At its annual conference in late July, the American Public Gas Association (APGA) presented Midwest Energy Inc. with the prestigious APGA System Operational Achievement Recognition (SOAR) for excellence in operating its natural gas utility.
Out of approximately 750 APGA members, Midwest Energy Inc. was one of just nine selected for a Silver-level SOAR award by its peers on the APGA Operations and Safety Committee. The selection was based on demonstrated excellence in the four areas of system integrity, system improvement, employee safety, and workforce development.
"This award is evidence of the experience and dedication our natural gas division employees have," said Fred Taylor, Midwest Energy’s Vice President for Operations.
"We have lots of gas employees with 30, 40 or more years of service who are retiring. They’ve been doing a great job of transferring that knowledge and experience to their younger counterparts, ensuring we’ll have a safe and reliable natural gas system for decades to come," Taylor added.
System integrity refers to the natural gas distribution system performing its overall intended function safely, efficiently and effectively—distributing energy to all customers without being degraded or impaired by its internal or external environment. System improvement refers to keeping the natural gas system well maintained and up-to-date through a self-improvement program that includes both an eye on the future through research and development, technology integration and a commitment to system improvement programs. Systems that exhibit excellence in employee safety include adopting a safety program that includes policies and procedures for education involvement and accountability for all employees, as well as tracking safety performance. Lastly, workforce development focuses on creative recruitment, training, education and development practices that provide a return on investment through increased employee loyalty, motivation, safety and productivity.
APGA President and CEO Bert Kalisch said, "Midwest Energy was highly rated in all four areas that are required of SOAR. The co-op consistently demonstrates a commitment to providing natural gas safely and efficiently to all those in their communities and as such, serves as a model for all other natural gas utilities in the country. APGA is proud to recognize Midwest Energy Inc. and is confident in their continued success."
Midwest Energy was one of eighteen SOAR recipients recognized at the Gold, Silver or Bronze awards at the APGA Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon on July 23, 2018, joining the 26 previous SOAR recipients. The co-op also received a plaque signifying Midwest Energy’s commitment to and achievement in excellence in operating a natural gas utility system