Awards & Recognition

Excellence in Economic Development – International

Issued by German American Chamber of Commerce – GACC AHK · Oct 2022
Electric cooperatives recognized for promoting German trade, investment
October 3, 2022

WINCHESTER, Ky. — Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are winners of the 2022 Excellence in Economic Development award presented by the German American Chambers of Commerce.

The award recognizes the work of the electric cooperatives in promoting German-American business relations and supporting trade and investment between Germany and the United States.

“This award is especially gratifying because our electric cooperatives have focused on nurturing business ties with Germany to build trade and to bring jobs and investment to Kentucky,” said Brad Thomas, manager of economic development for Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. The award will be formally presented to the electric cooperatives at the Oct. 14 German American Business Awards in Chicago.

Recent events in Europe have highlighted opportunities to bring foreign investment to the Bluegrass State, especially rural communities.

“As energy prices skyrocket in Europe, there is growing interest among companies in expanding or relocating to regions of the U.S. that offer stable energy prices along with a trained workforce, dependable infrastructure and ready access to markets. Kentucky has all that and much more,” said Brittany Cox, associate economic development manager for Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.

Kentucky’s close business relations to Germany is the theme of a conference next week for economic development professionals from around the Commonwealth. On Oct. 5, Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives will host Co-opAPalooza in Frankfort for professionals and officials from around Kentucky who are engaged in economic development at the local, state and federal levels.

The event will provide an opportunity to network and learn how other rural communities in the U.S. are finding success attracting jobs and investment. It will also underscore the business ties between Kentucky and Germany.

Top 20 Utility for Economic Development – International

Issued by Site Selection Magazine · Sep 2022
 September 6, 2022 – Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives have been named in the top 20 U.S. utilities in economic development by Site Selection magazine.

In 2021, the 17 electric cooperatives facilitated business recruitments and expansions that resulted in 2,600 job announcements and $2.3 billion in projected investment in the communities they serve.

Brad Thomas, Manager of Economic Development, noted the cooperatives are member-owned, not-for-profit organizations headquartered in Kentucky and owned by the Kentucky residents they serve.

In addition to job creation and new capital investment announcements, Site Selection magazine considers utilities’ website tools and data, innovative programs and incentives for business, and the utility’s own job-creating infrastructure and facility investment trends.

Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives have deployed novel tools to market business sites in Kentucky communities, including PowerVision, which uses drones to capture detailed mapping and infrastructure data for rural industrial parks, and produces videos that can be shared instantaneously with prospects anywhere in the world. They have also developed innovative programs to help businesses access renewables to meet corporate sustainability goals.

“The elite Top 20 we named this year earned the honor amid a field of around 3,300 electric utilities across the country, including around 900 cooperatives,” says Managing Editor Adam Bruns of the rankings Site Selection has published since 1999. “Like the power they generate, their robust economic development teams and programs are well distributed throughout the country. And just as their generation and distribution portfolios turn toward renewables and smart technologies, these utilities’ economic developers are helping their communities pursue sustainable growth by cultivating smart capital and talent flow.”September 6, 2022 – Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives have been named in the top 20 U.S. utilities in economic development by Site Selection magazine. In 2021, the 17 electric cooperatives facilitated business recruitments and expansions that resulted in 2,600 job announcements and $2.3 billion in projected investment in the communities they serve. Brad Thomas, Manager of Economic Development, noted the cooperatives are member-owned, not-for-profit organizations headquartered in Kentucky and owned by the Kentucky residents they serve. In addition to job creation and new capital investment announcements, Site Selection magazine considers utilities’ website tools and data, innovative programs and incentives for business, and the utility’s own job-creating infrastructure and facility investment trends. Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives have deployed novel tools to market business sites in Kentucky communities, including PowerVision, which uses drones to capture detailed mapping and infrastructure data for rural industrial parks, and produces videos that can be shared instantaneously with prospects anywhere in the world. They have also developed innovative programs to help businesses access renewables to meet corporate sustainability goals. “The elite Top 20 we named this year earned the honor amid a field of around 3,300 electric utilities across the country, including around 900 cooperatives,” says Managing Editor Adam Bruns of the rankings Site Selection has published since 1999. “Like the power they generate, their robust economic development teams and programs are well distributed throughout the country. And just as their generation and distribution portfolios turn toward renewables and smart technologies, these utilities’ economic developers are helping their communities pursue sustainable growth by cultivating smart capital and talent flow.”

