Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO) recently received recognition in the 2019 Spotlight on Excellence Awards program nationally, sponsored by the Council of Rural Electric Communicators and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). NIPCO received a Silver Award in the Best Digital Storytelling category for “Lineman 360”. Angela Catton, Manager of Member Relations & Development for NIPCO, produced the award-winning Virtual Reality experience in the summer of 2018.
“Electric cooperatives are being challenged to communicate to the people they serve more than ever before,” said Scott Peterson, Senior Vice President Communications for NRECA. “Printed news publications, social media and videos are all more important than ever to keep members updated on issues affecting the electric cooperatives and their members.”
A special reception honoring the award recipients during the CONNECT ‘19 Conference will be held in Houston, Texas, on May 7. Winning entries are displayed during the event.
“Lineman 360” was developed as a way to educate and entertain member-consumers about the work done by their cooperative line workers. Lineman 360 - "Pole Climb" (© 2018 NIPCO) is a Virtual Reality (VR) experience that combines safety, education and technology that allows viewers to work alongside “Scott the Lineman”, as he secures a transformer near the crossarm of an electric distribution pole. Scott Meinecke, Job Training/Safety Instructor for the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, is featured in the role of Scott the Lineman.
Lineman 360 combines the latest hardware technology with software and video created by NIPCO’s partner vendor, Click Rain of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“Viewers will not only be exhilarated by the simulation of 360-degree views while working alongside Scott, but will take with them a sense of empathy and advocacy for the work line workers do every day.” -Angela Catton, Manager of Member Relations & Development, NIPCO
“Our hope is that we can provide an immersive experience that allows participants to understand the work and safety measures involved in power delivery and restoration,” said Catton. Catton also hopes exposing participants to the experience of working atop electric infrastructure that Lineman 360 might inspire a young person to consider a career in the electric cooperative industry.
The annual Spotlight on Excellence Awards program recognizes the best communication and marketing efforts by electric cooperatives and related organizations. Entrants competed with electric cooperatives of similar size in 16 categories. Electric cooperative communicators and marketing professionals submitted nearly 640 entries in the Spotlight on Excellence program. Faculty members from the University of Missouri – Columbia and University of South Carolina, as well as noted professionals in the fields of marketing, web design and digital communications, and newspapers judged the event, which uses a finite scoring system to determine the winners.
The Council of Rural Electric Communicators was organized in 1982 and seeks to advance the recognition, education, and professionalism of electric cooperative communicators and their affiliated organizations. It is a volunteer association working on behalf of more than 4,000 electric cooperative communicators across the United States.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the service organization representing the national interests of cooperative electric utilities, coordinates the Council’s activities.
Lineman 360 "Pole Climb" Intro Video and Virtual Reality Video is a copyrighted work of Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative. © 2018 NIPCO.