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Executive engagement earns AEP, IBEW honor from United Way

by on May 22, 2014
Accepting the United Way’s Engaged Leadership Advocacy Award are (left to right): Dan German, president and business manager IBEW Local 1466; 2013 AEP-IBEW Local 1466 United Way Community Champs Nathan Bronder and Ashley Weaver; and Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer.

(Story by Barry Schumann)

The employee-led AEP-IBEW Local 1466 United Way campaign has received the Engaged Leadership Advocacy Award from the United Way of Central Ohio. The award honors the CEO and management team who champion their employee campaign through proactive, continuous engagement with the United Way and encouragement for employees to donate at leadership levels.

Among those accepting the award were Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer, and Dan German, president and business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1466. Also accepting the award were campaign Community Champs and co-chairs Ashley Weaver, repositioning and PMO team lead, Operations & Performance Transformation Team, and Nathan Bronder, distribution system inspector II, who during the campaign was a line mechanic A, Columbus Northeast Service Center and represented IBEW Local 1466. Community Champ Jodi Cannon, manager – Advanced Metering Procedures & Systems, Customer and Distribution Services, was unable to attend.

Akins and his wife, Donna, were introduced at the Celebration of Excellence Awards Luncheon as the 2014 United Way of Central Ohio campaign co-chairs. Together with a labor campaign co-chair, the Akins’ will guide efforts to build on the 2013 campaign, which raised $52.7 million. The 2013 AEP-IBEW Local 1466 campaign raised $1.4 million, including $943,918 in active and retired employee pledges and $471,859 in company matching funds.

AEP and AEP Ohio management in central Ohio are traditionally very engaged in the employee-led campaign, but in 2013, campaign Executive Champs Akins, Bob Powers, executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Pablo Vegas, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer, stepped up executive involvement with “Nick’s Pick 3 Challenge.” The challenge was designed to reinvigorate the campaign at all levels by asking each central Ohio member of the Executive Council to select at least three activities to personally promote volunteerism, advocacy and giving.

EC members responded by:

  • Holding staff meetings at United Way agency locations;
  • Hosting or participating in kick-off events at central Ohio locations;
  • Recording videos telling why they support the United Way; and
  • Educating employees on the leadership giving levels including United Way affinity groups.

“It’s exciting to see the executives leading by example when it comes to supporting the important work of the United Way and doing it in ways that are meaningful and take advantage of our talents,” Akins noted during the 2013 campaign.

Perhaps the most unique campaign activity was an “open jam session” at the headquarters kick off, where about 20 executives and other employees shared their musical talents in a one-hour jam in the cafeteria. Participating executives included Akins, Powers, Vegas and Dale Heydlauff, vice president-Corporate Communications, as well as other members of management.

The AEP-IBEW Local 1466 campaign has been recognized several times at the Celebration of Excellence, including earning highest honors in 2009 and 2013.

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