Excellence in Economic Development – International

Issued by International Economic Development Council · Oct 2021
October 5, 2021 – Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives won a Gold Rank for its Co-opAPaLooza, a project in the category of Special Event of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The honor was presented at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference.

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. 25 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from 4 countries.

“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and exemplify the leadership that our profession strives for every day,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and Invest Buffalo Niagara, President, and CEO Tom Kucharski. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects, and partnerships have improved regional quality of life.”

“We’re incredibly honored to recognize the outstanding organizations that received this year’s Excellence Awards. This year, more than ever, has presented opportunities to innovate, impact, and progress the cities, neighborhoods, and communities around us. Each of this year’s recipients represents the best of the economic development profession and exemplifies the ingenuity for fellow economic developers to aspire to in the years to come.”October 5, 2021 – Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives won a Gold Rank for its Co-opAPaLooza, a project in the category of Special Event of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The honor was presented at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference. IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. 25 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from 4 countries. “The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and exemplify the leadership that our profession strives for every day,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and Invest Buffalo Niagara, President, and CEO Tom Kucharski. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects, and partnerships have improved regional quality of life.” “We’re incredibly honored to recognize the outstanding organizations that received this year’s Excellence Awards. This year, more than ever, has presented opportunities to innovate, impact, and progress the cities, neighborhoods, and communities around us. Each of this year’s recipients represents the best of the economic development profession and exemplifies the ingenuity for fellow economic developers to aspire to in the years to come.”

Projects with a Purpose Inaugural 2021 Award Winner:

Jerry Carter, CEO of Inter-County Energy Cooperative; David Crews, Senior Vice President Power Supply of East Kentucky Power Cooperative; and Brad Thomas, Economic Development Manager of Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives

In July of 2019, Diageo North America selected Lebanon, Kentucky as the home for their new $130 million state-of-the-art bourbon distillery. At the groundbreaking, local energy supplier Inter-County Energy Cooperative with support from Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives began discussions with the global beverage company about the potential of powering this new facility with green energy. Diageo announced in June of 2020 that their new distillery would be all-electric and carbon-neutral, making it one of the largest green energy projects in North America.Site Selectors Guild Announces Inaugural 2021 Award Winners Organizations Honored for Exemplary Initiatives in Economic Development June 10, 2021 – The Site Selectors Guild (the Guild), the professional association of the world’s leading corporate location advisors, announced the inaugural winners of the Projects with a Purpose and the Community Innovation awards. These awards, presented for the first time during the Guild’s 2021 Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, recognize exemplary initiatives addressing social and environmental issues and building healthier environments for business. The Projects with a Purpose award honors individuals or organizations who have successfully implemented location selection projects that go beyond job creation to address social or environmental issues within a community.

Top 50 Economic Developer for North America – International

Issued by Consultant Connect · Nov 2019
Associated with Economic Development by Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives
December 3, 2019 – Brad Thomas has been named among the Top 50 Economic Developers in North America, according to a leading economic development consulting firm.

“Each year we ask our robust site selector community and economic development partners to nominate individuals that they feel are top-notch and worthy of the title ‘Top 50 Economic Developers,’” said Consultant Connect — an international trade group for economic developers — in announcing the honor. “We are so glad to have the opportunity to collaborate, learn from and lift up these individuals!” December 3, 2019 – Brad Thomas has been named among the Top 50 Economic Developers in North America, according to a leading economic development consulting firm.

Top 20 Utility for Economic Development – International

Issued by Site Selection Magazine · Sep 2019

Engineering Excellence Award – National Engineering Excellence Award

Issued by American Council of Engineering Companies · May 2019

Rural Economic Development Organization of the Year – National

Issued by National Rural Economic Developers Association · Nov 2018

Excellence in Economic Development Award – Southern US Region

Issued by Southern Economic Development Council · Jul 2018

Excellence in Economic Development Award – Southern US Region

Issued by Southern Economic Development Council · Jul 2018

Excellence in Economic Development Award – International

Issued by International Economic Development Council · Sep 2017

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