Calcot's Tom Smith, other outstanding communicators win CCA honors
Communication is a cornerstone of
cooperatives, and a professional organization recognized outstanding
contributions to the field at its annual meeting in Omaha, Neb.
Tom W Smith, chief executive officer of the Calcot cotton and almond marketing cooperative, was named the 1999 CEO Outstanding Cooperative Communicator Award.
Presented by the Cooperative Communicators Association, the award recognizes Smith's efforts to promote better understanding of his cooperative among members, customers, employees and the general public. Smith received the honor at CCA's annual institute in Omaha.
Leader of the Bakersfield, Calif.- based cooperative since 1977, Smith was cited for expanding the scope and substance of the company's communications program and for adopting a strategic plan that emphasizes a strong communications component at virtually all levels of Calcot's operations.
He started his career with Calcot in 1957 as a field representative just after graduating from Texas A&M. Even though he wasn't trained as a journalist, one of his earliest duties was to edit Calcot's award-winning publication, "The Calcot News." Smith says he found this a tough assignment, but it opened his eyes to the need for communications vehicles that provide a direct link between management, coop members and others.
Under Smith's leadership, Calcot has grown from marketing 500,000 bales of cotton annually to as many as 2 million. He currently is guiding the expansion of Calcot's marketing services to include almonds, a step taken in part to help members suffering from depressed cotton prices. Smith says he believes communications efforts are particularly important when times are tight. Cutting back such programs to prove austerity to members is a huge mistake, he notes.
Communicators from Cenex and GROWMARK earned top cooperative career awards from the CCA.
Jantzen's co-op career honored
Jean Jantzen, recently retired vice president of public relations with Cenex
Harvest States, received CCA's Klinefelter Award given for career achievement in
cooperative communications. Jantzen's retirement earlier this year marked the
end of a 35-year career with cooperatives, originally with Cenex, St. Paul,
Minn., and then with Cenex Harvest States after Cenex and Harvest States merged
During her career, she moved from an administrative support role to key positions in the public relations area, honing skills in areas ranging from corporate and marketing communications to media relations, meeting planning, cooperative education, governmental affairs and human resources. Her communication skills and understanding of cooperatives helped her rise through the ranks to become one of the first women named a Cenex vice president.
GROWMARK's Hastings recognized
GROWMARK's corporate relations manager received
CCA's Graznak Award. Ann Hastings received the award in recognition of career achievements
and excellence in cooperative communications by a CCA member 35 years of age or
She joined GROWMARK, Bloomington, Ill. in 1993 as publications manager and was named to her current position in 1995. She has also worked at the Illinois Soybean Association, Bloomington, and the Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative, Mattoon, Ill. She's a University of Illinois graduate with a degree in agricultural communications.
In 1997, she attended the Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership at the University of Missouri . She is working on a master's degree in business administration at Illinois State University, Normal. Hastings serves on the CCA board and the Illinois Cooperative Coordinating Committee.
||Klinefleter award winner Jean Jantzen (left) and Graznak award winner Ann Hastings at the CCA Communications Institute in Omaha.|
Merlo, Haynes, Farmland honored
Two communicators and the communications staff of a major farmer cooperative
received top honors in CCA-sponsored competitions.
Catherine Merlo was named writer of the year, primarily, on the strength of articles written for USDA's Rural Cooperatives magazine (see item below). Merlo, of Bakersfield, Calif., heads a communications firm that works closely with a number of cooperatives and related organizations. She formerly worked with Calcot. The recipient of awards in a number of categories in this year's CCA writing competition, Merlo was cited by judges for her ability to address a wide variety of assignments.
Page Haynes, communications specialist at Tennessee Farmers Cooperative in Lavergne, earned photographer of the year honors. Judges said Haynes' winning photographs demonstrated both an ability to capture the subject matter and eliminate outside distractions. They also praised her skill in capturing human emotions and feelings in her feature photos of people.
Best-of-class award in the special projects competition went to the communications staff of Farmland Industries, Kansas City, Mo., for its web site (http://www.farmland.com). Judges said the site was a model of useful information. The Farmland site won in that category of competition and then earned best-of-class honors among all winners in special projects categories.
1999-2000 officers elected
CCA officers for 1999-2000 are: President Patricia Keough-Wilson,
Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative; Vice President Lani Jordan, Cenex-Harvest
States; Secretary Heather Berry, Association of Missouri Electric
Cooperatives; and Treasurer Tim Brown, Arizona Electric Power Cooperative.
Other directors include Ann Hastings; Mark Bagby, Calcot; Karla Harvill, Gold
Kist; Leta Mach, National Cooperative Business Association;, and Sheryl Doering Meshke, Associated Milk Producers.
CCA formed in 1952 and is an organization of some 400 communications professionals who work for cooperatives and closely allied organizations throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. It can be found at Coop-Comm.com. Its 2000 annual meeting will be held June 24 to 28 at Grouse Mountain Lodge, Whitefish, Mont.
Rural Cooperatives wins editorial honors
Rural Cooperatives magazine won a number of
editorial and photography honors during the Cooperative Communicators
Association (CCA) annual Communications Institute in Omaha, Neb.
Among the honors were three first place writing awards for: "When Cooperatives Combine" (September/October '98 issue), about the merger trends among cooperatives; "Hooked on Catfish" (May/June '98 issue) about the Delta Pride catfish cooperative in Mississippi; and "The Triumph of the Dawson Workers' Cooperative" (March/April '98 issue) about a worker-owned textile cooperative.
Another article, "Pooling for Power" (July/August '98 issue), about an effort by California farmers to lower their cost for electricity, won a third place writing award. Catherine Merlo, the author of all the articles, was named CCA "writer of the year." The magazine was awarded third place honors as best overall co-op member magazine, and USDA photographer Ken Hammond won a second place photography ribbon for a portrait of a West Virginia seamstress.
CCA strives to promote improved communications and public affairs programs among farmer- and consumer-owned cooperatives.
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