​The Autry Leadership Award for "Always On" Communication (Autry Award) is a "lifetime achievement" recognition acknowledging an electric cooperative communicator who has made extraordinary impact and contribution to the practice of "Always On" communication. The award was established in 2017 in honor of Jimmy Autry, who retired in 2017 after a distinguished and impactful career as an electric cooperative communicator. Jimmy was instrumental in creating and promoting the Always On framework for communication, which is as strategically important to a cooperative’s success as the infrastructure that keeps the lights on. An Always On communicator is focused on creating and delivering strategic communication that strengthens member relationships, enabling operational success.

Always on Report​

The Autry Award will be awarded as warranted at the annual CONNECT Conference.

The Autry Leadership Award for "Always On" Communication is sponsored by the Certified Cooperative Communicator (CCC) Program Board and the Council of Rural Electric Communicators (CREC).

Nomination Process

An Autry Leadership Award nominee is someone who is well-known and respected across Co-op Nation and who has worked a minimum of 20 years in electric cooperative communications, including time at a strategic management level. An individual may be nominated within one year of ending service if the nominee meets the qualifications and standards for which the award was created. The nominee’s cooperative must be a voting member of NRECA. The Autry Leadership Award is awarded only as merited, and a recipient may receive it only once. 

Potential candidates may be nominated by any industry peer who is currently employed by an electric cooperative that is a voting member of NRECA. Currently seated members of the CREC or CCC Boards may not submit a nomination. A worthy nominee will have:

  1. Made an extraordinary impact on and contribution to the practice of Always On communication. This individual will be well known across Co-op Nation, and not just within the marketing-communications community.
  2. Executed a substantial body of work that demonstrates leadership and innovation in communication, member service, and community relations. 
  3. Inspired others and served as a national role model for strategic communications excellence.

To submit a candidate for consideration, complete the Nomination Form and include three letters of reference. Nominations will be accepted at any time and directed to members of the CREC and CCC Executive Committees, each of whom will independently evaluate and score the nominee based on the three qualifications listed above. With a unanimous affirmative vote of the joint executive committees, the nomination will move to the full CREC and CCC boards for approval. A nominee receiving a majority vote from both groups in favor of his/her nomination will be named an Autry Leadership Award winner. Nominators will be notified as to the final status of the nomination.​


Contact the secretary of the Council of Rural Electric Communicators.

See the Awards & Recognition page to learn about other communications awards programs.