United Announces Volt Award,
Lineman of the Year Winner
United's 2020 Volt Award and Lineman of the Year
Sneak a peak at this short video presented to United employees announcing this year's winners!
Patti Wagner suspected they’d summoned her to Burleson to participate on yet another committee.
The longtime member service representative III from the Meridian office couldn’t have known she was about to become the 2020 Volt Award recipient as she walked into United CEO Cameron Smallwood’s office that December day.
The Volt Award is an honor reserved for employees who have promoted and demonstrated the co-op’s continuing commitment to safety, leadership, productivity, innovation and teamwork. Recipients also must portray a professional representation of the cooperative in his or her daily work.
Though COVID-19 put the kibosh on the usual holiday festivities at United Cooperative Services, that didn’t mean that employees didn’t safely celebrate the season, nor did it mean the co-op would forego announcing the top two award winners for the year.
Kenneth “Bud” Boenisch, a journeyman lineman at the Possum Kingdom Lake office, was named the 2020 recipient of the Lineman of the Year award. This award symbolizes a United lineman’s commitment to safety in hazardous work environments and the proud heritage of service and dependability the cooperative’s operations crews provide daily to United members.
“They tricked me into coming up here to receive this award,” Wagner said in her taped acceptance speech. “They shocked me with this one. I’m trying not to cry, but I do appreciate it.”
Smallwood said Wagner’s nomination as this year’s Volt recipient was a slam-dunk after her 35-plus years of service.
“This person has been a great employee,” he said during Wagner’s introduction as Volt recipient. “One of the great things is this person has been such a pillar in their community, and this year, has been such a great help to getting us moved into our new Meridian office.”
Wagner joins previous winners Jason Dillard, Patty Mangum, Jerry Scott, Johnny Hazzard, Robert Bernhoft, Seth Rosser, Robert Sherman, Cory Menzel, Wes Burton, Denise Robertson, Michael Huston and Mark Dixon as the 13th winner of the Volt Award.
Smallwood said the coveted employee awards serve as the annual observance of the co-op’s goal to surpass member expectations for service reliability and value.
Boenisch, who started his career at United 12 years ago, also was surprised when he’d learned he was this year’s Lineman of the Year.
“I just want to say it’s an honor and a privilege to receive this award,” he said. “I know there are a lot of other guys who are just as deserving to get this award. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
Smallwood said Boenisch represented the hard work, expertise and commitment to safety the co-op requires to move it into the 21st century.
“I’m really pleased to see an individual who started their career at the ‘bottom level’ and made a career here at United,” Smallwood said. “Over 12 years ago, he started his career as a groundman and worked his way all the way up to journeyman lineman. He always steps up, and he always answers the call of service. He always does what he’s asked to do, and he does it safely and that’s really a key point here. He’s a true leader at PK Lake and in our organization.”
Boenisch joins Ed Nuñez, Mike Fergason, Mark Buckner, Robert Rejcek, Jeremiah Esquell, Gary Sims, Jerry Don Robinson, Jeff Pannell, Travis Ashworth, Joe Ponce, Jim Young, Arick Wienecke, Carlos Martinez, Josh Koopmann, Ben Perry, Trey Carper and Thomas Smith as the 18th recipient of the award.