Two employees at New Madrid Power Plant receive Excel awards

Friday, April 12, 2019
Associated Electric Cooperative CEO David Tudor, left, and President Emery Geisendorfer, right, present the cooperative’s prestigious Excel award to Amanda Hunt, Employee of the Year in an Administrative Field.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Associated Electric Cooperative presented its prestigious Excel awards to two employees based at the New Madrid Power Plant during its 25th annual employee recognition awards ceremony at Associated’s Springfield headquarters last week.

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

Amanda M. Hunt, plant office associate, is the recipient of the 2018 Excel Award for Employee of the Year in an Administrative Field. The award recognizes an employee whose skills and talents, including accuracy, organization, flexibility and creativity, produce positive results.

Hunt, of Portageville, joined the cooperative in 2014, and her attention to detail and organizational skills soon pegged her to support the plant’s manager, assistant manager and department heads. “I am the one who does all the little detailed things that people don’t even think of,” she said.

A nominator described Hunt in this way: “While many folks would love to be the ‘queen bee’ in the hive, Amanda is by far the hardest ‘worker’ in the new Madrid colony. She has a drive that is unsurpassed and is always thinking of others. Every time you see her, she is brainstorming ways to make other people’s lives better.”

Another nominator noted her involvement with the Associated Employee and Community Involvement team,” which she now leads. The team is comprised of three committees that organize employee and family events, sponsor food drives, host fundraisers for charity such as cook-offs and bake sales and identify community-involvement opportunities for employees and the plant as a whole. She and the team have an “overwhelming desire to improve the culture of the plant, give back to others and genuinely make people feel special,” said the nominator.

Christopher C. Graves Sr., maintenance planner, is the recipient of the 2018 Excel Award for Employee of the Year in a Technical Field. This award honors an employee highly skilled in the technical complexities of operating a power plant.

Graves, of Dexter, joined Associated in 2015, bringing 15 years’ experience with a local aluminum smelter. At New Madrid Power Plant, he works in the instrumentation department to maintain the plant’s many temperature and pressure controls, transmitters and other devices.

Graves played a key role in 2018 in a project that improved the reliability of damper drives that control air flow into boilers. An electrical signal would prompt the drives to open or close by so much – and then stay in that position. However, the controls were overly sensitive, and the drives moved much more frequently than necessary, resulting in premature equipment failure.

Graves oversaw an in-depth process to solve the problem. The manufacturer was included, and the team worked to methodically adjust the sensitivity. From as many as 50 failures a year, they are down to three or four.

His nominators said Graves “has established himself as a fundamental and critical asset of the instrument department at NMPP” and pointed to the reduced number of backlogged work orders he had achieved. They also praised him for his involvement in process improvement. “He regularly volunteers to champion new process changes and willingly modifies his own work processes to test new ideas and strategies proposed by the group.”

For Graves, 2018 was not a special year, however. Though deeply honored by the award, he modestly said, “I do the best I can. That’s how I roll.”

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.

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