CCA Honors a Baldwin EMC Communicator

IMG_6734The Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) announced their 2014 Michael Graznak Award winner and Michelle Ricard Geans is the honored recipient. As the communications specialist for Baldwin EMC, Summerdale, Ala., Geans is a key player in producing the cooperative’s publications, as well as developing communications projects and internal and external communications.

The Graznak Award recognizes an outstanding young communicator who is under 35 years of age. The award is named after active CCA member Michael Graznak who worked for Farmland Industries before his untimely death while on assignment.

Like Graznak, Geans is known for her abilities to design, photograph and write.

“Michelle has an eye for photography that tugs at the heart,” says Graznak committee member Megan McKoy-Noe. “She breaks her writing into easy to consume chunks of stories — a great tool in the age of shorter attention spans.”

“Michelle is always willing to lend a hand with a cause; she’s always the first to help with any cooperative or employee project,” says Rebecca Shobe, manager of communications for Baldwin EMC. Shobe, who nominated Geans, says, “She has a genuine talent for leading others and encouraging them to get involved, and always manages to add a splash of appropriate humor in the mix.”

The 2013 Graznak winner, Nickie Sabo of Minnesota-based dairy co-op Associated Milk Producers Inc, presented Geans with her award at CCA’s Annual Institute on June 3 in Pittsburgh, Pa.Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) is an organization of 350 professionals who communicate for cooperatives. Founded more than 55 years ago, CCA recognizes the differences in the markets co-ops serve and in the audiences they must reach. The organization works toward helping members excel in communications – from writing, photography, and editing to video, layout, and design. Just as important, CCA emphasizes ideas and strategies aimed at making communications more successful for cooperatives. And they appreciate the role communications plays in contributing to the success of the cooperative. Learn more at

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