November 4, 2013
Contact: Rick Moore (812) 876-0282
Hoosier Energy CEO Steve Smith inducted into Indiana Cooperative Hall of Fame
INDIANAPOLIS - Hoosier Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Smith, who has spent his life developing Indiana's rural communities through cooperatives, has been selected as Indiana's Cooperative Hero of the Year by the Indiana Cooperative Development Center. He was inducted into the group's Cooperative Hall of Fame on Nov. 1 during the annual Crossroads Cooperative Summit.
The Cooperative Hall of Fame recognizes cooperative leaders who have made an impact through their leadership or in their community service.
"Through the cooperative business model, millions of co-op members receive essential services such as electricity at affordable prices," said Smith. "I'm proud to be a part of the electric cooperative program and accept this award on behalf of the many people for whom I've worked over the past four decades. My thanks to the Indiana Cooperative Development Center for this honor."
Smith's co-op roots run deep as he grew up the son of an electric cooperative (REMC) general manager. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Indiana University. He started his cooperative work as grassroots coordinator for the Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives.
In 1977, Smith was hired as assistant to the chief executive officer at Hoosier Energy, which was building major generation and transmission facilities in central and southern Indiana. He developed marketing programs that have promoted efficient energy use and returned millions of dollars in incentives and benefits to co-op members.
An early member of the Indiana Area Development Council, now the Indiana Economic Development Association, Smith supported economic development efforts throughout the state.
He was one of the founders of the Southern Indiana Rural Development project to promote rural development and community cooperation. He worked with state and federal officials to form the Indiana Rural Development Council that established the Indiana Cooperative Development Center.
Named Hoosier Energy CEO in 1994, Smith has led the generation and transmission cooperative (G&T) through a remarkable period of growth and improvement. The co-op's economic development program has consistently been counted among the top 10 utility programs in the United States. Since 1990, Hoosier Energy and its member cooperatives have worked with state, local and other partners to attract nearly $9 billion in investment and 40,000 new jobs to rural communities.
In 2003, Hoosier Energy received the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association's Building for the Future award for development of environmental and community service programs. The G&T also won NRECA's highest communication award in 2012.
Smith has served on the Electric Power Research Institute Board of Directors, as president of the National G&T Managers Association, on the Alliance for Cooperative Energy Services Board and as a founding board member of the National Renewables Cooperative Organization.