Austin Utilities, of Minnesota, received an American Public Power Association Sue Kelly Community Service Award during the American Public Power Association’s National Conference in Seattle, Washington. The award recognizes “good neighbor” activities that demonstrate the commitment of the utility and its employees to the community.
Austin Utilities seeks to embody its tagline, “Connections for Better Living,” through supporting several local and national non-profits. Over the last ten years, employees donated nearly $100,000 to the local United Way chapter and regularly volunteer for the organization’s annual community service event. The utility also supports the American Red Cross and Paint the Town Pink, an annual campaign to raise funds for cancer research. Beyond its charity efforts, Austin Utilities works to engage and welcome its customers through events including open houses, building tours, equipment demonstrations, treasure hunts, and winter readiness programs. An Employee Volunteer program, implemented last year, allows employees to earn vacation time in exchange for volunteer hours.
The utility hosts a summer education class for children in grades 4 through 6, and, last year, it worked with the Electric Vehicle Owners Club to display EVs and provide education at events including the local farmers market and a high school students day. Austin Utilities has additionally implemented a “Connections Committee,” led by staff from across the organization who meet monthly to plan new ways to engage with the community.