The J.C. Brown CEO Communication Leadership Award (J.C. Brown Award) recognizes an electric cooperative or public power district chief executive officer/general manager who is committed to advancing communication at the cooperative and in the electric cooperative industry. Established in 2003, the award memorializes the late J.C. Brown and his unwavering dedication to the importance of communication as a vital link connecting electric cooperatives with each other and with their consumers, and to advancing the cooperative business model. Read the J.C. Brown fact sheet (PDF) for more detailed information.

The J.C. Brown Award winner is recognized at NRECA's CEO Close Up conference in January. The CEO and his or her communication's team are also recognized at the CONNECT conference in May.

Read about the legendary wit of J.C. Brown here.

Application Process and Timeline

The Call for Entries for the 2020 cycle is now open. The deadline for nominations is Oct. 28, 2019.

To submit payment and receive a link to the online entry form click here.

You can download the Call for Entries, Frequently Asked Questions, the Judges’ Rubric and a hard copy of the nomination form for an overview of the award and process to help you prepare. The online form does not allow you to save the form and come back to it later. Please make note of the word limits to written responses and the size limits for any optional supporting materials.

All nominators will receive notice regarding the status of their entry by Dec. 10, 2019.

Please note subsequent award criteria are subject to change.

2019 J.C. Brown Award Winner

The 2019 award was presented during NRECA's CEO Close-Up conference in January. Congratulations to Duane Highley, president/CEO of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. and Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc.

Read more: Arkansas’ Duane Highley Wins J.C. Brown Award

Ready for more inspiration as you consider a J.C. Brown award application? Check out the list of past winners and highlights of recent winners.


Contact Anne Prince,, 703-907-5544

The J.C. Brown CEO Communication Leadership Award is sponsored by the Council of Rural Electric Communicators (CREC) and the Certified Cooperative Communicator (CCC) Program Board in conjunction with the Spotlight on Excellence Awards Program.

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