need. This selfless action speaks well of Cameron and our cooperative spirit,” said the nominator.

Eoff, of Springfield, joined Associated in 2003 as a writing intern, then staff writer in corporate communications. Later he moved into gas, fuels and power marketing positions. Eoff is pleased the Associated gifts help provide second chances to young parents at Study Alternative School. For the girls at Ashley House, the gifts they receive are “to encourage belief in themselves and increase their sense of self-worth,” he said.

Four local employees are the recipients of the 2018 Excel Award for Innovative Action.  The award honors employees who have collaborated to creatively accomplish a goal. The cooperative highly values innovation that benefits its operations and member systems.

 Jennifer L. Burns, environmental analyst, Ozark

  • Melissa R. Coy, procurement agent, Nixa
  • Kelly A. Harrell, mechanical engineer, Springfield
  • Steven J. White, chemical engineer, Springfield

The team worked intensely over many months to locate the source of higher-than-normal copper levels in discharge water at Associated’s Dell Power Plant in Blytheville, Ark. The team located the source in a cooling tower onsite. Their creative solution of replacing the tower’s wooden panels with fiberglass ones “stick by stick” in two phases saved millions of dollars for member-owners. The team also successfully met an accelerated timeline to take advantage of a sudden forced outage at the plant.

Harrell, the project leader, oversaw planning, budgets, timelines and schedules. Coy managed the vetting of contractors and vendors and assessment of their bids. Burns was the liaison with environmental regulators and handled the onsite testing. White was responsible for many trials and scientific analysis as the team searched for sources and solutions.

Summarizing the project, the nominators said, “The team was able to respond very quickly to an opportunity to complete work without impacting the forced outage and save valuable spring outage time and money.”

Luke W. Riddle, building services maintainer II, is the recipient of the 2018 Excel Award for Employee of the Year in a Vocational Field.

 This award honors an employee who is accurate, efficient and detail-oriented in a particular vocation and who shows exceptional initiative in meeting the needs of others.

Riddle, of Billings, served as project manager for the remodel and upgrade of Associated’s operations center in 2018. The project had unusual federal compliance, security, cost and timeline challenges.

“Luke started early and pulled together all the right parties, including system operations, Information Services, building services and external construction and electrical vendors. Once the project began, Luke managed the compliance risk and project participants to keep the project on schedule and well within a tight budget.”

Riddle’s background in construction was instrumental in his management of the project, which ultimately cost millions of dollars less than originally estimated. At Associated, his responsibilities include heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls; mechanical; water treatment; fire systems; and generator.

Riddle received the same Excel award in 2014.

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 910,000 members. Associated’s mission is to provide an economical and reliable power supply and support services to its members. Associated is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.





Photos of recipients available electronically.

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